Procedure : 2015/0293(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0281/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0281/2016

Debates :

Votes :

PV 25/10/2016 - 5.3

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0393

RECOMMENDATION     ***
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5 October 2016
PE 584.017v02-00 A8-0281/2016

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the People's Republic of China on the short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports

(15470/2015 – C8-0110/2016 – 2015/0293(NLE))

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Rapporteur: Bodil Valero

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 SHORT JUSTIFICATION
 ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the People's Republic of China on the short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports

(15470/2015 – C8-0110/2016 – 2015/0293(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (15470/2015),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Union and the People's Republic of China on the short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports (15469/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0110/2016),

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0281/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the People’s Republic of China.


SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Framework of relations

Under Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001(1), China is among those countries whose nationals are required to hold a visa when travelling to the Schengen area. EU citizens also need a visa to enter China. Additionally, the Visa Information System (VIS) was officially launched on 12 October 2015 in China and since that date all applicants from China are required to provide their biometric data when applying for a Schengen visa.

The Migration and Mobility Dialogue between the EU and China is the framework under both parties exchange views and discuss possibilities for cooperation on issues of mutual interest on their respective migration policies

This Dialogue was established in October 2013 and under this umbrella, it was agreed to initiated negotiations for a reciprocal visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports.

In this context the Council adopted on 14 September 2015 a decision authorizing the Commission the opening of negotiations and addressing negotiating directives for a short-stay visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports. The negotiations were opened on 21 September and conducted by exchange of written notes. The agreement was initialled by the chief negotiators of the EU and China respectively on 3 and 4 November 2015.

The European Commission draft the proposal for a Council decision on 15 December 2015. The Council decision adopted their decision on 26 January 2016, for which the consent of the European Parliament is required in accordance with point (a) of the second subparagraph of Article 218(6) TFEU.

General provisions of the agreement

The agreement provides for visa-free travel for citizens of the Union holding a valid diplomatic passport or an EU laissez-passer and for citizens of China holding a valid diplomatic passport when travelling to the territory of the other Contracting Party, for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period. A joint declaration on the interpretation of this period of 90 days in any 180-day period is attached to the agreement.

The rapporteur welcomes the proposed Agreement also covers for the first time to the holders of European Union's "laissez-passer".

To ensure equal treatment of all EU citizens, Article 10 (6) of the Agreement provides that China can only suspend or terminate the agreement only in respect of all Member States of the Union and, reciprocally, the EU may suspend or terminate the agreement only with respect to all Member States.

Specific territorial provisions

The specific situation of the United Kingdom and Ireland is taken into account in the preamble. Thus the United Kingdom and Ireland will not participate in the agreement which has been concluded and are not subject to its provisions.

The close association of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis is likewise reflected in a joint declaration annexed to the agreement. The declaration encourages the authorities of those countries to conclude similar agreements on short-stay visa waivers for holders of diplomatic passports with the China in similar terms to this Agreement.

The agreement contains provisions related to its territorial application: in the case of France and the Netherlands, the provisions of the agreement apply only in those two Member States’ European territories.

Implementation and monitoring of the agreement

The Agreement sets up a Joint Committee of experts for the management of the Agreement (Article 7). The rapporteur would like to draw attention to the fact that, within the Joint Committee for the management of the agreement, the European Union is represented only by the Commission. As an institution directly elected by European citizens, the European Parliament could be involved in the work of the Joint Committee or at least receive regular information on the outcome of the meeting.

The also rapporteur queries the practice of signing visa waiver agreements and applying them provisionally before the European Parliament has approved them. The rapporteur observes that this practice is liable to reduce Parliament’s room for manoeuvre. Moreover is all the more problematic because Parliament is not informed about them as the bilateral negotiations progress, in potential breach of Treaty provisions (art 218) and the current Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission.

**

The Rapporteur hopes that the visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports represents a step forward in the establishment of full reciprocal visa waiver for holders of ordinary passports. The significance of visa liberalisation is considerable as it brings tangible benefits.

The abolishment of visas will reduce the waiting time in front of consulates and the costs associated with the travelling. It will facilitate people-to-people contact – an essential condition for the steady development of economic, cultural, scientific and other ties as well as it will intensify contacts between people. Of course, visa liberalisation should go hand-in-hand with improvements in respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as required by Article -1 of Regulation No 539/2001.

