Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 14 March 2019 - StrasbourgProvisional edition
Human rights situation in Kazakhstan
 Iran, notably the case of human rights defenders
 Situation of human rights in Guatemala
 Jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility, and international child abduction *
 Implementation of the Generalised Scheme Preferences (GSP) Regulation
 Minimum loss coverage for non-performing exposures ***I
 Safeguarding competition in air transport ***I
 Guidelines for the 2020 Budget – Section III
 Gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs' nominations
 Appointment of Sebastiano Laviola as a new member of the Single Resolution Board
 Appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank
 Appointment of the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority
 A European human rights violations sanctions regime
 Urgency for an EU blacklist of third countries in line with the Anti-Money Laundering Directive
 Climate change
 Establishment of the European Monetary Fund
 Situation in Nicaragua
 Annual strategic report on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals

Human rights situation in Kazakhstan
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the human rights situation in Kazakhstan (2019/2610(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0203RC-B8-0204/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part(1) and to its resolution of 10 March 2016 on Freedom of Expression in Kazakhstan(2),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 12 December 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part(3),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan, including those of 18 April 2013(4) and 15 March 2012(5), and that of 17 September 2009 on the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis in Kazakhstan(6),

–  having regard to the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) signed in Astana on 21 December 2015,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 15 December 2011 on the state of implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia(7), and of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy(8),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 June 2015 and 19 June 2017 on the EU Strategy for Central Asia,

–  having regard to the annual EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogues,

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

A.  whereas on 21 December 2015, the European Union and Kazakhstan signed an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) aimed at providing a broad framework for reinforced political dialogue and cooperation in home and justice affairs and in many other areas; whereas this agreement places a strong emphasis on democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, the principles of the market economy and sustainable development, and civil society cooperation, including involvement of civil society in public policymaking;

B.  whereas Kazakhstan joined the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in March 2012;

C.  whereas the government of Kazakhstan appears not to have taken any steps to revise the broadly formulated provisions of the Criminal Code’s Article 174, which bans ‘inciting’ social, national or other discord, and Article 274, which prohibits ‘spreading information that is known to be false,’ but continues to use those provisions as a basis to charge and imprison civil society activists and journalists;

D.  whereas the number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan has increased; whereas in 2016, peaceful rallies against changes to the Land Code took place in different regions of Kazakhstan, resulting in the detention of more than 1 000 participants (including 55 journalists), of whom more than 30 were subsequently arrested; whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention acknowledged the arbitrary nature of detention, lack of a fair trial and gross violations of rights in some cases; whereas civil society activist Maks Bokayev is serving a prison term for his legitimate participation in this peaceful mass rally;

E.  whereas the government of Kazakhstan cooperated with the high-level International Labour Organisation (ILO) mission, and committed to implement a road map to address ILO concerns, but has not taken meaningful steps to implement provisions of the roadmap such as amending the trade union law; whereas, equally, it has not implemented the earlier recommendations of the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards to review the trade union law and the Labour Code and to take all necessary measures to ensure that the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (CITUK) and its affiliates are able to fully exercise their union rights;

F.  whereas trade union activists Nurbek Kushakbaev and Amin Eleusinov were released on parole in May 2018, but remain banned from union activities; whereas activist Larisa Kharkova faces similar restrictions, as well as continued judicial harassment, and Erlan Baltabay, another trade union activist from Shymkent, is under criminal investigation on questionable charges;

G.  whereas new NGO legislation has tightened accounting rules for civil society organisations; whereas human rights organisations are subjected to tax pressure in connection with grants received from international donors;

H.  whereas freedom of religion and belief has been severely undermined; whereas religious beliefs are used by the authorities as a pretext for arbitrary detention; whereas Saken Tulbayev was incarcerated after being accused of ‘inciting religious hatred;

I.  whereas on 13 March 2018 the authorities banned the peaceful opposition movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) and more than 500 persons showing different forms of support for DCK; whereas civil activists Almat Zhumagulov and the poet Kenzhebek Abishev have become victims of the Kazakhstan authorities’ fight against DCK and have been sentenced respectively to 8 and 7 years’ imprisonment; whereas Ablovas Dzhumayev was sentenced to three years in jail and Aset Abishev to four for criticising the authorities online and supporting DCK;

J.  whereas despite being protected in Kazakhstan’s constitution, the right of freedom of association remains largely restricted in the country, and the Law on Public Association continues to require all public associations to register with the Ministry of Justice; whereas in December 2015 new amendments to that law imposed burdensome reporting obligations and state regulation of funding through a government-appointed body; whereas people engaging in activities in unregistered organisations may face administrative and criminal sanctions;

K.  whereas civil society and human rights activists continue to face reprisals and restrictions in their activities, among them being human rights activist Elena Semenova, placed under a travel ban for ‘dissemination of knowingly false information’ and Shymkent-based activist Ardak Ashim, who was charged with ‘inciting discord’ for her critical social media posts and subjected to forced psychiatric detention; whereas on 10 May 2018, during the visit of a European Parliament delegation to Kazakhstan, the police resorted to the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters who were trying to meet with Members of the European Parliament; whereas more than 150 people were detained by police and more than 30 protesters were placed under administrative arrest; whereas on 17 and 18 September 2018 the Kazakhstani police detained several activists who wanted to meet with members of the European Parliament delegation;

L.  whereas new restrictive amendments to the media and information law entered into force in April 2018, access to information on social media continue to be blocked, and Forbes Kazakhstan and Ratel.kz face a criminal investigation opened against them on grounds of ‘dissemination of knowingly false information’; whereas the use of social networks is controlled and restricted by the authorities; whereas bloggers and social network users have been sentenced to imprisonment, among them Ruslan Ginatullin, Igor Chupina and Igor Sychev; whereas blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev was extradited from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan in gross violation of the law and was subjected to ill-treatment in Kazakhstan;

M.  whereas impunity for torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and suspects remain the norm, despite the government having committed to zero tolerance for torture; whereas the authorities have failed to conduct a credible investigation into the allegations of torture during the extended oil sector strike in Zhanaozen in 2011;

N.  whereas the Almaty Prosecutor’s Office found no credible evidence to back up the allegations of torture concerning the businessman Iskander Yerimbetov, sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on charges of large-scale fraud in October 2018; whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in 2018 that his arrest and detention were arbitrary, called for his release, and expressed concern at the allegations of torture during his pre-trial detention;

O.  whereas high levels of violence against women and traditional patriarchal norms and stereotypes pose major obstacles to gender equality in Kazakhstan; whereas NGOs state that violence against women is under-reported and that there is a low rate of prosecution of cases of violence against women as well as in sexual harassment cases;

P.  whereas LGBTI persons in Kazakhstan face legal challenges and discrimination; whereas both male and female same-sex sexual relations are legal in Kazakhstan, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections as those applying to opposite-sex married couples;

Q.  whereas Kazakhstan ranks number 143 out of 167 on the World Democracy Index, the country thus being defined as an authoritarian regime;

1.  Urges Kazakhstan to abide by its international obligations and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms; calls on the Kazakhstan authorities to put an end to human rights abuses and all forms of political repression, in accordance with the principles of Articles 1, 4, 5 and 235 of the EPCA;

2.  Stresses that the enhancement of political, economic and cultural relations between the EU and Kazakhstan must be based on shared commitments to universal values, in particular, to democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights; expects the EPCA to promote a strengthening of the rule of law and democratic participation by all citizens, a more diverse political landscape, a better-functioning, independent and impartial judiciary, increased transparency and accountability of the government, and improvements to the labour laws;

3.  Welcomes the release of a number of political prisoners, namely: Vladimir Kozlov, Gyuzyal Baydalinova, Seytkazy Matayev, Edige Batyrov, Yerzhan Orazalinov, Sayat Ibrayev, Aset Matayev, Zinaida Mukhortova, Talgat Ayan and the Zhanaozen oil workers, as well as trade unionists Amin Eleusinov and Nurbek Kushakbayev, whose freedom nonetheless remains subject to restrictions; welcomes the decision to release Ardak Ashim from the psychiatric clinic; condemns such a brutal measure as punitive psychiatry and calls for the withdrawal of compulsory outpatient psychiatric treatment against Ashum, and of all compulsory medical measures against activist Natalia Ulasik;

4.  Calls for the full rehabilitation and immediate release of all activists and political prisoners currently in jail, in particular Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev, Iskander Yerimbetov, Aron Atabek, Sanat Bukenov and Makhambet Abzhan and Saken Tulbayev, as well as for the lifting of the restrictions placed on the movements of others;

5.  Urges the government of Kazakhstan to amend Article 174 of the Criminal Code on ‘inciting social, national, clan, racial, class, or religious discord’ by narrowing it to prevent arbitrary prosecutions that violate human rights norms, as well as Article 274 of the Criminal Code, which broadly prohibits ‘spreading information that is known to be false’, and to release the activists, journalists and other critical individuals currently detained under those articles;

6.  Urges the government of Kazakhstan to end the crackdown on independent trade unions and lift restrictions on their activities, cease politically motivated criminal prosecutions of trade union leaders, and quash the convictions of Larissa Kharkova, Nurbek Kushakbaev, and Amin Eleusinov and allow them to resume their union activities without interference or harassment; also urges the government to address the European Parliament’s concerns regarding the criminal investigation against Erlan Baltabay, and to revise the 2014 Trade Union Law and 2015 Labour Code in order to bring them into compliance with ILO standards;

7.  Urges the government of Kazakhstan to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, and to review the Law on Public Association and the conditions for access to funding;

8.  Urges the government of Kazakhstan to end all forms of arbitrary detention, reprisals and harassment against human rights activists, civil society organisations and political opposition movements, including against actual or perceived supporters of DVK;

9.  Urges the government of Kazakhstan to review the amendments to the media and information law which entered into force this year, place a moratorium on criminal libel, take all necessary steps to repeal the relevant articles in the new Criminal Code relating to criminal libel, establish a cap on civil defamation awards, end the harassment and reprisals against journalists critical of the government, and cease blocking access to information both on-line and offline;

10.  Calls for action on the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture; calls for protection for victims of torture, for them to be provided with proper medical care and for the proper investigation of incidents of torture; requests an end to the abuse of Interpol’s extradition procedures and the cessation of harassment of the political opposition; urges the government of Kazakhstan to fulfil its pledges of zero tolerance for torture and to ensure that allegations of torture, including those made in the context of the Zhanaozen events, are fully investigated; urges the government to review the case of Iskander Yerimbetov in light of the conclusions of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and to ensure that the allegations of torture are duly investigated;

11.  Notes the multi-ethnic and multi-religious character of Kazakhstan and stresses the need for the protection of minorities and their rights, in particular with regard to the use of languages, freedom of religion or belief, non-discrimination and equal opportunities; welcomes the peaceful coexistence of different communities in Kazakhstan; urges Kazakhstan to stop persecuting people for their legitimate exercise of freedom of conscience and religion; demands the immediate release of persons convicted for holding a belief;

12.  Calls on the authorities to combat all forms of violence against women; calls, furthermore, for action to ensure effective and accessible reporting channels and protection measures that are sensitive to victims’ needs and confidentiality; urges an end to impunity and action to ensure appropriate criminal sanctions against perpetrators;

13.  Insists that the rights of the LGBTI community are fully respected; calls on the government of Kazakhstan to guarantee that the LGBTI community will not face any discrimination;

14.  Calls on Kazakhstan to fully implement the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR international observation mission to the 20 March 2016 elections, according to which the country still has a considerable way to go in meeting its OSCE commitments for democratic elections; urges the Kazakh authorities to avoid restricting the activity of independent candidates; urges, furthermore, that citizens’ electoral rights be respected;

15.  Reiterates the importance of cooperation by the EU and the OSCE in improving good practices of democratic governance in the country, particularly in the field of human rights and the rule of law; urges the Kazakhstan authorities, therefore, to expand the OSCE’s mandate in the country, and in particular to restore the mandate of the OSCE Centre in Astana, as an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan;

16.  Calls for the EU, and in particular on the European External Action Service (EAAS), to monitor closely developments in Kazakhstan, to raise concerns with the Kazakh authorities where necessary, to offer assistance, and to report regularly to Parliament; calls on the EU Delegation in Astana to continue to play an active role in monitoring the situation and to raise the issue of freedom of expression in all relevant bilateral meetings; urges the EEAS to proactively engage in trial observation missions, in order to monitor politically sensitive trials and politically motivated prosecutions and verify that the right to a fair trial applies to all;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the government and the parliament of Kazakhstan.

(1) JO C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 2.
(2) JO C 50, 9.2.2018, p. 38.
(3) JO C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 179.
(4) OJ C 45, 5.2.2016, p. 85.
(5) OJ C 251 E, 31.8.2013, p. 93..
(6) OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 30.
(7) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 91.
(8) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 119.


Iran, notably the case of human rights defenders
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on Iran, notably the case of human rights defenders (2019/2611(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0204RC-B8-0186/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran, in particular those of 13 December 2018 on Iran, notably the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh(1), and 25 October 2016 on the EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Iran of 4 February 2019,

–  having regard to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran of 30 January 2019, and to his statement on Iran of 29 November 2018,

–  having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution of 17 December 2018 on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, to which Iran is a party,

–  having regard to the Iranian President’s Charter on Citizens’ Rights,

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

–  having regard to the statement of 29 November 2018 by UN human rights experts, entitled ‘Iran must protect women’s rights advocates’,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the death penalty, the EU Guidelines on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the EU Human Rights Guidelines on freedom of expression online and offline,

–  having regard to the Council decision of 12 April 2018 to extend its restrictive measures for a further 12 months in response to serious human rights violations in Iran,

–  having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson for the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 12 March 2019 on the conviction of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh,

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

A.  whereas human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and online activists in Iran continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution for their work; whereas the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and other forces have unleashed a severe clampdown on civil society in the past months;

B.  whereas its resolution of 25 October 2016 on the EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement stresses the importance of upholding the EU human rights guidelines, including on human rights defenders, in the context of EU-Iran relations;

C.  whereas the renowned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was recently sentenced to at least seven years’ imprisonment; whereas over the course of two trials it has been reported that her combined sentence could be significantly longer, although the exact length of her jail term remains unclear; whereas the real reason for her imprisonment seems to have been her peaceful defence of human rights in Iran; whereas her trials were not conducted in accordance with basic international standards of due process;

D.  whereas Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband, was detained in connection with his support of women who have peacefully campaigned against being forced to wear the hijab and for his wife’s release from prison; whereas in January 2019, the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to six years in prison;

E.  whereas environmental activists Taher Ghadirian, Niloufar Bayani, Amirhossein Khaleghi, Houman Jokar, Sam Rajabi, Sepideh Kashani, Abdolreza Kouhpayeh and Morad Tahbaz, representing the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, were arrested over the course of January and February 2018, detained without access to a lawyer, and have faced trial in recent weeks in proceedings which fell short of fair trial standards; whereas another member of the group, Iranian-Canadian university professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, died in custody last year in mysterious circumstances;

F.  whereas trade union activists Esmaeil Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian and Mohammad Habibi were arrested in 2018 and 2019 after leading protests in favour of the rights of workers and teachers; whereas human rights defender Maryam Akbari Monfared was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2010 for so-called ‘enmity against God’ and has been denied medical care while suffering from various illnesses;

G.  whereas activists Arash Sadeghi, Narges Mohammadi and Farhad Meysami have all received long prison sentences for their campaigns on women’s rights, abolition of the death penalty and human rights;

H.  whereas Iranian courts regularly fail to provide fair trials, and use confessions obtained under torture as evidence in court; whereas the authorities continue to criminalise human rights activism and use Article 48 of the Iranian Criminal Procedure Law to restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel; whereas there are no independent mechanisms for ensuring accountability within the judiciary;

I.  whereas the continuing practice of arrests of EU-Iranian dual nationals, including British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, is followed by prolonged solitary confinement and interrogations, lack of due process, and long prison sentences based on vague or unspecified ‘national security’ and ‘espionage’ charges, as well as state-sponsored smear campaigns against the imprisoned individuals;

J.  whereas numerous cases of inhumane and degrading conditions in prisons and lack of adequate access to medical care during detention in Iran have been reported, in contravention of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;

K.  whereas Iran is estimated to have executed 273 people in 2018, the second highest number in the world for that year, according to a report by the NGO Iran Human Rights;

L.  whereas in 2018 thousands of people staged peaceful demonstrations and strikes in protest against unpaid wages, poor working conditions, corruption, political repression and other grievances; whereas the authorities arrested hundreds of them, sentencing many to prison terms and flogging;

M.  whereas the Iranian judiciary continues to clamp down on peaceful acts of resistance by women’s rights defenders protesting against the compulsory wearing of the hijab; whereas in 2018 at least 39 women were arrested in connection with the protests and another 55 were held for their work on women’s rights;

N.  whereas freedom of the press, both online and offline, freedom of association and freedom of thought are repressed in Iran;

O.  whereas the Iranian authorities have systematically targeted journalists, including those working for the BBC Persian service, and their families, through the use of criminal investigations, asset freezes, arbitrary arrest, detention, surveillance, harassment, and by spreading false, malicious and defamatory publicity; whereas at least eight journalists are currently in detention in Iran;

P.  whereas Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launched a Charter on Citizens’ Rights in December 2016; whereas this charter is not legally binding;

Q.  whereas members of religious and ethnic minorities, including members of the Baha’i faith and the Azeri, Kurdish, Arab and Baluch communities, Sunni Muslims, Christians, and those of no faith, face discrimination in employment, education, freedom of worship and political activities in Iran;

1.  Calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, prisoners of conscience and journalists detained and sentenced merely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly; stresses that the Iranian authorities must in all circumstances ensure that human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists are able to carry out their work free from threats, intimidation and impediment;

2.  Reiterates its call on the Government of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Sakharov Prize Laureate Nasrin Sotoudeh, and commends her courage and commitment to human rights and women’s rights in Iran; regards the grossly unfair trial and sentencing of Nasrin Sotoudeh as a grave miscarriage of justice and welcomes the statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of 12 March 2019 on this issue;

3.  Calls on the Iranian authorities to amend Article 48 of the country’s Criminal Procedure Law to ensure that all defendants have the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice and to a fair trial in line with Iran’s commitments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

4.  Urges the Iranian authorities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all detainees, including access to adequate medical care; calls also for an independent investigation into the death in custody of Kavous Seyed-Emami, and into allegations of torture of other activists in detention, and condemns the practice of deliberately denying medical care to political prisoners;

5.  Calls on the Iranian authorities as a matter of urgency to stop the surveillance, arrest, harassment and prosecution of journalists, online activists and their families, and to put an end to online censorship, and calls for the creation of conditions which tolerate freedom of expression and freedom of the media, both online and offline;

6.  Calls on the Government of Iran to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, including by allowing him to enter the country;

7.  Calls for the EU Member States and the EU institutions to continue raising the cases of arrested human rights defenders with their Iranian counterparts, and at the next UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva;

8.  Calls on the EEAS to continue to include human rights, particularly the situation of human rights defenders, in the context of the EU-Iran High-Level Dialogue; calls also on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) to publicly reaffirm that respect for human rights is a core component for the development of EU-Iran relations;

9.  Urges the VP/HR and the Council to explore the possibility of establishing a formal human rights dialogue with Iran in line with the EU guidelines on human rights dialogues with third countries;

10.  Urges EU officials to call on the Iranian authorities to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of human rights activists in custody and to pursue full investigations into reports of torture;

11.  Urges all Member States with a diplomatic presence in Tehran to use the mechanisms provided for in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders to support and protect these individuals, including public statements, diplomatic démarches, monitoring of trials and prison visits;

12.  Urges Iran to stop criminalising the work of women’s rights defenders, including those peacefully protesting against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, and calls for this discriminatory and humiliating practice to be abolished;

13.  Calls on the Government of Iran to protect the rights of all persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities, and to address all forms of discrimination against them;

14.  Welcomes the amendments to the drug trafficking law, which have reduced the imposition of capital punishment, and calls for a review of all death sentences to ensure that the relevant trials were conducted in accordance with international standards; calls on the Iranian authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards abolition;

15.  Recommends that an ad-hoc delegation from the Subcommittee on Human Rights be sent to Iran before the end of the current mandate in order to visit imprisoned human rights defenders and hold the necessary meetings with the Iranian authorities;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Members of the Iranian Majlis.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0525.
(2) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 86.


Situation of human rights in Guatemala
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the situation of human rights in Guatemala (2019/2618(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0205RC-B8-0182/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 15 March 2007 on Guatemala(1), of 11 December 2012 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement establishing an Association between the European Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and Central America, on the other(2), and of 16 February 2017 on Guatemala, notably the situation of human rights defenders(3),

–  having regard to the visit of its Subcommittee on Human Rights to Mexico and Guatemala in February 2016 and its final report thereon,

–  having regard to the report of its delegation for relations with the countries of Central America on its visit to Guatemala and Honduras between 16 and 20 February 2015,

–  having regard to the visit of the delegation for relations with the countries of Central America to Guatemala between 28 October and 1 November 2018,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 on corporate liability for serious human rights abuses in third countries(4),

–  having regard to the 2014-2020 Multiannual Indicative Programme for Guatemala, and its engagement to contribute to the resolution of conflicts and to peace and security,

–  having regard to the European Union support programmes for the justice sector in Guatemala, in particular SEJUST,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, and the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights, which commits to engagement on human rights defenders,

–  having regard to the EU’s 2018 Annual Action Programme in favour of Guatemala for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the Guatemalan adjacency zone (AZ) and its vicinity and for support to the extended mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG),

–  having regard to the signing of an agreement of advice between the CICIG and the Supreme Court of Guatemala in August 2017,

–  having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 2 September 2018 on the decision of the Guatemalan Government not to renew the CIGIC mandate,

–  having regard to the joint letter from the President of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, to the President of Guatemala, of 6 April 2018,

–  having regard to the statement of 10 September 2018 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on the decision of the Guatemalan Government not to extend the mandate of the CICIG,

–  having regard to the declaration of 6 March 2019 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on the Guatemalan Law on Non-Governmental Organisations for Development,

–  having regard to the latest Human Rights Watch report on Guatemala,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Guatemala,

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

A.  whereas owing in significant part to the collaboration between the Guatemalan Attorney General’s office and the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was established in 2007 to investigate organised crime and reinforce local efforts to strengthen the rule of law, Guatemala had continued to make some progress in prosecuting human rights and corruption cases;

B.  whereas the number of killings of and attacks against defenders, organisations and communities that work on economic, social, cultural and environmental rights has increased in Guatemala over the past few years; whereas in 2018 the overall number of attacks against human rights defenders and indigenous people, in particular attacks against those working on land and territorial rights, was 391, according to a report by the Unit for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala (UDEFEGUA), including 147 cases of criminalisation and 26 assassinations, a 136 % increase on 2017;

C.  whereas human rights defenders also face threats, intimidation, stigmatisation, defamation campaigns by private actors and the Guatemalan authorities, and judicial persecution; whereas the misuse of criminal procedures against human rights defenders in order to prevent or sanction their work remains a matter of concern;

D.  whereas the number of attacks against journalists is also very worrying, with 93 attacks, including four killings, recorded in 2017; whereas given the ongoing concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few companies, independent media outlets and journalists continue to be subjected to attacks and threats;

E.  whereas violence against women remains a grave problem in Guatemala, as evidenced by the fact that violent deaths of women rose by 8 % to 662 cases; whereas on International Women’s Day 2017, 41 girls died, having been locked in after a protest against abuses by wardens, when a fire broke out in a state-run home for minors; whereas the rate of impunity for crimes in Guatemala stands at 97 %;

F.  whereas since 2007, the CICIG has been fighting corruption and impunity at the invitation of the Guatemalan Government and in close collaboration with the national institutions in the country, in order to identify and help dismantle para-state institutions, and have been contributing to strengthening the capacities of the country’s judicial and security institutions;

G.  whereas after four extensions of successive two-year mandates of the CICIG, the Guatemalan Government requested from the UN Secretary General that its mandate be renewed once again until September 2019, thereby further strengthening governance through the CICIG’s high-impact investigations and support for the rule of law in Guatemala, and consolidating its achievements in significantly reducing corruption and challenging the impunity of non-state activities with links to the State (CIACS);

H.  whereas in April 2018, the CICIG and the Public Ministry presented the outcome of new investigations into the illegal financing of the ruling FCN party during its electoral campaign; whereas in July 2018, the Supreme Court of Justice planned an investigation into the activities of President Jimmy Morales with regard to the illegal financing of his electoral campaign;

I.  whereas at the end of August 2018, the Guatemalan Government announced the cancellation of the CICIG’s mandate as of September 2019; whereas shortly afterwards, the government also prohibited the return to the country of CICIG director Iván Velásquez and subsequently cancelled visas for 11 CICIG employees who had been investigating high-level cases of corruption; whereas in January 2019, the government unilaterally cancelled the agreement with the UN on the CICIG with immediate effect and requested that the CICIG leave the country; whereas Iván Velásquez is also facing charges and is the subject of ongoing smear campaigns;

J.  whereas these measures have been contested and annulled by the Constitutional Court of Guatemala; whereas the Constitutional Court ordered, in a unanimous vote, that the government had to allow Iván Velasquez to enter the country; whereas these rulings have been ignored by the government; whereas the Congress has prepared action against the Constitutional Court and its members, giving rise to a flagrant conflict with the rule of law;

K.  whereas Reform Bill 5377 amending the National Reconciliation Law, which passed Congress in the second out of three readings in early March 2019, would extend an amnesty for all crimes committed by the domestic security forces and individuals acting on behalf of the government, including crimes against humanity, such as torture, forced disappearance and genocide; whereas the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) have expressed their concerns over the bill and have called for the existing law not to be amended;

L.  whereas according to the IACHR, Reform Bill 5377 fails to comply with Guatemala’s international commitments, is allegedly in violation of international law, and violates Article 171(g) of the Guatemalan Constitution, as all persons in prison who had been found guilty of political crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflict, and were convicted for them, would be freed within hours;

M.  whereas people in Guatemala are having to endure an extremely high level of insecurity, and whereas the National Civil Police (PNC) has been severely undermined in recent years; whereas there have been allegations of intimidation and threats against magistrates, judges, prosecutors and judicial actors that have cooperated with the CICIG;

N.  whereas access to justice, prison conditions, police conduct and allegations of torture, issues compounded by widespread corruption, collusion and impunity, remain a matter of serious concern;

O.  whereas the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman, whose budget has been cut back, the Public Ministry, and the Judiciary have taken important steps against impunity and for the recognition of human rights; whereas there are clear attempts by the Guatemalan authorities to damage the fight against corruption, impunity and the rule of law;

P.  whereas according to the UDEFEGUA, the victims of attacks ‘have been mostly indigenous leaders who defend the right to land and territory’; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur has expressed concerns on indigenous rights following complaints about hydroelectric, mining and agro-industrial projects, the licenses and operations of which have caused the rights of indigenous peoples to be violated; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur has also stated that it is worrisome that peaceful protests by communities are being treated by the state and the third parties involved as situations of criminal conflict that affect public safety; whereas Aura Lolita Chávez, the Guatemalan indigenous environmental defender and 2017 European Parliament Sakharov prize finalist, left her country after serious attacks, murder threats and defamation, and faces various judicial processes were she to return;

Q.  whereas on 9 October 2018, members of the Peaceful Resistance of the Ixquisis Microregion movement, among others, were attacked by anti-riot agents from the PNC, leaving six protestors injured;

R.  whereas the Swedish Ambassador to Guatemala has been declared persona non grata (a declaration subsequently annulled by the Constitutional Court) for allegedly supporting the work of the CICIG in the country;

S.  whereas general and presidential elections in Guatemala are planned for 16 June and 11 August 2019;

T.  whereas the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must form an integral part of the EU’s external policies, including the Association Agreement concluded between the EU and the countries of Central America in 2012; whereas this agreement includes a democratic clause, which is an essential element thereof; whereas Guatemala is the EU’s third-largest recipient of bilateral development assistance in Central America, with this assistance amounting to EUR 167 million over the 2014-2020 period and focusing on food security, conflict resolution, peace, security and competitiveness;

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the increased number of killings and acts of violence and at the lack of security for all citizens and, more specifically, for women and human rights defenders; recalls the importance of an independent and effective justice system and the need to put an end to impunity; regrets the fact that the Guatemalan Government continues to breach the rule of law and the separation of powers; recalls that an essential principle of liberal democracies is the separation of powers and respect for the rule of law;

2.  Calls on the Guatemalan authorities to cease all acts of intimidation against Guatemalan civil society, and human rights organisations in particular, to respect the constitutional order and to guarantee the fundamental rights of all Guatemalan citizens; underlines the fact that a vibrant civil society is essential to make the state more accountable, responsive, inclusive and effective at all levels, and thus more legitimate; insists that all institutions that defend constitutional democracy and human rights in Guatemala need to be supported and strengthened; recalls that guaranteeing an independent judiciary and respecting its independence, as well as ensuring an impartial legal system, is essential; stresses that these are key to consolidating efforts to combat corruption and impunity; considers that allegations of intimidation and threats against magistrates, judges and prosecutors should lead to immediate action to protect the country’s judicial institutions and their representatives; urges the Guatemalan Executive to immediately ensure independence of the judiciary and guarantee freedom of the press and the media;

3.  Is convinced that the CICIG has played a vital role in Guatemala and that its work in fighting impunity and corruption and preparing investigations for trials to be carried out by Guatemalan institutions is crucial to upholding the rule of law; expresses its deep concern about the current situation that the CICIG faces in Guatemala and asks the Guatemalan Government to cease all illegal attacks against the CICIG and its national and international staff;

4.  Welcomes, in this context, the Commission Implementing Decision from September 2018 to support the extended mandate of the CICIG with an additional EUR 5 million from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) for the 2018 Guatemala Annual Action Programme.; calls on the Commission to disburse the EUR 5 million as agreed as a matter of urgency, and to continue all approved programmes with the CICIG; asks the Commission to stand ready for a continuation of its cooperation with and funding of the CICIG after September 2019, and actively supports such a prolongation;

5.  Is convinced that the proposed amendment of the National Reconciliation Law poses a significant threat to the rule of law in Guatemala and would drastically undermine the important progress achieved through the work of the national courts in their fight against impunity; shares the view of the UN High Commissioner that the amnesty for violators of human rights, perpetrators of crimes against humanity and war criminals provided for in the bill would fuel even more violence in the country; notes that such action might include retaliation by released prisoners, which could lead to societal destabilisation; therefore urges the Guatemalan Congress not to adopt the bill;

6.  Calls for an independent study to be carried out, under the auspices of the United Nations, which should reflect the final impact of the CICIG’s work on the justice system in Guatemala and its contribution to the country’s political stability, and the result of the agreement signed between the CICIG and the Supreme Electoral Court;

7.  Is concerned about the proposed Law on Non-Governmental Organisations for Development; asks the Guatemalan Congress, in line with the technical advice provided by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to refrain from adopting this bill which, if adopted, could restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly of NGOs, could limit their access to funding and narrow their definition, thereby limiting their scope and hampering their activities, and could open the door to their being arbitrarily banned; reminds the authorities and institutions of Guatemala of the need to create and maintain a safe and conducive environment for NGOs to freely express their opinions and conduct their work for the benefit of society at large;

8.  Expresses its concern about the complaints made regarding the lack of free, prior and informed consultations (ILO Convention 169); recalls the recommendation of the UN Special Rapporteur that the rights of indigenous peoples should be fully respected in accordance with international standards, which include the right to free, prior and informed consultation; recalls that national and international corporations are directly bound by treaties and other national and international rules on human rights and environmental rights throughout their value chains, and that, if companies are found to have caused or contributed to harm, they must provide for or participate in effective remedy processes for the individuals and communities affected; notes that this includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation and guarantees of non-recurrence; recalls that governments have the responsibility to protect human rights and to bring those who violate such rights to justice;

9.  Reiterates its request for the protection of human rights defenders, in particular female human rights defenders; welcomes and supports the action undertaken thus far by European embassies and the EU Delegation to Guatemala; requests that the European Union maintain and, if necessary, step up projects to support the work of national and international organisations in Guatemala;

10.  Insists that Guatemalan authorities must declare and ensure the legal and physical safety of the Sakharov finalist Lolita Chávez, should she decide to return to her home country;

11.  Urges that the elections in Guatemala should take place in a peaceful and transparent manner, and that security should be provided for all candidates; emphasises that the Supreme Electoral Court must act independently and with no interference from state institutions or actors; offers to send an Election Expert Mission from the EU;

12.  Deplores the fact that after more than 20 years, the Guatemalan Peace Accords still have not been implemented, and indeed are at risk of being dismantled; strongly encourages all national and international actors to do everything possible to accelerate their full implementation; calls on the Guatemalan Government, to this end, to ensure the democratic and political control and the professionalisation of the PNC and other institutions such as CONRED, the national coordinator for disaster reduction, in order to prevent their militarisation and the channelling of humanitarian funds through the army, as this is not consistent with the goals of the Peace Accords;

13.  Reminds the Guatemalan Government that the EU-Central America Association Agreement includes a human rights clause as an essential element and that membership may be suspended in the case of its violation; calls for the European Union and its Member States to use the mechanisms laid down in the Association Agreement and the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement to strongly encourage Guatemala to carry out an ambitious human rights agenda and the fight against impunity;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Guatemala, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), the Secretary of Economic Integration of Central America (SIECA), the Central American Parliament and the co-presidents of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) OJ C 301 E, 13.12.2007, p. 257.
(2) OJ C 434, 23.12.2015, p. 181.
(3) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 196.
(4) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 125.


Jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and matters of parental responsibility, and international child abduction *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 March 2019 on the draft Council regulation on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction (recast) (15401/2018 – C8-0023/2019 – 2016/0190(CNS))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0206A8-0056/2019

(Special legislative procedure – renewed consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council draft (15401/2018),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2016)0411),

–  having regard to its position of 18 January 2018(1),

–  having regard to Article 81(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament again (C8-0023/2019),

–  having regard to Rules 78c and 78e of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0056/2019),

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.  Calls on the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend its draft substantially;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0017.


Implementation of the Generalised Scheme Preferences (GSP) Regulation
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the implementation of the GSP Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 (2018/2107(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0207A8-0090/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 607/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 552/97 temporarily withdrawing access to generalised tariff preferences from Myanmar/Burma(2), and to its resolution of 23 May 2013 on reinstatement of Burma/Myanmar’s access to generalised tariff preferences(3),

–  having regard to the mid‑term evaluation of the current GSP regulation of July 2018(4) and the Commission’s report on the application of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012(5) accompanied by the Commission staff working document of 4 October 2018(6),

–  having regard to the Commission reports of 28 January 2016 and of 19 January 2018 on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences covering the periods 2014-2015(7) and 2016-2017(8) respectively, which assess the effects of the GSP with a focus on the performance of GSP+ beneficiaries,

–  having regard to the Public Hearing on GSP organised by the Committee on International Trade (INTA) on 16 February 2016, the exchange of views on granting GSP+ to Sri Lanka on 21 March 2017, and the exchange of views on the implementation of the GSP regulation on 19 February 2018,

–  having regard to Articles 5 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s Decision in case 1409/2014/MHZ on the European Commission’s failure to carry out a prior human rights impact assessment of the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2016 on implementation of the 2010 recommendations of Parliament on social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2918 on the annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 April 2017 on the EU flagship initiative on the garment sector(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2017 on the state of play of the implementation of the Sustainability Compact in Bangladesh(13),

–  having regard to voluntary country-specific partnerships, such as the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact and the Myanmar Labour Rights Initiative,

–  having regard to the 2007 joint strategy of the EU and its Member States entitled ‘Aid for trade: Enhancing EU support for trade-related needs in developing countries’,

–  having regard to the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to the fundamental International Labour Organisation Conventions on child labour, forced labour, discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2016 on the EU and responsible global value chains,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2017 on the impact of international trade and the EU’s trade policies on global value chains(14),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports(15),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Development (A8-0090/2019),

A.  whereas the EU was the first to implement a GSP scheme in 1971 following the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recommendation under which industrialised countries would grant generalised, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory trade preferences to developing countries, thereby assisting them to generate additional revenue through international trade in an effort to reduce poverty, promote good governance and foster sustainable development;

B.  whereas Article 207 of the TFEU stipulates that the EU’s trade policy must be built on the principles and objectives of EU external policy and promote the values for which the Union stands, asset out in Article 2 of the TEU and contribute to the pursuit of the aims listed in Article 21, including the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights, fundamental rights and freedoms, equality, respect for human dignity and the protection of the environment and of social rights;

C.  whereas in her conclusions, the EU Ombudsman stated the following: good administration means observance and respect for fundamental rights; where fundamental rights are not respected, there cannot be good administration; the EU institutions and bodies must always consider the compliance of their actions with fundamental rights, and should also aim at furthering the cause of human rights in the partner countries.;

D.  whereas the current GSP scheme was established under Regulation (EU) No 978/2012, adopted on the basis of Article 207 of the TFEU under the ordinary legislative procedure with the European Parliament acting for the first time as a co-legislator for a GSP regulation;

E.  whereas pursuant to Article 40 of the GSP regulation, the Commission is to submit a report on the application of the GSP Regulation to the European Parliament and to the Council five years after adoption, which should shape the next GSP Regulation that is to be adopted by 2022; whereas this regulation has been in force since 1 January 2014; whereas a thorough independent evaluation of the functioning of the present Regulation has been carried out in an effort to provide information for the Commission’s review exercise, and a list of concrete recommendations has been drawn up;

F.  whereas the scheme contains three arrangements: the general GSP scheme, the GSP+ incentive scheme, and the Everything But Arms scheme (EBA); whereas the standard GSP beneficiaries – currently 18 countries – benefit from reduced customs duties on 66 % of all EU product categories; whereas the eight GSP+ beneficiaries export around 66 % of all product categories duty-free in return for their commitment to effectively implement 27 international core conventions that cover labour rights, human rights, good governance and environmental concerns; whereas the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) under the EBA arrangement of GSP are granted duty-free access to the EU for all products, except arms and ammunition; whereas all beneficiary countries are bound by international conventions in the areas of human rights and labour rights under the GSP Regulation, while GSP+ countries are also bound by international environmental and good governance conventions; whereas only the GSP+ scheme provides for a structured dialogue, which assesses the effective implementation of those conventions by the beneficiary countries; whereas GSP beneficiary countries must also be able to implement international standards and norms, including drawing up, implementing and enforcing appropriate legislation, particularly in the area of establishing the rule of law and combating corruption;

G.  whereas the key objectives of the 2012 GSP reform were to better focus on countries in need – the LDCs and other low and lower-income countries – further promote the core principles of sustainable development and good governance, enhance stability and predictability, and improve certainty for business operators;

H.  whereas several international conventions, guidelines and rules aim to prevent human rights abuses; whereas, in particular, the GSP beneficiary countries have the obligation to implement these guidelines and create the appropriate legal and economic conditions under which businesses can operate and find a place in global supply chains;;

I.  whereas the EU should respond even more effectively to social and environmental dumping and unfair competition and trade practices, in addition to ensuring a level playing field;

J.  whereas in several countries, export processing zones (EPZs) are exempted from national labour legislation, thereby preventing the full right to exercise union activity or seek legal redress; whereas the former constitutes a violation of core ILO standards and could lead to further negative impacts on human rights;

K.  whereas gender equality in all EU policies is firmly established in Article 8 of the TFEU; whereas trade and investment agreements tend to affect women and men differently on account of structural gender inequalities; whereas according to the ILO, in 2012, 21 million people worldwide, of whom 55 % were women and girls, were the victims of forced labour, with 90 % of these in the private economy sector;

L.  whereas Article 19(6) of the GSP Regulation requires that the Commission take account of ‘all relevant information’ in determining whether GSP beneficiary countries duly comply with their human rights obligations, including information provided by civil society; whereas the involvement of civil society and social partners in the implementation of the GSP scheme can enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of the EU’s common commercial policy;

M.  whereas the GSP Regulation allows the EU to suspend preferences in the most serious cases of human rights violations, on the basis of Chapter V, Article 19(1)(a) of the GSP Regulation, which provides for the temporary withdrawal of preferential treatment on a number of grounds, including systematic violations of the principles laid down in the conventions listed in Part A of Annex VIII;

N.  whereas the Commission has launched the process in the case of Cambodia, and is in the process of launching investigations in the case of Myanmar for human rights abuses within the framework of potential withdrawals from the Everything But Arms arrangements;

Main conclusions and recommendations

1.  Welcomes the Midterm Evaluation on the application of the current GSP Regulation, which assesses whether the objectives it has set out are likely to be achieved; welcomes the fact that the new Regulation has seen an increase in exports from beneficiaries of the Everything But Arms (EBA) and GSP+ arrangements, which is an important contributing factor towards poverty eradication;

2.  Notes with satisfaction that in 2016 EUR 62,6 billion worth of imports entered the EU under GSP preferences (a rising tendency), broken down as follows: EUR 31,6 billion from standard GSP beneficiaries, around EUR 7.5 billion from GSP+ beneficiaries and EUR 23,5 billion from EBA beneficiaries (Eurostat data as of September 2017);

3.  Recalls that the GSP helps industries in developing countries overcome the difficulties these countries face on export markets as a result of high initial costs; recalls that, in line with UNCTAD objectives, the aims of the GSP are to increase the export revenue and promote the industrialisation of developing countries and consequently LDCs, and to accelerate their growth with a view to eradicating poverty;

4.  Underlines that GSP+ is a key EU trade policy instrument which provides better market access and is accompanied by a stringent monitoring mechanism to promote human and labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance in vulnerable developing countries;

5.  Notes that the current GSP Regulation has been in force for three years, since the start of the mid-term evaluation process, which has already identified elements to be considered for reform in the next GSP Regulation; welcomes the recommendations provided by the final mid-term evaluation report;

6.  Emphasises that the GSP, as part of the EU’s trade policy, must be built on the principles of EU external policy (effectiveness, transparency and values) as enshrined in Article 21 of the TEU; stresses that Article 208 of the TFEU establishes the principle of policy coherence for development, and sets the eradication of poverty as the main objective; stresses that the Commission’s Trade for All communication reaffirms these principles;

7.  Acknowledges the fact that GSP+ plays an important role in promoting international labour rights, human rights, good governance and environmental protection standards in its beneficiary countries, by not only offering incentives to comply with these standards but also establishing a platform for regular dialogue in the areas covered by the conventions and promoting engagement in substantive reforms;

8.  Acknowledges that the GSP scheme has brought economic gains to the beneficiary countries and the EU, with increased exports to the EU and improved preference utilisation rates by EBA and GSP+ beneficiaries; urges the EU to work on raising awareness of the GSP rules in the beneficiary countries in order to promote an even better uptake of the scheme; asks the Commission to assess the distribution of gains as regards the GSP scheme, where possible, based on the availability of data; takes note that, in some cases, increased exports and economic opportunities have also had unintended negative indirect impacts on fundamental rights and social development, for example leading to land grabbing or lack of compliance with labour rights; stresses, therefore, that trade preferences need to be followed by the implementation of international conventions and reforms so as to prevent the GSP programmes potentially leading to increased levels of environmental and social dumping;

9.  Welcomes the simplified GSP+ entry mechanism to make it more attractive for standard GSP beneficiary countries; highlights the fact that many of the candidate countries for GSP+ have ratified several of the international conventions needed for GSP+ admission; stresses that the improved, constant and systematic monitoring of the implementation process is of paramount importance, and can be achieved by stepping up cooperation between all actors so as to improve information gathering and in-depth analysis by using all the available information and resources, such as the reports from international monitoring bodies, including the UN, the ILO, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and including direct involvement of civil society and social partners in the process; stresses that this is necessary in order to ensure the full potential of the GSP+ scheme to improve the situation with regard to workers’ rights, promotion of gender equality and the abolition of child and forced labour through the effective implementation of the 27 conventions;

10.  Urges the Commission to address the issues of shrinking space for civil society and protection for human rights defenders at risk when it engages with GSP+ beneficiary countries and through EBA enhanced engagement, as these issues are directly related to obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and relevant provisions of the ILO core conventions, in line with the Commission’s Trade for All communication; asks the Commission, furthermore, to explore further options for the structured, formal and independent participation of civil society, trade union representatives and the private sector, which could serve as potential avenues to strengthen the monitoring process;

11.  Emphasises that, overall, the GSP scheme appears to have created incentives for ratifying international conventions and has therefore created a better framework for progress; stresses the importance of further putting in place thorough measures to ensure that the GSP fosters positive environmental development; recommends that the Paris Agreement be added to the list of 27 core international conventions that GSP+ beneficiary countries must comply with; stresses that much progress remains to be made in beneficiary countries in order to achieve a sustainable development model;

12.  Acknowledges the progress made on effective implementation, achieved through increased monitoring and dialogue between the EU and the beneficiary countries, in particular when monitoring the implementation of the 27 core conventions; stresses the need for further coordination between the European External Action Service (EEAS), Union delegations, Member States’ diplomatic missions, beneficiary country governments, international organisations, businesses, social partners and civil society in order to improve information gathering and provide more in-depth analysis of the monitoring exercise; recommends, as far as possible, greater transparency and communication between co-legislators and stakeholders in the GSP withdrawal processes, in particular during the Commission’s investigation procedure;

13.  Acknowledges that ratification and progress on the effective implementation of relevant conventions are important benchmarks in order to achieve the necessary progress within the scheme; asks the Commission to ensure that the actions taken in order to monitor the effective implementation of conventions by beneficiary countries are fully in line with the country strategy papers, with a view to ensuring policy coherence, consistency and mainstreaming human rights into trade policy;

14.  Stresses the need for continued engagement and further improvement of transparency in GSP+ monitoring while ensuring that the EU can preserve its full leverage with beneficiary countries in this dialogue, notably around the scorecard exercise; calls on the Commission to consider further steps in this field and in the field of dialogue with beneficiary countries in order to increase the transparency, oversight and effectiveness of the scheme;

15.  Considers that any decision to suspend preferences must be completely consistent with the overarching objective of alleviating poverty and emphasises that acts of secondary EU law must be both designed and interpreted in line with primary EU law and general principles of EU law in this regard; stresses, therefore, the need for maintaining the current targeted approach for the withdrawal of preferences and ensuring that such withdrawal is limited to specific sectors and designed in such a way as to minimise the negative effects for the local population; calls on the Commission to make use of graduated withdrawals of trade preferences or other time-bound withdrawal measures where appropriate; stresses, finally, that the withdrawal of trade preferences should be seen as a measure of last resort applied only in cases of serious shortcomings in the effective implementation of the international conventions and a clear lack of willingness and engagement by the beneficiary country to address them; stresses, at the same time, the conditional nature of the schemes and that this conditionality should be used to preserve the credibility of each scheme and ensure action in cases of severe and systematic violations of the conventions;

16.  Welcomes the Commission’s recent decisions to launch the process for the withdrawal of EBA preferences for Cambodia and to send an emergency, high-level EU mission to Myanmar, in response to the human rights situation in both countries; expects the Commission to keep Parliament closely informed and involved in further steps, including with regard to the suspension of preferences;

17.  Notes that the number of beneficiary countries has significantly decreased due to the reformed eligibility criteria, which, together with product graduation, has resulted in an overall decrease in the volume of EU imports from GSP countries; acknowledges that these reforms allow preferences to be focused on the countries that are most in need; requests the Commission to ensure coherence and consistency between GSP and FTA regimes in the impact assessment for the next regulation, so as to ensure the central role of GSP for developing countries in the trade policy of the EU; notes in this regard that EBA beneficiary countries are facing increasing competitive pressure from countries that have established FTAs with the EU; notes, furthermore, that some countries previously subject to GSP+ monitoring are now covered by FTAs that include trade and sustainable development chapters, which should be effective and enforceable;

18.  Regrets the fact that the GSP scheme, notably in the case of 29 EBA countries, has not led to any change, and, in some cases a deterioration in their export diversification profiles at the product level; further regrets the fact that it has not sufficiently contributed to economic diversification; calls for further measures to be taken in order to enhance the diversification of exports from GSP countries; regrets the fact that diversification among beneficiaries seems to have been hampered by removing the possibility of cumulation with countries that have graduated from GSP, as they can no longer benefit from the rules of origin for GSP beneficiaries; firmly calls for this possibility to be reintroduced, especially for the most vulnerable countries; notes the significant decrease in export diversification at all sector levels for standard GSP beneficiaries; further calls on the Commission to consider reforming and expanding the list of products to be covered by the Regulation with regard to semi-finished and finished products in particular, and, where necessary, easing rules of origin for the most vulnerable countries; further encourages GSP beneficiary countries to introduce effective measures aimed at product diversification; in this sense, underlines the need to create access to knowledge and technology in order to diversify products so the exports can sustain themselves in global competition, and in Europe in particular;

19.  Calls on GSP beneficiary countries to put in place and effectively implement legal measures to protect intellectual property;

20.  Welcomes the fact that the preference utilisation rate for EBA beneficiaries is high; stresses the importance of capacity building in the beneficiary countries to support them in benefiting the most from the scheme; calls for measures under the Aid for Trade initiative to be more effectively used in this regard; takes the view that consideration should be given to including services in the next GSP regulation in order to further promote increased diversification; stresses, furthermore, in this context the importance of a business-to-business approach; calls for the setting up of sectoral, multi-stakeholder platforms and online facilities, which bring together export companies from GSP beneficiary countries, import companies in the EU and potential newcomers on both sides – those who are currently not exporting or not importing – in order to exchange best practices and to raise awareness of the GSP rules, conditions and economic perspectives it offers;

21.  Welcomes the conclusion of the first safeguard investigation under the regulation, and considers that this clause should ensure that the EU’s financial, economic, social and environmental interests are protected; stresses that when offering preferences for sensitive products, there is a need to allow them to be given special treatment in order to avoid putting certain sectors at risk;

22.  Emphasises that all parts of the territory of the beneficiary countries, including EPZs, are covered by the scheme and the obligations resulting from the ratification of the relevant conventions; urges beneficiary countries to effectively implement labour standards, and urges the Commission to address violations of ILO standards, including collective bargaining and freedom of association in EPZs situated in current or potential beneficiary countries, and to ensure that any carve-outs are removed; calls on the Commission to explore means to ensure that products from EPZs do not fall under the scheme of preferences insofar as they are exempt from national legislation and in breach of the relevant international conventions;

23.  Highlights that the GSP has made the corporate sector more dynamic, contributed to women’s economic empowerment to a certain extent and favoured their participation in the labour force, in particular in the industries of the export countries that trade with the EU; stresses in this sense that is important to create suitable business environments for women in order for them to capitalise on these new skills and experiences and be able to move up in companies’ structures or be able to set up their own new enterprises; nevertheless notes that women continue to be discriminated against, and is concerned about women’s working conditions, especially in the textiles and apparel sector; reiterates its resolution of 27 April 2017, and calls on the Commission to follow up on this;

24.  Welcomes the effect that the GSP has had on adopting cleaner and safer technologies and on voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives, which has had a direct positive impact on workers and the environment; takes the view that measures to further encourage and reliably assess this development should be planned; recognises the need to strike the correct balance between regulatory and voluntary action on corporate due diligence in this regard, and calls on the Commission to explore ways to establish due diligence obligations;

25.  Considers that the EU should ensure policy coherence by encouraging other international actors, such as multinational enterprises, to participate fully in the improvement of human rights, social rights and environmental standards worldwide, not least by obliging economic operators to put in place due diligence practices in line with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights; calls on the Commission to show leadership in order to ensure that human rights and labour rights are upheld in global value chains and to report on the implementation of Parliament’s 2016 resolution on the implementation of its recommendations on social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility, including its call to include corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Regulation and to reform WTO rules to institute supply chain due diligence and transparency requirements, building on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights;

26.  Recalls that the EU must encourage, in the interests of coherence with the policies of other international players, such as multinationals, full participation in improving respect for human rights, children’s rights, social rights, environmental rights and public health in the world; calls for the EU to ensure that human rights are respected in relation to the right to work in global value chains, i.e. throughout the supply chain;

27.  Calls on the Commission, as regards to the next GSP regulation, to explore the possibility of introducing additional tariff preferences for products that have demonstrably been produced sustainably; considers that the goods should be submitted on a voluntary basis for certification of their sustainable mode of production and that proof thereof should be produced upon import into the EU;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 303, 31.10.2012 p. 1.
(2) OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 13.
(3) OJ C 55, 12.2.2016, p. 112.
(4) http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/october/tradoc_157434.pdf
(5) COM(2018)0665.
(6) SWD(2018)0430.
(7) COM(2016)0029.
(8) COM(2018)0036.
(9) https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/decision/en/64308
(10) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 19.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0515
(12) OJ C 298, 23.8.2018, p. 100.
(13) OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 100.
(14) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 33.
(15) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/organes/conf_pres_groupes/proces_verbal/2002/12-12/CPG_PV(2002)12-12(ANN01)_EN.doc


Minimum loss coverage for non-performing exposures ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on amending Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 as regards minimum loss coverage for non-performing exposures (COM(2018)0134 – C8-0117/2018 – 2018/0060(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0208A8-0440/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0134),

–  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 (C8‑0117/2018),

–  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 12 July 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 responsible committee under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 7 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 Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0440/2018),

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 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 as regards minimum loss coverage for non-performing exposures

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0060


(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)  The establishment of a comprehensive strategy to address non-performing exposures (NPEs) is an important goal for the Union in its attempt to make the financial system more resilient. While addressing NPEs is primarily the responsibility of banks and Member States, there is also a clear Union dimension to reducing the current high stock of NPEs, to preventing any excessive build-up of NPEs in the future and to preventing the emergence of systemic risks in the non-banking sector. Given the interconnectedness of the banking and financial systems across the Union, where banks operate in multiple jurisdictions and Member States, there is significant potential for spill‑over effects for Member States and for the Union as a whole, both in terms of economic growth and financial stability.

(2)  The financial crisis led to the build-up of NPEs in the banking sector. Consumers were significantly affected by the subsequent recession and the drop in housing prices. Safeguarding consumers’ rights in line with relevant Union law such as Directives 2008/48/EC(6) and 2014/17/EU(7) of the European Parliament and of the Council is essential when tackling the issue of NPEs. Directive 2011/7/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(8) encourages prompt payment by both enterprises and public authorities and helps prevent the kind of build-up of NPEs that occurred during the years of the financial crisis.

(3)  An integrated financial system will enhance the resilience of the Economic and Monetary Union to adverse shocks by facilitating cross-border private risk-sharing, while at the same time reducing the need for public risk-sharing. In order to achieve those objectives, the Union should complete the banking union and further develop a capital markets union. Addressing ▌ possible future NPE accumulation is essential to strengthening the banking union as it is essential for ensuring competition in the banking sector, preserving financial stability and encouraging lending, so as to create jobs and growth within the Union.

(4)  In its 'Action plan to tackle non-performing loans in Europe' of 11 July 2017, the Council called upon various institutions to take appropriate measures to further address the high number of NPEs in the Union and to prevent their build-up in the future. The action plan sets out a comprehensive approach that focuses on a mix of complementary policy actions in four areas: (i) supervision; (ii) structural reforms of insolvency and debt recovery frameworks; (iii) development of secondary markets for distressed assets; (iv) fostering restructuring of the banking system. Actions in those areas are to be taken at Union and at national level, where appropriate. The Commission announced a similar intention in its 'Communication on completing the Banking Union' of 11 October 2017, which called for a comprehensive package on tackling non-performing loans (NPLs) within the Union.

(5)  Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(9) forms, together with Directive 2013/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(10), the legal framework governing the prudential rules for credit institutions and investment firms (referred to collectively as "institutions"). Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 contains, inter alia, provisions directly applicable to institutions for determining their own funds. It is therefore necessary to complement the existing prudential rules in Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 relating to own funds with provisions requiring a deduction from own funds where NPEs are not sufficiently covered by provisions or other adjustments. Such requirement would effectively amount to creating a prudential backstop for NPEs that would apply uniformly to all institutions in the Union, and would also cover institutions which are active on the secondary market.

(6)  The prudential backstop should not prevent competent authorities from exercising their supervisory powers in accordance with Directive 2013/36/EU. Where competent authorities ascertain on a case-by-case basis that, despite the application of the prudential backstop for NPEs established by this Regulation, the NPEs of a specific institution are not sufficiently covered, it should be possible for them to make use of the supervisory powers provided for in Directive 2013/36/EU, including the power to require institutions to apply a specific provisioning policy or treatment of assets in terms of own funds requirements. Therefore, it is possible, on a case-by-case basis, for the competent authorities to go beyond the requirements laid down in this Regulation for the purpose of ensuring sufficient coverage for NPEs.

(7)  For the purposes of applying the prudential backstop, it is appropriate to introduce in Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 a clear set of conditions for the classification of NPEs. As Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014(11) already lays down criteria concerning NPEs for the purposes of supervisory reporting, it is appropriate that the classification of NPEs build on that existing framework. Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014 refers to defaulted exposures as defined for the purpose of calculating own funds requirements for credit risk and impaired exposures pursuant to the applicable accounting framework. As forbearance measures might influence whether an exposure is classified as non-performing, the classification criteria are complemented by clear criteria on the impact of forbearance measures. Forbearance measures should aim to return the borrower to a sustainable performing repayment status and should comply with Union consumer protection law and in particular with Directives 2008/48/EC and 2014/17/EU, but might have different justifications and consequences. It is therefore appropriate to provide that a forbearance measure granted to a non-performing exposure should not discontinue the classification of that exposure as non-performing unless certain strict discontinuation criteria are fulfilled.

(8)  The longer an exposure has been non-performing, the lower the probability for the recovery of its value. Therefore, the portion of the exposure that should be covered by provisions, other adjustments or deductions should increase with time, following a pre‑defined calendar. NPEs purchased by an institution should therefore be subject to a calendar that starts to run from the date on which the NPE was originally classified as non-performing, and not from the date of its purchase. For that purpose, the seller should inform the buyer of the date of the classification of the exposure as non-performing.

(9)  Partial write-offs should be taken into account when calculating the specific credit risk adjustments. In order to avoid any double counting of the write-off, it is necessary to use the original exposure value prior to the partial write-off. The inclusion of partial write-offs in the list of items that can be used to meet the requirements of the backstop should encourage institutions to recognise write-offs in a timely manner. For NPEs purchased by an institution at a price lower than the amount owed by the debtor, the purchaser should treat the difference between the purchase price and the amount owed by the debtor in the same way as a partial write-off for the purpose of the prudential backstop.

(10)  Secured NPEs are generally expected to result in a less significant loss than unsecured NPEs, as the credit protection securing the NPE gives the institution a specific claim on an asset or against a third party in addition to the institution's general claim against the defaulted borrower. In the case of an unsecured NPE, only the general claim against the defaulted borrower would be available. Given the higher loss expected on unsecured NPEs, a stricter calendar should be applied.

(11)  An exposure which is only partly covered by eligible credit protection should be considered as secured for the covered part, and as unsecured for the part which is not covered by eligible credit protection. In order to determine which parts of NPEs are to be treated as secured or unsecured, the eligibility criteria for credit protection and for fully and completely securing mortgages used for the purposes of the calculation of own funds requirements should be applied in accordance with the relevant approach under Regulation (EU) No 575/2013, including applicable value adjustment.

