Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 14 February 2019 - Strasbourg 
The situation in Chechnya, and the case of Oyub Titiev
 Zimbabwe
 Women's rights defenders in Saudi Arabia
 Mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context ***I
 Draft Agreement on Cooperation between Eurojust and Georgia *
 Health technology assessment ***I
 Framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union ***I
 Interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union ***I
 Mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State ***I
 Charges on cross-border payments in the Union and currency conversion charges ***I
 Common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services ***I
 Amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union ***I
 The right to peaceful protest and the proportionate use of force
 The rights of intersex people
 The future of the LGBTI List of Actions (2019-2024)
 The future of the INF Treaty and the impact on the EU
 NAIADES II - An action programme to support inland waterway transport
 Protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU
 Strengthening the competitiveness of the Internal Market by developing the EU customs union and its governance
 Implementation of the legal provisions and the Joint Statement ensuring parliamentary scrutiny over decentralised agencies

The situation in Chechnya, and the case of Oyub Titiev
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the situation in Chechnya and the case of Oyub Titiev (2019/2562(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0115RC-B8-0107/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Chechnya, in particular those of 8 February 2018 on ‘Russia, the case of Oyub Titiev and the Human Rights Centre Memorial’(1) and 23 October 2014 on ‘the closing-down of the NGO Memorial (winner of the 2009 Sakharov Prize) in Russia’(2),

–  having regard to the statement by the Chairs of its Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Human Rights of 12 January 2018 calling for the immediate release of the human rights defender Oyub Titiev,

–  having regard to the EU Statement of 19 January 2018 on human rights violations concerning the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Russia and to the statements by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 11 January 2018 on the detention of the Director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in the Chechen Republic and of 27 June 2018 on the cases of Russian human rights defenders Oyub Titiev and Yuri Dmitriev,

–  having regard to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to which the Russian Federation is a party,

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, in particular Chapter 2 thereof on Human and Civil Rights and Freedoms,

–  having regard to the seventh periodic report of the Russian Federation, which was considered by the UN Human Rights Committee at its 3 136th and 3 137th meetings on 16 and 17 March 2015,

–  having regard to the OSCE Rapporteur’s Report under the Moscow Mechanism on Alleged Human Rights Violations and Impunity in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation of 21 December 2018,

–  having regard to the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

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

A.  whereas the Russian Federation, as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has committed itself to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights;

B.  whereas the Russian Federation’s international commitments include the obligation to protect human rights defenders; whereas the 2012 law on ‘foreign agents’ severely restricts NGOs’ ability to work independently and effectively; whereas under this law, the Memorial Human Rights Centre has been designated as a ‘foreign agent’ by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation;

C.  whereas Chechnya has experienced a dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation over the past few years, which effectively prevents independent journalists and human rights activists from continuing their work without putting their own lives and the lives of their family members, friends and colleagues at risk; whereas the numerous reports of systematic and serious human rights abuses in Chechnya demonstrate the failure of the Chechen and Russian authorities to uphold the rule of law;

D.  whereas Oyub Titiev, the director of the Chechnya office of Memorial, was arrested on 9 January 2018 and officially indicted and remanded on trumped-up charges of illegal acquisition and possession of narcotics; whereas these accusations have been denied by Oyub Titiev and denounced by other NGOs and human rights defenders as fabricated and as an attempt to obstruct his, and his organisation’s, work on human rights;

E.  whereas the courts extended the detention of Oyub Titiev several times before court hearings begun in Shali City Court in Chechnya on 19 July 2018; whereas the verdict is imminent and expected for mid-February 2019; whereas Oyub Titiev risks being adjudged guilty of a crime he did not commit and spending up to ten years in prison;

F.  whereas Oyub Titiev’s family has faced harassment and threats coercing them to leave Chechnya; whereas Memorial was targeted by other actions in 2018, including an arson attack against its offices in Ingushetia on 17 January 2018, an attack on Mr Titiev’s lawyer’s car in Dagestan on 22 January 2018 and an attack against the head of the Memorial office in Dagestan on 28 March 2018; whereas since the murder in 2009 of Oyub Titiev’s predecessor as director of the Chechnya office of Memorial, Natalia Estemirova, the perpetrators of this crime have still not been brought to justice;

G.  whereas Memorial is one of the last remaining organisations continuing work on human rights in Chechnya – namely to document and expose human rights violations, to assist the victims of such violations and to help them seek justice – and has probably been attacked in retaliation for exposing and seeking justice for human rights violations; whereas Memorial was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2009 and in 2018 Oyub Titiev was awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and Rule of Law (December), the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize (October) and the Moscow Helsinki Human Rights Group Award (May);

H.  whereas Chechen officials have repeatedly threatened human rights defenders or denounced their work and have failed to publicly condemn threats of violence against them, thereby creating and perpetuating a climate of impunity for the perpetrators of acts of violence against human rights defenders; whereas victims therefore largely refrain from seeking justice as they fear retaliation by local authorities;

1.  Reiterates its call for the immediate release of Oyub Titiev, the director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre office in Chechnya, who was detained on 9 January 2018 and accused of illegal acquisition and possession of drugs and is expected to receive his verdict by mid-February 2019; urges the Chechen authorities to ensure full respect for Oyub Titiev’s human and legal rights, including his right to a fair trial, unhindered access to his lawyer and to medical care, and protection from judicial harassment and criminalisation;

2.  Strongly condemns the repeated public statements by Chechen officials denouncing the work of human rights defenders and organisations or targeting specific persons, as well as their failure to publicly condemn and investigate threats and acts of violence against these groups and individuals;

3.  Expresses its deep concerns over the worrying trend of arrests, attacks and intimidation of independent journalists, human rights defenders and their supporters, and ordinary citizens alike, which appear to be part of coordinated campaigns; considers the case of Oyub Titiev to be illustrative of numerous other prosecution cases built on fabricated evidence that underpins the flawed justice system in the Chechen Republic and the Russian Federation; recalls that similar charges related to drug possession have also been brought against Caucasus Knot journalist Zhalaudi Geriev and human rights activist Ruslan Kutaev, and calls for them also to be released;

4.  Urges the authorities of both the Republic of Chechnya and the Russian Federation to put an end to the harassment and persecution of their citizens and to end the climate of impunity for the perpetrators of acts of violence against human rights defenders, their family members, colleagues and supporters and their organisations;

5.  Calls on the Russian Federation to protect all its citizens with full respect for their human rights, to abide by its own Constitution and legislation, and to honour its international commitments to respect the rule of law and the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens, including those who dedicate their time, resources and work to defending the rights of their fellow citizens;

6.  Calls on the Russian authorities to repeal the 2015 law on ‘undesirable organisations’ and the 2012 law on ‘foreign agents’, as well as all other related legislation, which has consistently been used to harass and attack human rights defenders and civil society organisations; expresses concern at the fact that some Russian NGOs have had to shut down in order to avoid being tarnished with the stigma of being ‘foreign agents’ and to avoid legal persecution;

7.  Calls for an immediate end to the harassment and arrests of human rights defenders in Chechnya pursued on the grounds of fabricated accusations, to attacks on their colleagues and family members and to the intimidation of their supporters, which appear to serve the aim of impeding and ultimately ending the legitimate and useful work of their organisations;

8.  Repeats its call on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in Chechnya, including the trial of Oyub Titiev, to call for an immediate cessation of the aforementioned human rights violations, to raise the cases of all persons prosecuted for political reasons in relevant meetings with Russian representatives, and to continue to offer swift and efficient assistance to the victims of persecution and their family members, including when dealing with asylum requests;

9.  Calls on the Commission to engage with international human rights organisations active in the Russian Federation and with Russian human rights organisations and civil society despite the Russian law on ‘foreign agents’ and to continue to offer support to Memorial and other such organisations;

10.  Calls on international sports personalities and artists to refrain from participating in public events in Chechnya or events sponsored by the leadership of the Chechen Republic; reiterates its support for a European Union ‘Magnitsky Act’, which should sanction the perpetrators of serious human rights violations, and calls on the Council to pursue its work on this matter without delay; stresses, in this regard, that the perpetrators of human rights abuses in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation should not be granted EU visas nor be allowed to keep assets in EU Member States;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the President, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, and the Chechen authorities.

(1) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 31.
(2) OJ C 274, 27.7.2016, p. 21.


Zimbabwe
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on Zimbabwe (2019/2563(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0116RC-B8-0110/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the final report of the EU Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) on the 2018 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe and to the letter issued on 10 October by the Chief Observer of the EU EOM to President Mnangagwa on the key findings of the Final Report,

–  having regard to the statement of 17 January 2019 by the spokesperson of the Vice President/High Representative on the situation in Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the statements of 24 July 2018 and 18 January 2019 by the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the Joint Communiqué issued following the EU-African Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting on 21 and 22 January 2019,

–  having regard to the monitoring report from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in the aftermath of the 14 January to 16 January 2019 ‘Stay Away’ and subsequent disturbances,

–  having regard to the report of the Zimbabwean Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August post-election violence,

–  having regard to the statement of 2 August 2018 by the spokesperson of the VP/HR on the elections in Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 2 August 2018 by international election observation missions to Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections denouncing the excessive use of force by the police and army to quell protests,

–  having regard to the joint local statement of 9 August 2018 of the EU Delegation, the Heads of Mission of EU Member States present in Harare and the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada and the United States on the targeting of opposition in Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the conclusions of 22 January 2018 of the Council of the EU in light of the ongoing political transition in Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/288 of 17 February 2017 amending Decision 2011/101/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Zimbabwe(1),

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of June 1981, which Zimbabwe has ratified,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

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

A.  whereas the people of Zimbabwe suffered for many years under an authoritarian regime led by President Mugabe that maintained its power through corruption, violence, elections plagued by irregularities and a brutal security apparatus;

B.  whereas on 30 July 2018, Zimbabwe held its first presidential and parliamentary elections following the resignation of Robert Mugabe in November 2017; whereas the elections offered the country the opportunity to break with the history of contentious elections marked by abuse of political and human rights and state-sponsored violence;

C.  whereas on 3 August 2018, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) declared Emmerson Mnangagwa winner of the presidential election with 50.8 % of votes against 44.3 % for the opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa; whereas the results were immediately contested by the opposition who claimed that the elections were rigged; whereas the Constitutional Court dismissed these allegations for lack of evidence and President Mnangagwa was officially re-invested on 26 August for a new mandate;

D.  whereas the final report of the EU EOM states that the figures presented by the ZEC contained many anomalies and inaccuracies and raised enough questions to lead to doubts as to the accuracy and reliability of the numbers presented;

E.  whereas the day after the election, the delay in announcing the results had already led to an outbreak of post-electoral violence that left six people dead and many injured during protests called by the opposition; whereas international observers, including the EU, condemned the violence and the excessive use of force by the army and internal security forces;

F.  whereas the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission published a statement on 10 August 2018 ‘on the 2018 harmonised elections and the post-election environment’ confirming that protesters were assaulted by military forces, expressing deep concern about the brutality and violent conduct of the police and stating that the fundamental rights of demonstrators were violated; whereas the Commission has called on the government to set up a national dialogue;

G.  whereas on taking his oath of office in Harare on 26 August 2018, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a brighter, shared future for all Zimbabweans, transcending party lines, with a government unwavering in its commitment to constitutionalism, entrenching the rule of law, the principle of separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary and policies that would attract both domestic and global capital;

H.  whereas in September 2018 President Mnangagwa set up a commission of inquiry which, in December 2018, concluded that the demonstrations which caused extensive damage to property and injury were incited and organised by both security forces and members of the MDC Alliance, and that the deployment of the military was justified and in accordance with the Constitution; whereas the report was rejected by the opposition; whereas the commission called for an investigation within the security forces and prosecution of those who had committed crimes, and recommended compensation for victims;

I.  whereas political tensions have increased dramatically since the elections and reports of violence persist, seriously putting at risk the democratic trajectory initiated in the country;

J.  whereas the collapse of the economy, lack of access to social services, and the rise in the price of the most basic of commodities pushed people to anger; whereas between 14 and 18 January 2019, Zimbabwe witnessed a surge in protests and demonstrations during a so-called national shutdown at the initiative of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), following a 150 % increase in fuel prices; whereas the protests were also in response to rising poverty, the poor state of the economy, and declining living standards;

K.  whereas, faced with this protest movement, on 14 January 2019 the government denounced a ‘deliberate plan to undermine the constitutional order’ and assured that it ‘will respond appropriately to those who conspire to sabotage peace’;

L.  whereas the riot police responded with excessive violence and human rights abuses, including the use of live ammunition, arbitrary arrests, abductions, the raiding of medical facilities treating victims of the repression, fast-tracking and mass trials of those arrested, the torturing of people under arrest, cases of rape and the destruction of private and public property;

M.  whereas the Human Rights Commission appointed by the government made public a report which reveals that soldiers and the police had used systematic torture;

N.  whereas more than 17 people have been killed and hundreds injured; whereas around one thousand people have been arrested, including children aged between 9 and 16, and about two thirds of those arrested were denied bail; whereas many are still being illegally detained and have allegedly been beaten and assaulted while in custody;

O.  whereas evidence shows that the army has been largely responsible for the acts of murder, rape and armed robbery; whereas hundreds of activists and opposition officials remain in hiding;

P.  whereas the government’s response to protests has been widely condemned as ‘disproportionate’ and ‘excessive’ by human rights observers and local and international actors, including the EU;

Q.  whereas the interruption of telecommunications has become a tool used by the regime to block the coordination of demonstrations organised on social networks; whereas mobile and land-line communications, as well as the internet and social media channels, were repeatedly blocked to prevent access to information and communication and in order to mask the massive human rights violations which the state was preparing to commit; whereas the Zimbabwe High Court declared that the use of the Interception of Communications Act to suspend online communications was illegal;

R.  whereas the authorities organised a massive door-to-door search for protestors, dragging from their homes peaceful protestors, human rights defenders, political activists, prominent civil society leaders and their relatives;

S.  whereas neighbouring countries such as South Africa have become a hub for Zimbabweans fleeing political oppression and economic hardship;

T.  whereas the police have continuously misused existing laws, such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), to justify the curb on opposition members and human rights activists, and to ban lawful and peaceful demonstrations;

U.  whereas Zimbabwe’s record with regard to human rights and democracy is one of the poorest in the word; whereas Zimbabwean people and human rights defenders continue to suffer attacks, hate speech, smear campaigns, acts of intimidation and harassment, and there have been regular reports of acts of torture;

V.  whereas the President called for a national dialogue that started on 6 February and invited all political parties to take part, but the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, refused to participate;

W.  whereas Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement, Article 96 of which stipulates that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element of ACP-EU cooperation;

1.  Underlines its unanimous desire for Zimbabwe to become a peaceful, democratic and prosperous nation in which all citizens are treated well and equally under the law and where the organs of the state act on behalf of the citizens and not against them;

2.  Strongly condemns the violence that occurred during the recent protests in Zimbabwe; firmly believes that peaceful protest is part of a democratic process and that excessive force in response must be avoided in all circumstances;

3.  Urges President Mnangagwa to remain true to his inaugural promises, to move rapidly to take control of the situation and to put Zimbabwe back on a path of reconciliation and respect for democracy and the rule of law;

4.  Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to put an immediate end to abuses by security forces and to promptly and impartially investigate all allegations of excessive use of force by police and state officials in order to establish individual responsibilities, with a view to ensuring accountability; recalls that the country’s constitution establishes an independent body to investigate complaints of police and military misconduct, but that the government has yet to set it up;

5.  Urges the Government of Zimbabwe to withdraw urgently all military personnel and the youth militia deployed across the country that are terrorising residents in clear violation of the Zimbabwean Constitution;

6.  Believes that freedom of assembly, association and expression are essential components of any democracy; stresses that expressing an opinion in a non-violent way is a constitutional right for all Zimbabwean citizens and reminds the authorities of their obligation to protect the right of all citizens to protest against their deteriorating social and economic conditions; calls on the government to put an end to the specific targeting of leaders and members of the ZCTU;

7.  Underlines the fundamental role that the opposition plays in a democratic society;

8.  Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners;

9.  Calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately stop the harassment and criminalisation of civil society actors and recognise the legitimate role of human rights defenders;

10.  Asks the Zimbabwean Government to conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the international human rights instruments ratified by Zimbabwe;

11.  Is deeply concerned about reported violations of due process through fast-tracking and mass trials; insists that the judiciary must uphold the rule of law and ensure that its independence and the right to a fair trial is respected in all circumstances; denounces all arrests made without bringing forward charges;

12.  Calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to undertake a prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigation into allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including rape and sexual violence by security forces, and to bring those responsible to justice; demands that access to medical services should be universally provided to the victims of such sexual violence without fear of retribution;

13.  Condemns the internet shutdown that allowed the authorities to conceal the human rights abuses committed by the army and internal security forces and to obstruct independent reporting and documentation of abuses during the crackdown and immediately after the election; stresses that access to information is a right that must be respected by the authorities in accordance with their constitutional and international obligations;

14.  Denounces the abusive use and restrictive nature of POSA, and urges the Zimbabwean authorities to align legislation with international standards for the protection and promotion of human rights;

15.  Expresses particular concern at the economic and social situation in Zimbabwe; recalls that the country’s main problems are poverty, unemployment and chronic malnutrition and hunger; considers that these problems can only be solved through the implementation of ambitious policies on employment, education, health and agriculture;

16.  Calls on all political actors to exercise responsibility and restraint, and in particular to refrain from inciting violence;

17.  Reminds the Government of Zimbabwe that the support of the European Union and its Member States in the context of the Cotonou Agreement, and for trade, development, and economic assistance, is conditional on its respecting the rule of law and the international conventions and treaties to which it is party;

18.  Recalls that long-term support hinges on comprehensive reforms rather than mere promises; calls for European engagement with Zimbabwe to be value-driven and firm in its positioning towards the Zimbabwean authorities;

19.  Urges the government to immediately implement the recommendations on post-election violence made by the Commission of Inquiry, in particular the promotion of political tolerance and accountable leadership, and the setting up of a national dialogue conducted in a credible, inclusive, transparent and accountable way;

20.  Notes the government’s will to deliver on reform commitments; stresses, however, that these reforms should be political as well as economic; encourages the government, the opposition, civil society representatives and religious leaders to engage on an equal footing in a national dialogue in which human rights are respected and protected;

21.  Calls on the government to fully implement the recommendations made by the EU EOM, especially with regard to the rule of law and an inclusive political environment; underlines the ten priority recommendations identified by the EOM and set out in the letter of 10 October 2018 from the Chief Observer to President Mnangagwa – namely, in order to create a level playing field for all political parties, to ensure a clearer and coherent legal framework; to strengthen ZEC by making it truly independent and transparent, thereby restoring confidence in the electoral process; to ensure that strengthening ZEC’s independence makes it free from governmental oversight in the approval of its regulations; and to create a more inclusive electoral process;

22.  Calls on the EU delegation and EU Member State embassies in Zimbabwe to continue their close monitoring of developments in the country and to use all appropriate tools to support human rights defenders, civil society organisations and trade unions, to promote the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement and to support pro-democracy movements;

23.  Calls on the EU to step up its political dialogue with Zimbabwe on human rights on the basis of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

24.  Calls on the European Council to review its restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Zimbabwe, including those measures currently suspended, in the light of accountability for recent state violence;

25.  Urges the international community, notably the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU), to give more active assistance to Zimbabwe to find a sustainable democratic solution to the current crisis;

26.  Urges neighbouring countries to comply with the provisions of international law and to protect those fleeing violence in Zimbabwe with the provision of asylum, especially in the short term;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EEAS, the Government and the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the governments of the South African Development Community and the African Union, and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

(1) OJ L 42, 18.2.2017, p. 11.


Women's rights defenders in Saudi Arabia
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia (2019/2564(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0117RC-B8-0111/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Saudi Arabia, in particular those of 11 March 2014 on Saudi Arabia, its relations with the EU and its role in the Middle East and North Africa(1), of 12 February 2015 on the case of Mr Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia(2), of 8 October 2015 on the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr(3), of 31 May 2018 on the situation of women’s rights defenders in Saudi Arabia(4), and of 25 October 2018 on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul(5),

–  having regard to the statements of 29 May 2018 by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on recent arrests in Saudi Arabia, and of 31 July 2018 on the arbitrary detentions of human rights defenders and activists in Saudi Arabia, including women’s rights activists,

–  having regard to the statement of 12 October 2018 by several UN Special Rapporteurs calling for the immediate release of all women’s rights defenders,

–  having regard the report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of December 2017,

–  having regard to Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council and of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), as well as its membership of the Executive Council of the CSW as of January 2019,

–  having regard to the speech by Commissioner Christos Stylianides, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), in the European Parliament debate of 4 July 2017 on Saudi Arabia’s election as a member of the CSW,

–  having regard to the opening speech of the VP/HR at the 5th EU-League of Arab States ministerial meeting stating: ‘and let me say that cooperation between Europe and the Arab world was never so important and, I believe, has never been so necessary’,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the concluding observations of 9 March 2018 of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on the combined third and fourth periodic reports of Saudi Arabia,

–  having regard to the report of the Detention Review Panel into Women Activist Detainees in Saudi Arabia,

–  having regard to the anti-harassment bill approved by the Saudi Shura Council on 28 May 2018,

–  having regard to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Saudi Arabia of November 2018,

–  having regard to the Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index ranking Saudi Arabia 169th of 180 countries,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR) of 1966,

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

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

–  having regard to the awarding of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression to the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in 2015,

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

A.  whereas activists arrested by the Saudi authorities for their women’s rights activism remain detained without charge; whereas the activists include Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, Nouf Abdulaziz, Mayaa al-Zahrani, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada, Shadan al-Anezi, Abir Namankani, Amal al-Harbi and Hatoon al-Fassi, all of whom are women’s rights activists, as well as male supporters of the movement, including Mohammed al-Rabea; whereas these activists are known for their campaign against the ban on women driving and support of abolishing the male guardianship system; whereas they were arrested ahead of the anticipated lifting of the ban on women driving on 24 June 2018; whereas some of them will reportedly be referred for trial to the Specialised Criminal Court which was originally established to try detainees held in connection with terrorism offences;

B.  whereas human rights defender Israa al-Ghomgham, from the region of Qatif, is still facing arbitrary detention; whereas the death penalty imposed on her has recently been dropped, but unspecified charges are still being levelled against her; whereas there are concerns about Ms al-Ghomgham’s physical and mental wellbeing;

C.  whereas reports maintain that Saudi interrogators have tortured, maltreated and sexually abused at least three of the women activists detained in May 2018; whereas family members of the women activists, such as the parents of Loujain al-Hathloul, are subject to travel bans;

D.  whereas Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media has dismissed the allegations of torture of detainees in the Kingdom as baseless reports;

E.  whereas activist Loujain al-Hathloul has been detained since March 2018 after attending a review session on Saudi Arabia at the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; whereas she was placed in solitary confinement between May and September 2018, during which time her parents report that she was tortured;

F.  whereas a delegation from the Saudi Human Rights Commission visited Loujain al-Hathloul after the publication of the reports about her torture; whereas they could not guarantee her protection; whereas a public prosecutor subsequently visited her to record her testimony;

G.  whereas Loujain al-Hathloul has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize;

H.  whereas Saudi Arabia still has some of the tightest restrictions imposed on women, in spite of recent government reforms aimed at boosting women’s rights in the employment sector; whereas the Saudi political and social system remains discriminatory, effectively making women into second-class citizens, allows no freedom of religion and belief, seriously discriminates against the country’s large foreign workforce and severely represses all voices of dissent;

I.  whereas Saudi Arabia has a range of discriminatory laws, in particular the legal provisions relating to personal status, the situation of women migrant workers, the Civil Status Code, the Labour Code, the Nationality Act and the system of male guardianship, under which women’s enjoyment of the majority of their rights under CEDAW is subject to authorisation by a male guardian;

J.  whereas under the male guardianship system, Saudi women are deprived of even the most basic control over their lives; whereas discriminatory laws relating to marriage and divorce remain in place, and women are required by law to obtain the permission of a male guardian to enrol in higher education, seek employment, travel or marry; whereas Saudi women with foreign spouses, unlike their male counterparts, cannot pass on their nationality to their children or spouses;

K.  whereas Saudi Arabia’s general reservation to CEDAW is, according to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention and impermissible under Article 28 thereof;

L.  whereas since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud came to power in June 2017, many outspoken human rights defenders, activists and critics have been arbitrarily detained, or unjustly sentenced to lengthy prison terms simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression;

M.  whereas the Vision 2030 reform agenda, which aims to bring about the economic and social transformation of the country, including through women’s empowerment, should have been a real opportunity for Saudi women to secure their legal emancipation, which is absolutely crucial for the full enjoyment of their rights under CEDAW; whereas, however, the recent wave of arrests and alleged torture of women’s rights activists runs counter to this aim, and may distract from the reform agenda; whereas the Vision 2030 decree lacks a proper legal framework;

N.  whereas freedom of expression and freedom of the press and media, both online and offline, are crucial preconditions and catalysts for democratisation and reform, and are essential checks on power;

O.  whereas Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world; whereas between 2014 and 2017, the average number of executions per year was at least 126; whereas the authorities impose the death penalty for non-violent offences, such as drug smuggling, treason, and adultery; whereas offences such as apostasy, which under international human rights law should not be criminalised, have also resulted in the application of the death penalty;

P.  whereas Saudi Arabia’s UN Human Development Index value for 2018 is 0.853 – positioning it 39th out of 188 countries and territories; whereas Saudi Arabia has a UN Gender Inequality Index value of 0.234, ranking it 39th out of 189 countries in the 2017 index; whereas the country has a UN Gender Development Index (GDI) of 0.877 (ranked 39th in the world);

1.  Strongly condemns the detention of the women human rights defenders who campaigned for the lifting of the driving ban, as well as of all peaceful human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and activists, and expresses its shock at the credible reports of systematic torture against several of them, including Loujain al-Hathloul;

2.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release these women’s rights defenders and all human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and other prisoners of conscience detained and sentenced merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and for their peaceful human rights work, and to allow international independent monitors to meet with detained women human rights defenders;

3.  Urges the Saudi authorities to facilitate the access of independent medical doctors to the detainees; emphasises that the treatment of all detainees, including human rights defenders, while in detention, must adhere to the conditions set out in the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment adopted by means of UN General Assembly Resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

4.  Insists that independent monitors should include observers from the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia or the EU institutions, as well as UN human rights mandate-holders, such as the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, or international NGOs;

5.  Insists that the Saudi Authorities put an end to all forms of harassment, including at judicial level, against Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, Nouf Abdulaziz, Mayaa al-Zahrani, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada, Shadan al-Anezi, Abir Namankani, Amal al-Harbi, Hatoon al-Fassi, Israa Al-Ghomgham, Mohammed al-Rabea and all other human rights defenders in the country, so that they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrance or fear of reprisals against them and their families;

6.  Condemns the ongoing repression and torture of human rights defenders, including women’s rights defenders, in Saudi Arabia, which undermines the credibility of the reform process in the country; denounces the continued systemic discrimination against women and girls in Saudi Arabia;

7.  Urges Saudi Arabia to publicly guarantee the safety of all detained activists, allow the detained women access to lawyers and family members, provide evidence of their wellbeing, and release those jailed solely for peacefully advocating reform;

8.  Praises and supports the Saudi women’s rights defenders who are seeking equal and fair treatment in their society and those who have defended human rights despite the difficulties they have to face;

9.  Is deeply concerned about the prevalence of gender-based violence in Saudi Arabia, which remains largely underreported and undocumented, and which has been justified citing retrograde reasons such as the need to discipline women under men’s guardianship; urges the Saudi authorities to adopt comprehensive legislation to specifically define and criminalise all forms of gender-based violence against women, in particular female genital mutilation, rape, including marital rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment, and to remove all the obstacles women face in their access to justice; expresses profound disquiet about the reports of a prevailing practice of child marriage;

10.  Deplores the existence of the male guardianship system, whereby authorisation from a male guardian is still expected in a number of areas, including international travel, accessing healthcare services, choosing one’s residency, marriage, filing complaints with the justice system, and leaving state-run shelters for abused women and detention centres; underlines that this system is a reflection of the deep-rooted patriarchal system that rules the country; urges the Saudi Government to immediately abolish the male guardianship system and repeal other laws that discriminate against women and girls;

11.  Notes the recent adoption of a law under which Saudi women can be notified by text message if they are being divorced, to protect them from having their marriage ended without their knowledge; emphasises that this law does nothing to address the fact that Saudi women can only obtain divorces in exceedingly limited cases, such as with their husband’s consent or if their husband has harmed them;

12.  Expresses concern over the government web services with which male guardians can track women, specify when and how they can cross Saudi borders, and get close to real-time SMS updates when they travel;

13.  Welcomes the lifting of the driving ban for women inside the Kingdom as part of the Vision 2030 agenda;

14.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to revise the Law on Associations and Foundations of December 2015 in order to allow women activists to organise themselves and to work freely and independently without undue interference by the authorities; further urges the revision of the Anti-Terrorist Law, the Anti-Cybercrime Law and the Press and Publications Law, which are repeatedly used to prosecute human rights defenders, as well as of all discriminatory provisions present in the legal system, including in areas such as inheritance;

15.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to ratify the ICCPR, lift the reservations made to CEDAW and ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, so that Saudi women can fully enjoy the rights enshrined in the Convention, and to end child marriages, forced marriages and the compulsory dress code for women; urges Saudi Arabia to extend a standing invitation to all Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council to visit the country;

16.  Stresses that the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful association and assembly are protected under international human rights law; calls on the Saudi authorities to allow independent press and media and ensure freedom of expression online and offline, as well as freedom of association and peaceful assembly for all inhabitants of Saudi Arabia; urges the Saudi authorities to remove the restrictions placed on human rights defenders, which prohibit them from speaking out on social media and to the international media;

17.  Calls on the Saudi authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards its abolition; calls for a review of all death sentences to ensure that the trials preceding them adhered to international standards;

18.  Recommends sending an ad-hoc delegation from the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) before the end of the current mandate to Saudi Arabia in order to visit the imprisoned women and hold the necessary meetings with the Saudi authorities;

19.  Takes note of the EU-Saudi engagement and encourages further dialogue;

20.  Regrets the inefficient statements by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Member States on the cases of the women human rights defenders detained since May 2018;

21.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Member States to bring up the cases of Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada and all other women human rights defenders in their dialogues with the Saudi authorities, and to demand their release; insists that, pending their release, EU diplomats should call on the Saudi authorities to guarantee their safety and to pursue full investigations into the reports of torture;

22.  Calls for the Commission and Parliament to look into the lack of listings of Saudi Arabia within the EU transparency register;

23.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Member States to bring up the cases of Israa al-Ghomgham, her husband Mousa al-Hashim, and their four co-defendants Ahmed al-Matrood, Ali Ouwaisher, Khalid al-Ghanim and Mujtaba al-Muzain in their dialogues with the Saudi authorities and to demand their release; calls, furthermore, for the case of Sheikh Salman al-Awda to be brought up and for his release to be demanded;

24.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Member States to establish a unified position to ensure that the European diplomatic services in Saudi Arabia systematically use the mechanisms envisaged in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, including public statements, diplomatic démarches, monitoring of trials and prison visits, in relation to the Saudi women’s rights defenders detained since May 2018;

25.  Calls for a European Parliament resolution to be tabled on the situation of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia at the next session of the UN Human Rights Council; calls for the EU, at the next Human Rights Council and at the Commission on the Status of Women, to raise the issue of membership of states with questionable human rights records, including in relation to respect for women’s rights and gender equality; calls for the EU to propose the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Saudi Arabia at the UN Human Rights Council;

26.  Calls, once again, on the Saudi authorities to put a stop to any further flogging of Raif Badawi, and to release him immediately and unconditionally; insists that all senior representatives of the EU, notably the VP/HR and all Commissioners, systematically raise the case of Raif Badawi in their contacts with their Saudi counterparts, and request to meet with him during their visits to the country; commits to stepping up its efforts in support of his release; calls on its President to travel to Riyadh in order to bring up the case of the Sakharov Prize laureates directly with the authorities;

27.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Member States to ensure full implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, and to expand their protection and support for human rights defenders, particularly women human rights defenders; calls on the VP/HR to report on the current state of military and security cooperation between the Member States and the Saudi regime;

28.  Reiterates its call for the Council to reach a common position in order to impose an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, and to respect Common Position 2008/944/CFSP(6); calls for an embargo on the export of surveillance systems and other dual-use items that may be used in Saudi Arabia for the purposes of the repression of its citizens, including women human rights defenders; is alarmed by the use of these weapons and of cyber surveillance technology by the Saudi Arabian authorities; reminds the Member States that their continued arms deals with Saudi Arabia are in contravention of the EU’s common position on arms exports; calls for the EEAS to propose, and for the Council to adopt, the use of restricted measures against Saudi Arabia in response to breaches of human rights, including asset freezes and visa bans;

29.  Urges the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Member States to continue conducting a dialogue with Saudi Arabia on human rights, fundamental freedoms and the troubling role of the country in the region; expresses its readiness to hold a constructive and open dialogue with the Saudi authorities, including parliamentarians, on the implementation of their international human rights commitments; calls for an exchange of expertise on justice and legal matters in order to strengthen the protection of individual rights in Saudi Arabia;

30.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Human Rights Council, H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Secretary-General of the Centre for National Dialogue of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

(1) OJ C 378, 9.11.2017, p. 64.
(2) OJ C 310, 25.8.2016, p. 29.
(3) OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p.34.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0232.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0434.
(6) Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment, OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.


Mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context (COM(2018)0373 – C8-0228/2018 – 2018/0198(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0118A8-0414/2018

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Draft Agreement on Cooperation between Eurojust and Georgia *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the draft Council implementing decision approving the conclusion by Eurojust of the Agreement on Cooperation between Eurojust and Georgia (13483/2018 – C8-0484/2018 – 2018/0813(CNS))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0119A8-0065/2019

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council draft (13483/2018),

–  having regard to Article 39(1) of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, and Article 9 of Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8-0484/2018),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime(1), and in particular Article 26a(2) thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0065/2019),

1.  Approves the Council draft;

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

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

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

(1) OJ L 63, 6.3.2002, p. 1.


Health technology assessment ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on health technology assessment and amending Directive 2011/24/EU (COM(2018)0051 – C8-0024/2018 – 2018/0018(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0120A8-0289/2018

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Framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union (COM(2017)0487 – C8‑0309/2017 – 2017/0224(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0121A8-0198/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0487),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0309/2017),

–  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 April 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 23 March 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 5 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 International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8‑0198/2018),

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

2.  Takes note of the statement by the Commission 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 14 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0224


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 207(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),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(4),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(5),

Whereas:

(1)  Foreign direct investment contributes to the Union's growth by enhancing its competitiveness, creating jobs and economies of scale, bringing in capital, technologies, innovation, expertise, and by opening new markets for the Union's exports. It supports the objectives of the ▌Investment Plan for Europe and contributes to other Union projects and programmes.

(2)  Article 3(5) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) specifies that the Union, in its relations with the wider world, shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. Moreover, the Union and the Member States have an open investment environment, which is enshrined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and embedded in the international commitments of the Union and its Member States with respect to foreign direct investment.

(3)  Pursuant to the international commitments undertaken in the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and in the trade and investment agreements concluded with third countries, it is possible for the Union and the Members States to ▌adopt restrictive measures relating to foreign direct investment on the grounds of security or public order, subject to certain requirements. The framework established by this Regulation relates to foreign direct investments into the Union. Outward investment and access to third country markets are dealt with under other trade and investment policy instruments.

(4)  This Regulation is without prejudice to the right of Member States to derogate from the free movement of capital as provided for in point b of Article 65(1) TFEU. Several Member States have put in place measures according to which they may restrict ▌such movement ▌on grounds of public policy or public security. Those measures reflect ▌the objectives and concerns of Member States with respect to foreign direct investment, and might result in a number of mechanisms which are different in terms of scope and procedure. Member States wanting to put in place such mechanisms in the future could take into account the functioning, experiences and best practices of existing mechanisms.

(5)  There is currently no comprehensive framework at Union▌ level for the screening of foreign direct investments on the grounds of security or public order, while the major trading partners of the Union have already developed such frameworks.

(6)  Foreign direct investment falls within the field of the common commercial policy. In accordance with point e of Article 3(1) TFEU, the Union has exclusive competence with respect to the common commercial policy.

(7)  It is important to provide legal certainty for Member States’ screening mechanisms on the grounds of security and public order, and ▌to ensure Union-wide coordination and cooperation ▌on the screening of foreign direct investments ▌likely to affect security or public order. That common framework is without prejudice to sole responsibility of Member States for safeguarding their ▌national security, as provided for in Article 4(2) TEU. It is also without prejudice to the protection of their essential security interests in accordance with Article 346 TFEU.

