Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks ***II
 Roaming on public mobile networks ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 EC-Mexico Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement *
 The exclusion of health services from the Services Directive
 Structural policies and EU cohesion
 The EU's Aid for Trade
 Economic partnership agreements
 Common Foreign and Security Policy 2005
 Decent work

Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks ***II
DOC 30k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 May 2007 on the Council common position for adopting a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks (17032/2/2006 – C6-0101/2007 – 2004/0154(COD) )
P6_TA(2007)0198 A6-0169/2007

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Council common position (17032/2/2006 – C6-0101/2007 )(1) ,

–   having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2004)0475 ),

–   having regard to the amended Commission proposal (COM(2006)0245 ),

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

–   having regard to Rule 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0169/2007 ),

1.   Approves the common position;

2.   Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the common position;

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

4.   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;

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

(1) OJ C 103 E, 8.5.2007, p. 26.
(2) OJ C 272 E, 9.11.2006, p. 404.


Roaming on public mobile networks ***I
DOC 25k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 May 2007 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile networks within the Community and amending Directive 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (COM(2006)0382 – C6-0244/2006 – 2006/0133(COD) )
P6_TA(2007)0199 A6-0155/2007

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2006)0382 ),

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee,

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 95 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0244/2006 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0155/2007 ),

1.   Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.   Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 23 May 2007 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No ... /2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile telephone networks within the Community and amending Directive 2002/21/EC

P6_TC1-COD(2006)0133


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position at first reading corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EC) No 717/ 2007.)


EC-Mexico Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement *
DOC 37k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 May 2007 on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Second Additional Protocol to the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United Mexican States, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (16522/2006 – COM(2006)0777 – C6-0077/2007 – 2006/0259(CNS) )
P6_TA(2007)0200 A6-0138/2007

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council decision (COM(2006)0777 )(1) ,

–   having regard to Council decision on the signature and provisional application of a Second Additional Protocol to the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United Mexican States, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (16522/2006),

–   having regard to Articles 57(2), 71, 80(2), 133(1), 133(5) and 181 in conjunction with the first subparagraph, first and second sentences of Article 300(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0077/2007 ),

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

–   having regard to Rules 51, 83(7) and 35 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade (A6-0138/2007 ),

1.   Approves the proposal for a Council decision as amended and approves the conclusion of the protocol;

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment by Parliament
Amendment 1
Citation 1
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 57(2), 71, 80(2), 133(1), 133(5) and 181 in conjunction with the first subparagraph, first and second sentences of Article 300(2) and the first subparagraph of Article 300(3) thereof,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 57(2), 71, 80(2), 133(1), 133(5) and 181 in conjunction with the first subparagraph, first and second sentences of Article 300(2) and the second subparagraph of Article 300(3) thereof,

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


The exclusion of health services from the Services Directive
DOC 64k
European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on the impact and consequences of the exclusion of health services from the Directive on services in the internal market (2006/2275(INI) )
P6_TA(2007)0201 A6-0173/2007

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 16, 49, 50, 95(1) and 152 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

–   having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Communities ("Court of Justice") of 28 April 1998 in case C-120/95 Decker(1) , of 28 April 1998 in case C-158/96 Kohll(2) , of 12 July 2001 in case C-157/99 Geraets-Smits and Peerbooms(3) , of 12 July 2001 in case C-368/98 Vanbraekel(4) , of 25 February 2003 in case C-326/00 IKA(5) , of 13 May 2003 in case C-385/99 Müller-Fauré and van Riet(6) , of 23 October 2003 in case C-56/01 Inizan(7) , of 18 March 2004 in case C-8/02 Leichtle(8) and of 16 May 2006 in case C-372/04 Watts(9) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market(10) , and in particular Article 2(2)(f) thereof and recitals 22 and 23 thereto,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 26 September 2006 entitled "Consultation regarding Community action on health care services" (SEC(2006)1195 /4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2005 on patient mobility and healthcare developments in the European Union(11) ,

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions on Common values and principles in European Union Health Systems(12) ,

–   having regard to Article 152(5) of the Treaty, enshrining the subsidiarity principle with regard to health care, and having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community(13) and to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems(14) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0173/2007 ),

A.   whereas the Member States are responsible for organising, managing, delivering and financing health care systems, which are different in every Member State,

B.   whereas the Court of Justice has handed down a number of judgments, on issues such as access to health care and the settlement of criteria for prior authorisation procedures or for reimbursement of costs, which authorise EU citizens to move freely in order to find health care in another Member State,

C.   whereas, in its above mentioned Conclusions on Common values and principles in European Union Health Systems, the Council adopted a statement by the 25 health Ministers of the European Union about the common values and principles that underpin Europe's health systems,

Principles

1.   Considers that cross-border mobility of patients and health professionals will increase in future, thus giving patients more choice; considers that, whatever their level of income or place of residence, all European citizens should be guaranteed equal and affordable access to health care in due time, in accordance with the principles of universality, quality, safety, continuity and solidarity, thus contributing to the social and territorial cohesion of the Union while ensuring the financial sustainability of national health care systems; considers that, in accordance with those principles, the mobility of patients and professionals may contribute to improving accessibility to and quality of health care;

2.   Notes that the Member States do not sufficiently promote health care, as a result of which patients" rights are restricted;

3.   Recalls that the Member States that have implemented the existing case law of the Court of Justice have not experienced any major increase in health care budgets as a result of patients" increased mobility;

4.   Takes into account that Member States may only introduce a system of prior authorisation once it has been proven that cross-border movement of patients has a negative effect on the financial balance of the national health budget; urges Member States to take note of the possibility of making use of a test period during which no prior authorisation is required;

5.   Stresses that patient mobility and professional mobility should not be an excuse for a Member State's failure to invest in its own health care system;

6.   Stresses that access to cross-border care is required in order to ensure the free movement of citizens within the Community and that it helps to raise employment and competitiveness levels in Member States;

7.   Stresses the need for cutting red tape connected with both the use and provision of cross-border health services;

8.   Notes that, in order to cut the red tape relating to the use of cross-border health services, it is necessary to improve the electronic systems of patient identification and patient claims for reimbursement;

9.   Invites the Commission to encourage the Member States to actively support the introduction of e-health and telemedicine;

10.   Points out that, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, the Member States retain primary responsibility for providing efficient and high quality health care to their citizens; stresses that, to this end, they should be able to use the appropriate regulatory tools, at EU level as well as at multilateral and bilateral levels, to manage their national health care systems and health authorities and, in exercising that power, that they must always respect the provisions of the Treaties and the principle of subsidiarity;

11.   Emphasises that Treaty rules, including the specific provisions on services of general economic interest, as well as the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice, apply to health services and stresses that health service providers are fully entitled to establish themselves and to provide services in any Member State, following national and EU rules; equally emphasises that patients are fully entitled to seek health care in any Member State;

12.   Notes that, whilst health care systems are not a competence of the Community, issues relating to health care systems, such as access to medicines and treatments, patient information, and the movement of insurance companies and health professionals, have a cross-border character; notes that those issues need to be addressed by the Union;

13.   Points out that in any case patients must be able to have equal access to appropriate treatment as close as possible to their home and in their own language; considers that Council Directive 89/105/EEC of 21 December 1988 relating to the transparency of measures regulating the prices of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of national health insurance systems(15) should be better applied, so that medicines are placed on the market more quickly, innovation in and safety of medicines is promoted and use of a centralised procedure for marketing authorisations is more strongly promoted;

14.   Stresses that Member States should treat residents of another Member State on an equal basis with regard to access to health services, regardless of whether they are private or public patients;

15.   Points out that patients should have access to information for which the health care provider has obtained international accreditation and that the accredited providers of health care should, regardless of where they are situated in the EU, ensure that health care is safe, based on measurable international indicators of quality;

16.   Maintains that any policy initiative relating to health services should, as far as possible, be the subject of parliamentary law-making, rather than being pursued on an ad hoc basis through rulings of the Court of Justice;

17.   Is of the opinion that patients" safety and rights are not ensured in the cross-border provision of health care at present and that legal uncertainty exists regarding reimbursement mechanisms, obligations for national authorities to share regulatory information, the duty of care for both the initial and the follow-up treatment and risk management provisions for private patients;

Definitions

18.   Requests a clear definition of health services, so as to clarify and clearly demarcate the scope of application of future legislation in this field; requests a clarification of the elements of a health care system which are relevant in this context;

19.   Notes that health care services pursue objectives comparable to other social services of general interest in the sense that they are based on the principle of solidarity, are often embedded in national social protection systems, are person-centred, ensure that citizens can benefit from their fundamental rights, ensure a high level of social protection, and strengthen social and territorial cohesion;

20.   Is of the opinion that any Community action relating to health care services should be consistent with Community action relating to social services of general interest;

21.   Requests that any further clarification of concepts used in the case law of the Court of Justice not alter the balance struck by the Court of Justice between Member States" prerogatives in the field of public health and the rights of the individual patient; in this respect recalls that, as regards the concept of "reasonable waiting time", the Court of Justice has clearly indicated that it should be defined exclusively in the light of an assessment of each patient's medical situation and that economic considerations should not play any role in that assessment;

22.   Requests further clarification of concepts such as "reasonable waiting times" and definitions of in-patient and out-patient treatment;

23.   Points out that, as regards hospital services in another Member State, the procedure for granting authorisation must provide a guarantee for patients protecting them from arbitrary decisions taken by their national authorities; points out that, in order to facilitate the free movement of patients without prejudicing Member States" planning objectives, in the light of the case law of the Court of Justice, hospital treatment should be defined narrowly as treatment which can only be provided within hospital infrastructure and may not be provided, for example, in a practitioner's surgery or at the patient's home; points out, in particular, that any refusal to grant an authorisation must be open to challenge in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings and that, for the purpose of assessing the medical situation of each patient, entirely objective and impartial advice from independent experts should be sought;

Patient mobility

24.   Notes the great diversity in mobility and the different reasons for mobility among patients sent abroad by their national health system and among patients looking for medical treatment abroad of their own volition – tourists who fall ill, migrant workers, students, retired people and anyone living in a Member State other than their country of origin, or living in border regions – and stresses that those differences should be taken into account when formulating policy;

25.   Stresses that it is desirable to distinguish between, on the one hand, cross-border health services, meaning those which are situated on either side of a border common to two Member States, in order to maintain and offer patients a high standard of access and care, and, on the other hand, international health services within the European Union, which offer health care for the treatment of rare or orphan diseases or diseases which require rare and very expensive technologies (care reference centres) or provide access to care which the Member State or state of residence cannot at present offer patients;

26.   Calls on the Commission to provide annual statistics for each Member State on patient mobility and on the number of cases of reimbursements being refused, and the reasons therefor;

27.   Whilst recognising that health care policy is primarily a competence of the Member States and emphasising the need for high-quality health care provision in the country of origin of the patient, nevertheless welcomes the Commission's initiative to launch a consultation on the best form of Community action with a view to improving the access of patients, within a reasonable timeframe, to a safe, high-quality and efficient framework for cross-border aspects of health care, and calls on the Commission to come up with concrete proposals to encourage and monitor progress in this area;

28.   Notes that considerable numbers of patients from several Member States are not able to receive the necessary medical treatment in their own country within a reasonable timeframe because of the length of waiting lists and notes that these patients are, therefore, dependent on medical treatment abroad;

Improving information for patients

29.   Notes how difficult it is for patients to obtain clear and precise information on health care, especially on cross-border health care, and the complexity of the procedures that have to be followed; notes that this difficulty, which is not created only by language barriers, potentially increases risks to patient safety;

30.   Considers that the EU has an important role to play when it comes to improving patients" access to information on access to cross-border health care;

31.   Notes that effective and transparent sharing and exchange of information on health is a vital requirement in ensuring consistency and maintaining a high quality of health care between health care services across different Member States;

32.   Considers that it is important to give patients the right to choose health care in another Member State when this allows them to receive appropriate treatment, having been informed fully of both the terms and prior conditions for access to and the implications of that choice, considers that, according to the above mentioned case law of the Court of Justice, prior authorisation for hospital care should be easily obtainable, dealt with immediately and evaluated on the basis of objective and neutral criteria; is of the opinion that refusal of authorisation should be justified on the basis of objective criteria which must be verified in a transparent way and that reasons should be given therefor, and that any refusal should be reasoned with reference to an opinion given by independent experts;

33.   Calls for the adoption of a European charter of patients' rights on the basis of existing charters in the Member States and of work carried out by non-governmental organisations;

Reimbursement

34.   Acknowledges the existing differences between health care systems in Member States and the complex legal frameworks which regulate reimbursements; calls for a codification of existing case law on the reimbursement of cross-border health care in order to ensure the proper application of that case law by all Member States and to improve the information available to patients, national insurance schemes and health care providers without creating additional cumbersome bureaucratic burdens for Member States;

35.   Calls on the Commission to encourage all Member States to apply the existing procedures for reimbursement of cross-border health care; considers that it should be possible for the Commission to start proceedings against Member States that fail to do so;

36.   Calls for a European reference scheme to be put in place concerning reimbursement in order to allow citizens to make comparisons and to make a choice as to which treatment is most suitable for them;

37.   Calls for examination of ways of actively supporting and promoting work aimed at making use of the European Health Insurance Card ("EHIC"), containing a standardised set of electronic patient data, common practice, in order to simplify procedures for European citizens to obtain health care in other Member States; considers that the holders of an EHIC must determine themselves the data which will appear on it; in order to make the most effective use of this system, calls for the adoption of European health indicators; considers that it is crucial, for reasons of patient safety, to encourage national authorities to exchange information on registration and disciplinary matters relating to health care providers operating across borders; believes that it is appropriate to expand the EHIC scheme to include a system of international exchange of data concerning the insurance status of patients;

38.   Calls on the Member States to ensure that health service providers post a clearly visible symbol demonstrating, in a way similar to that used in the case of credit cards in hotels and restaurants and so on, that a patient's EHIC can be accepted in a given Member State, in line with Regulation (EC) No 883/2004; calls for a high level of data protection for patients as regards cross-border cooperation in health services in order to ensure confidentiality of sensitive medical data;

Mobility of health professionals

39.   Notes that Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications(16) does not remedy all the current regulatory shortcomings at EU level concerning the free movement of health professionals, particularly with regard to continuing training, the right of establishment and providing assurances as to the competence of health professionals; stresses that any future legislation in this field should strongly facilitate the provision of cross-border health services and the establishment of service providers from other Member States;

40.   Notes that, although mutual recognition of professional qualifications exists in the EU, there remains insufficient uniformity in the quality of the content of professional training and of the ways in which professions are pursued, or insufficient provision for such uniformity;

41.   Stresses that Article 35 of the Charter of fundamental Rights provides that the Union shall ensure a high level of health protection and in this regard points out that the quality of health services and the ability of the sector to retain staff are conditioned by the quality of work and the working conditions of health service workers, including with reference to rest times and training opportunities; points out further that accompanying measures such as quality control, supervision and the use of new information technologies should ensure the best possible medical care for patients;

42.   Considers it important for health care providers directly in contact with patients to have a sufficient command of the language spoken in the host Member State;

43.   Calls on the Commission to set up a system for collecting data and exchanging information between the various national authorities on health care providers, and to set up a European card to provide access to information on the skills of health care professionals and to make that information available to patients, as well as to develop a reliable health information system for service providers, with an obligation for national authorities to share that information;

44.   Calls on the Commission, in the context of increased professional mobility in Europe, to establish a legal duty for national authorities to exchange registration and disciplinary information about health care professionals in order to ensure patient safety;

45.   Welcomes the work carried out by Health Professionals Crossing Borders as a good example of close multilateral cooperation between Member States" health care authorities;

46.   Stresses the need better to inform health care professionals of their right of mobility within the EU by using existing tools established by the Commission, such as EURES (European Employment Services);

Legal liability

47.   Insists that patient mobility needs the safeguards of concurrent and clear rules governing liability for the provision of cross-border health services and the resultant need for ease of access to redress and judicial mechanisms, particularly if the various stages of treatment have taken place in more than one Member State;

48.   Notes that the combination of current rules of private international law on jurisdiction and applicable law with various Community law instruments, leads to a complex and difficult web of regimes on legal liability which does not promote ease of access to justice; stresses that this is a matter of particular concern in relation to health services which are, by their nature, both personal and individual; moreover, notes that a patient who seeks redress is likely to be both vulnerable and proceeding alone against either an institution or a professional body;

49.   Stresses therefore the need to guarantee the legal security of patients and professionals; calls for clarification of liabilities in the event of injury and for an obligation for all health professionals to have compulsory third-party liability insurance at reasonable cost;

50.   Stresses the need to strengthen the protection of patients by requiring health professionals to take out professional indemnity insurance; notes, however, that both the means of guaranteeing this, and the definition of a health professional, will be determined by the relevant insurance or other financial security arrangements in place in each Member State;

51.   Points out that health care often requires follow-up medical checks; calls for clarification of the rules on the division of responsibilities between health care providers during the various stages of treatment in order to ensure continuity in care; points out that telemedicine and e-health are developing on such a scale that new rules of play need to be agreed in the areas of social protection, funding and access to such care;