(12)   The same calendar should be applied irrespective of the reason for which the exposure is non-performing. The prudential backstop should be applied at an exposure‑by-exposure level. A calendar of three years should apply for unsecured NPEs. In order to allow institutions and Member States to improve the efficiency of restructuring or of enforcement proceedings, as well as to recognise that NPEs secured by immovable collateral and residential loans guaranteed by an eligible protection provider as defined in Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 will have a remaining value for a longer period of time after the loan has been classified as non-performing, it is appropriate to provide for a calendar of nine years. For other secured NPEs a calendar of seven years should apply in order to build up full coverage.

(13)  It should be possible to take forbearance measures into account for the purpose of applying the relevant coverage factor. More precisely, the exposure should continue to be classified as non-performing but the coverage requirement should remain stable for one additional year. Therefore, the factor that would be applicable during the year in which the forbearance measure has been granted should be applicable for two years. Where, upon the expiry of the additional year, the exposure is still non-performing, the applicable factor should be determined as if no forbearance measure had been granted, taking into account the date on which the exposure was originally classified as non-performing. Given that granting forbearance measures should not lead to any arbitrage, that additional year should only be permitted in respect of the first forbearance measure that has been granted since the classification of the exposure as non-performing. In addition, the one-year period during which the coverage factor remains unchanged should not lead to the extension of the provisioning calendar. As a result, any forbearance measure granted in the third year after the classification as NPE for unsecured exposures, or in the seventh year after the classification as NPE for secured exposures, should not delay the full coverage of the NPE.

(14)  In order to ensure that the credit protection valuation of institutions' NPEs follows a prudent approach, the European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority) (EBA) should consider the need for, and if necessary develop, a common methodology, in particular regarding assumptions pertaining to recoverability and enforceability, and possibly including minimum requirements for re-valuation of the credit protection in terms of timing.

(15)  In order to facilitate a smooth transition towards the new prudential backstop, the new rules should not be applied in relation to exposures originated prior to ... [the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation].

(16)  In order to ensure that the amendments to Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 introduced by this Regulation apply in a timely manner, this Regulation should enter into force on the date following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

(17)  Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 should therefore be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 is amended as follows:

(1)  in Article 36(1), the following point is added:"

'(m) the applicable amount of insufficient coverage for non-performing exposures.';

"

(2)  the following Articles are inserted:"

'Article 47a

Non-performing exposures

1.  For the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1), exposure shall include any of the following items, provided they are not included in the trading book of the institution:

   (a) a debt instrument, including a debt security, a loan, an advance ▌ and a demand deposit;
   (b) a loan commitment given, a financial guarantee given or any other commitment given, irrespective of whether it is revocable or irrevocable, with the exception of undrawn credit facilities that may be cancelled unconditionally at any time and without notice, or that effectively provide for automatic cancellation due to deterioration in the borrower’s creditworthiness.

2.  For the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1), the exposure value of a debt instrument shall be its accounting value measured without taking into account any specific credit risk adjustments, additional value adjustments in accordance with Articles 34 and 105, amounts deducted in accordance with point (m) of Article 36(1)▌, other own funds reductions related to the exposure or partial write-offs made by the institution since the last time the exposure was classified as non-performing.

For the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1), the exposure value of a debt instrument that was purchased at a price lower than the amount owed by the debtor shall include the difference between the purchase price and the amount owed by the debtor.

For the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1), the exposure value of a loan commitment given, a financial guarantee given or any other commitment given as referred to in point (b) of paragraph 1 of this Article shall be its nominal value, which shall represent the institution’s maximum exposure to credit risk without taking account of any funded or unfunded credit protection. The nominal value of a loan commitment given shall be the undrawn amount that the institution has committed to lend and the nominal value of a financial guarantee given shall be the maximum amount the entity could have to pay if the guarantee is called on.

The nominal value referred to in the third subparagraph of this paragraph shall not take into account any specific credit risk adjustment, additional value adjustments in accordance with Articles 34 and 105, amounts deducted in accordance with point (m) of Article 36(1) or other own funds reductions related to the exposure.

3.  For the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1), the following exposures shall be classified as non-performing:

   (a) an exposure in respect of which a default is considered to have occurred in accordance with Article 178;
   (b) an exposure which is considered to be impaired in accordance with the applicable accounting framework;
   (c) an exposure under probation pursuant to paragraph 7, where additional forbearance measures are granted or where the exposure becomes more than 30 days past due;
   (d) an exposure in the form of a commitment that, were it drawn down or otherwise used, would likely not be paid back in full without realisation of collateral;
   (e) an exposure in form of a financial guarantee that is likely to be called by the guaranteed party, including where the underlying guaranteed exposure meets the criteria to be considered as non-performing.

For the purposes of point (a), where an institution has on-balance-sheet exposures to an obligor that are past due by more than 90 days and that represent more than 20 % of all on-balance-sheet exposures to that obligor, all on- and off-balance-sheet exposures to that obligor shall be considered to be non-performing.

4.  Exposures that have not been subject to a forbearance measure shall cease to be classified as non-performing for the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1) where all the following conditions are met:

   (a) the exposure meets the exit criteria applied by the institution for the discontinuation of the classification as impaired in accordance with the applicable accounting framework and of the classification as defaulted in accordance with Article 178;
   (b) the situation of the obligor has improved to the extent that the institution is satisfied that full and timely repayment is likely to be made;
   (c) the obligor does not have any amount past due by more than 90 days.

5.  The classification of a non-performing exposure as non-current asset held for sale in accordance with the applicable accounting framework shall not discontinue its classification as non-performing exposure for the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1).

6.  Non-performing exposures subject to forbearance measures shall cease to be classified as non-performing for the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1) where all the following conditions are met:

   (a) the exposures have ceased to be in a situation that would lead to their classification as non-performing under paragraph 3;
   (b) at least one year has passed since the date on which the forbearance measures were granted and the date on which the exposures were classified as non-performing, whichever is later;
   (c) there is no past-due amount following the forbearance measures and the institution, on the basis of the analysis of the obligor’s financial situation, is satisfied about the likelihood of the full and timely repayment of the exposure.

Full and timely repayment shall not be considered likely unless the obligor has executed regular and timely payments of amounts equal to either of the following:

   (a) the amount that was past due before the forbearance measure was granted, where there were amounts past due;
   (b) the amount that has been written-off under the forbearance measures granted, where there were no amounts past due.

7.  Where a non-performing exposure has ceased to be classified as non-performing pursuant to paragraph 6, such exposure shall be under probation until all the following conditions are met:

   (a) at least two years have passed since the date on which the exposure subject to forbearance measures was re‑classified as performing;
   (b) regular and timely payments have been made during at least half of the period that the exposure would be under probation, leading to the payment of a substantial aggregate amount of principal or interest;
   (c) none of the exposures to the obligor is more than 30 days past due.

Article 47b

Forbearance measures

1.  Forbearance measure is a concession by an institution towards an obligor that is experiencing or is likely to experience difficulties in meeting its financial commitments. A concession may entail a loss for the lender and shall refer to either of the following actions:

   (a) a modification of the terms and conditions of a debt obligation, where such modification would not have been granted had the ▌ obligor not experienced difficulties in meeting its financial commitments;
   (b) a total or partial refinancing of a debt obligation, where such refinancing would not have been granted had ▌ the obligor not experienced difficulties in meeting its financial commitments.

2.  At least the following situations shall be considered forbearance measures:

   (a) new contract terms are more favourable to the obligor than the previous contract terms, where the obligor is experiencing or is likely to experience difficulties in meeting its financial commitments;
   (b) new contract terms are more favourable to the obligor than contract terms offered by the same institution to obligors with a similar risk profile at that time, where the obligor is experiencing or is likely to experience difficulties in meeting its financial commitments;
   (c) the exposure under the initial contract terms was classified as non-performing before the modification to the contract terms or would have been classified as non-performing in the absence of modification to the contract terms;
   (d) the measure results in a total or partial cancellation of the debt obligation;
   (e) the institution approves the exercise of clauses that enable the obligor to modify the terms of the contract and the exposure was classified as non-performing before the exercise of those clauses, or would be classified as non-performing were those clauses not exercised;
   (f) at or close to the time of the granting of debt, the obligor made payments of principal or interest on another debt obligation with the same institution, which was classified as a non-performing exposure or would have been classified as non-performing in the absence of those payments;
   (g) the modification to the contract terms involves repayments made by taking possession of collateral, where such modification constitutes a concession.

3.  The following circumstances are indicators that forbearance measures may have been adopted:

   (a) the initial contract was past due by more than 30 days at least once during the three months prior to its modification or would be more than 30 days past due without modification;
   (b) at or close to the time of concluding the credit agreement, the obligor made payments of principal or interest on another debt obligation with the same institution that was past due by 30 days at least once during the three months prior to the granting of new debt;
   (c) the institution approves the exercise of clauses that enable the obligor to change the terms of the contract, and the exposure is 30 days past due or would be 30 days past due were those clauses not exercised.

4.  For the purposes of this Article, the difficulties experienced by an obligor in meeting its financial commitments shall be assessed at obligor level, taking into account all the legal entities in the obligor's group which are included in the accounting consolidation of the group, and natural persons who control that group.

Article 47c

Deduction for non-performing exposures

1.  For the purposes of point (m) of Article 36(1), institutions shall determine the applicable amount of insufficient coverage separately for each non-performing exposure to be deducted from Common Equity Tier 1 items by subtracting the amount determined in point (b) of this paragraph from the amount determined in point (a) of this paragraph, where the amount referred to in point (a) exceeds the amount referred to in point (b):

   (a) the sum of:
   (i) the unsecured part of each non-performing exposure, if any, multiplied by the applicable factor referred to in paragraph 2;
   (ii) the secured part of each non-performing exposure, if any, multiplied by the applicable factor referred to in paragraph 3;
   (b) the sum of the following items provided they relate to the same non-performing exposure:
   (i) specific credit risk adjustments;
   (ii) additional value adjustments in accordance with Articles 34 and 105;
   (iii) other own funds reductions;
   (iv) for institutions calculating risk-weighted exposure amounts using the Internal Ratings Based Approach, the absolute value of the amounts deducted pursuant to point (d) of Article 36(1) which relate to non‑performing exposures, where the absolute value attributable to each non‑performing exposure is determined by multiplying the amounts deducted pursuant to point (d) of Article 36(1) by the contribution of the expected loss amount for the non-performing exposure to total expected loss amounts for defaulted or non-defaulted exposures, as applicable.
   (v) where a non-performing exposure is purchased at a price lower than the amount owed by the debtor, the difference between the purchase price and the amount owed by the debtor;
   (vi) amounts written-off by the institution since the exposure was classified as non-performing.

The secured part of a non-performing exposure is that part of the exposure which, for the purpose of calculating own funds requirements pursuant to Title II of Part Three, is considered to be covered by a funded credit protection or unfunded credit protection or fully and completely secured by mortgages.

The unsecured part of a non-performing exposure corresponds to the difference, if any, between the value of the exposure as referred to in Article 47a(1) and the secured part of the exposure, if any.

2.  For the purposes of point (a)(i) of paragraph 1, the following factors shall apply:

   (a) 0,35 for the unsecured part of a non-performing exposure to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the third year ▌ following its classification as non-performing ▌;

   (b) 1 for the unsecured part of a non-performing exposure to be applied as of the first day of the fourth year following its classification as non-performing ▌;

3.  For the purposes of point (a)(ii) of paragraph 1, the following factors shall apply:

   (a) 0,25 for the secured part of a non-performing exposure to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the fourth year ▌ following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (b) 0,35 for the secured part of a non-performing exposure to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the fifth year ▌ following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (c) 0,55 for the secured part of a non-performing exposure to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the sixth year following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (d) 0,70 for the ▌part of a non-performing exposure secured by immovable property pursuant to Title II of Part Three or that is a residential loan guaranteed by an eligible protection provider as referred to in Article 201, to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the seventh year following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (e) 0,80 for the ▌ part of a non-performing exposure secured by other funded or unfunded credit protection pursuant to Title II of Part Three to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the seventh year following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (f) 0,80 for the ▌ part of a non-performing exposure secured by immovable property pursuant to Title II of Part Three or that is a residential loan guaranteed by an eligible protection provider as referred to in Article 201, to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the eighth year following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (g) 1 for the ▌ part of a non-performing exposure secured by other funded or unfunded credit protection pursuant to Title II of Part Three to be applied as of the first day of the eighth year following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (h) 0,85 for the ▌ part of a non-performing exposure secured by immovable property pursuant to Title II of Part Three or that is a residential loan guaranteed by an eligible protection provider as referred to in Article 201, to be applied during the period between the first and the last day of the ninth year following its classification as non-performing ▌;
   (i) 1 for the ▌ part of a non-performing exposure secured by immovable property pursuant to Title II of Part Three or that is a residential loan guaranteed by an eligible protection provider as referred to in Article 201, to be applied as of the first day of the tenth year following its classification as non-performing ▌.

4.  By way of derogation from paragraph 3, the following factors shall apply to the part of the non-performing exposure guaranteed or insured by an official export credit agency:

   (a) 0 for the secured part of the non-performing exposure to be applied during the period between one year and seven years following its classification as non-performing; and
   (b) 1 for the secured part of the non-performing exposure to be applied as of the first day of the eighth year following its classification as non-performing.

5.  EBA shall assess the range of practices applied for the valuation of secured non‑performing exposures and may develop guidelines to specify a common methodology, including possible minimum requirements for re-valuation in terms of timing and ad hoc methods, for the prudential valuation of eligible forms of funded and unfunded credit protection, in particular regarding assumptions pertaining to their recoverability and enforceability. Those guidelines may also include a common methodology for the determination of the secured part of a non-performing exposure, as referred to in paragraph 1.

Those guidelines shall be issued in accordance with Article 16 of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010.

6.  By way of derogation from paragraph 2, where an exposure has, between one year and two years following its classification as non‑performing, been granted a forbearance measure , the factor applicable in accordance with paragraph 2 on the date on which the forbearance measure is granted shall be applicable for an additional period of one year.

By way of derogation from paragraph 3, where an exposure has, between two and six years following its classification as non-performing, been granted a forbearance measure, the factor applicable in accordance with paragraph 3 on the date on which the forbearance measure is granted shall be applicable for an additional period of one year.

This paragraph shall only apply in relation to the first forbearance measure that has been granted since the classification of the exposure as non-performing.';

"

(3)  in the first sub-paragraph of Article 111(1), the introductory text is replaced by the following:"

'1. The exposure value of an asset item shall be its accounting value remaining after specific credit risk adjustments in accordance with Article 110, additional value adjustments in accordance with Articles 34 and 105, amounts deducted in accordance with point (m) Article 36(1) and other own funds reductions related to the asset item have been applied. The exposure value of an off-balance sheet item listed in Annex I shall be the following percentage of its nominal value after reduction of specific credit risk adjustments and amounts deducted in accordance with point (m) Article 36(1):';

"

(4)  Article 127(1) is replaced by the following:"

'1. The unsecured part of any item where the obligor has defaulted in accordance with Article 178, or in the case of retail exposures, the unsecured part of any credit facility which has defaulted in accordance with Article 178 shall be assigned a risk weight of:

   (a) 150 %, where the sum of specific credit risk adjustments and of the amounts deducted in accordance with point (m) Article 36(1) is less than 20 % of the unsecured part of the exposure value if those specific credit risk adjustments and deductions were not applied;
   (b) 100 %, where the sum of the specific credit risk adjustments and of the amounts deducted in accordance with point (m) Article 36(1) is no less than 20 % of the unsecured part of the exposure value if those specific credit risk adjustments and deductions were not applied.';

"

(5)  Article 159 is replaced by the following:"

'Article 159

Treatment of expected loss amounts

Institutions shall subtract the expected loss amounts calculated in accordance with Article 158(5), (6) and (10) from the general and specific credit risk adjustments in accordance with Article 110, additional value adjustments in accordance with Articles 34 and 105 and other own funds reductions related to those exposures except for the deductions made in accordance with point (m) Article 36(1). Discounts on balance sheet exposures purchased when in default in accordance with Article 166(1) shall be treated in the same manner as specific credit risk adjustments. Specific credit risk adjustments on exposures in default shall not be used to cover expected loss amounts on other exposures. Expected loss amounts for securitised exposures and general and specific credit risk adjustments related to those exposures shall not be included in that calculation.';

"

(6)  point (b) of Article 178(1) is replaced by the following:"

'(b) the obligor is more than 90 days past due on any material credit obligation to the institution, the parent undertaking or any of its subsidiaries. Competent authorities may replace the 90 days with 180 days for exposures secured by residential property or SME commercial immovable property in the retail exposure class, as well as exposures to public sector entities. The 180 days shall not apply for the purposes of point (m) Article 36(1) or Article 127.';

"

(7)  the following Article is inserted:"

'Article 469a

Derogation from deductions from Common Equity Tier 1 items for non-performing exposures

By way of derogation from point (m) Article 36(1), institutions shall not deduct from Common Equity Tier 1 items the applicable amount of insufficient coverage for non- performing exposures where the exposure was originated prior to ... [the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation].

Where the terms and conditions of an exposure which was originated prior to ... [the date of entry into force of this amending Regulation] are modified by the institution in a way that increases the institution's exposure to the obligor, the exposure shall be considered as having been originated on the date when the modification applies and shall cease to be subject to the derogation provided for in the first subparagraph.'.

"

Article 2

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

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

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 79, 4.3.2019, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 367, 10.10.2018, p. 43.
(3) OJ C 79, 4.3.2019, p. 1.
(4)OJ C 367, 10.10.2018, p. 43.
(5)Position of the European Parliament of 14 March 2019 .
(6)Directive 2008/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on credit agreements for consumers and repealing Council Directive 87/102/EEC (OJ L 133, 22.5.2008, p. 66).
(7)Directive 2014/17/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 February 2014 on credit agreements for consumers relating to residential immovable property and amending Directives 2008/48/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 (OJ L 60, 28.2.2014, p. 34).
(8)Directive 2011/7/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on combating late payment in commercial transactions (OJ L 48, 23.2.2011, p. 1).
(9)Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms and amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 (OJ L 176, 27.6.2013, p. 1).
(10)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).
(11)Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 680/2014 of 16 April 2014 laying down implementing technical standards with regard to supervisory reporting of institutions according to Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 191, 28.6.2014, p. 1).


Safeguarding competition in air transport ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on safeguarding competition in air transport, repealing Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 (COM(2017)0289 – C8-0183/2017 – 2017/0116(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0209A8-0125/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0289),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 100(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0183/2017),

–  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 17 January 2018(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0125/2018),

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 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on safeguarding competition in air transport, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 868/2004

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0116


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 100(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(2),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

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

Whereas:

(1)  Aviation plays a crucial role in ▌the Union's economy and in the everyday lives of Union citizens, and is one of the best performing and most dynamic sectors of the Union economy. It is a strong driver for economic growth, jobs, trade and tourism, as well as connectivity and mobility for businesses and citizens alike, particularly within the Union aviation internal market. Over the past decades, growth in air transport services has significantly contributed to improving connectivity within the Union and with third countries, and has been a significant enabler of the Union economy ▌.

(2)  Union air carriers are at the centre of a global network connecting Europe internally and with the rest of the world. They should be enabled to compete against third countries air carriers in an environment of open and fair competition ▌. This is necessary in order to bring benefits to consumers, to maintain conditions conducive to a high level of Union▌ air connectivity and to ensure transparency, a level-playing field and continuing competitiveness of Union air carriers, as well as high levels of quality employment in the Union aviation industry.

(3)  In a context of increased competition between air transport actors at a global level, fair competition is an ▌indispensable general principle in the operation of international air transport services. This principle is notably acknowledged by the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 7 December 1944 ('the Chicago Convention') whose preamble recognises the need for international air transport services to be established on the basis of equality of opportunity. Article 44 of the Chicago Convention also states that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aims to foster the development of international air transport so as to ensure ▌that every contracting State has a fair opportunity to operate international airlines and to avoid discrimination between contracting States.

(4)  The fair competition principle is well established within the Union where market distortive practices are subject to Union law, which guarantees equal opportunities and fair competition conditions for Union and third-country air carriers operating in the Union.

(5)  However, in spite of continued efforts by the Union and some third countries ▌, principles of fair competition have not yet been defined through specific multilateral rules, in particular, in the context of the ICAO or of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, such as the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the Annex on Air Transport Services thereto, from the scope of which air transport services have been largely ▌excluded(4).

(6)  Efforts should, therefore, be strengthened, in the context of the ICAO and of the WTO, to actively support the development of international rules guaranteeing fair competition conditions between all air carriers.

(7)  Fair competition between air carriers should preferably be addressed in the context of air transport or air services agreements with third countries. However, most air transport or air services agreements concluded between the Union or its Member States, or both, on the one hand, and third countries on the other do not so far provide for adequate rules for fair competition. Efforts should therefore be strengthened to negotiate the inclusion of fair competition clauses in existing and future air transport or air services agreements with third countries.

(8)  Fair competition between air carriers can also be ensured through appropriate Union legislation such as Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93(5) and Council Directive 96/97/EC(6). Insofar as fair competition supposes protection of Union air carriers from certain practices adopted by third countries or third-country carriers, this issue was previously addressed in Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7). However, Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 has proved to be ineffective in respect of its underlying general aim of fair competition. This has been particularly the case in respect of some of its rules pertaining ▌ to the definition of the practices concerned, other than subsidisation, and to the requirements regarding the initiation and conduct of investigations. In addition, Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 has failed to provide complementarity with air transport or air services agreements to which the Union is a party ▌. Given the number and significance of the amendments that would be necessary to address these issues, it is appropriate to replace Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 by a new act.

(9)  The competitiveness of the Union aviation sector depends on the competitiveness of each part of the aviation value chain and it can only be maintained through a complementary set of policies. The Union should engage in constructive dialogue with third countries in order to find a basis for fair competition. In this respect, effective, proportionate and dissuasive legislation remains necessary in order to maintain conditions conducive to a high level of Union connectivity and to ensure fair competition with third-country air carriers. To that end, the Commission should be entrusted with the power to conduct an investigation and to take measures where necessary. Such measures should be available ▌ where practices distorting competition ▌ cause injury to Union air carriers.

(10)  Discrimination might include situations where a Union air carrier is subject to differential treatment without objective justification, in particular differential treatment concerning: the prices of, and access to, ground handling services; airport infrastructure; air navigation services; the allocation of slots; administrative procedures, such as those for the allocation of visas for foreign carriers' staff; detailed arrangements for the selling and distribution of air services; or any other ‘doing business issues’, such as burdensome customs clearance procedures or any other unfair practice of financial or operational nature.

(11)  Proceedings ▌ should be concluded without redressive measures under this Regulation where the adoption of the latter would be against the Union interest, giving special consideration to their impact on other persons, notably consumers or undertakings in the Union, as well as to their impact on high levels of connectivity throughout the Union. When assessing the Union interest, special attention should be given to the situation of Member States who rely exclusively or significantly on air transport for their connectivity with the rest of the world, and consistency with other Union policy areas should be ensured. Proceedings should also be concluded without measures where the requirements for such measures are not, or no longer met.

(▌12) When determining whether the adoption of redressive measures would be against the Union interest, the Commission should take into account the views of all interested parties. In order to organise consultations with all interested parties and to give them the opportunity to be heard, time limits for providing information or for requesting a hearing should be specified in the notice of initiation of the investigation. Interested parties should be aware of the conditions of disclosure for the information they provide and should be entitled to respond to other parties’ comments.

(13)  In order for the Commission to be adequately informed about possible elements justifying the initiation of an investigation, any Member State, Union air carrier or association of Union air carriers should be entitled to lodge a complaint, which should be addressed within a reasonable time.

(14)  In the interest of ensuring the effectiveness of this Regulation, it is essential that the Commission is able to initiate proceedings on the basis of a complaint presenting prima facie evidence of a threat of injury.

(15)  During the investigation, the Commission should give consideration to the practices distorting competition in the relevant context. Given the variety of possible practices, the practice and its effects might, in some cases, be limited to air transport activities of a city-pair route while, in other cases, it might be relevant to consider the practice and its effects on the wider air transport network.

(16)  It is important to ensure that the investigation can extend to the widest possible range of pertinent elements. To this effect, ▌the Commission should be enabled to carry out investigations in third countries, subject to the consent of the third-country entities concerned and in the absence of an objection by those third countries. For the same reasons and to the same end, Member States should be obliged to support the Commission to the best of their abilities. The Commission should conclude the investigation on the basis of best available evidence.

(17)  ▌During the investigation, the Commission might consider whether the practice distorting competition also constitutes a violation of an international air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services to which the Union is a party. If that is the case, the Commission might consider that the practice distorting competition, which also constitutes a violation of an international air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services to which the Union is a party, would be more appropriately addressed through the application of the dispute settlement procedures established by that agreement. In such a case, the Commission should be entitled to suspend the investigation initiated under this Regulation. Where the application of the dispute settlement procedures established by the international air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services to which the Union is a party fails to sufficiently remedy the situation, it should be possible for the Commission to resume the investigation.

(18)  Aviation agreements and this Regulation should facilitate dialogue with the third countries concerned in order to efficiently resolve disputes and restore fair competition. Where the investigation conducted by the Commission concerns operations covered by an air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services concluded with a third country and to which the Union is not a party, it should be ensured that the Commission acts with full knowledge of any proceedings intended, or conducted by the Member State concerned, under such agreement and pertaining to the situation subject to the Commission’s investigation. Member States should therefore be obliged to keep the Commission informed accordingly. In such a case, all Member States concerned should have the right to notify the Commission of their intention to address the practice distorting competition exclusively under the dispute settlement procedures contained in their respective air transport or air services agreements or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services concludedwith a third country and to which the Union is not a party. If all the Member States concerned notify the Commission and no objection has been raised, the Commission should temporarily suspend its investigation.

(19)  If the Member States concerned intend to address the practice distorting competition exclusively by means of dispute settlement procedures applicable under the air transport agreements, air services agreements, or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services that they have concluded with the third country concerned in order to fulfil their obligations under these agreements, the Member States should endeavour to proceed expeditiously with the bilateral dispute settlement procedures and they should fully inform the Commission in that respect. Where the practice distorting competition persists and the Commission resumes the investigation, the findings acquired during the application of such an air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services, should be taken into account in order to ensure that fair competition is restored as soon as possible.

(20)  Findings acquired during the application of the dispute settlement procedures under an international air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services to which the Union or a Member State is a party should be taken into account.

(21)  For reasons of administrative efficiency and in view of a possible termination without measures, it should be possible to suspend the proceedings where the third country or third-country entity concerned has taken decisive steps to eliminate the relevant practice distorting competition or the ensuing injury or threat of injury.

(22)  Findings in respect of injury or threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned should reflect a realistic assessment of the situation and should therefore be based on all relevant factors, in particular pertaining to the situation of those carriers and to the general situation of the affected air transport market.

(23)  It is necessary to lay down the conditions under which proceedings should be concluded, with or without the imposition of redressive measures.

(24)  Redressive measures in respect of practices distorting competition are aimed at offsetting the injury that occurs ▌ due to those practices. They should therefore take the form of financial duties or of other measures which, representing a measurable pecuniary value, are capable of achieving the same effect. ▌In order to comply with the principle of proportionality, measures of any kind should be confined to what is necessary to offset the ▌ injury identified. The redressive measure should have regard to the proper functioning of the Union air market and should not result in an undue advantage being given to any air carrier or group of air carriers.

(25)  This Regulation does not aim to impose any standards on third-country air carriers, for instance with regards to subsidies, by introducing more restrictive obligations than those applying to Union carriers.

(26)  Situations investigated under this Regulation and their potential impact on Member States might differ according to the circumstances. It should therefore be possible to apply ▌ redressive measures, depending on the case, to one or more third-country air carriers, to a specific geographical area or for a specific period of time, or to set a date in the future from which they are to apply.

(27)  Redressive measures should not consist of the suspension or limitation of traffic rights which are granted by a Member State to a third country.

(28)  In line with the same principle of proportionality, redressive measures in respect of practices distorting competition should remain in force only as long as, and to the extent that, it is necessary in view of such practice and the ensuing injury ▌. Consequently, where circumstances so warrant, a review should be provided for.

(29)  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(8).

(30)  The Commission should inform, the European Parliament and ▌the Council of the implementation of this Regulation, on a regular basis, by means of a report. That report should include information about: the application of redressive measures; the termination of investigations without redressive measures; reviews of redressive measures; and cooperation with Member States, interested parties and third countries. That report should be drafted and treated with the appropriate level of confidentiality.

(31)  Since the objective of this Regulation, namely the efficient protection - equal for all Union carriers and based on uniform criteria and procedures - ▌against injury or threat of injury to one or more Union air carriers caused by practices distorting competition, adopted by third countries or third-country entities cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, but can rather be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in ▌ Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(32)  Since this Regulation replaces Regulation (EC) No 868/2004, that Regulation should therefore be repealed,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject matter

1.  This Regulation lays down rules on the conduct of investigations by the Commission and on the adoption of redressive measures, relating to ▌practices distorting competition between Union air carriers and third-country air carriers and causing, or threatening to cause, injury to Union air carriers.

2.  This Regulation applies without prejudice to Article 12 of Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 and Article 20 of Directive 96/67/EC.

Article 2

Definitions

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

(1)  'air carrier' means an air carrier as defined in Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council(9);

(2)  'air transport service' means a flight or a series of flights carrying passengers, cargo or mail for remuneration or hire;

(3)  'interested party' means any natural or legal person, or any official body, whether or not it has its own legal personality, that is likely to have a significant interest in the result of proceedings, including, but not limited to, air carriers;

(4)  'Member State concerned’ means any Member State:

(a)  which granted the operating licence to the Union air carriers concerned pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008; or

(b)  under whose air transport agreement, air services agreement or any other agreement containing provisions on air transport services with the third country concerned, the Union air carriers concerned operate;

(5)  'third-country entity' means any natural or legal person, whether profit-making or not, or any official body whether or not it has its own legal personality, which is under the jurisdiction of a third country, whether controlled by a third-country government or not, and is directly or indirectly involved in air transport services or related services or in providing infrastructure or services used to provide air transport services or related services;

(6)  'practices distorting competition' means discrimination and subsidies;

(7)  'threat of injury' means a threat for which development into injury is clearly foreseeable, very likely and imminent , and which can be attributed beyond reasonable doubt to an action or decision by a third country or a third-country entity.