Finally, the rapporteur recommends that the members of Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs support this report and that the European Parliament give its consent.

(1)

Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, OJ L 81, 21.03.2001, p. 1


ANNEX: LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Ref.: D(2016)11290

Claude MORAES

Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)

Subject:  Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the People's Republic of China on the short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports (2015/0293(NLE))

Dear Chairman,

I refer to the Commission's proposal of 15 December 2015 for a Council decision to conclude the Agreement between the Union and China on short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports.

I take note that the Agreement was finalised at the 17th EU-China Summit on 29 June 2015. I am aware that Member States were consulted and gave their support at the High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration. I also note the Commission's proposal for a provisional application of the Agreement while awaiting the finalisation of the ratification.

I am pleased that the proposed Agreement also covers holders of European Union's "laissez-passer". I would however still consider that the Commission should acquire more information on the issuance of diplomatic passports as well as on the numbers of potential and estimated actual beneficiaries of Chinese diplomatic passports.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs is of the opinion that the proposal to conclude the Agreement on short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports should be given consent as the Agreement supports our strategic partnership with China, facilitates two-way exchanges and closer cooperation and is a gesture of good will by both sides.

I trust that your committee will complete the evaluation of the proposal and will share our positive assessment.

Yours sincerely,

Elmar Brok


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Agreement between the EU and the People’s Republic of China on the short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports

References

15470/2015 – C8-0110/2016 – COM(2015)06432015/0293(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent

3.3.2016

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

LIBE

10.3.2016

 

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

       Date announced in plenary

AFET

10.3.2016

 

 

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

AFET

1.2.2016

 

 

 

Rapporteurs

       Date appointed

Bodil Valero

16.3.2016

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

25.4.2016

12.7.2016

 

 

Date adopted

3.10.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Martina Anderson, Michał Boni, Caterina Chinnici, Frank Engel, Cornelia Ernst, Laura Ferrara, Kinga Gál, Nathalie Griesbeck, Jussi Halla-aho, Filiz Hyusmenova, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Eva Joly, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Barbara Kudrycka, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Marju Lauristin, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Monica Macovei, Claude Moraes, Alessandra Mussolini, Péter Niedermüller, Birgit Sippel, Csaba Sógor, Helga Stevens, Traian Ungureanu, Bodil Valero, Harald Vilimsky, Beatrix von Storch, Josef Weidenholzer, Cecilia Wikström, Kristina Winberg, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes present for the final vote

Hugues Bayet, Dennis de Jong, Jean Lambert, Jeroen Lenaers, Andrejs Mamikins, Angelika Mlinar, Emilian Pavel, Christine Revault D’Allonnes Bonnefoy, Barbara Spinelli, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, Axel Voss

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Norbert Lins, Georg Mayer, Georgi Pirinski, Mylène Troszczynski

Date tabled

5.10.2016


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

45

+

ALDE

Nathalie Griesbeck, Filiz Hyusmenova, Angelika Mlinar, Cecilia Wikström, Sophia in 't Veld

ECR

Jussi Halla-aho, Monica Macovei, Helga Stevens, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

EFDD

Laura Ferrara

ENF

Georg Mayer, Harald Vilimsky

GUE/NGL

Martina Anderson, Cornelia Ernst, Barbara Spinelli, Dennis de Jong

PPE

Georges Bach, Michał Boni, Frank Engel, Kinga Gál, Barbara Kudrycka, Jeroen Lenaers, Norbert Lins, Alessandra Mussolini, Csaba Sógor, Traian Ungureanu, Axel Voss, Tomáš Zdechovský

S&D

Hugues Bayet, Caterina Chinnici, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Marju Lauristin, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Andrejs Mamikins, Claude Moraes, Péter Niedermüller, Emilian Pavel, Georgi Pirinski, Christine Revault D'Allonnes Bonnefoy, Birgit Sippel, Josef Weidenholzer

VERTS/ALE

Eva Joly, Jean Lambert, Bodil Valero

2

-

EFDD

Kristina Winberg, Beatrix von Storch

1

0

ENF

Mylène Troszczynski

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 12 October 2016Legal notice