(8)  The framework for the screening of foreign direct investments and for cooperation should provide Member States and the Commission with the means to address risks to security or public order in a comprehensive manner, and to adapt to changing circumstances, whilst maintaining the necessary flexibility for Member States to screen foreign direct investments on grounds of security and public order taking into account their individual situations and national specificities. The decision on whether to set up a screening mechanism or to screen a particular foreign direct investment remains the sole responsibility of the Member State concerned.

(9)  A broad range of investments which establish or maintain lasting and direct links between investors from third countries including State entities, and undertakings carrying out an economic activity in a Member State should be covered by this Regulation. It should however not cover portfolio investment.

(10)  Member States that have a screening mechanism in place should provide for the necessary measures, in compliance with Union law, to prevent circumvention of their screening mechanisms and screening decisions. This should cover investments from within the Union by means of artificial arrangements that do not reflect economic reality and circumvent the screening mechanisms and screening decisions, where the investor is ultimately owned or controlled by a natural person or an undertaking of a third country. This is without prejudice to the freedom of establishment and the free movement of capital enshrined in the TFEU.

(11)  It should be possible for Member States to assess risks to security or public order arising from significant changes to the ownership structure or key characteristics of a foreign investor.

(12)   To guide Member States and the Commission in the application of this Regulation, it is appropriate to provide a list of factors that could be taken into consideration when ▌determining whether a foreign direct investment ▌is likely to affect security or public order. That list will also improve the transparency of ▌Member States' screening mechanisms for investors considering making or having made foreign direct investments in the Union. The list of factors that might affect security or public order should remain non-exhaustive.

(13)  In determining whether a foreign direct investment may affect security or public order, it should be possible for Member States and the Commission to consider all relevant factors, including the effects on critical infrastructure, technologies (including key enabling technologies) and inputs which are essential for security or the maintenance of public order, the disruption, failure, loss or destruction of which would have a significant impact in a Member State or in the Union. In that regard, it should also be possible for Member States and the Commission to take into account the context and circumstances of the foreign direct investment, in particular whether a foreign investor is controlled directly or indirectly, for example through significant funding, including subsidies, by the government of a third country or is pursuing State-led outward projects or programmes.

(14)  Member States or the Commission, as appropriate, might consider relevant information received from economic operators, civil society organisations, or social partners such as trade unions, in relation to a foreign direct investment likely to affect security or public order.

(15)  It is appropriate to lay down the essential elements of the framework for the screening of foreign direct investments by a Member State to allow investors, the Commission and other Member States to understand how such investments are likely to be screened. Those elements should at least include ▌timeframes for the screening and the possibility for foreign investors to seek ▌recourse against screening decisions.▌Rules and procedures relating to screening mechanisms should be transparent ▌and should not discriminate between third countries.

(16)  A mechanism which enables Member States to cooperate and assist each other where a foreign direct investment in one Member State ▌could affect security or public order in other Member States should be set up. It should be possible for Member States to provide comments to a Member State in which such investment is planned or has been completed, irrespective of whether that Member State has a screening mechanism in place, or such an investment is undergoing screening. Requests for information, replies and comments of Member States should also be forwarded to the Commission. It should be possible for the Commission, where appropriate, to issue an opinion within the meaning of Article 288 TFEU to the Member State in which the investment is planned or has been completed. ▌It should also be possible for a Member State to request the Commission to issue an opinion or other Member States to provide comments on a foreign direct investment taking place in its territory.

(17)  When a Member State receives comments from other Member States or an opinion from the Commission, it should give such comments or opinion due consideration through, where appropriate, measures available under its national law, or in its broader policy-making, in line with its duty of sincere cooperation laid down in Article 4(3) TEU.

The final decision in relation to any foreign direct investment undergoing screening or any measure taken in relation to a foreign direct investment not undergoing screening remains the sole responsibility of the Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or completed.

(18)  The cooperation mechanism should only be used for the purpose of protecting security or public order. For that reason, Member States should duly justify any request for information regarding a specific foreign direct investment in another Member State, as well as any comment they address to that Member State. The same requirements should apply when the Commission requests information on a particular foreign direct investment or issues an opinion to a Member State. Compliance with those requirements is also important in situations where an investor of a Member State competes with investors of third countries for making an investment in another Member State such as acquiring assets.

(19)  Furthermore, it should be possible for the Commission to ▌provide an opinion within the meaning of Article 288 TFEU with regard to foreign direct investments likely to affect projects and programmes of Union interest on grounds of security or public order. This would give the Commission a tool to protect projects and programmes which serve the Union as a whole and represent an important contribution to its economic growth, jobs and competitiveness. This should include in particular projects and programmes involving substantial Union funding or established by Union law regarding critical infrastructure, critical technologies or critical inputs. Those projects or programmes of Union interest ▌should be listed in this Regulation. An opinion which is addressed to a Member State should also be simultaneously sent to the other Member States. ▌

The Member State should take utmost account of the opinion received from the Commission through, where appropriate, measures available under its national law, or in its broader policy-making, and provide an explanation to the Commission if it does not follow that opinion, in line with its duty of sincere cooperation under Article 4(3) TEU. The final decision in relation to any foreign direct investment undergoing screening or any measure taken in relation to a foreign direct investment not undergoing screening remains the sole responsibility of the Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or completed.

(20)   In order to take into account developments relating to projects and programmes of Union interest, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission to amend the list of projects and programmes of Union interest set out in the Annex to this Regulation. 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(6). 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.

(21)  In order to provide greater certainty for investors, Member States should have the possibility to make comments and the Commission should have the possibility to issue an opinion in relation to completed investments not undergoing screening for a period limited to 15 months after the completion of the foreign direct investment. The cooperation mechanism should not apply to foreign direct investments completed before … [date of entry into force of this Regulation].

(22)  Member States should notify their screening mechanisms and any amendment thereto to the Commission, and should report on the application of their screening mechanisms on an annual ▌basis, including on decisions allowing, prohibiting or subjecting foreign direct investments to conditions or mitigating measures and on decisions regarding foreign direct investments likely to affect projects or programmes of Union interest. All Member States ▌should ▌report on the foreign direct investments that took place in their territory, on the basis of the information available to them. In order to improve the quality and comparability of information provided by Member States as well as to facilitate compliance with the notification and reporting obligations, the Commission should provide standardised forms considering, inter alia, relevant forms applied for the purpose of reporting to Eurostat, where appropriate.

(23)  ▌In order to ensure the effectiveness of the cooperation mechanism, it is also important to ensure a minimum level of information and coordination with regard to foreign direct investments falling under the scope of this Regulation in all Member States. That information should be made available by Member States for ▌foreign direct investments undergoing screening as well as, upon request, for other foreign direct investments▌. Relevant information should include aspects such as the ownership structure of the foreign investor and the financing of the planned or completed investment, including, when available, information about subsidies granted by third countries. Member States should seek to provide accurate, comprehensive and reliable information.

(24)  Upon request by a Member State where a foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed, the foreign investor or the undertaking concerned should provide the information requested. In exceptional circumstances, when, despite its best efforts, a Member State is unable to obtain such information, it should notify the Member States concerned or the Commission without delay. In such a case, it should be possible that any comment issued by another Member State or any opinion issued by the Commission in the framework of the cooperation mechanism be made on the basis of the information available to them.

(25)  When making available the information requested, Member States are to comply with Union law and national law that complies with Union law.

(26)  The communication and cooperation at Member State and Union level should be enhanced through the establishment of a contact point▌ for the ▌ implementation of this Regulation in each Member State and the Commission.

(27)  The contact points established by the Member States and the Commission should be appropriately placed within the respective administration, and should have the qualified staff and the powers necessary to perform their functions under the coordination mechanism and to ensure a proper handling of confidential information.

(28)  The development and implementation of comprehensive and effective policies should be supported by the Commission group of experts on the screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union, set up by Commission Decision of 29.11.2017(7), composed of representatives of the Member States. That group should discuss, in particular, issues related to the screening of foreign direct investments, share best practices and lessons learned and exchange views on trends and issues of common concern related to foreign direct investments.The Commission should consider seeking the advice of the group on systemic issues relating to the implementation of this Regulation. The Commission should consult the expert group on draft delegated acts in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making.

(29)  Member States and the Commission should be encouraged to cooperate with the responsible authorities of like-minded third countries on issues related to screening of foreign direct investments likely to affect security or public order. Such administrative cooperation should aim to strengthen the effectiveness of the framework for screening of foreign direct investments by Member States and the cooperation between Member States and the Commission pursuant to this Regulation. It should also be possible for the Commission to monitor developments with regard to screening mechanisms in third countries.

(30)  Member States and the Commission should take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of confidential information in compliance with, in particular, Commission Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/443(8), Commission Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/444(9) and the Agreement between the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council, regarding the protection of classified information exchanged in the interests of the European Union(10). This includes, in particular, the obligation not to downgrade or declassify classified information without the prior written consent of the originator(11). Any non-classified sensitive information or information which is provided on a confidential basis should be handled as such by the authorities.

(31)  Any processing of personal data pursuant to this Regulation should comply with the applicable rules on the protection of personal data. Processing of personal data by the contact points and other entities within Member States should be carried out in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council(12). Processing of personal data by the Commission should be carried out in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council(13).

(32)  On the basis of, inter alia, the annual reports submitted by all Member States, and with due respect to the confidential nature of certain information included in those reports, the Commission should draw up an annual report on the implementation of this Regulation and submit it to the European Parliament and to the Council. For greater transparency, the report should be made public.

(33)  The European Parliament should have the possibility to invite the Commission to a meeting of its committee responsible to present and explain systemic issues related to the implementation of this Regulation.

(34)  ▌By … ( three years after the date of application of this Regulation) and every five years thereafter, the Commission should ▌evaluate the functioning and effectiveness of this Regulation and present a report to the European Parliament and to the Council. That report should include an assessment of whether or not this Regulation requires an amendment. Where the report proposes amending this Regulation, it may be accompanied by a legislative proposal.

(35)  The implementation of this Regulation by the Union and the Member States should comply with the relevant requirements for the imposition of restrictive measures ▌on grounds of security ▌and public order ▌in the WTO agreements, including, in particular, Article XIV (a) and Article XIV bis of the General Agreement on Trade in Services(14) (GATS)▌. It should also comply with Union law and be consistent with commitments made under other trade and investment agreements ▌ to which the Union or Member States are parties and trade and investment arrangements to which the Union or Member States are adherents.

(36)  When a foreign direct investment constitutes a concentration falling within the scope of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004(15), the application of this Regulation should be without prejudice to the application of Article 21(4) of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004. This Regulation and Article 21(4) of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 should be applied in a consistent manner. To the extent that the respective scope of application of those two regulations overlap, the grounds for screening set out in Article 1 of this Regulation and the notion of legitimate interests within the meaning of the third paragraph of Article 21(4) of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 should be interpreted in a coherent manner, without prejudice to the assessment of the compatibility of the national measures aimed at protecting those interests with the general principles and other provisions of Union law.

(37)  This Regulation does not affect Union rules for the prudential assessment of acquisitions of qualifying holdings in the financial sector, which is a distinct procedure with a specific objective(16).

(38)   This Regulation is consistent with and without prejudice to other notification and screening procedures set out in sectoral Union law,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Subject matter and scope

1.  This Regulation establishes a framework for the screening by Member States ▌of foreign direct investments into the Union on the grounds of security or public order ▌and for a mechanism for cooperation between Member States, and between Member States and the Commission, with regard to foreign direct investments likely to affect security or public order. It includes the possibility for the Commission to issue opinions on such investments.

2.  This Regulation is without prejudice to each Member State having sole responsibility for its national security, as provided for in Article 4(2) TEU, and to the right of each Member State to protect its essential security interests in accordance with Article 346 TFEU.

3.  Nothing in this Regulation shall limit the right of each Member State to decide whether or not to screen a particular foreign direct investment within the framework of this Regulation.

Article 2

Definitions

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

(1)  'foreign direct investment' means an investment of any kind by a foreign investor aiming to establish or to maintain lasting and direct links between the foreign investor and the entrepreneur to whom or the undertaking to which the capital is made available in order to carry on an economic activity in a Member State, including investments which enable effective participation in the management or control of a company carrying out an economic activity;

(2)  'foreign investor' means a natural person ▌ of a third country or an undertaking of a third country, intending to make or having made a foreign direct investment;

(3)  'screening' means a procedure allowing to assess, investigate, authorise, condition, prohibit or unwind foreign direct investments;

(4)  'screening mechanism' means an instrument of general application, such as a law or regulation, and accompanying administrative requirements, implementing rules or guidelines, setting out the terms, conditions and procedures to assess, investigate, authorise, condition, prohibit or unwind foreign direct investments on grounds of security or public order;

(5)   'foreign direct investment undergoing screening' means a foreign direct investment undergoing a formal assessment or investigation pursuant to a screening mechanism;

(6)  'screening decision' means a measure adopted in application of a screening mechanism;

(7)   'undertaking of a third country' means an undertaking constituted or otherwise organised under the laws of a third country.

Article 3

Screening mechanisms of Member States

1.  In accordance with this Regulation, Member States may maintain, amend or adopt mechanisms to screen foreign direct investments in their territory on the grounds of security or public order▌.

2.   Rules and procedures related to ▌screening mechanisms, including relevant timeframes, shall be transparent and not discriminate between third countries. In particular, Member States shall set out the circumstances triggering the screening, the grounds for screening and the applicable detailed procedural rules.

3.   Member States shall ▌apply timeframes ▌under their screening mechanisms. The screening mechanisms shall allow ▌Member States to take into account the comments of other Member States referred to in Article 6 and 7 ▌and the opinions of the Commission referred to in Articles 6, 7 and 8▌.

4.   ▌Confidential information, including commercially-sensitive information, made available to the Member State undertaking the screening ▌shall be protected.

5.   ▌Foreign investors and the undertakings concerned shall have the possibility to seek ▌recourse against screening decisions of the national authorities.

6.   Member States which have a screening mechanism in place shall maintain, amend or adopt measures necessary to identify and prevent circumvention of the screening mechanisms and screening decisions.

7.   ▌Member States shall notify the Commission of their existing screening mechanisms by … [30 days after the entry into force of this Regulation]. Member States shall notify the Commission of any newly adopted screening mechanism or any amendment to an existing screening mechanism within 30 days of the entry into force of the newly adopted screening mechanism or of any amendment to an existing screening mechanism.

8.  No later than three months after having received the notifications referred to in paragraph 7, the Commission shall make publicly available a list of Member States’ screening mechanisms. The Commission shall keep that list up to date.

Article 4

Factors that may be taken into consideration by Member States or the Commission

1.  In ▌determining whether a foreign direct investment is likely to affect ▌security or public order, Member States and the Commission may consider its potential effects on, inter alia:

(a)  critical infrastructure, whether physical or virtual, including energy, transport, water, health, communications, media, data processing or storage, aerospace, defence, electoral or financial infrastructure, and sensitive facilities, as well as land and real estate crucial for the use of such infrastructure;

(b)  critical technologies and dual use items as defined in point 1 of Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009(17), including artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, ▌cybersecurity, aerospace, defence, energy storage, quantum and nuclear technologies as well as nanotechnologies and biotechnologies;

(c)  supply of critical inputs, including energy or raw materials, as well as food security;

(d)  access to sensitive information, including personal data, or the ability to control ▌ such information; or

(e)  the freedom and pluralism of the media.

2.   In determining whether a foreign direct investment is likely to affect security or public order, Member States and the Commission may also take into account, in particular:

(a)  whether the foreign investor is directly or indirectly controlled by the government, including state bodies or armed forces, of a third country, including through ownership structure or significant funding;

(b)  whether the foreign investor has already been involved in activities affecting security or public order in a Member State; or

(c)  whether there is a serious risk that the foreign investor engages in illegal or criminal activities.

Article 5

Annual reporting

1.  By 31 March of each year, Member States ▌shall submit to the Commission an annual report covering the preceding calendar year, which shall include aggregated information on foreign direct ▌investments that took place in their territory, on the basis of information available to them, as well as aggregated information on the requests received from other Member States pursuant to Articles 6(6) and 7(5).

2.  For each reporting period, Member States that maintain screening mechanisms shall, in addition to the information referred to in paragraph 1, provide ▌aggregated information on the application of their screening mechanisms.

3.   The Commission shall provide an annual report on the implementation of this Regulation to the European Parliament and to the Council. That report shall be made public.

4.  The European Parliament may invite the Commission to a meeting of its committee responsible to present and explain systemic issues related to the implementation of this Regulation.

Article 6

Cooperation mechanism in relation to foreign direct investments undergoing screening

1.  Member States shall notify ▌the Commission and the other Member States of any foreign direct investment in their territory that is ▌undergoing screening ▌by providing the information referred to in Article 9(2) of this Regulation as soon as possible. The notification may include a list of Member States whose security or public order is deemed likely to be affected. As part of the ▌notification, and where applicable, the Member State▌ undertaking the screening shall endeavour to indicate whether it considers that the foreign direct investment undergoing screening is likely to fall within the scope of Regulation (EC) No 139/2004.

2.   Where a Member State considers that a foreign direct investment ▌undergoing screening in another Member State is likely to affect its security or public order, or has information relevant for such screening, it may provide comments to the Member State undertaking the screening. The Member State providing comments shall send those comments to the Commission simultaneously.

The Commission shall notify the other Member States that comments were provided.

3.  Where the Commission considers that a foreign direct investment undergoing screening is likely to affect security or public order in ▌more than one Member State, or has relevant information in relation to that foreign direct investment, it may issue an opinion addressed to the Member State undertaking the screening. The Commission may issue an opinion irrespective of whether other Member States have provided comments. The Commission may issue an opinion following comments from other Member States. The Commission shall issue such opinion where justified, after at least one third of Member States consider that a foreign direct investment is likely to affect their security or public order.

The Commission shall notify the other Member States that an opinion was issued.

4.  A Member State which duly considers that a foreign direct investment in its territory is likely to affect its security or public order may request the Commission to issue an opinion or other Member States to provide comments.

5.  The comments referred to in paragraph 2 and the opinions referred to in paragraph 3 shall be duly justified.

6.  No later than 15 calendar days following the receipt of the information referred to in paragraph 1, other Member States and the Commission shall notify the Member State undertaking the screening of their intention to provide comments pursuant to paragraph 2 or an opinion pursuant to paragraph 3. The notification may include a request for additional information to the information referred to in paragraph 1.

Any request for additional information shall be duly justified, limited to information necessary to provide comments pursuant to paragraph 2 or to issue an opinion pursuant to paragraph 3, proportionate to the purpose of the request and not unduly burdensome for the Member State undertaking the screening. Requests for information and replies provided by Member States shall be sent to the Commission simultaneously.

7.  Comments referred to in paragraph 2 or opinions referred to in paragraph 3 shall be addressed to the Member State undertaking the screening ▌and shall be sent to it within a reasonable period of time, and in any case no later than 35 calendar ▌days following receipt of the information referred to in paragraph 1▌.

Notwithstanding the first subparagraph, if additional information was requested pursuant to paragraph 6, such comments or opinions shall be issued no later than 20 calendar days following receipt of the additional information or the notification pursuant to Article 9(5).

Notwithstanding paragraph 6, the Commission may issue an opinion following comments from other Member States where possible within the deadlines referred to in this paragraph, and in any case no later than five calendar days after those deadlines have expired.

8.  In the exceptional case where the Member State undertaking the screening considers that its security or public order requires immediate action, it shall notify the other Member States and the Commission of its intention to issue a screening decision before the timeframes referred to in paragraph 7 and duly justify the need for immediate action. The other Member States and the Commission shall endeavour to provide comments or to issue an opinion expeditiously.

9.  The Member State▌ undertaking the screening ▌shall give due consideration to the comments of the other Member States referred to in paragraph 2 and to the opinion of the Commission referred to in paragraph 3. The final screening decision shall be taken by the Member State undertaking the screening.

10.  Cooperation ▌pursuant to this Article shall take place through the contact points established in accordance with Article ▌11.

Article 7

Cooperation mechanism in relation to foreign direct investments not undergoing screening

1.   Where a Member State considers that a foreign direct investment planned or completed in another Member State which is not undergoing screening in that Member State is likely to affect its security or public order, or has relevant information in relation to that foreign direct investment, it may provide comments to that other Member State. The Member State providing comments shall send those comments to the Commission simultaneously.

The Commission shall notify the other Member States that comments were provided.

2.   Where the Commission considers that a foreign direct investment planned or completed in a Member State which is not undergoing screening in that Member State is likely to affect security or public order in ▌more than one Member State, or has relevant information in relation to that foreign direct investment, it may issue an opinion addressed to the Member State in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed. The Commission may issue an opinion irrespective of whether other Member States have provided comments. The Commission may issue an opinion following comments from other Member States. The Commission shall issue such opinion where justified, after at least one third of Member States consider that a foreign direct investment is likely to affect their security or public order.

The Commission shall notify the other Member States that an opinion was issued.

3.  A Member State which duly considers that a foreign direct investment in its territory is likely to affect its security or public order may request the Commission to issue an opinion, or other Member States to provide comments.

4.   The ▌comments referred to in paragraph 1 and the opinions referred to in paragraph 2 shall be duly justified.

5.  Where ▌ a Member State ▌ or the Commission considers ▌that a foreign direct investment which is not undergoing screening ▌is likely to affect ▌security or public order as referred to in paragraph 1 or 2, it may request from the Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed ▌the information referred to in Article 9.

Any request for information shall be duly justified, limited to information necessary to provide comments ▌pursuant to ▌paragraph 1, or to issue an opinion pursuant to ▌paragraph 2, proportionate to the purpose of the request and not unduly burdensome for the Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed.

Requests for information and replies provided by Member States shall be sent to the Commissionsimultaneously.

6.   Comments pursuant to paragraph 1 ▌or opinions pursuant to paragraph 2 ▌shall be addressed to the Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed and shall be sent to it within a reasonable period of time, and in any case no later than 35 calendar days following receipt of the information referred to in paragraph ▌5 or of the notification pursuant to Article 9(5). In cases where the opinion of the Commission follows comments from other Member States, the Commission shall have 15▌ additional ▌calendar days for issuing ▌that opinion. ▌

7.   A Member State▌ where a foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed shall give due consideration to the comments of the other Member States ▌and to the opinion of the Commission ▌.

8.  Member States may provide comments pursuant to paragraph 1 and the Commission may provide an opinion pursuant to paragraph 2 no later than 15 months after the foreign direct investment has been completed.

9.  Cooperation ▌pursuant to this Article shall take place through the contact points established in accordance with Article 11.

10.  This Article shall not apply to foreign direct investments completed before … [date of entry into force of this Regulation].

Article 8

Foreign direct investments likely to affect projects or programmes of Union interest

1.  Where the Commission considers that a foreign direct investment is likely to affect projects or programmes of Union interest on grounds of security or public order, the Commission may issue an opinion addressed to the Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed.

2.   The procedures set out in Articles 6 and 7 shall apply mutatis mutandis, subject to the following modifications:

(a)  as part of the notification referred to in Article 6(1) or the comments referred to in Articles 6(2) and 7(1), a Member State may indicate whether it considers that a foreign direct investment is likely to affect projects and programmes of Union interest;

(b)  ▌the opinion of the Commission shall be sent to the other Member States;

(c)  ▌the Member State▌ where the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed ▌shall take utmost account of the Commission's opinion and provide an explanation to the Commission if its opinion is not followed.

3.  For the purpose of this Article, ▌projects or programmes of Union interest shall include ▌those projects and programmes which involve a substantial amount or a significant share of Union funding, or which are covered by Union law regarding critical infrastructure, critical technologies or critical inputs which are essential for security or public order. The ▌list of projects or programmes of Union interest is set out in the Annex▌.

4.  The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 to amend the list of projects and programmes of Union interest.

Article 9

Information requirements

1.  Member States shall ensure that the information notified pursuant to Article 6(1) or requested by the Commission and other Member States pursuant to Articles 6(6) and 7(5)▌ is made available to the Commission and the requesting Member States without undue delay.

2.  The information referred to in paragraph 1 shall include▌:

(a)  ▌the ownership structure of the foreign investor and of the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed, including information on the ultimate investor and participation in the capital▌;

(b)  ▌the approximate value of the foreign direct investment;

(c)  ▌the products, services and business operations of the foreign investor and of the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed;

(d)  ▌the Member States in which the foreign investor and the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed conduct relevant business operations;

(e)  ▌the funding of the investment and its source, on the basis of the best information available to the Member State▌;

(f)  ▌the date when the foreign direct investment is planned to be completed or has been completed.

3.  Member States shall endeavour to provide any information additional to that referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, if available, to requesting Member States and to the Commission without undue delay.

4.  The Member State where the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed may request the foreign investor or the undertaking in which the foreign direct investment is planned or has been completed to provide the information referred to in paragraph 2. The foreign investor or the undertaking concerned shall provide the information requested without undue delay.

5.  A Member State shall notify the Commission and the other Member States concerned without delay, if, in exceptional circumstances, it is unable, despite its best efforts, to obtain the information referred to in paragraph 1. In the notification, that Member State shall duly justify the reasons for not providing such information and explain the best efforts undertaken to obtain the information requested, including a request pursuant to paragraph 4.

If no information is provided, any comment issued by another Member State or any opinion issued by the Commission may be based on the information available to them.

Article 10

Confidentiality of information transmitted

1.  Information received as a result of the application of this Regulation shall be used only for the purpose for which it was requested.

2.  Member States and the Commission shall ensure the protection of confidential information acquired in application of this Regulation in accordance with Union and the respective national law.

3.  Member States and the Commission shall ensure that classified information provided or exchanged under this Regulation is not downgraded or declassified without the prior written consent of the originator.

Article 11

Contact points

1.  Each Member State and the Commission shall establish a ▌contact point ▌for the implementation of this Regulation. ▌Member States and the Commission shall involve those ▌contact points on all issues relating to the implementation of this Regulation.

2.  A secure and encrypted system shall be provided by the Commission to support direct cooperation and exchange of information between the contact points.

Article 12

Group of experts on the screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union

The group of experts on the screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union providing advice and expertise to the Commission shall continue to discuss issues relating to the screening of foreign direct investments, share best practices and lessons learned, and exchange views on trends and issues of common concern relating to foreign direct investments. The Commission shall also consider seeking the advice of that group on systemic issues relating to the implementation of this Regulation.

The discussions in that group shall be kept confidential.

Article 13

International Cooperation

Member States and the Commission may cooperate with the responsible authorities of third countries on issues relating to the screening of foreign direct investments on grounds of security and public order.

Article 14

Processing of personal data

1.  Any processing of personal data pursuant to this Regulation shall be carried out in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 and only in so far as it is necessary for the screening of foreign direct investments by Member States and for ensuring the effectiveness of the cooperation provided for in this Regulation.

2.  Personal data related to the implementation of this Regulation shall be kept only for the time necessary to achieve the purposes for which they were collected.

Article 15

Evaluation

1.  By … [three years after the date of application of this Regulation] and every five years thereafter, the Commission shall evaluate the functioning and effectiveness of this Regulation and present a report to the European Parliament and to the Council▌. Member States shall be involved in this exercise and if necessary ▌provide the Commission with ▌additional information for the preparation of that report.

2.  Where the report recommends amendments to this Regulation, it ▌may be accompanied by an appropriate legislative proposal.

Article 16

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 8(4) shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from … [the date of entry into force of this Regulation].

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 8(4) 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 8(4) 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.

Article 17

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 apply from … [18 months after entry into force of this Regulation].

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

List of projects or programmes of Union interest referred to in Article 8(3)

1.   European GNSS programmes (Galileo & EGNOS):

Regulation (EU) No 1285/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the implementation and exploitation of the European satellite navigation systems and repealing the Council Regulation (EC) No 876/2002 and Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 1).

2.   Copernicus:

Regulation (EU) No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the Copernicus Programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 (OJ L 122/44, 24.4.2014, p. 44).

3.   Horizon 2020:

Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 104), including actions therein relating to Key Enabling Technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors and cybersecurity.

4.   Trans-European Networks for Transport (TEN-T):

Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and repealing Decision No 661/2010/EU (OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 1).

5.   Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E):

Regulation (EU) No 347/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure and repealing Decision No 1364/2006/EC and amending Regulations (EC) No 713/2009, (EC) No 714/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 (OJ L 115, 25.4.2013, p. 39).

6.   Trans-European Networks for Telecommunications:

Regulation (EU) No 283/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 on guidelines for trans-European networks in the area of telecommunications infrastructure and repealing Decision No 1336/97/EC (OJ L 86, 21.3.2014, p. 14).

7.  European Defence Industrial Development Programme:

Regulation (EU) 2018/1092 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme aiming at supporting the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the Union's defence industry (OJ L 200, 7.8.2018, p. 30).

8.  Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO):

Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/340 of 6 March 2018 establishing the list of projects to be developed under PESCO (OJ L 65, 8.3.2018, p. 24).

__________

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

COMMISSION STATEMENT

Following the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission undertakes to:

–  share with the European Parliament the standardised forms which the European Commission will prepare to facilitate compliance of Member States with the annual reporting obligations under Article 5 of the Regulation once they are finalised, and

–  share with the European Parliament such standardised forms each year, in parallel to presenting the annual report to the European Parliament and to the Council, in accordance with Article 5(3) of the Regulation.

(1)OJ C 262, 25.7.2018, p. 94.
(2)OJ C 247, 13.7.2018, p. 28.
(3)OJ C 262, 25.7.2018, p. 94.
(4)OJ C 247, 13.7.2018, p. 28.
(5)Position of the European Parliament of 14. February 2019.
(6)OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1..
(7)Commission Decision of 29.11.2017 setting up the group of experts on the screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union (not published in the Official Journal), C(2017) 7866 final.
(8)Commission Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/443 of 13 March 2015 on security in the Commission (OJ L 72, 17.3.2015, p. 41).
(9)Commission Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/444 of 13 March 2015 on the security rules for protecting EU classified information (OJ L 72, 17.3.2015, p. 53).
(10)OJ C 202, 8.7.2011, p. 13.
(11)Point (a) of Article 4(1) of the Agreement between the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council, regarding the protection of classified information exchanged in the interests of the European Union and Article 4(2) of Decision (EU, Euratom) 2015/444.
(12)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) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
(13)Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).
(14)OJ L 336, 23.12.1994, p. 191.
(15)Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings (OJ L 24, 29.1.2004, p. 1).
(16)As introduced by Directive 2013/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on access to the activity of credit institutions and the prudential supervision of credit institutions and investment firms, amending Directive 2002/87/EC and repealing Directives 2006/48/EC and 2006/49/EC (OJ L 176 27.6.2013, p. 338); Directive 2009/138/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the taking-up and pursuit of the business of Insurance and Reinsurance (Solvency II) (OJ L 335, 17.12.2009, p. 1); Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on markets in financial instruments and amending Directive 2002/92/EC and Directive 2011/61/EU (OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 349).
(17)Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items (OJ L 134 29.5.2009, p. 1).


Interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union (recast) (COM(2017)0280 – C8-0173/2017 – 2017/0128(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0122A8-0199/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure – recast)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0280),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 91(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0173/2017),

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

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

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(2),

–  having regard to the letter of 24 July 2017 from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Transport and Tourism in accordance with Rule 104(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  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 28 November 2018 to approve Parliament's position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rules 104 and 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0199/2018),

A.  whereas, according to the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the Commission proposal does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such in the proposal, and whereas, as regards the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance;

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out, taking into account the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission;

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 14 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union (recast)

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0128


(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 91(1) 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),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(4),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(5),

Whereas:

(1)  Directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(6) has been substantially amended. Since further amendments are to be made, that Directive should be recast in the interests of clarity.

(2)  It is desirable to achieve widespread deployment of electronic road toll systems in the Member States and in the neighbouring countries, and to have, as far as possible, reliable, user friendly, and cost-efficient systems suited to the future development of road-charging policy at Union level and to future technical developments. Therefore, it is necessary to make electronic road toll systems interoperable to reduce the cost of, and the burdens linked to, the payment of tolls across the Union.

(3)  Interoperable electronic road toll systems contribute to achieving the objectives laid down by Union law on road tolls.

(4)  The lack of interoperability is a significant problem in electronic road toll systems where the road fee due is linked to the distance covered by the vehicle (distance-based tolls) or to the vehicle passing a specific point (for example, cordon pricing). The provisions regarding the interoperability of electronic road toll systems should therefore apply only to those systems and should not apply to systems where the road fee due is linked to the time spent by the vehicle on the tolled infrastructure (for example, time-based systems such as vignettes).

(5)  Cross-border enforcement of the obligation to pay road fees in the Union is a significant problem in all kind of systems, whether distance-based, cordon-based or time-based, electronic or manual. To deal with the problem of cross-border enforcement following a failure to pay a road fee, the provisions regarding the cross-border exchange of information should therefore apply to all those systems.

(6)  In national law, the offence of failing to pay a road fee can be classified as an administrative offence or as a criminal offence. This Directive should apply regardless of the classification of the offence.

(7)  Due to the lack of consistent classification across the Union, and their indirect link to the use of the infrastructure, parking fees should be left outside the scope of this Directive.

(8)  The interoperability of electronic road toll systems requires harmonisation of the technology used and of the interfaces between interoperability constituents.

(9)  The harmonisation of technologies and interfaces should be supported by the development and maintenance of appropriate open and public standards, available on a non-discriminatory basis to all system suppliers.

(10)  For the purpose of covering, with their on-board equipment (OBE), the required communication technologies, European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) providers should be allowed to make use of, and link to, other hardware and software systems already present in the vehicle, such as satellite navigation systems or handheld devices.

(11)  The specific characteristics of electronic road toll systems which are currently applied to light-duty vehicles should be taken into account. Since no such electronic road toll systems currently use satellite positioning or mobile communications, EETS providers should be allowed, for a limited period of time, to provide users of light-duty vehicles with OBE suitable for use with 5,8 GHz microwave technology only. This derogation should be without prejudice to the right of Member States to implement satellite-based tolling for light-duty vehicles.

(12)  Toll systems based on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology require more manual checks of toll transactions in the back office than systems using OBE. Systems using OBE are more efficient for large electronic toll domains, and systems using ANPR technology are more suitable for small domains, such as city tolls, where the use of OBE would generate disproportionate costs or administrative burdens. ANPR technology can be useful in particular when combined with other technologies.

(13)  In view of technical developments connected with solutions based on ANPR technology, the standardisation bodies should be encouraged to define the necessary technical standards.

(14)  The specific rights and obligations of EETS providers should apply to entities which prove that they have fulfilled certain requirements and have obtained registration as EETS providers in their Member State of establishment.

(15)  The rights and obligations of the main EETS actors, that is to say, the EETS providers, toll chargers and EETS users, should be clearly defined to ensure that the market functions in a fair and efficient manner.

(16)  It is particularly important to safeguard certain rights of the EETS providers, such as the right to the protection of commercially sensitive data, and to do so without negatively impacting the quality of the services provided to the toll chargers and EETS users. In particular, the toll charger should be required not to disclose commercially sensitive data to any of the EETS provider's competitors. The amount and type of data which EETS providers communicate to toll chargers, for the purpose of calculating and applying tolls or of verifying the calculation of applied toll on the vehicles of EETS users by the EETS providers, should be kept to a strict minimum.

(17)  EETS providers should be required to fully cooperate with toll chargers in their enforcement efforts, so as to increase the overall efficiency of electronic road toll systems. Therefore, toll chargers should be allowed to request from the EETS provider, where a failure to pay a road fee is suspected, data relating to the vehicle and to the owner or holder of the vehicle who is the EETS provider's client, provided that those data are not used for any purpose other than enforcement.

(18)  In order to enable EETS providers to compete, in a non-discriminatory manner, for all clients in a given EETS domain, it is important that the possibility is given to them to become accredited to that domain sufficiently early so that they are able to offer services to the users as of the first day of operation of the toll system.

(19)  Toll chargers should give access to their EETS domain to EETS providers on a non-discriminatory basis.

(20)  To ensure transparency and non-discriminatory access to EETS domains for all EETS providers, toll chargers should publish all the necessary information relating to access rights in an EETS domain statement.

(21)  All OBE user rebates or discounts on tolls offered by a Member State or by a toll charger should be transparent, publicly announced and available under the same conditions to clients of EETS providers.

(22)  EETS providers should be entitled to fair remuneration, calculated based on a transparent, non-discriminatory and identical methodology.

(23)  Toll chargers should be allowed to deduct from the remuneration of EETS providers the appropriate costs incurred to provide, operate and maintain the EETS-specific elements of the electronic road toll system.

(24)  EETS providers should pay to the toll charger all tolls due by their clients. EETS providers should, however, not be liable for tolls that their clients have not paid, when the latter are equipped with an OBE that has been declared to the toll charger as invalidated.