(8)  'discrimination' means differentiation of any kind without objective justification in respect of the supply of goods or services, including public services, employed for the operation of air transport services, or in respect of their treatment by public authorities relevant to such services, including practices relating to air navigation or airport facilities and services, fuel, ground handling, security, computer reservation systems, slot allocation, charges, and the use of other facilities or services employed for the operation of air transport services;

(9)  'subsidy' means a financial contribution:

(a)  granted by a government or other public organisation of a third country in any of the following forms:

(i)  a practice of a government or other public organisation involving a direct transfer of funds, potential direct transfer of funds or liabilities (such as grants, loans, equity infusion, loan guarantees, setting-off of operational losses, or compensation for financial burdens imposed by public authorities);

(ii)  revenue of a government or other public organisation that is otherwise due is foregone or not collected (such as preferential tax treatment or fiscal incentives such as tax credits);

(iii)  a government or other public organisation, including publicly controlled undertakings, provides goods or services, or purchases goods or services;

(iv)  a government or other public organisation makes payments to a funding mechanism or entrusts or directs a private body to carry out one or more of the type of functions referred to in points (i), (ii) and (iii) which would normally be vested in the government and, in practice, in no real sense differs from practices normally followed by governments;

(b)  conferring a benefit; and

(c)  limited, in law or in fact, to an entity or industry or group of entities or industries within the jurisdiction of the granting authority;

(10)  ‘Union air carrier’ means an air carrier with a valid operating licence granted by a Member State in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008;

(11)  ‘Union air carrier concerned’ means the air carrier which is allegedly subject to an injury or a threat of injury pursuant to point (b) of Article 4(1).

Article 3

Union interest

1.  A determination of the Union interest for the purpose of point (b) of Article 13(2) shall be made by the Commission based on an appreciation of all the various interests, which are relevant in the particular situation, taken as a whole. When determining the Union interest, priority shall be given to the need to protect consumer interests and to maintain a high level of connectivity for passengers and for the Union. In the context of the whole aviation chain, the Commission may also take into account relevant social factors. The Commission shall also take into consideration the need to eliminate the practice distorting competition, to restore effective and fair competition, and to avoid any distortion to the internal market.

2.  The Union interest shall be determined on the basis of an economic analysis by the Commission. The Commission shall base that analysis on information collected from the interested parties. When determining the Union interest, the Commission shall also seek any other relevant information that it considers to be necessary, and shall, in particular, take into consideration the factors set out in Article 12(1). Information shall be taken into account only where it is supported by actual evidence which substantiates its validity.

3.  A determination of the Union interest for the purpose of point (b) of Article 13(2) shall only be made where all interested parties have been given the opportunity to make themselves known, to present their views in writing, to submit information to the Commission or to apply to be heard by the Commission, in accordance with the time limits specified in point (b) of Article 4(8). Requests for a hearing shall outline the reasons pertaining to the Union interest in relation to which the parties wish to be heard.

4.  The interested parties referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article may request that the facts and considerations on which decisions are likely to be based are made available to them. Such information shall be made available to the extent possible, in accordance with Article 8, and without prejudice to any subsequent decision taken by the Commission.

5.  The economic analysis referred to in paragraph 2 shall be transmitted, for information, to the European Parliament and to the Council.

CHAPTER II

COMMON PROVISIONS REGARDING PROCEEDINGS

Article 4

Initiation of proceedings

1.  An investigation shall be initiated following a written complaint submitted by a Member State, one or more Union air carriers or an association of Union air carriers, ▌or on the Commission's own initiative, if there is prima facie evidence of ▌the existence of all the following circumstances:

(a)  a practice distorting competition, adopted by a third country or a third-country entity;

(b)  injury or threat of injury to one or more Union air carriers; and

(c)  a causal link between the alleged practice and the alleged injury or threat of injury.

2.  When it receives a complaint ▌pursuant to paragraph 1, the Commission shall inform all Member States.

3.  The Commission shall ▌ examine, in a timely manner, the accuracy and adequacy of the elements provided in the complaint or at the disposal of the Commission, in order to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify the initiation of an investigation in accordance with paragraph 1.

4.  The Commission shall decide not to initiate an investigation where the ▌facts put forward in the complaint neither raise a systemic issue nor have a significant impact on one or more Union air carriers.

5.  The Commission shall inform the complainant and all Member States where it has decided not to initiate an investigation. The information provided shall contain the reasons for the decision. This information shall also be transmitted to the European Parliament, in accordance with Article 17.

6.  Where the evidence presented is insufficient for the purposes of paragraph 1, the Commission shall inform the complainant about such insufficiency within 60 days of the date on which the complaint was lodged. The complainant shall be given 45 days to provide additional evidence. Where the complainant fails to do so within that time limit, the Commission may decide not to initiate the investigation.

7.  Subject to paragraphs 4 and 6, the Commission shall decide whether to initiate an investigation in accordance with paragraph 1 within a maximum period of five months of the lodging of the complaint.

8.  Subject to paragraph 4, when the Commission considers that there is sufficient evidence to justify initiating an investigation, the Commission shall take the following steps:

(a)  initiate the proceedings and notify the Member States and the European Parliament thereof;

(b)  publish a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union; the notice shall announce the initiation of the investigation, indicate the scope of the investigation, ▌the third country or third-country entity which has allegedly been engaged in practices distorting competition and the alleged injury or threat of injury, the Union air carriers concerned, and state the period within which interested parties may make themselves known, present their views in writing, submit information or apply to be heard by the Commission. That period shall be at least 30 days;

(c)  officially notify the representatives of the third country and third-country entity concerned of the initiation of the investigation;

(d)  inform the complainant and the Committee provided for under Article 16 of the initiation of the investigation.

9.  Where the complaint is withdrawn prior to the initiation of the investigation, the complaint is considered not to have been lodged. This is without prejudice to the right of the Commission to initiate an investigation on its own initiative in accordance with paragraph 1.

Article 5

The investigation

1.  Following the initiation of proceedings, the Commission shall begin an investigation.

2.  The investigation shall aim to determine ▌ whether a practice distorting competition, adopted by a third country or a third-country entity, has caused injury or threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned.

3.  Where, during the course of the investigation referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, the Commission finds evidence that a practice might lead to a negative impact on air connectivity of a particular region, of a Member State or a group of Member States, and thus to passengers, that evidence shall be taken into account in the determination of the Union interest as referred to in Article 3.

4.  The Commission shall seek all the information it considers to be necessary in order to conduct the investigation and ▌shall verify the accuracy of the information it has received or collected with the Union air carriers concerned, or with the third country, an interested party, or the third-country entity concerned.

5.  Where the information submitted pursuant to paragraph 4 is incomplete, it shall be taken into account, provided that it is neither false nor misleading.

6.  If evidence or information is not accepted, the supplying party shall be informed immediately of the reasons thereof, and shall be granted an opportunity to provide further explanations within aspecified time limit.

7.  The Commission may request the Member States concerned to support it in the investigation ▌. In particular, upon request by the Commission, they shall take ▌the necessary steps to support the Commission in the investigation by supplying relevant and available information. Upon request by the Commission, any Member State shall endeavour to contribute to relevant verification and analyses.

8.  If it appears necessary, the Commission may carry out investigations in the territory of a third country ▌, provided that the third-country entity concerned has given its consent and the government of the third country has been officially notified and has not raised any objection.

9.  Parties which have made themselves known within the time limits set out in the notice of initiation, shall be heard if they have made a request for a hearing showing that they are an interested party.

10.  Complainants, interested parties, the Member States ▌and the representatives of the third country or third-country entity concerned may consult all information made available to the Commission, except for internal documents that are for the use of the Commission and the administrations of the Union and of the Member Statess concerned, provided that such information is not confidential within the meaning of Article 8 and provided that they have addressed a request in writing to the Commission.

Article 6

Suspension

1.  The Commission may suspend the investigation if it appears more appropriate to address the practice distorting competition exclusively under the dispute settlement procedures established by an applicable air transport or air services agreement to which the Union is a party, or to any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services to which the Union is a party. The Commission shall notify the Member States of the suspension of the investigation.

The Commission may resume the investigation in any of the following cases:

(a)  the procedure conducted under the applicable air transport or air services agreement or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services has led to a finding of an infringement by the other party or parties to the agreement which has become final and binding upon such other party or parties, but corrective action has not been taken promptly, or within the period provided for under the relevant procedures;

(b)  the practice distorting competition has not been eliminated within 12 months from the date of suspension of the investigation.

2.  The Commission shall suspend the investigation if, within 15 days from the date of the notification of the initiation of the investigation:

(a)  all the Member States concerned referred to in point (4)(b) of Article 2 have notified the Commission of their intention to address the practice distorting competition exclusively under the dispute settlement procedures applicable under the air transport or air services agreement, or any other agreement which contains provisions on air transport services, that they have concluded with the third-country concerned; and

(b)  none of the Member States concerned referred to in point (4)(a) of Article 2 has objected.

In such cases of suspension, Article 7(1) and (2) shall apply.

3.  The Commission may resume the investigation in any of the following cases:

(a)  the Member States concerned referred to in point (4)(b) of Article 2 have not initiated the dispute settlement procedure under the relevant international agreement within three months from the date of the notification referred to in point (a) of paragraph 2;

(b)  the Member States concerned referred to in point (4)(b) of Article 2 notify the Commission that the outcome of the dispute settlement procedures referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article has not been enforced correctly and expeditiously;

(c)  all the Member States concerned ask the Commission to resume the investigation;

(d)  the Commission comes to the conclusion that the practice distorting competition has not been eliminated within 12 months of the date of the notification referred to in point (a) of paragraph 2 by the Member States concerned ;

(e)  in the cases of urgency foreseen in Article 11(3), if, within nine months of the date of notification referred to in point (a) of paragraph 2 of this Article by the Member States concerned referred to in point (4)(b) of Article 2, the practice distorting competition has not been eliminated; at the request of a Member State concerned, that period may be prolonged by the Commission, in duly justified cases, by a maximum of three months.

Article 7

Cooperation with the Member States in respect of proceedings relevant to cases falling under Chapter III

1.  The Member State concerned shall ▌inform the Commission of all relevant meetings scheduled in the framework of the air transport or air services agreement, or of any provision on air transport services included in any other agreement concluded with the third country concerned, to discuss the issue covered by the investigation. The Member State concerned shall provide the Commission with the agenda and all relevant information permitting an understanding of the topics to be discussed at those meetings.

2.  The Member State concerned shall keep the Commission informed of the conduct of any dispute settlement procedure provided for in an air transport or air services agreement or in any provision on air transport services included in any other agreement concluded with the third country concerned and shall, where appropriate, invite the Commission to attend those procedures. The Commission may request further information from the Member State concerned.

Article 8

Confidentiality

1.  The Commission shall, if good cause is shown, treat as confidential any information which is by nature confidential, including but not limited to information the disclosure of which would be of significant competitive advantage to a competitor or would have a significantly adverse effect upon a person supplying the information or upon a person from whom the person supplying the information has acquired the information, or which is provided on a confidential basis by parties to an investigation.

2.  Interested parties providing confidential information shall be required to provide non-confidential summaries thereof. Those summaries shall be sufficiently detailed so as to permit a reasonable understanding of the substance of the information submitted in confidence. In exceptional circumstances, the interested parties may indicate that the confidential information cannot be summarised. In such exceptional circumstances, a statement of the reasons why a summary is not possible shall be provided.

3.  Information received pursuant to this Regulation shall be used only for the purpose for which it was requested. This paragraph shall not preclude the use of information received in the context of one investigation for the purpose of initiating another investigation in accordance with this Regulation.

4.  The Commission and the Member States, including their respective officials, shall not reveal any information of a confidential nature received pursuant to this Regulation, or any information provided on a confidential basis by a party to an investigation, without specific permission from the party submitting such information. Exchanges of information between the Commission and Member States, or any internal document prepared by the authorities of the Union or the Member States, shall not be divulged except where this is specifically provided for in this Regulation.

5.  Where it appears that a request for confidentiality is not justified and if the person supplying the information is unwilling either to make the information public or to authorise its disclosure in generalised or summary form, the information concerned may be disregarded.

6.  This Article shall not preclude the disclosure of general information by the Union authorities and in particular the disclosure of the reasons on which decisions taken pursuant to this Regulation are based or the disclosure of the evidence relied on by the Union authorities in so far as is necessary to explain those reasons in court proceedings. Such disclosure shall take into account the legitimate interest of the parties concerned that their business or government secrets not be divulged.

7.  Member States shall take any necessary and appropriate measures intended to ensure the confidentiality of the information that is relevant to the application of this Regulation and provided that they are compatible with its terms.

Article 9

Basis of findings in case of non-cooperation

Where access to the necessary information is refused or is otherwise not provided within the ▌time limits provided for in this Regulation, or where the investigation is significantly impeded, provisional or final findings ▌, affirmative or negative, may be made on the basis of the facts and evidence available ▌. Where the Commission finds that false or misleading information has been submitted, such information shall be disregarded.

Article 10

Disclosure

1.  The Commission shall disclose to the third country, the third-country entity and the third-country air carrier concerned, as well as the complainant ▌, the interested parties, the Member States and the Union air carriers concerned the essential facts and considerations on the basis of which it intends to adopt redressive measures, or to terminate proceedings without adopting redressive measures, no later than one month before the Committee referred to in Article 16 is convened, in accordance with ▌Article 13(2) or 14(1).

2.  The disclosure referred to in paragraph 1 shall not prejudice any subsequent decision which may be taken by the Commission. Where the Commission intends to base such a decision on any additional or different facts and considerations, they shall be disclosed as soon as possible.

3.  Additional information provided after disclosure ▌shall be taken into consideration only if received within a period to be set by the Commission in each case, which shall be at least 14 days, due consideration being given to the urgency of the matter. A shorter period may be set whenever an additional final disclosure has to be made.

Article 11

Duration of proceedings and suspension

1.  The proceedings shall be concluded within 20 months. That period may be prolonged in duly justified cases. In the case of a suspension of the proceedings as set out in paragraph 4, that period of suspension shall not be counted as part of the duration of the proceedings.

2.  The investigation shall be concluded within 12 months. That period may be prolonged in duly justified cases. In the case of a suspension of the investigation as set out in Article 6, that period of suspension shall not be counted as part of the duration of the investigation. Where the period for the investigation is prolonged, the duration of the prolongation shall be added to the total duration of the proceedings laid down in paragraph 1 of this Article.

3.  In the case of urgency, that is in situations where, following clear evidence submitted by the complainant or the interested parties, the injury to Union air carriers might be irreversible, the proceedings may be shortened to nine months.

4.  The Commission shall suspend the proceedings where the third country or the third-country entity concerned has taken decisive steps to eliminate ▌the practice distorting competition or the injury or threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned.

5.  In the cases referred to in paragraph 4, the Commission shall resume the proceedings if the practice distorting competition, ▌ the injury or the threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned has not been eliminated following a reasonable period of time, which, in any event, shall not be longer than six months.

CHAPTER III

PRACTICES DISTORTING COMPETITION

Article 12

Determination of injury or threat of injury

1.  A finding of injury for the purposes of this Chapter shall be based on evidence and shall take account of the relevant factors, in particular:

(a)  the situation of the Union air carriers concerned, notably in terms of aspects such as frequency of services, utilisation of capacity, network effect, sales, market share, profits, return on capital, investment and employment;

(b)  the general situation on the affected air transport services markets, notably in terms of level of fares or rates, capacity and frequency of air transport services or use of the network.

2.  A determination of a threat of injury shall be based on clear evidence and not merely on allegation, conjecture or remote possibility. The development into injury must be clearly foreseeable, very likely and imminent, and capable of being attributed beyond any reasonable doubt to an action or decision by a third country or a third-country entity.

3.  ▌In making a determination regarding the existence of a threat of injury, consideration shall be given to factors such as:

(a)  the foreseeable evolution of the situation of the Union air carriers concerned, in particular in terms of frequency of services, utilisation of capacity, network effect, sales, market share, profits, return on capital, investment and employment;

(b)  the foreseeable evolution of the general situation of the potentially affected air transport services markets, in particular in terms of level of fares or rates, capacity and frequency of air transport services or use of the network.

Although none of the factors listed in points (a) and (b), by themselves, is necessarily decisive, the totality of the factors considered shall be such as to lead to the conclusion that a further practice distorting competition is imminent and that, unless action is taken, injury will occur.

4.  The Commission shall select an investigation period which includes, but is not limited to, the period during which the injury has allegedly taken place and analyse the relevant evidence over that period.

5.  Where the injury or threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned is caused by factors other than the practice distorting competition ▌, they shall not be attributed to the practice under scrutiny and shall be disregarded.

Article 13

Termination without redressive measures

1.  The Commission shall terminate the investigation without ▌redressive measures being adopted where the complaint is withdrawn, unless the Commission continues the investigation on its own initiative.

2.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts, terminating the investigation conducted in accordance with Article 5 without adopting redressive measures where:

(a)  the Commission concludes that any of the following is not established:

(i)  the existence of a practice distorting competition, adopted by a third country or a third-country entity;

(ii)  the existence of injury or threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned;

(iii)  the existence of a causal link between the injury or threat of injury and the practice considered;

(b)  the Commission concludes that adopting redressive measures in accordance with Article 14 would be against the Union interest;

(c)  the third country or third-country entity concerned has eliminated the practice distorting competition; or

(d)  the third country or third-country entity concerned has eliminated the injury or threat of injury to the Union air carriers concerned.

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 16(2).

3.  The decision to terminate the investigation in accordance with paragraph 2 shall be accompanied by a statement of the reasons thereof and shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Article 14

Redressive measures

1.  Without prejudice to Article 13, the Commission shall adopt implementing acts, laying down redressive measures if the investigation conducted under Article 5 determines that a practice distorting competition, adopted by a third country or a third-country entity, has caused injury to the Union air carriers concerned.

The implementing acts laying down redressive measures referred to in point (a) of paragraph 3 of this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 16(2).

The implementing acts laying down redressive measures referred to in point (b) of paragraph 3 of this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 16(2) and (3).

2.  Without prejudice to Article 13, the Commission may, adopt implementing acts, laying down redressive measures if the investigation conducted under Article 5 determines that a practice distorting competition, adopted by a third country or a third-country entity, causes a threat of injury, in accordance with Article 12(2) and (3), to the Union air carriers concerned. These redressive measures shall not enter into force before the threat of injury has developed into actual injury.

The implementing acts laying down redressive measures referred to in point (a) of paragraph 3 of this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 16(2).

The implementing acts laying down redressive measures referred to in point(b) of paragraph 3 of this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 16(2) and (3).

3.  The redressive measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be imposed on the third-country air carrierss benefiting from the practice distorting competition and may take the form of either of the following:

(a)  financial duties;

(b)  any operational measure of equivalent or lesser value, such as the suspension of concessions, of services owed or of other rights of the third-country air carrier. Priority shall be given to reciprocal operational measures, provided that they are not contrary to the Union interest, or incompatible with Union law or with international obligations.

4.  The redressive measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not exceed what is necessary to offset the injury ▌to the Union air carriers concerned. To this end, those redressive measures ▌ may be limited to a specific geographic area or may be limited in time.

5.   The redressive measures shall not consist of the suspension or limitation of traffic rights granted by a Member State to a third country under an air transport agreement, an air service agreement or any provision on air transport services included in ▌any other agreement concluded with that third country ▌.

6.  The redressive measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall not lead the Union or the Member States concerned to violate air transport or air services agreements, or any provision on air transport services included in a trade agreement or any other agreement concluded with the third country concerned.

7.  The decision to conclude the investigation with the adoption of redressive measures referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be accompanied by a statement of the reasons thereof and shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Article 15

Review of redressive measures

1.  The redressive measures referred to in Article 14 shall remain in force only as long as, and to the extent that, it is necessary in view of the persistence of the practice distorting competition and the ensuing injury ▌. To that end, the review procedure set out in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Article shall apply. The Commission shall regularly provide a written report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the effectiveness and impact of redressive measures.

2.  Where circumstances so warrant, the need for the continued imposition of redressive measures in their initial form may be reviewed, either on the initiative of the Commission or the complainant, or upon a reasoned request by the Member States concerned, the third country or the third-country entity concerned.

3.  In the course of its review, the Commission shall assess the continued existence of the practice distorting competition, of the injury ▌and of the causal link between the practice and the injury ▌.

4.  The Commission shall adopt implementing acts, repealing, amending or maintaining, as appropriate, the redressive measures set out in Article 14. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 16(2).

CHAPTER IV

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 16

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.

3.  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 17

Report and information

1.  On a regular basis, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application and implementation of this Regulation. With due regard to the protection of confidential information within the meaning of Article 8, the report shall include information about the application of the redressive measures, the termination of investigations without redressive measures, reviews of redressive measures and cooperation with Member States, interested parties and third countries.

2.  The European Parliament and the Council may invite the Commission to present and explain any issues related to the application of this Regulation.

Article 18

Repeal

Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 is repealed. References to the repealed Regulation shall be construed as references to this Regulation.

Article 19

Entry into force

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

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

▌Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 197, 8.6.2018, p. 58.
(2)OJ C 197, 8.6.2018, p. 58.
(3)Position of the European Parliament of 14 March 2019.
(4)
(5)Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93 of 18 January 1993 on common rules for the allocation of slots at Community airports (OJ L 14, 22.1.1993, p. 1).
(6)Council Directive 96/67/EC of 15 October 1996 on access to the ground handling market at Community airports (OJ L 272, 25.10.1996, p. 36).
(7)Regulation (EC) No 868/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 concerning protection against subsidisation and unfair pricing practices causing injury to Community air carriers in the supply of air services from countries not members of the European Community (OJ L 162, 30.4.2004, p. 1).
(8)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).
(9)Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, p.3).


Guidelines for the 2020 Budget – Section III
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2020 budget, Section III – Commission (2019/2001(BUD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0210A8-0172/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 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(1) (hereinafter ‘the Financial Regulation’),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2) (hereinafter ‘the MFF Regulation’),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(4),

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2019(5) and the joint statements agreed between Parliament, the Council and the Commission annexed thereto,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015 entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, which entered into force on 1 January 2016, and to the reflection paper recently presented by the Commission entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 February 2019 on the 2020 budget guidelines (06323/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 86a of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0172/2019),

A.  whereas negotiations on the 2020 Union budget will run in parallel with the negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) and the reform of the EU own resources system; whereas 2019 will mark the seventh year of the 2014-2020 MFF;

B.  whereas the Council has repeatedly contradicted itself over the last few years, by presenting new political priorities for the EU but showing itself unwilling to provide for fresh appropriations to finance them; whereas new political priorities and upcoming challenges for the EU should be financed by fresh appropriations and not by reducing the appropriations amount for existing programmes;

C.  whereas towards the end of the current financial programming period the implementation of the multiannual programmes will require adequate financial resources and therefore anticipating the payments necessary in 2020 to prevent another payment crisis in the first years of the 2021-2027 MFF;

Budget 2020: bridge to the future Europe – Investing in innovation, sustainable development, citizens’ protection and security

1.  Underlines that the 2020 Union budget is the bridge to the MFF for the period 2021-2027 and should contribute to creating a common, long-term vision on the future political priorities of the Union, and provide European added value; expects, at the time of adoption of the 2020 budget, to be engaged with the Council in fully-fledged MFF negotiations, following a political agreement in the European Council; believes that a strong, responsible and forward-looking 2020 budget will facilitate an agreement and the transition towards the next MFF; intends, therefore, to make full use of the existing flexibility and other provisions set out in the MFF Regulation and the Financial Regulation, in order to reinforce key EU programmes in the 2020 budget, taking due account of the performance-based budgeting approach in the EU budget;

2.  Calls for specific agricultural programmes to promote, on the one hand, short supply chains, fair prices for producers, stable and acceptable earnings for farmers and, on the other, a fair redistribution of payments between countries, types of production and producers, eliminating current disparities and benefiting Member States with the largest production shortfalls, as well as small and medium-sized producers;

3.  Considers, therefore, that the EU budget for next year should define clear political priorities and enable the Union to create sustainable and inclusive economic growth and jobs, further invest in innovation and research capacities for future solutions, boost competitiveness, ensure a safe, secure and peaceful Europe, strengthen citizens’ working and living conditions, enhance economic, social and territorial cohesion, bolster the Union in its fight against environmental challenges and climate change towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement, contribute to the full implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights;

4.  Points out that, 2020 being the last year of the current MFF, the implementation of EU programmes, and notably those under shared management in cohesion, common agricultural and common fisheries policies, needs to be further accelerated so as to compensate for previous delays and reach the closing phase; expects this to be reflected in a substantial increase in payment requests and anticipates, therefore, a peak in the annual level of payment appropriations for 2020; emphasises Parliament’s commitment to securing the necessary payments in 2020 and to preventing another payment crisis in the first years of the 2021-2027 MFF, as happened during the current period; underlines the need to continuously improve the control and correction mechanisms, so as to ensure a proper and speedy implementation of EU programmes;

5.  Points to the importance of decentralised agencies in ensuring the implementation of the EU’s legislative priorities and thereby accomplishing EU policy objectives, such as those related to competitiveness, sustainable growth, employment, and managing the current migration and refugee flows; expects the negotiations on the 2020 budget to lead to adequate operational and administrative funding for the EU agencies, enabling them to accomplish their growing tasks and deliver the best possible results; reiterates its position that 2018 was the last year of the implementation of the 5 % staff reduction and the so-called ‘redeployment pool’; expects the Commission and the Council to refrain from further cutting agencies’ resources in the 2020 budget;

Innovation and research for future solutions: supporting sustainable and inclusive economic growth to anticipate change and boost competitiveness

6.  Underlines the importance of Europe’s claim to leadership in key technologies in areas such as space, healthcare, the environment, agriculture, safety and transportation; highlights the need to ensure that research and innovation activities continue to provide solutions for Europe’s needs, challenges and competitiveness, and recalls, in this context, the important role of fundamental research; stresses that the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe must be smooth to ensure stability for businesses, research facilities and academia; is alarmed by the substantial underfunding of Horizon 2020 during the entire period, resulting in a low success rate for excellent applications; intends, therefore, to secure the largest possible annual allocation for Horizon 2020 in next year’s budget, making full use of the existing flexibility provisions of the MFF Regulation and the Financial Regulation; highlights, moreover, the importance of deepening synergies with the European Structural and Investment Funds;

7.  Stresses the potential for economic growth stemming from Europe’s technological transformation and calls for the EU budget to make the appropriate contribution to supporting the digitalisation of European industry, and the promotion of digital skills and entrepreneurship; underlines the importance of additional investments in digital capabilities, including EU high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity; stresses that the Digital Europe Programme is expected to secure a significantly higher allocation in the 2021-2027 MFF and, therefore, intends to increase funding in this area in next year’s budget;

8.  Highlights the success of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in triggering additional investments in the EU with the aim of reaching an investment target of at least EUR 500 billion by 2020, following the extension of its duration; points, however, to the recommendations of the European Court of Auditors to further improve its implementation with regard to the additionality of the projects selected; recalls that the EFSI guarantee fund was financed partly through redeployments from Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe Facility, and reconfirms its long-standing position that new initiatives must be wholly financed with fresh funding;

9.  Is fully convinced that improving fairness and providing equal chances within the European social market economy is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of the Union; intends to secure sufficient funding for programmes such as COSME and Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) that significantly contribute to the success of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the backbone of the European economy and key drivers of economic growth, job creation, innovation and social integration; underlines the high level of implementation of these programmes, and points to their capacity to absorb even more;

Safety, security and peace for European citizens

10.  Considers that the protection of the EU’s external borders and internal security with the support of a strengthened European Border and Coast Guard and Europol, a European Union without internal borders, and the proper functioning of the Schengen area and freedom of movement within the EU, are inextricably linked and mutually beneficial; stresses, at the same time, the importance of robust EU investments in the area of internal security with a view to, among other things, enhancing EU law enforcement and judicial response to cross-border criminal threats and promoting information exchange, with enhanced support for Eurojust and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office; considers it an obligation to ensure adequate funding, staffing and staff training for all agencies operating in the field of security, justice and border control as the current level of funding is insufficient in view of the considerable increase in their responsibilities, the importance of cooperation among them, the need for technological innovations and adaptation, and their vital role in reinforcing cooperation and coordination among the Member States;

11.  Stresses, in parallel, the humanitarian responsibility of the EU in migration policy and recognises the key role of the European Asylum Support Office and the Fundamental Rights Agency in developing and implementing common asylum practices in Member States; considers it an obligation to ensure adequate funding, staffing and staff training for all agencies operating in the field of migration, asylum and human rights, with adequate financial and human resources for them to properly perform their role;

12.  Welcomes the Member States’ commitment to a renewed EU defence agenda and their willingness for further European defence cooperation; highlights the importance of launching the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) as a first stage of the European Defence Fund; requests a further increase in the Union’s defence budget, to be exclusively financed by fresh appropriations, in order to improve the competitiveness and innovation of the European defence industry;

13.  Strongly supports strengthened EU efforts to tackle rising security threats such as radicalisation and violent extremism within Europe and neighbouring countries as well as better coordination of such programmes at EU level;

14.  Stresses that cybersecurity is critical to the Union’s prosperity and security, as well as to the privacy of its citizens, that cyberattacks, cybercrime and manipulation are threatening open societies, and that economic espionage is hindering the functioning of the digital single market and endangering the competitiveness of European enterprises; requests adequate financial resources to equip all relevant agencies with adequate funds to cover their operational and administrative tasks to help secure network and information systems, build strong cyber resilience, and combat cybercrime; supports, in this context, the strategic cooperation between EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) and Europol;

