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 Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 18 January 2006 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Financial Perspective
 Equitable Life Committee of Inquiry
 Temporary Committee on extraordinary rendition
 Measures against persons suspected of involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri *
 Management of waste from extractive industries ***III
  Resolution
  Text
 Bathing water ***III
 Application of the Aarhus Convention to EC institutions and bodies ***II
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Afghanistan
 Homophobia in Europe
 Climate change
 Sustainable development strategy

Financial Perspective
DOC 39k
European Parliament resolution on the European Council's position on the Financial Perspective and the renewal of the Interinstitutional Agreement 2007-2013
P6_TA(2006)0010 B6-0049/2006

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the EC Treaty and in particular Article 272 thereof,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(1) and in particular point 26 thereof,

–   having regard to the Communications from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 26 February 2004 entitled "Building our common future: Policy challenges and budgetary means of the Enlarged Union 2007-2013" (COM(2004)0101 ) and of 14 July 2004 entitled "Financial Perspectives 2007-2013" (COM(2004)0487 ) and to the Commission working document of 12 April 2005 entitled "Technical adjustments to the Commission proposal for the multiannual financial framework 2007-2013" (SEC(2005)0494 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2005 on Policy Challenges and Budgetary Means of the Enlarged Union 2007-2013(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 December 2005 on the Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(3) ,

–   having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the European Council of 15-16 December 2005 adopted conclusions concerning the Financial Perspective 2007-2013,

B.   whereas the current Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure will, in principle, end in 2006 and whereas a new agreement or an extension of the current one can only be established if agreed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission,

C.   whereas, in the absence of a financial perspective, Article 272 of the Treaty provides for annual budgets,

D.   whereas the budget for the year 2006, the last year of the current Financial Perspective, amounts to 1,093% of EU GNI in commitment appropriations for 25 Member States,

E.   whereas the European Council's conclusions as adopted on 15-16 December 2005 foresee an average figure of 1,045% of EU GNI in commitment appropriations for 27 Member States within the EU budget, with total commitment appropriations amounting to EUR 862,363 billion,

F.   whereas the European Parliament's negotiating position adopted on 8 June 2005 ensures a better match of political priorities and financial needs, a modernising of the budget through more flexibility, an improvement in the quality of implementation, with a financial framework amounting to EUR 974,837 billion, representing an average of 1,18% of EU GNI in commitment appropriations,

1.   Notes the fact that the European Council finally found an agreement between Member States which allows for the opening of the negotiations with the European Parliament on the next Financial Perspective;

2.   Notes that the conclusions of the European Council focus on traditional policies which are administrated by the Member States rather than putting emphasis on policies enabling the European Union to face new challenges and to develop the European added value for citizens; deplores in this context the unacceptable reduction in commitments in respect of competitiveness, growth and employment, despite the emphasis given by all the EU institutions to the Lisbon strategy, and the cuts in relation to citizenship, freedom, security and justice and external actions; deplores moreover that Member States fight to preserve their national interests rather than foster the European dimension, and were unable to address the major issue of reforming the own resources system;

3.   Recalls that the conclusions of the European Council - referring sometimes to very specific rules within spending programmes - cannot overrule the powers vested in the European Parliament as one arm of the legislative and budgetary authority, and insists on playing its full parliamentary role in the definition of policies, their reform and their budget;

4.   Rejects the European Council's conclusions in their current form, because they do not guarantee an EU budget which will enhance prosperity, competitiveness, solidarity, cohesion and security in the future, in compliance with policies already decided by the Council itself; they fail to fulfil commitments made towards the new Member States and do not provide for a sufficient and detailed flexibility mechanism, a firm commitment to undertake the review with a clear role for the European Parliament or sufficient accompanying measures to ensure for example better implementation and control of expenditure of funds in Member States;

5.   Underlines the importance it attaches to a higher degree of flexibility;

6.   Reaffirms its position as expressed in its above-mentioned resolution of 8 June 2005 and instructs its Committee on Budgets to negotiate the Interinstitutional Agreement accordingly;

7.   Is willing to enter into constructive negotiations with the Council on the basis of respective positions provided the Austrian Presidency is entrusted with a real negotiating mandate; is determined to defend the quantitative, structural and qualitative elements of its negotiating position and to enhance the European dimension of agricultural, internal and external policies;

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

(1) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1. Agreement as last amended by Decision 2005/708/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 269, 14.10.2005, p. 24).
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0224 .
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0453 .


Equitable Life Committee of Inquiry
DOC 38k
European Parliament decision on setting up a Committee of Inquiry into the crisis of the Equitable Life Assurance Society
P6_TA(2006)0011 B6-0050/2006

The European Parliament ,

-   having regard to Article 193 of the EC Treaty,

-   having regard to Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of enquiry(1) ,

-   having regard to Rule 176 of its Rules of Procedure,

-   having regard to the request presented by 213 Members of the European Parliament,

-   having regard to the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 14 December 2005, agreeing in principle to establish a Committee of Inquiry into the allegations raised by petitions 0611/2004 by Arthur White (British) and 0029/2005 by Paul Braithwaite (British), on behalf of the Equitable Members' Action Group and by subsequent petitions on the same subject submitted by German and Irish petitioners, all of which related to the Equitable Life Assurance Society (Equitable Life),

1.   Decides to set up a Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions or maladministration in the application of Community law in relation to the crisis of Equitable Life, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of national or Community courts;

2.  Decides that the Committee of Inquiry shall:

   - investigate alleged contraventions or maladministration in the application of Directive 92/96/EEC(2) , now codified by Directive 2002/83/EC(3) , by the United Kingdom's competent authorities in relation to Equitable Life, notably as regards the regulatory regime and the monitoring of the financial health of insurance undertakings, including their state of solvency, the establishment of adequate technical provisions and the covering of those provisions by matching assets;
   - assess, in this respect, whether the Commission has properly fulfilled its duty to monitor the correct and timely transposition of Community law and identify whether systematic weaknesses contributed to the situation that has arisen;
   - assess allegations that the UK regulators consistently failed, over a number of years, and at least since 1989, to protect policy holders by exercising rigorous supervision of accounting and provisioning practices and the financial situation of Equitable Life;
   - assess the status of claims by non-UK European citizens and the adequacy of remedies available under UK and/or EU legislation for policy-holders from other Member States;
   - make any proposals that it deems necessary in this matter.

3.   Decides that the Committee of Inquiry shall present an interim report to Parliament within 4 months of starting its work, with a view to presenting its final report to Parliament within 12 months of the adoption of this decision;

4.   Decides that the Committee of Inquiry will be composed of 22 Members of the European Parliament.

(1) OJ L 113, 19.5.1995, p. 1.
(2) Council Directive 92/96/EEC of 10 November 1992 on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to direct life assurance and amending Directives 79/267/EEC and 90/619/EEC (third life assurance Directive) (OJ L 360, 9.12.1992, p. 1).
(3) Directive 2002/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2002 concerning life assurance (OJ L 345, 19.12.2002, p 1). Directive as last amended by Directive 2005/68/EC (OJ L 323, 9.12.2005, p. 1).


Temporary Committee on extraordinary rendition
DOC 36k
European Parliament decision setting up a temporary committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners
P6_TA(2006)0012 B6-0051/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union's attachment to the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and of the rule of law as outlined in the preamble to the Treaty on European Union and notably in Articles 6 and 7 of that Treaty,

–   bearing in mind that, according to the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the protection of fundamental rights is also part of the constitutional order of the Community,

–   bearing in mind that protecting human dignity is one of the key objectives of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as proclaimed by the institutions on 7 December 2000, and that this fundamental value would be violated were cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of persons to occur, for whatever reason, under the direct or indirect responsibility of EU Member States and institutions,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2005 on presumed use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners(1) , which, as regards the inquiry pending at the Council of Europe, envisages the need for a temporary committee of the European Parliament to be set up to accompany such an enquiry, particularly as Member States are implicated,

–   having regard to Rule 175 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the proposal of the Conference of Presidents defining the remit and the composition of the temporary committee on the alleged use of European Union territory, including acceding, candidate and associate countries, by the CIA or the intelligence services of other third countries for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners,

1.  Decides to set up a temporary committee with the following remit:

  a) to collect and analyse information to find out whether:
   - the CIA or other US agents or intelligence services of other third countries have carried out abductions, "extraordinary rendition", detention at secret sites, detention incommunicado or torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners on the territory of the European Union, including accession and candidate countries, or have used that territory to those ends, for example through flights;
   - such actions, allegedly carried out in the territory of the European Union in the framework of the fight against terrorism, could be considered a violation inter alia of Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, Articles 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the EU-US agreements on extradition and on mutual legal assistance and other international treaties and agreements concluded by the European Union/Community and its Member States, including the North Atlantic Treaty and its related agreements on the status of forces and the Convention on International Civil Aviation;
   - citizens of the European Union or the candidate countries, or any other person entitled to protection from, or otherwise under the jurisdiction of, the EU, the Member States or the candidate countries have been among those involved in or subjected to abductions, "extraordinary rendition" operations, detention at secret sites, detention incommunicado or torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the territory of the European Union or elsewhere;
   - Member States, public officials, persons acting in an official capacity or European Union institutions have been involved or complicit in illegal deprivation of liberty of individuals, including abduction, rendition, transfer, detention or torture, either by act or omission;
   b) to submit to the plenary any recommendation that the committee deems necessary in this matter, notably concerning the political, legal and administrative conclusions to be drawn at European level as well as possible consequences for EU relations with third countries;

2.   Decides that the temporary committee will liaise and cooperate as closely as possible with the Council of Europe and its Secretary-General, Parliamentary Assembly and Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as with national parliaments;

3.   Decides that the temporary committee shall present an interim report to Parliament within four months after it has started its work, with detailed proposals on how it will continue its work;

4.   Decides that the temporary committee shall be composed of 46 Members of the European Parliament.

(1) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2005)0529 .