(25)  Where a legal entity that is a toll service provider also plays other roles in an electronic road toll system, or has other activities not directly related to electronic toll collection, it should be required to keep accounting records which make a clear distinction possible between the costs and revenues related to the provision of toll services and the costs and revenues related to other activities, and to provide, upon request, information on those costs and revenues related to the provision of toll services to the relevant Conciliation Body or judicial body. Cross subsidies between the activities performed in the role of toll service provider and other activities should not be allowed.

(26)  Users should have the possibility to subscribe to EETS through any EETS provider, regardless of their nationality, Member State of residence or Member State of registration of the vehicle.

(27)  To avoid double payment and to give users legal certainty, the payment of a toll to an EETS provider should be considered as fulfilling the user's obligations towards the relevant toll charger.

(28)  The contractual relationships between toll chargers and EETS providers should ensure, inter alia, that tolls are paid correctly.

(29)  A mediation procedure should be established with a view to settling disputes between toll chargers and EETS providers during contractual negotiations and in their contractual relationships. National Conciliation Bodies should be consulted by toll chargers and EETS providers who are seeking a settlement of a dispute relating to the right to non-discriminatory access to EETS domains.

(30)  Conciliation Bodies should have the power to verify that the contractual conditions imposed on any EETS provider are non-discriminatory. In particular, they should have the power to verify that the remuneration offered by the toll charger to the EETS providers respects the principles set out in this Directive.

(31)  The traffic data of EETS users constitutes input that is essential for enhancing transport policies of the Member States. Member States should therefore have the possibility to request such data from toll service providers, including EETS providers for the purpose of designing traffic policies and enhancing traffic management or for other non-commercial use by the State, in compliance with applicable data protection rules.

(32)  A framework is needed that lays down the procedures for accrediting EETS providers to an EETS domain and that ensures fair access to the market while safeguarding the adequate level of service. The EETS domain statement should set out in detail the procedure for accrediting an EETS provider to the EETS domain, and in particular the procedure for checking conformity to specifications and suitability for use of interoperability constituents. The procedure should be the same for all EETS providers.

(33)  To ensure easy access to information by EETS market actors, Member States should be required to compile and publish all important data regarding EETS in publicly available national registers.

(34)  To allow for technological progress, it is important that toll chargers have the possibility to test new tolling technologies or concepts. Such tests should however be limited, and EETS providers should not be required to take part in them. The Commission should have the possibility of not authorising such tests if they could prejudice the correct functioning of the regular electronic road toll system or of the EETS.

(35)  Large differences in technical specifications of electronic road toll systems might hamper the achievement of EU-wide interoperability of electronic tolls, and thus contribute to the persistence of the current situation where users need several pieces of OBE to pay tolls in the Union. This situation is detrimental to the efficiency of transport operations, to the cost-efficiency of toll systems, and to the achievement of transport policy objectives. The issues underlying this situation should therefore be addressed.

(36)  While cross-border interoperability is improving throughout the Union, the mid- to long-term objective is to make it possible to travel across the Union with only one piece of OBE. Therefore, in order to avoid administrative burdens and costs for road users, it is important that the Commission set up a roadmap to achieve this objective, and to facilitate the free movement of people and goods in the Union, without negatively affecting competition on the market.

(37)  The EETS is a market-based service and therefore EETS providers should not be obliged to provide their services across the Union. However, in the interest of users, EETS providers should cover all EETS domains in any Member State in which they decide to provide their services. Furthermore, the Commission should assess whether the flexibility given to EETS providers leads to the exclusion from EETS of small or peripheral EETS domains, and, if it finds that it does, take action where necessary.

(38)  The EETS domain statement should describe in detail the framework commercial conditions for EETS providers' operations in the EETS domain in question. In particular, it should describe the methodology used for calculating the remuneration of EETS providers.

(39)  Where a new electronic road toll system is being launched or an existing system is being substantially modified, the toll charger should publish the new or updated EETS domain statements with sufficient notice to allow EETS providers to be accredited or re-accredited to the system at the latest one month before the day of its operational launch. The toll charger should design and follow the procedure for the accreditation or, respectively, re-accreditation of EETS providers in such a way that the procedure can be concluded at the latest one month before the operational launch of the new or substantially modified system. Toll chargers should respect their part of the planned procedure as defined in the EETS domain statement.

(40)  Toll chargers should not request or require from EETS providers any specific technical solutions which could jeopardise interoperability with other EETS domains and with the existing interoperability constituents of the EETS provider.

(41)  The EETS has the potential to considerably reduce the administrative costs and burdens of international road transport operators and drivers.

(42)  EETS providers should be allowed to issue invoices to EETS users. However, toll chargers should be allowed to request that invoices are sent on their behalf and in their name, since invoicing directly in the name of the EETS provider can, in certain EETS domains, have adverse administrative and tax implications.

(43)  Each Member State with at least two EETS domains should designate a contact office for EETS providers wishing to provide the EETS in its territory in order to facilitate their contacts with the toll chargers.

(44)  Electronic tolling and other services, such as cooperative ITS (C-ITS) applications use similar technologies and neighbouring frequency bands for short range vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. In the future, the potential for applying other emerging technologies to electronic tolling merits exploration, after a thorough assessment of the costs, benefits, technical barriers and possible solutions thereto. It is important that measures are implemented to protect existing investments in the 5,8 GHz microwave technology from the interference of other technologies.

(45)  Without prejudice to State aid and competition law, Member States should be allowed to develop measures to promote electronic toll collection and billing.

(46)  When standards relevant for the EETS are reviewed by the ▌ standardisation bodies, there should be appropriate transition arrangements to ensure the continuity of the EETS and the compatibility, with the toll systems, of interoperability constituents already in use at the moment of the revision of the standards.

(47)  The EETS should allow intermodality to develop, whilst pursuing compliance with the ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles.

(48)  Problems with identifying non-resident offenders to electronic road toll systems hamper further deployment of such systems and the wider application of the 'user pays' and 'polluter pays' principles on Union roads and therefore there is a need to find a way to identify such persons and to process their personal data.

(49)  For reasons of consistency and efficient use of resources, the system for exchanging information on those who fail to pay a road fee, and on their vehicles, should use the same tools as the system that is used for exchanging information on road-safety-related traffic offences provided for in Directive (EU) 2015/413 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7).

(50)  In certain Member States a failure to pay a road fee is established only once the obligation to pay the road fee has been notified to the user. Since this Directive does not harmonise national laws in this regard, Member States should have the possibility to apply this Directive to identify users and vehicles for the purpose of notification. However, such extended application should be allowed only if certain conditions are fulfilled.

(51)  Follow-up proceedings initiated after a failure to pay a road fee are not harmonised across the Union. Often, the identified road user is given the possibility of paying the road fee due, or a fixed substitute amount, directly to the entity responsible for levying the road fee, before any further administrative or criminal proceedings are initiated by Member State authorities. It is important that such efficient procedure to put an end to the failure to pay a road fee is available on similar terms to all road users. For this purpose, Member States should be allowed to provide the entity responsible for levying the road fee with the data necessary to identify the vehicle in respect of which there was a failure to pay a road fee and to identify its owner or holder, provided that proper protection of personal data is ensured. In this context, Member States should ensure that compliance with the payment order issued by the entity concerned puts an end to the failure to pay a road fee.

(52)  In certain Member States, the absence, or dysfunctioning, of OBE is regarded as a failure to pay a road fee where such fees can only be paid by using OBE.

(53)  Member States should ▌ provide the Commission with the information and data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the system for exchanging information on those who fail to pay a road fee. The Commission should ▌ assess the data and information obtained, and propose, if necessary, amendments to this Directive.

(54)  While analysing possible measures to further facilitate the cross-border enforcement of the obligation to pay road fees in the Union, the Commission should also assess in its report the need for mutual assistance between Member States.

(55)  The enforcement of the obligation to pay road fees, the identification of the vehicle and of the owner or holder of the vehicle for which a failure to pay a road fee was established and the collection of information on the user for the purpose of ensuring the compliance of the toll charger with its obligations to tax authorities all entail the processing of personal data. Such processing needs to be carried out in accordance with Union rules, as set out, inter alia, in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8), Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council(9) and Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(10). The right to protection of personal data is explicitly recognised by Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

(56)  This Directive does not affect the Member States' freedom to lay down rules governing road infrastructure charging and taxation matters.

(57)  In order ▌ to facilitate the cross-border exchange of information on the vehicles and owners or holders of vehicles for which there was a failure to pay road fees, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the amendment of Annex I to reflect changes in the Union law. The power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission also in respect of laying down the details for the classification of vehicles for the purposes of establishing the applicable tariff schemes, further defining the obligations of the EETS users regarding the provision of data to the EETS provider and the use and handling of the OBE, laying down the requirements for interoperability constituents regarding safety and health, reliability and availability, environment protection, technical compatibility, security and privacy and operation and management, laying down the general infrastructure requirements for interoperability constituents and laying down the minimum criteria of eligibility for notified bodies. 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(11). 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.

(58)  The implementation of this Directive requires uniform conditions for the application of technical and administrative specifications for the deployment, in the Member States, of procedures that involve EETS actors and the interfaces between them, so as to facilitate interoperability and ensure that national toll collection markets are governed by equivalent rules. In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Directive and to define those technical and administrative specifications, 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(12).

(59)  This Directive should be without prejudice to the obligations of the Member States relating to the time-limit for the transposition into national law of the Directive set out in Annex III, Part B.

(60)  This Directive respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, notably the protection of personal data.

(61)  The European Data Protection Supervisor was consulted in accordance with Article 28(2) of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council(13),

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject-matter and scope

1.  This Directive lays down the conditions necessary for the following purposes:

(a)  to ensure the interoperability of electronic road toll systems on the entire Union road network, urban and interurban motorways, major and minor roads, and various structures, such as tunnels or bridges, and ferries; and

(b)  to facilitate the cross-border exchange of vehicle registration data regarding the vehicles and the owners or holders of vehicles for which there was a failure to pay road fees of any kind in the Union.

In order to respect the principle of subsidiarity, this Directive shall apply without prejudice to the decisions taken by Member States to levy road fees on particular types of vehicles, and to determine the level of those fees and the purpose for which such fees are levied.

2.  Articles 3 to 22 do not apply to:

(a)  road toll systems ▌ which are not electronic within the meaning of point 10 of Article 2; and

(b)  small, strictly local road toll systems for which the costs of compliance with the requirements of Articles 3 to 22 would be disproportionate to the benefits.

3.   This Directive does not apply to parking fees.

4.  The objective of the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the Union shall be achieved by means of the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) which shall be complementary to the national electronic toll services of the Member States.

5.  Where the national law requires a notification to the user of the obligation to pay before a failure to pay a road fee can be established, Member States may also apply this Directive to identify the owner or the holder of the vehicle and the vehicle itself for notification purposes, only if all the following conditions are fulfilled:

(a)  there are no other means to identify the owner or holder of the vehicle; and

(b)  the notification to the owner or holder of the vehicle of the obligation to pay is a compulsory stage of the road fee payment procedure under national law.

6.  Where a Member State applies paragraph 5, it shall take the measures necessary to ensure that any follow-up proceedings in relation to the obligation to pay the road fee are pursued by public authorities. References to failure to pay a road fee in this Directive shall include cases covered by paragraph 5 if the Member State where the failure to pay takes place, applies that paragraph.

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)  '▌toll service▌' means the service that enables users to use a vehicle in one or more EETS domains under a single contract and, where necessary, with one piece of on-board equipment (OBE), and which includes:

(a)  where necessary, providing a customised OBE to users and maintaining its functionality;

(b)  guaranteeing that the toll charger is paid the toll due by the user;

(c)  providing to the user the means by which the payment is to be made or accepting an existing one;

(d)  collecting the toll from the user;

(e)  managing customer relations with the user; and

(f)  implementing and adhering to the security and privacy policies for the road toll systems;

(2)  'toll service provider' means a legal entity providing toll services on one or more EETS domains for one or more classes of vehicles;

(3)  'toll charger' means a public or private entity which levies tolls for the circulation of vehicles in an EETS domain;

(4)  'designated toll charger' means a public or private entity which has been appointed as the toll charger in a future EETS domain;

(5)  'European Electronic Toll Service (EETS)' means the toll service provided under a contract on one or more EETS domains by an EETS provider to an EETS user;

(6)  'EETS provider' means an entity which, under a separate contract, grants access to EETS to an EETS user, transfers the tolls to the relevant toll charger, and which is registered by its Member State of establishment;

(7)  'EETS user' means a natural or legal person who has a contract with an EETS provider in order to have access to the EETS;

(8)  'EETS domain' means a road, a road network, a structure, such as a bridge or a tunnel, or a ferry, where tolls are collected using an electronic road toll system;

(9)  'EETS compliant system' means the set of elements of an electronic road toll system which are specifically needed for the integration of EETS providers in the system and for the operation of EETS;

(10)  'electronic road toll system' means a toll collection system in which the obligation, for the user, to pay the toll is exclusively triggered by and linked to the automatic detection of the presence of the vehicle in a certain location through remote communication with OBE in the vehicle or automatic number plate recognition;

(11)  'on-board equipment (OBE)', means the complete set of hardware and software components to be used as part of the toll service which is installed or carried on board a vehicle in order to collect, store, process and remotely receive/transmit data, either as a separate device or embedded in the vehicle;

(12)  'main service provider' means a toll service provider with specific obligations, such as the obligation to sign contracts with all interested users, or specific rights, such as specific remuneration or a guaranteed long term contract, different from the rights and obligations of other service providers;

(13)  ‘interoperability constituent’ means any elementary component, group of components, subassembly or complete assembly of equipment incorporated or intended to be incorporated into EETS upon which the interoperability of the service depends directly or indirectly, including both tangible objects and intangible objects such as software;

(14)  ‘suitability for use’ means the ability of an interoperability constituent to achieve and maintain a specified performance when in service, integrated representatively into EETS in relation with a toll charger’s system;

(15)  ‘toll context data’ means the information defined by the responsible toll charger as necessary to establish the toll due for circulating a vehicle on a particular toll domain and conclude the toll transaction;

(16)  ‘toll declaration’ means a statement to a toll charger that confirms the presence of a vehicle in an EETS domain in a format agreed between the toll service provider and the toll charger;

(17)  ‘vehicle classification parameters’ means the vehicle related information in accordance with which tolls are calculated based on the toll context data;

(18)  'back office' means the central electronic system used by the toll charger, a group of toll chargers who have created an interoperability hub, or by the EETS provider to collect, process and send information in the framework of an electronic road toll system;

(19)  'substantially modified system' means an existing electronic road toll system that has undergone or undergoes a change which requires EETS providers to make modifications to the interoperability constituents that are in operation, such as reprogramming or adapting the interfaces of their back office, to such an extent that re-accreditation is required;

(20)  'accreditation' means the process defined and managed by the toll charger, which an EETS provider must undergo before it is authorised to provide the EETS in an EETS domain;

(21)  'toll' or ‘road fee' means the fee which must be paid by the road user for circulating on a given road, a road network, a structure, such as a bridge or a tunnel, or a ferry;

(22)  'failure to pay a road fee' means the offence consisting of the failure by a road user to pay a road fee in a Member State, ▌ defined by the relevant national provisions of that Member State;

(23)  ‘Member State of registration’ means the Member State where the vehicle ▌ which is subject to the payment of the road fee is registered;

(24)  ‘national contact point’ means a designated competent authority of a Member State for the cross-border exchange of vehicle registration data;

(25)  ‘automated search’ means an online access procedure for consulting the databases of one, more than one, or all of the Member States ▌;

(26)  ‘vehicle’ means a motor vehicle, or articulated vehicle combination intended or used for the carriage by road of passengers or goods ▌;

(27)  ‘holder of the vehicle’ means the person in whose name the vehicle is registered, as defined in the law of the Member State of registration;

(28)  'heavy-duty vehicle' means a vehicle ▌ having a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3,5 tonnes ▌;

(29)  'light-duty vehicle' means a vehicle having a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3,5 tonnes.

Article 3

Technological solutions

1.  All new electronic road toll systems which require the installation or use of OBE shall, for carrying out electronic toll transactions, use one or more of the following technologies ▌:

(a)  satellite positioning;

(b)  mobile communications;

(c)  5,8 GHz microwave technology.

Existing electronic road toll systems which require the installation or use of OBE and use other technologies shall comply with the requirements set out in the first subparagraph of this paragraph if substantial technological improvements are carried out.

2.  The Commission shall request the relevant standardisation bodies, ▌ in accordance with the procedure laid down by Directive (EU) 2015/1535 of the European Parliament and of the Council(14) to swiftly adopt standards applicable to electronic road toll systems with regard to the technologies listed in the first subparagraph of paragraph 1 and the ANPR technology, and to update them where necessary. The Commission shall request that the standardisation bodies ensure the continual compatibility of interoperability constituents.

3.  OBE which uses satellite positioning technology and is placed on the market after … [30 months after date of entry into force of this Directive] shall be compatible with the positioning services provided by the Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service ('EGNOS') systems ▌.

4.  Without prejudice to paragraph 6, EETS providers shall make available to EETS users OBE which is suitable for use, interoperable and capable of communicating with the relevant electronic road toll systems in service in the Member States using the technologies listed in the first subparagraph of paragraph 1.

5.  The OBE may use its own hardware and software, use elements of other hardware and software present in the vehicle, or both. For the purpose of communicating with other hardware systems present in the vehicle, the OBE may use technologies other than those listed in the first subparagraph of paragraph 1, provided that security, quality of service and privacy are ensured.

EETS OBE is allowed to facilitate services other than tolling, provided that the operation of such services does not interfere with the toll services in any EETS domain.

6.  Without prejudice to the right of Member States to introduce electronic road toll systems for light-duty vehicles based on satellite positioning or mobile communications, EETS providers may until 31 December 2027 provide users of light-duty vehicles with OBE suitable for use with 5,8 GHz microwave technology only, to be used in EETS domains which do not require satellite positioning or mobile communications technologies.

CHAPTER II

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EETS

Article 4

Registration of EETS providers

Each Member State shall establish a procedure for registering EETS providers. It shall grant the registration to entities which are established on its territory, which request registration and which can demonstrate that they fulfil the following requirements:

(a)  hold EN ISO 9001 certification or equivalent;

(b)  have the technical equipment and the EC declaration or certificate attesting the conformity of the interoperability constituents to specifications;

(c)  have competence in the provision of electronic toll services or in other relevant domains;

(d)  have appropriate financial standing;

(e)  maintain a global risk management plan, which is audited at least every two years; and

(f)  are of good repute.

Article 5

Rights and obligations of EETS providers

1.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers whom they have registered conclude EETS contracts covering all EETS domains on the territories of at least four Member States within the 36 months following their registration in accordance with Article 4. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that that those EETS providers conclude contracts covering all EETS domains in a given Member State within the 24 months following the conclusion of the first contract in that Member State, except for those EETS domains in which the responsible toll chargers do not comply with Article 6(3).

2.   Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers whom they have registered maintain at all times the coverage of all EETS domains once they have concluded contracts therefor. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, where an EETS provider is not able to maintain coverage of an EETS domain because the toll charger does not comply with this Directive, it re-establishes the coverage of the concerned domain as soon as possible.

3.   Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers whom they have registered publish information on their EETS domains coverage and any changes thereto, as well as, within one month of registration, detailed plans regarding any extension of their service to further EETS domains, with annual updates.

4.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, where necessary, EETS providers whom they have registered, or who provide the EETS on their territory, provide EETS users with OBE which fulfils the requirements set out in this Directive, as well as in Directives 2014/53/EU(15) and 2014/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(16). They may request from concerned EETS providers evidence that those requirements are fulfilled.

5.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers who provide the EETS on their territory keep lists of invalidated OBE related to their EETS contracts with the EETS users. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that such lists are maintained in strict compliance with the Union rules on the protection of personal data as set out, inter alia, in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and Directive 2002/58/EC.

6.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers whom they registered make public their contracting policy towards EETS users.

7.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers who provide the EETS on their territory provide toll chargers with the information they need to calculate and apply the toll on the vehicles of EETS users or provide toll chargers with all information necessary to allow them to verify the calculation of applied toll on the vehicles of EETS users by the EETS providers.

8.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers who provide the EETS on their territory cooperate with toll chargers in their efforts to identify suspected offenders. Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, where a failure to pay a road fee is suspected, the toll charger is able to obtain, from the EETS provider, the data relating to the vehicle involved in the suspected failure to pay a road fee and to the owner or holder of that vehicle who is a client of the EETS provider. Such data shall be made available instantly by the EETS provider.

Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the toll charger does not disclose such data to any other toll service provider. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, where the toll charger is integrated with a toll service provider in one entity, the data are used for the sole purpose of identifying suspected offenders, or in accordance with Article 27(3).

9.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that a toll charger responsible for an EETS domain on their territory is able to obtain, from an EETS provider, data relating to all vehicles owned or held by clients of the EETS provider, which have, in a given period of time, driven on the EETS domain for which the toll charger is responsible, as well as data relating to the owners or holders of these vehicles, provided that the toll charger needs this data to comply with its obligations to tax authorities. Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the EETS provider provides the requested data no later than two days after receiving the request. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the toll charger does not disclose such data to any other toll service provider. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, where the toll charger is integrated with a toll service provider in one entity, the data are used for the sole purpose of compliance by the toll charger with its obligations to tax authorities.

10.  The data provided by EETS providers to toll chargers shall be processed in compliance with Union rules on the protection of personal data as set out in Regulation (EU) 2016/679, as well as with the national laws, regulations or administrative provisions transposing Directives 2002/58/EC and (EU) 2016/680.

11.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to further define the obligations of the EETS providers regarding:

(a)  monitoring the performance of their service level, and cooperation with toll chargers in verification audits;

(b)  cooperation with toll chargers in the performance of toll chargers' systems' tests;

(c)  service and technical support to EETS users and personalisation of OBE;

(d)  the invoicing of EETS users;

(e)  the information which EETS providers must provide to toll chargers and which is referred to in paragraph 7; and

(f)  informing the EETS user of a detected toll non-declaration situation;

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 31(2).

Article 6

Rights and obligations of toll chargers

1.   Where an EETS domain does not comply with the technical and procedural EETS interoperability conditions provided for in this Directive, the Member State on whose territory the EETS domain lies shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the responsible toll charger assesses the problem with the stakeholders concerned and, if within its sphere of responsibilities, takes remedial actions with a view to ensuring EETS interoperability of the toll system. Where necessary, the Member State shall update the register referred to in Article 21(1) in respect of the information referred to in point (a) thereof.

2.  Each Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that any toll charger responsible for an EETS domain on the territory of that Member State develops and maintains an EETS domain statement setting out the general conditions for EETS providers for accessing their EETS domains, in accordance with the implementing acts referred to in paragraph 9.

Where a new electronic road toll system is created on the territory of a Member State, that Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the designated toll charger responsible for the system publishes the EETS domain statement with sufficient notice to allow for an accreditation of interested EETS providers at the latest one month before the operational launch of the new system, with due regard to the length of the process of assessment of conformity to specifications and of the suitability for use of interoperability constituents referred to in Article 15(1).

Where an electronic road toll system on the territory of a Member State is substantially modified, that Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the toll charger responsible for the system publishes the updated EETS domain statement with sufficient notice to allow already accredited EETS providers to adapt their interoperability constituents to the new requirements and to obtain re-accreditation at the latest one month before the operational launch of the modified system, giving due regard to the length of the process of assessment of the conformity to specifications and of the suitability for use of interoperability constituents referred to in Article 15(1).

3.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that toll chargers responsible for EETS domains on their territory accept on a non-discriminatory basis any EETS provider requesting to provide EETS on the said EETS domains.

Acceptance of an EETS provider in a EETS domain shall be subject to the provider's compliance with the obligations and general conditions set out in the EETS domain statement.

Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that toll chargers do not require EETS providers to use specific technical solutions, or processes, that hinder the interoperability of an EETS provider's interoperability constituents with electronic road toll systems in other EETS domains.

If a toll charger and an EETS provider cannot reach an agreement, the matter may be referred to the Conciliation Body responsible for the relevant toll domain.

4.  Each Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the contracts between the toll charger and the EETS provider, regarding the provision of EETS on the territory of that Member State, permit the invoice for the toll to be issued to the EETS user directly by the EETS provider.

The toll charger may require that the EETS provider invoices the user in the name and on behalf of the toll charger, and the EETS provider shall comply with that request.

5.  The toll charged by toll chargers to EETS users shall not exceed the corresponding national or local toll. This is without prejudice to the right of Member States to introduce rebates or discounts to promote the use of electronic toll payments. All OBE user rebates or discounts on tolls offered by a Member State or by a toll charger shall be transparent, publicly announced and available under the same conditions to clients of EETS providers.

6.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that toll chargers accept on their EETS domains any operational OBE from EETS providers with whom they have contractual relationships which have been certified in accordance with the procedure defined in the implementing acts referred to in Article 15(7) and which do not appear on a list of invalidated OBE referred to in Article 5(5).

7.  In the event of an EETS dysfunction attributable to the toll charger, the toll charger shall provide for a degraded mode of service enabling vehicles with the equipment referred to in paragraph 6 to circulate safely with a minimum of delay and without being suspected of a failure to pay a road fee.

8.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that toll chargers collaborate in a non-discriminatory way with EETS providers or manufacturers or notified bodies with a view to assessing the suitability for use of interoperability constituents on their EETS domains.

9.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the minimum content of the EETS domain statement, including:

(a)  the requirements for EETS providers;

(b)  the procedural conditions, including commercial conditions;

(c)  the procedure of accreditation of EETS providers; and

(d)  the toll context data.

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 31(2).

Article 7

Remuneration

1.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS providers are entitled to be remunerated by the toll charger.

2.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the methodology for defining the remuneration of the EETS providers is transparent, non-discriminatory and identical for all EETS providers accredited to a given EETS domain. They shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the methodology is published as part of the commercial conditions in the EETS domain statement.

3.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that in EETS domains with a main service provider, the methodology for calculating the remuneration of EETS providers follows the same structure as the remuneration of comparable services provided by the main service provider. The amount of remuneration of EETS providers may differ from the remuneration of the main service provider provided that it is justified by:

(a)  the cost of specific requirements and obligations of the main service provider and not of the EETS providers; and

(b)  the need to deduct, from the remuneration of EETS providers, the fixed charges imposed by the toll charger based on the costs, for the toll charger, of providing, operating and maintaining an EETS compliant system in its toll domain, including the costs of accreditation, where such costs are not included in the toll.

Article 8

Tolls

1.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that where, for the purpose of establishing the toll tariff applicable to a given vehicle, there is discrepancy between the vehicle classification used by the EETS provider and the toll charger, the toll charger’s classification prevails, unless an error can be demonstrated.

2.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the toll charger is entitled to require, from an EETS provider, payment for any substantiated toll declaration and any substantiated toll non-declaration relating to any EETS user account managed by that EETS provider.

3.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, where an EETS provider has sent to a toll charger a list of invalidated OBE referred to in Article 5(5), the EETS provider shall not be held liable for any further toll incurred through the use of such invalidated OBE. The number of entries in the list of invalidated OBE, the list’s format and its updating frequency shall be agreed between toll chargers and EETS providers.

4.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, in microwave-based toll systems, toll chargers communicate to EETS providers substantiated toll declarations for tolls incurred by their respective EETS users.

5.  The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 30, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the details for the classification of vehicles for the purposes of establishing the applicable tariff schemes, including any procedures necessary for establishing such schemes. The set of vehicle classification parameters to be supported by EETS shall not restrict the choice of tariff schemes by toll chargers. The Commission shall ensure sufficient flexibility to allow the set of classification parameters to be supported by EETS to evolve according to foreseeable future needs. Those acts shall be without prejudice to the definition, in Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(17), of the parameters according to which tolls shall vary.

Article 9

Accounting

Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that legal entities which provide toll services keep accounting records which make a clear distinction possible between the costs and revenues related to the provision of toll services and the costs and revenues related to other activities. The information on the costs and revenues related to the toll service provision shall be provided, upon request, to the relevant Conciliation Body or judicial body. Member States shall also take the measures necessary to ensure that cross subsidies between the activities performed in the role of toll service provider and other activities are not allowed.

Article 10

Rights and obligations of EETS users

1.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to allow EETS users to subscribe to EETS through any EETS provider, regardless of their nationality, Member State of residence or the Member State in which the vehicle is registered. When entering into a contract, EETS users shall be duly informed about valid means of payment and, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679, about the processing of their personal data and the rights stemming from applicable legislation on the protection of personal data.

2.  The payment of a toll by an EETS user to its EETS provider shall be deemed to fulfil the EETS user’s payment obligations to the relevant toll charger.

If two or more OBE are installed or carried on-board a vehicle, it is the responsibility of the EETS user to use or activate the relevant OBE for the specific EETS domain.

3.  The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 30, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to further define the obligations of the EETS users regarding:

(a)  the provision of data to the EETS provider; and

(b)  the use and handling of the OBE.

CHAPTER III

CONCILIATION BODY

Article 11

Establishment and functions

1.  Each Member State with at least one EETS domain shall designate or establish a Conciliation Body in order to facilitate mediation between toll chargers with an EETS domain located within its territory and EETS providers that have contracts or are in contractual negotiations with those toll chargers.

2.  The Conciliation Body shall be empowered, in particular, to verify that the contractual conditions imposed by a toll charger on EETS providers are non-discriminatory. It shall be empowered to verify that the EETS providers are remunerated in accordance with the principles provided for in Article 7.

3.  The Member States referred to in paragraph 1 shall take the measures necessary to ensure that their Conciliation Body is independent, in its organisation and legal structure, from the commercial interests of toll chargers and toll service providers.

Article 12

Mediation procedure

1.  Each Member State with at least one EETS domain shall lay down a mediation procedure in order to enable a toll charger or an EETS provider to request the relevant Conciliation Body to intervene in any dispute relating to their contractual relations or negotiations.

2.  The mediation procedure referred to in paragraph 1 shall require that the Conciliation Body states, within a period of one month following the receipt of a request for it to intervene, whether all documents necessary for the mediation are in its possession.

3.  The mediation procedure referred to in paragraph 1 shall require that the Conciliation Body issues its opinion on a dispute no later than six months after receipt of the request for it to intervene.

4.  In order to facilitate its tasks, Member States shall give the Conciliation Body the power to request relevant information from toll chargers, EETS providers and any third parties active in the provision of EETS within the Member State concerned.

5.  The Member States with at least one EETS domain and the Commission shall take the measures necessary to ensure the exchange of information between the Conciliation Bodies concerning their work, guiding principles and practices.

CHAPTER IV

TECHNICAL PROVISIONS

Article 13

Single continuous service

Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that EETS is provided to EETS users as a single continuous service.

This means that:

(a)  once the vehicle classification parameters, including the variable ones, have been stored or declared, or both, no further in-vehicle human intervention is required during a journey unless there is a modification to the vehicle's characteristics; and

(b)  human interaction with a particular piece of OBE stays the same whatever the EETS domain.

Article 14

Additional elements regarding EETS

1.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the interaction of EETS users with toll chargers as part of EETS is limited, where applicable, to the invoicing process in accordance with Article 6(4) and to enforcement processes. Interactions between EETS users and EETS providers, or their OBE, may be specific to each EETS provider, without compromising EETS interoperability.

2.  Member States may require that toll service providers, including EETS providers, at the request of the Member States authorities, provide traffic data in respect of their clients, subject to compliance with the applicable data protection rules. Such data shall only be used by the Member States for the purpose of traffic policies and enhancing traffic management and the data shall not be used to identify the clients.

3.  The Commission shall adopt, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], implementing acts laying down the specifications of electronic interfaces between the interoperability constituents of toll chargers, EETS providers and EETS users, including, where applicable, the content of the messages exchanged between the actors through those interfaces. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 31(2).

Article 15

Interoperability constituents

1.  Where a new electronic road toll system is created on the territory of a Member State, that Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the designated toll charger responsible for the system establishes and publishes in the EETS domain statement the detailed planning of the process of assessment of conformity to specifications and of the suitability for use of interoperability constituents, which allows for the accreditation of interested EETS providers at the latest one month before the operational launch of the new system.

Where an electronic road toll system on the territory of a Member State is substantially modified, that Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the toll charger responsible for the system establishes and publishes in the EETS domain statement, in addition to the elements referred to in the first subparagraph, the detailed planning of the re-assessment of conformity to specifications and of the suitability for use of the interoperability constituents of EETS providers already accredited to the system before its substantial modification. The planning shall allow for the re-accreditation of concerned EETS providers at the latest one month before the operational launch of the modified system.

The toll charger shall respect that planning.

2.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that each toll charger responsible for an EETS domain on the territory of that Member States sets up a test environment in which the EETS provider or its authorised representatives can check that its OBE is suitable for use in the toll charger's EETS domain and obtain certification of the successful completion of the respective tests. Member States shall take the measures necessary to allow toll chargers to set up a single test environment for more than one EETS domain, and to allow one authorised representative to check the suitability for use of one type of OBE on behalf of more than one EETS provider.

Member States shall take the measures necessary to allow toll chargers to require EETS providers or their authorised representatives to cover the cost of the respective tests.

3.  Member States shall not prohibit, restrict or hinder the placing on the market of interoperability constituents for use in EETS where they bear the CE marking or either a declaration of conformity to specifications or a declaration of suitability for use, or both. In particular, Member States shall not require checks which have already been carried out as part of the procedure for checking conformity to specifications or suitability for use, or both.

4.  The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 30, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the requirements for interoperability constituents regarding safety and health, reliability and availability, environment protection, technical compatibility, security and privacy and operation and management.

5.  The Commission shall also adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 30, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the general infrastructure requirements regarding:

(a)  the accuracy of toll declaration data with a view to guaranteeing equality of treatment between EETS users in respect of tolls and charges;

(b)  the identification, through the OBE, of the responsible EETS provider;

(c)  the use of open standards for the interoperability constituents of the EETS equipment;

(d)  the integration of the OBE in the vehicle; and

(e)  the signalisation, to the driver, of the requirement to pay a road fee.

6.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the following specific infrastructure requirements:

(a)  requirements on common communication protocols between toll chargers and EETS providers equipment;

(b)  requirements on mechanisms for toll chargers to detect whether a vehicle circulating on their EETS domain is equipped with a valid and functioning OBE;

(c)  requirements on the human-machine interface in the OBE;

(d)  requirements applying specifically to interoperability constituents in microwave technologies-based toll systems; and

(e)  requirements applying specifically in Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based toll systems.

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 31(2).

7.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the procedure to be applied by the Member States for assessing the conformity to specifications and suitability for use of interoperability constituents, including the content and format of the EC declarations. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 31(2).

CHAPTER V

SAFEGUARD CLAUSES

Article 16

Safeguard procedure

1.  Where a Member State has reason to believe that interoperability constituents bearing a CE marking and placed on the market are unlikely, when used as intended, to meet the relevant requirements, it shall take all necessary steps to restrict their field of application, prohibit their use or withdraw them from the market. The Member State shall immediately inform the Commission of the measures taken and give the reasons for its decision, stating in particular whether failure to conform is due to:

(a)  incorrect application of technical specifications; or

(b)  inadequacy of technical specifications.

2.  The Commission shall consult the concerned Member State, manufacturer, EETS provider or their authorised representatives established within the Union as quickly as possible. Where, following that consultation, the Commission establishes that the measure is justified, it shall immediately inform the Member State concerned as well as the other Member States. However, where, following that consultation, the Commission establishes that the measure is unjustified, it shall immediately inform the Member State concerned, as well as the manufacturer or its authorised representative established within the Union and the other Member States.

3.  Where interoperability constituents bearing the CE marking fail to comply with interoperability requirements, the competent Member State shall require the manufacturer or its authorised representative established in the Union to restore the interoperability constituent to a state of conformity to specifications or suitability for use, or both, under the conditions laid down by that Member State and shall inform the Commission and the other Member States thereof.

Article 17

Transparency of assessments

Any decision taken by a Member State or a toll charger concerning the assessment of conformity to specifications or suitability for use of interoperability constituents and any decision taken pursuant to Article 16 shall set out in detail the reasons on which it is based. It shall be notified as soon as possible to the concerned manufacturer, EETS provider or their authorised representatives, together with an indication of the remedies available under the laws in force in the Member State concerned and of the time limits allowed for the exercise of such remedies.

CHAPTER VI

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

Article 18

Single contact office

Each Member State with at least two EETS domains on its territory shall designate a single contact office for EETS providers. The Member State shall make public the contact details of that office, and provide them, upon request, to interested EETS providers. The Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, upon request of the EETS provider, the contact office facilitates and coordinates early administrative contacts between the EETS provider and the toll chargers responsible for the EETS domains on the territory of the Member State. The contact office may be a natural person or a public or a private body.