15.  Recalls that peace and stability are core values that are supported by the budget of the European Union and highlights in this regard the significant contribution the Union has made to peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland, in particular through its support for the Good Friday agreement and funding for PEACE and INTERREG programmes; underlines the importance of maintaining funding for these programmes post-Brexit;

16.  Believes, with reference to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on the use of Facebook users’ data by Cambridge Analytica and the impact on data protection(6), that the fight against disinformation, in particular tracking and uncovering disinformation and any other type of foreign interference, is a priority to ensure fair and democratic elections, in particular in the year of the European elections; requests additional financial resources to enhance systematic use of strategic communication tools to enable a strong coordinated EU response; supports the guidelines that the Commission has set out on how existing EU rules should be used to tackle the use of personal data to target citizens on social media during election periods and guarantee the fairness of the electoral process;

17.  Is concerned that not enough European citizens have the impression that the European Union works for them and provides them with substantial benefits; requests adequate financial resources for the Commission to invest in tools such as the recent Parliament initiatives ‘What Europe does for me’ and the ‘Citizens’ App’ to inform citizens about the Union’s work and highlight the efforts undertaken to promote peace, democracy, the rule of law and freedom of speech; considers that such tools should be better disseminated at national level;

18.  Points out that the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy are cornerstones of European integration which aim to ensure safe, high-quality food supply for European citizens, the proper functioning of the agricultural single market, the sustainability of rural regions for many years and the sustainable management of natural resources; recalls that those policies contribute to the viability and stability of the EU; calls on the Commission to continue to support producers across Europe in coping with unexpected market volatility and in securing safe, high-quality food supplies; asks for particular attention to be paid to small-scale agriculture and small fisheries;

Strengthening solidarity and mutual understanding

19.  Requests additional financial resources to meet future demand for Erasmus+, the primary programme for education and training, including vocational education and training, youth and sport in Europe, also taking into account its external dimension; underlines that adequate resources are needed to ‘democratise’ the programme, making its funding accessible to people of all backgrounds and working towards the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships as a way to fight against youth unemployment; recalls that Parliament requested that the financial envelope for this programme be tripled in the next MFF; calls for cooperation to be strengthened between education, apprenticeships, culture and research;

20.  Recalls that, at a time when the European project is being called into question, it is vital to renew a strong commitment to Europe through culture, knowledge, creation and innovation; believes therefore that the Creative Europe and MEDIA programmes should be supported at an appropriate level;

21.  Stresses that the fight against youth unemployment requires substantial additional financial efforts to create opportunities for education, training and employment; underlines, in this respect, the positive impact of the Youth Employment Initiative, which had supported approximately 1.7 million young people by the end of 2017; welcomes the fact that, at the strong request of Parliament, the result of the negotiations on the 2019 budget was to bring the Youth Employment Initiative to a total amount of EUR 350 million in 2019; expects the 2020 budget to demonstrate high ambition for this programme, in order to ensure a smooth transition towards the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) programme in the next MFF; underlines the need to accelerate the implementation of this programme and to further improve its efficiency, so as to ensure that it brings more European added value to national employment policies;

22.  Believes that social cohesion in Europe must contribute to sustainable solutions to the fight against poverty, social exclusion and discrimination, for better inclusion of people with disabilities, and to long-term structural demographic change; emphasises the need for financial resources for relevant EU programmes that help provide ageing populations in Europe with adequate support in terms of access to mobility, healthcare and public services;

23.  Recalls the need for solidarity and responsibility-sharing between the Member States in the area of migration and asylum and calls on the Member States to make good use of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) through national programmes; requests adequate budgeting for this fund in 2020 in order to support the reception of asylum seekers in the Member States, effective return strategies, resettlement programmes, legal migration policies and promotion of effective integration of third country nationals; considers that the support of cities and municipalities in the European asylum system should be strengthened;

24.  Recalls that the long-lasting solution to the current migration phenomenon lies in the political, economic, social and environmental development of the countries from which migration flows originate; calls for the European Neighbourhood Instrument and the Development Cooperation Instrument to be endowed with sufficient financial resources to support this priority and promote the further development of sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships, e.g. with African countries; within this context, reaffirms the need to provide international organisations, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with sufficient and continuous financial support; requests enhanced financial and organisational support for programmes contributing to exchanges between EU and partner countries in areas such as professional training, creation of start-ups, support for SMEs, healthcare, and education, and for policies related to clean water, wastewater treatment and waste disposal;

25.  Believes that gender-related discrimination is intolerable and incompatible with the values of the EU; points out that the success rate of applications to the Daphne programme and other funds aimed at fighting violence against women and girls is alarmingly low, and intends to secure increased funding for the programme; furthermore, considers gender mainstreaming to be an effective strategy for achieving gender equality and combating discrimination and calls for a gender equality perspective to be integrated in the relevant EU policies and spending programmes; expects the Commission to present at the earliest possibility a framework for gender-mainstreaming in the Union budget;

26.  Reiterates the importance of the European Neighbourhood policy strengthening relations with neighbouring countries, endorsing peace processes, and boosting economic and social growth and sustainable cross-border cooperation; points out that strong relations between the EU and the Western Balkans are vital for the stabilisation of the area and their pre-accession process; recalls that funding from the Union’s budget must be tailored to strengthen the ability of the countries to continue the necessary legal, political, social and economic reforms, in particular enhancing the proper functioning of the public administration and supporting the stability and resilience of democratic institutions and the implementation of rule of law;

Tackling environmental challenges and climate change

27.  Stresses that the 2020 budget must contribute significantly to tackling environmental challenges and climate change in order to offset the existing backlog and reach the EU’s commitments; recalls the Union’s pledge to be a frontrunner in the transition to a low-carbon circular and climate-neutral economy, but regrets that the Union is falling short of its climate goals, in particular as regards making 20 % of Union expenditure climate-related in 2014-2020; considers therefore that a significant increase in climate-related spending is essential in order to progress towards the objectives of the Union’s climate policy and of the Paris Agreement; believes that climate mainstreaming in all sectors of Union policy should be further promoted and optimised and climate- and sustainability-proofing introduced where applicable; requests increased financial resources for all relevant Union programmes to support projects with European added value contributing to a clean energy transition and resource efficiency, the promotion of a sustainable green and blue economy, and nature conservation, with a focus on biodiversity, habitats and endangered species;

28.  Stresses that, with a view to a coherent and effective approach to tackling climate change, the EU should make ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement a condition for future trade agreements; recalls in this regard its resolution of 3 July 2018 on climate diplomacy(7) and its call on the Commission for a comprehensive assessment of consistency between existing free trade agreements and the Paris Agreement commitments; considers that if these commitments should not be fulfilled by an EU partner, the Commission could impose a temporary suspension of EU trade liberalisation commitments towards those partners;

Outstanding issues for the 2020 procedure

29.  Expects the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union in March 2019 not to have a direct impact on the 2020 budget, as the United Kingdom will contribute to, and participate in, the implementation of the budget; urges the Commission nonetheless to assess and prepare for all possible scenarios to ensure sound financial management of the Union budget and secure a contingency plan, defining clear commitments and outlining mechanisms, and protecting the EU budget in the event that the United Kingdom does not contribute to, or participate in, the implementation of the 2020 EU budget;

30.  Recalls that, following the joint statement by Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the reinforcement of Heading 1a through an amending budget issued in the joint conclusions on the 2019 budget, the Commission will present an amending budget raising the levels of appropriations for Erasmus+ and H2020 as soon as the technical adjustment of the MFF for 2020 is completed in the spring of 2019 in order for the Council and Parliament to process it swiftly;

31.  Underlines that Article 15(3) of the Financial Regulation allows de-committed amounts made as a result of total or partial non-implementation of corresponding research projects to be made available again for research programmes in the annual budgetary procedure, and sets no further preconditions in its implementation; invites the Commission to report specifically on the amounts de-committed for research programmes and to provide all relevant information and details concerning this Article; asks the Council Presidency to clarify whether this Article is now fully understood by all Member States; requests, in any event, that this provision and corresponding procedure is triggered in the context of the 2020 budgetary procedure, starting already with its inclusion in the draft budget;

32.  Believes that, as the arm of the budgetary authority directly elected by citizens, Parliament should fulfil its political role and put forward proposals for pilot projects and preparatory actions expressing its political vision for the future; commits itself, in this context, to proposing a package of pilot projects and preparatory actions developed in close cooperation with each of its committees so as to find the right balance between political will and technical feasibility, as assessed by the Commission;

o
o   o

33.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors.

(1) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.
(5) OJ L 67, 7.3.2019.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0433.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0280.


Gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs' nominations
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs nominations (2019/2614(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0211RC-B8-0171/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality 2016-2019,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 11 February 2019 on the appointment of a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB),

–  having regard to Article 283(2), second subparagraph, of the TFEU, pursuant to which the European Council consulted Parliament,

–  having regard to Protocol No 4 on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, and, in particular, Article 11.2 thereof,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0144/2019),

–  having regard to the selection by the Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority of 19 February 2019, of José Manuel Campa as Chairperson of the European Banking Authority,

–  having regard to Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(1),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0146/2019),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 30 January 2019 for the appointment of Sebastiano Laviola as member of the Single Resolution Board,

–  having regard to Article 56(6) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2014 establishing uniform rules and a uniform procedure for the resolution of credit institutions and certain investment firms in the framework of a Single Resolution Mechanism and a Single Resolution Fund and amending Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010(2),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0148/2019),

–  having regard to the letters sent to the President of the Commission and to the President-in-office of the Council of the EU by the President of the European Parliament on 5 March 2019,

–  having regard to the letter sent to the President of the Commission by the President of the European Parliament on 5 March 2019 and the reply by the President of the Commission of 11 March 2019,

–  having regard to the letter sent to the President of the Council by the President of the European Parliament on 23 March 2018,

–  having regard to the letter sent to the President of the Eurogroup by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on 8 March 2018,

–  having regard to the 2017 Gender Equality Index of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE),

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) and Rule 228a of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Article 8 of the TFEU lays down gender mainstreaming as a horizontal principle, and Article 2 of the TEU lays down the principle of gender equality as a value of the Union;

B.  whereas equal access to opportunity and non-discrimination are integral values of the European Union;

C.  whereas the Council adopted the European Pact for Gender Equality for the period 2011 to 2020 on 7 March 2011;

D.  whereas Parliament regrets the fact that women continue to be underrepresented in executive positions in the field of banking and financial services; whereas all EU and national institutions and bodies should implement concrete measures to ensure gender balance;

E.  whereas the Chairs of its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on behalf of the political groups, have on multiple occasions over the years informed the Presidents of the Council, the Eurogroup and the Commission and the Presidents-in-office of the Council of the EU about the lack of gender diversity at the ECB but also in the EU’s other economic, financial and monetary institutions;

F.  whereas the 2017 Gender Equality Index produced by EIGE pointed out that economic decision-making continues to be the area where the EU scores the lowest in terms of gender equality and women’s representation;

G.  whereas only one out of six Members of the ECB Executive Board is a woman; whereas only two out of 25 Members of the ECB Governing Council are women;

H.  whereas the Chairs of the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) are men;

I.  whereas the Chair of the Single Supervisory Mechanism has just been replaced by a man, leaving the Single Resolution Board as the only EU body in the broader realm of EU financial and economic institutions chaired by a woman;

J.  whereas notwithstanding the numerous requests made by Parliament to the Council to remedy the lack of gender balance within the ECB Executive Board, the Council has not taken this request seriously;

K.  whereas notwithstanding the numerous calls made by Parliament in relation to previous nominations that gender balance should be respected when presenting a list of candidates, all candidates for the Chairperson of the EBA were men;

L.  whereas, while the selection procedures for the Chair, Vice-Chair and Members of the Single Resolution Board have so far taken into account the principle of gender balance overall, in this case the shortlist presented to Parliament was composed only of men, in spite of the obligations set out under Article 56(4) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014;

M.  whereas while it cannot be excluded that in a single selection procedure based on individual applications there are not qualified candidates of both genders, the general principle of gender balance should be respected for the composition of the boards of the ECB and of the supervisory authorities;

N.  whereas the current candidates for the positions of chief economist of the ECB, Chair of the EBA and member of the SRB have all been considered experienced and qualified by Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and have been endorsed by significant majorities in secret ballot votes;

O.  whereas achieving gender equality is not a women’s issue, but one that should involve society as a whole;

1.  Stresses that gender balance on boards and in governments ensures broader competence and wider perspectives, and that the lack of gender balance means institutions risk missing out on potentially excellent candidates;

2.  Regrets that the Commission and the large majority of EU governments have so far failed in promoting greater gender balance in EU institutions and bodies, particularly with regard to high-level appointments in economic, financial and monetary affairs; expects the Member States and the EU institutions to swiftly improve the gender balance in top positions;

3.  Calls on the governments of the Member States, the European Council, the Council, the Eurogroup and the Commission to actively work towards gender balance in their upcoming proposals for shortlists and appointments, endeavouring to include at least one female and one male candidate per nomination procedure;

4.  Underlines that in the future, Parliament commits itself not to take into account lists of candidates where the gender balance principle has not been respected alongside the requirements concerning qualifications and experience in the selection process;

5.  Suggests the introduction of a requirement in Parliament’s future Gender Action Plan, which is envisaged under Rule 228a of its Rules of Procedure, not to endorse appointments to boards and other bodies of EU agencies if the shortlist of candidates proposed by the institution or body in question does not respect gender balance;

6.  Recognises that Parliament itself has not lived up to these standards and pledges to improve its own record of promoting gender balance in the area of economic and monetary affairs;

7.  Acknowledges that gender balance at executive level in the Union institutions and bodies requires qualified candidates from the Member States; calls therefore on Member States to take concrete steps to improve gender balance in national institutions and thereby prepare the ground for both male and female high quality candidates for top EU positions in the field of banking and financial services;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to increase the transparency of the recruitment and appointment procedures for executive directors of EU agencies by publishing the list of applicants and the shortlisted candidates, and the reasons for their shortlisting, to allow public scrutiny of the openness, competitiveness and gender-sensitivity of these processes;

9.  Calls for closer cooperation among EU institutions to ensure that these measures are effective;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the European Central Bank, the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the Single Resolution Board, the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority and the national competent authorities of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.
(2) OJ L 225, 30.7.2014, p. 1.


Appointment of Sebastiano Laviola as a new member of the Single Resolution Board
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European Parliament decision of 14 March 2019 on the proposal of the Commission for the appointment of a member of the Single Resolution Board (N8-0021/2019 – C8-0042/2019 – 2019/0901(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0212A8-0148/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 30 January 2019 for the appointment of Sebastiano Laviola as member of the Single Resolution Board (N8-0021/2019),

–  having regard to Article 56(6) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2014 establishing uniform rules and a uniform procedure for the resolution of credit institutions and certain investment firms in the framework of a Single Resolution Mechanism and a Single Resolution Fund and amending Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010(1),

–  having regard to Rule 122a of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0148/2019),

A.  whereas Article 56(4) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 provides that the members of the Single Resolution Board referred to in Article 43(1)(b) of the regulation are to be appointed on the basis of merit, skills, knowledge of banking and financial matters, and of experience relevant to financial supervision, regulation and bank resolution;

B.  whereas despite the obligations set out under Article 56(4) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 and notwithstanding the numerous calls made by Parliament to respect gender balance when presenting a list of candidates, Parliament deplores that all candidates were men; whereas Parliament regrets that women continue to be underrepresented in executive positions in the field of banking and financial services and demands that this request is respected for the next nomination; whereas all EU and national institutions and bodies should implement concrete measures to ensure gender balance;

C.  whereas in accordance with Article 56(6) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014, on 7 December 2018 the Commission adopted a shortlist of candidates for the position of member of the Single Resolution Board referred to in Article 43(1)(b) of that regulation;

D.  whereas in accordance with Article 56(6) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014, the shortlist was transmitted to Parliament;

E.  whereas on 30 January 2019, the Commission adopted a proposal to appoint Sebastiano Laviola as Member of the Board and Director of Resolution Policy Development and Coordination in the Single Resolution Board and transmitted that proposal to Parliament;

F.  whereas its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs then proceeded to evaluate the credentials of the proposed candidate for the functions of member of the Single Resolution Board, in particular in view of the requirements laid down in Article 56(4) of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014;

G.  whereas, on 26 February 2019, the Committee held a hearing with Sebastiano Laviola, at which he made an opening statement and then responded to questions from the members of the Committee;

1.  Approves the Commission’s proposal for the appointment of Sebastiano Laviola as member of the Single Resolution Board for a period of five years;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the European Council, the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 225, 30.7.2014, p. 1.


Appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank
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European Parliament decision of 14 March 2019 on the Council recommendation on the appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (05940/2019 – C8-0050/2019 – 2019/0801(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0213A8-0144/2019

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 11 February 2019 (05940/2019)(1),

–  having regard to Article 283(2), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the European Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0050/2019),

–  having regard to Protocol No 4 on the Statute of the European System of Central banks and of the European Central Bank, and in particular Article 11.2 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0144/2019),

A.  whereas, by letter of 14 February 2019, the European Council consulted Parliament on the nomination of Mr Philip R. Lane as Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank for a term of office of eight years, with effect from 1 June 2019;

B.  whereas Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs then proceeded to evaluate the credentials of the nominee, in particular in view of the requirements laid down in Article 283(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in the light of the need for full independence of the ECB pursuant to Article 130 of that Treaty; whereas in carrying out that evaluation, the Committee received a curriculum vitae as well as his replies to the written questionnaire that had been sent to him;

C.  whereas the committee subsequently held a hearing with the nominee on 26 February 2019, at which he made an opening statement and then responded to questions from the members of the Committee;

D.  whereas notwithstanding the numerous requests made by the European Parliament to the Council to readdress the lack of gender balance within the ECB Executive Board, the Parliament deplores that the European Council has not taken this request seriously and demands that this request is respected for the next nomination; whereas women continue to be underrepresented in executive positions in the field of banking and financial services; whereas all EU and national institutions and bodies should implement concrete measures to ensure gender balance;

1.  Delivers a favourable opinion on the Council recommendation to appoint Mr Philip R. Lane as Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the European Council, the Council and the governments of the Member States.

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


Appointment of the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority
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European Parliament decision of 14 March 2019 on the appointment of the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (N8-0028/2019 – C8-0052/2019 – 2019/0902(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0214A8-0146/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the selection by the Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority of 19 February 2019, of José Manuel Campa as Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (C8-0052/2019),

–  having regard to Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(1),

–  having regard to Rule 122a of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0146/2019),

A.  whereas Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 provides that the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority is to be appointed on the basis of merit, skills, knowledge of financial institutions and markets, and of experience relevant to financial supervision and regulation, following an open selection procedure;

B.  whereas the European Banking Authority published on 12 December 2018 a vacancy notice for the position of Chairperson of the Authority; whereas the deadline for submission of applications was 11 January 2019;

C.  whereas on 5 February 2019 the Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority adopted a shortlist of candidates for the position of Chairperson of the Authority;

D.  whereas on 19 February 2019, the Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority selected José Manuel Campa as Chairperson of the Authority and informed Parliament accordingly;

E.  whereas its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs then proceeded to evaluate the credentials of the candidate selected by the Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority, in particular in view of the requirements laid down in Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010;

F.  whereas, on 26 February 2019, its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs held a hearing with José Manuel Campa, at which he made an opening statement and then responded to questions from the members of the Committee;

G.  whereas notwithstanding the numerous calls made by the European Parliament in previous nominations to respect gender balance when presenting a list of candidates, the Parliament deplores that all candidates were men and demands that this request is respected for the next nomination; whereas women continue to be underrepresented in executive positions in the field of banking and financial services; whereas all EU and national institutions and bodies should implement concrete measures to ensure gender balance;

1.  Approves the appointment of José Manuel Campa as Chairperson of the European Banking Authority for a period of five years;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council, the Commission, the European Banking Authority, and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.


A European human rights violations sanctions regime
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on a European human rights violations sanctions regime (2019/2580(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0215RC-B8-0177/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions calling for an EU-wide mechanism for imposing targeted sanctions against individuals involved in grave human rights violations, including its resolution of 16 December 2010 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2009 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(1) and its resolution of 11 March 2014 on the eradication of torture in the world(2),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions under Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure calling for the imposition of targeted sanctions against individuals involved in grave human rights violations, including those of 19 January 2017 on the situation in Burundi(3), of 5 July 2018 on Burundi(4), of 18 May 2017 on South Sudan(5), of 14 June 2017 on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(6), of 18 January 2018 on the Democratic Republic of the Congo(7), of 14 September 2017 on Gabon: repression of the opposition(8), of 5 October 2017 on the situation in the Maldives(9), of 5 October 2017 on the cases of Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz, Ilmi Umerov and the journalist Mykola Semena(10), of 30 November 2017(11) and of 4 October 2018(12) on the situation in Yemen, of 14 December 2014 on Cambodia: notably the dissolution of CNRP Party(13), of 14 December 2017 on the situation of the Rohingya people(14), of 15 March 2018 on the situation in Syria(15), of 25 October 2018 on the situation in Venezuela(16), of 13 September 2018 on Myanmar, notably the case of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo(17), of 25 October 2018 on the situation in the Sea of Azov(18), of 25 October 2018 on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul(19) and of 14 February 2019 on the situation in Chechnya and the case of Oyub Titiev(20),

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 2 April 2014 on establishing common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2018 on the annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter(22),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2017 on corruption and human rights in third countries(23),

–  having regard to the its resolution of 12 March 2019 on the state of EU-Russia political relations(24),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2016 on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so called ISIS/Daesh(25),

–  having regard to Title V, Chapter 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), regarding the adoption of sanctions under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP),

–  having regard to Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on the adoption of sanctions against both third countries and individuals, groups and non-state entities,

–  having regard to Declaration 25 of the Lisbon Treaty on the need to ensure due process rights of individuals or entities concerned by EU restrictive measures or EU measures in combating terrorism,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and the protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019),

–  having regard to the statement on the occasion of the State of the Union Address by President Jean-Claude Juncker on 12 September 2018 proposing that Member States make use of existing EU rules to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in certain areas of the EU’s CFSP, such as responding collectively to violations of human rights and applying effective sanctions,

–  having regard to the declaration of 10 December 2018 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) following the Foreign Affairs Council of December 2018,

–  having regard to the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 22 January 2019 entitled ‘Sergei Magnitsky and beyond – fighting impunity by targeted sanctions’,

–  having regard to its study of April 2018 entitled ‘Targeted sanctions against individuals on grounds of grave human rights violations – impact, trends and prospects at EU level’,

–  having regard to the proposal of 14 November 2018 for a European Human Rights Entry Ban Commission,

–  having regard to the meeting of 20 November 2018 in the Netherlands on the EU Global Human Rights Sanction Regime,

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

A.  whereas Article 21 of the TEU stipulates that the actions of the Union shall be guided by democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law;

B.  whereas the EU is committed to the systematic implementation of sanctions decided on by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and at the same time imposes autonomous sanctions in the absence of a UN Security Council mandate in cases where the UN Security Council is not empowered to take action or is prevented from doing so by a lack of agreement among its members;

C.  whereas EU sanctions (also known as restrictive measures) have over the past two decades become an integral part of the EU’s external relations toolbox, with over 40 different restrictive measures currently in place against 34 countries; whereas an estimated two thirds of EU country-specific sanctions have been imposed in support of human rights and democracy objectives;

D.  whereas personally targeted sanctions are designed to minimise adverse consequences for those not responsible for the policies or actions that led to their adoption, in particular on local civilian populations and on legitimate activities in or with the country concerned; whereas they directly affect the persons responsible for violations, serving as a deterrent;

E.  whereas all sanctions adopted by the EU are fully compliant with obligations under international law, including those pertaining to human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas sanctions should be regularly reviewed in order to ensure that they are contributing towards their stated objectives;

F.  whereas in addition to country-specific sanctions that aim at bringing about changes in states’ behaviour, the EU has recently introduced restrictive measures against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons and cyberattacks, as well as specific measures to combat terrorism;

G.  whereas existing EU sanctions target both state and non-state actors, such as terrorists and terrorist groups;

H.  whereas over the past couple of months, there have been numerous instances in which European companies or even EU Member States have violated EU sanctions; whereas these examples illustrate the need to further clarify the scope and reach of the sanctions currently in force, as well as for a clarification of the degree to which countries and companies are responsible for ensuring that the end use or destination of their goods and services is not covered by sanctions;

I.  whereas the relevant authorities of EU Member States are responsible for enforcing sanctions while such measures are decided on at European level;

J.  whereas the US Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act in 2016, following on from the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, which intended to sanction the individuals responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky during pre-trial detention in a Russian prison, after enduring inhumane conditions, deliberate neglect and torture;

K.  whereas Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States have adopted human rights sanctions regime laws, namely Magnitsky-type laws; whereas Parliament has repeatedly called for the establishment of a similar EU global human rights sanctions regime which would ensure the consistency and efficacy of individual asset freezes, visa bans and other sanctions imposed on individuals and entities by Member States and at EU level;

L.  whereas the Dutch Government initiated a discussion among EU Member States in November 2018 on the political opportunity of a targeted human rights sanctions regime at EU level; whereas preliminary discussions are continuing at Council working group level;

1.  Strongly condemns all violations of human rights across the globe; calls on the Council to swiftly establish an autonomous, flexible and reactive EU-wide sanctions regime that would allow for the targeting of any individual, state and non-state actors, and other entities responsible for or involved in grave human rights violations;

2.  Stresses that an EU human rights violations sanctions regime should further build on the proposals of previous resolutions that called for an EU-wide mechanism for imposing targeted sanctions; is of the view that an EU human rights sanctions regime to target individuals implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world should symbolically carry Sergei Magnitsky’s name; welcomes the fact that similar legislation targeting human rights abusers worldwide has been enacted in a number of countries; emphasises the need for transatlantic cooperation to hold human rights violators to account; encourages other states to develop similar instruments;

3.  Firmly believes that such a regime is an essential part of the EU’s existing human rights and foreign policy toolbox, and would strengthen the EU’s role as a global human rights actor, notably in its fight against impunity and its support to victims of abuse and to human rights defenders worldwide;

4.  Stresses that this regime should allow for the imposition of restrictive measures, notably asset freezes and EU entry bans, against any individual or entity responsible for, involved in or which has assisted, financed or contributed to the planning, directing or committing of gross human rights violations, abuses and acts of systemic corruption related to grave human rights violations; emphasises the need to clearly define the scope of violations as well as to set up appropriate legal avenues through which a listing can be challenged;

5.  Is convinced of the positive effect this new regime will have on the behaviour of the individuals and entities concerned, as well as of its deterrent effect; stresses, to this end, the need for all EU Member States to interpret, explain and enforce the application of sanctions in the same consistent manner; urges the Member States and the Commission to increase their cooperation and information sharing and to come up with a European oversight and enforcement mechanism;

6.  Welcomes the proposal made by the President of the Commission to move beyond unanimity in Council decision-making in CFSP areas, and urges the Council to adopt this new sanctions instrument in such a way that the imposition of human rights sanctions might be adopted by qualified majority in the Council;

7.  Supports the preliminary discussions at Council level on the establishment of such a sanctions instrument; urges the VP/HR and her services to take a constructive and proactive approach in bringing these discussions to a successful conclusion before the end of this legislature and expects her to report back to Parliament; underlines the importance of Parliament’s scrutiny role over this future regime, notably regarding the scope and definition of the listing criteria, as well as the possibilities for judicial redress;

8.  Calls on all Member States to ensure that their authorities, companies and other actors registered in their territories are in full compliance with the Council decisions on restrictive measures against individuals and entities, and, in particular, the freezing of assets of individuals listed and the restrictions on admission to their respective territories as a result of violations of human rights; expresses concern at recent reports of violations of these decisions and reminds Member States of their obligation under international law to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those suspected of having committed crimes involving atrocities present on their territory;

9.  Underlines that increased cooperation and information sharing between these authorities, as well as a European enforcement mechanism, are essential to ensure the uniform enforcement and interpretation of the EU restrictive measures in force and that European companies can operate on a level playing field;

10.  Insists on the importance of the future EU human rights sanctions regime being consistent with and complementary to existing EU policies and existing country-specific and horizontal restrictive measures; insists, in this regard, that the new regime should not replace the human rights scope of current country-specific measures; considers, furthermore, that any future regime needs to be fully complementary to and consistent with the existing international framework on sanctions, notably in relation to the United Nations Security Council;

11.  Underscores that the credibility and legitimacy of this regime are conditioned by its full compliance with the highest possible standards in terms of the protection and observance of the due process rights of individuals or entities concerned; insists, in this regard, that decisions to list and delist individuals or entities should be based on clear, transparent and distinct criteria and directly linked with the crime committed in order to guarantee a thorough judicial review and redress rights; calls for the systematic inclusion of clear and specific benchmarks and a methodology for the lifting of sanctions and for de-listing;

12.  Stresses that the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of gross human rights violations and atrocity crimes through domestic or international jurisdictions should remain the primary objective of all efforts undertaken by the EU and its Member States to combat impunity; reiterates the principle of universal jurisdiction in this regard; calls on the Council to include cross-border violations within the scope of this regime; stresses the need for coordinated multilateral cooperation so as to prevent sanctions evasion;

13.  Calls on the Commission to dedicate adequate resources and expertise to enforcing and monitoring this regime once it is in place, as well as to devote particular attention to public communication about the listings, both in the EU and in the countries concerned;

14.  Pays tribute to the tireless efforts of civil society activists in support of such a regime; encourages the setting up of an EU-level advisory committee;

15.  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 governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 169 E, 15.6.2012, p. 81.
(2) OJ C 378, 9.11.2017, p. 52.
(3) OJ C 242, 10.7.2018, p. 10.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0305.
(5) OJ C 307, 30.8.2018, p. 92.
(6) OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 97.
(7) JO C 458, 19.12.2018, p. 52.
(8) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 102.
(9) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 90.
(10) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 86.
(11) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 104.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0383.
(13) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 76.
(14) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 91.
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0090.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0436.
(17) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0345.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0435.
(19) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0434.
(20) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0115.
(21) OJ C 408, 30.11.2017, p. 43.
(22) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0515.
(23) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 82.
(24) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2019)0157.
(25) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 77.