Cooperation between Member States

52.   Considers that closer cooperation between health systems on the local, regional, intergovernmental and European levels should make it possible to obtain appropriate treatment in other Member States, improve the quality of services and thus increase citizens" confidence;

53.   Points out that cross-border cooperation between those concerned can result in finding appropriate solutions, as shown by the example of Euroregis;

54.   Expects Member States to pursue cross-border cooperation in offering health services, so as to be able to run their respective health systems more cost-effectively;

55.   Calls on the Commission to draw up technical standards, and calls on the governments of the Member States to actively support the introduction of interoperable transparent information systems allowing effective exchange and sharing of information on health between health care providers in different Member States,

56.   Encourages the development of networks of reference centres, including electronic reference centres that deal with rare, specific and chronic diseases, and the exchange of knowledge between Member States on best practices with regard to treatment and the organisation of health care systems; calls on the Commission to optimise cross-border administrative cooperation;

57.   Considers that the EU can play an important role in improving the availability of information for patients on cross-border mobility, including through the promotion of European health indicators;

58.   Recognises that there is a demand for properly regulated, high-quality health and pharmaceutical cross-border services and for cooperation and the exchange of scientific and technological experience between highly specialised medical centres; points out, however, that surveys show that most people would prefer to receive high quality treatment near to where they live; considers that, in order to provide the most appropriate legislative response, the Commission should first conduct an exhaustive study firstly of the real need for patient mobility and secondly of the patients to which such mobility could apply, while assessing the impact of that mobility on health systems;

59.   Expects, given the existing differences, Member States to resolve issues such as access to and quality of care and cost control among themselves;

60.   Believes that the open method of coordination is one of the appropriate instruments by which to organise closer cooperation among Member States;

61.   Hopes that bilateral or multilateral agreements between Member States, regions or local authorities and between the players in the health care sector will develop, and is of the opinion that this would stimulate the sharing of material and human resources in cross-border areas, in particular in areas with high numbers of short-term visitors, and would stimulate also exchanges of skills and knowledge;

62.   Calls for the creation and use of a point of single contact, on the basis of existing Community instruments, in accordance with the organisational peculiarities of each health care system, to guarantee access to objective and independent information for patients, health professionals, health care institutions and competent authorities; considers that health professionals can assist patients to find this information;

63.   Encourages the Commission to make use of all existing instruments, such as SOLVIT and infringement procedures, in order to assist patients who have been refused reimbursement (for non-hospital care) or authorisation (for hospital care), even though the conditions laid down in the case law were fulfilled;

64.   Encourages the Commission to continue collecting data from the Member States and to further analyse trends and challenges facing the cross-border mobility of patients and health professionals;

Conclusions

65.   Calls on the Commission to strengthen its policy of pursuing violations of EU law with a view to ensuring that all Member States comply with the case law of the Court of Justice and that all European patients, irrespective of their country of origin, benefit from the rights conferred on them by the Treaty;

66.   Invites the Commission to submit to Parliament and the Council a proposal for an appropriate instrument with a view, in particular, to codifying the case law of the Court of Justice;

67.   Invites the Commission to come forward with a proposal taking into account this resolution and ECJ rulings on patients´ rights; calls for a guarantee for patients of the greatest possible access to health care services all over Europe as well as a guarantee for health service providers of the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment;

68.   Given that the Commission proposal to deal with health issues in Directive 2006/123/EC was not accepted by the European Parliament and the Council, insists that further action is now required to preserve existing rights; consequently, calls on the Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, to guarantee the safeguarding of those rights;

69.   Believes that, above all, a new European regulatory framework for cross-border health care should improve access to high-quality health care in the event of illness, contribute to patient safety and increase the number of choices available to all patients in the European Union, without increasing inequality in health care outcomes;

o
o   o

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

(1) [1998] ECR I-1831.
(2) [1998] ECR I-1931.
(3) [2001] ECR I-5473.
(4) [2001] ECR I-5363.
(5) [2003] ECR I-1703.
(6) [2003] ECR I-4509.
(7) [2003] ECR I-12403.
(8) [2004] ECR I-2641.
(9) [2006] ECR I-4325.
(10) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36.
(11) OJ C 124 E, 25.5.2006, p. 543.
(12) OJ C 146, 22.6.2006, p. 1.
(13) OJ L 149, 5.7.1971, p. 2.
(14) OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p.1.
(15) OJ L 40, 11.2.1989, p. 8.
(16) OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.


Structural policies and EU cohesion
DOC 49k
European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on the impact and effects of structural policies on EU cohesion (2006/2181(INI) )
P6_TA(2007)0202 A6-0150/2007

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the drafts of the EU Territorial Agenda on Regional Development and the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities,

–   having regard to the report of 20 January 2006 entitled 'Creating an Innovative Europe' by the Independent Expert Group on R&D and Innovation appointed following the informal meeting of heads of state and government at Hampton Court, (the Aho Group report),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 12 June 2006 entitled 'The Growth and Jobs Strategy and the Reform of European cohesion policy – Fourth progress report on cohesion' (COM(2006)0281 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2002 on the Commission's Second Report to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on economic and social cohesion(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2005 on the role of territorial cohesion in regional development(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2005 on the role of direct State aid as a tool of regional development(3) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1084/2006 of 11 July 2006 establishing a Cohesion Fund(4) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2006 on relocation in the context of regional development(6) ,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2006/702/EC of 6 October 2006 on Community strategic guidelines on cohesion(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2006 on the 2007 budget: the Commission's Annual Policy Strategy report(8) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0150/2007 ),

A.   whereas it is indisputable that structural policies are having a positive impact on cohesion in the areas of social, economic and regional policy and in terms of better quality governance at local and regional levels,

B.   whereas, because that positive impact varies from one region to another, this resolution puts forward recommendations for maximising its impact in the new programming period 2007 to 2013,

C.   whereas the drafts for the EU's Territorial Agenda and the Leipzig Charter are being drawn up for adoption at the informal ministerial meeting on urban development and regional cohesion to be held in Leipzig on 24 and 25 May 2007,

D.   whereas, in order to improve the structural funds" impact on EU cohesion, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to play a larger role in research, development and innovation (R+D+i) activities and have better access to R+D+i services in public institutions dedicated to research,

E.   whereas, according to the abovementioned fourth progress report on cohesion, between 1995 and 2005 GDP per capita growth in the 13 cohesion countries was greater than that of the Union of fifteen Member States, the former's annual rate reaching 3.6 % compared with an average of 2.2 % for the latter,

F.   whereas every euro spent in the EU on cohesion policies generates an average of 0,90 euros of additional spending in less developed regions (objective 1) and 3,00 euros in regions undergoing redevelopment (objective 2),

G.   whereas the free play of market forces is incapable of creating the cohesion that the EU's founding fathers envisaged, and whereas that cohesion necessarily requires public authority intervention so as to enable the balance between regions to be restored,

H.   whereas structural policies have an important role to play in strengthening territorial cohesion and will have to be adapted in response to new territorial challenges in the EU, such as an ageing population, changes in the agricultural market and issues pertaining to immigration, energy and climate change,

I.   whereas polycentrism is the leitmotiv of the European Territorial Strategy and is a crucial element that must be taken into account during the implementation phase of the new cohesion policy,

J.   whereas there is a need to increase the visibility of cohesion policy,

K.   whereas it must be ensured that companies receiving Community funding will refrain from relocating their operations within a given long time-frame, and whereas they should otherwise be excluded from co-financing and made to pay back the aid granted to them if they have not used it for the proper purpose,

1.   Stresses the cohesion policy's critical role in supporting the internal market in that, by virtue of the design and implementation of projects co-financed by the EU, trade has increased and jobs have been created;

2.   Emphasises the importance of developing an integrated and sustainable structural policy that combines, in a coherent manner, support from the structural and cohesion funds with support given within the framework of other Community policies; calls for this concept of integrated policy to be the subject of communication and training measures in order that it become recognised and used by all the actors concerned, particularly those on the ground;

3.   Points out that the Commission, the Member States and the regional and local authorities should pay particular attention to attaining the objectives that have been incorporated, across the board, in all policies and actions during the implementation phase of the new cohesion policy, in order to prevent social exclusion;

4.   Insists once again that companies which have received State aids and relocated within the EU should be debarred from obtaining public benefits for their new places of business and excluded from Structural Fund and national support for seven years from the date of relocation;

5.   Calls on the Commission to investigate which national and regional public policies favour convergence and to draw up a communication on that subject, with the aim of looking into the option of linking the granting of resources, under the future cohesion policy, with a sound national growth policy, which should be defined by reference to quantifiable indicators, so as to increase the effectiveness of the cohesion policy;

6.   Considers that the Commission and the Member States should improve the contribution of the European Social Fund to implementation of the European Employment Strategy (EES), strengthening the relationship between them, and that this improvement should be immediately demonstrated using relevant indicators to promote equal opportunities;

7.   Urges the Commission to explore new ways of combining structural policies and instruments with other Community policies and instruments aimed at increasing synergies that will promote competitiveness and sustainable research and innovation, drawing on the work of the Commission's interdepartmental task forces dedicated to these fields;

8.   Recommends to the regional authorities and the Member States that quantified objectives for R+D+i should be established in the operating programmes;

9.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to look into whether a requirement, such as that proposed in the abovementioned Aho Report, to earmark at least 20 % of the Structural Funds to promoting R+D+i, starting from the next programming period 2007-2013, is viable and to focus not only on major projects and centres of excellence but to also pay attention to smaller projects in less favoured regions, particularly those that contribute to sustainable regional development;

10.   Proposes that the Council and the Commission encourage the establishment of regional and local technology facilitators, using existing resources, such as the EuroInfoCentre and Innovation Relay Centre networks, which will be financed by the structural funds and associated with regional projects, technology parks, clusters and networks, and will reinvigorate innovation for businesses, particularly small businesses, by facilitating access to European aid schemes and programmes;

11.   Welcomes the preparation of the drafts for the EU's Territorial Agenda and the Leipzig Charter, but in this connection underlines the need for both documents to specify, with greater clarity, how to define the measures for attaining the objectives set out in the two strategy papers and what the Member States" involvement should be; urges the Member States, in the context of the Leipzig Informal Council on 24 and25 May 2007, to make a formal commitment to sustainable urban development;

12.   Considers that an assessment of the long-term effects, at various levels, of recourse to structural funding is an essential element in the preparation of future legislation and crucial for sound budgetary management in this area;

13.   Proposes that European institutions and the Member States promote best practice and measure the impact of Community policies on cohesion on the basis of relevant indicators, by endowing the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON) with the necessary resources and functions needed to enable it to act as an observatory of the effects of structural policies on cohesion;

14.   Calls on the Commission also to assess the territorial impact of earmarking, and, in particular, to evaluate whether the earmarking of European funding for the Lisbon Strategy is actually contributing to balanced and coherent regional development;

15.   Calls on the Commission, the Member States, regions and local authorities, particularly those covered by the convergence objective, to give priority to measures seeking to prevent territorial imbalances and encourage integrated development by favouring the creation of polycentric areas;

16.   Urges the Commission, the Member States, regions and local authorities to investigate which instruments are best suited to securing a territorial balance between urban and rural areas, ensuring complementarity between rural and regional development, encouraging an integrated strategic approach to the development of urban areas together with the surrounding suburban and rural areas ("catchment areas") and encouraging the exchange of best practice, especially in regional and sectoral networks for improving the management of funds, including at the European Regions and Cities Week in Brussels;

17.   Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regions to make greater use of structural funds in order to boost the independent, sustainable development of regions of net emigration and counteract the negative consequences of demographic change;

18.   Calls on the Commission, the Member States and regional and local authorities to make efforts to ensure that cohesion policy makes a greater contribution to meeting the objectives of the new sustainable development strategy, by focusing on largely renewable sources of energy, transport systems that exploit the possibilities of intermodal combinations more efficiently and on recycling;

19.   Suggests that the Commission, the Member States, the regions and the local authorities support and encourage economic activities in rural areas geared to the development of new technologies, especially as they do not require physical proximity to the major urban centres;

20.   Stresses the importance of territorial cooperation under the cohesion policy, and calls on the management authorities to promote transnational and inter-regional cooperation by setting up separate regional and sectoral cooperation networks and to promote the transfer of experiences and best practice at regional and local levels under the Regions for Economic Change initiative;

21.   Calls for other territorial indicators to be used, apart from per capita GDP, for measuring the degree of cohesion, such as the rate and quality of employment, the level of disparities in GDP between neighbouring regions, the decentralisation and accessibility index, infrastructure and transport provision, the level of research/innovation, education and training activities and the diversity of production in the area in question;

22.   Invites the Commission, together with Eurostat, to lay down rules, in the context of the 2009 mid-term review of the new cohesion policy, on the use of new quantitative and qualitative indicators for cohesion;

23.   Encourages the Commission to analyse the leverage effect that structural funds have on attracting private investment within the context of the new cohesion policy and to highlight the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors;

24.   Suggests that the Commission should obtain better information on the quality and sustainability of the jobs that have been created using structural funds;

25.   Draws the Commission's attention to the fact that a shortage of administrative capacity can act as a major obstacle to maximising the impact of cohesion policies, and therefore calls on the Commission to develop the instrument made up of tripartite contracts and to continue the process of administrative capacity building during the implementation phase of the new cohesion policy, inter alia, by setting up a network of accredited trainers so as to ensure coherence between training measures and awareness-raising campaigns carried out by management authorities of a Member State, particularly at regional and local levels;

26.   Stresses the importance of the partnership principle in the implementation of cohesion policy, this principle requiring partners to be fully informed, their positions to be noted in evaluation documents and that training programmes, necessary for the performance of their tasks, to be provided;

27.   Calls on the Commission to examine, in the context of the implementing regulation(9) , actions to raise the visibility of spending, not only on major infrastructure projects but also on smaller projects, and to monitor more closely the application of mandatory publicity measures and to punish the Member States concerned in the event of serious breach; calls on the management authorities to involve MEPs in the provision of information connected with projects financed by structural funds;

28.   Emphasises, in view of the fact that EU-financed projects testify to a Europe which is close and inclusive, the need for regional authorities and Member States to respect and comply with the implementing regulation in order to increase the visibility of structural spending, and to step up their efforts to publicise the cohesion policy's practical implications for citizens;

29.   Considers that there is a need for ongoing research in order to develop various models for the future funding of EU cohesion policy; believes that, in this connection, a comparison should be made between the different effects of the various main funding instruments (European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF), the first pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EAFRD)) on the development of the Union of 27 Member States;

30.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, to the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee.

(1) OJ C 284 E, 21.11.2002, p. 329.
(2) OJ C 227 E, 21.9.2006, p. 509.
(3) OJ C 286 E, 23.11.2006, p. 501.
(4) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 79.
(5) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 25.
(6) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 123.
(7) OJ L 291, 21.10.2006, p. 11.
(8) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 357.
(9) Commission Regulation (EC) No 1828/2006 of 8 December 2006 setting out rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and of Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Regional Development Fund (OJ L 371, 27.12.2006, p. 1).