Measures against persons suspected of involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri *
DOC 45k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council regulation imposing specific restrictive measures against certain persons suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (COM(2005)0614 - 15098/2005 – C6-0434/2005 – 2005/0234(CNS) )
P6_TA(2006)0013 A6-0003/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2005)0614 )(1) ,

–   having regard to the Council draft (15098/2005),

–   having regard to Council Common Position 2005/888/CFSP(2) ,

–   having regard to Article 60 and Article 301 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 308 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0434/2005 ),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0003/2006 ),

1.   Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.   Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty;

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

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

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendments by Parliament
Amendment 1
Citation 1 a (new)
Having regard to the Guidelines on implementation and evaluation of restrictive measures (sanctions) in the framework of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, adopted by the Council on 12 December 2005,
Amendment 2
Article 2, paragraphs 1 and 2
1.   All funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled by the natural or legal persons, entities or bodies listed in Annex I shall be frozen.
1.   All funds and economic resources belonging to, or owned or held by, the natural or legal persons, entities or bodies which appear on the list drawn up by the Commission pursuant to Article 8 shall be frozen.
2.   No funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of the natural or legal persons, entities or bodies listed in Annex I .
2.   No funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of the natural or legal persons, entities or bodies which appear on the list drawn up by the Commission pursuant to Article 8 .
Amendment 3
Article 8, paragraph 1
1.   The Commission shall be empowered to:
1.   The Commission, after consulting the European Parliament, shall be empowered to:
(a) amend Annex I on the basis of determinations made by the Sanctions Committee; and
(a) draw up and amend on the basis of determinations made by the Sanctions Committee a list of natural or legal persons, entities or bodies as referred to in Article 2 whose funds and economic resources should be frozen, and to correct the list if it is proven to contain an error ; and
(b) amend Annex II on the basis of information supplied by Member States.
(b) amend the Annex on the basis of information supplied by Member States.
The Commission shall supply prior information, in confidence, to the committee of the European Parliament responsible for civil liberties, justice and home affairs and that responsible for development concerning the drawing-up and amendment of the list referred to in point (a).
Amendment 4
Annex I
This Annex is deleted.

(1) Not yet published in OJ.
(2) OJ L 327, 14.12.2005, p. 26.


Management of waste from extractive industries ***III
DOC 39k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the management of waste from the extractive industries and amending Directive 2004/35/EC (PE-CONS 3665/2005 – C6-0405/20052003/0107(COD) )
P6_TA(2006)0014 A6-0001/2006

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3665/2005 – C6-0405/2005 ), to the relevant interinstitutional statement and to the joint declaration by Bulgaria and Romania on implementation of the Directive, to which that statement refers(1) ,

–   having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2003)0319 )(3) ,

–   having regard to its position at second reading(4) on the Council common position(5) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2005)0477 )(6) ,

–   having regard to Article 251(5) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 65 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0001/2006 ),

1.   Approves the joint text and confirms its statement on the joint declaration by Bulgaria and Romania;

2.   Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

3.   Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to have it published, together with the interinstitutional statement thereon, in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

Statement by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission

he European Parliament, the Council and the Commission welcome the Joint Declaration by Bulgaria and Romania on the implementation of the forthcoming Directive on the Management of Waste from Extractive Industries.

Joint Declaration by Bulgaria and Romania on the implementation of the forthcoming Directive on the Management of Waste from Extractive Industries

In view of the significance of the present Directive for environmental protection in Europe, Bulgaria and Romania, in their status of States acceding the European Union, consider it an important part of the acquis .

In this respect Bulgaria and Romania will transpose the directive into their national legislation by the date of transposition indicated in the text.

Bulgaria and Romania are committed to make all necessary efforts to implement the Directive within the deadlines provided for in the text. Both Bulgaria and Romania are already taking measures to ensure compliance of the existing installations falling into the scope of the European legislation in force, such as the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive, the IPPC Directive and the respective legislation concerning surface and groundwater protection.

With the present Joint Declaration Bulgaria and Romania state their strong political will to undertake all necessary measures to comply with the provisions of the Directive on the Management of Waste from Extractive Industries in the same way as the other Member States.

(1) Both the interinstitutional statement and the joint declaration are annexed to this resolution.
(2) OJ C 103 E, 29.4.2004, p. 634.
(3) Not yet published in OJ.
(4) Texts Adopted , 6.9.2005, P6_TA(2005)0319 .
(5) OJ C 172 E, 12.7.2005, p. 1.
(6) Not yet published in OJ.


Bathing water ***III
DOC 32k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC (PE-CONS 3659/2005 – C6-0373/20052002/0254(COD) )
P6_TA(2006)0015 A6-0415/2005

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3659/2005 – C6-0373/2005 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2002)0581 )(2) ,

–   having regard to the amended proposal (COM(2004)0245 )(3) ,

–   having regard to its position at second reading(4) on the Council common position(5) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2005)0277 )(6) ,

–   having regard to Article 251(5) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 65 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0415/2005 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

2.   Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

3.   Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to have it published in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ C 82 E, 1.4.2004, p. 115.
(2) OJ C 45 E, 25.2.2003, p. 127.
(3) Not yet published in OJ.
(4) Texts Adopted , 10.5.2005, P6_TA(2005)0165 .
(5) OJ C 111 E, 11.5.2005, p. 1.
(6) Not yet published in OJ.


Application of the Aarhus Convention to EC institutions and bodies ***II
DOC 89k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution on the Council common position for adopting a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies (6273/2/2005 – C6-0297/2005 – 2003/0242(COD) )
P6_TA(2006)0016 A6-0381/2005

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Council common position (6273/2/2005 – C6-0297/2005 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2003)0622 )(2) ,

–   having regard to Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 62 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0381/2005 ),

1.   Approves the common position as amended;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at second reading on 18 January 2006 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No .../2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies

P6_TC2-COD(2003)0242


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 175(1) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

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

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(4) ,

Whereas:

(1)   Community legislation in the field of the environment aims to contribute inter alia to preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, promoting sustainable development and protecting human health.

(2)   The Sixth Community Environment Action Programme(5) stresses the importance of providing adequate environmental information and effective opportunities for public participation in environmental decision-making, thereby increasing accountability and transparency of decision-making and contributing to public awareness and support for the decisions taken. It furthermore encourages, as did its predecessors(6) , more effective implementation and application of Community legislation on environmental protection, including the enforcement of Community rules and the taking of action against breaches of Community environmental legislation.

(3)   On 25 June 1998 the Community signed the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (hereinafter "the Aarhus Convention"). The Community approved the Aarhus Convention on 17 February 2005. Provisions of Community law should be consistent with that Convention.

(4)   The Community has already adopted a body of legislation, which is evolving and contributes to the achievement of the objectives of the Aarhus Convention. Provision should be made to apply the requirements of the Convention to Community institutions and bodies.

(5)   It is appropriate to deal with the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention, namely access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, in one piece of legislation and to lay down common provisions regarding objectives and definitions. This contributes to rationalising legislation and increasing the transparency of the implementation measures taken with regard to Community institutions and bodies.

(6)   As a general principle, the rights guaranteed by the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention are without discrimination as to citizenship, nationality or domicile.

(7)   The Aarhus Convention defines public authorities in a broad way, the basic concept being that wherever public authority is exercised, there should be rights for individuals and their organisations. It is therefore necessary that the Community institutions and bodies covered by this Regulation be defined in the same broad and functional way. Under the Aarhus Convention, Community institutions and bodies can be excluded from the scope of application of the Convention when acting in a judicial or legislative capacity. However, for reasons of consistency with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents(7) , the provisions on access to environmental information should apply to Community institutions and bodies acting in a legislative capacity.

(8)   The definition of environmental information in this Regulation encompasses information in any form on the state of the environment. This definition has been aligned to the definition adopted for Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information(8) and includes the state of progress of proceedings for infringement of Community law. The definition of "document" in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 encompasses environmental information as defined in this Regulation.

(9)   It is appropriate for this Regulation to provide for a definition of "plans and programmes" taking into account the provisions of the Aarhus Convention, in parallel with the approach followed in relation to the Member States' obligations under existing EC law. "Plans and programmes relating to the environment" should be defined in relation to their contribution to the achievement, or to their likely significant effect on the achievement, of the objectives and priorities of Community environmental policy. For the 10-year period starting from 22 July 2002, the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme establishes the objectives of Community environmental policy and the actions planned to attain these objectives. At the end of this period, a subsequent environmental action programme should be adopted.

(10)   In view of the fact that environmental law is constantly evolving, the definition of environmental law should refer to the objectives of Community policy on the environment as set out in the Treaty.

(11)   Administrative acts of individual scope should be open to possible internal review where they have legally binding and external effects. Similarly, omissions should be covered where there is an obligation to adopt an administrative act under environmental law. Given that acts adopted by a Community institution or body acting in a judicial or legislative capacity can be excluded, the same should apply to other inquiry procedures where the Community institution or body acts as an administrative review body under provisions of the Treaty.

(12)   The Aarhus Convention calls for public access to environmental information either following a request or by active dissemination by the authorities covered by the Convention. Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 applies to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, as well as to agencies and similar bodies set up by a Community legal act. It provides rules for these institutions that comply to a great extent with the rules laid down in the Aarhus Convention. It is necessary to extend the application of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 to all other Community institutions and bodies.