Urgency for an EU blacklist of third countries in line with the Anti-Money Laundering Directive
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the urgency for an EU blacklist of third countries in line with the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (2019/2612(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0216B8-0176/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) …/... of 13 February 2019 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies,

–  having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC (4AMLD), and in particular Articles 9(2) and 64(5) thereof(1), and as amended by Directive EU 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, and amending Directives 2009/138/EC and 2013/36/EU (5AMLD), in particular Article 1(5)(2),

–  having regard to the Commission roadmap ‘Towards a new methodology for the EU assessment of High Risk Third Countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing’(3),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 22 June 2018, ‘Methodology for identifying high risk third countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849’ (SWD(2018)0362), which inter alia defines Priority 1 and Priority 2 third countries,

–  having regard to the letter of 25 February 2019 from the Chair of the Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) to Commissioner Jourova on the delegated act on high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering financing regimes,

–  having regard to the letter of 5 March 2019 from the TAX3 Chair on the Council’s position on the Commission’s list of high-risk third countries presenting deficiencies as regards anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF),

–  having regard to the exchange of views held on 6 March 2019 between Commissioner Jourova and Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE),

–  having regard to the Council’s Statement 6964/1/19 on the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) of 13 February 2019 supplementing Directive 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (C(2019)1326),

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

A.  whereas the delegated regulation and its annex and amending delegated regulations are intended to identify high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies as regards anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CTF) which represent a threat to the EU financial system and for which enhanced customer due diligence measures are necessary at EU obliged entities under 4AMLD;

B.  whereas a delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 9 of 4AMLD shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of one month 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;

C.  whereas Parliament rejected two of five proposed amending delegated regulations (C(2016)07495 and C(2017)01951) on the grounds that the Commission’s process for identifying high-risk third countries was not sufficiently autonomous;

D.  whereas Parliament supports the establishment by the Commission of a new methodology that does not rely exclusively on external information sources to identify jurisdictions presenting strategic deficiencies in tackling money laundering and the financing of terrorism;

E.  whereas the objective of the list is to protect the integrity of the Union’s financial system and internal market; whereas the inclusion of a country on the list of high-risk third countries does not trigger the imposition of any economic or diplomatic sanction, but, rather, requires obliged entities such as banks, casinos and real estate agencies to apply enhanced due diligence measures on transactions involving these countries, and to make sure that the EU financial system is equipped to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing risks coming from third countries;

F.  whereas countries could be removed from the list should they remedy their AML/CTF deficiencies;

G.  whereas on 13 February 2019 the Commission adopted its delegated act, including a list of 23 countries and territories: Afghanistan, American Samoa, Bahamas, Botswana, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Panama, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, US Virgin Islands and Yemen;

H.  whereas the Council, in its statement of 7 March 2019, stated that it objected to the delegated act since the proposal was not established in a transparent and resilient process actively incentivising affected countries to take decisive action while also respecting their right to be heard;

I.  whereas the new methodology was set out in a Commission Staff Working Document published on 22 June 2018, which applies the revised criteria for the identification of high-risk third countries;

J.  whereas the Commission started to consult third countries listed in the delegated act as of 23 January 2019, and met with all those countries which requested more information on the reasons for their listing;

K.  whereas on 7 March 2019 the Council rejected the delegated act in the Justice and Home Affairs Council;

1.  Welcomes the fact that on 13 February 2019 the Commission adopted a new list of 23 third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks;

2.  Regrets that the Council objected to the delegated act proposed by the Commission;

3.  Encourages the Commission to take into account all the concerns expressed and to come up with a new delegated act as soon as possible;

4.  Commends the work done by the Commission to adopt a self-standing list based on strict criteria agreed by co-legislators; stresses the importance for the Union of having an autonomous list of high-risk third countries presenting AML/CTF deficiencies, and welcomes the Commission’s new methodology for identifying high-risk countries under 4AMLD and 5AMLD;

5.  Recalls that Article 9(2) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 as amended by 5AMLD obliges the Commission to independently assess strategic deficiencies in several areas;

6.  Considers that in order to safeguard the integrity of the list of high-risk countries, the screening and decision-making process should be carried out on the basis of the methodology alone, and must not be affected by considerations that go beyond the area of AML/CTF deficiencies;

7.   Notes that lobbying and diplomatic pressure by the listed countries have been and will be part of the process of identifying high-risk countries; underlines that such pressure should not undermine the EU institutions’ ability to tackle money laundering and to counter terrorism financing linked to the EU in an effective and autonomous manner;

8.  Calls on the Commission to publish its assessments of the listed countries so as to ensure public scrutiny in such a way that they cannot be abused;

9.   Calls on the Commission to ensure a transparent process with clear and concrete benchmarks for countries which commit to undergo reforms so as to avoid being listed;

10.  Notes that the assessment of the Russian Federation is still ongoing; expects the Commission to include the latest ‘Troika Laundromat’ revelations in its assessment; recalls that the work of the ECON, LIBE, and TAX3 committees during this legislative term has raised concerns over the Russian Federation’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks;

11.  Calls on the Commission to engage with the Member States to increase the Council’s ownership over the Commission’s proposed methodology;

12.  Calls on those Member States which have yet to do so to transpose 4AMLD and 5AMLD into their national legislation;

13.  Calls for more human and financial resources to be devoted to the relevant unit in the Commission’s competent Directorate-General, i.e. the DG for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST);

14.  Calls on the Commission to advance substantially with the assessment phase for Priority 2 third countries;

15.  Recalls that the EU delegated act is a separate process from the FATF listing and should remain exclusively an EU matter;

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

(1) OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73.
(2) OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 43.
(3) See: https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11189-2017-INIT/en/pdf


Climate change
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on climate change – a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement (2019/2582(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0217RC-B8-0195/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 November 2018 entitled ‘A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’ (COM(2018)0773),

–  having regard to the in-depth analysis in support of the Commission communication(1),

–  having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement, Decision 1/CP.21, to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC and to the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP11), held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

–  having regard to the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UNFCCC, the 14th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP14), and the third part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1.3), held in Katowice, Poland, from 2 December to 14 December 2018,

–  having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland (COP24)(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 March 2018,

–  having regard to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report entitled ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’, its fifth assessment report (AR5) and its synthesis report,

–  having regard to the ninth edition of the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report, adopted on 27 November 2018,

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

1.  Welcomes the publication of the Commission communication ‘A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’, which underlines the opportunities and challenges that the transformation towards a net-zero greenhouse gas economy brings to European citizens and Europe’s economy, and sets the basis for a wide debate involving EU institutions, national parliaments, the business sector, non-governmental organisations, cities, and communities, as well as citizens; endorses the objective of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 and urges the Member States to do the same as part of the Future of Europe debate at the special EU summit in Sibiu in May 2019; calls on the Member States to commit to the required ambition in order to achieve this goal;

2.  Acknowledges that the serious risks of climate change are at the heart of our citizens’ concerns; welcomes the fact that people across Europe, in particular younger generations, are becoming increasingly active in demonstrating for climate justice; welcomes the calls from these activists for greater ambition and swift action in order not to overshoot the 1.5°C climate limit; believes that national, regional and local governments, as well as the EU, should heed these calls;

3.  Highlights that European citizens already face direct impacts of climate change; underlines that, according to the European Environment Agency, average annual losses caused by weather and climate-related extremes in the Union amounted to around EUR 12.8 billion between 2010 and 2016, and that, if no further action is taken, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least EUR 190 billion by 2080, equivalent to a net welfare loss of 1.8 % of its current GDP; emphasises that under a high emissions scenario, annual costs from flooding in the EU could rise to EUR 1 trillion by 2100 and that weather-related disasters could affect about two-thirds of European citizens by 2100, compared with 5 % today; further stresses that, according to the European Environment Agency, 50 % of the populated areas in the EU will suffer from severe water scarcity by 2030;

4.  Underlines that the IPCC 1.5° special report represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of mitigation pathways in line with the Paris Agreement;

5.  Emphasises that, according to the IPCC 1.5° special report, limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot implies reaching net-zero GHG emissions globally by 2067 at the latest, and reducing annual global GHG emissions by 2030 to a maximum of 27.4 GtCO2eq per year; stresses that, in the light of these findings, as a global leader and in order to have a good chance of keeping global temperature below 1.5°C by 2100, the Union needs to strive towards reaching net-zero GHG emissions as early as possible and by 2050 at the latest;

6.  Expresses concern at the UN Environment 2018 Emissions Gap Report, which finds that current unconditional nationally determined contributions (NDCs) far surpass the Paris Agreement warming limit of well below 2°C, leading instead to an estimated 3.2°C(3) warming by 2100; stresses the urgent need for all Parties to the UNFCCC to update their climate ambition by 2020;

Pathways for the European mid-century zero emissions strategy

7.  Believes that Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing in innovative technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as energy, industrial policy and research, while ensuring social fairness for a just transition;

8.  Notes that the strategy presents eight pathways for the economic, technological and social transformation needed for the Union to comply with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement; notes that only two of the pathways would enable the Union to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest; highlights that this requires swift action and considerable efforts at local, regional, national and EU level, also involving all non-public actors; recalls the obligation of Member States to adopt national long-term strategies as laid down in the Governance Regulation; calls on the Member States, therefore, to establish clear short- and long-term targets and policies consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement and to provide investment support for net-zero pathways;

9.  Highlights that the first category of pathways presented in the strategy aims to reduce GHG emissions by only around 80 % by 2050 compared to 1990 levels; notes with concern that this ambition is in the lower range of keeping global warming below 2°C and is therefore not in line with the Paris objective of keeping it well below 2°C, nor indeed the further aim of keeping it below 1.5°C;

10.  Points out that, according to the Commission’s estimates, EU GDP is expected to increase more under zero-emissions scenarios than in scenarios with smaller emissions reductions, with the effects in both cases being spread unevenly across the EU as a result of differences among Member States, inter alia in terms of GDP per capita and the carbon intensity of the energy mix; considers that inaction would be by far the costliest scenario and would not only result in significant GDP loss in Europe, but also further increase economic inequalities between and within Member States and regions, as some are expected to be hit harder than others by the consequences of inaction;

11.  Notes with concern that the EU’s energy import dependence currently stands at around 55 %; highlights that under a net-zero emissions scenario this would fall to 20 % by 2050, which would have a positive impact on the EU’s trade balance and geopolitical position; notes that the cumulative savings in fossil fuel import costs between 2031 and 2050 would be around EUR 2-3 trillion, which could be spent on other priorities for European citizens;

12.  Welcomes the inclusion of two pathways aimed at reaching net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 and the Commission’s support for these, and considers the mid-century objective as the only one compatible with the Union’s commitments under the Paris Agreement; regrets the fact that no net-zero GHG pathways for before 2050 were considered in the strategy;

13.  Notes that the pathways proposed in the strategy involve the use of a number of carbon removal technologies, including through carbon capture and storage (CCS) or carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) and direct air capture, that have yet to be deployed on a large scale; considers, however, that the EU net-zero strategy should prioritise direct emission reductions and actions conserving and enhancing the EU’s natural sinks and reservoirs, and should only aim for the use of carbon removal technologies where no direct emission reduction options are available; believes that further action by 2030 is needed if the Union is to avoid relying on carbon removal technologies that would entail significant risks for ecosystems, biodiversity and food security, as also confirmed by the IPCC 1.5° special report;

Social aspects of climate change and a just transition

14.  Welcomes the Commission’s assessment that net-zero emissions are possible without net job losses and takes positive note of the detailed assessment of the transition in energy intensive industries; highlights the finding that, if handled well with the appropriate support for the most vulnerable regions, sectors and citizens, a just transition towards net-zero GHG emissions has the potential to create a net gain of jobs in the Union – economy-wide employment will increase by 2.1 million additional jobs by 2050 under a net-zero emissions scenario compared to an employment increase of 1.3 million additional jobs under the 80 % emission reduction scenario; considers, therefore, that the Commission should develop a renewed skills audit under the EU Skills Panorama, with regional data on the skills needs for a climate-neutral Europe to support the most vulnerable regions, sectors and people in re-skilling for future-proof, high-quality jobs in these same regions;

15.  Stresses the numerous co-benefits a climate neutral society will have on public health, including in terms of savings on the cost of care and a lighter burden on insurance and public health systems, as well as on the general well-being of European citizens thanks to enhanced biodiversity, a reduction in air pollution and mitigated exposure to pollutants; notes that under such a scenario, health damages would be reduced by around EUR 200 billion per year;

16.  Stresses the importance of creating a just transition fund, especially for the regions most affected by decarbonisation, such as coal mining regions, combined with a general consideration of the social impacts of existing climate funding; highlights, in this regard, the need for wide public acceptance of the long-term strategy, given the transformations needed in some sectors;

17.  Underlines that more action and greater efforts towards a clean energy transition would be required in certain EU regions, such as coal regions; reiterates, in this context, its appeal for a specific allocation of EUR 4,8 billion for a new Just Energy Transition Fund to be introduced into the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 in order to support workers and communities in such regions adversely affected by this transition;

18.  Underlines the need for an anticipatory approach to ensure a just transition for EU citizens and to support the regions most affected by decarbonisation; believes that Europe’s climate transition must be ecologically, economically and socially sustainable; stresses that, in order to ensure political acceptance by all citizens, it is important to take into account the distributional effects of climate-related and decarbonisation policies, specifically on people with low incomes; considers, therefore, that social impacts should be taken into full consideration in all EU and national climate policies with a view to ensuring a social and ecological transformation in Europe; emphasises, in this respect, that tailor-made and sufficiently funded strategies at all levels will need to be designed on the basis of inclusive processes and in close collaboration with local and regional public authorities, trade unions, educational institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector, to ensure that fair and equal opportunities are offered to all European citizens in this transition;

19.  Recalls that approximately 50 to 125 million European citizens are currently at risk of energy poverty (4); highlights that the energy transition can have a disproportionate effect on people with low incomes and further increase energy poverty; calls on the Member States to assess the number of households in energy poverty in their integrated national energy and climate plans and to take follow-up actions if necessary, as required by the Governance Regulation; calls on the Member States to take forward-looking action to ensure a just energy transition and access to energy for all EU citizens;

20.  Believes that young people have increasingly acute social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies with a view to a climate-resilient future, and that education for young people represents one of the most effective tools for combating climate change; stresses the need to actively involve younger generations in building international, intercultural and intergenerational relationships, which underpin cultural change that will support global efforts for a more sustainable future;

Intermediate targets

21.  Recognises that the decade from 2020 to 2030 will be of crucial importance if the EU is to reach net-zero by 2050; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support a strong medium-term target for 2030, as this is necessary to bring sufficient investment stability to the market, to fully harness the potential of technological innovation and to increase opportunities for Europe’s businesses to become global market leaders in low-emission production;

22.  Stresses that in order to reach net-zero GHG emissions in 2050 in the most cost-efficient manner, the 2030 ambition level will need to be raised and aligned with net-zero 2050 scenarios; believes it to be of the utmost importance for the Union to send a clear message, during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September 2019 at the latest, that it stands ready to review its contribution to the Paris Agreement;

23.  Supports an update of the Union’s NDC with an economy-wide target of 55 % domestic GHG emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels; calls, therefore, on EU leaders to support an increase in the level of ambition of the Union’s NDC accordingly at the special EU Summit in Sibiu in May 2019, in view of the UN Climate Summit in September 2019;

24.  Considers that the Commission should, during the 2022-2024 reviews of the 2030 climate package and other relevant legislation at the latest, present legislative proposals that raise the level of ambition in line with the updated NDC and the net-zero emissions target; believes that insufficient 2030 ambition would limit future options, possibly including the availability of certain options for cost-efficient decarbonisation; considers these reviews to be an important milestone in securing the EU climate commitments;

25.  Believes that, as a means to further ensure increased stability for markets, it will also be beneficial for the EU to establish a further interim emission reduction target by 2040 that can provide additional stability and ensure that the long-term 2050 target is met;

26.  Considers that the EU net-zero emissions strategy should be informed by the five-yearly global stocktake as set out in the Paris Agreement and take into account technological and societal developments, as well as the input of non-state actors and the European Parliament;

Sectoral contributions

27.  Emphasises that net emissions will have to be reduced to close to zero in all sectors of the economy, which should all contribute to the joint efforts to reduce emissions; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop pathways to climate neutrality for all sectors; stresses the importance of the ‘polluter pays’ principle in this regard;

28.  Stresses the importance of the various climate measures and legislation adopted in different policy domains, but warns that a scattered approach might lead to inconsistencies and not to the EU achieving a net-zero GHG economy by 2050; believes that an overarching approach needs to be taken;

29.  Asks the Commission to examine the possibility of a harmonisation of carbon and energy pricing in the EU in support of the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, in particular for those sectors not covered by the EU’s ETS; asks the Commission to examine the best possible way to avoid cases of hardship and insists that the overall burden on citizens should not increase;

30.  Acknowledges the role attributed to CCS in most 1.5°C scenarios in the IPCC 1.5°C special report; stresses the need for the EU to pursue greater ambition in this area; further notes the targets set by Member States under the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan to implement commercial-scale CCS in the European energy and industrial sector in the 2020s; considers it necessary to increase the use in industrial processes of environmentally safe CCU and CCS, delivering a net reduction in emissions through emission avoidance or permanent storage of CO2; notes with concern that many CCU technologies are not delivering permanent emission reductions at present; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop technical criteria which ensure support only to those technologies that deliver verifiable results;

31.  Points out that the strategy confirms that GHG emissions from the transport sector are still on the rise and that current policies will not be sufficient to decarbonise the transport sector by 2050; underlines the importance of ensuring a modal shift from air to rail travel, including through the swift realisation of an interoperable intra-EU rail network and mobilising enhanced investments, and towards public transport and shared mobility; notes that road transport contributes about one fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions; calls on the Member States and the Commission, therefore, to take decisive steps to enable access to zero- and low-emission vehicles for consumers in all Member States, while avoiding an increased uptake of old, highly polluting vehicles in lower-income Member States; further underlines the role of smart technologies such as smart charging infrastructure in establishing synergies between the electrification of transport and the deployment of renewable energy sources;

32.  Underlines that in order to achieve climate neutrality for the EU economy as a whole, all sectors must contribute, including international aviation and shipping; notes that the Commission’s analysis shows that the current global targets and measures envisaged by the International Maritime Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation respectively, even if fully implemented, fall short of the necessary emissions reductions, and that significant further action consistent with the economy-wide objective of net-zero emissions is needed; highlights the need for investments in zero- and low-carbon technologies and fuels in these sectors; calls on the Commission to put the ‘polluter pays’ principle into practice in these sectors; recalls that GHG emissions from international shipping are projected to increase by as much as 250 % by 2050; welcomes the fact that the international shipping sector has set itself an absolute reduction target for GHG emissions; notes with concern the lack of progress as regards the translation of this target into short- and medium-term measures and other concrete actions; notes the different burden borne by different modes of transport; calls for the increased ETS revenues to be used to promote environmentally friendly modes of transport such as buses or railways;

33.  Notes that approximately 60 % of the world’s methane is emitted by sources such as agriculture, landfills and wastewater, and the production and pipeline transport of fossil fuels; recalls that methane is a potent GHG with a 100-year global warming potential, 28 times more powerful than CO2(5); reiterates its call on the Commission to explore as soon as possible policy options for rapidly addressing methane emissions as part of a Union strategic plan for methane, and to present legislative proposals to Parliament and the Council to that effect;

34.  Underlines that agriculture will be one of the main remaining sources of EU GHG emissions in 2050, owing in particular to methane and nitrous oxide emissions; underlines the potential of the agricultural sector in tackling the challenges of climate change, for example through ecological and technological innovations, as well as carbon capture in soil; calls for a common agricultural policy that contributes to GHG emission reductions in line with the transition to a climate neutral economy; calls on the Commission to ensure that agricultural policies, in particular EU and national funds, are in line with the objectives and goals of the Paris Agreement;

35.  Stresses the need to mainstream climate ambition into all EU policies, including trade policy; urges the Commission to ensure that all trade agreements signed by the EU are fully compatible with the Paris Agreement, as not only would this enhance global action on climate change, but it also guarantees a level playing field for the sectors affected;

36.  Supports active and sustainable forest management at national level, together with concrete means to incentivise an efficient and sustainable EU bioeconomy, given the considerable potential of forests to contribute to the strengthening of Europe’s climate efforts (through sequestration, storage and substitution) and the achievement of the target of zero emissions by 2050; recognises the need for climate change adaptation and to halt biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, as well as the need to develop evidence-based polices that help implement and finance EU biodiversity conservation measures;

37.  Highlights the fact that there is more carbon stored in soils than in the biosphere and atmosphere combined; underlines the importance, therefore, of halting soil degradation in the EU and of ensuring common EU action to preserve and improve the quality of soils and their capacity to store carbon;

Energy policy

38.  Highlights the contribution of energy efficiency to security of supply, economic competitiveness, environmental protection, the reduction of energy bills and the improvement of the quality of homes; confirms the important role of energy efficiency in the creation of business opportunities and employment, as well as its global and regional benefits; recalls, in this connection, the introduction of the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle under the Governance Regulation, and that its application should be fully exploited in a cost-efficient way throughout the energy chain and considered as the basis for any pathway towards the 2050 net-zero target;

39.  Highlights the central role of energy in the transition towards a net-zero GHG economy; recalls that the Union has managed to successfully decouple GHG emissions from economic growth in recent decades and has reduced emissions, particularly through energy efficiency and the penetration of renewables; stresses that the clean energy transition should continue to spur the modernisation of the European economy, drive sustainable economic growth and bring societal and environmental benefits for European citizens;

40.  Believes that EU leadership in renewable energy and energy efficiency demonstrates to other parts of the world that the clean energy transition is both possible and beneficial beyond the fight against climate change;

41.  Points out that achieving a net-zero GHG economy will require considerable additional investments in the EU’s energy system and related infrastructure compared to today’s baseline, in the range of EUR 175 to 290 billion a year;

42.  Stresses, in view of the different starting points of the energy transition, that efforts to reduce greenhouse gases with a view to achieving climate neutrality at EU level may be spread unevenly across the EU;

43.  Calls on the Member States to implement the Clean Energy Package without delay; recalls the competence of the Member States to decide on their energy mix within the EU climate and energy framework;

44.  Calls for a highly energy-efficient and renewable-based energy system and asks the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary action in that regard, as it will have spill-over effects across all economic sectors; highlights that all pathways presented by the Commission assume a drastic reduction of fossil fuels and a strong increase in renewable energies;

45.  Underlines that the Ecodesign Directive(6) has contributed significantly to the EU’s climate targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 320 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents annually, and that it is estimated that by 2020, EU consumers will save up to EUR 112 billion in total, or around EUR 490 per household every year as a result of the directive; calls for additional products to be regulated under the Ecodesign Directive, including tablets and smartphones, and for existing standards to be kept up to date in order to reflect technological developments;

46.  Stresses the need to ensure further integration of the European energy market in order to decarbonise the power sector in the most effective way, facilitate investments where the most renewable energy production can be achieved and encourage the active participation of citizens, with a view to speeding up the energy transition towards a carbon neutral and sustainable economy; considers it essential to raise the level of interconnectivity between Member States and encourage more cross-border support schemes;

47.  Notes that the EU construction sector currently accounts for 40 % of Europe’s final energy consumption and 36 % of its CO2 emissions(7); calls for the sector’s potential for energy savings and carbon footprint reduction to be unlocked, in accordance with the objective set out in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive(8) of achieving a highly energy-efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050; stresses that making the energy consumption of buildings more efficient holds substantial potential for further reducing Europe’s GHG emissions; considers, in addition, that the achievement of low-energy buildings, fully supplied by renewable energy, is a sine qua non for the Paris Agreement and for an EU agenda for growth, local jobs and improved living conditions for citizens across Europe;

48.  Calls on all levels of government, whether national, regional or local, to put in place measures to encourage the participation of citizens in the energy transition and to stimulate the exchange of best practices; stresses that the involvement of citizens in the energy system through decentralised self-generation of renewable energy, electricity storage and participation in demand response and energy efficiency schemes will be crucial in the transition to net-zero GHG emissions; calls, therefore, for the full integration of active citizen engagement in these pathways, in particular on the demand side;

Industrial policy

49.  Believes that economic prosperity, global industrial competitiveness and climate policy are mutually reinforcing; reiterates that the transition towards a net-zero GHG economy presents challenges and opportunities for the EU, and that investments in industrial innovation, including digital technologies and clean technology, will be needed to spur growth, strengthen competitiveness, boost future skills and create millions of jobs, for example in a growing circular economy and bioeconomy;

50.  Underlines that a stable and predictable energy and climate policy framework is key to providing much-needed investor confidence and to enabling European industries to make long-term investment decisions in Europe, since the lifetime of most industrial installations exceeds 20 years;

51.  Highlights the role of energy intensive industries in achieving long-term EU GHG reductions; considers that maintaining the EU’s low-carbon industrial leadership and industrial production in the EU, preserving the competitiveness of European industries, minimising the dependency on fossil fuels and the exposure to volatile and rising fossil fuel import prices, and avoiding the risk of carbon leakage, necessitates intelligent and targeted policy frameworks; calls on the Commission to present a new and integrated EU industrial climate strategy for energy-intensive industries in support of a competitive net-zero emissions heavy industry transition;

52.  Calls on the Commission to develop an industrial strategy with measures that enable European industry to compete globally on a level playing field; considers that as part of this policy, the Commission should examine the effectiveness, and compatibility with World Trade Organisation rules, of additional measures to protect industries at risk of carbon leakage in respect of the importation of products, which would replace, adapt or complement any existing measures on carbon leakage;

53.  Notes that a number of emerging markets are positioning themselves to play an important role in meeting the needs of the global market during the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, for instance with regard to zero-emissions transport and renewable energy; stresses that the EU must remain the leading economy in green innovation and investments in green technology;

54.  Notes that the Commission’s 2018 report on energy prices and costs in Europe (COM(2019)0001)(9) highlights the ongoing high exposure of the EU to volatile and rising fossil fuel prices and that future electricity production costs are expected to increase for fossil fuel-generated electricity and fall for renewables; stresses that EU energy import costs increased by 26 % in 2017 to EUR 266 billion, mainly due to increasing oil prices; further notes that the report estimates that oil price increases have had a negative impact on EU growth (-0.4 % GDP in 2017) and inflation (+0.6);

Research and innovation

55.  Underlines that EU and national research and innovation programmes are crucial to supporting the Union in its leading role in the fight against climate change and believes that climate mainstreaming should be integrated adequately into the preparation and implementation of research and innovation programmes;

56.  Considers that substantial research and innovation efforts will be required in the next two decades in order to make low- and zero-carbon solutions available to all and socially and economically viable and to bring about new solutions for achieving a net-zero GHG economy;

57.  Underlines its position that Horizon Europe must contribute at least 35 % of its expenditures to climate objectives as appropriate and as part of the general Union objective of mainstreaming climate actions;

Financing

58.  Calls for rapid implementation of the EU ETS Innovation Fund and for the start of the first call for proposals in 2019, in order to boost investments in the demonstration of low-carbon industrial breakthrough technologies in a wide array of sectors, not only electricity production, but also district heating and industrial processes; calls for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and its programmes to be fully consistent with the Paris Agreement;

59.  Considers that in order for the Union to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, substantial private investments need to be mobilised; believes that this will require long-term planning and regulatory stability and predictability for investors and, accordingly, due consideration in future EU regulations; stresses, therefore, that the implementation of the Sustainable Finance Action Plan adopted in March 2018 should be prioritised;

60.  Considers that the 2021-2027 MFF should, before its adoption, be evaluated in the light of the objective to reach a climate neutral economy by 2050, and that a standard test to ensure that expenditure under the EU budget is climate-proof must be established;

61.  Regrets the fact that fossil fuel subsidies are still increasing and amount to around EUR 55 billion per year(10); calls for the EU and the Member States to immediately phase out all European and national fossil fuel subsidies;

62.  Stresses the importance of a just transition to a carbon neutral economy and calls on the Member States to put in place appropriate policies and financing in this regard; underlines that EU spending from relevant funds could provide additional support where appropriate;

The role of consumers and the circular economy

63.  Highlights the significant impact of behavioural change in achieving GHG emission reductions; calls on the Commission to explore policy options as soon as possible, including on environmental taxation, in order to encourage behavioural change; underlines the importance of bottom-up initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors in promoting behavioural change;

64.  Underlines that a very large part of energy use, and therefore GHG emissions, is tied directly to the acquisition, processing, transport, conversion, use and disposal of resources; stresses that very significant savings could be made at each stage in the resource management chain; highlights, therefore, that increasing resource productivity through improved efficiency and reducing resource waste through measures such as reuse, recycling and remanufacturing can significantly lower both resource consumption and GHG emissions while improving competitiveness and creating business opportunities and jobs; highlights the cost efficiency of circular economy measures; underlines that improved resource efficiency and circular economy approaches, as well as circular product design, will help to bring about a shift in production and consumption patterns and reduce the amount of waste;

65.  Stresses the importance of product policy, such as green public procurement and ecodesign, which can make a significant contribution to energy savings and to reducing the carbon footprint of products, while at the same time improving the footprint of the materials used and the overall environmental impact; highlights the need to establish circular economy requirements as part of EU ecodesign standards and to expand the current ecodesign methodology to other product categories in addition to energy-related products;

66.  Considers that the work on a reliable model for measuring the climate impact based on consumption should be continued; takes note of the conclusion in the Commission’s in-depth analysis that the EU’s efforts to reduce emissions from its production are somewhat levelled off by imports of goods with a higher carbon footprint, but that the EU nevertheless has contributed significantly to the reduction of emissions in other countries because of the increased trade flow and the improved carbon efficiency of its exports;

The EU and global climate action

67.  Underlines the importance of increased initiatives and sustained dialogue in relevant international fora, and of effective climate diplomacy with the aim of spurring on similar policy decisions that ramp up climate ambition in other regions and third countries; calls for the EU to increase its own climate financing and to work actively to encourage Member States to increase their climate aid (development aid rather than loans) to third countries, which should come in addition to overseas development assistance and should not be double counted as both development and climate finance aid;

68.  Emphasises that the UN Climate Change Summit of September 2019 will be the right moment for leaders to announce an increased ambition in terms of NDCs; considers that the EU should adopt a position on updating its NDC well in advance, so as to arrive at the summit well-prepared and in close cooperation with an international coalition of Parties in support of enhanced climate ambition;

69.  Highlights the merit of strengthening interoperability between EU policy instruments and third country equivalents, notably carbon pricing mechanisms; calls on the Commission to continue and intensify cooperation and support in the development of carbon pricing mechanisms outside Europe in order to pursue increased emission reductions and an improved level playing field worldwide; underlines the importance of establishing environmental safeguards to ensure real and additional GHG reductions; calls on the Commission therefore to advocate for strict and robust international rules to prevent loopholes in accounting or double counting of emission reductions;

o
o   o

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

(1) https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/clima/files/docs/pages/com_2018_733_analysis_in_support_en_0.pdf
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0430.
(3) UN Environment Programme, ‘Emissions Gap Report 2018’, p.10.
(4) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/563472/IPOL_STU(2015)563472_EN.pdf
(5) Van Dingenen, R., Crippa, M., Maenhout, G., Guizzardi, D., Dentener, F., Global trends of methane emissions and their impacts on ozone concentrations, EUR 29394 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018, ISBN 978-92-79-96550-0, doi:10.2760/820175, JRC113210.
(6) Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10).
(7) https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/buildings
(8) Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 75).
(9) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1548155579433&uri=CELEX:52019DC0001
(10) Energy Prices and Costs in Europe, pp. 10-11.