Article 19

Notified bodies

1.  Member States shall notify to the Commission and the other Member States any bodies entitled to carry out or supervise the procedure for the assessment of conformity to specifications or suitability for use referred to in the implementing acts referred to in Article 15(7), indicating each body's area of competence, and the identification numbers obtained in advance from the Commission. The Commission shall publish in the Official Journal of the European Union the list of bodies, their identification numbers and areas of competence, and shall keep the list updated.

2.  Member States shall apply the criteria provided for in the delegated acts referred to in paragraph 5 of this Article for the assessment of the bodies to be notified. Bodies meeting the assessment criteria provided for in the relevant European standards shall be deemed to meet the said criteria.

3.  A Member State shall withdraw approval from a body which no longer meets the criteria provided for in the delegated acts referred to in paragraph 5 of this Article. It shall immediately inform the Commission and the other Member States thereof.

4.  Where a Member State or the Commission considers that a body notified by another Member State does not meet the criteria provided for in the delegated acts referred to in paragraph 5 of this Article, the matter shall be referred to the Electronic Toll Committee referred to in Article 31(1), which shall deliver its opinion within three months. In the light of the opinion of that Committee, the Commission shall inform the Member State which notified the body in question of any changes that are necessary for the notified body to retain the status conferred upon it.

5.  The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 30, at the latest by ... [six months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], to lay down the minimum criteria of eligibility for notified bodies.

Article 20

Coordination Group

A Coordination Group of the bodies notified under Article 19(1) (the 'Coordination Group') shall be set up as a working group of the Electronic Toll Committee referred to in Article 31(1), in accordance with that Committee's Rules of Procedure.

Article 21

Registers

1.  For the purposes of the implementation of this Directive, each Member State shall keep a national electronic register of the following:

(a)  the EETS domains within their territory, including information relating to:

(i)  the corresponding toll chargers;

(ii)  the tolling technologies employed;

(iii)  the toll context data;

(iv)  the EETS domain statement; and

(v)  the EETS providers having EETS contracts with the toll chargers active in the territory of that Member State.

(b)  the EETS providers to whom it has granted registration in accordance with Article 4; and

(c)  the details of the single contact office referred to in Article 18 for EETS including a contact e-mail address and telephone number.

Unless otherwise specified, Member States shall verify at least once a year that the requirements set out in points (a), (d), (e) and (f) of Article 4 are still met, and shall update the register accordingly. The register shall also contain the conclusions of the audit provided for in point (e) of Article 4. A Member State shall not be held liable for the actions of the EETS providers mentioned in its register.

2.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that all the data contained in the national electronic register are kept up-to-date and are accurate.

3.  The registers shall be electronically accessible to the public.

4.  These registers shall be available as of ... [30 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive].

5.  At the end of each calendar year, the Member States authorities in charge of the registers shall communicate, to the Commission, by electronic means, the registers of EETS domains and EETS providers. The Commission shall make the information available to the other Member States. Any inconsistencies with the situation in a Member State shall be brought to the attention of the Member State of registration and of the Commission.

CHAPTER VII

PILOT SYSTEMS

Article 22

Pilot toll systems

1.  To allow for EETS technical development, Member States may temporarily authorise, on limited parts of their toll domain and in parallel with the EETS compliant system, pilot toll systems incorporating new technologies or concepts which do not comply with one or more provisions of this Directive.

2.  EETS providers shall not be required to participate in pilot toll systems.

3.  Before starting a pilot toll system, the Member State concerned shall request the authorisation of the Commission. The Commission shall issue the authorisation or refuse it, in the form of a Decision, within six months from the moment it received the request. The Commission may refuse the authorisation if the pilot toll system could prejudice the correct functioning of the regular electronic road toll system or of the EETS. The initial period of such authorisation shall not exceed three years.

CHAPTER VIII

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ON THE FAILURE TO PAY ROAD FEES

Article 23

Procedure for the exchange of information between Member States

1.  In order to allow the identification of the vehicle, and the owner or holder of that vehicle, for which a failure to pay a road fee has been established, each Member State shall grant access only to other Member States' national contact points to the following national vehicle registration data, with the power to conduct automated searches thereon:

(a)  data relating to vehicles; and

(b)  data relating to the owners or holders of the vehicle.

The data elements referred to in points (a) and (b) which are necessary in order to conduct an automated search shall comply with Annex I.

2.  For the purposes of the exchange of data referred to in paragraph 1, each Member State shall designate a national contact point. Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the exchange of information between Member States takes place only between the national contact points. The powers of the national contact points shall be governed by the applicable law of the Member State concerned. In that data exchange process, particular attention shall be paid to the proper protection of personal data.

3.  When conducting an automated search in the form of an outgoing request, the national contact point of the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee shall use a full registration number.

Those automated searches shall be conducted in compliance with the procedures referred to in points 2 and 3 of Chapter 3 of the Annex to Council Decision 2008/616/JHA(18) and with the requirements of Annex I to this Directive.

The Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee shall use the data obtained in order to establish who is liable for the failure to pay that fee.

4.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the exchange of information is carried out using the European Vehicle and Driving Licence Information System (Eucaris) software application and amended versions of this software, in compliance with Annex I to this Directive and with points 2 and 3 of Chapter 3 of the Annex to Decision 2008/616/JHA.

5.  Each Member State shall bear its own costs arising from the administration, use and maintenance of the software applications referred to in paragraph 4.

Article 24

Information letter on the failure to pay a road fee

1.  The Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee shall decide whether or not to initiate follow-up proceedings in relation to the failure to pay a road fee.

Where the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee decides to initiate such proceedings, that Member State shall, in accordance with its national law, inform the owner, the holder of the vehicle or the otherwise identified person suspected of failing to pay the road fee.

This information shall, as applicable under national law, include the legal consequences thereof within the territory of the Member State in which there was a failure to pay a road fee under the law of that Member State.

2.  When sending the information letter to the owner, the holder of the vehicle or to the otherwise identified person suspected of failing to pay the road fee, the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee shall, in accordance with its national law, include any relevant information, notably the nature of the failure to pay the road fee, the place, date and time of the failure to pay the road fee, the title of the texts of the national law infringed, the right to appeal and to have access to information, and the sanction and, where appropriate, data concerning the device used for detecting the failure to pay a road fee. For that purpose, the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee shall base the information letter on the template set out in Annex II.

3.  Where the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee decides to initiate follow-up proceedings in relation to the failure to pay a road fee, it shall, for the purpose of ensuring the respect of fundamental rights, send the information letter in the language of the registration document of the vehicle, if available, or in one of the official languages of the Member State of registration.

Article 25

Follow-up proceedings by the levying entities

1.  The Member State on whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee may provide to the entity responsible for levying the road fee the data obtained through the procedure referred to in Article 23(1) only if the following conditions are met:

(a)  the data transferred is limited to what is needed by that entity to obtain the road fee due;

(b)  the procedure for obtaining the road fee due complies with the procedure provided for in Article 24;

(c)  the entity concerned is responsible for carrying out this procedure; and

(d)  compliance with the payment order issued by the entity receiving the data puts an end to the failure to pay a road fee.

2.  Member States shall ensure that the data provided to the responsible entity are used solely for the purpose of obtaining the road fee due and is immediately deleted once the road fee is paid or, if the failure to pay persists, within a reasonable period after the transfer of the data, to be set by the Member State.

Article 26

Reporting by Member States to the Commission

Each Member State shall send a comprehensive report to the Commission by ... [four years after the date of entry into force of this Directive] and every three years thereafter.

The comprehensive report shall indicate the number of automated searches conducted by the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee addressed to the national contact point of the Member State of registration, following failures to pay road fees that occurred on its territory, together with ▌ the number of failed requests.

The comprehensive report shall also include a description of the situation at national level in relation to the follow-up concerning the failures to pay road fees, based on the proportion of such failures to pay road fees which have been followed up by information letters.

Article 27

Data protection

1.  Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the national laws, regulations or administrative provisions transposing Directives 2002/58/EC and (EU) 2016/680 shall apply to personal data processed under this Directive.

2.  Member States shall, in accordance with applicable data protection legislation, take the measures necessary, to ensure that ▌:

(a)  the processing of personal data for the purposes of Articles 23, 24 and 25 is limited to the types of data listed in Annex I to this Directive;

(b)  personal data are accurate, kept up-to date and requests for rectification or erasure are handled without undue delay; and

(c)  a time limit is established for the storage of personal data.

Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that ▌ personal data processed under this Directive are ▌ used only for the purposes of:

(a)  identification of suspected offenders in view of the obligation to pay road fees within the scope of Article 5(8);

(b)  ensuring the compliance of the toll charger as regards its obligations to tax authorities within the scope of Article 5(9); and

(c)  identification of the vehicle and the owner or holder of the vehicle for which a failure to pay a road fee has been established within the scope of Articles 23 and 24.

Member States shall also take the measures necessary to ensure that the data subjects have the same rights of information, access, rectification, erasure and restriction of processing, and to lodge a complaint with a data protection supervisory authority, compensation and an effective judicial remedy as provided for in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 or, where applicable, Directive (EU) 2016/680.

3.  This Article shall not affect the possibility of Member States to restrict the scope of the obligations and rights provided for in certain provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 in accordance with Article 23 of that Regulation for the purposes listed in the first paragraph of that Article.

4.  Any person concerned shall have the right to obtain, without undue delay, information on which personal data recorded in the Member State of registration were transmitted to the Member State in which there was a failure to pay a road fee, including the date of the request and the competent authority of the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee.

CHAPTER IX

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 28

Report

1.  By ... [four years after the date of entry into force of this Directive], the Commission shall present a report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the implementation and effects of this Directive, in particular as regards the advancement and deployment of the EETS and the effectiveness and efficiency of the mechanism for the exchange of data in the framework of the investigation of events of failure to pay road fees.

The report shall analyse in particular the following:

(a)  the effect of Article 5(1) and (2) on the deployment of EETS, with a particular focus on the availability of the service in small or peripheral EETS domains;

(b)   ▌ the effectiveness of Articles 23, 24 and 25 on the reduction in the number of failures to pay road fees in the Union; and

(c)  the progress made on interoperability aspects between electronic road toll systems using satellite positioning and 5,8 GHz microwave technology.

2.  The report shall be accompanied, if appropriate, by a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council for further revision of this Directive, regarding notably the following elements:

(a)  additional measures to ensure that the EETS is available in all EETS domains, including small and peripheral ones;

(b)   measures to further facilitate the cross-border enforcement of the obligation to pay road fees in the Union, including mutual assistance arrangements; and

(c)  the extension of the provisions facilitating cross-border enforcement to low emission zones, restricted access zones or other urban vehicle access regulation schemes.

Article 29

Delegated acts

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 30, updating Annex I to take into account any relevant amendments to be made to Council Decisions 2008/615/JHA(19) and 2008/616/JHA or where this is required by any other relevant legal acts of the Union.

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 8(5), Article 10(3), Article 15(4) and (5), Article 19(5) and Article 29 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of five years from ... [the date of entry into force of this Directive]. 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 8(5), Article 10(3), Article 15(4) and (5), Article 19(5) and Article 29 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 8(5), Article 10(3), Article 15(4) and (5), Article 19(5) and Article 29 shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

Article 31

Committee procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the Electronic Toll Committee.

That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  When reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply. Where the committee delivers no opinion, the Commission shall not adopt the draft implementing act and the third subparagraph of Article 5(4) of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

Article 32

Transposition

1.  Member States shall adopt and publish, by ... [30 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive], the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Articles 1 to 27 and Annexes I and II. ▌ They shall immediately communicate the text of those measures to the Commission.

They shall apply those measures from ... [30 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive].

When Member States adopt those measures, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or shall be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. They shall also include a statement that references in existing laws, regulations and administrative provisions to the Directive repealed by this Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made and how that statement is to be formulated.

2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 33

Repeal

Directive 2004/52/EC is repealed with effect from ... [the day after the date in the first subparagraph of Article 32(1)], without prejudice to the obligations of the Member States relating to the time‑limit for the transposition into national law of the Directive set out in Annex III, Part B.

References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table set out in Annex IV.

Article 34

Entry into force

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

Article 35

Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at ...,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX I

Data elements necessary to conduct the automated search referred to in Article 23(1)

Item

M/O(20)

Remarks

Data relating to the vehicle

M

 

Member State of registration

M

 

Registration number

M

(A(21))

Data relating to the failure to pay a road fee

M

 

Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee

M

 

Reference date of the occurrence

M

 

Reference time of the occurrence

M

 

Data elements provided as a result of the automated search conducted pursuant to Article 23(1)

Part I. Data relating to vehicles

Item

M/O(22)

Remarks

Registration number

M

 

Chassis number/VIN

M

 

Member State of registration

M

 

Make

M

(D.1(23)) e.g. Ford, Opel, Renault

Commercial type of the vehicle

M

(D.3) e.g. Focus, Astra, Megane

EU Category Code

M

(J)  e.g. mopeds, motorbikes, cars

EURO emissions class

M

e.g. Euro 4, EURO 6

Part II. Data relating to owners or holders of the vehicles

Item

M/O(24)

Remarks

Data relating to holders of the vehicle

 

(C.1(25))

The data refer to the holder of the specific registration certificate.

Registration holders' (company) name

M

(C.1.1)

Separate fields shall be used for surname, infixes, titles, etc., and the name in printable format shall be communicated.

First name

M

(C.1.2)

Separate fields for first name(s) and initials shall be used, and the name in printable format shall be communicated.

Address

M

(C.1.3)

Separate fields shall be used for street, house number and annex, post code, place of residence, country of residence, etc., and the address in printable format shall be communicated.

Gender

O

Male, female

Date of birth

M

 

Legal entity

M

Individual, association, company, firm, etc.

Place of Birth

O

 

ID Number

O

An identifier that uniquely identifies the person or the company.

Data relating to owners of the vehicle

 

(C.2) The data refer to the owner of the vehicle.

Owners' (company) name

M

(C.2.1)

First name

M

(C.2.2)

Address

M

(C.2.3)

Gender

O

Male, female

Date of birth

M

 

Legal entity

M

Individual, association, company, firm, etc.

Place of Birth

O

 

ID Number

O

An identifier that uniquely identifies the person or the company.

 

 

In case of scrap vehicles, stolen vehicles or number plates, or outdated vehicle registration no owner/holder information shall be provided. Instead, the message ‘Information not disclosed’ shall be returned.

ANNEX II

TEMPLATE FOR THE INFORMATION LETTER

referred to in Article 24

[Cover page]

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………................................................................................................................

[Name, address and telephone number of sender]

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………................................................................................................................

[Name and address of addressee]

INFORMATION LETTER

regarding the failure to pay a road fee occurred in

[name of the Member State in whose

territory there was a failure to pay a road

fee]

………………………………………………………………

Page 2

On a failure to pay a road fee ▌ with the vehicle with registration

[date]

number make model

was detected by

[name of the responsible body]

[Option 1](1)

You are registered as the holder of the registration certificate of the abovementioned vehicle.

[Option 2] (1)

The holder of the registration certificate of the abovementioned vehicle indicated that you were driving that vehicle when the failure to pay a road fee was committed.

The relevant details of the failure to pay a road fee are described on page 3 below.

The amount of the financial penalty due for the failure to pay a road fee is EUR/national currency.(1)

The amount of the road fee due to pay is EUR/national currency.(1)

Deadline for the payment is

You are advised to complete the attached reply form (page 4) and send it to the address shown, if you do not pay this financial penalty (1) / road fee (1).

This letter shall be processed in accordance with the national law of

[name of the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee].

Page 3

Relevant details concerning the failure to pay a road fee

(a)  Data concerning the vehicle which was used in the failure to pay a road fee:

Registration number: ………………………………………….

Member State of registration: ………………………………………….

Make and model: ………………………………………….

(b)  Data concerning the failure to pay a road fee:

Place, date and time where the failure to pay a road fee occurred:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Nature and legal classification of the failure to pay a road fee:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Detailed description of the failure to pay a road fee:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Reference to the relevant legal provision(s):

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Description of or reference to the evidence regarding the failure to pay a road fee:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(c)  Data concerning the device that was used for detecting the failure to pay a road fee (2):

Specification of the device:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Identification number of the device:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Expiry date for the last gauging:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(1)   Delete if not applicable.

(2)   Not applicable if no device has been used.

Page 4

Reply form

(please complete using block capitals)

A.  Identity of the driver:

— Full name:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

—  Place and date of birth:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

—  Number of driving licence: delivered (date): and at (place):………………………..

—  Address:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

B.  List of questions:

1.   Is the vehicle, make , registration number , registered in

your name? yes/no (1)

If not, the holder of the registration certificate is:

(name, first name, address)

2.   Do you acknowledge that you failed to pay a road fee? yes/no (1)

3.   If you do not acknowledge this, please explain why:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Please send the completed form within 60 days from the date of this information letter to the following authority or entity:

at the following address

INFORMATION

(Where the information letter is sent by the entity responsible for levying the road fee pursuant to Article 25:

If the road fee due is not paid within the deadline set out in this information letter, this case will be forwarded to and examined by the competent authority of ……… [name of the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee].

If this case is not pursued, you will be informed within 60 days after receipt of the reply form or the proof of payment. (1)

/

(Where the information letter is sent by the competent authority of the Member State):

This case will be examined by the competent authority of

[name of the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee].

If this case is not pursued, you will be informed within 60 days after receipt of the reply form or the proof of payment.(1)

(1)  Delete if not applicable.

If this case is pursued, the following procedure applies:

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

[to be filled in by the Member State in whose territory there was a failure to pay a road fee — what the further procedure will be, Including details of the possibility and procedure of appeal against the decision to pursue the case. These details shall In any event include: name and address of the authority or entity in charge of pursuing the case; deadline for payment; name and address of the body of appeal concerned; deadline for appeal].

This letter as such does not lead to legal consequences.

Data protection disclaimer

[Where Regulation (EU) 2016/679 is applicable:

In accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679, you have the right to request access to, and rectification or erasure of, personal data or restriction of processing of your personal data or to object to the processing, as well as the right to data portability. You also have the right to lodge a complaint with [name and address of the relevant supervisory authority].

[Where Directive (EU) 2016/680 is applicable:

In accordance with [name of the national law applying Directive (EU) 2016/680], you have the right to request from the controller access to and rectification or erasure of personal data and restriction of processing of your personal data. You also have the right to lodge a complaint with [name and address of the relevant supervisory authority].]

_____________

ANNEX III

Part A

Repealed Directive with the amendment thereto

(referred to in Article 33)

Directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council

OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 124

Regulation (EC) No 219/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council

OJ L 87, 31.3.2009, p. 109

Part B

Time-limit for transposition into national law

(referred to in Article 33)

Directive

Time-limit for transposition

Directive 2004/52/EC

20 November 2005

_____________

ANNEX IV

Correlation Table

Directive 2004/52/EC

This Directive

Article 1(1)

Article 1(1), first subparagraph (a)

Article 1(1), first subparagraph (b)

Article 3(2), first sentence

Article 1(1), second subparagraph

Article 1(2), introductory wording

Article 1(2), introductory wording

Article 1(2)(a)

Article 1(2)(a)

Article 1(2)(b)

Article 1(2)(c)

Article 1(2)(b)

Article 1(3)

Article 1(3)

Article 1(4)

Article 1(5)

Article 1(6)

Article 2

Article 2(1)

Article 3(1), first subparagraph

Article 3(1), second subparagraph

Article 2(2), first sentence

—Article 4(7)

Article 3(2)

Article 3(3)

Article 2(2), second and third sentence

Article 3(4)

Article 2(2), fourth sentence

Article 3(5)

Article 3(6)

Article 2(3)

Article 2(4)

Article 2(5)

Article 2(6)

Article 2(7)

Article 27

Article 3(1)

Article 3(2), first sentence

Article 1(1), second subparagraph

Article 3(2), second sentence

Article 3(2), third sentence

 

Article 3(3)

 

Article 3(4)

Article 4(1)

 

Article 4(2)

Article 4(3)

 

Article 4(4)

Article 4(5)

Article 4(7)

Article 3(2)

Article 4(8)

Article 5(4)

Article 23

Article 24

Article 26

Article 2(7)

Article 27

Article 28

Article 29

Article 30

Article 5

Article 31

Article 6

Article 32(1)

Article 32(2)

Article 33

Article 7

Article 34

Article 8

Article 35

Annex

Annex I

Annex II

Annex III

Annex IV

_____________

(1) OJ C 81, 2.3.2018, p.181.
(2) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.
(3)OJ C 81, 2.3.2018, p. 181.
(4)OJ C 176, 23.5.2018, p. 66.
(5) Position of the European Parliament of 14 February 2019.
(6)Directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the Community (OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 124).
(7)Directive (EU) 2015/413 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences (OJ L 68, 13.3.2015, p. 9).
(8)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) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
(9)Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89).
(10)Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) (OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37).
(11) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(12) Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13).
(13)Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data (OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1).
(14)Directive (EU) 2015/1535 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 September 2015 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical regulations and of rules on Information Society services (OJ L 241, 17.9.2015, p. 1).
(15)Directive 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment and repealing Directive 1999/5/EC (OJ L 153, 22.5.2014, p. 62).
(16)Directive 2014/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to electromagnetic compatibility (OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, p. 79).
(17) Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (OJ L 187, 20.7.1999, p. 42).
(18)Council Decision 2008/616/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the implementation of Decision 2008/615/JHA on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (OJ L 210, 6.8.2008, p. 12).
(19)Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (OJ L 210, 6.8.2008, p. 1).
(20)M = mandatory when available in national register, O = optional.
(21)Harmonised Union code, see Council Directive 1999/37/EC of 29 April 1999 on the registration documents for vehicles (OJ L 138, 1.6.1999, p. 57).
(22)M = mandatory when available in national register, O = optional.
(23)Harmonised Union code, see Directive 1999/37/EC.
(24)M = mandatory when available in national register, O = optional.
(25)Harmonised Union code, see Directive 1999/37/EC.


Mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State (COM(2017)0796 – C8-0005/2018 – 2017/0354(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0123A8-0274/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0796),

–  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 (C8‑0005/2018),

–  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 23 May 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 28 November 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 Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0274/2018),

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 14 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State and repealing Regulation (EC) No 764/2008

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0354


(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 internal market comprises an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods is ensured in accordance with the Treaties. Quantitative restrictions on imports and all measures having equivalent effect are prohibited between Member States. That prohibition covers any national measure which is capable of hindering, directly or indirectly, actually or potentially, intra-Union trade in goods. The free movement of goods is ensured in the internal market by the harmonisation of rules at Union level that set common requirements for the marketing of certain goods or, for goods or aspects of goods not exhaustively covered by Union harmonisation rules, by the application of the principle of mutual recognition as defined by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

(2)  A well-functioning principle of mutual recognition is an essential complement to harmonisation of rules at Union level, especially considering that many goods have both harmonised and non-harmonised aspects.

(3)  Obstacles to the free movement of goods between Member States may be unlawfully created if, in the absence of Union harmonisation rules covering goods or certain aspects of goods, a Member State's competent authority applies national rules to goods that are lawfully marketed in another Member State, requiring the goods to meet certain technical requirements, for example, requirements relating to designation, form, size, weight, composition, presentation, labelling or packaging. The application of such rules to goods that are lawfully marketed in another Member State could be contrary to Articles 34 and 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), even if the rules apply to all goods without distinction.

(4)  The principle of mutual recognition derives from the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. According to this principle, Member States may not prohibit the sale on their territory of goods which are lawfully marketed in another Member State, even where those goods have been produced in accordance with different technical rules, including goods that are not the result of a manufacturing process. But the principle of mutual recognition is not absolute. Member States can restrict the marketing of goods that have been lawfully marketed in another Member State, where such restrictions are justified on the grounds set out in Article 36 TFEU or on the basis of other overriding reasons of public interest, recognised by the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the free movement of goods, and where those restrictions are proportionate to the aim pursued. This Regulation imposes the obligation to clearly justify why market access has been restricted or denied.

(5)  The concept of overriding reasons of public interest is an evolving concept developed by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its case-law in relation to Articles 34 and 36 TFEU. Where legitimate differences exist from one Member State to another, such overriding reasons might justify the application of national technical rules by the competent authorities. However, administrative decisions always need to be duly justified, to be legitimate, to be appropriate and to respect the principle of proportionality, and the competent authority has to make the least restrictive decision possible. In order to improve the functioning of the internal market for goods, the national technical rules should be fit for purpose and should not create disproportionate non-tariff barriers. Furthermore, administrative decisions restricting or denying market access in respect of goods that are lawfully marketed in another Member State must not be based on the mere fact that the goods under assessment fulfil the legitimate public objective pursued by the Member State in a different way from the way in which▌ goods in that Member State fulfil that objective. In order to assist Member States, the Commission should provide non-binding guidance in relation to the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the concept of overriding reasons of public interest and how to apply the principle of mutual recognition. Competent authorities should have the opportunity to provide contributions and deliver feedback on the guidance.

(6)  In its Conclusions on the Single Market Policy of December 2013, the Competitiveness Council noted that to improve framework conditions for businesses and consumers in the Single Market, all relevant instruments should be appropriately employed, including mutual recognition. The Council invited the Commission to report on cases where the functioning of the principle of mutual recognition is still inadequate or problematic. In its Conclusions on the Single Market Policy of February 2015, the Competitiveness Council urged the Commission to take steps to ensure that the principle of mutual recognition functioned effectively and to bring forward proposals to that effect.

(7)  Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4) was adopted in order to facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition by establishing procedures to minimise the possibility of creating unlawful obstacles to the free movement of goods which have already been lawfully marketed in another Member State. Despite the adoption of that Regulation, many problems still exist as regards the application of the principle of mutual recognition. The evaluation carried out between 2014 and 2016 showed that the principle of mutual recognition does not function as it should, and that Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 has had limited effect in facilitating the application of that principle. The tools and procedural guarantees put in place by that Regulation failed in their aim of improving the application of the principle of mutual recognition. For example, the Product Contact Points network which was put in place in order to provide information to economic operators on applicable national rules and the application of the principle of mutual recognition is barely known or used by economic operators. Within that network, national authorities do not cooperate sufficiently. The requirement to notify administrative decisions restricting or denying market access is rarely complied with. As a result, obstacles to the free movement of goods in the internal market remain.

(8)  Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 has several shortcomings, and should therefore be revised and strengthened. For the sake of clarity, Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 should be replaced by this Regulation. This Regulation should establish clear procedures to ensure the free movement of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State and to ensure that free movement can be restricted only where Member States have legitimate public interest grounds for doing so and that the restriction is justified and proportionate. This Regulation should also ensure that existing rights and obligations deriving from the principle of mutual recognition are observed, by both economic operators and national authorities.

(9)  This Regulation should not prejudice the further harmonisation of conditions for the marketing of goods with a view to improving the functioning of the internal market, where appropriate.

(10)  It is also possible for trade barriers to result from other types of measures falling under the scope of Articles 34 and 36 TFEU. Those measures can include, for example, technical specifications drawn up for public procurement procedures or requirements to use official languages in the Member States. However, such measures should not constitute national technical rules within the meaning of this Regulation and should not fall within its scope.

(11)  National technical rules are sometimes given effect in a Member State by means of a prior authorisation procedure, under which formal approval has to be obtained from a competent authority before the goods can be placed on the market there. The existence of a prior authorisation procedure in itself restricts the free movement of goods. Therefore, in order to be justified with regard to the fundamental principle of the free movement of goods within the internal market, such a procedure has to pursue a public interest objective recognised by Union law, and it has to be proportionate and non-discriminatory. The compliance of such a procedure with Union law is to be assessed in the light of the considerations set out in the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Therefore, administrative decisions restricting or denying market access exclusively on the grounds that the goods do not have a valid prior authorisation should be excluded from the scope of this Regulation. When, however, an application for mandatory prior authorisation of goods is made, any administrative decision to reject the application on the basis of a national technical rule applicable in that Member State should only be taken in accordance with this Regulation, so that the applicant can benefit from the procedural protection which this Regulation provides. The same applies to voluntary prior authorisation of goods, where it exists.

(12)  It is important to clarify that the types of goods covered by this Regulation include agricultural products. The term 'agricultural products' includes products of fisheries, as provided for in Article 38(1) TFEU. In order to help to identify which types of goods are subject to this Regulation, the Commission should assess the feasibility and benefits of further developing an indicative product list for mutual recognition.

(13)  It is also important to clarify that the term 'producer' includes not only manufacturers of goods, but also persons who produce goods which were not the result of a manufacturing process, including agricultural products, as well as persons who present themselves as the producers of goods.

(14)  Decisions of national courts or tribunals assessing the legality of cases in which, on account of the application of a national technical rule, goods lawfully marketed in one Member State are not granted access to the market in another Member State, and decisions of national courts or tribunals applying penalties, should be excluded from the scope of this Regulation.

(15)  To benefit from the principle of mutual recognition, goods must be lawfully marketed in another Member State. It should be clarified that, for goods to be considered to be lawfully marketed in another Member State, the goods need to comply with the relevant rules applicable in that Member State, and need to be ▌made available to end users in that Member State.

(16)  To raise awareness on the part of national authorities and economic operators of the principle of mutual recognition, Member States should consider providing for clear and unambiguous 'single market clauses' in their national technical rules with a view to facilitating the application of that principle.

(17)  The evidence required to demonstrate that goods are lawfully marketed in another Member State varies significantly from Member State to Member State. This causes unnecessary burdens, delays and additional costs for economic operators, and prevents national authorities from obtaining the information necessary for assessing the goods in a timely manner. This may inhibit the application of the principle of mutual recognition. It is therefore essential to make it easier for economic operators to demonstrate that their goods are lawfully marketed in another Member State. Economic operators should ▌ benefit from a self-declaration that provides competent authorities with all necessary information on the goods and on their compliance with the rules applicable in that other Member State. The use of voluntary declarations should not prevent national authorities from taking administrative decisions restricting or denying market access, provided that such decisions are proportionate, justified and respect the principle of mutual recognition and are in accordance with this Regulation.

(18)  It should be possible for the producer, importer or distributor to draw up a declaration of lawful marketing of goods for the purposes of mutual recognition ('mutual recognition declaration'). The producer is best placed to provide the information in the mutual recognition declaration as the producer knows the goods best and is in possession of the evidence necessary to verify the information in the mutual recognition declaration. The producer should be able to mandate an authorised representative to draw up such declarations on the producer's behalf and under the responsibility of the producer. However, where an economic operator is only able to provide the information on the lawfulness of the marketing of the goods in the declaration, it should be possible for another economic operator to provide the information that the goods are being made available to end users in the Member State concerned, provided that that economic operator takes responsibility for the information that it provided in the mutual recognition declaration and is able to provide the necessary evidence to verify this information.

(19)  The mutual recognition declaration should always contain accurate and complete information on the goods. The declaration should therefore be kept up to date in order to reflect changes, for example changes in the relevant national technical rules.

(20)  In order to ensure that the information provided in a mutual recognition declaration is comprehensive, a harmonised structure for such declarations should be laid down for use by economic operators wishing to make such declarations.

(21)  It is important to ensure that the mutual recognition declaration is filled in truthfully and accurately. It is therefore necessary to require economic operators to be responsible for the information provided by them in the mutual recognition declaration.

(22)  In order to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses operating in the field of goods that are not covered by Union harmonisation legislation, it should be possible to benefit from new information technologies for the purpose of facilitating the provision of the mutual recognition declaration. Therefore, economic operators should be able to make their mutual recognition declarations publicly available online, provided that the mutual recognition declaration is easily accessible and is in a reliable format.

(23)  The Commission should ensure that a template for the mutual recognition declaration and guidelines for completing it are made available on the Single Digital Gateway in all of the official languages of the Union.

(24)  This Regulation should also apply to goods in respect of which only some aspects are covered by Union harmonisation legislation. Where, pursuant to Union harmonisation legislation, the economic operator is required to draw up an EU declaration of conformity to demonstrate compliance with that legislation, that economic operator should be permitted to attach ▌ the mutual recognition declaration provided for by this Regulation to the EU declaration of conformity.

(25)  Where economic operators decide not to use the mutual recognition declaration ▌, it should be for the competent authorities of the Member State of destination to make clearly defined requests for specific information that they consider to be necessary to assess the goods, with respect to the principle of proportionality.

(26)  The economic operator should be given appropriate time within which to submit documents or any other information requested by the competent authority of the Member State of destination, or to submit any arguments or comments in relation to the assessment of the goods in question.

(27)  Directive (EU) 2015/1535 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5) requires Member States to communicate to the Commission and to the other Member States any draft national technical regulation concerning any product, including any agricultural or fishery product, and a statement of the grounds on which the enactment of that regulation is necessary. It is necessary, however, to ensure that, following the adoption of such a national technical regulation, the principle of mutual recognition is correctly applied to specific goods in individual cases. This Regulation should lay down procedures for the application of the principle of mutual recognition in individual cases, for example, by requiring Member States to indicate the national technical rules on which the administrative decision is based and the legitimate public interest grounds that justify the application of that national technical rule with respect to a good that has been lawfully marketed in another Member State. The proportionality of the national technical rule is the basis for demonstrating the proportionality of the administrative decision that is based on that rule. However, the means by which the proportionality of the administrative decision is to be demonstrated should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

(28)  As administrative decisions restricting or denying market access for goods that are already lawfully marketed in another Member State should be exceptions to the fundamental principle of the free movement of goods, it is necessary to ensure that such decisions observe the existing obligations that derive from the principle of mutual recognition. It is therefore appropriate to establish a clear procedure for determining whether goods are lawfully marketed in that other Member State and, if so, whether the legitimate public interests covered by the applicable national technical rule of the Member State of destination are adequately protected, in accordance with Article 36 TFEU and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Such procedure should ensure that any administrative decisions that are taken are proportionate and respect the principle of mutual recognition and are in accordance with this Regulation.

(29)  Where a competent authority is assessing goods before deciding whether to restrict or deny market access, that authority should not be able to take decisions to suspend market access, except where rapid intervention is required to prevent harm to the safety or health of persons, to prevent harm to the environment, or to prevent the goods from being made available in cases where the making available of such goods is generally prohibited on grounds of public morality or public security, including, for example, the prevention of crime.

(30)  Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6) establishes a system of accreditation which ensures the mutual acceptance of the level of competence of conformity assessment bodies. The competent authorities of Member States should therefore not refuse to accept test reports and certificates issued by an accredited conformity assessment body on grounds related to the competence of that body. Furthermore, in order to avoid as far as possible the duplication of tests and procedures which have been already carried out in another Member State, Member States should not refuse to accept test reports and certificates issued by other conformity assessment bodies in accordance with Union law. Competent authorities should take due account of the content of the test reports or certificates submitted.

(31)  Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(7) specifies that only safe products may be placed on the market and lays down the obligations of producers and distributors with respect to the safety of products. It entitles the competent authorities to ban any dangerous product with immediate effect or to ban products that could be dangerous temporarily for the period needed for the various safety evaluations, checks and controls. That Directive also describes the procedure for competent authorities to apply appropriate measures if products pose a risk, such as the measures referred to in points (b) to (f) of Article 8(1) of that Directive, and it also imposes an obligation on Member States to notify such measures to the Commission and the other Member States. Therefore, competent authorities should be able to continue applying that Directive and, in particular, points (b) to (f) of Article 8(1) and Article 8(3) of that Directive.

(32)  Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8) establishes, inter alia, a rapid alert system for the notification of direct or indirect risks to human health deriving from food or feed. It requires Member States to notify the Commission immediately, using the rapid alert system, of any measure they adopt which is aimed at restricting the placing on the market of food or feed, or withdrawing or recalling food or feed, for the purpose of protecting human health, and which requires rapid action. Competent authorities should be able to continue applying that Regulation and, in particular, Articles 50(3) and 54 of that Regulation.

(33)  Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of European Parliament and of the Council(9) establishes a harmonised Union framework for the organisation of official controls, and for the organisation of official activities other than official controls, along the entire agri-food chain, taking into account the rules on official controls laid down in Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council(10) and in relevant Union sectoral legislation. Regulation (EU) 2017/625 lays down a specific procedure for ensuring that economic operators remedy situations of non-compliance with food and feed law, animal health rules or animal welfare rules. Competent authorities should be able to continue applying Regulation (EU) 2017/625 and, in particular, Article 138 thereof.

(34)  Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (11) establishes a harmonised Union framework for carrying out checks in respect of the obligations laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(12) in accordance with the criteria laid down in Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and specifies that Member States shall ensure that any operator complying with those obligations is entitled to be covered by a system of checks. Competent authorities should be able to continue applying Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 and, in particular, Article 90 thereof.

(35)  Any administrative decision taken by competent authorities of Member States pursuant to this Regulation should specify the remedies available to the economic operator, so that an economic operator is able, in accordance with national law, to appeal against the decision or bring proceedings before the competent national court or tribunal. The administrative decision should also refer to the possibility for economic operators to use the Internal Market Problem Solving Network (SOLVIT) and the problem-solving procedure provided for in this Regulation.