The EU's Aid for Trade
DOC 84k
European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on the EU's Aid for Trade (2006/2236(INI) )
P6_TA(2007)0203 A6-0088/2007

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 13 December 2001 on the WTO meeting in Qatar(1) , of 3 September 2002 on trade and development for poverty eradication(2) , of 30 January 2003 on world hunger and the elimination of barriers to trade with the poorest countries(3) , of 15 May 2003 on capacity building in the developing countries(4) , of 4 September 2003 on the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on trade and development - assisting developing countries to benefit from trade(5) , of 25 September 2003 on the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Cancún(6) , of 24 February 2005 on action against hunger and poverty(7) , of 12 May 2005 on the assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO General Council Decision of 1 August 2004(8) , of 6 July 2005 on the Global Call to Action: Making Poverty History(9) , of 1 December 2005 on preparations for the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Hong Kong(10) , of 4 April 2006 on the assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong(11) , of 1 June 2006 on trade and poverty: designing trade policies to maximise trade's contribution to poverty relief(12) , of 6 July 2006 on Fair Trade and Development (13) and of 7 September 2006 on the suspension of negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda(14) (DDA),

–   having regard to the Commission Communications "Speeding up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals - The European Union's contribution" (COM(2005)0132 ), "Accelerating progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals - Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness" (COM(2005)0133 ), "Policy Coherence for Development - Accelerating progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals" (COM(2005)0134 ), "Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness - The challenges of scaling up EU aid 2006 –2010"(COM(2006)0085 ) and "EU Aid: Delivering more, better and faster" (COM(2006)0087 ),

–   having regard to the Joint statement by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the European Union Development Policy: "The European Consensus"(15) ,

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 12 December 2005 and 16 and17 October 2006,

–   having regard to the Doha Ministerial Declaration(16) of the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference of the WTO, adopted on 14 November 2001,

–   having regard to the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration(17) of the Sixth Session of the Ministerial Conference of the WTO, adopted on 18 December 2005,

–   having regard to the United Nations' Millennium Declaration(18) of 8 September 2000, which sets out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as criteria collectively established by the international community for the elimination of poverty,

–   having regard to the "The Millennium Development Goals - Report 2005" and "The Millennium Development Goals - Report 2006"of the United Nations,

–   having regard to the reports by the UN Millennium Project Task Forces,

–   having regard to the Gleneagles Communiqué released on 8 July 2005 by the Group of Eight (G8),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A6-0088/2007 ),

A.   whereas a balanced, rules-based multilateral trading system is crucial to the ability of developing countries to participate in, and benefit from, international trade,

B.   whereas, over the past 40 years, the share of world trade of the least developed countries (LDCs) has declined from 1.9% to less than 1% despite the expansion, over recent years, of bilateral duty free and quota free access schemes for their products (of which the Community's 'Everything But Arms' scheme is the largest),

C.   whereas economic growth and the integration of developing countries into the global economy is a major condition for attaining the objective of eradicating poverty in the context of sustainable development and the pursuit of the MDGs,

D.   whereas peace and the common and universal values of respect for, and promotion of, human rights, fundamental freedoms, good governance, democratisation and the rule of law are essential to enable developing countries to both reduce poverty and realise the benefits to be derived from greater trade opportunities,

E.   whereas, as noted in the "European Consensus on Development", the Community, drawing on its own experiences and exclusive competence in trade, has a comparative advantage in providing support to partner countries to integrate trade into national development strategies and in supporting regional co-operation,

F.   whereas the Hong Kong Declaration of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the WTO states that "Aid for Trade should aim to help developing countries, particularly LDCs, to build the supply-side capacity and trade-related infrastructure that they need to assist them to implement and benefit from WTO Agreements and more broadly to expand their trade",

G.   whereas globalisation is an ongoing and unstoppable process that presents opportunities and challenges but also raises the risk of marginalising countries, in particular the poorest countries, as well as marginalising the most vulnerable groups within those countries, notably where income gaps within and between countries remain wide and where there is an increasing number of people living in poverty,

The case for Aid for Trade (AfT) and the virtuous triangle: improved market access, sound domestic policies and increased and more effective Aid for Trade

1.   Stresses that opening up trade is one of the most effective drivers of economic growth, which is indispensable for reducing poverty and promoting pro-poor economic growth and employment and it is also an important catalyst for sustainable development worldwide;

2.   Insists, however, that trade openness alone is an insufficient condition for harnessing trade for development and reducing poverty, which is a complex and multidimensional problem without simple solutions;

3.   Emphasises that, in many developing countries, "behind-the-border" domestic policies and deficient economic and investment environments are powerful constraints on the ability to reap the benefits from greater trade opportunities; notes, therefore, that growth and trade cannot reduce poverty without the necessary flanking domestic policies, including redistribution and social policies, and a real improvement in the capacity for good governance;

4.   Considers that, without progress in governance, all other reforms may have only limited impact; stresses that effective states, namely those that can promote and protect human rights and can deliver services to their people and a climate favourable to entrepreneurship and growth are the foundation of development; considers that whilst improvements in governance, including democracy, are first and foremost the responsibility of the country concerned, AfT can be used to both support and avoid undermining good governance by supporting comprehensive national strategies for capacity building and broadening participation and by strengthening institutions that improve transparency and accountability;

5.   Considers that accountability is reciprocal and that the principles of environmental sustainability, social and human rights protection and good governance apply to developed and developing countries alike and must therefore be mainstreamed into the EU's approach to AfT;

6.   Concludes that if developing countries are to fulfil the potential of trade liberalisation, then market access, particularly in their most competitive sectors, must be complemented by both sound domestic policy reforms and a fair international trading system that includes substantially increased and more effective AfT;

7.   Stresses that AfT is no panacea but is indeed necessary to both reap the potential gains from international trade and mitigate its potential costs; thinks that, for AfT to be considered a success, producers and traders in recipient countries must experience direct economic benefits;

8.   Notes that trade, along with productive capacity more generally, has been somewhat neglected in aid programmes over the last 10 to 15 years in favour of an emphasis on essential efforts targeted directly at poverty reduction, which are not always the most effective means of achieving significant poverty reduction in the longer term; believes, therefore, that AfT initiatives offer a unique opportunity to work beyond the mutual distrust between trade and aid; considers therefore that, in order to restore the balance and find sustainable long-term patterns of production that can contribute to poverty reduction, it is imperative to pay special attention to the integration of trade and development strategies;

9.   Acknowledges that development is not simply economic development but also development in areas such as health, education, human rights, environmental protection and political freedoms; considers, however, that these cannot be ensured in the absence of economic development, which generates the necessary resources;

10.   Hopes that AfT can be the means of developing the ability of recipient developing countries to launch a process of South-South economic integration, something which has been lacking until now;

11.   Urges the EU to fulfil all the commitments it made in the Doha Round to the LDCs by frontloading the development package as well as eliminating its agricultural export subsidies by 2013; stresses that the EU must urge the other members of the WTO to also fulfil their commitments to the LDCs;

The 2007 Joint European Strategy on Aid for Trade

12.   Welcomes and strongly supports the emerging consensus, reflected in the Conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 16 and 17 October 2006, that increased and more effective AfT is needed to enable all developing countries, particularly the LDCs, to better integrate into the multilateral, rules-based trading system, and to use trade more effectively in promoting the overarching objective of poverty eradication in the context of sustainable development;

13.   Considers it of the utmost importance that, following the example of the "European Consensus on Development", Parliament be appropriately involved in the preparation and adoption of the 2007 Joint European Strategy on AfT;

14.   Notes that the referred Joint Strategy should, first, establish the general principles for the EU's AfT, second, set a work programme with specific recommendations for the EU to attain and eventually improve the EUR 2 billion target for trade-related assistance by 2010 and deliver more effective AfT, third, establish the modalities for coordination and actual implementation at the different levels of AfT in keeping with the WTO Task Force recommendations and, lastly, define mechanisms for improving transparency, monitoring and control;

The Scope and Definition of Aid for Trade

15.   Notes that one of the most contentious issues surrounding AfT relates to its very definition, since AfT is used to describe an extremely wide range of trade-related assistance measures provided to developing countries;

16.   Recalls that, as defined by the OECD and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), and recorded in the Doha Development Agenda Trade Capacity Building Database (TCBDB), trade-related assistance has traditionally fallen into two basic categories: trade policy and regulation and trade development, the latter of which is interpreted as including private sector support and, to a lesser extent, supply-side constraints as well as some adjustment support;

17.   Stresses, however, that the WTO Aid for Trade Task Force (WTO AfT TF) has added three further categories of AfT to the two existing categories: trade-related adjustment, trade-related infrastructure, and productive capacity;

18.   Notes that, as these three AfT categories overlap with the existing two, and therefore risk being indistinguishable from general development cooperation, they cannot form the subject of the existing quantitative targets set by the Commission or commitments undertaken by the Member States until there is an international consensus on their definition, since this wider AfT area would be at risk of unclear reporting and double counting;

19.   Believes, however, that the extra three categories proposed in the broad and ambitious definition of the WTO AfT TF are valuable in that they accurately reflect the wide-ranging trade-related needs of developing countries and should therefore be used in countries' development and poverty reduction strategies in order to promote the effective inclusion of all relevant trade-related priorities; considers that the key challenge, and opportunity, now is to develop a coherent set of instruments that combine to channel assistance that helps developing countries to engage in more advantageous trade and thus promote economic growth and poverty reduction and drive development forward;

20.   Recommends the creation of inclusive processes at country level, supported by appropriate institutional structures that bring together domestic agencies, relevant ministries, including the Ministries of Trade (which traditionally have only had limited domestic influence in policy development), parliamentarians, trade unions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), donors and the private sector, such processes being the starting point for identifying the real needs and priorities of AfT and for information sharing and policy dialogue;

21.   Notes that AfT initiatives should pay greater attention to the crucial involvement of the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), trade unions and civil society, both in the identification of needs and in the implementation of assistance, so as to allow AfT to better facilitate the creation and growth of enterprises, and the effective creation of decent jobs; in this regard, emphasises the need to allocate some AfT funding to Fair Trade, in accordance with paragraph 19 of its above-mentioned Resolution on Fair Trade and Development;

Beyond the Scope, within the Cause: The importance of the wider Aid for Trade agenda

22.   Stresses that independently of the precise definition of AfT, the EU must contribute significantly to the wider AfT agenda;

Trade Adjustment

23.   Notes that, while trade adjustment is not expressly referred to in the above-mentioned Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration it should be included as an important element of the wider AfT agenda; recalls, in this regard, that the UN Millennium Project's Task Force on Trade proposed a temporary "aid for trade fund", while the EU Trade Commissioner himself proposed (on 4 February 2005) the establishment of a special Trade Adjustment Fund to "help the poor to trade more effectively and ease the social costs of adjustment";

24.   Notes that trade-related adjustment costs cover a wide range of issues, and mainly include: firstly, the costs of preference erosion, which particularly affect countries dependent on exports of textiles and agricultural commodities, secondly, loss of revenue from trade tariffs and, thirdly, costs resulting from increases in food prices which are likely to affect net food importing countries and which will mainly affect the poorer sectors of the population;

25.   Emphasises that the added costs of compliance with product standard requirements, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and the costs of implementing WTO agreements, such as Trade-related Investment Measures (TRIMs), Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which requires sophisticated changes in policies and legislation, are often considered adjustment costs, but also emphasises that they overlap with the 'trade policy and regulation' AfT category; notes that costs relating to factors of production, such as those of managing short-term unemployment and of retraining, are also considered by some experts as trade-related adjustment costs;

26.   Notes that balance of payments support is a general development policy tool that can and should also be utilised to address adjustment costs;

27.   Stresses that adjustment costs are particularly relevant in the context of European Partnership Agreements (EPAs);

28.   Recognises the growing concerns in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States at the methods of delivery, effectiveness and quality of EC-administered AfT in support of economic adjustment programmes;

29.   Stresses that trade adjustment should not be understood as mere compensation to be paid for the erosion of preferences or the wider effects of liberalisation, but as a mechanism to facilitate the difficult transition to a more liberalised environment;

30.   Believes that adjustment assistance in response to trade shocks is indispensable to facilitate acceptance of freer trade, since, in the absence of adjustment assistance and social safety nets, trade liberalisation will be resisted or reversed; considers that the EU's ability to finance and implement AfT in this regard will require a much deeper understanding of the adjustment processes that workers, consumers, businesses and governments of developing countries experience as a result of trade liberalisation;

31.   Notes that the Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was devised in 2004 to help countries experiencing balance of payments difficulties to cope with the effects of trade liberalisation, is subject to usual IMF policy conditionality and terms of lending, and may therefore be unsuitable for countries that are already highly indebted and/or do not wish to have an IMF programme; acknowledges with concern that this is the only specific available multilateral mechanism for trade-related adjustment, and that it has to date only been utilised by three countries, namely Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Madagascar;

32.   Recommends that the Commission and the Member States, in the absence of new multilateral mechanisms to address trade-related adjustment costs, firstly assess the scope, efficiency and effectiveness of current assistance, making, in particular, a quantitative assessment - both descriptive and analytical - of the impact of this assistance; recommends that the Commission use a consistent methodology to assess how specific projects have supported trade and economic development, so as to help trade-related adjustment and, further, to devise, within the framework of the 2007 Joint European Strategy on AfT, specific recommendations in this regard, secondly promote a new TIM by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) that is more ambitious both in funding and scope and that can be more widely utilised and, thirdly, in the case of the Member States, develop, within the framework of their own national and regional programmes, concrete initiatives to address adjustment costs, particularly those which, like preference erosion, are to be resolved mainly between the recipients and the granters of preferences as well as those which are not properly addressed by the IMF's TIM;

33.   Requests the Commission to clarify the budget lines that could be utilised to fund trade-related adjustment assistance and to assess, in this connection, the possible shortcomings of the current EU budget structure;

34.   Emphasises the importance of providing aid for infrastructure as an important factor in the consolidation of national and regional markets and in the stimulation of export-led growth;

Infrastructure

35.   Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to provide a clear overview of the current assistance and planned initiatives that clearly have a trade infrastructure component; in this regard, calls for more ambitious intervention on the part of the EIB under a multi-annual plan to finance infrastructure in sectors such as road and rail transport, information and communications technology, airports and seaports;

36.   Urges the Commission to make specific proposals on how to address the recommendations made by the WTO AfT TF on areas that may fall outside the scope of more narrowly defined EU AfT, in particular: building productive capacities, trade-related infrastructure and the adjustment challenges arising from trade liberalisation;

Other related issues
Regional integration and South-South trade

37.   Believes that Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) among developing countries and/or developed and developing countries are an effective means for ensuring the participation of developing countries in the global economy;

38.   Recognises the significant value of South-South initiatives which, drawing on shared experience, disseminate best practice in the facilitation of trade, and expects the 2007 Joint European Strategy on AfT to propose specific measures to support such initiatives;

39.   Emphasises that regional and South-South integration is a potentially powerful instrument for leveraging trade for development as it can enhance efficiency and competitiveness, enable economies of scale, create an attractive environment for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), secure greater bargaining power, as well as contribute to the consolidation of peace and security;

40.   Notes that regional or cross-country AfT needs are often insufficiently addressed in country-based programming practices; calls, therefore, on the Commission, the Member States and the IFIs to propose specific recommendations for improving existing mechanisms in order to address regional and cross-country AfT needs, including those specifically related to regional integration;

Agriculture

41.   Notes that agriculture continues to be the principal source of income and employment in most developing countries and therefore stresses the role of AfT in helping developing countries to address the challenges faced by their agricultural sector, particularly those affecting commodities such as sugar, bananas and cotton;

Services

42.   Considers that, to date, the EU has focused comparatively very little of its trade-related assistance in the area of services, which is inconsistent with the importance of services in global trade; stresses, therefore, that the targeting of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and AfT funds in the area of services is essential to strengthen the potential of developing countries to manage and regulate their services sectors, to export services, and to comply with relevant regulatory and other services-related requirements in OECD countries; further, emphasises the need to provide developing countries with funding and legal and technical expertise so as to enable them to defend their economic interests at international level;

Labour and environmental standards

43.   Stresses that specific assistance for putting in place legislation for ensuring effective compliance with the core labour standards set out in the International Labour Organisation's conventions, and also appropriate and effective environmental legislation, is a necessary component of the AfT agenda;

Promotion of Fair Trade

44.   Calls for special attention to be paid to initiatives which best promote poverty reduction and sustainable development, including Fair Trade projects and initiatives facilitating female participation in the labour force;

45.   Stresses that, within the context of building productive capacities, AfT should also support efforts to engage small and disadvantaged producers in trade, support the build-up of producer associations and their representative structures, facilitate access to trade finance and enable direct contacts to be made between producers and consumers, as this constitutes best practice in existing Fair Trade initiatives;

46.   Believes that the creation of trade capacities that fall within the ambit of AfT must be accompanied by more effective efforts to ensure decent producer remuneration; in this connection recalls the importance of producer participation in the setting of prices, as envisaged in the Compendium of the Cotonou Agreement;

The principles of the EU's Aid for Trade

47.  Stresses that the 2007 Joint European Strategy on AfT, in line with the OECD Paris Declaration, should establish the following general principles:

   As regards rationale and geographical scope
   (a) AfT is no panacea for development but is indeed a necessary complement to trade liberalisation and domestic policy reforms carried out by developing countries themselves, and to appropriate WTO flexibilities,
   b) a successful AfT requires the effective integration of trade and development strategies,
   (c) AfT should prioritise the LDCs and the most vulnerable developing countries,
   As regards the Doha Development Agenda
   (d) AfT is not a substitute for the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and the development benefits that will result from improved market access; AfT is a valuable and necessary complement, which should contribute to the development dimension of the DDA by helping developing countries, particularly the LDCs, to implement and benefit from WTO agreements and more broadly by helping them to expand their trade; AfT is not part of the DDA single undertaking and is necessary in its own right, independently of progress in the Doha Round,
   e) increased and more effective AfT should be expeditiously implemented regardless of the conclusion of the Doha Round,
   (f) AfT cannot be linked to any outcome of the negotiations or used to compensate for a lack of market access,
   As regards the commitments for more Aid for Trade and its implementation
   g) increased AfT must be proportional to the magnitude of the identified challenges, predictable, stable and complementary to − but not replace − existing development aid,
   h) greater coherence with the different areas of external action, particularly trade and development policies, as well as greater complementarity and better harmonisation, alignment and coordination of procedures, both between the EU and its Member States and in relations with and between other donors are essential to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of AfT,
   i) country ownership is crucial: AfT must be recipient-driven and be designed and implemented as an integral part of developing countries' own economic and developmental strategies and must be responsive to the demands of the private sector and civil society, including the Fair Trade movement,
   (j) AfT should be pursued following a differentiated approach depending on specific development contexts and needs, so that beneficiary countries or regions, and particularly their private sectors and civil society, are provided with specific, tailor-made assistance, based on their own needs, strategies, priorities and assets,
   k) in view of the recurring problem of the lack of ownership of needs assessments by developing countries, due to a lack of capacity in some cases, AfT should support developing countries in the management, design and implementation of trade policies as an integral part of their own economic and developmental strategies; AfT should also be designed to address the specific development challenges identified by the beneficiaries and be closely aligned with country priorities, procedures and systems,
   l) a key issue of AfT and aid effectiveness is the timeliness and predictability of the delivery of funding; in accordance with the Paris Declaration Principles, recipient countries should benefit from substantial multi-annual, predictable aid; AfT should be delivered in time to address both short- and long-term priorities and, ideally, should be aligned with the country or region's own programming cycle;