(13)   Where the Aarhus Convention contains provisions that are not, in whole or in part, to be found also in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, it is necessary to address those, in particular with regard to the collection and dissemination of environmental information.

(14)   For the right of public access to environmental information to be effective, environmental information of good quality is essential. It is therefore appropriate to introduce rules that oblige Community institutions and bodies to ensure such quality.

(15)    Regarding exceptions to the rules on access to environmental information, the relevant provisions of Directive 2003/4/EC should apply also to Community institutions and bodies. The grounds for refusal as regards access to environmental information should be interpreted in a restrictive way, taking into account the public interest served by disclosure and whether the information requested relates to emissions in the environment .

(16)   Under Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 24 September 1998 setting up a network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the Community(9) , a network at Community level has already been set up to promote cooperation and coordination between the Member States, with the assistance of the Commission, with a view to improving the prevention and control in the Community of a number of communicable diseases. Decision No 1786/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002(10) adopts a programme of Community action in the field of public health that complements national policies. Improving information and knowledge for the development of public health and enhancing the capability to respond rapidly and in a coordinated fashion to threats to health, both of which are elements of this programme, are objectives that are equally fully in line with the requirements of the Aarhus Convention. This Regulation should therefore apply without prejudice to Decision No 2119/98/EC and Decision No 1786/2002/EC.

(17)   The Aarhus Convention requires Parties to make provisions for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment. Such provisions are to include reasonable timeframes for informing the public of the environmental decision-making in question. To be effective, public participation is to take place at an early stage, when all options are open. When laying down provisions on public participation, Community institutions and bodies should identify the public which may participate.

(18)   Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention provides for access to judicial or other review procedures for challenging acts and omissions by private persons and public authorities which contravene provisions of law relating to the environment. Provisions on access to justice should be consistent with the Treaty. It is appropriate in this context that this Regulation address only acts and omissions by public authorities.

(19)   To ensure adequate and effective remedies, including those available before the Court of Justice of the European Communities under the relevant provisions of the Treaty, it is appropriate that the Community institution or body which issued the act to be challenged or which, in the case of an alleged administrative omission, omitted to act, be given the opportunity to reconsider its former decision, or, in the case of an omission, to act.

(20)   Non-governmental organisations active in the field of environmental protection which meet certain criteria, in particular in order to ensure that they are independent, law-abiding organisations whose primary objective is to promote environmental protection, should be entitled to request internal review at Community level of acts adopted or of omissions under environmental law by a Community institution or body, with a view to their reconsideration by the institution or body in question.

(21)   Where previous requests for internal review have been unsuccessful, the non-governmental organisation concerned should be able to institute proceedings before the Court of Justice in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty.

(22)   This Regulation respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised by Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union and reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 37 thereof,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

TITLE I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Objective

1.  The objective of this Regulation is to contribute to the implementation of the obligations arising under the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental matters, hereinafter referred to as "the Aarhus Convention", by laying down rules to apply the provisions of the Convention to Community institutions and bodies, in particular by:

   a) guaranteeing the right of public access to environmental information received or produced by Community institutions or bodies and held by them, and by setting out the basic terms and conditions of, and practical arrangements for, the exercise of that right;
   b) ensuring that environmental information is progressively made available and disseminated to the public in order to achieve its widest possible systematic availability and dissemination. To that end, the use, in particular, of computer telecommunication and/or electronic technology, where available, shall be promoted;
   c) providing for public participation concerning plans, programmes and policies relating to the environment;
   d) granting access to justice in environmental matters at Community level under the conditions laid down by this Regulation.

2.   In applying the provisions of this Regulation, the Community institutions and bodies shall endeavour to assist and provide guidance to the public with regard to access to information, participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

Article 2

Definitions

1.  For the purpose of this Regulation:

   (a) "Applicant" means any natural or legal person requesting environmental information;
   (b) "The public" means one or more natural or legal persons, and associations, organisations or groups of such persons;
   (c) "Community institution or body" means any public institution, body, office or agency established by, or on the basis of, the Treaty except when acting in a judicial or legislative capacity. However, the provisions under Title II shall apply to Community institutions or bodies acting in a legislative capacity;
  (d) "Environmental information" means any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on:
   i) the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements;
   ii) factors, such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment referred to in point (i);
   iii) measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in points (i) and (ii) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;
   iv) reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;
   v) the state of progress of proceedings for infringement of Community law;
   vi) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in point (iii); and
   vii) the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures in as much as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in point (i) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in points (ii) and (iii);
   (e) "Plans and programmes relating to the environment" means plans and programmes,
   i) which are subject to preparation, funding and, as appropriate, adoption by a Community institution or body;
   ii) which are required under legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions; and
   iii) which contribute to, or are likely to have significant effects on, the achievement of the objectives of Community environmental policy, such as laid down in the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme, or in any subsequent general environmental action programme.

General environmental action programmes shall also be considered as plans and programmes relating to the environment.

This definition shall not include financial or budget plans and programmes, namely those laying down how particular projects or activities should be financed or those related to the proposed annual budgets, internal work programmes of a Community institution or body, or emergency plans and programmes designed for the sole purpose of civil protection;

   (f) "Environmental law" means Community legislation which, irrespective of its legal basis, contributes to the pursuit of the objectives of Community policy on the environment as set out in the Treaty: preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, protecting human health, the prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources, and promoting measures at international level to deal with local, regional or worldwide environmental problems;
   (g) "Administrative act" means any measure of individual scope under environmental law, taken by a Community institution or body, and having legally binding and external effects;
   (h) "Administrative omission" means any failure of a Community institution or body to adopt an administrative act as defined in (g).

2.  Administrative acts and administrative omissions shall not include measures taken or omissions by a Community institution or body in its capacity as an administrative review body, such as under:

   (a) Articles 81, 82, 86 and 87 of the Treaty (competition rules);
   (b) Articles 226 and 228 of the Treaty (infringement proceedings);
   (c) Article 195 of the Treaty (Ombudsman proceedings);
   (d) Article 280 of the Treaty (OLAF proceedings).

TITLE II

ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

Article 3

Application of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001

Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 shall apply to any request by an applicant for access to environmental information held by Community institutions and bodies without discrimination as to citizenship, nationality or domicile and, in the case of a legal person, without discrimination as to where it has its registered seat or an effective centre of its activities.

For the purposes of this Regulation, the word "institution" in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 shall be read as "Community institution or body".

Article 4

Collection and dissemination of environmental information

1.   Community institutions and bodies shall organise the environmental information which is relevant to their functions and which is held by them, with a view to its active and systematic dissemination to the public, in particular by means of computer telecommunication and/or electronic technology in accordance with Articles 11(1) and (2) and 12 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. They shall make this environmental information progressively available in electronic databases that are easily accessible to the public through public telecommunication networks. To that end, they shall place the environmental information that they hold on databases and equip these with search aids and other forms of software designed to assist the public in locating the information they require.

The information made available by means of computer telecommunication and/or electronic technology need not include information collected before the entry into force of this Regulation unless it is already available in electronic form. Where this is not the case, it shall be clearly stated where that information can be found and how it can be obtained.

Community institutions and bodies shall make all reasonable efforts to maintain environmental information held by them in forms or formats that are readily reproducible and accessible by computer telecommunications or by other electronic means.

2.  The environmental information to be made available and disseminated shall be updated as appropriate. In addition to the documents listed in Articles 12(2) and (3) and 13 (1) and (2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, the databases or registers shall include the following:

   a) texts of international treaties, conventions or agreements, and of Community legislation on the environment or relating to it, and of policies, plans and programmes relating to the environment;
   b) progress reports on the implementation of the items referred to under (a) where prepared or held in electronic form by Community institutions or bodies;
   c) the state of progress of proceedings for infringement of Community law;
   d) reports on the state of the environment as referred to in paragraph 4;
   e) data or summaries of data derived from the monitoring of activities affecting, or likely to affect, the environment;
   f) authorisations with a significant impact on the environment, and environmental agreements, or a reference to the place where such information can be requested or accessed;
   g) environmental impact studies and risk assessments concerning environmental elements, or a reference to the place where such information can be requested or accessed.

3.   In appropriate cases, Community institutions and bodies may satisfy the requirements of paragraphs 1 and 2 by creating links to Internet sites where the information can be found.

4.   The Commission shall ensure that, at regular intervals not exceeding four years, a report on the state of the environment, including information on the quality of, and pressures on, the environment is published and disseminated.

Article 5

Quality of the environmental information

1.   Community institutions and bodies shall, insofar as is within their power, ensure that any information that is compiled by them or on their behalf is up-to-date, accurate and comparable.

2.   Community institutions and bodies shall, upon request, inform the applicant of the place where information on the measurement procedures, including methods of analysis, sampling and pre-treatment of samples, used in compiling the information can be found, if it is available. Alternatively, they may refer them to the standardised procedure that was used.

Article 6

Application of exceptions concerning requests for access to environmental information

1.   Community institutions and bodies may deny access to environmental information or decide not to disseminate environmental information only by virtue of one of the exceptions provided for in Article 4 of Directive 2003/4/EC or by virtue of paragraph 2 of this Article .

2.   In addition to the exceptions set out in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, Community institutions and bodies may refuse access to environmental information where disclosure of the information would adversely affect the protection of the environment to which the information relates, such as the breeding sites of rare species .