(36)  Effective solutions for economic operators wishing for a business friendly alternative when challenging administrative decisions restricting or denying market access are essential to ensure the correct and consistent application of the principle of mutual recognition. In order to guarantee such solutions, and to avoid legal costs, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a non-judicial problem-solving procedure should be available for economic operators.

(37)  SOLVIT is a service provided by the national administration in each Member State that aims to find solutions for individuals and businesses when their rights have been breached by public authorities in another Member State. The principles governing the functioning of SOLVIT are set out in Commission Recommendation 2013/461/EU(13), according to which each Member State is to provide for a SOLVIT Centre that has adequate human and financial resources to ensure that the SOLVIT Centre takes part in SOLVIT. The Commission should increase awareness about the existence and benefits of SOLVIT, especially among businesses.

(38)  SOLVIT is an effective non-judicial, problem-solving mechanism that is provided free of charge. It works under short deadlines and provides practical solutions to individuals and businesses when they are experiencing difficulties in the recognition of their Union rights by public authorities. ▌Where the economic operator, the relevant SOLVIT Centre and the Member States involved all agree on the appropriate outcome, no further action should be required.

(39)  However, where the SOLVIT's informal approach fails, and ▌doubts remain regarding the compatibility of the administrative decision with the principle of mutual recognition, the Commission should be empowered to look into the matter at the request of any of the SOLVIT Centres involved. Following its assessment, the Commission should issue an opinion to be communicated through the relevant SOLVIT Centre to the economic operator concerned and to the competent authorities, which should be taken into account during the SOLVIT ▌procedure. The Commission's intervention should be subject to a ▌time-limit of 45 working days, which should not include the time necessary for the Commission to receive any additional information and documents that it considers necessary. If the case is solved during this period, the Commission should not be required to issue an opinion. Such SOLVIT cases should be subject to a separate workflow in the SOLVIT database and should not be included in the regular SOLVIT statistics.

(40)  The opinion of the Commission as regards an administrative decision restricting or denying market access should only address whether the administrative decision is compatible with the principle of mutual recognition and with the requirements of this Regulation. This is without prejudice to the Commission's powers under Article 258 TFEU and the Member States' obligation to comply with Union law, when addressing systemic problems identified as regards the application of the principle of mutual recognition.

(41)  It is important for the internal market for goods that businesses, in particular SMEs, can obtain reliable and specific information about the law in force in a given Member State. Product Contact Points should play an important role in facilitating communication between national authorities and economic operators by disseminating information about specific product rules and about how the principle of mutual recognition is applied in the territory of their Member State. Therefore, it is necessary to enhance the role of Product Contact Points as the principal providers of information on all product-related rules, including national technical rules covered by mutual recognition.

(42)  In order to facilitate the free movement of goods, Product Contact Points should provide, free of charge, a reasonable level of information on their national technical rules and the application of the principle of mutual recognition. Product Contact Points should be adequately equipped and resourced. In accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 of the European Parliament and of the Council(14) they should provide such information through a website and should be subject to ▌the quality criteria set out in that Regulation. The tasks of Product Contact Points related to the provision of any such information, including electronic copies of, or online access to, the national technical rules, should be performed without prejudice to the national rules governing the distribution of national technical rules. Furthermore, Product Contact Points should not be required to provide copies of, or online access to, standards which are subject to the intellectual property rights of standardisation bodies or organisations.

(43)  Cooperation between competent authorities is essential for the smooth functioning of the principle of mutual recognition and for creating a mutual recognition culture. Product Contact Points and national competent authorities should therefore cooperate and exchange information and expertise in order to ensure the correct and consistent application of the principle of mutual recognition and this Regulation.

(44)  For the purposes of notifying administrative decisions restricting or denying market access, allowing communication between Product Contact Points and ensuring administrative cooperation, it is necessary to provide Member States with access to an information and communication ▌ system.

(45)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council(15).

(46)  Where, for the purposes of this Regulation, it is necessary to process personal data, such processing should be carried out in accordance with Union law on the protection of personal data. Any processing of personal data under this Regulation is subject to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council (16) or Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council(17).

(47)  Reliable and efficient monitoring mechanisms should be established to provide information on the application of this Regulation and on its impact on the free movement of goods. Such mechanisms should not go beyond what is necessary to achieve these objectives.

(48)  For the purposes of raising awareness about the principle of mutual recognition and ensuring that this Regulation is applied correctly and consistently, provision should be made for Union financing of awareness-raising campaigns, trainings, exchange of officials and other related activities aiming at enhancing and supporting trust and cooperation between competent authorities, Product Contact Points and economic operators.

(49)  In order to remedy the lack of accurate data related to the functioning of the principle of mutual recognition and its impact on the Single Market for goods, the Union should finance the collection of such data.

(50)  The financial interests of the Union should be protected through proportionate measures throughout the expenditure cycle, including the prevention, detection and investigation of irregularities, the recovery of funds lost, wrongly paid or incorrectly used and, where appropriate, administrative and financial penalties.

(51)  It is appropriate to defer the application of this Regulation in order to allow competent authorities and economic operators sufficient time to adapt to the requirements laid down herein.

(52)  The Commission should carry out an evaluation of this Regulation in light of the objectives that it pursues. The Commission should use the data collected on the functioning of the principle of mutual recognition and its impact on the single market for goods and information available in the information and communication ▌system to evaluate this Regulation. The Commission should be able to request Member States to provide additional information necessary for its evaluation. Pursuant to point 22 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law Making(18), the evaluation of this Regulation, which should be based on efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, coherence and added value, should provide the basis for impact assessments of options for further action.

(53)  Since the objective of this Regulation, namely to ensure the smooth, consistent and correct application of the principle of mutual recognition, 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 the European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Chapter I

General provisions

Article 1

Subject matter

1.  The aim of this Regulation is to strengthen the functioning of the internal market by improving the application of the principle of mutual recognition and by removing unjustified barriers to trade.

2.  This Regulation lays down rules and procedures concerning the application by Member States of the principle of mutual recognition in individual cases in relation to goods which are subject to Article 34 TFEU and which are lawfully marketed in another Member State, having regard to Article 36 TFEU and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

3.  This Regulation also provides for the establishment and maintenance of Product Contact Points in Member States and for cooperation and exchange of information in the context of the principle of mutual recognition.

Article 2

Scope

1.  This Regulation applies to goods of any type, including agricultural products within the meaning of the second subparagraph of Article 38(1) TFEU, and to administrative decisions that have been taken or are to be taken by a competent authority of a Member State of destination in relation to any such goods that are lawfully marketed in another Member State, where the administrative decision meets the following criteria:

(a)  the basis for the administrative decision is a national technical rule applicable in the Member State of destination; and

(b)  the direct or indirect effect of the administrative decision is to restrict or deny market access in the Member State of destination.

Administrative decision includes any administrative step that is based on a national technical rule and that has the same or substantially the same legal effect as the effect referred to in point (b).

2.  For the purposes of this Regulation, a 'national technical rule' is any provision of a law, regulation or other administrative provision of a Member State which has the following characteristics:

(a)  it covers goods or aspects of goods that are not the subject of harmonisation at Union level;

(b)  it either prohibits the making available of goods, or goods of a given type, on the ▌ market in that Member State, or it makes compliance with the provision compulsory, de facto or de jure, whenever goods, or goods of a given type, are made available on that market; and

(c)  it does at least one of the following:

(i)  it lays down the characteristics required of goods or of goods of a given type, such as their levels of quality, performance or safety, or their dimensions, including the requirements applicable to those goodsas regards the names under which they are sold, terminology, symbols, testing and test methods, packaging, marking or labelling and conformity assessment procedures;

(ii)  for the purpose of protecting consumers or the environment, it imposes other requirements on goods or goods of a given type that affect the life-cycle of the goods after they have been made available on the ▌ market in that Member State, such as conditions of use, recycling, reuse or disposal, where such conditions can significantly influence either the composition or nature of those goods, or the making available of them on the ▌ market in that Member State.

3.  Point (c)(i) of paragraph 2 of this Article also covers production methods and processes used in respect of agricultural products as referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 38(1) TFEU, and in respect of products intended for human or animal consumption, as well as production methods and processes relating to other products, where these have an effect on their characteristics.

4.  A ▌prior authorisation procedure does not itself constitute a national technical rule for the purposes of this Regulation, but a decision to refuse prior authorisation based on a national technical rule shall be considered to be an administrative decision to which this Regulation applies, if that decision fulfils the other requirements of the first subparagraph of paragraph 1.

5.  This Regulation does not apply to:

(a)  decisions of a judicial nature taken by national courts or tribunals;

(b)  decisions of a judicial nature taken by law enforcement authorities in the course of the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offence as regards the terminology, symbols or any material reference to unconstitutional or criminal organisations or offences of a racist, discriminatory or xenophobic nature.

6.  Articles 5 and 6 shall not affect the application of the following provisions:

(a)  points (b) to (f) of Article 8(1) and Article 8(3) of Directive 2001/95/EC;

(b)  point (a) of Article 50(3) and Article 54 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002;

(c)  Article 90 of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013; and

(d)  Article 138 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625.

7.  This Regulation does not affect the obligation under Directive (EU) 2015/1535 to notify draft national technical regulations to the Commission and the Member States prior to their adoption.

Article 3

Definitions

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

(1)  'lawfully marketed in another Member State' means that goods or goods of that type comply with the relevant rules applicable in that Member State or are not subject to any such rules in that Member State, and are made available to end users in that Member State;

(2)  'making available on the ▌market' means any supply of goods for distribution, consumption or use on the market within the territory of a Member State in the course of a commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge;

(3)  'restricting market access' means imposing conditions to be fulfilled before goods can be made available on the ▌ market in the Member State of destination, or conditions for keeping goods on that market, which in either case require the modification of one or more of the characteristics of those goods, as referred to in point (c)(i) of Article 2(2), or require the performance of additional testing;

(4)  'denying market access' means any of the following:

(a)  prohibiting goods from being made available on the ▌ market in the Member State of destination or from being kept on that market; or

(b)  requiring the withdrawal or recall of those goods from that market;

(5)  'withdrawal' means any measure aimed at preventing goods in the supply chain from being made available on the market;

(6)  'recall' means any measure aimed at achieving the return of goods that have already been made available to the end user;

(7)  'prior authorisation procedure' means an administrative procedure under the law of a Member State whereby the competent authority of that Member State is required, on the basis of an application by an economic operator, to give its formal approval before goods may be made available on the ▌market in that Member State;

(8)  'producer' means:

(a)  any natural or legal person who manufactures goods or has goods designed or manufactured, or who produces goods which were not the result of a manufacturing process, including agricultural products, and markets them under that person's name or trademark,

(b)  any natural or legal person who modifies goods already lawfully marketed in a Member State in a way that might affect compliance with the relevant rules applicable in that Member State, or

(c)  any other natural or legal person who, by putting its name, trademark or other distinguishing feature on goods or on the documents that accompany those goods, presents itself as the producer of those goods;

(9)  'authorised representative' means any natural or legal person established within the Union who has received a written mandate from a producer to act on that producer's behalf with regard to the making available of goods on the ▌market in question;

(10)  'importer' means any natural or legal person established within the Union who makes goods from a third country available on the Union market for the first time;

(11)  'distributor' means any natural or legal person in the supply chain ▌, other than the producer or the importer, who makes goods available on the ▌ market in a Member State;

(12)  'economic operator' means any of the following in relation to goods: the producer, the authorised representative, the importer or the distributor;

(13)  'end user' means any natural or legal person residing or established in the Union, to whom the goods have been made available or are being made available, either as a consumer outside of any trade, business, craft or profession or as a professional end user in the course of its industrial or professional activities;

(14)  'legitimate public interest grounds' means any of the grounds set out in Article 36 TFEU or any other overriding reasons of public interest;

(15)  ‘conformity assessment body’ means a conformity assessment body as defined in point 13 of Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008.

Chapter II

Procedures concerning application of the principle of mutual recognition in individual cases

Article 4

Mutual recognition declaration

1.  The producer of goods, or of goods of a given type, that are being made or are to be made available on the ▌market in ▌the Member State of destination ▌ may draw up a voluntary declaration of lawful marketing of goods for the purposes of mutual recognition ('mutual recognition declaration') in order to demonstrate to the competent authorities of the Member State of destination that the goods, or the goods of that type, are lawfully marketed in another Member State.

The producer may mandate its authorised representative to draw up the mutual recognition declaration on its behalf.

The mutual recognition declaration shall follow the structure set out in Part I and Part II of the Annex and shall contain all the information specified therein.

The producer or its authorised representative, where mandated to do so, may fill in the mutual recognition declaration with only the information set out in Part I of the Annex. In such case the information set out in Part II of the Annex shall be filled in by the importer or by the distributor.

Alternatively, both parts of the mutual recognition declaration may be drawn up by the importer or by the distributor, provided that the signatory can supply the evidence referred to in point (a) of Article 5(4).

The mutual recognition declaration shall be drawn up in one of the official languages of the Union. Where that language is not the language required by the Member State of destination, the economic operator shall translate the mutual recognition declaration into a language ▌ required by the Member State of destination.

2.  Economic operators who sign the mutual recognition declaration or a part of it shall be responsible for the content and accuracy of the information that they provide in the mutual recognition declaration, including the correctness of the information they translate. For the purposes of this paragraph, economic operators shall be liable in accordance with national laws.

3.  Economic operators shall ensure that the mutual recognition declaration is kept up to date at all times, reflecting any changes in the information that they have provided in the mutual recognition declaration.

4.  The mutual recognition declaration may be supplied to the competent authority of the Member State of destination for the purposes of an assessment to be carried out under Article 5. It may be supplied either in paper form or by electronic means or be made available online in accordance with the requirements of the Member State of destination.

5.  Where economic operators ▌make the mutual recognition declaration available online, the following conditions apply:

(a)  the type of goods or the series to which the mutual recognition declaration applies shall be easily identifiable ▌; and

(b)  the technical means used shall ensure easy navigation and shall be monitored to ensure the availability of, and access to, the mutual recognition declaration.

6.  Where the goods for which the mutual recognition declaration is being supplied are also subject to a Union act requiring an EU declaration of conformity, the mutual recognition declaration may be attached to the EU declaration of conformity.

Article 5

Assessment of goods

1.  Where a competent authority of the Member State of destination intends to assess goods subject to this Regulation to establish whether the goods or goods of that type are lawfully marketed in another Member State, and, if so, whether the legitimate public interests covered by the applicable national technical rule of the Member State of destination are adequately protected, having regard to the characteristics of the goods in question, it shall contact the economic operator concerned without delay.

2.  When entering into contact with the economic operator concerned, the competent authority of the Member State of destination shall inform the economic operator of the assessment, indicating the goods that are subject to that assessment and specifying the applicable national technical rule or prior authorisation procedure. The competent authority of the Member State of destination shall also inform the economic operator of the possibility of supplying a mutual recognition declaration in accordance with Article 4 for the purposes of that assessment.

3.  The economic operator shall be allowed to make the goods available on the market in the Member State of destination while the competent authority carries out the assessment under paragraph 1 of this Article, and may continue to do so unless the economic operator receives an administrative decision restricting or denying market access for those goods. This paragraph shall not apply where the assessment is carried out in the framework of a prior authorisation procedure, or where the competent authority temporary suspends the making available on the market of the goods that are subject to that assessment in accordance with Article 6.

4.  If a mutual recognition declaration is supplied to a competent authority of the Member State of destination in accordance with Article 4, then for the purposes of the assessment under paragraph 1 of this Article:

(a)  the mutual recognition declaration, together with supporting evidence necessary to verify the information contained in it that was provided in response to a request by the competent authority, shall be accepted by the competent authority as sufficient to demonstrate that the goods are lawfully marketed in another Member State; and

(b)  the competent authority shall not require any other information or documentation from any economic operator for the purpose of demonstrating that the goods are lawfully marketed in another Member State.

5.   If a mutual recognition declaration is not supplied to a competent authority of the Member State of destination in accordance with ▌Article 4, then for the purposes of the assessment under paragraph 1 of this Article, the competent authority may request ▌the economic operators concerned to provide documentation and information that is necessary for that ▌assessment ▌ concerning the following:

(a)  the characteristics of the goods or type of goods in question; and

(b)  ▌lawful marketing of the goods in another Member State.

6.  The economic operator concerned shall be allowed at least 15 working days following the request of the competent authority of the Member State of destination in which to submit the documents and information referred to in point (a) of paragraph 4 or in paragraph 5, or to submit any arguments or comments that the economic operator might have.

7.  For the purposes of the assessment under paragraph 1 of this Article, the competent authority of the Member State of destination, in accordance with Article 10(3), may contact the competent authorities or the Product Contact Points of the Member State in which an economic operator claims to be lawfully marketing its goods, if the competent authority needs to verify any information provided by the economic operator.

8.  In carrying out the assessment under paragraph 1, the competent authorities of Member States of destination shall take due account of the content of test reports or certificates issued by a conformity assessment body that have been provided by any economic operator as part of the assessment. The competent authorities of Member States of destination shall not refuse test reports or certificates that were issued by a conformity assessment body accredited for the appropriate field of conformity assessment activity in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 on grounds related to the competence of that body.

9.  Where, on completion of an assessment under paragraph 1 of this Article, the competent authority of a Member State of destination takes an administrative decision with respect to the goods that it has assessed, it shall notify that administrative decision without delay to the economic operator referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article. The competent authority shall also notify that administrative decision to the Commission and to the other Member States no later than 20 working days after it took the decision. For that purpose, it shall use the system referred to in Article 11.

10.  The administrative decision referred to in paragraph 9 shall set out the reasons for the decision in a manner that is sufficiently detailed and reasoned to facilitate an assessment of its compatibility with the principle of mutual recognition and with the requirements of this Regulation.

11.  In particular, the following information shall be included in the administrative decision referred to in paragraph 9:

(a)  the national technical rule on which the administrative decision is based;

(b)  the legitimate public interest grounds justifying the application of the national technical rule on which the administrative decision is based;

(c)  the technical or scientific evidence that the competent authority of the Member State of destination considered, including, where applicable, any relevant changes in the state of the art that have occurred since the national technical rule came into force;

(d)  a summary of the arguments put forward by the economic operator concerned that are relevant for the assessment under paragraph 1, if any;

(e)  the evidence demonstrating that the administrative decision is appropriate for the purpose of achieving the objective pursued and that the administrative decision does not go beyond what is necessary in order to attain that objective.

12.  The administrative decision referred to in paragraph 9 of this Article shall specify the remedies available under the national law of the Member State of destination and the time limits applicable to those remedies. It shall also include a reference to the possibility for economic operators to use SOLVIT and the procedure under Article 8.

13.  The administrative decision referred to in paragraph 9 shall not take effect before it has been notified to the economic operator concerned under that paragraph.

Article 6

Temporary suspension of market access

1.  When the competent authority of a Member State is carrying out an assessment of goods pursuant to Article 5, it may temporarily suspend the making available of those goods on the ▌market in that Member State only if:

(a)  under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, the goods ▌pose a serious risk to safety or health of persons or to the environment, including one where the effects are not immediate, which requires rapid intervention by the competent authority; or

(b)  the making available of the goods, or of goods of that type, on the ▌ market in that Member State is generally prohibited in that Member State on grounds of public morality or public security.

2.  The competent authority of the Member State shall immediately notify the economic operator concerned, the Commission and the other Member States of any temporary suspension pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article. The notification to the Commission and the other Member States shall be made by means of the system referred to in Article 11. In cases falling within point (a) of paragraph 1 of this Article, the notification shall be accompanied by a detailed technical or scientific justification demonstrating why the case falls within the scope of that point.

Article 7

Notification through RAPEX or RASFF

If the administrative decision referred to in Article 5 or the temporary suspension referred to in Article 6 is also a measure which is to be notified through the Rapid Information Exchange System (RAPEX) in accordance with ▌ Directive 2001/95/EC or through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, a separate notification to the Commission and the other Member States under this Regulation shall not be required, provided that the following conditions are met:

(a)  the RAPEX or RASFF notification indicates that the notification of the measure also serves as a notification under this Regulation; and

(b)  the supporting evidence required for the administrative decision under Article 5 or for the temporary suspension under Article 6 is included with the RAPEX or RASFF notification.

Article 8

Problem-solving procedure

1.  Where an economic operator affected by an administrative decision has submitted it to SOLVIT and where, during the SOLVIT procedure, the Home Centre or the Lead Centre requests the Commission to give an opinion in order to assist in solving the case, the Home Centre and the Lead Centre shall provide the Commission with all relevant documents relating to the administrative decision concerned.

2.  After receiving the request referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall assess whether the administrative decision is compatible with the principle of mutual recognition and with the requirements of this Regulation.

3.  For the purposes of the assessment referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, the Commission shall consider the administrative decision notified in accordance with Article 5(9) and the documents and information provided within the SOLVIT procedure. Where additional information or documents are needed for the purposes of the assessment referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, the Commission shall, without undue delay, request the relevant SOLVIT Centre to enter into communication with the ▌economic operator concerned or with the competent authorities which took the administrative decision, for the purpose of obtaining such additional information or documents.

4.  Within 45 working days of receipt of the request referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall complete its assessment and issue an opinion. Where appropriate, the Commission’s opinion shall identify any concerns that should ▌ be addressed in the SOLVIT case or shall make recommendations to assist in solving the case. The 45 working day period does not include the time necessary for the Commission to receive the additional information and documents as provided for in paragraph 3.

5.  Where the Commission has been informed that the case is solved during the assessment referred to in paragraph 2, the Commission shall not be required to issue an opinion.

6.  The Commission's opinion shall be communicated through the relevant SOLVIT Centre to the economic operator concerned and to the relevant competent authorities. That opinion shall be notified by the Commission to all Member States by means of the system referred to in Article 11. The opinion shall be taken into account during the SOLVIT procedure referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

Chapter III

Administrative cooperation, monitoring and communication

Article 9

Tasks of the Product Contact Points

1.  Member States shall designate and maintain Product Contact Points on their territory and shall ensure that their Product Contact Points have sufficient powers and adequate resources for the proper performance of their tasks. They shall ensure that Product Contact Points deliver their services in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1724.

2.  Product Contact Points shall provide the following information online:

(a)  information on the principle of mutual recognition and the application of this Regulation in the territory of their Member State, including information on the procedure set out in Article 5;

(b)  the contact details, by means of which the competent authorities within that Member State may be contacted directly, including the particulars of the authorities responsible for supervising the implementation of the national technical rules applicable in the territory of their Member State;

(c)  the remedies and procedures available in the territory of their Member State in the event of a dispute between the competent authority and an economic operator, including the procedure set out in Article 8.

3.  Where necessary to complement the information provided online under paragraph 2, Product Contact Points shall provide, at the request of an economic operator or a competent authority of another Member State, any useful information, such as electronic copies of, or online access to, the national technical rules and national administrative procedures applicable to specific goods or goods of a specific type in the territory in which the Product Contact Point is established or information on whether ▌those goods or goods of that type are subject to ▌prior authorisation under national law.

4.  Product Contact Points shall respond within 15 working days of receiving any request under paragraph 3.

5.  Product Contact Points shall not charge any fee for the provision of the information under paragraph 3.

Article 10

Administrative cooperation

1.  The Commission shall provide for and ensure efficient cooperation ▌among the competent authorities and the Product Contact Points of the various Member States through the following activities:

(a)  facilitating and coordinating the exchange and collection of information and best practices with regard to the application of the principle of mutual recognition;

(b)  supporting the functioning of the Product Contact Points and enhancing their cross-border cooperation;

(c)  facilitating and coordinating the exchange of officials among Member States and the organisation of common training and awareness raising programmes for authorities and businesses.

2.  Member States shall ensure that their competent authorities and Product Contact Points participate in the activities referred to in paragraph 1.

3.  Upon a request by a competent authority of the Member State of destination pursuant to Article 5(7), the competent authorities in the Member State in which an economic operator claims to be lawfully marketing its goods shall provide the competent authority of the Member State of destination within 15 working days ▌ with any ▌information relevant for verifying data and documents supplied by the economic operator during the assessment under Article 5 relating to those goods. The Product Contact Points may be used to facilitate contacts between the relevant competent authorities in accordance with the time limit for providing the requested information set out in Article 9(4).

Article 11

Information and communication ▌ system

1.  For the purposes of Articles 5, 6 and 10 of this Regulation, the Union information and communication ▌system set out in Article 23 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 shall be used, except as provided in Article 7 of this Regulation.

2.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts specifying the details and functionalities of the system referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article for the purposes of this Regulation. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 15(2).

Chapter IV

Financing

Article 12

Financing of activities in support of this Regulation

1.  The Union may finance the following activities in support of this Regulation:

(a)  awareness-raising campaigns;

(b)  education and training;

(c)  exchange of officials and of best practices;

(d)  cooperation among Product Contact Points and competent authorities, and the technical and logistic support for this cooperation;

(e)  the collection of data related to the functioning of the principle of mutual recognition and its impact on the Single Market for goods.

2.  The Union's financial assistance with respect to activities in support of this Regulation shall be implemented in accordance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(19), either directly or by entrusting budget implementation tasks to the entities listed in point (c) of Article 62(1) of that Regulation.

3.  The appropriations allocated to activities referred to in this Regulation shall be determined each year by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial framework in force.

Article 13

Protection of the financial interests of the Union

1.  The Commission shall take appropriate measures to ensure that, when activities financed under this Regulation are implemented, the financial interests of the Union are protected by the application of preventive measures against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities, by effective checks and, if irregularities are detected, by the recovery of the amounts wrongly paid and, where appropriate, by effective, proportionate and dissuasive administrative and financial penalties.

2.  The Commission or its representatives and the Court of Auditors shall have the power of audit, on the basis of documents and of on-the-spot inspections, over all grant beneficiaries, contractors and subcontractors who have received Union funds under this Regulation.

3.  The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) may carry out investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, in accordance with the provisions and procedures laid down in Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(20) and Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96(21) with a view to establishing whether there has been fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union in connection with a grant agreement or grant decision or a contract funded under this Regulation.

4.  Without prejudice to paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, cooperation agreements with third countries and with international organisations, contracts, grant agreements and grant decisions, resulting from the implementation of this Regulation shall contain provisions expressly empowering the Commission, the Court of Auditors and OLAF to conduct such audits and investigations, in accordance with their respective competences.

Chapter V

Evaluation and Committee procedure

Article 14

Evaluation

1.  By … [five years after the date of application of this Regulation], and every four years thereafter, the Commission shall carry out an evaluation of this Regulation in light of the objectives that it pursues and shall submit a report thereon to the European Parliament, to the Council and to the European Economic and Social Committee.

2.  For the purposes of paragraph 1 of this Article, the Commission shall use the information available in the system referred to in Article 11 and any data collected in the course of activities referred to in point (e) of Article 12(1). The Commission may also ask Member States to submit any relevant information for evaluating the free movement of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State or for evaluating the effectiveness of this Regulation, as well as an assessment of the functioning of the Product Contact Points.

Article 15

Committee procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

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

Chapter VI

Final provisions

Article 16

Repeal

Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 is repealed with effect from … [one year after the date of entry into force of this Regulation].

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

Article 17

Entry into force and application

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

It shall apply from … [one year after the date of entry into force of this Regulation].

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

Mutual recognition declaration for the purposes of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2019/... of the European Parliament and of the Council(22)(23)

Part I

1.  Unique identifier for the goods or type of goods: … [Note: insert the goods identification number or other reference marker that uniquely identifies the goods or type of goods]

2.  Name and address of the economic operator: … [Note: insert the name and address of the signatory of Part I of the mutual recognition declaration: the producer and, where applicable, its authorised representative, or the importer, or the distributor]

3.  Description of the goods or type of goods subject of the mutual recognition declaration: … [Note: the description should be sufficient to enable the goods to be identified for traceability reasons. It may be accompanied by a photograph, where appropriate]

4.  Declaration and information on the lawfulness of the marketing of the goods or that type of goods

4.1.  The goods or type of goods described above, including their characteristics, comply with the following rules applicable in … [Note: identify the Member State in which the goods or that type of goods are claimed to be lawfully marketed]: … [Note: insert the title and official publication reference, in each case, of the relevant rules applicable in that Member State and reference of the authorisation decision if the goods were subject to a prior authorisation procedure],

or

the goods or type of goods described above are not subject to any relevant rules in … [Note: identify the Member State in which the goods or that type of goods are claimed to be lawfully marketed].

4.2.  Reference of the conformity assessment procedure applicable to the goods or that type of goods, or reference of test reports for any tests performed by a conformity assessment body, including the name and address of that body (if such procedure was carried out or if such tests were performed): …

5.  Any additional information considered relevant to an assessment of whether the goods or that type of goods are lawfully marketed in the Member State indicated in point 4.1: …

6.  This part of the mutual recognition declaration has been drawn up under the sole responsibility of the economic operator identified under point 2.

Signed for and on behalf of:

(place and date):

(name, function) (signature):

Part II

7.  Declaration and information on the marketing of the goods or that type of goods

7.1.  The goods or that type of goods described in Part I are made available to end users on the ▌market in the Member State indicated in point 4.1.

7.2.  Information that the goods or that type of goods are made available to the end users in the Member State indicated in point 4.1, including details of the ▌date of when the goods were first made available to end users on the ▌ market in that Member State: …

8.  Any additional information considered relevant to an assessment of whether the goods or that type of goods are lawfully marketed in the Member State indicated in point 4.1: …

9.  This part of the mutual recognition declaration has been drawn up under the sole responsibility of … [Note: insert the name and address of the signatory of Part II of the mutual recognition declaration: the producer and, where applicable, its authorised representative, or the importer, or the distributor].

Signed for and on behalf of:

(place and date):

(name, function) (signature):

(1) OJ C 283, 10.8.2018, p. 19.
(2)OJ C 283, 10.8.2018, p. 19.
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 14 February 2019.
(4)Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 laying down procedures relating to the application of certain national technical rules to products lawfully marketed in another Member State and repealing Decision No 3052/95/EC (OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 21).
(5)Directive (EU) 2015/1535 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 September 2015 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical regulations and of rules on Information Society services (OJ L 241, 17.9.2015, p. 1).
(6)Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93 (OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30).
(7)Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (OJ L 11, 15.1.2002, p. 4).
(8)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).
(9)Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation) (OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1).
(10) Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules (OJ L 165, 30.4.2004, p. 1).
(11) Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008 (OJ L 347 20.12.2013, p. 549).
(12) Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671).
(13)Commission Recommendation 2013/461/EU of 17 September 2013 on the principles governing SOLVIT (OJ L 249, 19.9.2013, p. 10).
(14) Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 2 October 2018 establishing a single digital gateway to provide access to information, to procedures and to assistance and problem-solving services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 1).
(15)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).
(16)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) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
(17)Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).
(18)OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(19)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).
(20)Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999 (OJ L 248, 18.9.2013, p. 1).
(21)Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 of 11 November 1996 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to protect the European Communities' financial interests against fraud and other irregularities (OJ L 292, 15.11.1996, p.2.).
(22)Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council of … on the mutual recognition of goods lawfully marketed in another Member State and repealing Regulation (EC) No 764/2008 (OJ L … ).
(23)+OJ: please insert the number in the text, and the number, the date and the publication reference of the document in PE-CONS 70/18 - COD 2017/0354 in the footnote.


Charges on cross-border payments in the Union and currency conversion charges ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 as regards certain charges on cross-border payments in the Union and currency conversion charges (COM(2018)0163 – C8-0129/2018 – 2018/0076(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0124A8-0360/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0163),

–  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 (C8‑0129/2018),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Central Bank of 31 August 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 11 July 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 Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0360/2018),

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 14 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 as regards certain charges on cross-border payments in the Union and currency conversion charges

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0076


(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 Central Bank(3),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(4),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(5),

Whereas:

(1)  Since the adoption of ▌Regulations (EC) No 2560/2001(6) and ▌(EC) No 924/2009(7) of the European Parliament and of the Council, charges for cross-border payments in euro between Member States of the euro area have strongly decreased to levels that are insignificant in the vast majority of cases.

(2)  Cross-border payments in euro from non-euro area Member States however account for around 80 % of all cross-border payments from non-euro area Member States. The charges for such cross-border payments remain excessively high in most non-euro area Member States, even though payment service providers that are located in non-euro area Member States have access to the same efficient infrastructures to process those transactions at very low costs as payment service providers that are located in the euro area.

(3)  High charges for cross-border payments remain a barrier to the full integration ▌of businesses and citizens in non-euro area Member States into the internal market, affecting their competitiveness. Those high charges perpetuate the existence of two categories of payment service users in the Union: ▌payment service users that benefit from the single euro payments area (SEPA), and ▌ payment service users that pay high costs for their cross-border payments in euro.

(4)  In order to facilitate the functioning of the internal market and to end the inequalities between payment service users in the euro area and non-euro area Member States in respect of cross-border payments in euro, it is necessary to ensure that charges for cross-border payments in euro within the Union are aligned with charges for corresponding national payments made in the national currency of the Member State in which the payment service provider of the payment service user is located. A payment service provider is considered to be located in the Member State in which it provides its services to the payment service user.

(5)  Currency conversion charges represent a significant cost of cross-border payments when different currencies are in use in the Member State of the payer and the Member State of the payee. Article 45 of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8) requires ▌charges and ▌the exchange rate used to be transparent, Article 52(3) of that Directive specifies information requirements with regard to payment transactions covered by a framework contract and Article 59(2) of that Directive covers the information requirements for parties offering currency conversion services at an automated teller machine (ATM) or at the point of sale. Those information requirements have not achieved sufficient transparency and comparability of currency conversion charges in situations in which alternative currency conversion options are offered at an ATM or at the point of sale. That lack of transparency and comparability prevents competition which would reduce ▌currency conversion charges and increases the risk of payers choosing expensive currency conversion options. It is therefore necessary to introduce additional measures in order to protect consumers against excessive charges for currency conversion services and ensure that consumers are ▌given the information they need to choose the best currency conversion option.

(6)  To ensure that market players are not confronted with the need to make a disproportionate level of investment to adapt their payment infrastructure, equipment and processes to provide for increased transparency, the measures to be implemented should be appropriate, adequate and cost-effective. At the same time, in situations in which the payer is confronted with different currency conversion options at an ATM or at the point of sale, the information provided should enable comparison, to allow the payer to make an informed choice.

(7)  To achieve comparability, currency conversion charges for all card-based payments should be expressed in the same way, namely as percentage mark-ups over the latest available euro foreign exchange reference rates issued by the European Central Bank (ECB). A mark-up might have to be based on a rate derived from two ECB rates in the case of a conversion between two non-euro currencies.

(8)  In accordance with the general information requirements on currency conversion charges laid down in Directive (EU) 2015/2366, providers of currency conversion services must disclose information on their currency conversion charges prior to the initiation of the payment transaction. Parties that offer currency conversion services at an ATM or at the point of sale should provide information on their charges for such services in a clear and accessible manner, for example by displaying their charges at the counter or digitally on the terminal, or on-screen in the case of online purchases. In addition to the information referred to in Article 59(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366, those parties should provide, prior to the initiation of the payment, explicit information on the amount to be paid to the payee in the currency used by the payee and the total amount to be paid by the payer in the currency of the payer's account. The amount to be paid in the currency used by the payee should express the price of the goods and services to be bought and might be displayed at the check-out rather than on the payment terminal. The currency used by the payee is in general the local currency, but according to the principal of contractual freedom might in some cases be another Union currency. The total amount to be paid by the payer in the currency of the payer’s account should consist of the price of the goods or services and the currency conversion charges. In addition, both amounts should be documented on the receipt or on another durable medium.

(9)  With regard to Article 59(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366, where a currency conversion service is offered at an ATM or at the point of sale, it should be possible for the payer to refuse that service and to pay in the currency used by the payee instead.

(10)  In order to enable payers to compare the charges of currency conversion options at an ATM or at the point of sale, the payers' payment service providers should not only include fully comparable information on the applicable charges for currency conversion in the terms and conditions of their framework contract, but should also make that information public on a broadly available and easily accessible electronic platform, in particular on their customer websites, on their home-banking websites and on their mobile banking applications, in an easily understandable and accessible manner. This would cater for the development of comparison websites to make it easier for consumers to compare prices when travelling or shopping abroad. In addition, payers' payment service providers should remind payers about the applicable currency conversion charges when a card-based payment is made in another currency, through the use of broadly available and easily accessible electronic communication channels, such as SMS messages, e-mails or push notifications through the payer's mobile banking application. Payment service providers should agree with payment service users on the electronic communication channel through which they will provide the information on currency conversion charges, taking into consideration the most effective channel for reaching the payer. Payment service providers should also accept requests from payment service users to opt out of receiving the electronic messages containing information on the currency conversion charges.