Scaling up Aid for Trade

48.   Recalls that, at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, the EU and its Member States jointly pledged to increase collectively AfT to EUR 2 billion; notes that this pledge should be monitored on the basis of the traditional EU trade-related assistance categories of trade policy and regulation and trade development, as defined by OECD/DAC and recorded in the DAC/WTO DDA database;

49.   Recognises, however, that, as the pledge is only to be in relation to trade-related assistance, there is a danger that available finance may be pushed toward this narrower strand of AfT in order to fulfil this target, and may prevent AfT from being genuinely demand-led in those cases in which countries or regions prioritise trade-related infrastructure and adjustment; calls on the Commission to address this concern in the joint strategy;

50.   Recalls that the EU has committed itself to increasing its overall ODA to 0,56% of GDP by 2010, which corresponds to EUR 20 billion in additional aid, and notes, therefore, that additional funding for AfT should be widely available within the margins of this increment and not at the expense of other development priorities;

51.   Stresses that, because the AfT package should be additional to existing development aid, new AfT pledges should not lead to the shifting of resources already earmarked for other development initiatives, such as health and education projects, which are extremely important for building a strong economy;

52.   Urges the EU and the Member States to fully implement, as soon as possible, their respective commitments as regards AfT in accordance with the general principles identified in this resolution;

53.   Calls on the Commission to explain, in a specific work programme, how it is going to implement its pledge to increase current and planned Community funding to support AfT from the current average of approximately EUR 850 million per year to EUR 1 billion per year; notes, in this regard, that AfT additionality should be achieved by reference to an agreed base-line such as, for example, the average of 2002-04;

54.   Stresses that the EUR 1 billion pledges by both the Commission and the Member States should be implemented without resorting to either the relabelling as AfT of aid formerly classified as aid for infrastructure or the double-counting, by Member States, of bilateral aid and contributions to the EU's external aid;

55.   Calls on all major international donors to clarify the exact nature and scope of their pledges;

56.   Requests the Commission to explain, in detail, the specific measures required to ensure that trade mainstreaming in the programming dialogue with beneficiary countries and regions leads to the effective delivery of the promised increased assistance;

57.   Acknowledges the budget difficulties that the Commission faces when allocating funds for multilateral purposes; requests the Commission to clarify the needs for funding horizontal trade-related assistance initiatives, including bilateral, regional and multilateral initiatives, such as the Integrated Framework (IF); stresses, in this regard, that it proposed a new budget line, which has already been included in the 2007 EU budget, to fund multilateral programmes and initiatives in the field of trade-related assistance that offer added value to the Community's geographical programmes; stresses that the new budget line gives it greater control over expenditure relating to multilateral programmes and initiatives in the field of trade-related assistance, thus increasing the visibility and transparency of this kind of spending; requests the Commission to complete, as soon as possible, a funds assessment for horizontal trade-related assistance initiatives, including the IF;

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

58.   Believes that appropriate support for EPA-related adjustment and accompanying measures will play a major role in determining the capacity of the ACP countries and regions to reap the potential benefits from EPA-related commitments and reforms; believes, moreover, that AfT to ACP countries is a necessary complement if they are to take full advantage of the opportunities arising from the international trading system;

59.   Welcomes the commitment that a substantial share of the EU and Member States" pledge to increase their trade-related assistance to EUR 2 billion by 2010 will be allocated to the ACP countries; notes with concern, however, that only the Member States' collective contribution is meant to be additional to European Development Fund (EDF) resources; regrets that the operational aspects of development support given to EPAs, and therefore the consequences of this decision on the EPA talks, remain undetermined, and urges the Council and the Commission to clarify the magnitude and budgetary nature of the Member States' contribution as soon as possible and well in advance of the conclusion of the EPA negotiations, with particular reference to issues relating to the available levels and scope of support, the mechanisms for its delivery, identified linkages and synergies with the 10th EDF programming, and to the process of linking AfT with the EPA negotiation and its implementation;

60.   Calls for a review of the existing AfT programmes of the Member States insofar as they concern EPA-related adjustments, so as to identify the most efficient mechanism for delivering effective support in the processing of EPA-related adjustments;

61.   Stresses the urgency of getting to grips with the challenge of efficiently delivering effective AfT to ACP countries already engaged in preferential trade with the EU (for instance Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, which are half way through eliminating tariffs on trade with the EU);

The Integrated Framework

62.   Welcomes the recommendations of the IF Task Force and, in view of the commitment made by the WTO 2005 Ministerial Conference to operationalise the Enhanced IF by 31 December 2006; urges donors, and the EU in particular, to clarify their pledges so that the Enhanced IF can be immediately, adequately and predictably funded and effectively implemented as soon as possible;

63.   Recalls that an Enhanced IF should become the key tool in assisting the LDCs in defining their needs in the area of trade through the Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies, and should also become a substantial vehicle to assist the LDCs to mainstream trade into their national development plans and to improve their capacity to formulate, negotiate and implement trade policy;

64.   Notes that the US$ 400 million of Indicative Costing for the Enhanced IF, based on the participation of 40 LDCs over a period of five years, would amount to an average of US$ 1-2 million per country per annum, which will be an improvement if effectively implemented but is nevertheless far from being a substantial response to existing challenges;

65.   Calls for better coordination and coherence among various aid donors that reflect the proven competence of the agencies involved in delivering effective high-quality assistance in various AfT areas, as well as for more transparency regarding the aid allocated through trade-related assistance; insists, therefore, on the involvement of fully-fledged representatives of civil society and the private sector in the IF;

66.   Notes the ambitious work program of the multi agency, ad-hoc consultative group on AfT; regrets, however, the lack of involvement of private sector, civil society and developing country representatives in this process;

67.   Stresses that transparency in the delivery of aid and effective monitoring and evaluation are essential for building confidence in developing countries and for continual improvement in the quality of assistance given;

68.   Requests the Commission to develop quantifiable criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of AfT;

69.   Notes the General Affairs and External Relations Council's decision that AfT for EPAs will only cover trade policy and regulations and trade development activities; urges the Council and the Commission to clarify how other needs arising from EPAs, such as trade-related infrastructure, building productive capacity and trade-related adjustment, will be addressed; considers that the Council and the Commission should further consider the most appropriate mechanisms of delivery for different categories of support as regards EPAs;

70.   Notes that women benefit less from the opportunities presented by trade liberalisation and globalisation, while at the same time they are harder hit by the adverse effects of those phenomena, and urges the EU therefore, in its trade-related assistance programmes, to devote specific attention to increasing opportunities for women to participate in trade, particularly international trade;

Monitoring, evaluation, review and Parliament's role in scrutiny and oversight

71.   Believes that the OECD/DAC should monitor the global AfT agenda so as to ensure maximum transparency in the management and destination of aid, but agrees with the recommendation of the WTO TF to incorporate AfT into the donor's and/or recipient's WTO Trade Policy Reviews;

72.   Reiterates that the Commission should examine the progress made in implementing the measures taken in the AfT area and should submit to Parliament and the Council a bi-annual report (starting in 2008) on implementation and the results obtained and, as far as possible, on the main outcomes and effects of AfT assistance;

73.   Requests explicitly that the bi-annual report contain specific information on the history of the measures financed, where appropriate showing results of monitoring and evaluation exercises, the involvement of the relevant partners, and the implementation of the pledges and budget commitments and payments, broken down by country, region and category of assistance; requests that the report also assess the progress made in mainstreaming trade into aid programming and the results achieved with the assistance, using, as far as possible, specific and measurable indicators of its role in meeting the AfT objectives;

74.   Stresses that the Commission should submit to Parliament and the Council, no later than 31 December 2010, a second report evaluating the implementation of, and results obtained with, AfT assistance, if appropriate, together with a proposal to increase the budget for AfT and to introduce the necessary modifications to the AfT strategy and its implementation;

o
o   o

75.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the ACP-EU Council and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 290.
(2) OJ C 272 E, 13.11.2003, p. 277.
(3) OJ C 39 E, 13.2.2004, p. 79.
(4) OJ C 67 E, 17.3.2004, p. 255.
(5) OJ C 76 E, 25.3.2004, p. 435.
(6) OJ C 77 E, 26.3.2004, p. 393.
(7) OJ C 304 E, 1.12.2005, p. 383.
(8) OJ C 92 E, 20.4.2006, p. 397.
(9) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p.397.
(10) OJ C 285E, 22.11.2006, p.126.
(11) OJ C 293E, 2.12.2006, p.155.
(12) OJ C 298E, 8.12.2006, p. 261.
(13) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0320 .
(14) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0350 .
(15) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(16) WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1.
(17) WT/MIN(05)/DEC.
(18) A/RES/55/2.


Economic partnership agreements
DOC 64k
European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on Economic Partnership Agreements (2005/2246(INI) )
P6_TA(2007)0204 A6-0084/2007

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 13 December 2001 on the WTO meeting in Qatar(1) , of 25 September 2003 on the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Cancún(2) , of 12 May 2005 on the assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO General Council Decision of 1 August 2004(3) , of 6 July 2005 on the Global Call to Action: Making Poverty History(4) , of 1 December 2005 on the preparations for the sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Hong Kong(5) , of 23 March 2006 on the development impact of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)(6) , of 4 April 2006 on the assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong(7) , of 1 June 2006 on trade and poverty: designing trade policies to maximise trade's contribution to poverty relief(8) , and of 7 September 2006 on the suspension of negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda(9) (DDA),

–   having regard to the resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 23 November 2006, adopted in Barbados, on the review of negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs),

–   having regard to the Cape Town Declaration, adopted unanimously on 21 March 2002 by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, calling for the establishment of developmental benchmarks against which the conduct and outcome of the ACP-EU trade negotiations are to be assessed,

–   having regard to the declaration of the Annual 2006 Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, adopted on 2 December 2006 in Geneva,

–   having regard to its position of 9 March 2005 on the proposal for a Council regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences(10) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 980/2005 of 27 June 2005 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences(11) ,

–   having regard to the Partnership agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement),

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 10 and 11 April 2006 and 16 and 17 October 2006 and the Conclusions of the European Council of 15 and 16 June 2006,

–   having regard to the Joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the European Union Development Policy: 'The European Consensus' (The European Consensus on Development) signed on 20 December 2005(12) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document entitled 'The Trade and Development Aspects of EPA Negotiations' (SEC(2005)1459 ),

–   having regard to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), in particular Article XXIV thereof,

–   having regard to the Ministerial Declaration of the Fourth Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference, adopted on 14 November 2001 in Doha,

–   having regard to the Decision adopted by the WTO General Council on 1 August 2004,

–   having regard to the Ministerial Declaration of the Sixth Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference, adopted on 18 December 2005 in Hong Kong,

–   having regard to the report and recommendations of the Task Force on Aid for Trade, adopted by the WTO General Council on 10 October 2006,

–   having regard to the Sutherland Report on the future of the WTO,

–   having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000, which sets out the Millennium Development Goals as criteria collectively established by the international community for the elimination of poverty,

–   having regard to the United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome,

–   having regard to the report by the UN Millennium Project Task Force headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs entitled "Investing in Development: a practical plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals",

–   having regard to the Gleneagles Communiqué, released on 8 July 2005 by the Group of Eight in Gleneagles,

–   having regard to the Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - The Least Developed Countries 2006: Developing Productive Capacities,

–   having regard to the Economic Report on Africa 2004 entitled "Unlocking Africa's Trade Potential" by the UN Economic Commission for Africa,

–   having regard to the ACP Guidelines for the Negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements, adopted by the ACP Council of Ministers on 27 June 2002 in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), and the decision on the negotiation of EPAs and participation in international trade, adopted by the 3rd Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government on 19 July 2002 in Nadi (Fiji),

–   having regard to the Declaration of the 4th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government, held on 23 and 24 June 2004 in Maputo, Mozambique, with regard to the economic development dimension,

–   having regard to the Declaration of the 81st Session of the ACP Council of Ministers, held in Brussels on 21and 22 June 2005,

–   having regard to Decision No 2/LXXXIII/06 of the 83rd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers, held in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) from 28 to 31 May 2006,

–   having regard to the Declaration issued by the 5th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government in Khartoum (Sudan) on 8 December 2006,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade (A6-0084/2007 ),

A.   whereas the EU's existing trade relationship with the ACP countries – which gives the latter preferential access to EU markets on a non-reciprocal basis – does not comply with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO),

B.   whereas the Cotonou Agreement sets out the Parties" agreement to conclude new WTO-compatible trading arrangements, progressively removing barriers to trade between them and enhancing cooperation in all areas relevant to trade and development,

C.   whereas negotiations are not progressing at the same pace in the six regions, leading to concerns that they will not be completed in all regions before the end of 2007,

D.   whereas there is widespread concern that the negotiations have not advanced as far as they should have done at this stage of the negotiation process,

E.   whereas failure on both sides to put forward, and respond to, proposals in a timely fashion has been a major reason for delay,

F.   whereas another formal WTO waiver would be politically costly and difficult to achieve,

G.   whereas, in many ACP countries, information on, and involvement in, the EPA process at a country level has been worryingly low,

H.   whereas the lack of progress made in the negotiations of the DDA at the WTO renders the EPA negotiations more difficult,

I.   whereas both parties agree on the centrality of the "development dimension" to EPAs, but negotiators have thus far failed to reach agreement on a common definition of the concept,

J.   whereas it is essential that EPAs should contribute to sustainable social and economic development and to the alleviation of poverty in ACP countries,

K.   whereas, in an increasingly globalised world, preference erosion is inevitable,

L.   whereas Everything but Arms (EBA) has so far failed to give rise to a significant increase in Least Developed Countries' (LDCs) exports to the EU; whereas that suggests that tariff and quota liberalisation alone do not make poor countries more competitive,

M.   whereas increased reciprocity between the EU and the ACP countries should spur the competitiveness of ACP countries but it is likely to harm uncompetitive industries, the agricultural sector, which has hardly been modernised or diversified, and fragile economies,

N.   whereas EPA configurations are not always in line with existing regional economic integration arrangements, thus running counter to the priority objective of consolidating regional integration in the ACP countries,

O.   whereas agriculture is the engine of development in most ACP countries and in order for EPAs to become a development tool, they must address the challenges faced by the ACP agricultural sector,

P.   whereas establishing a genuine regional market represents an essential basis for successfully implementing EPAs; whereas genuine regional integration represents an important basis for the social and economic development of the ACP countries, as is stated in the Cotonou agreement,

Q.   whereas an increase in intra-regional trade, as is intended by the EPAs, is hindered by weak intraregional infrastructure and a wide range of non-tariff barriers to trade,

R.   whereas the failure of the Regional Preparatory Task Forces to carry out their intended function has hindered negotiations and raised questions about the future efficacy of EPA-related monitoring mechanisms,

S.   whereas a lack of analytical data in relation to ACP economies has made full EPA impact assessments very difficult to carry out,

T.   whereas improved trade rules must be accompanied by an increase in support for trade-related assistance,

U.   whereas the objective of Aid for Trade is to support developing countries' capacities to take advantage of new trade opportunities,

V.   whereas a solution to the issue of adjustment costs, relating to preparations and implementation of liberalisation required as part of the EPAs, must be found,

W.   whereas, pursuant to Article 37(4) of the Cotonou Agreement, a formal and comprehensive review of the arrangements planned for all countries must be undertaken in order to ensure that no further time is needed for preparations or negotiations; whereas that review must lead to a critical assessment of the EPA negotiations in progress,

1.   Believes that EPAs must be designed as instruments for development and that they must contribute to increased economic growth, regional integration and the reduction of poverty;

2.   Reaffirms its view that, if appropriately designed, EPAs represent an opportunity to revitalise ACP – EU trading relations, promote ACP economic diversification and regional integration and to reduce poverty in the ACP countries;

3.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure policy coherence for development; stresses that the "European Consensus on Development" (Development Policy Statement, DSP), in particular paragraph 36, provides the EPA negotiators with guidance; urges, in this respect, the Commission to adhere to the principles of asymmetry and flexibility;

4.   Recognises that it is important for the ACP countries and the EU to fully assume the necessary responsibility to ensure the right of ACP countries to development and well being; urges ACP governments to implement good governance rules, drawing, inter alia, on the technical assistance provided for under the Aid for Trade instrument;