Article 7

Requests for access to environmental information which is not held by a Community institution or body

Where a Community institution or body receives a request for access to environmental information and where this information is not held by that Community institution or body, it shall, as promptly as possible, but at the latest within 15 working days, inform the applicant of the Community institution or body or the public authority within the meaning of Directive 2003/4/EC to which it believes it is possible to apply for the information requested or transfer the request to the relevant Community institution or body or the public authority and inform the applicant accordingly.

Article 8

Charges

Community institutions and bodies not covered by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 may, where Article 10 of that Regulation is not applicable, make a reasonable charge for supplying information. They shall publicise and make available to applicants a schedule of charges which may be levied, indicating the circumstances in which they may be levied or waived and when the supply of information is conditional on the advance payment of such a charge.

Article 9

Cooperation

In the event of an imminent threat to human health and life or to the environment, whether caused by human activities or due to natural causes, Community institutions and bodies shall, upon request of public authorities within the meaning of Directive 2003/4/EC, collaborate with and assist those public authorities in order to enable the latter to disseminate immediately and without delay to the public that might be affected all environmental information which could enable it to take measures to prevent or minimise harm arising from the threat, to the extent that this information is held by or on behalf of Community institutions and bodies and/or those public authorities.

The first subparagraph shall apply without prejudice to any specific obligation laid down by Community legislation, in particular by Decision No 2119/98/EC and by Decision No 1786/2002/EC.

TITLE III

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CONCERNING PLANS, PROGRAMMES AND POLICIES RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Article 10

1.   When preparing, modifying or reviewing a plan, programme or policy relating to the environment, Community institutions and bodies shall inform members of the public thereof, whether by public notice or by other appropriate means such as electronic media. That information shall include, where available, the draft proposal and the environmental information or assessment relevant to the plan, programme or policy which is being prepared, modified or reviewed.

2.   The Community institution or body preparing, modifying or reviewing the plan, programme or policy relating to the environment shall inform members of the public about the practical arrangements for participation and, in particular, of the administrative entity of the Community institution or body from which the relevant information may be obtained and to which comments or questions may be submitted and of the timetable for transmission of comments .

3.   Community institutions and bodies shall provide for practical arrangements to enable members of the public to submit comments and opinions at an early stage before any decisions on the plan, programme or policy are made. Depending on the nature of the plan, programme or policy, members of the public shall be given the possibility to comment at the various stages of its preparation, modification or review.

Such practical arrangements shall include reasonable time-frames for the various stages, so that members of the public have sufficient time to be informed and to prepare and participate effectively in the environmental decision-making process. As a rule, where consultations on a plan, programme or policy relating to the environment are conducted in writing, there shall be a time-limit of eight weeks for receiving comments. Where meetings or hearings are organised, prior notice of at least eight weeks shall be given. Time limits may be shortened in urgent cases or where the public has already had the opportunity to comment on the plan, programme or policy in question.

Article 11

Results of public participation

In taking a decision on the plan, programme or policy relating to the environment, Community institutions and bodies shall take due account of the results of the public participation process.

Community institutions and bodies shall inform the public about that plan, programme or policy, including its text, and of the reasons and considerations upon which the decision is based, including information about the public participation process.

TITLE IV

INTERNAL REVIEW AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE

Article 12

Request for internal review of administrative acts

1.   Any non-governmental organisation which meets the criteria set out in Article 13 is entitled to make a request for internal review to the Community institution or body that has adopted an administrative act under environmental law or, in the case of an alleged administrative omission, should have adopted such an act.

Such a request must be made in writing and within a time limit not exceeding eight weeks after the administrative act was adopted, notified or published, whichever is the latest, or, in the case of an alleged omission, eight weeks after the date when the administrative act was required. The request shall state the grounds for the review.

2.   The Community institution or body referred to in paragraph 1 shall consider any such request, unless it is clearly unsubstantiated. The Community institution or body shall state its reasons in a written reply as soon as possible, but no later than twelve weeks after receipt of the request.

3.   Where the Community institution or body is unable, despite exercising due diligence, to act in accordance with paragraph 2, it shall inform the non-governmental organisation which made the request as soon as possible and at the latest within the period mentioned in that paragraph, of the reasons for its failure to act and when it intends to do so.

In any event, the Community institution or body shall act within eighteen weeks from receipt of the request.

Article 13

Criteria for entitlement at Community level

1.  A non-governmental organisation shall be entitled to make a request for internal review in accordance with Article 12 , provided that:

   a) it is an independent, law-abiding, non-profit-making legal person in accordance with a Member State's national law or practice;
   b) it has the primary stated objective of promoting environmental protection in the context of environmental law and/or of promoting sustainable development ;
   c) it has existed for more than two years and is actively pursuing the objective referred to under (b);
   d) the subject matter in respect of which the request for internal review is made is covered by its objective and activities.

2.   The Commission shall adopt the provisions which are necessary to ensure transparent and consistent application of the criteria mentioned in paragraph 1.

Article 14

Proceedings before the Court of Justice

1.   The non-governmental organisation which made the request for internal review pursuant to Article 12 may institute proceedings before the Court of Justice in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty.

2.   Where the Community institution or body fails to act in accordance with Article 12 (2) or (3) the non-governmental organisation may institute proceedings before the Court of Justice in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty.

TITLE V

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 15

Application measures

Where necessary, Community institutions and bodies shall adapt their rules of procedure to the provisions of this Regulation. These adaptations shall take effect from ...(11) .

Article 16

Entry into force

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

It shall apply from ...(12) .

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 103 E, 29.4.2004, p. 612.
(2) Not yet published in OJ.
(3) OJ C 117, 30.4.2004, p. 52.
(4) Position of the European Parliament of 31 March 2004 (OJ C 103 E, 29.4.2004, p. 612 ), Council Common Position of 18 July 2005 (OJ C 264 E, 25.10.2005, p. 18 ) and Position of the European Parliament of 18 January 2006 .
(5) Decision No 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2002 laying down the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme (OJ L 242, 10.9.2002, p. 1).
(6) Fourth Community Action Programme for the Environment (OJ C 328, 7.12.1987, p. 1), Fifth Community Action Programme for the Environment (OJ C 138, 17.5.1993, p. 1).
(7) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(8) OJ L 41, 14.2.2003, p. 26.
(9) OJ L 268, 3.10.1998, p. 1. Decision as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 (OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, p. 1).
(10) OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, p. 1. Decision as amended by Decision No 786/2004/EC (OJ L 138, 30.4.2004, p. 7).
(11)* The date of entry into force of this Regulation.
(12)* Three months after the date of entry into force of this Regulation.


Afghanistan
DOC 44k
European Parliament resolution on Afghanistan
P6_TA(2006)0017 B6-0026 , 0030 , 0042 and 0048/2006

The European Parliament ,

-   having regard to its previous resolutions on Afghanistan,

-   having regard to the new Parliament inaugurated in Afghanistan on 19 December 2005, following elections held on 18 September 2005,

-   having regard to the de facto conclusion, with the election of a National Assembly, of the process launched by the Bonn Agreement of 5 December 2001,

-   having regard to the election of Provincial Councils in all 34 provinces across the country,

-   having regard to the EU-Afghanistan Joint Declaration "Committing to a new EU-Afghan Partnership" signed in Strasbourg on 16 November 2005,

-   having regard to the opening of the international conference in London on 31 January 2006 aimed at establishing a post-Bonn Afghanistan Compact that will address the international community's support with regard to security, governance and development challenges in Afghanistan,

-   having regard to Rule 103(4) of the Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the adoption of a new Constitution in January 2004, the holding of presidential elections in October 2004 and of parliamentary and provincial elections in September 2005 – with the participation of millions of registered voters in both cases – were all important steps in a transition process designed to put in place more representative and democratic institutions in Afghanistan, thereby helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable future for Afghanistan after a quarter of a century of conflict and oppression,

B.   whereas ensuring adequate levels of security is still a priority in Afghanistan, mainly in the southern and south-eastern provinces, which still require an international presence in order to fight terrorism and to restore peaceful conditions throughout the country,

C.   whereas gender discrimination, which reached unprecedented levels under the Taliban regime, remains an issue to be addressed urgently, including in relation to traditions such as house confinement and forced marriages,

D.   whereas the pervasive opium and heroin production in Afghanistan carries the risk of permanently affecting the nation's politics, crippling its society and distorting a fragile economy while consolidating a corrupt narco-elite,

1.   Expresses its sympathy to the Afghan people who, throughout the Bonn process and in particular on the occasion of both polls, demonstrated an extraordinary will in overcoming the difficulties posed by a post-conflict situation and showed that they were committed to peace and democracy-building;

2.   Welcomes the success of the recent elections which, taking into account their complexity and operational challenges as reported also by the European Union Election Observation Mission, were an extraordinary accomplishment; deplores, however, the fact that eight candidates were killed during the electoral process along with a number of election workers, clerics and others, and that the EU Election Observation Mission reported irregularities and fraud in a number of provinces;

3.   Welcomes the fact that female candidates accounted for some 10% of the total number of candidates and that thanks to the female reserve seat system women obtained 27.3% of the seats in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) and almost 30% in the Provincial Councils; believes that the electoral law should be clarified to ensure that reserve seats represent a minimum and not a maximum number of the seats available for women;

4.   Believes that, following these elections, the Afghan authorities as a whole – but namely the Office of the President, the Government, the National Assembly and the Provincial Councils – emerge with full popular legitimacy and that the Afghan people's expectations must now be met by good and accountable governance, starting with the adoption of sustainable reforms aimed at improving people's quality of life as well as of credible measures favouring gender and ethnic equality;

5.   Considers that Afghanistan, having completed this process, is now an important country in the region as a whole in terms of democratisation, and therefore calls on the international aid community, and in particular on the participants in the London Conference, to duly take this factor into consideration;