(11)  Periodic reminders are appropriate in situations in which the payer stays abroad for longer periods of time, for example where the payer is posted or studies abroad, or where the payer regularly uses a card for online purchases in the local currency. An obligation to provide such reminders would not require disproportionate investments to adapt the existing business processes and payment processing infrastructures of the payment service provider, and would ensure that the payer is better informed when considering the different currency conversion options.

(12)  The Commission should submit to the European Parliament, to the Council, to the ECB and to the European Economic and Social Committee a report on the application of the rule equalising the cost of cross-border payments in euro with the cost of national transactions in national currencies and on the effectiveness of the information requirements on currency conversion set out in this Regulation. The Commission should also analyse further possibilities – and the technical feasibility of those possibilities – of extending the equal charges rule to all Union currencies and of further improving the transparency and comparability of currency conversion charges, as well as the possibility of disabling and enabling the option of accepting currency conversion by parties other than the payer’s payment service provider.

(13)  Since the objectives of this Regulation cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of the cross-border nature of the payments, 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,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Amendments to Regulation (EC) No 924/2009

Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 is amended as follows:

(1)  Article 1 is amended as follows:

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

“1. This Regulation lays down rules on cross-border payments and on the transparency of currency conversion charges within the Union.”,

"

(b)  in paragraph 2, the following subparagraph is added:"

“ ▌ Notwithstanding the first subparagraph of this paragraph, Articles 3a and 3b shall apply to national and cross-border payments ▌ that are denominated either in euro or in a national currency of a Member State other than the euro and that involve a currency conversion service.”;

"

(2)   in Article 2, point (9) is replaced by the following:"

“(9) ‘charge’ means any amount levied on a payment service user by a payment service provider that is directly or indirectly linked to a payment transaction, any amount levied on a payment service user by a payment service provider or a party providing currency conversion services in accordance with Article 59(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council* for a currency conversion service, or a combination thereof;

______________

* Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market, amending Directives 2002/65/EC, 2009/110/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, and repealing Directive 2007/64/EC (OJ L 337, 23.12.2015, p. 35).”;

"

(3)  Article 3 is amended as follows:

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

“1. Charges levied by a payment service provider on a payment service user in respect of cross-border payments in euro shall be the same as the charges levied by that payment service provider ▌ for corresponding national payments of the same value ▌ in the national currency of the Member State in which the payment service provider of the payment service user is located.”,

"

(b)  the following paragraph ▌ is inserted:"

“1a. Charges levied by a payment service provider on a payment service user in respect of cross-border payments in the national currency of a Member State that has notified its decision to extend the application of this Regulation to its national currency in accordance with Article 14 ▌ shall be the same as the charges levied by that payment service provider on payment service users for corresponding national payments of the same value and in the same currency.”,

"

(c)  paragraph 3 is deleted,

(d)  paragraph 4 is replaced by the following:"

“4. ▌Paragraphs 1 and 1a shall not apply to currency conversion charges.”;

"

(4)  the following article ▌is inserted:"

“Article 3a

Currency conversion charges related to card-based transactions

1.  With regard to the information requirements on currency conversion charges and the applicable exchange rate, as set out in Articles 45(1), 52(3) and 59(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366, payment service providers, and parties providing currency conversion services at an automated teller machine (ATM) or at the point of sale, as referred to in Article 59(2) of that Directive, shall express the total currency conversion charges as a percentage mark-up over the latest available euro foreign exchange reference rates issued by the European Central Bank (ECB). That mark-up shall be disclosed to the payer prior to the initiation of the payment transaction.

2.  Payment service providers shall also make the mark-ups referred to in paragraph 1 public in a comprehensible and easily accessible manner on a broadly available and easily accessible electronic platform.

3.  In addition to the information referred to in paragraph 1, a party providing a currency conversion service at an ATM or at the point of sale shall provide the payer with the following information prior to the initiation of the payment transaction:

   (a) the amount to be paid to the payee in the currency used by the payee;
   (b) the amount to be paid by the payer in the currency of the payer's account.

4.  A party providing currency conversion services at an ATM or at the point of sale shall clearly display the information referred to in paragraph 1 at the ATM or at the point of sale. Prior to the initiation of the payment transaction, that party shall also inform the payer of the possibility of paying in the currency used by the payee and having the currency conversion subsequently performed by the payer’s payment service provider. The information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 shall also be made available to the payer on a durable medium following the initiation of the payment transaction.

5.  The payer's payment service provider shall, for each payment card that was issued to the payer by the payer’s payment service provider and that is linked to the same account, send to the payer an electronic message with the information referred to in paragraph 1, without undue delay after the payer's payment service provider receives a payment order for a cash withdrawal at an ATM or a payment at the point of sale that is denominated in any Union currency that is different from the currency of the payer’s account.

Notwithstanding the first subparagraph, such a message shall be sent once every month in which the payer's payment service provider receives from the payer a payment order denominated in the same currency.

6.  The payment service provider shall agree with the payment service user on the broadly available and easily accessible electronic communication channel or channels through which the payment service provider will send the message referred to in paragraph 5.

The payment service provider shall offer payment service users the possibility of opting out of receiving the electronic messages referred to in paragraph 5.

The payment service provider and the payment service user may agree that paragraph 5 and this paragraph do not apply in whole or in part where the payment service user is not a consumer.

7.  The information referred to in this Article shall be provided free of charge and in a neutral and comprehensible manner.”;

"

(5)  the following article is inserted:"

"Article 3b

Currency conversion charges related to credit transfers

1.  When a currency conversion service is offered by the payer's payment service provider in relation to a credit transfer, as defined in point (24) of Article 4 of Directive (EU) 2015/2366, that is initiated online directly, using the website or the mobile banking application of the payment service provider, the payment service provider, with regard to Articles 45(1) and 52(3) of that Directive, shall inform the payer prior to the initiation of the payment transaction, in a clear, neutral and comprehensible manner, of the estimated charges for currency conversion services applicable to the credit transfer.

2.  Prior to the initiation of a payment transaction, the payment service provider shall communicate to the payer, in a clear, neutral and comprehensible manner, the estimated total amount of the credit transfer in the currency of the payer’s account, including any transaction fee and any currency conversion charges. The payment service provider shall also communicate the estimated amount to be transferred to the payee in the currency used by the payee.”;

"

(6)  Article 15 is replaced by the following:"

“Article 15

Review

1.  By ... [36 months from the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation], the Commission shall present to the European Parliament, the Council, the ECB and the European Economic and Social Committee ▌a report on the application and impact of this Regulation, which shall contain, in particular:

   (a) an evaluation of the way payment service providers apply Article 3 of this Regulation, as amended by Regulation (EU)....*(9);
   (b) an evaluation of the development of volumes and charges for national and cross-border payments in national currencies of Member States and in euro since the adoption of Regulation (EU)....(10);
   (c) an evaluation of the impact of Article 3 of this Regulation, as amended by Regulation (EU).... ++, on the development of currency conversion charges and other charges related to payment services, both to payers and payees;
   (d) an evaluation of the estimated impact of amending Article 3(1) of this Regulation to cover all currencies of Member States;
   (e) an evaluation of how providers of currency conversion services apply the information requirements laid down in Articles 3a and 3b of this Regulation and the national legislation implementing Articles 45(1), 52(3) and 59(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366, and whether those rules have enhanced the transparency of currency conversion charges;
   (f) an evaluation of whether and to what extent providers of currency conversion services have faced difficulties with the practical application of Articles 3a and 3b of this Regulation and the national legislation implementing Articles 45(1), 52(3) and 59(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/2366;
   (g) a cost-benefit analysis of communication channels and technologies that are used by, or are available to, providers of currency conversion services and that can further improve the transparency of currency conversion charges, including an evaluation of whether there are certain channels which payment service providers should be required to offer for the sending of the information referred to in Article 3a; that analysis shall also include an assessment of the technical feasibility of disclosing the information in Article 3a(1) and (3) of this Regulation simultaneously, prior to the initiation of each transaction, for all currency conversion options available at an ATM or at the point of sale;
   (h) a cost-benefit analysis of introducing the possibility for payers to block the option of currency conversion offered by a party other than the payer’s payment service provider at an ATM or at the point of sale and to change their preferences in this regard;
   (i) a cost-benefit analysis of introducing a requirement for the payer's payment service provider , to apply, when providing currency conversion services in relation to an individual payment transaction, the currency conversion rate applicable at the moment of initiation of the transaction when clearing and settling the transaction.

2.  The report referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall cover at least the period from 15 December 2019 until ... [30 months after the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation]. It shall take account of the specificities of various payment transactions, distinguishing in particular between transactions initiated at an ATM and at the point of sale.

When preparing its report, the Commission may use data collected by Member States in relation to paragraph 1.

_____________

* Regulation (EU) .../... of the European Parliament and of the Council of ... on ... (OJ ...).”.

"

Article 2

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

2.  It shall apply from 15 December 2019, except for the following:

(a)  point (6) of Article 1 shall apply from ... [date of entry into force of this amending Regulation];

(b)  points (4) and (5) of Article 1, as regards Article 3a(1) to (4) and Article 3b of Regulation (EC) No 924/2009, shall apply from ... [12 months from the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation];

(c)  point (4) of Article 1, as regards Article 3a(5) and (6) of Regulation (EC) No 924/2009, shall apply from ... [24 months from the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation];

(d)  point (4) of Article 1, as regards Article 3a(7) of Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 insofar as it relates to Article 3a(1) to (4) of that Regulation, shall apply from ... [12 months from the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation];

(e)  point (4) of Article 1, as regards Article 3a(7) of Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 insofar as it relates to Article 3a(5) and (6) of that Regulation, shall apply from ... [24 months from the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation].

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 382, 23.10.2018, p. 7.
(2) OJ C 367, 10.10.2018, p. 28.
(3) OJ C 382, 23.10.2018, p. 7.
(4)OJ C 367, 10.10.2018, p. 28.
(5) Position of the European Parliament of 14 February 2019.
(6)Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 December 2001 on cross-border payments in euro (OJ L 344, 28.12.2001, p. 13).
(7)Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on cross-border payments in the Community and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 (OJ L 266, 9.10.2009, p. 11).
(8)Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market, amending Directives 2002/65/EC, 2009/110/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, and repealing Directive 2007/64/EC (OJ L 337, 23.12.2015, p. 35).
(9)+ OJ: Please insert in the text the number of the Regulation contained in document 2018/0076(COD) and insert the number, date, title and OJ reference of that Regulation in the footnote.
(10)++ OJ: Please insert in the text the number of the Regulation contained in document 2018/0076(COD).


Common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009 on common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services (COM(2017)0647 – C8-0396/2017 – 2017/0288(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0125A8-0032/2019

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Amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on adapting Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency [as amended by Directive 2018/XXX/EU] and Regulation (EU) 2018/XXX of the European Parliament and of the Council [Governance of the Energy Union], by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (COM(2018)0744 – C8-0482/2018 – 2018/0385(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0126A8-0014/2019

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0744),

–  having regard to Article 294(2), Article 192(1) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0482/2018),

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

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 30 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 Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0014/2019),

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 14 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Decision (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the Union

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0385


(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 Articles 192(1) and 194(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(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2),

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

Whereas:

(1)  On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom submitted the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). The Treaties will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from the date of entry into force of a withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after that notification, i.e. from 30 March 2019, unless the European Council, in agreement with the United Kingdom, unanimously decides to extend that period.

(2)  The withdrawal agreement as agreed between the negotiators contains arrangements for the application of provisions of Union law to and in the United Kingdom beyond the date on which the Treaties cease to apply to and in the United Kingdom. If that agreement enters into force, Directive (EU) 2018/2002(4), amending Directive 2012/27/EU(5) of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6), will apply to and in the United Kingdom during the transition period in accordance with that agreement and will cease to apply at the end of that period.

(3)  Article 3(5) of Directive 2012/27/EU, which was introduced by Directive (EU) 2018/2002, requires Member States to set indicative national energy efficiency contributions towards the Union’s energy efficiency targets of at least 32,5 % for 2030. In setting those contributions, the Member States are to take into account the Union's 2030 energy consumption in terms of primary and/or final energy.

(4)  The first subparagraph of Article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 requires Member States to take into account the Union's 2030 energy consumption in terms of primary and/or final energy in their indicative national energy efficiency contributions towards the Union targets. In accordance with the first subparagraph of Article 29(3) of that Regulation, the energy consumption at Union level is also relevant for the Commission's assessment of progress towards collectively achieving the Union's targets.

(5)  Due to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union, it is necessary to amend the projected energy consumption figures for the Union in 2030 to reflect the Union of 27 Member States excluding the United Kingdom (‘EU 27’). Projections made for the Union headline targets of at least 32,5 % show that primary energy consumption should be equal to 1 273 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) and final energy consumption should be equal to 956 Mtoe in 2030 for the Union of 28 Member States. The equivalent projections for the EU 27 show that primary energy consumption should be equal to 1 128 Mtoe and final energy consumption should be equal to 846 Mtoe in 2030. This requires the amendment of the figures for energy consumption levels in 2030.

(6)  The same projections for energy consumption in 2030 are relevant for Articles 6 and 29 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999.

(7)  In accordance with Article 4(3) of Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 1182/71 of the Council(7), the cessation of the application of acts fixed at a given date is to occur on the expiry of the last hour of the day falling on that date. This Decision should therefore apply from the day following that on which Directive 2012/27/EU and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 cease to apply to the United Kingdom.

(8)  Directive 2012/27/EU and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 should therefore be amended accordingly.

(9)  In order to prepare without delay for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, this Decision should enter into force on the third day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

Amendment to Directive 2012/27/EU

In Article 3 of Directive 2012/27/EU, paragraph 5 is replaced by the following:"

‘5. Each Member State shall set indicative national energy efficiency contributions towards the Union's 2030 targets as referred to in Article 1(1) of this Directive in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council*. When setting those contributions, Member States shall take into account that the Union’s 2030 energy consumption has to be no more than 1 128 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 846 Mtoe of final energy. Member States shall notify those contributions to the Commission as part of their integrated national energy and climate plans as referred to in, and in accordance with, the procedure pursuant to Articles 3 and 7 to 12 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999.

_________________________

* Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 1).’

"

Article 2

Amendments to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999

Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 is amended as follows:

(1)  in Article 6(1), the first subparagraph is replaced by the following:"

“1. In its indicative national energy efficiency contribution for 2030 and for the last year of the period covered for the subsequent national plans pursuant to point (b)(1) of Article 4 of this Regulation, each Member State shall take into account that, in accordance with Article 3 of Directive 2012/27/EU, the Union's 2020 energy consumption is to be no more than 1 483 Mtoe of primary energy or no more than 1 086 Mtoe of final energy and the Union's 2030 energy consumption is to be no more than 1 128 Mtoe of primary energy and/or no more than 846 Mtoe of final energy.”;

"

(2)  in Article 29(3), the first subparagraph is replaced by the following:"

“3. In the area of energy efficiency, as part of its assessment referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall assess progress towards collectively achieving a maximum energy consumption at Union level of 1 128 Mtoe of primary energy and 846 Mtoe of final energy in 2030 in accordance with Article 3(5) of Directive 2012/27/EU.”.

"

Article 3

Time limits

Articles 1 and 2 of this Decision are without prejudice to the time limits provided for in Article 2 of Directive (EU) 2018/2002 and in Article 59 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999.

Article 4

Entry into force and application

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

2.  Articles 1 and 2 shall apply from the day following that on which Directive 2012/27/EU and Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 cease to apply to and in the United Kingdom.

Article 5

Addressees

This Decision is addressed to the Member States.

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1)OJ C , , p. .
(2)OJ C , , p. .
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 14 February 2019.
(4) Directive (EU) 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 210).
(5) Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC (OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 1).
(6) Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 1).
(7) Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 1182/71 of the Council of 3 June 1971 determining the rules applicable to periods, dates and time limits (OJ L 124, 8.6.1971, p. 1).


The right to peaceful protest and the proportionate use of force
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the right to peaceful protest and the proportionate use of force (2019/2569(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0127B8-0103/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the EU Treaties, and in particular Articles 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (hereinafter ‘the Charter’),

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the related case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017(1),

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

A.  whereas the EU is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; whereas these values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail;

B.  whereas the rule of law is the backbone of democracy and is one of the founding principles of the EU, operating on the basis of the presumption of mutual trust that Member States uphold respect for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, as enshrined in the Charter and the ECHR;

C.  whereas the EU is committed to respecting freedom of expression and information, as well as freedom of assembly and association;

D.  whereas Article 11 of the ECHR and Article 12 of the Charter state that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his or her interests;

E.  whereas Article 11 of the ECHR states that ‘no restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others’;

F.  whereas Article 11 of the ECHR also states that the freedom of assembly ‘shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the state’;

G.  whereas Article 12 of the Charter also states that ‘political parties at Union level contribute to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union’;

H.  whereas freedom of association should be protected; whereas a vibrant civil society and pluralistic media play a vital role in promoting an open and pluralistic society and public participation in the democratic process, and in strengthening the accountability of governments;

I.  whereas freedom of assembly goes hand in hand with freedom of expression, as ensured by Article 11 of the Charter and Article 10 of the ECHR, stating that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities and regardless of frontiers;

J.  whereas the exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary, as prescribed by Article 10 of the ECHR;

K.  whereas Article 52 of the Charter states that ‘any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms’;

L.  whereas, in accordance with Article 4(2) of the TEU, the EU ‘shall respect [the Member States’] essential state functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of the state, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security’; whereas ‘in particular, national security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State’;

M.  whereas according to the case law of the ECtHR and the Court of Justice of the European Union all restrictions of fundamental rights and civil liberties must respect the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality;

N.  whereas law enforcement authorities in several Member States have been criticised for undermining the right to protest and using excessive force;

1.  Calls on the Member States to respect the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression;

2.  Stresses that public debate is vital to the functioning of democratic societies;

3.  Condemns the adoption of restrictive laws concerning freedom of assembly in several Member States in recent years;

4.  Condemns the use of violent and disproportionate interventions by state authorities during protests and peaceful demonstrations; encourages the relevant authorities to ensure a transparent, impartial, independent and effective investigation when the use of disproportionate force is suspected or has been alleged; recalls that law enforcement agencies must always be held accountable for the fulfilment of their duties and their compliance with the relevant legal and operational frameworks;

5.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the use of force by law enforcement authorities is always lawful, proportionate, necessary and the last resort, and that it preserves human life and physical integrity; notes that the indiscriminate use of force against crowds contravenes the principle of proportionality;

6.  Notes the important role of journalists and photojournalists in reporting cases of disproportionate violence, and condemns all instances in which they have been deliberately targeted;

7.  Believes that violence against peaceful demonstrators can never be a solution in a debate or in politics;

8.  Acknowledges that the police, among whom there have also been many casualties, are operating in difficult conditions, owing in particular to the hostility of some protesters, but also to an excessive workload; condemns every kind of violence against individuals or property by violent, militant protesters, who only come for a violent purpose and harm the legitimacy of peaceful protests;

9.  Encourages the Member States’ law enforcement officials to actively participate in training provided by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) on ‘Public order – policing of major events’; encourages the Member States to exchange best practices in this regard;

10.  Emphasises the importance of guaranteeing the safety of law enforcement officers, police officers and soldiers engaged in security maintenance operations during public protest demonstrations;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0032.


The rights of intersex people
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the rights of intersex people (2018/2878(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0128B8-0101/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 8 and 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Article 21 thereof,

–  having regard to the European Social Charter, and in particular Article 11 thereof,

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime(1),

–  having regard to the report published by the Commission in 2011 entitled ‘Trans and intersex people’,

–  having regard to the final reports of the Commission-funded ‘Health4LGBTI’ pilot project on health inequalities experienced by LGBTI people,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2016 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015(3),

–  having regard to the paper published in May 2015 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) entitled ‘The fundamental rights situation of intersex people’(4),

–  having regard to the FRA’s online publication of November 2017 entitled ‘Mapping minimum age requirements concerning the rights of the child in the EU’(5),

–  having regard to the FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2018,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to Resolution 2191 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, adopted in 2017, on promoting the human rights of and eliminating discrimination against intersex people,

–  having regard to the 2015 report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights and intersex people,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

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

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

–  having regard to the 2013 report of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

–  having regard to the Yogyakarta Principles (‘Principles and State Obligations on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics’) adopted in November 2006, and the 10 complementary principles (‘plus 10’) adopted on 10 November 2017,

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on the rights of intersex people (O-000132/2018 – B8-0007/2019 and O-000133/2018 – B8-0008/2019),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

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

A.  whereas intersex individuals are born with physical sex characteristics that do not fit medical or social norms for female or male bodies, and these variations in sex characteristics may manifest themselves in primary characteristics (such as the inner and outer genitalia and the chromosomal and hormonal structure) and/or secondary characteristics (such as muscle mass, hair distribution and stature);

B.  whereas intersex people are exposed to multiple instances of violence and discrimination in the European Union and these human rights violations remain widely unknown to the general public and policymakers;

C.  whereas there is a high prevalence of surgeries and medical treatments carried out on intersex infants, although in most cases these treatments are not medically necessary; whereas cosmetic surgeries and urgent surgeries can be proposed as a package, preventing parents and intersex people from having full information on the impact of each;

D.  whereas surgeries and medical treatments are performed on intersex children without their prior, personal, full and informed consent; whereas intersex genital mutilation can have lifelong consequences, such as psychological trauma and physical impairments;

E.  whereas intersex individuals and intersex children who belong to other minority and marginalised groups are further marginalised and socially excluded and are at risk of violence and discrimination, because of their intersecting identities;

F.  whereas in most Member States surgery can be performed on an intersex child or an intersex individual with disabilities with the consent of their legal guardian, regardless of the capacity of the intersex person to decide for themselves;

G.  whereas in many cases parents and/or legal guardians are strongly pressured to make decisions without being fully informed of the lifelong consequences for their child;

H.  whereas many intersex people do not have full access to their medical records and therefore do not know that they are intersex or are not aware of the medical treatments they have been subjected to;

I.  whereas intersex variations continue to be classified as diseases, as in the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD), in the absence of evidence supporting the long-term success of treatments;

J.  whereas some intersex people will not identify with the gender they are medically assigned at birth; whereas legal gender recognition based on self-determination is only possible in six Member States; whereas many Member States still require sterilisation for legal gender recognition;

K.  whereas anti-discrimination legislation at EU level, and in most Member States, does not include discrimination based on sex characteristics, whether as a standalone category or interpreted as a form of discrimination based on sex;

L.  whereas many intersex children face human rights violations and genital mutilation in the EU when undergoing sex-normalising treatments;

1.  Notes the urgent need to address violations of the human rights of intersex people, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to propose legislation to address these issues;

Medicalisation and pathologisation

2.  Strongly condemns sex-normalising treatments and surgery; welcomes laws that prohibit such surgery, as in Malta and Portugal, and encourages other Member States to adopt similar legislation as soon as possible;

3.  Stresses the need to provide adequate counselling and support to intersex children and intersex individuals with disabilities, as well as to their parents or guardians, and fully inform them of the consequences of sex-normalising treatments;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support organisations that work to break the stigma against intersex people;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase funding for intersex civil society organisations;

6.  Calls on the Member States to improve access for intersex people to their medical records, and to ensure that no one is subjected to non-necessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guaranteeing bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination for the children concerned;

7.  Takes the view that pathologisation of intersex variations jeopardises the full enjoyment by intersex people of the right to the highest attainable standard of health as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; calls on the Member States to ensure the depathologisation of intersex people;

8.  Welcomes the depathologisation, however partial, of trans identities in the eleventh revision of the ICD (ICD-11); notes, however, that the category of ‘gender incongruence’ in childhood pathologises non-gender-normative behaviours in childhood; calls, therefore, on the Member States to pursue the removal of this category from the ICD-11, and to bring future ICD revision into line with their national health systems;

Identity documents

9.  Stresses the importance of flexible birth registration procedures; welcomes the laws adopted in some Member States that allow legal gender recognition on the basis of self-determination; encourages other Member States to adopt similar legislation, including flexible procedures to change gender markers, as long as they continue to be registered, as well as names on birth certificates and identity documents (including the possibility of gender-neutral names);

Discrimination

10.  Deplores the lack of recognition of sex characteristics as a ground of discrimination across the EU, and therefore highlights the importance of this criterion in order to ensure access to justice for intersex people;

11.  Calls on the Commission to enhance the exchange of good practices on the matter; calls on the Member States to adopt the necessary legislation to ensure the adequate protection, respect and promotion of the fundamental rights of intersex people, including intersex children, including full protection against discrimination;

Public awareness

12.  Calls on all relevant stakeholders to carry out research concerning intersex people, taking a sociological and human rights perspective rather than a medical one;

13.  Calls on the Commission to make sure that EU funds do not support research or medical projects that further contribute to violating the human rights of intersex people, in the context of the European Reference Networks (ERNs); calls on the Commission and the Member States to support and fund research on the human rights situation of intersex people;

14.  Calls on the Commission to take a holistic and rights-based approach to the rights of intersex people and to better coordinate the work of its Directorates-General for Justice and Consumers, for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, and for Health and Food Safety, so as to ensure consistent policies and programmes supporting intersex people, including training of state officials and the medical profession;

15.  Calls on the Commission to reinforce the intersex dimension in its multiannual LGBTI list of actions for the current period, and to begin preparing as of now a renewal of this strategy for the next multiannual period (2019-2024);

16.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate the sharing of best practices among Member States on protecting the human rights and bodily integrity of intersex people;

o
o   o

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.
(2) OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 21.
(3) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 2.
(4) https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2015/fundamental-rights-situation-intersex-people
(5) https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2017/mapping–minimum–age–requirements–concerning–rights–child–eu


The future of the LGBTI List of Actions (2019-2024)
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the future of the LGBTI List of Actions (2019-2024) (2019/2573(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0129B8-0127/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 8 and 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in particular to Article 21 thereof,

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

–  having regard to Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, adopted on 31 March 2010,

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426) and to its position of 2 April 2009 on that proposal,

–  having regard to the guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons adopted by the Council of the European Union at its meeting of 24 June 2013,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on LGBTI equality of 16 June 2016,

–  having regard to the results of the European Union lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survey carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and published on 17 May 2013,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017(2),

–  having regard to resolution 2191(2017) of 12 October 2017 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on promoting the human rights of and eliminating discrimination against intersex people,

–  having regard to the Commission’s List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality of December 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission’s annual reports from 2016 and 2017 on the implementation of the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality,

–  having regard to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment of 5 June 2018 (Relu Adrian Coman and Others v Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări and Ministerul Afacerilor Interne)(3) and other relevant case-law of the CJEU and ECtHR,

–  having regard to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report of May 2015 entitled ‘The fundamental rights situation of intersex people’,

–  having regard to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report of March 2017 entitled ‘Current migration situation in the EU: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex asylum seekers’,

–  having regard to the 2015 report by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on ‘human rights and intersex people’,

–  having regard to resolution 2048(2015) of 22 April 2015 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on discrimination against transgender people in Europe,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

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

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the future of the LGBTI List of Actions (2019-2024) (O-000006/2019 – B8-0014/2019),

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

A.  whereas LGBTI people continue to suffer from discrimination and violence in the European Union; whereas not all EU Member States provide legal protection for LGBTI people against discrimination;

B.  whereas Parliament, in its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, called on the Commission to adopt a strategy on LGBTI equality;

C.  whereas the European Council, in its conclusions on LGBTI equality of 16 June 2016, invited Member States to work together with the Commission with regard to the LGBTI List of Actions;

D.  whereas the Commission has adopted comprehensive strategic frameworks on other topics related to fundamental rights, such as disability and Roma inclusion, but has yet to take such action on LGBTI rights;

E.  whereas the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality published by the Commission in 2015 is a non-binding, non-comprehensive strategy;

F.  whereas the Commission’s reports on the implementation of the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality show that significant steps have been taken, but much remains to be done to ensure equality for all citizens in the EU, including LGBTI citizens;

G.  whereas although the guidelines adopted by the European Council to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons have been binding for the EU and its Member States in their external action since 2013, the EU’s lack of an internal complementing commitment poses a threat to internal and external cohesion;

H.  whereas the anti-discrimination directive remains blocked in the Council;

1.  Reiterates the recommendations of its resolution on the EU Roadmap;

2.  Notes that a backlash against gender equality, impacting LGBTI people directly, has been observed in the EU in recent years; calls on the Commission to make a commitment to tackle this backlash, to make equality and non-discrimination a priority field, and to ensure that this commitment is taken up in the work of the next Commission which will take office later in 2019;

3.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that LGBTI rights are given priority in its work programme for 2019-2024, and to strengthen cooperation among different DGs in areas where LGBTI rights should be mainstreamed, such as in education and health, as set out in the LGBTI List of Actions;

4.  Calls on the Commission to adopt another strategic document to foster equality for LGBTI people;

5.  Calls on the Commission to monitor and enforce the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation and measures to ensure the rights of LGBTI people in all areas;

6.  Calls on the Commission to continue work on the topics already included in the LGBTI List of Actions;

7.  Calls on the Commission to involve Parliament and civil society organisations in the design of its future LGBTI List of Actions;

8.  Calls on the Commission to continue awareness-raising and public communication campaigns concerning LGBTI people and their families; stresses the importance of such action at all levels, and of focusing on the benefits of diversity to society rather than on the mere normalisation of LGBTI people;

9.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate and support the Member States in their implementation of high-quality, comprehensive sexuality and relationship education programmes that provide information and education on sexual and reproductive health and rights in a way that is non-judgemental, framed positively and inclusive of LGBTI people;

10.  Calls on the Commission to take concrete measures to ensure freedom of movement for all families, including LGBTI families, in line with the recent Coman case at the CJEU;

11.  Notes that 8 Member States require sterilisation and 18 Member States require a mental health diagnosis in order to access legal gender recognition; calls on the Commission to assess whether such requirements are in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

12.  Calls on the Commission to incorporate an intersectional perspective into its future work on LGBTI rights, to take into consideration intersecting experiences of discrimination encountered by marginalised LGBTI people and to develop measures to address their specific needs, including by making funding available for specific support networks of marginalised LGBTI groups;

13.  Calls on the Commission to continue working with Member States with a view to the implementation of its future actions on LGBTI rights;

14.  Calls on the Commission to enhance the exchange of good practices on this matter; calls on the Member States to adopt the legislation required to ensure that the fundamental rights of LGBTI children are afforded adequate respect, promotion and protection, including full protection against discrimination;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 21.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0032.
(3) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 5 June 2018, ECLI:EU:C:2018:385.


The future of the INF Treaty and the impact on the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the future of the INF Treaty and the impact on the European Union (2019/2574(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0130RC-B8-0128/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (hereinafter the ‘INF Treaty’) signed in Washington on 8 December 1987 by the then US President, Ronald Reagan, and the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbatchev(1),

–  having regard to the 2018 Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments prepared by the US Department of State,

–  having regard to the statement of 21 October 2018 by US President Donald Trump warning of the withdrawal of the US from the INF Treaty,

–  having regard to the statement of 2 February 2019 by the US Secretary of State on US intent to withdraw from the INF Treaty(2),

–  having regard to the statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin of 2 February 2019 stating that Russia would also suspend its participation in the treaty,

–  having regard to the statement on the INF Treaty issued by NATO Foreign Ministers on 4 December 2018(3),

–  having regard to the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy – Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe,

–   having regard to concerns raised in 2019 by the US and NATO regarding Russia’s failure to comply with the INF Treaty, in particular as regard its new 9M729 missile system, most recently in the statement of 1 February 2019 issued by the North Atlantic Council(4),

–  having regard to the remarks by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini at the seventh EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference, held in Brussels on 18 and 19 December 2018,

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 October 2016 on nuclear security and non-proliferation(5),

–  having regard to the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation signed in Brussels on 10 July 2018,

–  having regard to the UN Agenda for Disarmament(6),

–  having regard to UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development(7),

–  having regard to the 2017 annual progress report on the implementation of the European Union strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction of 18 May 2018,

–  having regard to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with its obligations on all states to pursue nuclear disarmament in good faith and to cease the nuclear arms race,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted on 7 July 2017 by the UN General Assembly,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2010 on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(8),

–  having regard to the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Ninth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (8079/15),

–  having regard to the Nobel Peace Prize 2017 awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and to its statement of 1 February 2019 entitled ‘US withdrawal from INF Treaty puts Europe (and the world) at risk’,

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

A.  whereas the INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by the United States and the Soviet Union, was a unique agreement of the Cold War era, as it required both countries to destroy their stockpiles of, rather than set limits on, ground-launched nuclear and conventionally armed ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5 500 km, while prohibiting parties from possessing, producing and flight-testing these missiles;

B.  whereas, by May 1991, 2 692 missiles had been eliminated in accordance with the terms of the Treaty; whereas 10 years of on-site inspections then followed; whereas more than 3 000 missiles containing nuclear warheads were ultimately removed thanks to the INF Treaty;

C.  whereas the INF Treaty contributed to containing strategic competition between the US and the Soviet Union, and subsequently the Russian Federation, and to building and reinforcing stability in the Cold War era; whereas Europe has been the principal beneficiary of the INF Treaty, which has been fundamental in upholding its security for more than three decades; whereas the Treaty is still a pillar of international peace and stability, in particular as part of the European security architecture;

D.  whereas in 2014 the Obama administration stated that Russia was ‘in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5 500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles’; whereas subsequent reports, published by the US Department of State in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, reiterated US allegations of Russia’s continued violation of the Treaty;

E.  whereas the US and NATO have repeatedly questioned Russia about its missile development activities, in particular as regards the 9M729 missile system, which they consider to be in breach of the INF Treaty;

F.  whereas in December 2017, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the treaty, President Trump’s administration announced an ‘integrated strategy’ of diplomatic, military and economic measures, aimed at bringing Russia back into compliance; whereas these measures included diplomatic efforts through the Special Verification Commission, the launch of a military research and development programme, and economic measures against Russian entities involved in developing and producing the non-compliant missile;

G.  whereas the US and Russia have failed to address their mutual concerns by means of diplomatic dialogue; whereas the Special Verification Commission established under the Treaty to address, among other things, compliance concerns, has not been convened;

H.  whereas on 20 October 2018 President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Treaty, citing Russia’s non-compliance and China’s non-participation; whereas on 4 December 2018, after the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the US had found Russia in material breach of the Treaty and would suspend its obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returned to full and verifiable compliance;

I.  whereas on 1 February 2019 the US announced, after the 60-day deadline given for Russia to return to full compliance, that it would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty and begin the process of withdrawing from it unless Russia, which the US believes to be in material breach of the Treaty, returned to compliance with its terms within six months; whereas NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Russia to take advantage of the six-month period offered by the US to return to full compliance;

J.  whereas on 4 December 2018 NATO Foreign Ministers released a statement acknowledging Russia’s violations of the INF Treaty and calling on Russia to return as a matter of urgency to full and verifiable compliance with the Treaty;

K.  whereas on 2 February 2019 Russia announced that it would suspend the INF Treaty and develop new types of missiles; whereas the Russian authorities have repeatedly raised concerns about NATO missile defence installations;

L.  whereas China, along with other non-signatories to the INF Treaty, has conducted a widespread proliferation of its missile arsenal, demonstrating the need for a new treaty which binds the US, Russia and China;

M.  whereas a potential end to the Treaty could lead to an escalation of tensions among nuclear states, to misunderstandings and to a new arms race;

N.  whereas the INF Treaty is a cornerstone for maintaining global strategic stability, world peace and regional security; whereas preservation of the Treaty would contribute to efforts to preserve other existing arms control and disarmament agreements, as well as creating more favourable conditions for negotiations on arms limitations, disarmament and non-proliferation; whereas the withdrawal announcements are calling into question the likelihood of the non-extension of other major arms control treaties, such as the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (‘New START’), which would seriously damage the international arms control regime, which has provided decades of stability regarding nuclear weapons, leaving the world with no legally binding, verifiable limits on nuclear arsenals;

O.  whereas the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signature by the UN Secretary-General on 20 September 2017 and has to date been signed by 70 states, of which 21 have become States Parties through ratification of accession, amongst them EU Member State Austria, with Ireland likely to deliver its instruments of ratification to the UN Secretary-General within the next few months;

P.  whereas Nobel Peace Prize laureate ICAN has called on all states to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;

1.  Supports compliance with, and the continuation and strengthening of, the INF Treaty; recalls its vital contribution to peace and security in Europe and the rest of the world and to global disarmament and non-proliferation;

2.  Expresses deep concern at the breaches of the Treaty, and the subsequent announcements by the US and then Russia regarding the suspension of their obligations under it and their withdrawal from it within a period of six months; underlines that these developments pose a threat to one of Europe’s most vital security interests, as well as to European and global security and peace; fears that these actions might result in miscalculations and misperceptions leading to a deterioration of relations between the US and Russia, an escalation of tensions, heightened nuclear and military threats and risks, and a possible return of destabilising arms races, which would be detrimental to Europe’s security and strategic stability;

3.  Expresses condemnation of Russia for continuing to breach the terms of the Treaty;

4.  Calls on the Russian Federation to return to full and verifiable compliance, in order to address the concerns raised by the US and by NATO, in response to Russia’s continuing breach of the terms of the Treaty, and urges Russia’s commitment to the long-term future of the agreement;

5.  Recognises the importance of full transparency and dialogue in the interests of building trust and confidence in the implementation of the INF Treaty and any other agreements that support strategic stability and security; in light of the above, calls on both Russia and the US to resolve the respective compliance allegations, to engage in a constructive dialogue under the auspices of the UN Security Council, the Special Verification Commission or other appropriate forums, with the aim of reducing tensions, taking into account both parties’ interests and concerns and pursuing negotiations in good faith to safeguard the INF Treaty before the effective withdrawal in August 2019, enhancing transparency and mutual monitoring and achieving stronger rules and guarantees as regards their respective missile and nuclear capabilities;

6.  Urges the VP/HR to use the six-month window to use all political and diplomatic means at her disposal to engage in dialogue with the INF States Parties in order to restore cross-border trust, while offering the EU’s mediation expertise and experience with a view to preventing the withdrawal of both the US and Russia; urges the VP/HR to push for the preservation and development of the INF Treaty and to initiate negotiations for a multilateral treaty for this category of missiles; asks the VP/HR to ensure that the EU acts as a proactive and credible security provider, including for its neighbourhood, and that it plays a strong and constructive role in developing and reinforcing the global rules-based non-proliferation efforts and arms control and disarmament architecture;

7.  Emphasises that the uncertain future of the INF Treaty should not put other arms control agreements in jeopardy; notably urges the US and Russia to extend the New START agreement, which limits the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1 550, before it expires in 2021;

8.  Reiterates its full commitment to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes as a cornerstone of global and European security; is of the opinion that Europe must lead by example in order to be credible and to advance a nuclear-free free world; calls on the EU Member States to make multilateral nuclear disarmament an EU foreign and security policy priority; recalls its commitment to pursuing policies designed to move forward with the reduction and elimination of all nuclear arsenals;

9.  Believes that European security should remain indivisible; calls on all EU Member States which are also NATO members to act accordingly; calls on the VP/HR to develop a common threat assessment analysing the implications for the EU’s security should the protection that the INF Treaty provides to the Union and its citizens cease to apply and report back to Parliament in time, in accordance with Article 36 of the Treaty on European Union, and to develop thereafter a credible and ambitious nuclear disarmament strategy based on effective multilateralism;

10.  Calls on the VP/HR to bring forward proposals to mobilise EU funds and strengthen the Union’s knowledge base and expertise regarding non-proliferation, arms control and human capacities to analyse threats emanating from nuclear weapons; calls on the VP/HR to present prudent plans for how to prevent unintended or accidental use of nuclear weapons;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, NATO, the United Nations, the President and Members of Congress of the United States, the President of the Russian Federation and the Members of the Russian State Duma and Federation Council.