5.   Recalls that, by the end of the EPA negotiations no ACP country should, in its trade relations, find itself in a more unfavourable situation after 2007 than under current arrangements;

6.   Expresses concern at the slow pace of the negotiations and the consequent lack of tangible progress, with many critical issues yet to be discussed or agreed upon;

7.   Urges negotiators not to work under excessive pressure or in a hurry on such complex and extremely important negotiations; urges the Commission to show more flexibility towards ACP concerns;

8.   Calls on the Commission not to exert undue pressure and - in the event of negotiations not being completed by 1 January 2008 - make efforts at WTO level to seek to ensure that disruption of existing ACP exports to the EU is avoided pending a final settlement;

9.   Calls for greater transparency on the progress and substance of the negotiations; calls for all parties to ensure that parliamentarians and other stakeholders in the ACP countries and the EU are consulted on the EPA negotiations so as to achieve an appropriate implementation of EPAs;

10.   Calls on the Commission to do its utmost to conclude the negotiations on the DDA and ensure that the liberalisation agreements promote development in poor countries;

11.   Is convinced that EPAs should be complementary to an agreement on the DDA and not an alternative, and that a pro-development conclusion to EPAs could be a first step towards a development-focused multilateral agreement;

12.   Recognises that preferential market access has not been a sufficient tool in itself to bring about the development of the ACP countries and maintains that, in order to achieve that goal, flanking measures need to be put in place to boost their competitiveness;

13.   Calls for full duty-free, quota-free market access for the ACP as well as simplified, liberalised and more flexible rules of origin in EPAs than is the case under EBA, taking into account the differences in the level of industrial development between the EU and the ACP countries as well as among ACP countries;

14.   Calls for the pace, timing and scope of liberalisation to be gradual and flexible in order to improve ACP regional integration and competitiveness, and to ensure that development objectives, such as the avoidance of adverse social impacts, particularly towards women, are given priority;

15.   Calls for the special case of the EU Member States' overseas regions and territories to be taken fully into account in the EPA negotiations, especially the outermost regions referred to in Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty;

16.   Urges ACP countries to resolve the problem pertaining to the membership of overlapping regional groups;

17.   Calls for negotiators to develop a strategy for diversifying, modernising, and boosting ACP competitiveness – particularly in the agricultural sector – thus going beyond market access;

18.   Recognises that workable safeguard mechanisms, allowing ACP regions to counter surges in imports from the EU, are essential, particularly for agricultural products;

19.   Calls on the EU to promote Fair Trade and other means to improve conditions for small and marginalised producers and poor workers;

20.   Reminds the negotiators that, when improving agricultural competitiveness strategies in ACP countries, due regard should be paid to food security;

21.   Stresses that it is essential to ensure that ACP countries preserve the right to protect some sensitive products;

22.   Recognises that the Sustainable Impact Assessments (SIAs) have failed to have a meaningful impact on negotiations and calls on the Commission to clarify and review the link between SIAs and negotiating positions, in order to give stakeholders the opportunity to be heard;

23.   Calls for an appropriate and transparent monitoring mechanism - with a clear role and influence - to be set up at both regional and national levels in order to follow the impact of EPAs with increased ACP ownership and broad stakeholder consultation;

24.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to clarify the extent to which the financing of the "development dimension" of EPAs will be available beyond the 10th European Development Fund (EDF);

25.   Welcomes the conclusion of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 16 October 2006 that "a substantial share of the Community and Member States" commitment to increase their trade-related assistance to EUR 2 billion by 2010 has to be devoted to the ACP countries", though regrets that not all of this money is "additional to EDF resources" and urges the Commission and Member States to clarify the precise terms of these commitments, to guarantee that this assistance is not conditional on the outcome of EPA negotiations, and to work towards significantly increasing the amount of available Aid for Trade as demand from ACP states increases;

26.   Endorses the Council's invitation to the Commission and the Member States to support "as an immediate priority the implementation of EPA-related reform commitments" and calls for concrete commitments to be made prior to the conclusion of EPA negotiations, which are detailed, quantified and specifically EPA-related, addressing both trade-related assistance and the adjustment costs associated with EPAs;

27.   Calls for EPA support to be coordinated and linked to the multi-lateral Aid for Trade enhanced integrated framework;

28.   Insists that, in keeping with the Paris Principles on Aid Effectiveness, aid must be, inter alia, demand-driven, and calls on the ACP, therefore, to put forward, with appropriate EU-assistance where required, detailed, costed proposals of how and for what additional EPA-related funds are needed, particularly with regard to regulatory frameworks, safeguard measures, trade facilitation, support in meeting international sanitary and phytosanitary and intellectual property standards, and the composition of the EPA monitoring mechanism;

29.   Asks the Commission, when requested, to provide ACP countries with additional technical assistance for trade negotiations;

30.   Calls on the Commission to provide assistance, when requested, to ACP countries which decide to undertake fiscal reform programmes;

31.   Notes the poor levels of revenue collection in many ACP countries and calls for additional support for tax reforms and measures for the prevention of tax evasion, as part of a strategy to minimise the effect of lost tariff revenues; is also worried about the impact of falling customs revenue on ACP budgets, which could entail public spending cuts in key sectors such as education or health; calls on the EU to help to set up the compensation mechanisms required to avert consequences of this sort;

32.   Recalls that ACP countries are often heavily dependent on primary commodities, and calls on the EU to develop more effective instruments of support in relation to production adjustment and diversification, as well as to the development of processing industries and small and medium-sized enterprises in ACP countries;

33.   Understands ACP reluctance to negotiate bilaterally on so-called Singapore issues which have been removed from multilateral negotiations and recognises that it is for ACP regional groups to judge the development benefits of any agreements on these issues; recalls the fact that 77 poor countries opposed the inclusion of negotiations on Singapore issues in the DDA agenda;

34.   Believes that appropriately framed agreements on investment, competition and government procurement, accompanied by a credible regulatory environment, could contribute to shared aims of good governance and transparency, creating an environment that should enable greater private-public partnership, particularly in relation to key infrastructure development;

35.   Expresses disappointment at the fact that so far insufficient advantage has been taken of the opportunity provided by the review to involve parliamentarians and other stakeholders; believes that the inclusion of key stakeholders and civil society representatives would add a crucial practical and pragmatic dimension to this process;

36.   Recognises the social and environmental responsibilities of foreign businesses and investors towards the communities and societies in which they invest; believes that people-to-people business and investment contacts should be encouraged and facilitated in order to maximise the social and economic benefits of increased liberalisation;

37.   Urges the Commission and the ACP countries to use the EPA review as an opportunity to openly discuss the obstacles to the completion of negotiations and to put forward detailed proposals to overcome them;

38.   Recalls ACP requests in a number of fora for alternatives to EPAs, but notes the absence of official ACP requests under Article 37(6) of the Cotonou Agreement;

39.   Requests the Commission, in accordance with Article 37(6) of the Cotonou Agreement, where non-least developed ACP countries are not in a position to enter into EPAs, to examine possible ways of offering those countries an alternative framework for trade, which is equivalent to the existing situation and which is in conformity with WTO rules;

40.   Asks the Commission to make proposals for development-oriented alternatives that offer more than mere market access, as is the case for EBA and the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+);

41.   Calls on the Commission to promote social standards and decent work in the EPA trade negotiations;

42.   Calls on the Commission to clarify the implications, in terms of Aid for Trade and EPA-related support, for countries that choose not to sign up to EPAs;

43.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to simplify and reduce the bureaucratic burden of EDF requirements and to improve training, in the ACP, in relation to EDF procedures in order to maximise the use of existing resources;

44.   Recalls that bilateral negotiations on trade in services must abstain from pressuring ACP countries into offering any liberalisation of basic public services, respect the right of countries to freely regulate public services and calls on both parties to recognise that sound regulatory frameworks are an essential part of any liberalisation process;

45.   Calls for the EU not to include, in EPAs, provisions on intellectual property rights, since they constitute an additional barrier to access to essential medicines and to use the EPA system to help ACP countries implement the forms of flexibility provided for in the Doha Declaration; points out that, by virtue of the 2001 Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, the EU has undertaken to place public health before its trading interests;

46.   Stresses that the regional aspect of EPAs is essential for boosting not only North-South but also South-South trade; considers that insufficient attention has been paid to that matter by the European side and that achieving proper intra-regional integration may even be more important than launching a programme for inter-regional integration;

47.   Calls for a dispute settlement system for EPAs, which is sufficiently simple and cost-effective, to promptly intervene when parties fail to meet their commitments;

48.   Calls for appropriate proposals to be made in order to address ACP concerns on Mode IV of the GATS;

49.   Recommends that the Commission ensure that the international programme  on Decent Work and the implementation of core labour standards become permanent elements in trade negotiations and strategic partnerships; calls on the Commission to ensure the implementation of Article 50 of the Cotonou Agreement, which includes a specific provision on trade and labour standards and which confirms the parties' commitments to core labour standards;

50.   Recognises that high phytosanitary and other EU health and environmental standards may hinder ACP exports, particularly of agricultural goods, and calls on the Commission and Member States to help ACP countries to devise adequate programmes to reach these standards in a timely fashion;

51.   Calls on the Commission to take the initiative and to mobilise international support for a revision or clarification of Article XXIV of the GATT Agreement with regard to the Free Trade Agreements between parties with different levels of development;

52.   Calls on the Commission to carry out a systematic analysis, during the negotiations and following their conclusion, of the social impact of EPAs on the groups most at risk, including young people and women in the ACP countries;

53.   Recognises the importance of parliamentary oversight in contributing to good governance, accountability and transparency;

54.   Calls for the creation of a joint Parliamentary Trade and Development Committee within each Economic Partnership Agreement working with the ACP-EU JPA to publicly monitor and review the trade and development impact of EPA implementation, to design mechanisms to ensure accountability and to address EPA-related concerns from both regional and all-ACP perspectives;

55.   Urges the Commission to regularly consult with national parliaments in ACP countries in order to facilitate their scrutiny of the process and, furthermore, recommends that there should be regular follow-up by the relevant Committee of the JPA and by European and ACP parliamentarians in plenary sessions;

56.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and of the ACP countries, the ACP-EU Council and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 290.
(2) OJ C 77 E, 26.3.2004, p. 393.
(3) OJ C 92 E, 20.4.2006, p. 397.
(4) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p. 397.
(5) OJ C 285 E, 22.11.2006, p.126.
(6) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 121.
(7) OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 155.
(8) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 261.
(9) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 244.
(10) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 145.
(11) OJ L 169, 30.6.2005, p. 1.
(12) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1


Common Foreign and Security Policy 2005
DOC 89k
European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP, including the financial implications for the general budget of the European Union – 2005 (2006/2217(INI) )
P6_TA(2007)0205 A6-0130/2007

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the annual report from the Council (10314/1/2006),

–   having regard to Article 21 of the EU Treaty,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (Constitutional Treaty), signed in Rome on 29 October 2004,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   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 paragraph 40 thereof,

–   having regard to its decision of 17 May 2006 on the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(2) ,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16-17 June 2005 and in particular to its declaration on ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, as well as to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Councils of 15-16 June and 14-15 December 2006,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 15-16 December 2005 on the Financial Perspective 2007-2013,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 January 2005 on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2006 on the Common Foreign and Security Policy – 2004(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2006 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2006 on the next steps for the period of reflection and analysis on the Future of Europe(6) and to the results of the Joint Parliamentary Meeting on the Future of Europe: From Reflection to Action, held on 4-5 December 2006 in Brussels,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2006 on new financial instruments for development in connection with the Millennium Goals(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 15 June 2006(8) and 13 December 2006(9) on the EU-Russia Summits,

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on improving EU-US relations in the framework of a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement(10) and on EU-US transatlantic economic relations(11) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 23 October 2003 on peace and dignity in the Middle East(12) and of 7 September 2006 on the situation in the Middle East(13) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2006 on EU-China Relations(14) ,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 15 and 16 December 2005 on "The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership",

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2005 on the review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty - Nuclear arms in North Korea and Iran(15) , advocating that 'No Say, No Pay' is a principle which the EU will follow in its dealings with the Korean peninsula,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on security of energy supply in the European Union(16) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 18 May 2006 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2005 and the EU's policy on the matter(17) and of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements(18) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2006 on the institutional aspects of the European Union's capacity to integrate new Member States(19) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2006 on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007(20) ,

–   having regard to Rule 112(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0130/2007 ),

A.   expecting that the Council's a posteriori approach of merely submitting a descriptive list of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) activities carried out in the previous year instead of consulting Parliament beforehand as provided for in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union will henceforth be corrected by means of a constructive interpretation of Points 42 and 43 of the new Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management of 17 May 2006(21) ,

B.   whereas the Council should once and for all replace that practice with a genuine consultation of Parliament so as to ensure that Parliament's views have a real impact on the choices made for the following year,

C.   whereas, following the fifth enlargement of the EU, 18 Member States have ratified the Constitutional Treaty but the full ratification and entry into force of the Treaty needs to be pursued in order to ensure that the Union is ready to face up to the global responsibilities, threats and challenges of today's world,

D.   whereas the provisions of the Constitutional Treaty regarding external relations have gone unchallenged during the ratification process, as a result of which the CFSP could play an important role in enhancing confidence in the Union amongst the general public,

E.   whereas the external action of the Union as a whole and the CFSP in particular must take into account the interests of the Union, especially the closeness of each third country and region to the European model and values and the fact that the Union, as a major geopolitical actor on the world stage, behaves as a political, economic, social and environmental Union of states and peoples committed to peace which acts in accordance with the principles of democracy, the rule of law and social justice, and therefore needs strong and reliable political and economic partners,

F.   whereas the effectiveness and credibility of the common foreign policy has been recently undermined by the veto exercised by certain Member States on bilateral issues in spite of efforts made by other Member States to find a compromise; whereas Member States should act even-handedly and should refrain from using the right of veto, limiting that procedure to highly sensitive issues of national concern,

G.   whereas developing and consolidating democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms remain key objectives of the CFSP and whereas the CFSP should concentrate principally on economic integration, diplomacy, civilian crisis prevention and conflict management,

H.   whereas, in order to be credible, the CFSP and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) must be allocated additional resources to match their ambitions,

I.   whereas the funding of military operations by the European Union in fact remains outside the scope of the democratic scrutiny of both national parliaments and the European Parliament,

The ratification of the Constitutional Treaty as a main aspect and basic choice of the CFSP for 2007

1.   Is of the view that, without the Constitutional Treaty, which has been ratified by 18 countries, the European Union cannot shape a foreign and security policy that can at least partially meet the most important challenges such as globalisation, failed and failing states, cross-border migration, international terrorism, energy dependency and climate change; considers that the effectiveness of the CFSP presupposes the development of the necessary assets and capabilities in order to safeguard the security, independence and integrity of the Union and its Member States; recalls in this regard the wide public support existing in all Member States for a bigger role for the Union in the world, since Member States individually can no longer perform that role for citizens; emphasises the need for finalisation of the Constitutional Treaty to be one of the main priorities for the present and coming EU Presidencies;

2.   Considers it necessary that the office of Minister for Foreign Affairs be established and regards it as essential that he or she simultaneously be a member of the Commission and chair the Foreign Affairs Council, so that the CFSP is given continuity and coherence and Europe can speak with one voice;

3.   Takes the view, in this regard, that the creation of the new post of EU Minister for Foreign Affairs should be accompanied by a genuine commitment from Member States to define and implement a real and effective common foreign policy reflecting the general concerns of the European Union;

4.   Notes that the mutual assistance clause, structural cooperation, the European External Action Service and the single legal personality are examples of the urgently needed progress provided by the Constitutional Treaty;

5.   Points out that a political and social consensus on greater foreign and security policy integration offers a sound basis for taking the constitutional process forward;

6.   Once again urges the Heads of State and Government to finalise the Constitutional Treaty by the end of 2008, not only as a prerequisite for further enlargements but also in order to enable the Union to work more effectively, more transparently and more democratically in the fields of both external action and the CFSP/ESDP;

Improving the efficiency, coherence and visibility of CFSP

7.   Welcomes the setting-up of the European Defence Agency, the development of the Battlegroups concept, the establishment of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the application of the solidarity clause to counter terrorist threats or attacks, and also the establishment of the Civilian Headlines Goals, the Civilian Crisis Response Teams and the Peace-Building Partnership under the Stability Instrument; urges the Commission to establish the Civil Peace Corps as requested by Parliament in several resolutions;