6.   Underlines, given the urgent needs of the Afghan population, the importance of streamlining coordination amongst donors, including a reduction of time-consuming procedures; calls, therefore, on the United Nations to lead such coordination and calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that Member States work together with a common approach so as to better serve the interests of Afghan people;

7.   Considers that in our future partnership with Afghanistan a stronger emphasis must be placed on the concept of Afghan 'ownership' and on giving greater responsibility to the Afghan authorities and civil society for making strategic choices for the development of their country, and that the EU should link aid more explicitly to performance, in particular to good governance, respect for human rights and sound financial management of projects;

8.   Insists on greater visibility of EU funding, given that the EU is the second biggest donor in Afghanistan, and demands that international organisations which administer projects co-funded by the EU be more transparent as regards the sources of their funds; is of the opinion that the Parliament should make a direct and concrete contribution by providing training opportunities for parliamentary officials and parliamentarians;

9.  Agrees with the need to define a 'post-Bonn process' and supports the holding of a donors' conference to be hosted by the UN in London in January 2006 in order to assess the political and financial support needed for the interim 'Afghanistan National Development Strategy' that the Afghan government will submit; considers that this strategy should emphasise sustainability and specific targets, such as:

   - respect for human rights, and in particular women's rights, and the rule of law;
   - governance and institution-building, and in particular a functioning administration, an independent judiciary able to act against widespread corruption and a well-trained police force, given that the stability of Afghanistan is nowadays threatened more from the inside than from the outside;
   - the creation of a system of checks and balances to define the roles and powers of each institution and the promotion of political pluralism;

10.   Affirms the need to deal with Afghanistan within a regional framework; calls, therefore, on the Council and the Commission to develop a policy for stability and democracy in the region;

11.   Welcomes, in this regard, the fact that Afghanistan has recently joined the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and, within such a regional framework, urges all neighbouring countries to refrain from any interference in Afghan sovereignty;

12.   Considers it appropriate to establish, within the European Parliament, a delegation for relations with the Afghan Parliament in order to be able to have a positive influence on the democratisation process in Afghanistan;

13.   Calls on the Commission, in order to aid and step up cooperation with Afghanistan, to study the advisability of concluding an EU-Afghanistan Association Agreement;

14.   Condemns all terrorist acts against the civilian population, the police forces, domestic aid workers and international troops, and congratulates the Afghan people, in particular Afghan women, who defied intimidation and threats in order to participate in the electoral process, either as candidates, electoral staff, local observers or voters;

15.   Reaffirms the need for the Afghan authorities, in cooperation with international troops operating in the country, to continue to fight terrorism and to put an end to factionalism;

16.   Welcomes the possible expansion of the International Security Assistance Force in the country, including to the southern provinces, and supports a single – or more integrated – command structure for all operations by international forces in Afghanistan; calls for a solution to the problem of the so-called caveats which impede proper cooperation among the different national contingents in the country;

17.   Condemns the transfer of hundreds of men captured by US troops after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 to the illegal Guantánamo detention centre, where torture and other ill-treatment by US personnel have, according to numerous testimonies, been commonplace occurrences, and calls for its immediate closure;

18.   Expresses its belief that popular support is essential for a successful outcome in the fight against terrorism; calls, therefore, on NATO and on Coalition forces to review rules of engagement and all measures that might improve both security standards and the level of protection of the civilian population affected by military action in combat areas, and to fully respect the Geneva Convention; calls on the USA to close any secret 'dark' prison in the country;

19.   Expresses deep concern about illegal drug production – as highlighted by the recent Afghan Opium Survey 2005 carried out by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and in particular the latest statistics on domestic heroin consumption – which could lead to an HIV/AIDS emergency in the region;

20.   Draws attention to the extremely high costs and serious flaws in terms of effectiveness of a counter-narcotics strategy based only on eradication and alternative livelihood and calls on the participants in the above mentioned London Conference to take into consideration the proposal of licensed production of opium for medical purposes, as already granted to a number of countries;

21.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Chair of the London Conference, the government and Parliament of Afghanistan, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and of SAARC, and the governments of the USA, all SAARC countries, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and China.


Homophobia in Europe
DOC 43k
European Parliament resolution on homophobia in Europe
P6_TA(2006)0018 B6-0025 , 0039 , 0040 and 0043/2006

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to international and European human rights obligations, such as those contained in the UN conventions on human rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–   having regard to provisions of EU law on human rights, notably to the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union(1) , as well as to Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which invests the Community with the power to adopt measures to combat discrimination based, inter alia, on sexual orientation, and to promote the principle of equality,

–   having regard to Council Directives 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(2) and 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(3) , which prohibit direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation,

–   having regard to paragraph 1 of Article 21 of the Charter of fundamental rights, which prohibits '[a]ny discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation',

–   having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice and similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and sexism,

B.   whereas homophobia manifests itself in the private and public spheres in different forms, such as hate speech and incitement to discrimination, ridicule and verbal, psychological and physical violence, persecution and murder, discrimination in violation of the principle of equality and unjustified and unreasonable limitations of rights, which are often hidden behind justifications based on public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection,

C.   whereas a series of worrying events has recently taken place in a number of Member States, as widely reported by the press and NGOs, ranging from banning gay pride or equality marches to the use by leading politicians and religious leaders of inflammatory or threatening language or hate speech, failure by police to provide adequate protection or even breaking up peaceful demonstrations, violent demonstrations by homophobic groups, and the introduction of changes to constitutions explicitly to prohibit same-sex unions,

D.   whereas at the same time a positive, democratic and tolerant reaction has been shown in some cases by the general public, civil society and local and regional authorities that have demonstrated against homophobia, as well as by the redressing by judicial systems of the most striking and illegal forms of discrimination,

E.   whereas same-sex partners in some Member States do not enjoy all of the rights and protections enjoyed by married opposite sex partners and consequently suffer discrimination and disadvantage,

F.   whereas at the same time more countries in Europe are moving towards ensuring equal opportunities, inclusion and respect, and provide protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, and recognition of same-sex families;

G.   whereas the Commission has declared its commitment to ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU, and has set up a group of Commissioners responsible for human rights,

H.   whereas not all Member States have introduced in their legal systems measures to protect the rights of LGBT people, as required by Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC, and not all Member States are fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation nor promoting equality,

I.   whereas further action is needed at EU and national levels to eradicate homophobia and promote a culture of freedom, tolerance and equality among citizens and in legal systems,

1.   Strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;

2.   Calls on Member States to ensure that LGBT people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society;

3.   Urges Member States and the Commission firmly to condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence, and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – guaranteed by all human rights treaties - is respected in practice;

4.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all sectors is prohibited by completing the anti-discrimination package based on Article 13 of the Treaty either by proposing new directives or by proposing a general framework covering all grounds of discrimination and all sectors;

5.   Urges Member States and the Commission to step up the fight against homophobia through education, such as campaigns against homophobia in schools, in universities and in the media, as well as through administrative, judicial and legislative means;

6.   Reiterates its position in relation to the proposal for a decision on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All that the Commission must ensure that all forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty and in Article 2 of the proposal are addressed and dealt with equally, as stated in the Parliament's position of 13 December 2005 on the proposal(4) , and reminds the Commission of its promise to monitor closely this matter and to report to Parliament;

7.   Urges the Commission to ensure that all Member States have transposed and are correctly implementing Directive 2000/78/EC and to start infringement proceedings against those Member States that fail to do so; in addition, calls on the Commission to ensure that the annual report on the protection of fundamental rights in the EU includes full and comprehensive information on the incidence of homophobic hate crimes and violence in Member States;

8.   Urges the Commission to come up with a proposal for a directive on protection against discrimination on the basis of all the grounds mentioned in Article 13 of the Treaty, having the same scope as Directive 2000/43/EC;

9.   Urges the Commission to consider the use of criminal penalties in cases of violation of directives based on Article 13 of the Treaty;

10.   Calls on all Member States to take any other action they deem appropriate in the fight against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and to promote and implement the principle of equality in their societies and legal systems;

11.   Urges Member States to enact legislation to end discrimination faced by same-sex partners in the areas of inheritance, property arrangements, tenancies, pensions, tax, social security etc.;

12.   Welcomes recent steps taken in several Member States to improve the position of LGBT people and resolves to organise a seminar for the exchange of good practice on 17 May 2006 (International Day against Homophobia);

13.   Reiterates its request that the Commission put forward proposals guaranteeing freedom of movement for Union citizens and their family members and registered partners of either gender, as referred to in Parliament's recommendation of 14 October 2004 on the future of the area of freedom, security and justice(5) ;

14.   Calls on the Member States concerned finally to accord full recognition to homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime;

15.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, to the governments of the Member States and to the accession and candidate countries.

(1) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(3) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(4) Texts adopted , P6_TA(2005)0489 .
(5) OJ C 166 E, 7.7.2005, p. 58.