(1) https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%201657/v1657.pdf
(2) https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/02/288722.htm
(3) https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_161122.htm
(4) https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_162996.htm
(5) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 202.
(6) https://front.un-arm.org/documents/SG+disarmament+agenda_1.pdf
(7) https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg16
(8) OJ C 349 E , 22.12.2010, p. 77.


NAIADES II - An action programme to support inland waterway transport
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport (2018/2882(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0131B8-0079/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the question for oral answer to the Commission on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport (O-000016/2014 – B7-0104/2014),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 17 January 2006 on the promotion of inland waterway transport – ‘NAIADES – An Integrated Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport’ (COM(2006)0006),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2006 on the promotion of inland waterway transport: NAIADES, an integrated European Action Programme for inland waterway transport(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 September 2013 entitled ‘Towards quality inland waterway transport – NAIADES II’ (COM(2013)0623),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2014 on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport(2),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 18 September 2018 entitled ‘Mid-term progress report on the implementation of the NAIADES II action programme for the promotion of inland waterway transport (covering the period 2014-2017)’ (SWD(2018)0428),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 July 2016 entitled ‘EU Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility’ (COM(2016)0501),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2011 on the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system(3),

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

A.  whereas inland waterways link up important EU ports, cities, industrial centres and main agricultural areas, therefore making a considerable contribution to the EU goals of decarbonisation, sustainable growth and territorial cohesion;

B.  whereas a modal shift from road to inland shipping is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Paris agreement of 2015 (COP21), and whereas inland waterway transport has sufficient capacity to absorb much higher volumes of freight and passengers in order to relieve the congested European road transport system;

C.  whereas inland waterway transport is essential to diminish further negative effects of transport through more efficient use of land and energy and a reduction in noise and the number of accidents;

D.  whereas the inland waterway fleet would need to be modernised and adapted to reflect technical progress if improved environmental performance is to be achieved, thereby ensuring the competitive advantage of inland waterway transport in multimodal transport;

E.  whereas limited financial resources have been dedicated to the inland waterway sector so far, and whereas access to finance remains difficult for a sector primarily consisting of small businesses;

1.  Supports the specific actions undertaken so far and welcomes the further actions planned in the NAIADES II action programme 2014-2020;

2.  Urges the Commission to update and renew the NAIADES programme by 2020 to ensure that the potential of inland waterway transport as a safe, sustainable and effective mode of transport in the multimodal transport system can be fully exploited through a long-term EU strategy aimed at achieving a successful modal shift;

3.  Underlines that, when transport initiatives are being drafted, inland waterway transport must be considered within a holistic and long-term approach under the EU intermodal and sustainable transport policy;

4.  Emphasises that waterway tourism is a flourishing sector and that the competitiveness of important EU industries depends on reliable and cost-effective inland waterway transport for their supply of goods; calls therefore for proactive policies aimed at supporting a sustainable inland waterway sector, in particular in view of the digital, technological and environmental challenges in logistics and mobility;

5.  Notes that, by 2050, 80 % of the EU’s population will live in urban areas, increasing the demand for public transport and improved city logistics, and that it is often challenging and expensive to expand existing land infrastructure; calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate inland navigation in urban and port policies and to fully exploit its potential for transporting goods and passengers, given that many EU cities are located along waterways, with a view to improving quality of life and reducing congestion levels;

6.  Underlines that previous action programmes have fallen short of their goals as the result of a lack of dedicated resources; calls on the Commission therefore to ensure that the NAIADES III action programme receives adequate and dedicated funding to achieve its goals, supported by a well-structured policy strategy with achievable short- and mid-term goals and a concrete roadmap that sets out, inter alia, the resources for implementation;

7.  Invites the Commission to regularly undertake market research and generate forecasts to better analyse shifting patterns for freight and passengers in inland waterway transport and to enable evidence-based policymaking and better respond to emerging trends and new markets;

8.  Underlines the importance of removing bottlenecks to achieve high-quality waterways as a condition for developing and integrating inland shipping and inland ports into the trans-European transport network (TEN-T); calls on the Commission to give funding priority under the Connecting Europe Facility to rehabilitating, adapting, upgrading and automating fairway, lock, bridge, shoreside and port infrastructure and improving cross-border sections of the core network;

9.  Emphasises, in addition to the Member States’ obligations to complete the core network by 2030, their responsibility for increasing the performance, reliability, availability and climate resilience of existing infrastructure through rehabilitation, in order to ensure the role of inland waterway transport as a trustworthy mode of transport and to promote a smart use of scarce financial resources;

10.  Welcomes the work planned and being carried out in the Atlantic, Baltic-Adriatic, Mediterranean, North Sea-Baltic, North Sea-Mediterranean, Orient-East Mediterranean, Rhine-Alpine and Rhine-Danube corridors, and the fact that, in general, more Member States are investing in the development of inland waterways and ports; calls on the Commission therefore to support the implementation of projects in the trans-European transport network (TEN-T);

11.  Points out that sufficient lock capacity is vital for effective and sustainable hinterland transport and that locks play an important role in safe water regulation management and in clean energy generation; calls on the Commission therefore to reserve sufficient grants for their rehabilitation, upgrade and renewal;

12.  Urges the Commission to privilege grants for inland waterway projects in general, since past experience with blending projects has shown that private partners were involved only in the execution of works, with the public authorities remaining responsible for financing, given the public and multi-purpose character of waterways;

13.  Notes that the digitalisation of inland waterway transport plays an important role in enhancing the efficiency, safety and environmental performance of inland navigation; calls on the Commission therefore to prepare an implementation strategy for the Digital Inland Waterway Area (DINA) and a suitable regulatory framework for connected and automated transport by water, including reviewing Directive 2005/44/EC on harmonised river information services (RIS) on inland waterways in the Community(4), taking into account existing initiatives such as the RheinPorts Information System (RPIS) and creating a solid EU-wide legal basis for cross-border data exchange of fairway, voyage, cargo and traffic information with a single point of access;

14.  Underlines the importance of integrating digital inland waterway services into the data flow of other transport modes in order to facilitate seamless multimodal door-to-door services, as the combination of the physical internet and synchromodality enhances the bundling of volumes on corridors between seaports and hinterland leading to a more balanced use of land infrastructure capacity and a reduction in congestion levels and in other negative external effects;

15.  Stresses that, in order to comply with the objectives of the Paris agreement of 2015 (COP21), the resilience and decarbonisation of the transport system should be achieved through an accelerated shift to low-carbon transport, resource efficiency and clean propulsion; points out that this transition requires corresponding standards and funding to stimulate innovative waterway management, a wider uptake of clean vessels, and retrofitting where possible, and the deployment of the necessary refuelling infrastructure;

16.  Recommends exploiting synergies between clean energy grids and waterway networks to make optimal use of hydropower generated at waterways, wind energy in ports and other clean energy sources at waterside mobility hubs for supplying transport, households and industries while minimising distribution costs;

17.  Stresses the importance of providing appropriate funding for new technology, innovation and sustainable transport infrastructure and services under current and upcoming EU programmes such as the Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, the single market, the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund in order to stimulate the deployment of innovation and increase the environmental and digital performance of inland waterway transport; calls on the Commission to establish dedicated funding streams to realise this goal;

18.  Notes that dedicated technological research should be complemented with socioeconomic and pre-normative research to foster innovation in regulation and financing and boost engagement of market players to ensure wide market uptake;

19.  Invites the Member States to further develop national strategies to stimulate and support inland waterway transport, taking into account the current NAIADES action programmes and the upcoming European Action Programme for inland waterway transport, and to encourage regional, local and port authorities to do the same;

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

(1) OJ C 313 E, 20.12.2006, p. 443.
(2) OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 145.
(3) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 72.
(4) OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 152.


Protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport within and outside the EU (2018/2110(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0132A8-0057/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations(1),

–  having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which stipulates that ‘in formulating and implementing the EU’s policies, the EU and its Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals’,

–  having regard to the European Implementation Assessment on Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport, and its relevant annexes, as published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)(2) in October 2018,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2012 on the protection of animals during transport(3),

–  having regard to the scientific opinion of 12 January 2011 of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concerning the welfare of animals during transport(4),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 10 November 2011 on the impact of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport (COM(2011)0700),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 February 2012 on the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012‑2015 (COM(2012)0006),

–  having regard to its Declaration No 49/2011 of 15 March 2012 on the establishment of a maximum 8‑hour journey limit for animals transported in the European Union for the purpose of being slaughtered(5),

–  having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice of 23 April 2015(6),

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 31/2018 on animal welfare in the EU(7),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0057/2019),

A.  whereas the EU, as is stated in Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, considers animals not merely as goods or products or possessions, but as sentient beings, meaning that they are capable of feeling pleasure and pain; whereas EU legislation has translated this notion into measures which should ensure that animals are kept and transported under conditions that do not subject them to maltreatment, abuse, pain or suffering; whereas the EU is where animal welfare is most respected and defended, and it is an example for the rest of the world;

B.  whereas every year millions of animals are transported between Member States, within Member States and to third countries over long distances for breeding, rearing, further fattening and slaughter; whereas animals are also transported for recreation, for shows and as pets; whereas EU citizens are increasingly concerned about compliance with animal welfare standards, especially in live animal transport;

C.  whereas Parliament called in its resolution of 12 December 2012 for journey times of animals intended for slaughter to be reduced to a maximum of eight hours;

D.  whereas, according to the definition of 2008 of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), animal welfare means that an animal is healthy, has enough space, is well nourished, feels safe, is free to express normal patterns of behaviour and does not suffer from feelings such as fear, pain and distress; whereas this is not the case in the vast majority of cases in live animal transport, in particular over long distances;

E.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport operations applies to the transport of all live vertebrate animals carried out within the Union;

F.  whereas Member States are responsible for ensuring the correct implementation and enforcement of the Regulation at national level, including official inspections, while the Commission is responsible for ensuring that Member States implement EU legislation properly;

G.  whereas Member States are not enforcing Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 stringently or strictly enough within the EU and are not seeking its enforcement at all outside the EU;

H.  whereas the large number of infringements identified by the Commission’s DG SANTE in 2017 in several Member States would require the initiation of the relevant Treaty infringement proceedings;

I.  whereas transport is stressful for animals as it exposes them to a range of challenges deleterious to their welfare; whereas, as regards trade with certain third countries, additional animal suffering is caused by very long journeys including long delays at borders for checking documents, vehicles and the fitness of animals for transport;

J.  whereas the quality and frequency of the Member States’ inspections have a direct impact on the level of compliance with the requirements; whereas an analysis of Member States’ inspection reports reveals huge differences between Member States in terms of the number of inspections, ranging from zero to several million per annum, and the incidence of infringements, ranging from zero to 16.6 %, which suggests that Member States take different approaches to inspections, e.g. random versus risk-based strategies; whereas such differences in approach also make it impossible for data to be compared between Member States;

K.  whereas training and education of drivers to promote careful driving based on which types of animals are being transported would improve the welfare of animals during transport(8);

L.  whereas proper animal handling can result in reduced time for loading and unloading animals, reduced weight loss, fewer injuries and wounds and better meat quality;

M.  whereas there are extensive studies proving that animal welfare has an impact on meat quality;

N.  whereas the quality of stockmanship at loading and unloading, together with care in transit, should remain the primary focus in order to protect animal welfare during transport;

O.  whereas fitness for transport is a major factor in ensuring animal welfare during transport, as welfare risks during transport are greater for animals which are injured, weakened, pregnant, unweaned or sick; whereas there can be uncertainty as regards fitness for transport and stage of gestation;

P.  whereas fitness issues are responsible for the largest percentage of infringements, while documentation issues account for the second largest;

Q.  whereas there is often confusion among those responsible about what needs to be done if animals are declared unfit for transport;

R.  whereas those responsible are often uncertain as to how far an animal’s pregnancy has progressed;

S.  whereas it is particularly problematic to transport unweaned calves and lambs;

T.  whereas farmers are the party most interested keeping in their animals fit for transport and which has most to lose if transport does not comply with the existing rules;

U.  whereas there are often shortcomings in providing animals with sufficient food and water and observing the 24-hour rest period when there is a stop at a verified control post;

V.  whereas transport vehicles are often overcrowded; whereas high temperatures and inadequate ventilation inside the vehicle are a major problem;

W.  whereas there have been recent outbreaks in various Member States of infectious animal diseases such as African swine fever, avian flu and small ruminant and bovine animal diseases; whereas transport of live animals can increase the risk of spread of those diseases;

X.  whereas the transport of meat and other animal-derived products, as well as of semen and embryos, is technically and administratively easier and sometimes financially more beneficial for livestock farmers than the transport of live animals for the purpose of slaughter or breeding; whereas the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the OIE emphasise that animals should be reared as close as possible to the premises in which they were born and should be slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production; whereas the availability of slaughter facilities, including mobile facilities, at or near rearing sites can help generate livelihoods in rural areas;

Y.  whereas slaughtering animals as close as possible to where they were bred would be the best way to ensure their welfare;

Z.  whereas there is an uneven spread of slaughterhouses across Member States,

AA.  whereas for some Member States and supply chains in the Union, the live transport of animals, for further production or slaughter, is important to ensure competition in the marketplace;

Recommendations

Implementation and enforcement

1.  Notes that each year millions of animals are transported live for slaughter or breeding within the EU and from the EU to third countries; considers that, where correctly implemented and enforced, Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 has a positive impact on the welfare of animals during transport; welcomes the Commission’s guidelines on the subject, but regrets that, according to the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 31/2018, those guidelines and some of the actions planned by the Commission were delayed by up to five years; notes that severe problems with transport still persist and that the enforcement of the Regulation would appear to be the primary concern of those involved in its implementation;

2.  Highlights the fact that the Committee on Petitions receives a very large number of petitions on animal welfare during transport, which frequently denounce systematic, continuous and serious violations of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 by both Member States and transporters;

3.  Stresses that the suffering of animals during transport is a cause of considerable social concern; notes that, on 21 September 2017, the Commission received over one million signatures in support of the #StopTheTrucks campaign, in which EU citizens call for an end to long-distance transport;

4.  Regrets the fact that the degree of progress in implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 by Member States has been insufficient to meet the Regulation’s main objective, which is to improve animal welfare during transport, particularly in relation to the verification of journey logs and the application of penalties; calls on Member States to substantially improve compliance with the Regulation; calls on the Commission to ensure an effective and uniform enforcement of existing EU legislation on animal transport across all Member States; urges the Commission to pursue legal action against, and impose sanctions on, Member States which fail to apply the Regulation correctly;

5.  Emphasises that partial implementation is insufficient to achieve the Regulation’s overarching purpose of avoiding injury to or undue suffering of animals or their death during transport, and that greater efforts should therefore be made to prevent serious incidents which have a significant impact on animal welfare and to prosecute those responsible for them;

6.  Regrets that a number of issues related to Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 are yet to be resolved, including: overcrowding; insufficient headroom; failure to provide the required rest stops, food and water; inadequate ventilation and watering devices; transport in extreme heat; transport of unfit animals; transport of unweaned calves; the need to ascertain the pregnancy status of live animals; the extent to which the journey logs are checked; the infringement/enforcement/penalty relationship; the ‘mixed’ impact of training, education and certification; and insufficient bedding, as also identified by the European Court of Auditors in its Special Report No 31/2018 and by NGOs in complaints lodged with the Commission; calls for improvement in the abovementioned areas;

7.  Calls on all Member States to ensure that journeys are planned and executed, from departure to destination, in line with EU animal welfare requirements, taking into account the different means of transport and the range of geographical conditions across the EU and third countries;

8.  Stresses that the systematic breach of the Regulation in certain areas and some Member States leads to unfair competition resulting in an uneven playing field between operators in the different Member States, which in turn can lead to a ‘race to the bottom’ regarding animal welfare standards during transport; calls on the Commission, given that sanction levels can be more than ten times higher in some Member States than in others, to develop a harmonised EU sanction system, in order to ensure that penalties are effective, proportionate and dissuasive, taking into account repeated infringements; calls on the Commission to develop a roadmap to align sanctions across the Member States;

9.  Regrets that the Commission ignored Parliament’s resolution of 12 December 2012, and emphasises that strong and harmonised enforcement with effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in accordance with Article 25 of the Regulation is central to improving animal welfare during transport and that the Member States cannot restrict themselves simply to issuing recommendations and instructions; calls on the Commission to act on the call in that resolution to check the Regulation for incompatibilities with legal requirements in individual Member States;

10.  Considers that repeated infringements, where they occur in circumstances over which the transporter had control, should lead to prosecution; calls on Member States to prosecute breaches of the Regulation, especially for repeated infringements; considers that effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties should include the confiscation of vehicles and compulsory retraining of those responsible for the welfare and transport of animals, and believes this should be harmonised through the Union; considers that the penalties should reflect the damage, scope, duration and recurrence of the infringement;

11.  Calls on the Member States to make more effective use of the strong enforcement powers conferred on them under the Regulation, including the obligation to require transporters to establish systems to prevent the recurrence of breaches and to suspend or withdraw a transporter’s authorisation; calls on the Member States to take sufficient corrective actions and introduce sanctions in order to avoid animal suffering and deter continued non-compliance on the part of operators; calls on the Member States and the Commission to aim for zero non-compliance in implementing and enforcing the Regulation;

12.  Calls on the Commission to draw up, after consultation of the National Contact Points, a list of operators who have perpetrated repeated and serious breaches of the Regulation, on the basis of inspection and implementation reports; calls on the Commission to publish frequent updates of this list, and also to promote examples of best practice in both transport and governance;

13.  Emphasises that non-compliance with the Regulation by Member States threatens its purpose of preventing the occurrence and spread of infectious animal diseases, as transport is one of the causes of the rapid spread of such diseases, including those which can be transmitted to humans; notes that vehicles often do not conform to the requirements of Article 12 of the amended Council Directive 64/432/EEC of 26 June 1964 on animal health problems affecting intra-Community trade in bovine animals and swine(9); considers, in particular, that inadequate waste storage poses risks for the spread of antimicrobial resistance and disease; calls on the Commission to develop harmonised procedures to grant approval to vessels and trucks and to take action to prevent the spreading of infectious animal diseases through transport, both within the EU and from third countries, by promoting biosecurity measures and greater animal welfare;

14.  Calls for increased cooperation between competent authorities to strengthen enforcement by using technology to create a real-time feedback loop between the Member State of the point of departure, the Member State of the point of arrival and any countries of transit; calls on the Commission to develop geolocation systems to enable tracking of the animals' location and the duration of journeys in transport vehicles, as well as any non-compliance with transport schedules; takes the view that where animals which start out in a good state of fitness arrive unfit, this should result in a full investigation, and in the event of recurrence the responsible parties in the transport chain must be immediately penalised in accordance with the law, and the owner-farmer must be entitled to compensation under national law for any resultant loss of income; further takes the view that the competent authorities should severely penalise the organiser and the certifying officer of any journey log created in the Member State of departure in the event of the log being falsely or misleadingly filled in;

15.  Considers that enforcement is particularly difficult when a journey passes through several Member States and when the various enforcement tasks (journey log approval, transporter authorisation, certification of competence and of vehicle approval, etc) are undertaken by several different Member States; calls on Member States that find breaches to notify all other Member States involved, as required by Article 26 of the Regulation, in order to prevent recurrence of the infringements and enable optimised risk assessment;

16.  Asks the Commission to submit regular reports to Parliament on the implementation and enforcement of the Regulation, including breakdown of infringements by Member State, by species and by type of infringement, in relation to the volume of live animal transport per Member State;

17.  Welcomes the cases where governments, scientists, businesses, industry representatives and national competent authorities have worked together to define best practices in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of the legislation, as is the case inter alia with the Animal Transport Guides website; calls on the Commission to disseminate and promote best practices for the Member States regarding the transport of livestock, and to support the EU animal welfare platform, promoting enhanced dialogue and the exchange of good practices between all actors; calls on the Commission to develop a new animal welfare strategy for the period 2020-2024 and to support innovation in animal transport;

18.  Calls on the Commission to continue cooperating with the OIE, EFSA and the Member States in order to support the implementation and proper enforcement of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, with a view to promoting an enhanced dialogue on issues relating to animal welfare during transport, with a particular focus on:

   better application of EU rules on animal welfare during transport, through exchanges of information and best practices and the direct involvement of stakeholders;
   supporting training activities aimed at drivers and transport companies;
   better dissemination of the Animal Transport Guides and Factsheets, translated into all EU languages;
   development of and action on voluntary commitments on the part of businesses to further improve animal welfare during transport;
   increased exchanges of information and greater use of best practices among national authorities in order to reduce the number of infringements caused by transport companies and drivers;

19.  Calls on the Commission to assess the compatibility of the Regulation with Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport(10), as regards driving time and drivers’ rest periods;

20.  Stresses the importance of distinguishing between the responsibility of animal transport undertakings and that of farmers, as it is undertakings, and not farmers, that should be held accountable for problems arising from the transport of animals; recalls that farmers are the most interested in animal welfare, for emotional and affective reasons, but also economic reasons;

21.  Recalls that the Commission, in its role as guardian of the Treaties, is responsible for monitoring whether EU laws are applied correctly; calls on the European Ombudsman to investigate whether the Commission has consistently failed to ensure compliance with the current Regulation and whether it could thus be held responsible for maladministration;

22.  Regrets the decision taken by the Conference of Presidents not to propose the setting up of a parliamentary committee of inquiry on the welfare of animals during transport within and outside the EU, despite the support of a large number of MEPs from different political groups; recommends, therefore, that Parliament establish a committee of inquiry on the welfare of animals during transport within and outside the EU as from the beginning of the next parliamentary term in order to properly investigate and monitor alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport;

Data collection, inspections and monitoring

23.  Regrets the difficulty of carrying out a coherent analysis of the implementation of the Regulation that exists owing to differing approaches to data collection between Member States; calls on the Commission to set common minimum standards for tracing systems regarding all journeys in order to allow more harmonised data collection and assessment of the parameters monitored; calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to supply the Commission with harmonised, comprehensive and complete data on transport inspections and infringement levels; calls on the Member States to carry out more unannounced controls and to develop and apply a risk-based strategy in order to target their inspection activities on high-risk forms of transport so as to maximise the efficiency of the limited inspection resources;

24.  Notes that the Commission, according to the 2018 Court of Auditors Special Report on animal welfare in the EU, has recognised that the data reported by Member States is not sufficiently complete, consistent, reliable or detailed to permit drawing conclusions on compliance at EU level;

25.  Stresses that inspections must be carried out uniformly throughout the Union and on an adequate proportion of the animals transported each year within each Member State, in order to guarantee and maintain the proper functioning of the internal market and avoid distortions of competition within the EU; calls, in addition, on the Commission to increase the number of unannounced spot inspections by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) focused on animal welfare and the transport of animals; believes that differing methods of data collection and control mechanisms make it difficult to establish an accurate picture of compliance in individual Member States; calls on the Commission, therefore, to adopt a more harmonised reporting structure and to undertake further analysis of the data generated by FVO inspection reports and from Member States’ returns relating to their Multiannual National Control Plans (MANCPs); recognises that the DG SANTE audits serve as an important source of information for the Commission to assess the implementation of the current Regulation; calls on the Commission to carry out at least seven unannounced visits every year, in line with the Court of Auditors’ recommendation;

26.  Calls on the Commission to provide guidance to Member States on how the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) can be used to support the preparation of risk analyses for inspections regarding the transport of live animals, as recommended by the Court of Auditors in its 2018 Special Report, which notes that the authorities of the Member States responsible for transport inspections were rarely using information from TRACES to target inspections; calls for a more effective and transparent monitoring system, including public access to information collected via TRACES; further calls for an increase in the number of yearly inspections by the FVO;

27.  Calls on the Member States to increase controls across the entire production chain and, in particular, to carry out efficient and systematic inspections of animal consignments before loading, in order to halt practices that breach the Regulation and worsen conditions for the transport of animals by land or sea, such as allowing overstocked means of transport or unfit animals to continue their long journeys, or permitting the continued use of control posts with inadequate facilities for resting, feeding and watering animals in transport;

28.  Is concerned about the low level of inspections in some Member States and the low or zero level of infringements reported; questions the accuracy of inspection systems and reporting; calls on those Member States which currently conduct few inspections or none at all to carry out inspections in sufficient numbers, and to submit comprehensive inspection reports to the Commission;

29.  Calls on the Member States also to inspect intra-European transport where animals are being loaded on to vehicles in order to check compliance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

30.  Agrees with the Commission that it is good practice for competent authorities to inspect all consignments destined for non-EU countries at loading stage(11); believes that a percentage of intra-EU consignments should also be inspected at loading stage in proportion to the number of violations reported by NGOs and FVO inspections; considers that competent authorities should check at loading stage that the Regulation’s requirements on floor space and headroom are being respected, that the ventilation and water systems are operating properly, that the drinking devices are working properly and are appropriate to the species carried, that no unfit animals are loaded, and that sufficient feed and bedding are being carried;

31.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that there is a sufficient number of accessible, clean and functioning drinking facilities in keeping with the needs of each species, that the water tank has been filled and that there is a sufficient quantity of fresh litter;

32.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the competent authorities verify that the journey logs contain realistic information, and thus comply with Article 14(1) of the Regulation;

33.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that transport vehicles comply with the minimum space requirements set out in Chapter VII of Annex I to the Regulation and that in case of high temperatures the animals are allowed correspondingly more space;

34.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the internal height of transport vehicles meets minimum standards and that there are no gaps between the floor or vehicle wall and the partitions;

35.  Acknowledges that some progress has been made in animal transport within the EU, but is concerned at the number of reports of inappropriate vehicles being used to transport live animals by both land and sea, and calls for the monitoring and sanctioning of such practices to be stepped up; recognises that the requirements set out in Articles 20 and 21 of the Regulation regarding transport by livestock vessels are often disregarded; calls on Member States not to authorise the use of vehicles and livestock vessels which do not comply with the provisions of the Regulation, and to withdraw authorisations already issued in the event of non-compliance; calls on Member States to be more rigorous in both certification and approval procedures for vehicles and granting certificates of competence to drivers;

36.  Calls, therefore, for harmonised and binding standards for the authorisation of vehicles and vessels as means of transport for livestock, which should be issued by a central EU authority; whereas that authority should be responsible for determining the suitability of the means of transport for transporting animals in terms of the vehicles’ state and the nature of their equipment (e.g. on-board presence of an appropriate satellite navigation system);

37.  Calls on operators to provide for the thorough training of drivers and attendants in line with Annex IV to the Regulation, so as to ensure correct treatment of animals;

38.  Recognises that some Member States have ships and ports which meet the required standards, but highlights that poor conditions nonetheless prevail during maritime transport, particularly in relation to loading and offloading; calls on Member States to be more rigorous in their certification and approval procedures for vessels, to improve their pre-loading checks on livestock vessels and animal fitness, and to properly inspect loading operations in line with the Regulation; calls on Member States to provide the Commission with detailed plans of their inspection facilities; calls on the Commission to draw up, update and circulate a list of ports with adequate animal inspection facilities; further calls on the competent authorities not to approve journey logs that plan to use ports without such facilities; calls on Member States to adapt their ports and ensure due maintenance of their vessels, in order to improve the conditions of animal welfare in animal maritime transport;

39.  Calls on the Commission to approve innovative alternatives for export checks in accordance with Article 133(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/429(12), such as platform inspections, which are an improvement for animal welfare as they have a lower stocking rate and do not require animals to be unloaded, thus shortening waiting times;

40.  Notes that the requirement of animal health certificates for transport across Member States creates a negative incentive to choose domestic destinations over the closest possible destination; calls on the Commission to use its powers under Article 144(1) of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 to adopt a delegated act that would provide a derogation for movements that pose a low risk for the spread of disease;

Journey times

41.  Insists that the journey time for all animals being transported should be only as long as necessary, taking into account the geographical differences at Member State level and in line with recital 5 of the Regulation, which states that ‘for reasons of animal welfare the transport of animals over long journeys … should be limited as far as possible’ and its recital 18, which states that ‘long journeys are likely to have more detrimental effects on the welfare of animals than short ones’;

42.  Insists that the transport time for animals, including loading and unloading time, must take into account species-specific veterinary advice, irrespective of whether land, sea or air transport is involved;

43.  Regrets the infringements of the Regulation that concern non-application or incorrect application of the specific rules concerning unweaned animals, such as calves, lambs, kids, foals and piglets, which are still on a milk diet, and calls for the introduction of more detailed measures to ensure that the welfare of these animals is fully protected during transport;

44.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that unweaned animals are unloaded for at least one hour so they can be supplied with electrolytes or milk substitutes and that they are not transported for more than eight hours in total;

45.  Calls on the Commission to provide a definition of unweaned animal per species, and to limit the journeys of unweaned animals to both a maximum distance of 50 km and a maximum duration of 1.5 hours, given the difficulty of ensuring their welfare during transport;

46.  Points out that transport planning documents often only specify placenames and fail to provide precise addresses of control, supply and assembly points, which makes controls significantly more difficult;

47.  Calls, taking into account Parliament’s resolution of 12 December 2012, for animal journey times to be as short as possible and in particular for the avoidance of long and very long journey times as well as journeys outside the EU’s borders, by employing alternative strategies, such as ensuring economically viable and fairly distributed local or mobile slaughter facilities near livestock farms, promoting short distribution circuits and direct sales, replacing, when possible, the transport of breeding animals by using semen or embryos, and transporting carcasses and meat products, as well as by means of regulatory or non-regulatory initiatives in Member States to facilitate on-farm slaughter; calls on the Commission to clearly define specific lower journey times as appropriate, for the transport of all the various species of live animals, and also for the transport of unweaned animals;

48.  Notes that a variety of requirements, as well as changing market conditions and policy decisions, have rendered small slaughterhouses economically unviable, resulting in an overall decline in their numbers; urges the Commission and local authorities in Member States to support and promote, where needed, the options of on-farm slaughter, economically viable local or mobile slaughter, and meat processing facilities within Member States, so that animals are slaughtered as close as possible to their place of rearing, which is also in the interests of maintaining employment in rural areas; calls on the Council and Commission to develop a strategy for moving towards a more regional model of livestock production in which animals are born, fattened and slaughtered in the same region, wherever practicable taking into account geographical differences, instead of being transported over extremely long distances;

49.  Urges the Commission to examine how farmers, slaughterhouses and the meat processing industry could be incentivised to slaughter animals at the nearest facility in order to prevent lengthy animal transport times and reduce emissions; calls on the Commission to facilitate innovative solutions in this regard, such as mobile slaughtering, while ensuring high animal welfare standards;

50.  Considers that in certain cases a reduction in the permitted journey times, as currently laid down in Chapter V of Annex 1 to the Regulation, would not be viable, and that therefore solutions should be found for cases where geographical circumstances and rural isolation require the transport of live animals over land and/or sea for further production or slaughter;

51.  Calls on the Member States to allow emergency slaughtering directly on the livestock and fattening farms, where appropriate, in the event that an animal is found to be unfit to be transported and where first aid measures prove ineffective, in order to avoid unnecessary animal suffering;

52.  Notes that the societal and economic value of an animal can impact on its standard of transportation; highlights that transport standards for breeding animals in the equine industry are of high quality;

53.  Calls on the Commission to develop a strategy to ensure a shift from live animal transport to a mainly meat-and-carcass and germinal products trade, given the environmental and animal welfare and health impacts of live animal transport; considers that any such strategy must address the economic factors that influence the decision to transport live animals; calls on the Commission to include transport to third countries in this strategy;

54.  Calls on the Member States to make programmes for the religious slaughter of animals available in slaughterhouses, given that a large proportion of exports of live animals are to Middle Eastern markets;

55.  Recognises the current market distortion caused by differing tariffs applied to live animals and to meat, which strongly incentivises the trade in live animals; urges the Commission, alongside its trading partners, to review this distortion with the aim of reducing the trade in live animals and, where necessary, replacing these sales with meat;

56.  Recalls that, under the current Regulation, a rest break at an approved control post is already mandatory after the maximum period of transport of domestic Equidae and domestic animals of the bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine species, where the transport time exceeds eight hours;

Animal welfare

57.  Calls on the competent authorities of the Member States to ensure that official veterinarians are present at Union exit points, tasked with verifying that animals are fit to continue their journey and that vehicles and/or vessels meet the requirements of the Regulation; notes in particular that Article 21 of the Regulation specifies that veterinarians shall check vehicles before they leave the EU, to ensure that they are not overcrowded, provide sufficient headroom, provide bedding, and are carrying sufficient feed and water, and that the ventilation and water devices are functioning correctly;

58.  Encourages the use of contingency plans for all journeys, including, for example, replacement trucks and contingency centres, to enable the transporter to respond in an effective manner to emergencies and reduce the impact of a delay or accident on the animals transported for breeding or slaughter, as is already required of transporters on long journeys under the Regulation;

59.  Insists that animal welfare legislation should be based on science and the latest technology; deplores the fact that, despite clear recommendations from EFSA and Parliament’s request in its 2012 resolution, the Commission has failed to update the rules on animal transport with the latest scientific evidence; calls on the Commission, therefore, to update the rules addressing specific needs on the basis of the latest scientific knowledge and technology, in particular as regards factors including sufficient ventilation and temperature and humidity control through air conditioning in all vehicles, appropriate drinking systems and liquid feed, particularly for unweaned animals, reduced stocking densities and specified sufficient minimum headroom, and for the vehicles to be adapted to the needs of each species; highlights the EFSA opinion’s conclusion that other aspects come into play in the welfare of animals aside from the duration of the journey, such as proper loading and unloading, as well as vehicle design;

60.  Expresses concern over journeys in which animals are watered with contaminated water that is unfit for consumption or are deprived of access to water because of malfunctioning or badly located watering devices; stresses the need to ensure that vehicles used for the transport of live animals carry sufficient water during journeys, and that in any case the amount supplied should be appropriate for the specific requirements of the animals being transported and for the number of those animals;