8.  Regards it as more appropriate for the Council and the Commission to make use of their procedural and organisational options, also strengthening the links between the first and third pillars in the process, through

   a) the submission of joint proposals from the High Representative for the CFSP and the Commission to the Council relating to both the CFSP and external action;
   b) regular joint meetings between the Group of External Relations Commissioners, the High Representative for the CFSP and delegations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament in order to better assess and coordinate strategic priorities,
   c) regular joint meetings between the Council's Working Groups and COREPER, the Commission and Parliament's rapporteurs in order to better understand each other's positions,
   d) making frequent use of the "EU Core Groups" mechanism, first created for dealing with policy issues relating to Somalia in 2004, being a mechanism that reinforces institutional links and brings together the High Representative for the CFSP and the Council, the Commission, the Presidency and willing Member States; emphasises, however, that this mechanism is particularly appropriate for dealing with foreign policy matters that do not provoke major disagreements between the Member States while remaining important for a number of them;
   e) the unreserved sharing of information, reports and analyses compiled by the services, delegations, Special Representatives, embassies, etc. of the EU and its institutions and of the Member States,
   f) improving cooperation between the Directorates for External Actions of the three Community institutions by facilitating regular working meetings and exchanges at high and intermediate levels, including the rotation and exchange of European civil servants dealing with external affairs issues,
   g) encouraging a dialogue and launching procedures to set up an EU Diplomatic Academy;
   h) encouraging the Commission to develop the delegations that fall within its sphere of responsibility into "embassies" of the Union;
   i) automatically attributing the functions of the Union's Special Representative to a third country to the Head of the EU Delegation in that country, as in the case of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia;
   j) improving interaction between, on the one hand, the 127 EC delegations and representations and, on the other hand, other EU institutions and delegations, Member States' foreign ministries and embassies by organising regular contacts and meetings, providing practical assistance and arranging the exchange of Member States' diplomatic personnel and officials of the relevant institutions on a reciprocal basis;

9.   Calls on the EU Member States serving on the United Nations Security Council – after briefing the other Member States – to heed their suggestions and endeavour to pursue coordinated action within the Security Council reflecting the most widely held European views;

10.   Calls, moreover, on EU Member States which are also members of the UN Security Council to improve their coordination within that framework in order to enhance the effectiveness of the action of the EU on the world stage and decide in the near future on a common European seat;

11.   Takes the view that, without the introduction of qualified majority voting in CFSP matters, the coherence, effectiveness and visibility of the external action of the Union will be deeply undermined;

12.   Is of the view that more can be done to strengthen political dialogue with third countries and regions, in particular with major partners, as well as to become more proactive in relations with international organisations; considers that the Commission's delegation network could be more flexibly and dynamically utilised;

13.   Points out that political dialogue with third countries needs to be intensified, not least where human rights are concerned; also believes that the Community institutions and the Member States must ensure that the members of their delegations are aware of, build upon, and act in accordance with, the human rights guidelines approved by the Council;

14.   Recalls in this connection the meaningful role that parliamentary diplomacy can play as a complementary tool in the Union's relations with third countries and regions; calls upon the Council and the Commission to establish closer ties, based on cooperation, with the three major interparliamentary assemblies (the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly and the EU-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly), which play an important role and which bring together parliamentarians from around the world, thereby enhancing democratic legitimacy and providing valuable political forums for overall dialogue; charges Parliament's responsible organs to coordinate and strengthen administrative support to those interparliamentary assemblies accordingly;

15.   Is of the view that, in order to address the current lack of coherence and to fill the present "capability-expectations gap", the Union should exploit all available tools in the field of external action, such as policies covering trade, aid, foreign policy and the ESDP, as well as the external dimension of policies on the environment, research, transport, agriculture, fisheries and home affairs;

Recommendations on various thematic aspects for 2007

16.   Insists that, in order to guarantee prosperity and security, priority should be given to targeting a limited number of areas which better connect with the wishes and concerns of European citizens and their expectations of the role to be played by the Union in international affairs – such as the consolidation of democracy, human security and the fight against terrorist organisations, migration management, intercultural dialogue, energy security, climate change, arms control and disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the EU's contribution to poverty reduction and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as social development;

17.    Stresses the need to implement the international nuclear non-proliferation system in all its aspects, to work actively for the retention of the existing arms control and disarmament system, in particular for the consistent implementation and comprehensive monitoring of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the universal application of the Convention banning landmines (the Ottawa Treaty) and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and to start negotiations on new disarmament agreements concerning, inter alia, small arms and further reductions of conventional and nuclear weapons in Europe;

18.    Expresses its deep concern regarding the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia's unwillingness to continue its participation in the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe; takes the view that this is an inadequate response to the anti-missile system plans; calls for the reopening of political dialogue within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on security, arms control and disarmament issues;

19.   Calls upon the Commission to focus, within those priority areas, on the political, commercial, economic and financial instruments and policies under the first pillar of the existing treaties, in order to better serve the Union's objectives in world affairs; is of the view that the EU's external action could also benefit from more women occupying leading positions, including in the area of the CFSP;

20.   Reiterates that the ESS should be updated, maintaining its civil/military dual approach and its crucial concepts of conflict prevention and effective multilateralism, and incorporating energy security, climate change and prevention of the spread of poverty in the world as major challenges to the EU's security; considers that particular regard should be had to the link between security and development and the special importance of socio-economic issues;

21.   Maintains that terrorism constitutes one of the main threats to the EU's security but must be fought without offending against the universal values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the protection thereof, in close cooperation with international partners and in keeping with the strategy laid down by the United Nations;

22.   Reiterates that, while the fight against terrorism constitutes a key part of the EU's external action, respect for human rights and civil liberties must remain a priority for the EU; considers that much more should be done to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism on the basis of international law and the UN Charter;

23.   Emphasises the important foreign policy dimension of energy security issues, including the Union's dependence on energy and other strategic supplies from countries and regions that are increasingly unstable, as well as the question of access to and the development of alternative sources; rejects any restriction of energy supplies as a political instrument, and underlines the need for solidarity in energy policy among EU Member States; is of the view that every effort should be made to reduce such dependence; underlines the need for the Union's external action to be directed towards a common strategy and support for projects geared to the diversification of energy supplies;

24.   Stresses the vital interest of the European Union in strengthening global governance, international institutions and the value of international law; insists on the fundamental role of the United Nations in the development of global governance; reiterates the need to involve China and India, as emerging powers, as well as Russia, in taking responsibility for the state of global governance and for solutions to global challenges, together with the irreplaceable role which the transatlantic partners should jointly play in this context;

25.   Underlines the importance of further developing the dimension of regional cooperation in the EU's foreign policy, especially in its neighbourhood area, by strengthening relations with the Black Sea region and by promoting cooperation both among neighbours and between the EU and its neighbours in order to provide regional solutions promoting stability, development and prosperity;

26.   Reminds the EU to urge its partners to pursue the development and consolidation of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as these criteria form the basis of a prosperous and secure world;

27.   Expresses its concern, in this respect, regarding the first test of an anti-satellite weapon carried out by China in January 2007; regards this as a sign of the escalation of weapons in space; calls on the Council to take the initiative at the United Nations level to start multilateral negotiations for an international ban on such weapons;

28.   Welcomes the new initiative taken by the United States for consultations and permanent provision of information about its anti-missile shield; expresses its concern about declarations made by President Putin in reaction to the United States' plans to deploy components of its anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic; calls on all parties involved to engage in dialogue; calls on the United States to redouble its efforts to improve consultation regarding, and explanation of, its plans for a missile defence system to counter threats from potential emerging nuclear powers, so that both NATO and the EU remain united; demands thorough discussion concerning these proposals, including the necessity, the threat assessment and the possibility of establishing different security areas within the framework of both the EU and NATO; stresses the importance of consultation within the NATO-Russia Council regarding the missile defence system;

29.   Is of the view that much more should be done from an external action perspective to halt the spread of poverty in the world, to fight against stigmatisation and discrimination and to combat major diseases; reiterates the importance of maintaining the EU's commitments to the achievement of the MDGs;

30.   Welcomes efforts by both the Commission and the Council to tackle the issue of illegal immigration and settlement as a prominent part of the EU's external action, in its relations both with countries of origin and with countries of transit; is of the view that development cooperation should also address the root causes of massive immigration and include stronger engagement by the EU in conflict resolution in order to achieve the MDGs, in particular in relation to African countries; underlines that the fight against illegal immigration should be within the confines of judicial and policing actions and that EU policies should also address the root causes of illegal immigration; points out that combating illegal immigration is a judicial and police task excluding the use of military means and ESDP capabilities;

31.   Reiterates Parliament's above-mentioned resolution of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements, and calls on the Commission and the Council to heed the recommendations set out in that resolution, in order to better govern agreements of all kinds between the EU and the numerous partner states, where democracy clauses consistently form an essential element; reiterates its commitment to combating impunity for those guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations, inter alia by strengthening the role of the International Criminal Court;

32.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to assume their responsibilities and, without delay, to implement the recommendations contained in Parliament's resolution of 14 February 2007 on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners(22) ;

33.   Stresses the need for the effective implementation of human rights, non-proliferation and counter-terrorism clauses in agreements of all kinds with third countries, avoiding ad hoc modifications in order to ensure coherence and effectiveness; calls on the Commission to present proposals within the framework of the new Stability Instrument, Instrument for Pre-Accession, European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument and Development Cooperation Instrument to provide, within the respective legal scope of those instruments, technical and financial assistance to third countries so as to help them meet their commitments resulting from the above-mentioned clauses; underlines the need for those new instruments to be applied in a manner consistent with, and complementary to, the new European Democracy and Human Rights Instrument;

Priorities in the geographical areas for 2007

34.   Recommends that steps be taken to maintain the enlargement of the EU as a key objective of the EU's political agenda in 2007, albeit one which must be consistent with the EU's capacity to integrate new Member States (taking account of the impact of enlargement on its institutions, its financial resources and its capacity to pursue its political objectives), to reinforce the European Neighbourhood Policy, including by means of initiatives to strengthen economic, political, security and energy relations between the EU and the countries in the Black Sea area, to pursue efforts to contribute to stabilisation of the Western Balkans including preparations for EU accession, in line with the "Thessaloniki Agenda", to resume negotiations with Serbia on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, to enhance EU-Mediterranean cooperation, to develop a balanced, wide-ranging partnership with Russia, encompassing international challenges, trade and energy, but above all human rights and democratisation issues, and to deepen relations with Central Asia through full cooperation with the relevant international bodies active in the region;

35.   Considers that promoting national solidarity, stability, peace and democratic and economic development must continue to be among the priorities of the EU's policy towards Afghanistan over the coming years; calls for these tasks to be allocated reliable funding which can be planned over the medium term; considers that there is a need for the EU to support, in particular, the development of strong national and state institutions, the economic and cultural development of the country, the disarming of private militias and the fight against the cultivation of, and trading in, drugs;

36.   Welcomes the new Central Asia Initiative presented by the German Presidency, which could result in a more effective and engaged approach in the EU's external policy towards the region; considers that the Initiative could develop a unique, wide-ranging cooperation between the EU and the countries of Central Asia; takes the view that the EU has a vital interest in seeing greater economic development stability and better governance and human right records in the region;

37.   Reiterates, in the light of effective multilateralism, the need to continue UN reform in its entirety, with a special focus on reforming the UN Security Council; welcomes in this respect the promising reform efforts initiated by the President of the UN General Assembly;

38.   Is of the view that every effort should be made to stabilise the situation in Lebanon, and that the Commission should monitor precisely and in depth the ways in which EU financial assistance is used; calls on the Council to intensify efforts, within the framework of the Middle East Quartet (the EU, the USA, the Russian Federation and the UN), to foster negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for a comprehensive peace solution on the basis of two secure and viable States; recommends a more intensive commitment by the EU to the Quartet's position (commitment to non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations including the Road Map); considers that the new Palestinian Government of national unity and the recognition of the previous agreements with Israel should prompt the EU to intensify its involvement in Palestine; regardless of the preceding point, believes that the Israeli and Palestinian governments should, as a matter of principle, respect the 1967 borders as the dividing line between two mutually recognised independent states; is of the view that the direct involvement of Arab countries could also prove fruitful in this regard; supports the Quartet's call for continued international assistance to the Palestinian people;

39.   Also recommends that steps be taken to strengthen transatlantic relations with the United States, on the one hand, and with Latin America, boosting its integration processes, on the other, on an equal basis, including the fight against terrorism, while respecting human rights and international law, through a new Transatlantic Partnership Agreement replacing the currently existing New Transatlantic Agenda; suggests in this regard the establishment of a regular review mechanism for such Transatlantic Partnership Agreement similar to the ESS review mechanism, whereby experts from the EU and the United States strive constantly to improve the Transatlantic Partnership so as to exploit its full potential;

40.   Further recommends that negotiation of the Partnership Agreement with China be driven forward, subject to substantial progress in the field of democracy and human rights; that the strategic partnership with India be deepened and that political and economic cooperation with Japan and ASEAN be enhanced, while seeking an active role for the EU on outstanding issues in the Korean peninsular which is not merely confined to financing;

41.   Strongly recommends that steps be taken for decisive engagement when implementing the EU-Africa strategy beyond the traditional development and aid policies, in view of the forthcoming Portuguese Presidency which is due to host the next EU-Africa Summit, and to boost the Latin American regional integration processes by concluding the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and commencing negotiations for similar agreements with the Central American countries and the Andean Community;

42.   Underlines the need to give the Barcelona Process new impetus with the aim of enhancing balanced economic, social and democratic development of the countries concerned;

43.   Takes the view that, in light of the forthcoming UN Security Council decision on a comprehensive proposal for a Kosovo status settlement, the EU must be fully prepared to carry out its new tasks and responsibilities in the region and therefore to declare a united and common position on the new Security Council resolution replacing Resolution 1244 (1999); furthermore, calls on the Council to take stronger and more effective action as regards the frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus and Transnistria;

44.   Refers to its extensive resolutions and reports concerning the different geographical areas of interest to the EU, since they contain valuable contributions to the debate on the way in which the EU's policy vis-à-vis those geographical areas should evolve;

Parliamentary scrutiny of the CFSP

45.   Takes note of the descriptive annual report on CFSP activities in 2005 submitted by the Council on 30 June 2006; reiterates the need for the Council not only to inform Parliament but above all to fully involve Parliament in the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP for 2007; regrets that the Council has once more neglected the right of Parliament to be consulted annually ex ante on forthcoming aspects and choices for 2006 as provided for in Article 21 of the EU Treaty and in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999;

46.   Notes that, despite the Council's infringement of Article 21 of the EU Treaty, for procedural reasons it is not possible to refer the Council's practice to the Court of Justice, since Article 46 of the EU Treaty does not include Article 21 in the exhaustive list of cases where the EC Treaty provisions regarding actions before the Court of Justice also apply to the CFSP field;

47.   Reiterates its disappointment, however, that the Council has limited itself to merely informing Parliament and submitting a descriptive list of CFSP activities carried out in the previous year, which is stated even by the Council itself in the preambles to the annual reports, instead of really consulting Parliament at the beginning of each year on the main aspects and basic choices to be made for that year, including its financial implications, as provided for in Article 28 of the EU Treaty, and subsequently reporting to Parliament whether – and, if so, how – Parliament's contribution has been taken into account, and stresses that this practice constitutes a de facto infringement of the very substance of Article 21;

48.   Calls upon the Council to correct this situation by interpreting Points 42 and 43 of the new Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management of 17 May 2006, which came into force on 1 January 2007, in a wider, more flexible sense so as to ensure Parliament's right to be consulted annually ex ante on forthcoming aspects and choices of the CFSP; stresses that nothing in the existing Treaties suggests that the term "consultation" has any different meaning in the above-mentioned Article 21 from its usual meaning in EU law;

49.   Takes note, in particular, of Points 42 and 43 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement, which concern the financing of the CFSP and provide for a structured dialogue between the Council and Parliament, and which could contribute to a genuine consultation with the Committee responsible if interpreted in a constructive and flexible way; to that end, regards the explanatory exchange of letters between the Finnish Presidency and the Chairmen of the two Committees involved as partially fulfilling the requirement that Parliament be consulted;

50.   Cautions against any restrictive interpretation of Point 43 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement which could lead to a situation whereby Parliament's right to genuine consultation, at the beginning of each year, on the main aspects and basic choices to be made for that year in accordance with Article 21 of the EU Treaty is circumvented;

51.   Highlights its readiness, at the beginning of every year, to hold a debate with the Council and the High Representative/Secretary-General of the Council on the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP for that coming year, since this offers an ideal opportunity to consult Parliament; considers, moreover, that it would be particularly useful for candidates for the post of High Representative/Secretary-General to present their programmes before the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs;

52.   Encourages both the Council and the Member States to further strengthen parliamentary scrutiny of the ESDP, by ensuring that the European Parliament plays a major role by using the structured dialogue mechanism provided for in the new Interinstitutional Agreement and by closer cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments;

53.   Underlines the importance of substantively involving Parliament in discussions about, and the procedure for concluding, international treaties and agreements between the EU and third countries;