Climate change
DOC 46k
European Parliament resolution on climate change
P6_TA(2006)0019 B6-0027/2006

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the parallel first meeting of Parties to its Kyoto Protocol, both held in Montreal in December 2005,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions and, in particular, those of 12 May 2005 on the Seminar of Government Experts on Climate Change(1) and of 16 November 2005 on "Winning the battle against global climate change"(2) ,

–   having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

1.   Welcomes the overall outcome of the Conference, especially the opening up of the dialogue on a future climate change regime, not only in the context of the Kyoto Protocol but also within that of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; also welcomes the good technical progress that was made on the implementing rules for the existing climate change regime;

2.   Congratulates the Canadian presidency for the energy and vigour with which it prepared the conference and then steered it through to a successful conclusion;

3.   Welcomes the willingness at Montreal of Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to accept a second commitment period after 2012, but stresses the fact that these countries alone do not solve the problem and realises that more countries need to be involved in the fight to curb total emissions globally ;

4.   Welcomes the active engagement of the European Union in helping to promote international agreement at Montreal, but considers that it should not become complacent about its role and urges it to maintain a high level of ambition in future discussions with its international partners;

5.   Regrets the fact that the US Administration is still so reluctant to enter into any meaningful international partnership on climate change, but notes that, at least, it did not stand in the way of agreement at Montreal; welcomes also the greater emphasis now being placed on fighting climate change by many key actors in American society, including Members of Congress from both Houses and both parties, state legislators, mayors, NGOs and many in the business community;

6.   Welcomes the fact that rapidly industrialising developing countries appear to be becoming more deeply committed to a climate change dialogue and to exploring innovative ways of fighting and adapting to climate change;

7.   Notes with approval the adoption of a series of important implementing measures aimed at ensuring that the potential of the Kyoto Protocol is properly harnessed and, in particular:

   i) the final adoption of the Marrakesh Accords and the Kyoto Rule Book;
   ii) the agreement on a proper compliance regime for the Kyoto Protocol;
   iii) the strengthening of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), so that it is better funded, less bureaucratic and generally more operational;
   iv) the relaunching of Joint Implementation, so that it too can play a stronger role in the future;
   v) the adoption of a 5-year programme on adaptation to the effects of climate change, as these will be vital complementary measures to those aimed at mitigation;

8.   Welcomes the recognition at Montreal not only that there needs to be a new commitment period for Annex I countries to the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, but that there should be no gap between the first and second commitment periods; believes that this should convey a sense of urgency for the new talks, since they must be concluded in sufficient time to complete the ratification process; recalls its request in this context, in its abovementioned resolution of 16 November 2005, that there should be a time limit – the end of 2008 – for reaching agreement on future climate commitments;

9.   Notes that the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have to submit their initial comments by 15 March 2006 and that the first meeting of the relevant working group is to be held in May 2006;

10.   Welcomes also the initiation in the wider Convention context of dialogue aimed at the development of effective and appropriate national and international responses to climate change, in which all countries can participate; notes, further, that this will be organised in the form of workshops, that Parties are asked to submit their initial views by 15 April 2006, and that there is to be a report on the issues raised at the two forthcoming Conferences of the Parties (COP 12 and COP 13);

11.   Calls for an intensive dialogue between the Parliament, Commission and Council in the run-up to all the above deadlines;

12.   Insists that the EU put forward an ambitious agenda for both sets of talks, in the Kyoto Protocol and Convention contexts;

13.   Recalls two key strategic objectives that were set out in its abovementioned resolution of 16 November 2005:

   i) limiting the average global temperature increase to 2° C above pre-industrialisation levels;
   ii) undertaking strong emission reductions for developed countries of 30% by 2020 and of 60-80% by 2050;

14.   Calls for intensive review of the advantages and disadvantages of innovative approaches to complement new mandatory reductions for Annex I industrialised countries, such as the concept of contraction and convergence, and the proposed "sectoral pledge approach", whereby key developing countries would take on voluntary greenhouse-gas-intensity targets for major industrial sectors and would receive market and technology incentives to exceed these targets;

15.   Recalls its support for the continuing use of flexible mechanisms, and for the long-term goal of a global carbon market based on cap and trade;

16.   Believes that one of the most important ways of combating climate change is by means of technology development, notes that the EU is to step up its technology cooperation with other countries and calls, therefore, for a detailed exploration of the possibilities being opened up by new technologies, such as renewable energy technologies and carbon capture and storage; reiterates that environmental technologies can give the EU a competitive edge while greatly contributing to emission reduction; notes that environmental technologies are therefore at the heart of a sustainable development strategy compatible with the EU's Kyoto commitments and the Lisbon Strategy and takes the view that research in this field should be boosted and clear environmental performance targets should be adopted in order to encourage the use of the best available technologies;

17.   Considers that Annex I industrialised countries must continue to play a vital role in tackling climate change at world level; calls on Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, in this context, to meet their existing commitments and to take on ambitious targets for a second commitment period after 2012; calls, moreover, on those industrialised countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol to reconsider their position, to take vigorous domestic measures, and to play an active role in future international negotiations, with a view to their participation in the future climate change regime;

18.   Emphasises the key importance of engaging the rapidly industrialising developing countries in a future international climate change regime, while fully respecting their vital concerns about promoting their economic development and fighting poverty; notes their reluctance to take on binding emission reduction targets at this stage, but hopes that this will ultimately be possible, and considers that adoption of voluntary sectoral targets might be a useful first step; stresses that poverty and poor environmental performance go hand in hand and calls therefore on the EU and its Member States to adopt an ambitious policy of technology partnerships and transfers with developing countries, allowing them to develop their economy and increase their welfare on a more sustainable and climate-friendly basis;

19.   Insists that individual EU countries, and the EU as a whole, live up to their existing commitments, since the EU's leading position in international talks will be undermined if this cannot be achieved; undertakes, in this context, to initiate more systematic monitoring of internal EU action on climate change and the extent to which existing measures are working;

20.   Emphasises the fundamental importance of an integrated EU approach to climate change policy, with sectoral policies on energy conservation and renewable energies, transport, agriculture, industry, research and development etc., complementing rather than contradicting each other; stresses in particular the need for close monitoring of these policies as regards their effects on climate change, and for measures to reduce these effects to the level committed to by the EU in the Kyoto Protocol; recalls its various specific proposals to this effect in its abovementioned resolution of 16 November 2005;

21.   Stresses that energy policy is a crucial element of our global strategy on climate change: diversification of our energy resources and a switch to alternative, more sustainable and environmentally friendly types of energy possess great potential for emission reduction; notes, furthermore, that diversification will make the EU less dependent on external sources and less vulnerable to energy supply crises;

22.  Calls for a close examination of:

   i) the total allocation for 2008-2012 in the European Emissions Trading Scheme in conjunction with policies and measures in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors, in order to ensure the attainment of Kyoto Protocol commitments;
   ii) the functioning of the European Emissions Trading Scheme, how it might be further improved in its forthcoming review (for example by examining alternatives to grandfathering, such as benchmarking and auctioning), how its scope might be further extended to other sectors, and finally how it might be linked to schemes in other countries;
   iii) use by EU countries of the CDM and Joint Implementation credits to supplement domestic reductions, as well as their environmental effectiveness;

23.   Underlines the need to further strengthen the European technological lead and to fight climate change through transfer of technologies, and calls therefore for the development of simple guidelines within the framework of the CDM and of Joint Implementation projects, especially to enable SMEs to benefit from the economic potential of the emerging carbon markets;

24.   Underlines the need for an effective EU communication strategy on climate change, covering proper publicity for the latest scientific evidence on the effects of climate change, the costs of inaction, the provision of detailed information about the carbon content of all products and services, the policy proposals put forward by the EU, the current status of international negotiations, and the specific steps that will have to be taken at the levels of the EU, the Member States and the individual citizen;

25.   Calls for all of its relevant committees and delegations to work together closely on climate change, so that its industrial policy, energy policy, transport, agriculture, research and development and other initiatives are better coordinated with climate change targets, and so that climate change is regularly raised at interparliamentary delegation level and in the context of the Transatlantic Legislative Dialogue;

26.   Reiterates its continued dissatisfaction at the exclusion of its Members who are participating in EU delegations from attendance at the EU coordination meetings, and calls for this to be resolved rapidly, if possible before COP 12 in November 2006;

27.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, with the request that it be circulated to all non-EU Contracting Parties.

(1) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2005)0177 .
(2) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2005)0433 .


Sustainable development strategy
DOC 71k
European Parliament resolution on the environmental aspects of sustainable development (2005/2051(INI) )
P6_TA(2006)0020 A6-0383/2005

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 31 May 2001 on environment policy and sustainable development: preparing for the Gothenburg European Council(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 February 2002 on the sustainable development strategy for the Barcelona Summit(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 16 May 2002 in preparation for the world summit on sustainable development in 2002(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission working document entitled "Integrating environmental considerations into other policy areas – a stocktaking of the Cardiff process" (COM(2004)0394 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled "The 2005 Review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy: Initial Stocktaking and Future Orientations" (COM(2005)0037 ),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Gothenburg (15-16 June 2001), Barcelona (15-16 March 2002) and Brussels (16-17 June 2005) European Councils,

–   having regard to the revised Lisbon strategy adopted by the European Council of 22-23 March 2005,

–   having regard to the Commission's strategic objectives for the period 2005-2009 "Prosperity, solidarity and security" (COM(2005)0012 ),

–   having regard to Decision No 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2002 establishing the sixth Community action programme for the environment(4) and its thematic strategies,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on Social Affairs and Employment (A6-0383/2005 ),

A.   whereas the Johannesburg summit in September 2002 identified five essential areas where concrete results are needed: health, energy, agriculture and biodiversity, ecosystem management, water and sanitation,

B.   whereas, despite the undertakings made at the Rio and Johannesburg summits in 1992 and 2002 respectively, the signatory States have not taken the measures required to reverse the current tendency to overexploit resources and pollute the environment, or the dwindling of natural resources and the climate change which are the most visible results of this failure,

C.   whereas the number of natural climatic disasters has more than doubled in Europe since the 1990s and global warming is set to continue, with ever more numerous and tangible events demonstrating its impact on the viability of economies, ecosystems and human health,