61.  Welcomes the Commission's commitment to develop animal-based welfare indicators which should promote better welfare outcomes for animals in transport; considers that it should develop these indicators without delay so that they can be used as a complement to current legislative requirements;

62.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that any future revision of the legislation on animal welfare during transport is based on objective and scientifically sound indicators, in order to prevent arbitrary decisions having an unjustified economic impact on livestock sectors;

63.  Insists that under EU law farmers are legally responsible for ensuring that their animals being transported will not be caused injury, harm or any undue suffering;

64.  Stresses that infringements are often due to the inadequacy of the ventilation systems of vehicles used for the road transport of live animals over long distances, and that in these situations, animals are forced into small spaces with extreme temperatures, well beyond the range of temperatures and tolerance limits set out in the Regulation;

65.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that stunning is performed, without exception, before religious ritual slaughter in all Member States;

66.  Regrets that compartments for animals do not always provide sufficient space to allow adequate ventilation inside vehicles and that natural movements for animals are prevented, often forcing them to take up unnatural positions for long periods, in clear violation of the technical rules set out in Article 6 of the Regulation and Chapter II, point 1.2 of Annex I thereto;

67.  Considers it necessary to make it compulsory for veterinarians to be present on board ships used for the transport of live animals, to report and keep count of the number of animals that die during the journeys, and to draw up emergency plans to deal with any situations at sea that might have a negative impact on the welfare of the animals being transported;

68.  Notes that farmers, transporters and competent authorities across Member States interpret and enforce Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 differently, especially with regard to the fitness of animals for transport; calls on the Commission to revise the Regulation in order to specify the requirements for transport in greater detail where necessary; urges the Commission and the Member States, in the context of a level playing field, to ensure that in future the Regulation is enforced and implemented in a harmonised and uniform way throughout the Union, in particular as regards the fitness of animals to be transported;

69.  Calls on the Commission to develop a full working definition of what constitutes animals’ fitness for transport, and to draft practical guidelines for its assessment; calls on the Member States to provide awareness-raising and information activities, including solid, regular and mandatory training courses, education and certification for drivers, transporters, traders, assembly centres, slaughterhouses, veterinarians, border agents and any other operator involved in the transport of animals in order to reduce the high levels of fitness infringements; calls on operators to ensure the thorough training of drivers and attendants in line with Annex IV to the Regulation;

70.  Calls for strict vigilance to ensure that sick, weak or lightweight animals, lactating animals, pregnant females and females not meeting the necessary weaning time are not transported;

71.  Stresses that, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, it is already mandatory to provide animals being transported over long distances with water, feed and rest, at suitable intervals and as appropriate to their species and age; urges the Commission to conduct more effective monitoring with a view to ensuring the full and harmonised compliance with these legal requirements on the part of all Member States;

72.  Stresses the need for Member States to ensure that animal transport is properly organised, taking account of weather conditions and type of transport;

73.  Stresses that when animals are required to be unloaded for a 24-hour rest period in third countries, the organiser must identify a place for rest with facilities equivalent to those of an EU control post; calls on the competent authorities to regularly inspect these facilities and not to approve journey logs if the proposed place for rest has not been confirmed to have EU-equivalent facilities;

74.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the transport planning includes proof of a reservation, including feed, water and fresh litter, at a control post; calls on the Commission to define the requirements for the location and facilities of places of rest;

75.  Recognises that lower stocking densities and interrupting journeys to let animals rest have an adverse economic impact on transport operators which may affect the proper handling of transported animals; calls on the Commission to encourage incentives for their proper handling;

76.  Calls on the Member States to ensure an improvement in farm record-keeping on gestation periods;

77.  Calls on the Commission to formulate, on the basis of scientific findings, guidelines regarding water for animals transported in cages and conditions for transporting chicks that promote a high level of welfare;

78.  Recalls that Member States must find welfare-compliant solutions for animals at the end of their lives and production cycles;

Economic help

79.  Calls for more extensive use of the rural development measure ‘animal welfare payments’, pursuant to Article 33 of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013(13), which provides support for high standards of animal welfare going beyond the applicable mandatory standards;

80.  Calls for the upcoming CAP reform to maintain and reinforce the link between CAP payments and improved animal welfare conditions which fully respect or go beyond the standards set out in Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

81.  Urges support for measures to bring about a balanced distribution of slaughterhouses in the Member States that ensures that livestock numbers in a given region are taken into account;

Third countries

82.  Is concerned at the persistent reports of animal transport and welfare problems in certain third countries; notes that slaughter in certain third countries to which the EU sends animals entails extreme and prolonged suffering and regularly breaches the international standards on welfare at slaughter as laid down by the OIE; while acknowledging that demand in third countries is often for live animals, calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote a shift, when possible, towards the transport of meat or carcasses, instead of live animals, to third countries, as well as the transport of semen or embryos instead of breeding animals;

83.  Strongly criticises the statistics drawn up by the Commission on compliance with the regulation as regards the journeys made to transport live animals to non-EU countries, and stresses that they have been drawn up without any systematic checks on animal transport vehicles

84.  Requests the Commission, in its bilateral trade negotiations with third countries, to demand compliance with the EU’s animal welfare rules and to defend the internationalisation, within the framework of the World Trade Organisation, of the Union provisions on the subject;

85.  Regrets the fact that the standards practised by certain third countries are not as high as those within the EU; calls on the Commission to strengthen the existing requirements vis-à-vis the Union’s trading partners, especially regarding trade in and transport of animals, so that they are at least as stringent as EU standards; calls on Member States exporting to third countries to work with local authorities to improve animal welfare standards;

86.  Calls for consistent and full compliance with the 2015 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-424/13, in which the Court ruled that, for the transport of animals involving a long journey commencing in EU territory and then continuing outside of it, the transporter, in order to be authorised to depart, must submit a journey log which is realistic in terms of compliance, with particular attention to the temperature forecast; calls on competent authorities not to approve journey logs where, in line with the Court’s ruling, animals must be unloaded for a 24-hour rest in a non-EU country except where the organiser has identified a place for that rest that provides facilities equivalent to those of a control post; recalls also, in this regard, that the only list which exists is one from 2009 for animal housing on the routes in third countries, in which precise address details are frequently lacking, thus making the necessary inspections under EU law significantly more difficult; calls on official veterinarians at exit points to check, as required by Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, that before vehicles leave the EU the provisions of the Regulation are complied with;

87.  Recalls also, in this context, the Commission proposal for a directive on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law (whistleblowers) (COM(2018)0218), in particular in the context of veterinary checks;

88.  Deplores the often lengthy delays at borders and ports and draws attention to the increased pain and distress that this causes to animals; calls on Member States bordering third countries to provide rest areas where animals can be unloaded and given feed, water, rest and veterinary care so that journey logs can be correctly completed, and to open dedicated express lanes which are sufficiently staffed at customs for animals being transported in order to reduce waiting periods, without undermining the quality of sanitary and customs controls at the borders; further calls on Member States to cooperate better in planning livestock transport, in order to avoid too large a number arriving for border controls at the same time;

89.  Calls on the Commission to increase cooperation and communication, including further mutual assistance and accelerated exchange of information, between the competent authorities in all Member States and in third countries in order to reduce animal welfare and animal disease problems related to poor administration by ensuring that exporters meet the administrative requirements in full; asks the Commission to promote animal welfare internationally and to conduct initiatives to increase awareness among non-EU countries;

90.  Calls on the Commission to exert pressure on transit countries which put in place bureaucratic hurdles and security obstacles that delay unnecessarily the transport of live animals;

91.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to pay particular attention to animal welfare infringements during waterway and maritime journeys to third countries and to assess possible breaches of legislation, such as the prohibited discharge of dead animals from vessels into the Mediterranean (often with earmarks cut off) that occurs because disposal is often not possible at the port of destination;

92.  Highlights Council Decision 2004/544/EC on the signing of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals during International Transport(14), under which transport can be any one of the following: between two Member States passing through the territory of a non-member state; between a Member State and a non-member state; or between two Member States directly;

93.  Stresses that unless animal transport standards in third countries are aligned with those of the EU and their implementation is sufficient to ensure full compliance with the Regulation, live animal transport journeys to third countries should be subject to bilateral agreements to mitigate these differences, and that in the event of failure to achieve this, they should be forbidden;

94.  Reminds Member States that, under established case-law(15)they may introduce stricter national rules for the protection of animals during transport, as long as these rules are in line with the main objective of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005;

95.  Calls on the Commission to promote the exchange of best practice and regulatory equivalence measures with third countries as regards the transport of live animals;

o
o   o

96.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the European Court of Auditors, the European Food Safety Authority, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, p. 1.
(2) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2018/621853/EPRS_STU(2018)621853_EN.pdf
(3) OJ C 434, 23.12.2015, p. 59.
(4) Official Journal of EFSA 2011:9(1):1966.
(5) OJ C 251 E, 31.8.2013, p. 116.
(6) Judgment of the Court (fifth chamber) of 23.4.2015, Zuchtvieh-Export v Stadt Kempten, C-424/13, ECLI:EU:C:2015:259.
(7) European Court of Auditors Special Report No 31/2018 of 14 November 2018 entitled ‘Animal welfare in the EU: Closing the gap between ambitious goals and practical implementation’.
(8) https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1966
(9) OJ 121, 29.7.1964, p. 1977.
(10) OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 1.
(11) ‘Final report of an audit carried out in the Netherlands from 20 February 2017 to 24 February 2017 in order to evaluate animal welfare during transport to non-EU countries’, European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, 2017.
(12) Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health ('Animal Health Law') (OJ L 84, 31.3.2016, p. 1).
(13) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 347.
(14) OJ L 241, 13.7.2004, p. 21.
(15) Judgment of the Court (First Chamber) of 14.10.2004 - Case C-113/02, Commission of the European Communities v Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Judgment of the Court (Third Chamber) of 8.5.2008 - Case C-491/06, Danske Svineproducenter.


Strengthening the competitiveness of the Internal Market by developing the EU customs union and its governance
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on strengthening the competitiveness of the Internal Market by developing the EU Customs Union and its governance (2018/2109(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0133A8-0059/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code (UCC)(1), and its related delegated act (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 of 28 July 2015)(2), implementing act (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 of 2 November 2015)(3), transitional delegated act (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/341 of 17 December 2015)(4) and work programme (Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/578 of 11 April 2016)(5),

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 to prolong the transitional use of means other than the electronic data-processing techniques provided for in the Union Customs Code (COM(2018)0085),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee entitled ‘Developing the EU Customs Union and its governance’ (COM(2016)0813),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘First biennial report on progress in developing the EU Customs Union and its governance’ (COM(2018)0524),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘Second progress report on the implementation of the EU strategy and action plan for customs risk management’ (COM(2018)0549),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the IT strategy for customs (COM(2018)0178),

–  having regard to its position at first reading on the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions (COM(2013)0884),

–  having regard to Decision No 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade(6),

–  having regard to the resolution of the European Parliament of 17 January 2017 on tackling the challenges of the Union Customs Code implementation(7),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the Union Customs Code and on the exercise of the power to adopt delegated acts pursuant to Article 284 thereunder (COM(2018)0039),

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

–  having regard to European Court of Auditors Special Report No 26/2018 entitled ‘A series of delays in Customs IT systems: what went wrong?’,

–  having regard to Council report 11760/2017 on progress made in the fight against excise fraud,

–  having regard to the report by Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office on counterfeiting and piracy in the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0059/2019),

A.  whereas the Customs Union, which is 50 years old this year, is a cornerstone of the EU, as one of the world’s largest trading blocs, and whereas a fully operational Customs Union is essential for the proper functioning of the single market and frictionless trade within the EU, and is an essential part of the common commercial policy towards third countries in the interests of both EU businesses and EU citizens, as well as for the credibility of the EU, which is placed by the Customs Union in a strong position in negotiations on trade agreements with third countries;

B.  whereas the customs authorities need to strike the requisite balance between the facilitation of legitimate trade, the customs controls designed to protect the security of the Union and its citizens, consumer trust in the goods that enter the single market, and the Union’s financial and commercial interests, and are responsible for the implementation of more than 60 legal acts, in addition to the customs legal framework, for the fight against illegal trade and smuggling, and for the awarding of the status of authorised economic operator;

C.  whereas standardisation of customs information and processes plays a key role in the homogenisation of controls, especially as regards phenomena such as incorrect classification and undervaluation of imports and misreporting of the origin of goods, which are detrimental to all economic operators, but particularly so to small and medium-sized enterprises;

D.  whereas EU imports and exports totalled EUR 3 700 billion in 2017 and customs duties collected make up 15 % of the EU budget;

E.  whereas implementation of the Union Customs Code (UCC) is essential to safeguard EU own resources, in particular customs duties, and national fiscal interests, but also to safeguard European consumers and fair competition in the internal market;

F.  whereas the UCC stipulates that the electronic systems needed for its application must be deployed by 31 December 2020; whereas the digitisation of customs procedures was initiated as long ago as 2003 and enacted in 2008 with the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code)(8) and of Decision No 70/2008/EC (the e-Customs Decision);

G.  whereas the digitisation of customs is a work in progress, more than 98 % of customs declarations today are electronic, and the following areas of customs are now handled through electronic systems: transit (NCTS), export control (ECS), security data (ICS), risk management (CRMS), Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number (EORI), authorisations (CDS), Authorised Economic Operators (AEO), Binding Tariff Information (EBTI), quota and tariff (QUOTA), autonomous tariff suspensions, the combined nomenclature (TARIC), surveillance of import and export (SURV2), and Registered Exporter System for certificates of origin (REX);

H.  whereas the objective of the customs programme proposed under the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 is to support the activities of, and cooperation between, the Member States’ customs authorities;

I.  whereas the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU poses a challenge to the proper functioning of the Customs Union;

J.  whereas implementation of key electronic systems necessary for the full implementation of the UCC will be delayed and deferred until after 31 December 2020;

K.  whereas the Customs Union Performance tool operates by assessing the functioning of the Customs Union, on the basis of Key Performance Indicators in a range of areas such as protection of financial interests, ensuring the safety and security of EU citizens, and assessing the importance of customs in contributing to the growth and competiveness of the EU;

L.  whereas the governance of the Customs 2020 programme and hence of customs IT work is shared between the Commission, the Member States and representatives of commercial interests, in a multitude of decision-making structures whose multiplication has a lasting negative impact on the programme’s effectiveness and the management of IT projects;

M.  whereas it will be necessary, after the end of the current Customs 2020 programme and following a cost-benefit assessment of the various possible options, to overhaul the governance of the customs programmes;

1.  Highlights the work carried out every day by Member State customs authorities and by the Commission endeavouring to shield the internal market against unfair competition in the form of counterfeit and dumped products, to facilitate trade and cut back on administrative formalities, to collect revenue for national budgets and the EU budget, and to protect populations against terrorist, health-related, environmental and other threats;

2.  Points out that the Customs Union is one of the EU’s earliest achievements and can be considered one of its main success stories, as it has enabled firms established in the EU to sell their goods and invest throughout the EU, but has also allowed the EU to remove internal borders and to compete with the rest of the world; underlines that the EU’s single market would be impossible without the tariff-free environment provided by the Customs Union and the role the latter plays in overseeing imports and exports;

3.  Stresses that a fully functional Customs Union is essential to guarantee the credibility and strength of the EU and its negotiating position for the conclusion of new trade agreements; emphasises that an efficient EU Customs Union helps to facilitate legal trade and to reduce administrative burdens for legitimate traders, a consideration which is important for the development of competitive businesses; underlines the importance of ensuring effective controls - inter alia by fostering cooperation with third countries’ customs authorities - and of avoiding any undue hindrance to legal trade;

4.  Stresses that creating seamless customs processes across the Union based on a reformed IT infrastructure is pivotal; considers that digitisation has the potential to make the exchange of information and the payment of duties more transparent and accessible, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises and for economic operators of third countries, and that it offers opportunities for simplifying customs rules and procedures;

5.  Notes that the current divergences in the level and quality of controls, customs procedures and sanctions policies at the EU’s points of entry into the Customs Union often result in distortion of trade flows, feeding the problem of ‘forum shopping’ and putting at risk the integrity of the single market; in that context, strongly requests that the Commission and the Member States address this issue;

6.  Encourages the Commission to step up its efforts to create an integrated EU customs one-stop shop that would help businesses submit all the necessary information and documents in one place and are thus able to meet all the regulatory requirements for the import, export and transit of goods;

7.  Recalls that the United Kingdom will become a third country after withdrawal from the EU, thus altering the EU’s external borders, and highlights that the Brexit process should not impact negatively on the development and governance of EU Customs;

Digitisation of customs procedures

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop a more efficient, cost-effective and streamlined approach to the management of IT systems for customs authorities; calls, in particular, for a more precise and realistic estimate of the time and resources that will be needed, and of the scope of the individual IT projects that will help to digitise customs procedures;

9.  Deplores the fact that the implementation of the new IT systems for the Customs Union has suffered a series of delays, resulting in the request by the Commission to Parliament and the Council for an extension of the transitional period beyond the deadline of 2020 laid down in the UCC; also regrets that the Commission has provided only incomplete information in support of a further extension, particularly in the light of what falls within its remit and that of the Member States, as a result of which Parliament cannot exercise its budgetary and political oversight in an appropriate manner;

10.  Points out that, while 75 % of the European components of the IT systems needed to implement the UCC ought to be ready by December 2020, that does not mean that 75% of the IT systems will be ready by then, since 25 % of those systems is made up of national components, for which Member States are responsible and delays have been identified;

11.  Considers that the Commission and the Council must, as a matter of the utmost priority, ensure that the customs code is implemented and customs procedures digitised within the new deadline; urges the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to do their utmost to avoid further postponements; considers that, in that connection, setting up the IT architecture requires the development and deployment of 17 IT tools with major implications as regards financial and human resources; considers it imperative, therefore, that there be no duplication of effort as regards resources in how Member State and Commission IT projects are run;

12.  Calls on the Commission to update the timetable of its UCC work programme to take account of the extension to the transitional period proposed by it(9) for adoption by Parliament and the Council; calls on Parliament and the Council to work to ensure the prompt adoption of a decision on that extension while making it subject to the conditions needed for successful deployment of the customs IT architecture without prejudice to comprehensive security tests, so that any possible issues do not jeopardise the goods checks carried out by the Member States’ customs authorities; points out, as the European Court of Auditors has done, that the same causes produce the same effects, and that the process of updating the 2017 multiannual strategic plan by concentrating the introduction of six IT systems in the same year represents a major challenge and poses a major risk that the rescheduled deadlines will not be met either, so that the UCC implementation deadline could be further extended beyond 2025;

13.  Calls on the Commission to update its multiannual strategic plan by sequencing projects throughout the transition period so as to avoid, as far as possible, the concentration of deployments at the end of the period, and by establishing binding milestones, including for Member States;

14.  Calls on the Commission not to modify the statutory and technical specifications that have now been adopted for the 17 IT tools, since the scale of the projects to be carried out and the time needed to deploy them are not compatible either with the fact that the technologies involved are constantly evolving or with the inevitable legislative and regulatory changes that will take place over the period concerned;

15.  Recalls that according to the Court of Auditors, the Commission was aware of the delays but chose not to include this information in its official reporting, which prevented the stakeholders (such as the European Parliament, other EU institutions not represented in the governance structure of Customs 2020, as well as interested companies and citizens) from being fully informed of the risk of delays in real time; calls, therefore, on the Commission to report regularly and transparently on the conduct of the multiannual strategic work plan and on the setting-up of the customs electronic systems, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the previous programming, and to inform about any possible future delays while not doing so at a moment’s notice or without proper corrective actions;

16.  Invites the Commission to continuously evaluate the Customs 2020 programme and to respond to the shortcomings identified, in particular the under-utilisation of the teams of experts set up under this programme, and to make it possible to increase cooperation between customs services;

17.  Underlines that continuous policy monitoring, analysis and assessment of possible impacts are essential parts of the governance of the Customs Union; takes note of and welcomes the Commission’s work in developing a tool for the performance of the Customs Union which will eventually enable it to be systematically assessed against its strategic objectives in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and uniformity; calls on the Member States to support work on further developing this tool;

18.  Suggests to the Commission that this tool should also assess the performance of customs controls in terms of digitisation potential and data flows, in order to create even more effective risk-based controls while optimising the burden on customs authorities;

Governance, reports and funding for the Customs programme

19.  Takes note of the action being taken by the Commission and Member States to ensure uniform and coherent implementation of the customs code, in particular as regards training and through the adoption of guidelines; calls nonetheless on the Commission and Member States to step up their efforts and expand the resources deployed so as to ensure full application of the customs code adopted in 2013 and of uniform customs procedures throughout the EU; calls on the Commission, in that connection, to submit an action plan that might usefully be based on a peer review of customs practices, on the exchange of good practices, on stepped-up cooperation between customs services and on a sufficiently resourced training programme;

20.  Recalls that the Commission is undertaking work on an EU Customs Single Window environment that would permit an economic operator to submit data required for a wide range of regulatory purposes (veterinary, sanitary, environmental, etc) in a standardised format, to multiple recipients and via harmonised access points; calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue this important work;

21.  Takes note of the funding effort made under the EU budget, increasing the allocation for the next Customs programme for 2021-2027 to EUR 842 844 000 at 2018 prices; calls on the Member States also to provide the necessary human and financial resources for deployment of the national components, on which the introduction of the European electronic customs system is dependent, and calls for timely submission to it, by the Commission, of a report on deployment of the EU components and of the non-EU components developed by Member States;

22.  Highlights that customs today have to deal with a phenomenal increase in the volume of goods being bought online outside the EU in terms of controls and collection of the applicable duties, in particular as the volume of low-value goods imported into the EU is growing each year by 10-15 %; calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts in order to better tackle this challenge;

23.  Invites the Commission to propose, at the end and only at the end of the implementation of the 17 UCC-related IT systems of the Customs 2020 programme, a more effective governance structure for the conduct of customs IT projects and their updates; stresses that in view of the economic, fiscal and security challenges represented by the customs IT system, it is essential that the solution adopted should fully preserve European sovereignty;

24.  Stresses that the ‘Customs 2021-2027’ programme, by supporting Member States’ customs authorities, will help not only to increase EU budget revenues, but also to guarantee product safety, the protection of European consumers and a level playing field for EU businesses;

UK withdrawal from the European Union

25.  Stresses that the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU is a major challenge for European businesses; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to give stakeholders comprehensive information about the repercussions of the UK’s withdrawal in the area of customs and of certain kinds of indirect taxes (VAT and excise duties);

26.  Stresses that, following the withdrawal of the UK there must be no loopholes in the customs system – including at the external borders of the EU – that would pave the way for illicit trade or the evasion of public-law debts provided for under EU law;

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27.  Instructs its President to forward this report to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 269, 10.10.2013, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 343, 29.12.2015, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 343, 29.12.2015, p. 558.
(4) OJ L 69, 15.3.2016, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 99, 15.4.2016, p. 6.
(6) OJ L 23, 26.1.2008, p. 21.
(7) OJ C 242, 10.7.2018, p. 41.
(8) OJ L 145, 4.6.2008, p. 1.
(9) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 to prolong the transitional use of means other than the electronic data-processing techniques provided for in the Union Customs Code (COM(2018)0085).


Implementation of the legal provisions and the Joint Statement ensuring parliamentary scrutiny over decentralised agencies
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European Parliament resolution of 14 February 2019 on the implementation of the legal provisions and the Joint Statement ensuring parliamentary scrutiny over decentralised agencies (2018/2114(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0134A8-0055/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty provisions related to agencies and in particular Articles 5 and 9 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and Articles 15, 16, 71, 123, 124, 127, 130, 228, 263, 265, 267, 277, 282, 287, 290, 291, 298 and 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in particular Articles 41, 42, 43, 51 and 52 thereof,

–  having regard to the Joint Statement of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission on decentralised agencies of 19 July 2012 and the Common Approach annexed to it,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as to 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 Budgets, the Committee on Budgetary Control, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0055/2019),

A.  whereas agencies play a vital role in the implementation of EU policies at European and national levels, performing a wide variety of tasks to contribute to the implementation of EU policies, such as creating networks or supporting cooperation between the EU and national authorities; whereas good cooperation between EU agencies and Member States helps bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to the work of the agencies; whereas agencies have also established cooperation among themselves through the European Union Agency Network;

B.  whereas the coordination and collaboration between the different agencies and parliamentary committees has generally been good; whereas Europol is the only agency scrutinised by Parliament jointly with national parliaments through the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group;

C.  whereas agencies have been created and developed over time, on a case-by-case basis; whereas the Lisbon Treaty has formally recognised agentification of the EU executive by introducing EU agencies formally into the Treaties;

D.  whereas agencies are primarily accountable to Parliament and the Council, which must ensure that adequate scrutiny mechanisms are in place in the legislative acts governing those agencies and that those mechanisms are subsequently properly implemented; whereas agentification of the EU executive should not weaken Parliament’s control of the EU executive as provided for in Article 14 TEU;

E.  whereas the Treaties contain neither a definition of decentralised agencies, nor a general description of powers that may be conferred on agencies;

F.  whereas a number of agencies have their legal basis under Article 352 TFEU and others are created on a specific sector legal basis;

G.  whereas the 2012 Joint Statement and the Common Approach are the result of the work of the Interinstitutional Working Group on regulatory agencies, which was set up by the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to assess the coherence, effectiveness, accountability and transparency of agencies after a proposal by the Commission in 2005 for an Interinstitutional Agreement on regulatory agencies had not received the necessary support from the Council and Parliament;

H.  whereas the Common Approach contains provisions on the structure and governance of agencies, as well as on their operation, programming of activities, funding, management of budgetary resources, budgetary procedures, accountability, controls and transparency, which help ensure parliamentary scrutiny over decentralised agencies;

I.  whereas, despite a generally positive appreciation, agencies have, in a few cases, encountered occasional distrust of their scientific and technical opinions;

Main observations

1.  Notes that mechanisms to ensure the accountability of agencies are incorporated in the Treaties, in the founding regulations of agencies, in the case-law of the European Court of Justice, as well as in the Joint Statement and the Common Approach; emphasises that through the conferral of power, Parliament has powers of scrutiny vis-a-vis decentralised agencies which are not, however, spelled out in detail in the Treaties; notes in this respect the non-binding nature of the Joint Statement and Common Approach; regrets, however, that the Institutions have not yet agreed to a binding regulatory framework;

2.  Points out that Parliament scrutinises agencies in different ways:

   as one arm of the budgetary authority in its decision-making on the contributions from the EU budget to agencies;
   as the discharge authority;
   through designation of members of the Management Boards of agencies;
   through the procedure for the appointment (or dismissal) of the Executive Director;
   through its consultation on the work programmes;
   through the presentation of the annual reports;
   though other methods (delegation visits, contact groups or persons, exchanges of views, hearings, briefings, provision of expertise);

3.  Notes that the provisions in the founding regulations differ in varying degrees from the mechanisms for accountability and parliamentary scrutiny set out in the Common Approach, which may be due to the very different tasks and functions that agencies perform;

4.  Observes that parliamentary committees have actively carried out their scrutiny tasks despite the variety of provisions in the founding regulations;

5.  Recognises the implementation by the Union agencies of the Joint Statement and Common Approach and its roadmap; highlights, in particular, the recommendations of the Interinstitutional Working Group on Decentralised Agencies (IIWG), which were endorsed by the Conference of Presidents on 18 January 2018; notes that with the follow-up meeting of 12 July 2018, the work of the IIWG was considered achieved;

Recommendations

6.  Considers that greater efforts could be made to streamline certain provisions in the founding regulations of agencies relating to their governance and accountability mechanisms, taking into account the various types of agencies that currently exist and defining the general principles governing the relationship between the institutions of the EU and the agencies; points out that these issues should also be addressed in impact assessments whenever the establishment of an agency is proposed; underlines that agencies need to have a certain degree of organisational flexibility in order to better adapt to the tasks envisaged and the needs that arise while carrying out their duties; welcomes the cluster- and cross cluster-based internal organisation of agencies in similar domains;

7.  Calls therefore for a thorough assessment of the implementation of the Common Approach in all its aspects, with detailed analytical papers similar to those produced in 2010 with a focus on governance-related aspects, reviewing in particular the compatibility of the provisions included with Parliament’s co-decision and scrutiny powers, while taking account of the need to allow for flexibility in view of the diverse landscape of decentralised agencies;

8.  Regrets that Parliament, as the lead guarantor of respect for the principle of democracy in the EU, was not fully involved in the procedure to select the new seat of EMA and EBA; recalls in this regard its request to revise the 2012 Joint Statement and Common Approach as soon as possible and also recalls the commitment of the Council to engage in the revision thereof, inviting the Commission to provide, by April 2019, an in-depth analysis of the Joint Statement and Common Approach as regards the location of decentralised agencies;

9.  Stresses that the location of the seat of an agency should not affect the execution of its powers and tasks, its governance structure, the operation of its main organisation or the main financing of its activities;

10.  Expects the prerogatives of Parliament and Council as co-legislators to be fully respected in future decisions on the location or relocation of agencies; considers that Parliament should be systematically involved, throughout the legislative process and on equal terms with the Council and the Commission, in defining and assessing the weight of the criteria for the location of all Union bodies and agencies, in a transparent manner; points out that Parliament, the Council and the Commission made a commitment in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016 to sincere and transparent cooperation, and that the agreement highlights the principle of equality between the co-legislators, as enshrined in the Treaties; underlines the value of enhanced exchange of information from the initial stages of future processes for the location of agencies, as such early exchange would make it easier for the three institutions to exercise their rights and prerogatives;

11.  Believes that the decision on the location of an agency is of great importance and considers that objective criteria such as accessibility, administrative synergies and proximity to stakeholders have to be taken into account by the Union institutions in reaching the best possible decision;

12.  Asks the Commission, in line with the recommendations of the Interinstitutional Working Group on decentralised agencies’ resources, to swiftly present an evaluation of agencies with multiple locations, using a consistent approach to assess their added value by taking costs incurred into account; calls for significant measures to be taken on the basis of the results of this evaluation, with the aim of reducing the number of multiple locations, if and where appropriate;

13.  Proposes that, on the basis of a review of the Common Approach, fresh consideration should be given to drawing up an Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) on agencies and that such agreement should contain provisions on a five-yearly review of the principles governing the establishment and functioning of agencies, drawing upon the expertise of a group of eminent persons;

14.  Considers that this IIA should respect the European Parliament’s powers in co-decision procedures and should also cover the relationship between an agency and the institutions of the Member State in which it is located, as well as transparency measures, procedures to avoid conflict of interest and to ensure gender balance among the members of the governing and advisory bodies, and the implementation of gender mainstreaming in all the activities of the agencies;

15.  Believes that in drafting such an IIA several specific suggestions to strengthen democratic oversight, improve the accountability of Union agencies and strengthen the system for reporting to Parliament should also be addressed, such as:

   setting a time limit for agencies to reply to questions addressed to them by the European Parliament or the Council;
   making arrangements for the sharing of sensitive and confidential information and the consultation of parliamentary committees, where so required;
   considering whether there should or should not be a specific number of members of the respective Management Boards appointed by Parliament;
   considering the added value of attendance by Parliament representatives/observers at meetings of boards of supervisors and agency stakeholder groups;
   streamlining Parliament’s involvement in the annual and multi-annual work programmes of the agencies;
   streamlining and harmonising reporting obligations, particularly with regard to the annual activity report, the budgetary and financial management report and the final accounts;
   informing Parliament in a detailed manner of the measures taken to meet the recommendations of the discharge authority (follow-up reports) and those of the Court of Auditors;

16.  Considers furthermore that Parliament’s role in the oversight of the governance dimension of decentralised agencies could be significantly improved; suggests, moreover, the strengthening of cooperation with the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group and a revision of the rules for missions to agencies to allow for better regular contact between parliamentary committees and agencies falling under their remit;

17.  Proposes that, in the context of the five-yearly review, building on and in addition to the scrutiny activities conducted by Parliament’s committees over agencies falling within their remit, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs holds an annual debate on the functioning and governance of agencies, followed, if deemed appropriate and/or necessary, by a debate in plenary in order to facilitate a stronger and more structured system of scrutinising agency activities within Parliament; proposes moreover, given the role of agencies as intermediaries between the EU and the Member States, a period of consultation with national parliaments should they wish to make any intervention on the matter;

18.  Considers that Union agencies should apply the rules and principles of good governance and better law-making, including conducting open public consultations on their draft proposals for secondary and tertiary acts, where the domain of the agency so allows; proposes that agencies be subject to the same transparency rules as the Commission, including rules and obligations in relation to interest representatives;

19.  Stresses that, while making sure that all assignments resulting from the regulatory framework are carried out in full and within deadline, Union agencies should carefully adhere to their tasks and act in accordance with the mandates assigned to them by Parliament and the Council; considers it imperative that the Union agencies are transparent when carrying out their mandates;

20.  Proposes that all agencies should be able to submit non-binding opinions on current files within their remit;

21.  Believes furthermore that, in the event of any future changes to the Treaties, consideration should be given as to how agencies can be anchored even more firmly in the Treaties, in particular in relation to Articles 13 and 14 TEU and Articles 290 and 291 TFEU, by inserting a clear definition of the various types of agencies, the powers that can be conferred on them and general principles guaranteeing their parliamentary scrutiny;

Budgetary matters

22.  Notes that fee-financing of agencies currently amounts to around EUR 1 billion annually, which can alleviate pressure on the EU budget and can be an effective way of financing agency activities in cases where the business model so allows; expresses concern, however, at the potential conflicts of interest that can arise if agencies have to rely on membership fees as their main source of income; insists that safeguard measures need to be in place to avoid any kind of conflict of interest;

23.  Stresses the need to take into account the new climate, sustainability and environmental protection priorities within the next MFF and the tasks attributed to particular agencies for the implementation of this MFF;

24.  Notes that even though decentralised agencies share a number of similarities in terms of budgetary management, one-size-fits-all approaches have proven to be detrimental to the efficient and effective management of certain agencies; considers the 5 % reduction target for staff and the redeployment pool among agencies to be a one-off exercise; reiterates its intention to oppose any such approach in the future;

25.  Notes with concern that a number of agencies have difficulties in attracting qualified staff on account of employment conditions; believes that Union bodies need to be in a position to attract qualified staff in order to fulfil their tasks effectively and efficiently; calls, therefore, for concrete action to be taken in order to meet these goals;

26.  Notes that the strengthened cooperation between the agencies in sharing services has resulted in savings, such as those achieved by the creation of a joint procurement portal; encourages further exploration of the potential for sharing services either among the agencies themselves, or between the Commission and the agencies, with a view to creating new synergies and optimising existing ones; believes that, where applicable, further budgetary efficiency could be achieved through close cooperation on administrative support and facility management services among Union bodies and agencies in immediate proximity;

27.  Notes that agencies’ budgets should be prepared in accordance with the principle of performance-based budgeting, taking into account the agency’s objectives and the expected results of its tasks; calls for a thematic approach to the budgeting of decentralised agencies in order to better prioritise the agencies’ tasks, boost cooperation and avoid overlaps, particularly in the case of agencies working within the same policy field;

28.  Notes with concern that a number of administrative requirements are disproportionate to agencies which have not reached a certain size; expects the Commission and the Council to ensure that the applicable administrative requirements are commensurate with the financial and human resources of all agencies;

29.  Recalls that the legislative procedure results in modifications to the original Commission proposal; notes with concern that updated financial statements generally only become available at the end of the legislative procedure, if at all; recalls the twin roles of Parliament and the Council as legislative authority and budgetary authority;

30.  Welcomes the Commission’s draft revised text of the framework financial regulation for decentralised agencies and, in particular, its plans outlined therein to strengthen the governance of these agencies;

31.  Maintains, however, that a variety of issues remain unresolved, and urges the Commission to submit without delay an evaluation of agencies with multiple locations, as recommended by the IIWG, as well as proposals for possible mergers, closures and/or transfers of tasks to the Commission, on the basis of a careful in-depth analysis and using clear and transparent criteria, as was envisaged in the IIWG’s terms of reference but which was never properly examined owing to a lack of proposals to that effect from the Commission;

32.  Notes that the auditing of the decentralised agencies ‘remains under the full responsibility of the Court of Auditors, which manages all administrative and procurement procedures required and finances these’; reiterates that auditing carried out by private sector auditors has significantly increased the administrative burden on the agencies and has, as a result of the time spent on the procurement and administration of audit contracts, created additional expenditure, putting their diminishing resources under even greater strain; emphasises that it is imperative to resolve this issue in accordance with the Common Approach, within the context of the revision of the framework financial regulation; calls on all parties involved in this revision to provide clarity on this issue as a matter of urgency so as to significantly reduce the excessive administrative burden;

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33.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the EU decentralised agencies.

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