54.  Proposes that measures be taken to strengthen, in particular, the scrutiny by Parliament of intelligence and security services regarding:

  a) relations between EU institutions and agencies:
   by conferring on Parliament the authority to appoint, and dismiss, the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the Directors of SitCen, the EU Satellite Centre (EUSC) and Eurojust;
   by ensuring that the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the Directors of SitCen, the EUSC and Eurojust submit an annual report to Parliament on their activities and budget and by ensuring that any subsequent recommendations and remarks from Parliament are duly taken into account;
  b) relations between Member States and EU institutions and agencies:
   by developing cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments so as to provide democratic scrutiny of EU intelligence agencies and organs as well as transparency and reassurance for the citizens of the EU concerning the activities of both EU and national security and intelligence services;
   by updating the Interinstitutional Agreement of 7 November 2002 on the financing of the European Union Solidarity Fund(23) in order to include sensitive information in all CFSP activities and to guarantee that Parliament is fully informed of any information available regarding the entire area;
   by enhancing in particular the role of the existing Special Committee of the European Parliament, as referred to in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 November 2002 concerning access by the European Parliament to sensitive information of the Council in the sphere of security and defence policy(24) , so as to enable it to scrutinise the new intelligence organs at EU level (EUSC, SitCen, the office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Eurojust and the EU Military Staff);
   by conferring real powers on the office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator by strengthening the Coordinator's remit and mandate;
  c) relations between the EU and third countries:
   by engaging in an exchange of information and best practices between Parliament's Special Committee and the US Congress Committees on Intelligence,
   by requesting third countries, and in particular acceding or associated countries, to share available sensitive information or intelligence material regarding the CFSP with their EU counterparts via their respective parliaments or governments;

The financing of the CFSP/ESDP

55.   Regards the total amount of EUR 1 740 million allocated to the CFSP for the period from 2007 to 2013 as insufficient to achieve the ambitions of the EU as a global actor, while recognising that the CFSP funding agreed for 2007, amounting to EUR 159,2 million, represents an important step forward in comparison with previous allocations of funds;

56.   Welcomes the reinforcement of the CFSP chapter finally negotiated between Parliament and the Council, agreeing that at least EUR 1 740 million will be available for the CFSP over the period 2007-2013; recalls that this level will in fact more than triple the funding level of the old financial perspective and, precisely for that reason, will need to be accompanied by strengthened measures for parliamentary control and improved cooperation on the part of the Council;

57.   Welcomes the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement, which increases in particular Parliament's participation in the CFSP decision-making process, allows for greater democratic scrutiny of the external actions of the EU and of the financing of CSFP actions, and consolidates and enhances the previous CFSP provisions on regular political consultation with Parliament;

58.   Believes that a genuine assessment of the financial implications for the EU budget has hitherto been hampered by a lack of proactive information on the part of the Council, even though joint meetings on this issue have been held for the past few years; considers that, with the signing of the new Interinstitutional Agreement, the time has now come to implement both the letter and the spirit of these provisions, which have now been clearly formalised;

59.   Regrets the Council's previous attitude of only providing substantial financial information once the final decisions have already been taken, thus defeating the very purpose of the exercise; welcomes, however, the fact that there has been some improvement in this regard, notably in connection with the new Kosovo mission, and expects this to continue on a regular basis;

60.   Underlines in this respect Points 42 and 43 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement; specifically emphasises the need for the Council to consult Parliament on a forward-looking document setting out the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP, including their financial implications, by 15 June each year in full accordance with the new Interinstitutional Agreement; underlines that an evaluation of the measures launched in the previous year is to be included and believes that, taken together, this could provide the basis for genuinely improved democratic scrutiny;

61.   Regrets – given the already insufficient amount allocated to the CFSP for the period 2007-2013 – that the specific article within the CFSP budget chapter devoted to EU Special Representatives does not avoid the proliferation of envoys of that kind, who by definition should be nominated only in respect of special cases and should not weaken the role of the Commission's delegations on the ground;

62.   Recalls that EU Special Representatives fall under the CFSP budget and that all the relevant provisions of Point 42 of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement also apply as regards the financial consequences of the extension of their mandates; is of the opinion that there is a need to establish criteria for the appointment and evaluation of EU Special Representatives, including the definition and purpose of their tasks, length of mandate, coordination and complementarity with the EC delegations under the first pillar and an assessment of their potential "added value"; calls on the Council and the Commission to cooperate in this respect, inter alia by providing timely access to the evaluation reports, which should include substantial, thorough and objective information and be drawn up under the responsibility of the High Representative for CFSP;

63.   Expresses particular concern that mixed CFSP actions, entailing expenditure resulting from both civilian actions and actions with military or defence implications, have hitherto been almost impossible for any parliament to assess; points out that this results from the fragmented situation in which, on the one hand, national parliaments have insight into the military/defence part of the financing and, on the other, the European Parliament has insight into solely the civilian aspects; underlines that these combined civilian and military actions should be susceptible to scrutiny as to their full scope, and therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to cooperate fully in finding ways to obtain an overall picture of these missions and their multiple financing structure;

64.   Regrets that the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement does not explicitly provide for the joint costs of military operations within the framework of the ESDP to be financed from the Community budget, thereby discontinuing the existing practice of having recourse to Member States' subsidiary budgets or start-up funds;

65.   Regrets, therefore, that the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement does not change the existing rules on ESDP operations, such as the principle that "costs lie where they fall" or any other ad hoc arrangements such as the so-called "ATHENA mechanism"; recalls that such arrangements perpetuate the financial burden on those Member States which make the biggest contribution on the ground, thus jeopardising future participation in ESDP operations and creating a situation which could easily be avoided by financing such operations from the EU's budget;

66.   Regrets that, in at least one case, the Council has financed certain costs through the inter-governmental "ATHENA mechanism", even though the Commission clearly considered that the expenditure in question should have been financed from the EU budget; considers that the Council and the Commission have an obligation to inform and consult with Parliament in areas of doubt, and cannot accept unilateral decisions by the Council;

67.   Asks the Council to update Parliament on the new provisions concerning the "ATHENA mechanism" adopted in December 2006; is surprised that the Council did not see fit to inform Parliament on this matter in the course of the two joint meetings held in the autumn of 2006, given the fact that this item had been discussed earlier that year;

68.  Reiterates in this regard its proposal for a new budgetary methodology to enhance transparency in ESDP spending and to support the development of the military and civilian capabilities needed to fulfil the aims of the ESS by:

   a) in an initial phase, the Council drawing up a budgetary document reflecting the commitments made by the Member States to fulfil the Civilian Headline Goal 2008 and the Military Headline Goal 2010;
   b) in a second phase, the Member States committing themselves to the ESDP through an indicative "budget", to be jointly debated by the European Parliament and the parliaments of Member States on an annual basis, in which they would commit funds on a multi-annual basis to finance the equipment and personnel needed for ESDP operations, thus indicating the Member States' readiness to spend on the ESDP and ensuring greater transparency as regards military spending;
   c) finally, by reaching joint decisions on the rationalisation of the budget for the CFSP and the ESDP, including the accounting of national expenditure at EU level in the security and defence dimension, within the framework of the revised financial system of the EU envisaged for 2008-2009;

69.   Notes that any underspending, notably recoveries, in the CFSP chapter is subsequently treated by the Commission as "assigned revenue" under the terms of the Financial Regulation and is thus put back on the lines the following year; is not convinced that this is consistent with the provisions of the Financial Regulation, and asks the Court of Auditors to examine this matter;

o
o   o

70.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary General of NATO and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 182.
(3) OJ C 247 E, 6.10.2005, p. 88.
(4) OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 59.
(5) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0495 .
(6) OJ C 300 E, 9.12.2006, p. 267.
(7) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 396.
(8) OJ C 300 E, 9.12.2006, p. 482.
(9) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0566 .
(10) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 226.
(11) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, 235.
(12) OJ C 82 E, 1.4.2004, p. 610.
(13) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 240.
(14) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 233.
(15) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 253.
(16) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 112.
(17) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 341.
(18) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 107.
(19) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0569 .
(20) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0568 .
(21) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(22) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2007)0032 .
(23) OJ C 283, 20.11.2002, p. 1.
(24) OJ C 298, 30.11.2002, p. 1.


Decent work
DOC 82k
European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all (2006/2240(INI) )
P6_TA(2007)0206 A6-0068/2007

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on promoting decent work for all - The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world (COM(2006)0249 ) (Commission communication on decent work),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document - Annex to Commission communication on decent work (SEC(2006)0643 ),

–   having regard to the of the European Economic and Social Committee opinion of 17 January 2007 on the Commission communication on decent work(1) ,

–   having regard to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work,

–   having regard to the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–   having regard to the ILO conventions and Core Labour Standards,

–   having regard to paragraph 47 of the UN General Assembly resolution on the 2005 World Summit Outcome, of 16 September 2005, which concerns decent work and fair globalisation,

–   having regard to the adoption of the ministerial declaration by the UN Economic and Social Council on 5 July 2006 stating that there is an urgent need to create an environment at national and international level conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a key element of sustainable development,

–   having regard to the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation report entitled, "A fair globalisation: creating opportunities for all", of 24 February 2004,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on the Social Dimension of Globalisation - the EU's policy contribution on extending the benefits to all (COM(2004)0383 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document entitled, "Second annual Report on Migration and Integration" (SEC(2006)0892 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2002 on the Commission communication to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee entitled "Promoting core Labour Standards and Improving Social governance in the context of globalisation"(2) ,

–   having regard to the joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: "The European Consensus"(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on Investing in people - Communication on the thematic programme for human and social development and the financial perspectives for 2007-2013 (COM(2006)0018 ) (Commission communication on investing in people),

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2002 on the Commission communication "Adapting to change in work and society: a new Community strategy on health and safety at work 2002-2006"(4) ,

–   having regard to the report by the ILO Governing Body's Committee on Employment and Social Policy on An update of the implementation of the Global Employment Agenda and related aspects of policy integration, of March 2004,

–   having regard to the ILO working paper on Legal Aspects of trafficking for Forced Labour Purposes in Europe, of April 2006,

–   having regard to ILO Working paper No 58 on Decent work, standards and indicators, of August 2005,

–   having regard to the ILO study on Decent work deficits around the globe: measuring trends with index, of August 2006,

–   having regard to the discussion note on decent work in national frameworks prepared for the ILO seminar on global goals and national challenges, dated October 2004,

–   having regard to Article 31(1), of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which provides that every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and dignity,

–   having regard to Article 152(1) of the EC Treaty which provides that a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities,

–   having regard to Article 50 of the Partnership Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed at Cotonou on 23 June 2000(5) (the Cononou Agreement),

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions on decent work for all adopted in Brussels on 1 December 2006,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation(6) ,

   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide (7) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on International Trade (A6-0068/2007 ),

A.   whereas the concept of decent work goes well beyond safeguarding core labour standards; whereas the concept includes productive and freely chosen employment, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue, and gender mainstreaming under all four pillars,

B.   whereas the means to achieving decent work should be adapted to each society's specificities, level of development and capacities; whereas efforts to promote decent work should include workers in the formal and the informal economy, including workers in the agriculture sector, the self-employed, and part-time, temporary and home workers,

C.   whereas the promotion of decent work for all at all levels should be a global objective, as called for by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation, the UN resolution on the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the ministerial declaration adopted by the UN Economic and Social Committee on 5 July 2006; whereas that objective should also be part of the efforts to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the commitments of the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development,

D.   whereas decent work today tends to be scorned and undermined as a result of the opening up of new cheap labour markets and the corresponding attempt to exploit "lucrative" labour dumping,

E.   whereas the ILO is the body competent to define and negotiate the international labour standards and to supervise their application in law and practice; whereas increased cooperation between the ILO and all relevant stakeholders and the full participation of the ILO in the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are essential, and whereas the European Union, representing its 27 Member States, has a significant weight and a major role to play in this field, as well as in the field of social governance,

F.   whereas the ILO's Decent Work Country Programmes as well as other efforts by international development agencies and the United Nations aiming to address the jobs challenge contribute in a broader context to national and regional strategies for development, combating unemployment and poverty reduction,

G.   whereas for the period 2000 to 2006, employment, social cohesion and decent work were not covered by the majority of programmes and studies on external cooperation,

H.   whereas decent work is becoming the centrepiece of continuous improvement in working conditions and the fight against unemployment, poverty and social exclusion,

I.   whereas decent work standards are often not met in part-time work, underemployment and, within the informal economy, undeclared and illegal activities, including forced and child labour,

J.   whereas situations in which the principle of decent work is not respected can also be observed where workers are forced rather than choose to work part-time, many of whom live on incomes below the minimum wage,

K.   whereas respect for cultural diversity, fair globalisation, the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all, including people with disabilities, women, young and older workers, cultural and indigenous minorities, migrants, people with low-level qualifications and those living in backward and disadvantaged areas, are the main instruments for fighting poverty, unemployment and social exclusion,

L.   whereas all international actors must help to increase the opportunities for older people to obtain and retain decent work by improving their access to lifelong learning schemes and their retraining for new kinds of jobs on the one hand or by ensuring that they have sufficient pensions, medical care and other relevant social services and benefits on the other; considering that social protection is an integral part of decent work,

M.   whereas young people everywhere have the right to find decent work; and whereas these efforts should be developed through a life-cycle and inter-generational approach; whereas a long period of unemployment at the beginning of a young person's working life risks having a lasting impact on that people's employability, income and access to quality jobs,

N.   whereas many migrant workers in Europe may not enjoy decent working conditions,

O.   whereas in many parts of the world women are at risk of being subjected to unfair working conditions and therefore deserve special attention in this regard,

P.   whereas educational and training systems adapted to the demands of the knowledge society play a crucial role in preparing youth for their inclusion in the labour market by helping to increase their opportunities of finding work that is decent and of better quality,

Q.   whereas lifelong learning enables all people to acquire the necessary skills to adapt to the changing needs of the labour market, contribute to its productivity and to take part as active citizens in the knowledge society,

R.   whereas all the Member States have drawn up national action plans for employment in line with the Employment Guidelines launched at the Extraordinary European Council Meeting on Employment in Luxembourg on 20 and 21 November 1997,

S.   whereas the European Employment Strategy (EES) and the social protection and social inclusion strategies aim to give direction to and ensure the coordination of the employment and social protection and social inclusion policy priorities to which Member States should subscribe at EU level,

T.   whereas in its revised Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs and European strategy on sustainable development, the European Council on 22 and 23 March 2005 stressed the importance of developing working life in a socially sustainable way,

U.   whereas the European Union has set itself a new strategic goal with the Lisbon Strategy: to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs, social cohesion and a high degree of environmental protection; whereas the anticipated results have not, to date, become apparent,

V.   whereas, as indicated in the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2005-2008) (COM(2005)0141 ), in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European Union in a socially sustainable way, it is important to improve productivity by promoting decent work and the quality of working life, including health and safety at work, a better balance between flexibility and security in employment, lifelong learning, mutual trust and participation as well as a better conciliation between private, family and working life; whereas combating gender discrimination and all other forms of discrimination, as well as promoting the social integration of vulnerable groups, are integral parts of the efforts towards decent work,

1.   Considers that decent work is a centrepiece of the fight against poverty and social exclusion;

2.   Believes that the European Union can make a significant contribution towards the promotion of decent work for all through both its internal and external policies, applying its social values and principles, combating forms of social dumping of labour and promoting its role at the international level;

3.   Underlines that decent work is not only an issue relating to employment or social protection but also a matter of governance, and that the implementation of effective policies focused on decent work requires accountable institutions, political commitment to the sound management of the State and a vibrant and organised civil society;

4.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to take into account the considerations and recommendations of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation, the UN resolution on the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the ministerial declaration adopted by the UN Economic and Social Committee on 5 July 2006, and to include the perspective of decent work in all the activities of the European Union and encourage the same in its Member States;

5.   Emphasises the need for multinational companies in particular to uphold the principle of the social dimension of globalisation, and adhere to international labour standards and decent work practices in all their operations throughout the world;

6.   Calls on the Commission to put into practice its proposed strategy and orientations for a better mobilisation of the internal and external policies of the European Union on the promotion of the Decent Work Agenda, especially in matters of development, external assistance, enlargement, neighbourhood policy, trade, migration and external bilateral and multilateral relations;

7.   Calls on the Council and the Commission not to abdicate their responsibilities in implementing the general system of trade preferences (GSP+), but to work actively with the ILO in ensuring that the terms of the agreements are fully complied with, and, where necessary, in using the powers at their disposal to cancel preferences with any countries failing to respect fundamental social, labour and human rights, including the right to freedom of association, and other core ILO conventions and Core Labour Standards;

8.   Calls on the Commission to show greater rigour in implementing GSP+ by making recommendations to the beneficiary governments and to activate the oversight arrangements provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 980/2005 of 27 June 2005 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences(8) and, where necessary, apply the mechanisms for temporarily suspending preferences in respect of those countries which do not honour their commitments and which seriously and systematically breach fundamental social rights while ensuring that the cancellation of preferences does not encourage protectionism; calls also for monitoring and the application of those mechanisms to be extended to cover the countries benefiting under GSP+, especially as regards child and forced labour, the elimination of which are a central challenge for the ILO, as indicated in its report entitled "The end of child labour: Within reach";

9.   Calls on the Member States, following the Commission's commitment in its communication on decent work, to consider the social dimension of decent work in the Commission's initiatives when it concludes commercial agreements with third countries;