D.   whereas a new definition of growth is needed, based on responsible, efficient use of natural resources and a change in patterns of production and consumption,

E.   whereas sustainable development is a question of solidarity between the generations, and between the countries of the North and the South, and whereas the European Union is therefore faced with a development policy choice whereby the people of the developing countries can gain access to a better life, while at the same time protecting the earth's environment,

1.   Welcomes the fact that the Commission is taking stock of the sustainable development strategy in accordance with its undertaking; welcomes the sustainable development guidelines adopted by the European Council in June 2005; calls on the Commission to do everything it can to ensure that the strategy is revised as soon as possible on the basis of those guidelines, and on the Austrian Council Presidency to take the necessary steps to ensure that this revision can be adopted during the first half of 2006;

2.   Considers it regrettable that the revision of the sustainable development policy was not carried out in combination with the mid-term review of the Lisbon strategy; wishes to see the revised sustainable development strategy become the long-term strategy for Europe, defining the best political project capable of achieving its goals for a sustainable world fifty years from now, and believes that the Union's other political processes for the medium term, such as the Lisbon strategy, should be compatible with that long-term strategy;

3.   Stresses – in the light of limited financial resources – the need for an identical, efficient and systematic monitoring and review procedure for the two strategies;

4.   Considers it regrettable that most of the orientations contained in the second part of the Commission communication fail to respond to the magnitude of the challenges noted in the first part of the communication; stresses the inadequacy of some of the orientations, particularly as regards the fight against non-sustainable tendencies;

Worsening of non-sustainable tendencies

5.   Concurs with the Commission's observation that tendencies running counter to sustainable development have become worse, whether they consist in overexploitation and pollution of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, aggravation of climate change, inequality and poverty, or the accumulation of public debt, both in the European Union and in third countries;

6.   Supports the Commission's call for the setting of objectives to combat these negative trends; one priority medium-term objective should be to achieve the call as formulated in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe for the "sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth [...], a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment", an overarching objective from which concrete intermediate objectives may be derived;

7.   Believes that a strategy for sustainable development needs to permit the application of measures that are adapted to local development requirements and to the limitations and conditions of the region;

Climate change, transport, clean energy sources and control of energy consumption

8.   Notes that, despite the legislation adopted and the technical progress achieved by the EU in reducing atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, there is a risk that the Union will not attain the Kyoto protocol objectives for 2012, due to the absence of suitable measures to curb the rise in road transport;

9.   Is also concerned at the large and rapid increase in air transport and polluting emissions in that sector; stresses that unless swift action is taken, the greenhouse gas reduction objectives will be jeopardised; urges the Commission to take prompt action to reduce the climate impact from aviation by creating a pilot emission trading scheme for the aviation sector for the period 2008-2012, covering all flights to and from any EU airport, and to ensure that instruments to tackle the full climate impact of aviation are introduced in parallel;

10.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to step up their efforts to bring existing legislation into line with the latest scientific knowledge and to put forward solutions designed to achieve a substantial reduction in atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 30% of 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050, recent reports having confirmed that countering climate change requires a larger reduction in emissions in Europe and the rest of the world;

11.   Supports the Commission's proposal to transfer a large proportion of road transport to more environmentally friendly modes of transport; calls on the Commission, the various constellations within the Council, and the European Council to take rapid measures to stabilise distribution among modes of transport at the 1998 level by 2010 at the latest; believes, in more general terms, that a more environmentally friendly mobility policy calls for a profound change of policy;

12.   Deplores the fact that, according to studies, Europe's current use of natural resources is exceeding biological capacity by more than double, which means that Europe is making disproportionate demands on existing terrestrial and marine natural resources;

13.   Regrets the fact that most of the Member States continue to depend heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear energy for their energy supplies; supports the medium- and long-term objectives as regards the market share of renewable and clean energy sources; regrets the Commission's withdrawal of the proposal for a Council directive which would have permitted lower taxes on certain mineral oils containing biofuels and on biofuels themselves, although this measure was supported by Parliament;

14.   Welcomes the Commission's intention to submit an action plan for biomass with a view to promoting the use of biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels; urges the Commission to propose measures enabling solutions for developing organic energy crops in the EU;

Management of natural resources

15.   Recognises that the benefits of the European Union's water protection and management policy are becoming only slowly and patchily evident and will be more visible in the medium and long term; calls on the Member States, especially those in the west and south of Europe, and the sectors concerned, in particular the agricultural and tourism sectors, to undertake measures to reduce water abstraction and guarantee water supplies for the various areas of human activity; calls on the Council and the Commission to continue to take the necessary measures in the areas of water and pollution (nitrates, pesticides, hazardous and bioaccumulative substances, and substances that disrupt endocrine function);

16.   Encourages the European Union to achieve the ambitious objective of reversing by 2010 the loss of biodiversity in Europe and the world; deplores the fact that the decisions and measures adopted, at both European and international level, will not enable this objective to be achieved by the scheduled date, and that many species of fauna and flora are threatened with extinction; calls on the Commission in consequence to present an ambitious, coherent new European action plan, endowed with the necessary budget to fulfil the objectives of protecting and restoring ecosystems and biological diversity in the European Union and third countries; believes that further action is necessary to fully integrate biodiversity protection into all relevant EU policies, particularly agriculture, regional development, fisheries and development policy; calls on the Council and Commission to ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to the Natura 2000 network; furthermore, calls on the Commission to propose a system for the aquatic environment along the lines of Natura 2000;

17.   Calls on the EU and the Member States, in line with the Johannesburg criteria and other Union policies, to include, under the concept of sustainable development, the conservation of the environment and of landscape, urban and historical resources which form a familiar environment and are in many cases a source of wealth;

18.   Deplores the increase in the overall volume of waste, particularly packaging; calls on the Commission to ensure that the thematic strategy on waste includes new provisions aimed at reducing at source the production of waste in the medium to long term;

Land use

19.   Calls for the expansion of urban areas and the improvement of infrastructures (roads, railways, ports, airports, canals, gas and oil pipelines, etc) to be undertaken on a basis of respect for cultivable land, forests and protected areas; calls on the Commission, should it find it necessary, to build on the existing legislation with a view to ensuring the optimisation of environmental impact assessments, the sustainability of the trans-European networks, and the achievement of the objective of maintaining biodiversity up to 2010;

20.   Calls on the Commission to integrate soil protection into the Community's environmental measures; once again draws attention to the final outcome of any soil degradation, namely desertification, which is affecting large parts of the Union and has obvious effects in terms of poverty, loss of biodiversity, water quality and climate change; recalls the vital role of forests in soil fixation, avoidance of erosion, CO2 absorption and flood prevention;

21.   Supports the Commission's proposal to present a thematic strategy on the urban environment, the objective of which must be to improve the quality of urban areas in order to give European town-dwellers a healthy living environment, particularly as regards air quality; takes the view that three areas take priority: development of public transport that uses clean or less polluting technologies; promotion of sustainable construction of an environmentally high quality (EHQ); and sustainable town planning that aims, inter alia, to prevent economic and social segregation and a reduction in green urban areas;

22.   Notes that despite its undertakings, the European Union has still not succeeded in uncoupling growth from the exploitation of natural resources; calls on the Commission to present proposals for measures and regulations aimed at multiplying by 4 by 2010, and by 10 by 2025, resource and energy efficiency in production and consumption;

23.   Stresses that rarification, pollution and increasingly difficult access to natural resources and raw materials constitute a threat to the maintenance of biodiversity, and will result in a rise in prices, the magnitude of which will destabilise more or less profoundly the economic and social systems of the European Union and third countries, and in a risk of conflict; notes with regret, therefore, the lack of any adequate response to this situation by the Commission and the European Union;

Public health

24.   Deplores the gap between the assessment of the consequences of environmental degradation on health, on the one hand, and the insufficiently bold measures proposed by the Commission in its European Environment & Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (COM(2004)0416 ), on the other; takes the view that this orientation is not consistent with a genuine sustainable development policy aimed a reducing health risks and guaranteeing the viability of our social welfare and health systems;

25.   Greets with satisfaction the REACH proposal, the aim of which is to improve protection of human health and the environment while maintaining competitiveness and promoting innovation in the European chemicals industry; hopes that legislation will be adopted which is close to the Commission's initial proposal; hopes that the date of entry into force of the new system envisaged for 1 January 2007 will not be postponed;

International

26.   Calls on the Member States to extend debt cancellation to more developing countries; takes the view that environmental protection measures and mechanisms for the transfer of environmentally friendly technologies should accompany this debt cancellation programme;

27.   Calls on the EU to honour its commitments under the various international conventions and to take the necessary initiatives to ensure that individual countries and the international community abide by the commitments and obligations arising from the recent global negotiations having a direct or indirect relation to the sustainable development strategy (Kyoto, Monterrey, Doha, Johannesburg);

28.   Stresses that the revised strategy must clearly state that its objective is reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) such as will make trade subordinate to sustainable development objectives and international commitments to environmental preservation and respect for the international conventions in the social field, including the standards laid down by the International Labour Organisation; calls on the European Union to work towards recognition and transparent application of the precautionary principle within the WTO;

29.   Welcomes the outcome achieved at the Montreal Conference, where all parties - including the United States - endorsed the fight against climate change; stresses, however, that a great deal of progress remains to be made in this area; calls on those states that have not yet done so - in particular the United States - to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which now has the force of law;

30.   Calls for political recognition of the European Union's impact on consumption of global resources – its "ecological footprint" – which, according to independent studies, generates 17% of humanity's total resource demands from just 7% of the world's population;