Establishment of the European Monetary Fund
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Monetary Fund (COM(2017)08272017/0333R(APP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0218A8-0087/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Monetary Fund (COM(2017)0827),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty(2),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Committee of the Regions of 5 July 2018 on proposals for reform of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU),

–  having regard to the letter from the President of the Eurogroup to the President of the European Council of 25 June 2018 on further deepening of the EMU, and to the Euro Summit statement of 29 June 2018 on the European Stability Mechanism reform,

–  having regard to the Eurogroup report to Leaders on EMU deepening of 4 December 2018,

–  having regard to the Euro Summit statement of 14 December 2018,

–  having regard to the joint position on future cooperation between the Commission and the ESM of 14 November 2018,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Central Bank (ECB) of 11 April 2018 on a proposal for a regulation on the establishment of the European Monetary Fund(3),

–  having regard to Opinion No 2/2018 of the European Court of Auditors of 18 September 2018 on the audit and accountability considerations concerning the proposal of 6 December 2017 for the establishment of a European Monetary Fund within the Union legal framework,

–  having regard to the Five Presidents’ Report of 22 June 2015 on completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, to the Commission white paper of 1 March 2017 on the future of Europe, and to the Commission reflection paper of 31 May 2017 on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 June 2013 on strengthening European democracy in the future EMU(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2014 on the enquiry on the role and operations of the Troika (ECB, Commission and IMF) with regard to the euro area programme countries(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on budgetary capacity for the euro area(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and own resources(7),

–  having regard to Rule 99(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the interim report of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (A8-0087/2019),

A.  whereas the introduction of the euro is one of the European project’s most important political achievements and a cornerstone of EMU construction;

B.  whereas the financial and economic crisis has revealed the weaknesses of the euro architecture, highlighting the urgent need for the swift deepening of the EMU and for the strengthening of its democratic accountability and transparency;

C.  whereas the euro provides EU citizens with protection and opportunities; whereas a strong and stable eurozone is essential for its members and for the EU as a whole;

D.  whereas membership of a common currency area requires adherence to common rules and obligations, such as those set out in the Stability and Growth Pact, as well as common tools to respond to severe economic and financial shocks and for the promotion of responsibility, solidarity and socioeconomic upward convergence; whereas the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM Treaty) provides for a clear connection with the European macroeconomic surveillance mechanisms, in particular compliance with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, including its flexibility clauses, and the implementation of sustainable and inclusive structural reforms; whereas risk reduction and risk sharing should go hand in hand in deepening the EMU;

E.  whereas the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and its later transformation into the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) have represented an important step towards the creation of a European crisis management mechanism, helping to strengthen the EMU and to provide financial assistance to several European countries affected by the crisis;

F.  whereas the intergovernmental nature of the ESM has implications for its decision-making process and, in particular, for its capacity to respond swiftly to economic and financial shocks;

G.  whereas the future incorporation of the ESM into the EU legal framework should continue to be understood as part of the EMU completion project;

H.  whereas the ongoing debate on the future of Europe and the EMU has highlighted differing political views among Member States on the long-term future of the ESM, but also provides a good basis for an important first step towards strengthening its role, developing its financial tools and improving its efficiency and democratic accountability as part of the ESM reform; whereas the discussion on the deepening of the EMU should yield a political solution for reforming the ESM;

I.  whereas in the short term, the ESM reform should contribute to the banking union, providing a proper common fiscal backstop for the Single Resolution Fund (SRF);

1.  Welcomes the Commission proposal of 6 December 2017 for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Monetary Fund and considers it a useful contribution to the ongoing debate on the future of Europe, the deepening of the EMU and the ESM reform; welcomes, in particular, the Commission proposal to integrate the ESM into the EU legal order;

2.  Notes that the functions to be exercised by the reformed ESM will belong to the realm of economic policy and that the name ‘European Monetary Fund’ might be misleading; notes that in its opinion of 11 April 2018, the ECB suggested that the successor of the ESM retain the name ‘ESM’; calls, in the light of the above, for the implications of the choice of a name for the reformed ESM to be properly and thoroughly evaluated, in order to ensure the least possible impact on the smooth functioning of the reformed ESM; suggests that the ESM retain its current name, which is recognised on the capital market, making it clear that the eurozone’s monetary policy remains the competence of the ECB;

3.  Highlights that the proper functioning of the EMU is supported by the existence of an institution serving as a ‘lender of last resort’; notes, in this context, the positive contribution of the ESM towards addressing the weaknesses of the institutional setting of the EMU, namely by providing financial assistance to several Member States affected by the global financial crisis and the sovereign debt crisis;

4.  Recalls its previous positions in favour of the incorporation of the ESM into the EU legal framework, which would make it a fully-fledged EU body; insists that this incorporation should also take into account the role of national parliaments and continue to be understood as part of the EMU completion project; believes that such an integration would allow for management in accordance with the Community method, ensure the full consistency of fiscal rules and obligations, facilitate economic and fiscal policy coordination, and enhance democratic legitimacy and accountability through the European Parliament;

5.  Underlines that if, in the future, EU budget resources are involved, Parliament should have the political power to exercise all applicable budgetary control rights over the ESM within the discharge procedure; notes that in such an event, the European Court of Auditors should be considered the independent external auditor and be given a clear and formal role in the discharge procedure;

6.  Recalls the fiscal and democratic oversight prerogatives of national parliaments; considers that scrutiny over the reformed ESM by national parliaments and by the European Parliament should be further improved; believes that national parliaments should have the right to obtain information about the activities of the reformed ESM and to engage in a dialogue with the reformed ESM’s Managing Director;

7.  Notes that the Commission’s proposal has generated a lively discussion on its political, financial and legal implications; stresses, however, that this debate on the long-term vision of the ESM’s institutional setting should not delay the steps urgently required to strengthen and enforce democratic accountability of the EMU and its capacity to promote financial stability and convergence and respond to economic shocks; calls, therefore, for a meaningful ESM reform in the short term by means of a revision of the ESM Treaty, without prejudice to more ambitious developments in the future;

8.  Underlines that the primary mission of the reformed ESM should continue to be to provide transitional financial assistance to Member States in need, on the basis of specific conditionality agreed in adjustment programmes and taking into account the lessons learned from previous financial assistance programmes managed by the Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the ECB; stresses that the reformed ESM must have adequate firepower for that purpose; opposes, therefore, any attempt to turn the reformed ESM into an instrument for banks only, or to reduce its financial capacity to support Member States;

9.  Recalls that the range of financial instruments available for the ESM should be available and improved for the reformed ESM, including the possibility of providing sufficient precautionary financial assistance, enabling Member States to access assistance before they face major difficulties in raising funds in the capital market; defends that access to the precautionary conditioned credit line (PCCL) should be available on the basis of a letter of intent and subject to the applicable criteria; notes that these financial tools must be used to help Member States in the case of severe economic and financial shocks; recalls that financial assistance provided to Member States can be complemented by a future budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness in order to promote economic and financial stabilisation, investment and upward socioeconomic convergence in the euro area;

10.  Underlines that the EMU comprises all the EU Member States, all of which, except Denmark and the United Kingdom, are required to adopt the euro and join the euro area, and that any ESM should therefore be open for participation to all EU Member States;

11.  Believes that the reformed ESM should play a more prominent role in the management of financial assistance programmes, alongside the Commission and in close cooperation with the ECB, ensuring that the EU institutional framework has more autonomy whenever needed, without prejudice to appropriate partnerships with other institutions, namely the IMF;

12.  Underlines that the reformed ESM should have its own expertise to produce and assess the elements required by its statute; stresses, however, that evaluation of the financial assistance requests made by the ESM, as well as its decision-making on the design of the adjustment programmes, in cooperation with other institutions, should in no way replace, duplicate or overlap the normal macroeconomic and fiscal surveillance provided for in the EU’s fiscal rules and regulations, which must remain the Commission’s exclusive competence;

13.  Believes that possible future adjustment programmes should take into account the social impact of the proposed measures, also compared with the long-term impact of no policy change, in the light of a previous and meaningful social impact assessment;

14.  Highlights the need to ensure an efficient decision-making procedure in the reformed ESM, particularly in the case of urgent situations; calls, in this context, for an assessment of the current governance setting;

15.  Calls for a swift ESM reform that also redefines its role, functions and financial tools, so that the reformed ESM can offer liquidity support in the case of resolution and serve as a fiscal backstop for the SRF; calls for the common backstop to be made operational as soon as possible, by 2020, subject to the agreed conditions, and, in any case, before 2024;

16.  Underlines the risk arising from the delay in deepening the banking union; welcomes the conclusions of the Eurogroup report to Leaders on EMU deepening of 4 December 2018, which was endorsed, in all its elements, by the Euro Summit of 14 December 2018; welcomes, in particular, the bringing forward of the introduction of the common backstop to the SRF, provided that sufficient progress has been made in the area of risk reduction, to be assessed in 2020, and the endorsement of the term sheet on the ESM reform; recalls its previous position on the need to complete the European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS), recognising that risk reduction and risk sharing should go hand in hand; notes that no immediate outcome as regards the future eurozone budget and the stabilisation function has been reached, but takes good note of the mandate to work on the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness; underlines that significant progress has been achieved in the area of risk reduction; recalls that Parliament has made substantial contributions to enabling this, in particular on the banking package and the prudential backstop for non-performing loans;

17.  Proposes the establishment of a protocol for an interim Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the ESM and Parliament, with immediate effect, to improve interinstitutional dialogue and enhance the ESM’s transparency and accountability, specifying the rights of Parliament and its Members as regards questions put to the reformed ESM, regular hearings, nomination rights and appropriate budgetary control rights; recalls its request for an interinstitutional arrangement for economic governance; stresses that the Managing Director of the reformed ESM should be elected by and report to the European Parliament, following a proposal by the Council; urges that gender balance be ensured in the composition of the reformed ESM governing bodies;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Commission, the Council, the Eurogroup, the European Central Bank, the Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 201.
(2) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(3) OJ C 220, 25.6.2018, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 65, 19.2.2016, p. 96.
(5) OJ C 378, 9.11.2017, p. 182.
(6) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 235.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0226.


Situation in Nicaragua
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the situation in Nicaragua (2019/2615(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0219RC-B8-0165/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Nicaragua, in particular those of 18 December 2008(1), 26 November 2009(2), 16 February 2017(3) and 31 May 2018(4),

–  having regard to the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America of 2012,

–  having regard to the EU country strategy paper and multiannual indicative programme 2014-2020 on Nicaragua,

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

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

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders of June 2004,

–  having regard to the Nicaraguan Constitution,

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Nicaragua of 21 January 2019,

–  having regard to the declarations by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the situation in Nicaragua of 2 October 2018, 15 May 2018, 22 April 2018 and 15 December 2018, and that of 1 March 2019 on the resumption of the national dialogue,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on EU priorities in UN human rights fora in 2019, adopted on 18 February 2019,

–  having regard to the report approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on 21 June 2018 entitled ‘Gross Human Rights Violations in the Context of Social Protests in Nicaragua’,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights violations and abuses in the context of protests in Nicaragua, 18 April – 18 August 2018,

–  having regard to the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of 20 December 2018 on the violent events that took place in Nicaragua between 18 April and 30 May 2018,

–  having regard to the statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of 22 February 2019 on the criminalisation of dissent in Nicaragua,

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

A.  whereas the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the crisis in Nicaragua on 31 May 2018, strongly condemning the situation; whereas, as a follow-up to this resolution, a delegation of 11 MEPs visited the country from 23 to 26 January 2019 to assess the situation on the ground;

B.  whereas the delegation was able to follow its own programme, and the Nicaraguan Government granted access to all facilities requested by the MEPs, including two prisons; whereas the Nicaraguan Government gave guarantees that no retaliation would be launched against those who denounced the current situation; whereas the delegation witnessed the harassment, smear and intimidation campaign that targeted the human rights defenders and civil society organisations with which it had held an exchange of views; whereas many organisations rejected invitations to meet the delegation, owing to government-led intimidation and threats; whereas repression has been intensified since the delegation visited the country;

C.  whereas the delegation rejected publicly the official Nicaraguan Government position that they had been victims of a US-led coup d’état and misinformation campaigns; whereas the main reason fuelling the demonstrations has been the deep democratic, institutional and political crisis that has affected the rule of law and restricted basic freedoms, such as those of association, demonstration and assembly, in the country during the last decade;

D.  whereas freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration, including the use of the national anthem, are being seriously restricted for many people; whereas a significant number of political prisoners are imprisoned just for exercising their rights; whereas there have been several worrying reports regarding the worsening situation of detainees, including inhuman treatment;

E.  whereas judicial proceedings against those detainees are in breach of international standards, in particular the procedural and criminal guarantees of the right to a fair trial; whereas the prison conditions also fail to meet international standards adequately; whereas there is a clear lack of separation of powers in Nicaragua;

F.  whereas the right to information is seriously endangered; whereas journalists are being detained, exiled and threatened; whereas audiovisual media outlets are being closed down or searched without prior judicial authorisation; whereas the publication of newspapers is endangered by the lack of paper and ink, seized by the Nicaraguan Government;

G.  whereas the Government of Nicaragua has expelled from the country international organisations such as the GIEI and the Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (MESENI) that sought the peaceful resolution of the conflict and national reconciliation; whereas repression against civil society organisations has intensified by stripping them of their legal status in a country with a poor institutional framework, doubly punishing the victims of repression;

H.  whereas academic freedom is also being threatened; whereas nearly 200 university students have been expelled from universities for their participation in demonstrations in favour of democracy and greater freedom and human rights;

I.  whereas the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must form an integral part of the EU’s external policies, including the Association Agreement between the EU and the countries of Central America of 2012; whereas this agreement includes a democratic clause, which is an essential element of the agreement;

J.  whereas the national dialogue launched on 16 May 2018 between President Ortega and the Nicaraguan opposition and civic groups, and mediated by the Catholic Church, failed to find a solution to the crisis; whereas on 27 February 2019, exploratory talks for a national dialogue between the Government of Nicaragua and the Alianza Civica were resumed; whereas the Alianza Civica has established its three main objectives to be reached during the negotiations as follows: the release of political prisoners and respect for individual liberties, the necessary electoral reforms, which must culminate in the holding of elections, and justice; whereas the Nicaraguan Government has released 100 political prisoners, accepting that their prison sentences be commuted to house arrest; whereas most of them are being harassed and arrests are continuing; whereas a high number of prisoners (more than 600) remain in jail; whereas a national dialogue was halted on 10 March 2019 after the Alianza Civica withdrew from the negotiations;

1.  Underlines that Nicaragua is suffering from a serious breach of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law as a result of the events that took place in April and May 2018; reiterates the importance of its resolution adopted on 31 May 2018;

2.  Condemns all repressive actions of the Nicaraguan Government; states that the visit made by its delegation served to establish a true picture of the current situation; further states that it is without doubt that, in recent months, and in particular after its visit, there has been an increase in repression of the opposition and limitations imposed on fundamental freedoms; in this regard, condemns the generalised repression and restriction of freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration, the outlawing of non-governmental organisations and civil society, the expulsion of international organisations from the country, the closure of and assaults against the media, the limitations on the right to information, the expulsion of students from universities, and the worsening situation in prisons and the use of inhuman treatment;

3.  Considers that such actions by the Government, its institutions and its para-political organisations correspond to a planned strategy to destroy the political opposition that had led the protests last year; believes that this strategy is applied methodically, systematically and selectively against all leaders, NGOs, media and social movements that seek to express their legitimate demands for freedom and democracy;

4.  Expresses its concern about the enormous democratic, political and economic risks that the people and the country are facing, and that will increase if urgent action is not taken, taking into account the current internal confrontations, social rupture and economic decline; urgently calls for a meaningful internal dialogue with a view to achieving a sustainable and peaceful solution that would allow all actors in the society to have space to operate and freely express themselves and that would restore their civil rights, such as the right to peaceful protest; reiterates that any solution should render all those responsible for the violations accountable; asks all the political parties, social movements, leaders, students and civil society organisations to maintain and reiterate their unwavering commitment to a peaceful means of resolving the crisis; reiterates its full support for the reform of the judicial system and the electoral law, and requests that the VP/HR act accordingly; asks the VP/HR and the EU Delegation to closely monitor the negotiations that are taking place in the country between the government and the Alianza Civica, and to continue addressing the human problems arising from the situation created in the country in relation to prisoners, students, protesters, journalists, etc.;

5.  Deplores the suspension of the MESENI and the termination of the mandate of the GIEI of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; strongly condemns the persecution, arrest and intimidation of people cooperating with the UN and other international bodies;

6.  Calls on the Nicaraguan Government to implement three urgent measures as a sign of its willingness in the ongoing dialogue: the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners, the immediate halt of all forms of repression against Nicaraguan citizens, including harassment, intimidation, spying and persecution of opposition leaders, and the subsequent elimination of all restrictions on previously mentioned freedoms, and the restitution of the legal personality and goods of human rights organisations and the return of international organisations to the country;

7.  Points out that under these conditions the process must lead to the cancellation of legal procedures against political prisoners and guarantees regarding their physical and moral integrity, their privacy and due process, the return of those exiled, including journalists and students, the demilitarisation of the streets and the disarmament of paramilitary groups, and the establishment of a clear roadmap for free, fair and transparent elections to be organised in the near future, with the presence of international observers;

8.  Calls for the immediate extradition of Alessio Casimirri, currently living in Managua under the protection of the Nicaraguan Government, to Italy, where he has been given six definitive life sentences for the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, former leader of the Christian Democracy party, Prime Minister and President of the European Council, and the murder of his guards on 16 March 1978 in Rome;

9.  Requests that the European External Action Service and the Member States implement, without harming the domestic population, a staggered process of targeted and individual sanctions, such as visa bans and asset freezes, against the Government of Nicaragua and those individuals responsible for human rights breaches, in line with the Council conclusions of 21 January 2019, until full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully upheld and restored in the country as requested in the dialogue; therefore, and under these circumstances, urges that the democratic clause of the Association Agreement between the EU and Central America, of which Nicaragua is a signatory, be triggered by suspending Nicaragua from the agreement;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Central American Parliament, the Lima Group, and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Nicaragua.

(1) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 89.
(2) OJ C 285 E, 21.10.2010, p. 74
(3) OJ C 252, 18.7.2017, p. 189.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0238.


Annual strategic report on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals
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European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2019 on the Annual strategic report on the implementation and delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2018/2279(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0220A8-0160/2019

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to the Paris Agreement, adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris on 12 December 2015, and to the submission of 6 March 2015 by Latvia and the European Commission to the UNFCCC of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the EU and its Member States,

–  having regard to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa from 13 to 16 July 2015,

–  having regard to regard to Article 208 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Article 7 of the TFEU, which reaffirms that the EU ‘shall ensure consistency between its policies and activities, taking all of its objectives into account’,

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission of 7 June 2017 entitled ‘New European Consensus on Development – “Our world, our dignity, our future”’(1),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 22 November 2016 entitled ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future – European action for sustainability’(COM(2016)0739);

–  having regard to the Commission Reflection Paper entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’, published on 30 January 2019,

–  having regard to the high-level multi-stakeholder platform on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to its joint contribution of 11 October 2018, which recommends that the EU develop and implement an overarching visionary and transformative Sustainable Europe 2030 strategy, to guide all EU policies and programmes, including both interim and long-term targets, and lay out the EU’s vision for a sustainable Europe beyond the 2030 Agenda,

–  having regard to the 2019 EU Report on Policy Coherence for Development, published on 28 January 2019,

–  having regard to the General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 entitled ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on Financing for Development(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2016 on the follow-up to and review of the 2030 Agenda(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on the EU 2015 Report on Policy Coherence for Development(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2016 on increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2017 on EU action for sustainability(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2018 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2018(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2018 on violation of the rights of indigenous peoples in the world, including land grabbing(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 June 2017 on the EU response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (10502/17),

–  having regard to the European Commission proposal of 30 May 2018 for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) (COM(2018)0382),

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 20 November 2018 between the World Health Organisation and the European Parliament entitled ‘United to accelerate progress to health related Sustainable Development Goals – leaving no one behind’,

–  having regard to Eurostat’s 2018 monitoring report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in an EU context,

–  having regard to the Europe 2020 strategy,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 September 2018 entitled ‘Indicators better suited to evaluate the SDGs – the civil society contribution’,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 18 October 2018 (EUCO 13/18) stating that the EU and its Member States are fully committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its implementation, and in which the European Council welcomed the intention of the Commission to publish its Reflection Paper in 2018, calling for it to pave the way for a comprehensive implementation strategy in 2019;

–  having regard to the EU priorities at the United Nations and the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (September 2018 – September 2019), adopted by the Council on 25 June 2018,

–  having regard to the contribution of the multi-stakeholder platform on Sustainable Development Goals to the Commission Reflection Paper entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’, released on 12 October 2018,

–  having regard to the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees of 2018,

–  having regard to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted by UN Member States at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on 18 March 2015,

–  having regard to the joint communiqué between the European Union and the United Nations of 27 September 2018 entitled ‘A renewed partnership in development’(10),

–  having regard to the joint communiqué released following the Third African Union-European Union-United Nations Trilateral Meeting, held in New York on 23 September 2018(11),

–  having regard to the Joint EU - UN Press Statement of 23 September 2018(12),

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

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0160/2019),

A.  whereas the 2030 Agenda has the potential to be transformative and sets out universal, ambitious, comprehensive, indivisible and interlinked goals, aimed at eradicating poverty, fighting growing inequalities and discrimination, promoting prosperity, sustainability, environmental responsibility, social inclusion, gender equality and respect for human rights, ensuring economic, social and territorial cohesion and strengthening peace and security; whereas immediate action, at all levels, together with an effective European implementation strategy, monitoring and review mechanism are essential to the achievement of the SDGs;

B.  whereas the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs represent an ambitious vision for a more prosperous, inclusive and resilient world; whereas the 2030 Agenda is based on the Union’s core values of democracy, participation, good governance, social justice, solidarity, sustainability and respect for the rule of law and human rights, within the EU, its Member States and around the globe; whereas striving to achieve the SDGs therefore naturally follows the Union’s plans to build a better, healthier and more sustainable future for Europe, which should be among the EU’s strategic priorities;

C.  whereas the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs represent a challenge; whereas the 17 goals and 169 targets require coordination between the EU and its Member States, the European Parliament, national parliaments and regional and local authorities, as well as a multi-level governance approach, also based on active and broad-based public, civil society and private sector engagement;

D.  whereas the involvement of social partners has been instrumental in the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs from the beginning, promoting the inclusion of priorities such as decent work, the fight against inequalities and civil society participation; whereas their active participation in the review process of the progress and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs is key;

E.  whereas the Commission has not yet established a comprehensive strategy to implement the 2030 Agenda encompassing EU internal and external policy areas with detailed timelines up to 2030, objectives and concrete measures, as requested by Parliament, the Council and the European Council, nor has it included the SDGs as an overarching framework in the revised Better Regulation Guidelines published in 2017; whereas common indicators and benchmarks are required in order to measure and to monitor systematically the implementation of such a strategy and to identify shortcomings, both now and in the future;

F.  whereas sustainability and the transition to a climate-neutral, circular and socially inclusive economy are key to ensuring the long-term growth and competitiveness of the EU, which will only be possible if the planetary boundaries are fully respected;

G.  whereas the European Consensus on Development recognises that Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is a fundamental part of the EU’s contribution to achieving the SDGs and that sustainable development requires a holistic and cross-cutting policy approach, ultimately being an issue of governance which needs to be pursued in partnership with all stakeholders and at all levels; whereas an effective implementation of PCD is essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda;

H.  whereas the EU’s policy and governance framework already includes a certain number of binding and non-binding policy targets, benchmarks and indicators in fields such as the budget, social affairs, energy and climate, without consisting of a comprehensive, coherent and joined-up policy strategy;

I.  whereas the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires enhanced awareness among citizens;

J.  whereas ex-ante assessments and ex-post evaluations are crucial tools to ensure that EU policies do not have a negative impact on sustainable development, in particular on developing countries, and that their positive impact is maximised; whereas assessments and evaluations should be published in order to ensure full transparency and accountability;

K.  whereas the 2030 Agenda is a universal agenda that should be implemented in every country; whereas the principle of universality requires every country to consider the impact of its actions in relation to others, in order to ensure policy coherence for development, which, given the complexity and the fragmentation of EU policies, represents a great challenge for the Union;

L.  whereas the Commission is required, under the 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP), to assess the environmental impact, in a global context, of Union consumption of food and non-food commodities;

M.  whereas the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) could play a strong role in the evidence-based aspects of monitoring and accountability as regards effectiveness principles for achieving the SDGs and in supporting their fuller implementation by all actors at national level; whereas the GPEDC should provide clearly defined channels for cooperation for specific development actors beyond OECD donors, including emerging donors, civil society organisations, private philanthropists, financial institutions and private-sector companies;

N.  whereas the financing of the SDGs poses an enormous challenge which not only demands a strong political commitment by the EU and its Member States, but also a strong global partnership and the use of all forms of financing (from domestic, international, public, private and innovative sources); whereas private financing is essential but should not substitute public funding;

O.  whereas achieving the SDGs depends not only on sufficient finance, but also on non-financial actions, as acknowledged in the 2030 Agenda;

P.  whereas effective mobilisation of domestic resources is an indispensable factor in achieving the aims of the 2030 Agenda; whereas developing countries are particularly affected by corporate tax evasion and tax avoidance;

Q.  whereas Article 208 of the TFEU stipulates that development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty;

R.  whereas the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will meet at summit level, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly in September 2019, to take stock of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as a whole, reviewing progress on all SDGs in a comprehensive manner, and at ministerial level in July 2019, to review progress on SDGs 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the goals), and annually thereafter in order to conduct progress reviews of the goals not reviewed under the 2019 thematic review;

S.  whereas the UN General Assembly summit on the SDGs provides an opportunity for the EU and its Member States to highlight their progress in advancing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in a comprehensive manner;

T.  whereas in the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda at the UN, the EU has not always been united in its voting behaviour, particularly in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights,

U.  whereas the HLPF provides an opportune space for the EU and its Member States to review their progress in advancing the 2030 Agenda through Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and to play a leading role as the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and as a driving force for sustainability and environmental policies; whereas these completed VNRs serve to assess SDG progress and flag present gaps and challenges;

V.  whereas ODA will play a crucial role in delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – particularly in low-income countries and in fighting extreme poverty and inequality – if it respects the development effectiveness principles, namely country ownership, transparency and accountability, focus on results, and inclusiveness;

W.  whereas the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ is at the core of the 2030 Agenda; whereas in 2017 around 22,5 % of the EU population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion and 6,9 % of its population were still severely materially deprived(13); whereas inequalities have manifold social consequences, such as large differences in well-being and quality of life, including with regard to professional opportunities and healthcare;

X.  whereas there is a persistently high level of child poverty and social exclusion in the Union (26,4 % in 2017); whereas the European Pillar of Social Rights states that children have the right to protection from poverty and that children from disadvantaged backgrounds have the right to specific measures to enhance equal opportunities; whereas investing early in children yields significant returns for these children and society as a whole, and is crucial to breaking the vicious cycle of disadvantage in early years;

Y.  whereas over the past five years, the EU has made progress towards almost all SDGs, with seven of the EU-27 Member States among the top 10 in the Global SDG Index ranking, and whereas all EU-27 Member States are in the top 50 (out of 156)(14);whereas some Member States are already leading the implementation of the SDGs; whereas the EU nevertheless still lacks an implementation strategy for the SDGs;

Z.  whereas high and rising inequality between and within countries can have significant social and economic costs; whereas inequality is in clear contradiction to the objective of sustainable development;