31.   Calls for the external dimension of the EU sustainable development strategy to be the overarching framework for ensuring the coherence of all EU policies which impact on the environmental resources and sustainability policies of EU partner countries; further calls for the strategy to include specific assessment of how EU policies can assist developing countries in attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015;

32.   Supports the Commission's proposal for the forthcoming "EU thematic Program for environment and natural resources" which should cover all EU partner countries (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument and Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation Instrument) in order that initiatives within the external dimensions of the Sustainable Development Strategy can be included in the next Financial Perspectives for 2007-2013;

33.   Stresses the strong links between poverty and the environment and the fact that the poorest are often the principal victims of environmental degradation; notes that efforts to reduce poverty, primarily through economic growth, often ignore the need to integrate environmental considerations into policies for combating poverty; recommends therefore that specific initiatives are taken to address these poverty and environment linkages within policies and programmes, and also that economic growth needs to be de-coupled from environmental degradation by promoting sustainable consumption and production, to address both the supply and the demand in developing countries;

34.   Calls on the Member States and the European Union to promote within international bodies, and above all the UN, a recognition of resources, particularly water, as global public goods;

Equipping ourselves with the tools for action

35.   Welcomes the announcement by the British Presidency of the European Union that the Cardiff process is to be relaunched; calls on the Council, with the help of the Commission, to adopt genuine measures to incorporate environmental protection in other policies;

36.   Stresses the importance of incorporating the concept of sustainable development in all public policies at national, regional and local level, and at the private level within businesses, associations and NGOs;

37.   Stresses that the Aalborg Charter identifies cities as key agents in sustainable development; in order to improve the EU's environmental performance, it is therefore essential to encourage sustainable and coherent urban administration and to generalise best practice at local level, notably by means of exchange networks among cities;

38.   Welcomes the Commission's introduction of impact assessments for all its decisions and legislative proposals; calls on the Commission to ensure that the environmental and social aspects of this tool are reinforced and taken into greater account from now on; recalls that this tool is an aid to political decision making, but can and must never replace it;

39.   Welcomes the adoption by the Commission and Eurostat of some 150 indicators, and their subdivision into three levels, as a means of evaluating implementation of the sustainable development strategy and gradual realisation of the objectives set; calls on the Commission and Eurostat to assess the indicators regularly with a view, if necessary, to bringing them into line with the way that issues and the environment develop; calls on the Commission to ensure that greater account is taken of the environment in the list of 14 indicators for the assessment of progress on the Lisbon strategy; believes this list should also include a biodiversity indicator;

Market instruments as incentives

40.   Notes the Commission's proposal to supplement the traditional regulatory instruments with market instruments such as cost internalisation, ecotaxes, subsidies and the emission quota trading system;

41.   Supports the Commission's call for market prices to reflect the true cost of any given economic activity, particularly in environmental terms, in order to change production and consumption patterns; takes the view that measures to this effect must be rapidly taken and applied in the road transport sector with a view to encouraging the use of collective transport;

42.   Stresses that such a measure must take account of incomes, and balance needs and fundamental rights and freedoms against the quality of the environment;

43.   Insists that the Commission should, in its future proposals, take full account of Parliament's resolution of 8 September 2005 on new prospects and challenges for sustainable tourism in Europe(5) ;

44.   Stresses that the conditions for granting European subsidies and aid, particularly under the CAP, must contribute to the implementation of the sustainable development policy; urges that all subsidies for non-sustainable activities, including those in the areas of energy and agriculture, be discontinued as soon as possible;

45.   Notes that increasing erosion and impoverishment of the soil and cultivated land are creating a long-term threat to our capacity to ensure food supplies for our fellow citizens; advocates, therefore, that a future reform of the CAP should propose moving towards a new balance of modes of cultivation, taking account of relevant experiments in other countries; believes that genetically modified plants and organisms do not, under present circumstances, offer a satisfactory response to the problems arising from the use of chemical substances in agriculture;

46.   Supports the introduction of ecotaxes by the Member States; stresses that, like the other market instruments, they are an essential tool for an effective pollution reduction policy;

47.   Stresses that market instruments can still release considerable potential in the area of environmental protection; emphasises, however, that such instruments, although necessary, are not in themselves sufficient in order to pursue a policy of reducing pollution and protecting the environment; calls on the Commission to develop targeted proposals;

48.   Calls on the Commission to recognise, encourage and support, in the Union, in third countries and within international organisations, the development of new and more sustainable economic models such as the social and solidarity-based economy and fair trade;

Innovations

49.   Endorses the Commission's proposal to invest in innovation in the area of more environmentally friendly technologies, with scientific and technical research being required to take account of environmental and social issues; finds it regrettable, however, that the Commission does not mention the share in GDP of the investment to be made in supporting the development of new environmental technologies;

50.   Calls for the seventh framework programme for research to be implemented in such a way as to ensure sustainable development in as many sectors as possible and to create high-quality jobs;

51.   Stresses that innovation in the area of environmental technology is an essential motor of sustainable development in the environmental sphere; points out, however, their limitations and the need to take measures to change production, traffic and consumption patterns in order to meet the environmental challenges faced;

52.   Calls on the EU to step up its efforts and take the necessary decisions so that it can become the world's foremost resource- and energy-saving economy; stresses that achieving those objectives would bring about greater autonomy and security in terms of resources and energy supplies, while also uncoupling economic growth from the exploitation of natural resources;

Application of the principles of sustainable development

53.   Recalls that the "polluter pays" and precautionary principles must be affirmed as the regulatory principles underpinning public policy on public health, food safety and consumer and environmental protection;

54.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to give greater thought to the substitution principle, which can be a powerful vector in stimulating research and development of new technologies that are more mindful of health and the environment;

Informing and mobilising citizens and businesses

55.   Takes the view that protecting the environment calls at the same time for information, awareness-raising and education; takes the view that the strategy must be the result of a transparent process involving the citizens of Europe and that, in order for this to happen, the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters(6) must be fully implemented;

56.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue to develop environmental education and to give it a full place on primary school curricula, and to put in place information and awareness-raising programmes directed at adults;

57.   Calls for expectations to be fulfilled with regard to bringing the whole workforce into work, regardless of age and sex, in particular by making use of the opportunities for lifelong learning, in order to reinforce the actions under the sustainable development strategy;

58.   Calls for lifelong learning to be developed, taking greater account in vocational training of development prospects for techniques and modes of production; stresses that this step constitutes a significant way for all workers, particularly salaried employees, to make new technologies their own, and thus adapt to a changing job market;

59.   Stresses that the sustainable funding of social security systems can only be achieved by enhanced solidarity between the generations; points up the particular importance of educating citizens in a responsible manner as regards social and environmental issues; calls for the burden of labour costs to be reduced in Member States" tax systems; calls for greater coordination within Member States in order to reduce social exclusion, more effectively guarantee social security for all European citizens, and achieve the same high ecological standards everywhere;

Thematic strategies

60.   Is delighted that the first thematic strategies have finally been presented; calls on the Commission to ensure that all the thematic strategies announced are adopted as rapidly as possible and, at the latest, by the summer of 2006;

61.   Notes with satisfaction the adoption and revision of various Community laws, including those on environmental protection; takes the view that a good number of them, particularly the reform of the CAP and fisheries policy, do not take enough account of sustainable development objectives and continue to favour intensive production methods;

62.   Calls on the Commission, in the context of its proposal for the revision of the sustainable development strategy, to put forward more ambitious proposals for the monitoring of that strategy; stresses that the revised strategy must be subject to an annual assessment, as decided at the Gothenburg European Council in 2001; calls for the assessment to be complemented, halfway through and in case of need, by measures and proposals to ensure achievement of the goals originally set; welcomes the participation of Parliament in this assessment;

Conclusions

63.   Welcomes the Commission's willingness to take measures to promote sustainable development; notes with regret, however, the gap between declared intentions and proposed policies; takes the view that, given the worsening state of the environment, the priorities for revision of the sustainable development strategy must not consist mainly in coordination and knowledge-enhancement measures, but in proposals for clear medium-and long-term measures and objectives, in instruments and in a regular control, monitoring and evaluation system;

64.   Is firmly convinced that sustainable development represents a fundamental, crucial instrument for the European Union, which will promote economic and social progress, improve the quality of life and standard of living of its citizens and engender a new concept of politics in the service of liberating human beings;

65.   Calls for the financial perspective for 2007-2013 to make sufficient provision for appropriate action to be taken at every level to combat unsustainable trends such as poverty, social exclusion and the consequences of the ageing of society; stresses that sustainable development must thus be a guiding principle for EU policies in all areas; recommends that the financial perspective provide for adequate funds to promote full employment, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty and to strengthen social, territorial and economic cohesion;

66.   Stresses that the revised strategy implies above all a real change in our modes of production and consumption, and involves reconsidering the aims of our economic activity;

67.   Points out that failure to act will come at an increasingly high price, will have ever more considerable direct consequences, and will make it even more difficult to implement the European Union's objectives as regards social progress, health and environmental protection, generating an intolerable burden for future generations;

68.   Asks to be formally consulted on the Commission's proposal for a review of the Sustainable Development Strategy when it is published;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 47 E, 21.2.2002, p. 223.
(2) OJ C 293 E, 28.11.2002, p. 84.
(3) OJ C 180 E, 31.7.2003, pp. 507 and 517.
(4) OJ L 242, 10.9.2002, p. 1.
(5) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2005)0335 .
(6) OJ L 124, 17.5.2005, p. 4.

Letzte Aktualisierung: 20. Juli 2006Rechtlicher Hinweis