AA.  whereas Better Regulation has been explicitly mentioned in a Commission communication as being another way to ensure the further mainstreaming of sustainable development in EU policies(15);

AB.  whereas the Commission staff working document of 19 July 2018 on Combatting HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis in the European Union and Neighbouring countries (SWD(2018)0387) highlights the gaps and limitations in surveillance data for viral hepatitis which make it difficult to assess the distance that EU Member States need to cover in order to reach the SDG target;

AC.  whereas the Commission White Paper of 1 March 2017 on the future of Europe (COM(2017)2025) did not include sustainable development or the 2030 Agenda as a vision or narrative for the future of the EU;

AD.  whereas the UNICEF report entitled ‘Progress for Every Child in the SDG Era’, published in March 2018, found an alarming lack of data in 64 countries, as well as insufficient progress towards the SDGs in another 37 countries; whereas over half a billion children live in countries unable to measure SDG progress;

AE.  whereas decent work is the basis for fair and inclusive growth and a driver of development and social advancement; whereas along with social protection for those that cannot find a job or are unable to work, it addresses inequality and exerts a major pull on social and economic progress;

European leadership for universal values within a multilateral framework for people, planet and prosperity

1.  Stresses that the complex global challenges the world faces require the holistic and integrated response that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has the potential to deliver;

2.  Highlights that the aim of the 2030 Agenda is to achieve greater well-being for all, within the limits of the planet, and a fair world, leaving no-one behind, and that the four essential pillars of sustainable development (social, environmental, economic and governance) must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); underlines the fact that sustainable development is a fundamental objective of the Union, as laid down in Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and should play a central role in the debate on and the narrative for the future of Europe; furthermore emphasises that the implementation of the SDGs should lead to a paradigm shift and become the EU’s overarching long-term economic model to succeed the current Europe 2020 strategy;

3.  Underlines that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is closely linked to European values and interests and represents a significant innovation with the potential to reinvigorate the global order, based on multilateralism and international cooperation;

4.  Recalls the need to systematically disaggregate data on all relevant indicators across all goals and targets by sex and other characteristics;

5.  Stresses that the Union should renew its commitment to being a global frontrunner in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, together with its Member States and their local and regional authorities, in line with the principle of subsidiarity and in close cooperation with its international partners; recalls that the EU’s political engagement should be reflected in the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027; underlines that the 2030 Agenda must further catalyse a coordinated approach between the EU’s internal and external action and its other policies and coherence across Union financing instruments for a global response and commitment towards sustainable growth and development;

6.  Insists that implementing the SDGs requires effective cooperation at EU, national, regional and local levels, respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality; stresses the important role of the Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils in this cooperation, and considers that their involvement at all levels of governance should be reinforced;

7.  Welcomes the fact that many Member States and partner countries beyond the EU have made considerable efforts to design mechanisms and strategies to implement the SDGs and to integrate them into their policies and governance frameworks; urges those Member States which have not yet developed such mechanisms to do so; underlines that the EU, by helping and encouraging third countries to follow similar actions, contributes to reaching a level playing field; acknowledges that further improvements at EU level are still needed;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure a horizontal approach to the SDGs in their policies;

9.  Recognises that in 2015 all European countries, both EU and non-EU, committed to the 2030 Agenda; believes that, in the context of the debate on the future of Europe, consideration should be given to the development of a pan-European framework for the achievement of the SDGs between EU Member States, the EEA, signatories to EU association agreements, EU candidate countries and, following its withdrawal, the United Kingdom; underlines the importance of promoting parliamentary debates at all levels;

10.  Welcomes the Commission Reflection Paper entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’, which sets out three scenarios for how the EU might take forward the SDGs; favours the first scenario, which proposes an overarching strategy for the implementation of the SDGs by the EU and the Member States; considers that, in the context of the future of Europe, a sustainable Europe is the way forward to ensure the well-being and prosperity of its citizens and the planet;

11.  Regrets that the Commission has not yet developed an integrated and holistic SDG implementation strategy;

12.  Underlines the importance of ODA as a key instrument for eradicating poverty and recalls the respective ODA commitments of the EU and the Member States, including the commitment to the target of spending 0,7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) on ODA, with between 0,15 and 0,20 % of ODA/GNI allocated to Least Developed Countries; calls on the EU and its Member States to recommit without delay to the 0,7 % ODA/GNI target and to gradually increase ODA in order to reach this target within a clear timeline; calls on the Member States to establish verifiable annual action plans for reaching individual ODA targets; underlines that, given the responsibility of both the EU and the Member States in meeting the 0,7 % ODA/GNI target, Member States are accountable to both national parliaments and the European Parliament;

13.  Recognises that health gains must be protected and progress accelerated in order to reach the SDGs; states that while the world has made remarkable progress on several fronts with regard to health, many challenges remain, among which is that of addressing health disparities between the populations of stable countries and those living in fragile and vulnerable environments, as well as health disparities within countries themselves;

14.  Recognises that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has reinforced global health as a political priority; states that healthy populations are critical to sustainable development – to ending poverty, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and protecting the environment; insists that health is also an outcome and indicator of progress that reflects the success of many goals and the 2030 agenda as a whole;

15.  Underlines that, overall, the EU has managed to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and decouple them from economic growth, thus robustly contributing to the global effort, also taking into account emissions embedded in the EU’s imports and exports(16); notes, however, that more efforts are needed, both at EU level and globally;

Enhancing strategic and joined-up EU action towards achieving the global goals

16.  Calls on the Commission to establish an in-depth gap analysis of existing policies and their implementation in order to identify critical areas of synergies and incoherencies; invites the Commission to clearly identify, without further delay, the steps to be taken by 2030 in terms of policies and legislation, statistics and disaggregated data collection, and governance and implementation, in order to establish, by the end of 2019, a comprehensive strategy for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda;

17.  Urges the Commission to draw up an ambitious, overarching and all-encompassing strategy for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, fully integrating the SDGs in EU policies and governance, providing guidance for both the EU institutions and the Member States in their implementation, monitoring and review of the 2030 Agenda, and outlining detailed roadmaps, concrete targets and deadlines; asks the Commission to ensure that this strategy addresses the interlinkages of the SDGs;

18.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen its collaboration with the UN and on the EU Member States to support its ongoing reform, making it fit for purpose to implement the 2030 Agenda;

19.  Recalls that all SDGs are relevant for the fulfilment of the rights of children; stresses the importance of implementing the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child in the context of EU external relations; asks the Commission to monitor and report on progress on the rights of the child in EU external programmes;

20.  Calls on the Commission, as a key foundation for building a sustainable Europe, to lead the development of a sustainable food production and consumption model that protects and removes pressure of food systems on health and the environment and brings economic benefits to farmers, companies and citizens;

21.  Calls on the Commission to work, in collaboration with key stakeholders at all levels, towards ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, in particular with a view to making healthcare more accessible, affordable, effective, and sustainable, addressing risk factors of non-communicable diseases in a more holistic way, exchanging best practices, and strengthening the capacity to prevent and manage global health threats such as antimicrobial resistance;

22.  Calls upon the Commission to align programmatic, financing and operational policies, approaches and methodologies where it can enhance efficiency and effectiveness, with the UN and its partners, in order to improve effectiveness on a number of common priorities such as gender equality and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, climate change and the environment, and addressing inequalities and poverty;

23.  Stresses that ensuring tax justice and transparency, fighting tax avoidance and evasion, eradicating illicit financial flows and tax havens and increasing domestic resource mobilisation is crucial to the financing of the 2030 Agenda; reiterates its call to assess the spill-over impact of national and EU tax policies on developing countries, ensuring policy coherence for development;

24.  Stresses the importance of addressing social and economic inequalities and promoting gender equality within the EU and worldwide; recalls the underlying principle of the 2030 Agenda of ‘leaving no one behind’; calls, therefore, on the Commission to pay particular attention to the most marginalised and vulnerable in society in order to ensure full inclusiveness;

25.  Calls on the Commission to promote sustainable global value chains with the introduction of due diligence systems for companies, with a focus on their entire supply chains, which would encourage businesses to invest more responsibly and stimulate a more effective implementation of sustainability chapters in free trade agreements, including anticorruption, transparency, anti-tax avoidance and responsible business conduct;

26.  Considers that the SDGs should be at the centre of the EU’s strategy for sustainable development and inclusive growth; underlines the need to clearly set out common indicators, benchmarks and targets, and an analysis of the distance to targets and goals, the actions required to reach them and the means by which they will be implemented; stresses that the EU’s 2030 strategy should also outline when and how the Union will undertake sustainability impact assessments to address existing gaps, reorient existing policies and develop new legislative proposals or reviews of Union legislation, while ensuring coherence and coordination actions both at EU and Member State levels; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Council, in all its formations, to pursue this work without delay;

27.  Considers that the European Semester should involve Parliament and be aligned with the 2030 Agenda, and that a sustainability check should be included in the process; calls, therefore, on the Commission to further adapt the existing European Semester process; underlines that this would in particular require that the European Semester take into account all dimensions of the SDGs in a comprehensive way;

28.  Urges the Commission to develop a comprehensive strategy to support investment that enhances environmental sustainability, and to ensure a proper link between the SDGs and the European Semester;

29.  Stresses the need for clear identification of the steps to be taken at each governance level for the implementation of the goals and targets, while following the principle of subsidiarity; calls for the establishment of clear and coherent sustainable development pathways at the appropriate level (national, subnational, local) within those Member States which have not established them already; stresses that the Commission should provide guidance on this process in order to ensure a coherent approach; calls for a multilevel approach in order to create better understanding, high engagement and shared responsibility around the implementation of SDGs;

30.  Welcomes the publication of the second Eurostat monitoring report on sustainable development in the EU, which represents a step forward towards the creation of a fully-fledged EU monitoring mechanism;

31.  Underlines the need for the Commission to develop an integrated, effective and participatory monitoring, accountability and review framework for the implementation and mainstreaming of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda which is consistent with the UN Global Indicator Framework and which gathers information and relevant disaggregated data at national and subnational levels while acknowledging that Eurostat alone cannot comprehensively capture all dimensions of SDG progress; underlines the need to take account of spill-over effects and of the interlinked and indivisible nature of the goals and requests that Eurostat be mandated also to report systematically on SDG performance for each and every Member State, based on a uniform set of indicators;

32.  Stresses the need for a wide range of indicators which are not purely economic in nature and which capture the transformative nature of the SDGs, in particular with regard to addressing poverty in all its forms, and which should be measured by disaggregated data relevant to the achievement of the SDGs; underlines the need for Eurostat to establish a set of specific progress indicators for the internal application of the SDGs in the EU at the respective governance levels;

33.  Recalls the key role of the EU in enhancing standards of transparency, accountability and sustainability in global value chains; underlines that the EU is a normative and economic power and must therefore position itself as a leader in good practices and the establishment of worldwide rules; calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the negotiations for a binding UN treaty on transnational corporations and human rights;

34.  Calls on the EU Member States to provide data for the effective monitoring of viral hepatitis in line with the indicators established by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and calls on the Commission to monitor this process closely, in line with the commitment made in its communication of November 2016 entitled ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future’;

35.  Underlines the importance of raising awareness on the transformative potential of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals; recalls the need to engage with citizens and civil society organisations throughout the implementation and monitoring processes; stresses the important role played by the European Parliament and national parliaments;

36.  Highlights the importance of transparency and democratic accountability when monitoring the EU’s progress on the 2030 Agenda and consequently underlines the role of the co-legislators in this process; considers that the conclusion of a binding interinstitutional agreement under Article 295 of the TFEU would provide an appropriate framework for cooperation in this regard;

37.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further improve the information available and the awareness of citizens regarding the need for completion of the 2030 Agenda;

38.  Stresses that the MFF must be oriented towards the 2030 Agenda and ensure enhanced mainstreaming of sustainable development in all funding mechanisms and budgetary lines; calls upon the Commission, therefore, to enhance accountability for delivering collective results through the MFF; reiterates its position on the future MFF, which calls for a compulsory mid-term revision, following a review of the functioning of the MFF, and taking into account an assessment of the progress made with regard to the SDGs; stresses the need to check the planned financial envelopes of existing policies to ensure coherence with sustainable development;

39.  Considers that significant acceleration of green investment, innovation and growth in the EU is needed for the timely and successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and underlines the importance of a wider uptake of innovative and existing financing tools such as green public procurement, as well as the urgent need for different approaches to current investment policy, in particular the phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies;

40.  Welcomes the increasing amount of institutional and private capital allocated to financing the SDGs and underlines the importance of a robust sustainable finance framework, including a calibration of the capital requirements on banks and a prudential treatment of high-carbon assets, prudential rules for insurance companies and an update of institutional investors’ and asset managers’ duties;

Policy coherence, coordination and mainstreaming of SDGs

41.  Stresses the importance of better coordination and cooperation between and within decision-making bodies, different organisations and relevant stakeholders, including local authorities and civil society organisations, in order to implement the 2030 Agenda and to achieve greater Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD);

42.  Welcomes the adoption of the 2019 Commission report on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) and the attempt to better integrate PCD into the EU approach to implementing SDGs; recalls that PCD is a principle laid down in Article 208 of the TFEU while also being fundamental for achieving the SDGs;

43.  Acknowledges the progress made by the PCD tools in influencing EU policy-making; calls for further efforts to make sure that non-development policies take into account development objectives as a result of PCD mechanisms;

44.  Underlines that PCD constitutes a fundamental element of and contribution to PCSD; strongly recommends that the best practices and lessons learned from PCD are applied in further developing and operationalising PCSD;

45.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to reaffirm their commitment to PCD as an important contribution towards achieving broader PCSD in their actions for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; stresses the need to enhance mechanisms for policy coherence within all EU institutions and policy-making processes and to ensure that the principle is adequately respected in regular ex-ante impact assessment and by introducing adequate mechanisms for accountability and mitigation;

46.  Is of the view that PCSD means that all relevant policies and all financial and non-financial instruments at EU level must in future be designed, implemented and monitored with a view to achieving the SDGs, and that the Commission should, therefore, rapidly develop the necessary policy capacities at all levels;

47.  Urges the Commission to adopt a follow-up action plan in line with the recommendations of the external evaluation of PCD calling for the adoption of a clear set of rules for the implementation of the concept; reiterates its call to distinctly define the responsibilities of each EU institution in achieving PCD commitments;

48.  Reiterates its call for PCD to be discussed at European Council level in order to give impetus to the implementation of its mechanisms in pursuit of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; believes that, as has been pointed out in the external evaluation of PCD, only with political will from the EU will there be a significant impact on the promotion and effectiveness of the PCD approach;

49.  Stresses the need, given the legal commitment to promoting PCD expressed in Article 208 of the TFEU, for the EU to pro-actively enter into dialogue with developing countries and regions in order to discuss and consider major policy initiatives that may affect them;

50.  Stresses that the EU has some of the world’s highest environmental standards, and that its businesses are ahead of the curve compared to global competitors, which is why the EU is also seen as a stronghold of freedom and democracy, with stable institutions based on the rule of law and a vibrant civil society; considers that the EU could therefore decide to promote more strongly its current environmental, social and governance standards;

51.  Welcomes the establishment of a working party on the 2030 Agenda under the General Affairs Council; calls for the establishment of SDG coordination and cooperation mechanisms between and within Parliament, the Council and the Commission, in order to ensure policy coherence; underlines that such mechanisms should be clearly framed and determined within an Interinstitutional Agreement for a Sustainable Europe by 2030, as coherent political processes between the three institutions will be critical for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda; calls for the involvement of all three institutions in the future work of the multi-stakeholder platform on SDGs and highlights the importance of the inclusion of all relevant actors in this platform, including civil society organisations;

52.  Believes that, in line with SDG 17 on Partnerships, the role of the existing multi-stakeholder platform on SDGs should be upgraded and brought into a formal and interinstitutional consultation framework;

53.  Stresses the role of development cooperation in supporting implementation of the 2030 Agenda in developing countries; welcomes the mainstreaming of the SDGs into the new European Consensus on Development; recalls that poverty eradication (SDG 1) must remain the principal objective of EU development cooperation; recalls that SDG 1 and SDG 2 are intrinsically linked; reiterates that despite progress, the current pace and scope of implementation is unlikely to promote the transformational change needed to realise the objectives of SDG 2; calls for increased efforts to follow up on the recommendations of the 2017 HLPF thematic review of SDG 2;

54.  Reiterates its call for the mainstreaming of the delivery of the SDGs across all policy areas; welcomes the Commission’s commitment to mainstream the SDGs into its Better Regulation Agenda and underlines the potential for strategic use of the Better Regulation tools in the Commission’s independent evaluations of EU policy coherence for the 2030 Agenda and its development cooperation policy; calls on the Commission to revise swiftly the Better Regulation Agenda Guidelines and to further strengthen and monitor its regular ex-ante assessments in order to ensure full policy coherence in the implementation of the SDGs while promoting synergies, gaining co-benefits and avoiding trade-offs, both at Union and Member State level;

55.  Calls for cross-committee coordination in Parliament, with a view to overseeing and following up on the EU’s implementation of its 2030 Agenda commitments;

56.  Calls on the Conference of Presidents and the Conference of Committee Chairs of the European Parliament to assess the appropriateness of Parliament’s current structure with a view to ensuring its ability to effectively and comprehensively monitor across all policy sectors the work towards achieving the SDGs in the EU’s internal and external policies;

57.  Calls for Parliament, the Commission and the Council to work towards a Joint Sustainability Declaration, anchoring the SDGs in the multiannual interinstitutional priorities of the next legislative term;

58.  Emphasises the role of regular and adequate ex-ante impact assessments as well as ex-post evaluations in ensuring the better mainstreaming of the 2030 Agenda and delivering results; underlines the importance of evaluating the short- and long-term consequences of policies and their potential contribution to sustainable development; recalls the Treaty obligation to take into account the objectives of development cooperation in all policies likely to affect developing countries;

59.  Recalls the vital importance of domestic resource mobilisation (DRM) for developing countries in achieving the SDGs; stresses that the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) entitled ’World Investment Report 2015 – Reforming International Investment Governance’(17) estimates that developing countries lose at least USD 100 billion per year in corporate tax revenue due to tax dodging by large companies; welcomes in this regard the Commission staff working document of 15 October 2015 entitled ‘Collect More – Spend Better: Achieving Development in an Inclusive and Sustainable Way’ (SWD(2015)0198), aiming at tackling this issue; regrets, however, that no concrete actions have been undertaken to ensure the implementation of the abovementioned Commission strategy; calls on the Commission to propose a flagship programme on DRM to ensure more tax revenues are collected and allow for the financing of the SDGs;

60.  Insists on the need to strengthen local actors as agents for sustainable development and calls for the stronger participation of national parliaments and regional and local authorities at all stages of SDG implementation, from planning and programming to evaluation and monitoring; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to enhance its support to cities and local authorities to develop, implement and monitor effective policy initiatives and strategies to achieve the SDGs;

61.  Welcomes the growing involvement of the private sector in helping to achieve the SDGs; stresses the importance of creating an environment that facilitates new initiatives and partnerships between the public and the private sectors, and that encourages companies to align their business strategies with sustainable development objectives;

62.  Recalls that the UN estimates that investments of USD 5 to 7 trillion are needed annually to achieve the SDGs; insists, therefore, on the need to mobilise investments, and welcomes the potential of the EU External Investment Plan in this regard;

Voluntary National Reviews and EU reporting for the UN General Assembly HLPF 2019

63.  Encourages Member States to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress and encourages those Member States that have not already committed to completing a VNR to do so in accordance with the 2030 Agenda and for Member States having already presented a VNR to set up a calendar for regular future VNRs;

64.  Calls on the Commission to conduct regular analysis of the VNRs of Member States in order to assess progress and good practices; further calls for analysis of the VNRs of Least Developed Countries in order to identify needs, close gaps and enhance support and cooperation, and to cooperate closely within the OECD in developing peer review mechanisms for successful SDG implementation strategies and action in domestic and external policies, and to improve exchange of best practices and monitoring of negative external spill-over effects;

65.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to broaden the joint programming and joint implementation of development cooperation, based on SDG policy dialogues with partner countries, national development plans and VNRs, duly taking into account country ownership and other principles of development effectiveness;

66.  Stresses the role of the HLPF in the follow-up and review of the SDGs; strongly supports the Union’s commitment to complete a voluntary review at the HLPF; calls on the Commission to honour the EU’s leading role in designing and implementing the 2030 Agenda and to present an comprehensive joined-up report on all SDGs; underlines that EU reporting, including the forthcoming Joint Synthesis Report on the EU support to developing countries, should include an analysis of the state of play and current shortcomings and gaps;

67.  Calls the Commission to position itself as a role model in the HLPF process; invites the Commission to engage with third countries in progressing towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, including through the UN Economic Commission for Europe;

68.  Calls for the organisation of an annual European SDG forum, in preparation of the HLPF, to allow for the participation of and dialogue between external stakeholders and civil society organisations as well as parliamentarians on SDG implementation;

69.  Welcomes the HLPF meeting at summit level, which will take place under the auspices of the UN General Assembly in September 2019 and thereafter at future summits, as an opportunity to take stock of the implementation of all the SDGs within the 2030 Agenda as a whole and expects the Union to play a leading role in the summit; notes that progress made by Member States varies depending, among other factors, on the SDG in question, national priority objectives and targets; stresses that the SDGs are highly interlinked and that an integrated and comprehensive systemic approach to their implementation should be pursued;

Focus on the SDGs under the upcoming in-depth review at the HLPF 2019

70.  Welcomes the upcoming in-depth review of SDGs 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the goals) and expects the Union to contribute comprehensively to the review in full; looks forward to future in-depth reviews of all other SDGs in the coming years, while underlining the indivisibility of the 2030 Agenda and the interconnectedness of the goals;

71.  Reiterates that quality education and access to primary education for all (SDG 4) is essential for achieving sustainable development and self-sustained societies as well as for ensuring youth empowerment and employability; acknowledges that quality education is a high-ranking focus area in many Member States and stresses that technical and vocational training are essential for youth employability and access to qualified jobs; deplores, however the fact that disparities in education along the lines of urban-rural divides and gender are still prevalent both within and outside the EU; calls, therefore, for greater investments to improve the quality of education and related infrastructure with a particular focus on less developed regions internally and Least Developed Countries externally;

72.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to address targets more systematically under SDG 8 (sustainable growth and employment) within their development cooperation policies and (joint) programming; calls for further contributions towards achieving SDG 8, including improvements to productivity capacities, revenue generation, industrialisation, sustainable consumption and production patterns, trade, private sector development, business environments, infrastructure and tourism;

73.  Recognises the role of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, cooperatives, inclusive business models and research institutes as engines of growth, employment and local innovation; calls for the promotion of a level playing field for sustainable investment, industrialisation, business activity, including responsible business conduct, finance and taxation, science, technology, and research and innovation, in order to stimulate and accelerate domestic economic and human development and to contribute to long-term sustainable growth in line with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement; calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the emergence of new business models and take advantage of new technologies such as artificial intelligence;

74.  Underlines the crucial role of the private sector in progressing towards the SDGs, in particular with regard to responsible and sustainable investments and enhancing inclusive growth, as well as promoting and committing to responsible business conduct; stresses in this context the need for investment friendly policy frameworks, including sustainability performance indicators and requirements to enable the integration of sustainability risks in investment decision-making and the rule of law;

75.  Acknowledges that EU research, development and innovation hubs and incubators are important to support structures for sustainable development; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to promote stronger links between research and business in order to enable the exchange best practises and spur innovation; underlines that research and innovation funding needs to be complemented with a strategic approach to investment, allowing innovative solutions to reach the market, as these often require capital intensive and high-risk investments;

76.  Calls on the Council to keep in mind the SDGs when developing its position on the future ESF+ and the allocation of the necessary financial allocations; underlines that the success of the SDGs in the Union depends on ambitious policies backed by sufficient resources;

77.  Regrets the fact that there are still notable differences in the progress made by Member States towards achieving SDG 10, in terms of reducing inequalities in income and those based on age, sex, disability, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic status and other factors, which can improve social cohesion, and that inequalities persist and are increasing within and among countries, inside and outside the EU; calls for progress to be accelerated towards reducing growing disparities and promoting equal opportunities for all, directly assisting vulnerable groups and those most in need and generating more inclusive and sustainable growth, as well as human development; calls on the Commission to include, among others, improved criteria on economic inequality in its review of SDG 10;

78.  Acknowledges that the EU and all its Member States have signed and ratified the Paris Agreement and that most Member States mention the Paris Agreement as a key pillar of their international cooperation policies alongside the 2030 Agenda, while some have given priority to the goal of combatting climate change and its impacts (SDG 13); calls on the Commission and the Member States to use communication strategies and activities to increase public and political support for climate action and to raise awareness of the co-benefits of fighting climate change, such as improved air quality and public health, the conservation of natural resources, economic growth and higher employment, increased energy security and reduced energy import costs;

79.  Calls for the 2030 Agenda to be implemented as a whole and in a coordinated and coherent manner with the Paris Agreement on climate change, including as regards the need to urgently bridge the gap between what is needed to limit global warming and to increase work on and funding for adaptation; recalls the EU commitment to allocate 20 % of its 2014-2020 budget (some EUR 180 billion) to efforts to combat climate change, including through its external and development cooperation policies;

80.  Regrets the fact that, despite clear and comprehensive scientific evidence brought forward in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1,5°C, which detailed the damaging impacts of such a temperature increase and the significant difference in severity of those linked to a 2°C increase, some parties to the Paris Agreement have not yet increased their climate ambition; welcomes international collaboration on emissions trading and the linking of third-country and regional carbon markets; calls on the Union to encourage the establishment of market-based emissions reduction schemes in emerging economies and developing countries; notes that this will serve to reduce global emissions, produce cost savings and operational efficiencies and limit carbon leakage risk by creating a global level playing field;

81.  Stresses the need for global climate change mitigation and adaptation and emphasises the fundamental role played by developing countries in fulfilling the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as the urgent need to help those countries to achieve their nationally determined contributions ; welcomes, in this regard, the fact that combatting climate change is a priority under the recently established European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), aimed at mobilising public and private sector investment in partner countries in Africa and the EU neighbourhood;

82.  Underlines that the EU should continue on its path, transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-neutral, resource-efficient and biodiverse economy in full compliance with the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs, in order to reduce unsustainable tendencies that rely on the overexploitation of natural resources as well as the loss of biodiversity caused by unsustainable consumption and production models; highlights the importance of the EU speeding up its initiatives aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable consumption and production, while playing a leading role in working towards a circular economy;

83.  Reiterates the universal values of democracy, good governance, the rule of law and human rights as preconditions for sustainable development as defined in SDG 16 (peaceful and inclusive societies); deeply regrets, however, the fact that globally, armed conflict and violence are still prevalent; expresses concern about the lack of progress in enhancing the rule of law and access to justice in many countries; recalls the commitment of the EU and the Members States, as expressed in the European Consensus on Development, to a comprehensive approach to conflict and crises, focusing on fragility and human security, while recognising the nexus between sustainable development, humanitarian action, peace and security and paying special attention to fragile and conflict affected states; stresses that the objective of peaceful and inclusive societies, including access to justice for all, should be integrated into EU external action which, by supporting local stakeholders, can help build resilience, promote human security, strengthen the rule of law and address the complex challenges of insecurity, fragility and democratic transition;

84.  Stresses that combating inequalities in and between countries, tackling discrimination and promoting peace, participatory democracy, good governance, the rule of law and human rights must be objectives cutting across EU development policy;

85.  Welcomes the EU’s endeavours to maximise coherence and build synergies between different policies in order to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development;

86.  Stresses that inclusive and equitable education, science, technology, research and innovation are particularly important tools for implementing the SDGs and recognises the need to improve governance in this sector; regrets that the potential contribution of the scientific community has not been fully enhanced so far; emphasises the need for Horizon 2020 and future framework programmes for research to integrate better the concept of sustainable development and societal challenges; recalls the need to facilitate mechanisms for the meaningful transfer of technology to developing countries;

87.  Calls on the Commission to add data related to the SDGs to the high-value datasets as defined in the directive on open data and public sector information and to encourage the Member States to publish all reports on the SDGs under a free license;

88.  Emphasises the importance of fully utilising existing and upcoming EU programmes and instruments, such as the Horizon and LIFE programmes, which enable third country participation in the fields of energy, climate change and sustainable development;

89.  Calls for an EU budget which gives sustainable development the status of a primary objective; recalls that the fight against fraud and tax evasion is an issue of solidarity development;

90.  Emphasises that achieving the SDGs in the areas of food, agriculture, energy, materials, cities, and health and well-being could open market opportunities worth more than EUR 10 trillion(18); underlines, however, that in order to achieve the EU’s ambition of a resource-efficient economy, the EU and its Member States must lead the way in science, technology, and modern infrastructure;

91.  Highlights that given the growing complexity and globalisation of supply chains, it is important to promote the application of high sustainability standards, including in third countries;

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92.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the OECD and the United Nations.

(1) OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, p. 1.
(2) Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171).
(3) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 76, 28.2.2018, p. 45.
(5) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 2.
(6) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p. 36.
(7) OJ C 334, 19.9.2018, p. 151.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0077.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0279.
(10) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-5927_en.htm
(11) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-5882_en.htm
(12) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-5870_en.htm
(13) Eurostat 2017 data from 16 October 2018.
(14) Reflection paper ‘Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030’, page 7. (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/rp_sustainable_europe_30-01_en_web.pdf)
(15) Commission communication entitled ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future – European action for sustainability (COM(2016)0739).
(16) In-depth analysis in support of the Commission communication entitled ‘A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’ (COM(2018)0773).
(17) http://unctad.org/en/PublicationChapters/wir2015ch0_KeyMessage_en.pdf
(18) Business and Sustainable Development Commission report, Better Business, Better World, January 2017.

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