10.   Emphasises that the Decent Work Agenda encompasses a number of universal strategies, which are not tied to a specific developmental model but are directly related to a fairer and more balanced distribution of produced wealth, and is an instrument tailoring development to values and principles of action and governance which combine economic competitiveness with social justice;

11.   Within the context of the sustainable development strategy, calls on the Commission to develop a consistent approach regarding links between social, employment and environmental policies, based on freedom and responsibility;

12.   Stresses that the objective of decent work calls for a coherent and integrated package of economic and social policies seeking to promote productive, quality jobs; emphasises that the Decent Work Agenda advocates the adoption of policies that transcend traditional labour market policies, and that it must be supported by all the economic policies of the Member States;

13.   Calls on the Member States and businesses, in cooperation with the social partners and on the basis of Community legislation on the health and safety of workers, to adopt preventive strategies and implement measures designed to protect maternity and improve health and safety at work for pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding;

14.   Stresses the need to improve the transparency of labour markets, so that all kinds of work (temporary, permanent, full-time, part-time, and that which is paid on an hourly basis) are official, decently paid, and fully respectful of workers" rights, Core Labour Standards, social dialogue, social protection (including health and safety at work) and gender equality;

15.   Recalls that the conditions of employment for young people, including trainees, must respect the fundamental rights of all workers and the principles relating to decent work;

16.   Welcomes the Commission communication on decent work and urges the Member States and the candidate countries to ratify and implement fully the ILO conventions that have been classified by the ILO as up-to-date, particularly those related to decent work; is convinced that the implementation of the ILO conventions related to decent work should be promoted in the neighbourhood and external policies; calls upon the Commission and the Member States to support the ILO in strengthening its supervisory system and mechanisms;

17.   Strongly supports the Commission's approach aimed at supporting initiatives on promoting trade union freedom and collective bargaining, on improving labour administration, labour inspectorates and bodies for managing social protection, and on developing integrated prevention strategies in the field of health and safety at work in the framework of enlargement and pre-accession programmes;

18.   Welcomes the Commission communication on investing in people in the context of the "European Consensus" (EU development policy) and the importance attached in that programme to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda in EU partner countries;

19.   Stresses that Article 12(2)(d)(ii) of Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 calls for the promotion of the Decent Work Agenda as a universal objective, to be achieved, inter alia, through global and other multilateral initiatives to implement internationally agreed ILO Core Labour Standards, the assessment of the trade impact on decent work and sustained and adequate mechanisms for the fair financing and effective functioning and wider coverage of social protection systems; emphasises that Article 5(2)(c) of Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 refers to decent work as a focus area; calls on the Commission to use those provisions actively in its development policy; further calls on the Commission to report systematically on its efforts to promote decent work in its annual report on its development policy and implementation of external assistance;

20.   Calls on the Commission to encourage the respect of the ILO Core Labour Standards and the objective of decent work in the trade policy of the WTO Members as an effective set of rules, complemented by a mechanism of sanctions for partners which do not adjust to such standards, while giving full effect to the GSP+ procedure; encourages the European Union to consider the setting up of mechanisms which would be in charge of monitoring parallel evolution of trade and decent work at both European and international level;

21.   Calls on the Commission not only to support but also to participate, where possible, in the dialogue launched between the international financial institutions, the ILO, the UN and the WTO concerning the complementarity and consistency of their policies which are related to economic growth, investment, trade and decent work;

22.   Calls on the Commission to take into account, when granting trade preferences, for instance under the stability and growth pact, compliance by the beneficiary countries with international labour standards that safeguard decent work so that countries that do not meet these basic standards do not benefit from EU trade preferences;

23.   Stresses the need for greater cooperation between the WTO, UNCTAD, the ILO and other international organisations with regard to the complementarity of their policies; considers that coherence among the measures undertaken is essential in promoting decent work and guaranteeing it in practice; proposes that the ILO be granted observer status at the WTO; addresses the parliaments of other WTO members to ask them to support this request;

24.   Calls on the Commission to propose establishing a committee for trade and decent work within the WTO, along the lines of the committee for trade and environment;

25.   Points out that the ILO statutes allow it to call for trade sanctions against a country in the event of failure to comply with international social conventions, and calls on the WTO to undertake to comply with ILO decisions for the sake of consistency in the action of international institutions;

26.   Proposes that the ILO be authorised to submit expert reports (amicus briefs) to the WTO panels and Appellate Body in relevant cases where the violation of international conventions is at issue in a dispute and in which the decisions of the ILO have to be taken into account;

27.   Proposes that where a decision by the Dispute Settlement Body is regarded by a WTO Member State as calling into question ILO decisions on compliance with the labour conventions, an appeal route to the ILO should exist so as to guarantee the coherence of international community's action in promoting decent work;

28.   Calls on the European Union to make compliance with international work standards one element in negotiations for the accession of new member states to the WTO;

29.   Urges the Commission to make compliance with Core Labour Standards a precondition for its purchasing and contracting policy; calls on the Commission, to this end, to develop a policy and to provide trade related assistance which would make it possible for small producers in developing countries likewise to comply with these standards;

30.   Underlines the need for the further development of methodologies assessing the effects of trade and trade agreements on the promotion of decent work, including in global supply chains and export processing zones as well as the need to ensure the strengthening and effective timing of the Trade Sustainability Impact Assessments;

31.   Calls on the Commission to recognise, and incorporate into its bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and sustainable impact assessments (SIAs), reasonable indicators, as defined by the ILO, for the number of labour inspectors based on the size of the workforce: 1 inspector per 10 000 workers in industrialised countries with a market economy, 1 per 20 000 in transition economies, and 1 per 40 000 in less developed countries;

32.   Calls on the Commission to ensure the implementation of Article 50 of the Cotonou Agreement, which includes a specific provision on trade and labour standards and which confirms the parties' commitment to Core Labour Standards;

33.   Calls on the Commission, in collaboration with the organs of the United Nations, national and regional organisations, the social partners, and other parts of civil society better to coordinate decent work external cooperation programmes with implementation of the ILO Decent Work Country Programmes or equivalent roadmaps and to increase joint efforts with a view to integrating decent work in poverty reduction strategies, poverty reduction strategy papers and development strategies as they can provide an added value to the fight for decent work for all; calls in this context for the close consultation of social partners and other parts of civil society;

34.   Calls on the European Union to fund a decent work development programme in cooperation with the ILO, particularly with a view to identifying the most effective strategies for promoting decent work;

35.   Stresses that it is of crucial importance, in the interest of progress towards the objective of decent work, for the Member States to meet the spending target of 0,7 % of their GNP in aid to developing countries, given that growth and sound social structures are an essential precondition for the evolution of decent work, particularly in developing countries;

36.   Encourages the Commission to follow an integrated multi-dimensional approach in its activities based on the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda: productive and freely chosen employment, rights at work, including the Core Labour Standards, social protection and social dialogue, mainstreaming the gender dimension in all the pillars; encourages the Member States to consider the introduction of a minimum wage as a safety-net to prevent people from being exploited and prevent poverty in employment;

37.   Stresses the importance of supporting the integration of employment and decent work into development strategies; calls for the inclusion of a more thorough analysis of employment and other aspects of decent work in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), Economic Partnership Agreements, Country Strategy Papers (CSPs) and Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIPs); in this context, highlights the importance of consultations with all relevant stakeholders, including organised employers, trade unions and workers as well as the private sector and civil society in the broadest sense;

38.   Calls for employment ministries, employers' associations and workers' organisations to be strengthened and more systematically integrated into the participatory process underpinning the design and implementation of PRSPs, CSPs and MIPs; believes that, for this purpose, their cooperation with economic and finance ministers as well as with the respective international financial and economic institutions such as the Bretton Woods Institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the WTO must be improved; calls on all parties to ensure that CSPs are drafted in a truly participatory manner; urges the Commission to invest more in technical and institutional capacity building and to facilitate measures to root decent work in CSPs;

39.   Stresses in particular the need for country-led Decent Work Country Programmes, or a similar "road map", developed with the participation of social partners' organisations and other relevant stakeholders, aimed at achieving decent work for all through development cooperation – including policy dialogue on the employment impacts of economic policies and governance, budget support measures and capacity building, in particular institutional capacity building – which is well-coordinated and harmonised among the Commission, the Member States and other international development partners and relevant actors, including the ILO and other UN agencies as well as international financial institutions;

40.   Calls for a renewed effort to combat breaches of human rights and labour law, with the possibility of excluding multinationals operating in developing countries from public procurements funded or supported by the European Union and its Member States as well as from export credit guarantees granted by the EIB and other financial institutions in the event of breaches of these rights; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make respect for Core Labour Standards obligatory in the framework of public procurement financed by the European Development Fund and other Community or bilateral support;

41.   Calls on the Member States to coordinate skill development with greater effort in order to garner and share the benefits of new technologies and innovation; notes that decent work is achieved through growth, investment and enterprise development, together with social responsiveness;

42.   Calls on the EU institutions, within the context of the Lisbon Strategy and the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2005-2008), to develop and promote a European entrepreneurial culture targeted at individuals and especially young people, in order to generate high-growth enterprises and better to achieve one of the decent work objectives, namely that of creating more and better jobs;

43.   Calls on the Member States to make decent work a priority of their economic and social policy by placing special emphasis on the creation of quality jobs, on respect for fundamental labour rights for all categories of workers, on strengthening social protection and on the promotion of social dialogue;

44.   Calls the Commission and the Member States to encourage the adoption of codes of conduct as voluntary initiatives at the enterprise or sectoral level referring to and complementing national legislative and international standards, as well as the codes of conduct for multinational enterprises of the OECD and the ILO;

45.   Strongly recommends that the Member States and the European Union promote the application of good practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by all companies, wherever they perform their activities, with the aim of creating a safe, flexible and high-quality working environment; encourages the Multi-Stakeholder Forum and the European Alliance on CSR to develop initiatives that would promote the inclusion of decent work as an important element of CSR;

46.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission, as employers in developing countries, to take account of the principle of decent work, in accordance with Recommendation 135 of the ILO concerning Minimum Wage Fixing, with Special Reference to Developing Countries;

47.   Welcomes the contribution to decent work made by UN organisations, such as the initiative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a supplementary report on human rights in transnational corporations;

48.   Emphasises the importance of promoting the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multi-National Enterprises and Social Policy;

49.   Encourages businesses to adopt responsible, non-discriminatory recruitment and professional development policies in order to boost the employment of women and the disadvantaged on the labour market;

50.   Recommends that businesses take initiatives to promote greater participation and representation of women on bodies involved in social dialogue, a strategic goal of the concept of decent work;

51.   Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the social partners and the ILO, to encourage female entrepreneurs to set up and develop businesses inside and outside the European Union as part of the policy of development cooperation;

52.   Calls on the Member States to ensure that enterprises operating inside and outside the European Union provide for better information and consultation with workers" representatives as part of a wider on-going social dialogue, informing and consulting workers on a range of issues relevant to their employment and working conditions; calls on the Commission, Member States and social partners to recognise that high standards of occupational health and safety constitute an essential human right;

53.   Stresses the importance of social dialogue in drawing up the national programmes for decent work for implementation by the Member States, and calls on them to conduct genuine consultation of the social partners;

54.   Stresses that the social partners are crucial to the successful implementation of the Decent Work Agenda, and should therefore be actively involved, at least by way of a hearing process, in the implementation of decent work initiatives;

55.   Welcomes the European social partners' negotiations about a framework agreement on harassment and violence at work as an example of promoting decent work in Europe; calls the Commission to encourage the social partners successfully to conclude these negotiations;

56.   Underlines that the European social agenda, the Lisbon Strategy (including the national reform programs) and increasing efforts to ratify and apply international labour conventions that have been classified as up-to-date by the ILO, constitute the EU decent work roadmap;

57.   Calls the Member States to implement effective, preventive and protective policies and programmes in order to increase the number, quality and the competencies and tools of the labour inspectorate in accordance with the Community legislation and the ILO conventions so as to enforce the safety and health at work, working conditions and other social legislation;

58.   Suggests that there be stronger cooperation regarding the development of exchanges of best practices at Community level among national labour inspection services so as to contribute to the promotion of decent work; calls on the Member States to provide the responsible authorities for labour inspection with more comprehensive resources in order to enable them to carry out their tasks with a view to ensuring that their national labour laws applied in practice and not evaded;

59.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that new forms of work are also protected by existing law, and to consider new legal instruments which can be applied flexibly to new forms of work, so that an equal level of protection can be guaranteed for all workers;

60.   Recognises the importance of the work of the Youth Employment Network and the ILO Decent Work Forum as peer exchange, support and review mechanisms; calls the Commission to support the development of these networks in EU partner countries together with ILO as a way to implement the global Employment Agenda;

61.   Calls on the Member States to guarantee education for young people as an effective strategy to avoid social exclusion and poverty and to develop their employability by using existing mechanisms such as the Euroguidance network, which helps individuals better to understand work opportunities in Europe; also calls on them to facilitate a successful transition to the labour market and improve access to employment through schemes of professional orientation, while ensuring consistency with a life-cycle and inter-generational approach;

62.   Calls on the Member States to expand their investment in infrastructure needed for the use of information communication technologies and in the education and training of young people with shared investments from both the public and the private sectors;

63.   Calls on Member States, when implementing Community policies, to generalise and broaden access to lifelong learning opportunities, even in geographically remote and rural areas and to implement specific measures adapted to local realities so as to guarantee the employability of all within a changing work environment;

64.   Calls on the Member States to introduce relevant reforms in their education systems and to guarantee access to high-quality education for all;

65.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate the gender and development dimensions into all policies and programmes promoting decent work and asks Member States to guarantee equal opportunities for men and women for decent work, not only from the point of view of access to employment or of promotion but also with regard to the level of pay;

66.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all the necessary measures to ensure the conciliation between private, family and working life with a view to increasing women's participation in the labour market and to examine and eliminate the causes that could undermine the effectiveness of such measures;

67.   Recommends that ways be explored to increase the desirability of jobs now considered to be too heavy or menial (domestic help, family assistance, caring for the elderly, personal services, etc.);

68.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to improve measures to allow all workers to achieve a better balance between work and family life, bearing in mind that long hours, stress and insecurity of employment threaten the fabric of family life, which is an important foundation of our society;

69.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate with NGOs, trade unions, women's organisations and networks for the economic and social empowerment of women in developing countries and the promotion of decent work at all levels;

70.   Welcomes the initiative announced in the Commission communication on decent work to support efforts to improve the involvement of the social partners and other society stakeholders in global governance on the basis of the OECD's consultative model;

71.   Calls on Member States to adopt national policies to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for workers, whatever their age or gender; calls on Member States to take measures to prevent discrimination against women and older workers;

72.   Underlines that promoting decent work aims to achieve an overall improvement of living and working conditions for all, and includes to this end support for the integration of the informal sector into the mainstream economy;

73.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to support and promote legislative and policy initiatives and practices on disability non-discrimination and equal opportunities in vocational training and in the workplace, including support for adapting workplaces to accommodate disabilities in respect of developing countries;

74.   Calls on the Commission to encourage Member States to use the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection in order to add value to the different social systems; to this end, and in accordance with the renewed Lisbon Strategy, with the aim of improving the flexibility and mobility of European workers and social cohesion in the European Union, considers that there is a need to seek greater harmonisation of pension schemes, mainly with regard to the cover of services when people have worked in different Member States, particularly as this is not only a serious obstacle to the free movement of workers but also an impediment to a single market in financial services;

75.   Notes that the marginalisation of certain minorities based on religion or race is an obstacle to achieving decent work for all in the European Union, and therefore calls on all those Member States that have not yet done so to complete the transposition of Council Directive 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(9) ;

76.   Within the framework of a consistent approach to international labour migration, welcomes the will of Member States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, as well as ILO Convention Nos 97 and 143;

77.   Calls on the Member States to agree on a common standard definition of forced labour and abuse of vulnerability in order to reduce ambiguity and bias in judicial decisions;

78.   Notes that some EU citizens exercising their right to freedom of movement are vulnerable to poor working conditions and calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt polices to monitor the experiences of intra-EU migrants in the labour market and to adopt measures to eliminate exploitative work practices;

79.   Calls on the Commission and the Community's delegations in partner countries actively to promote the inclusion of the Decent Work Agenda , Decent Work Country Programmes and Decent Work Regional Programmes into the CSPs, the Regional Strategy Papers, the National Action Plans and other programming instruments of the EU development cooperation policies;

80.   Welcomes the Commission's intention to consider extending the provision of Regulation (EC) No 2110/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on access to Community external assistance(10) , as regards compliance with core labour standards, to contracts financed through the European Development Fund;

81.   Calls on the Commission to allocate adequate resources to implementation of its proposals for the promotion of decent work contained in its communication on investing in people;

82.   Welcomes the importance that the Commission communication on investing in people attaches to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda in the EU's partner countries; welcomes the programme's recognition of the clear link between decent work and social protection; calls on the Commission to earmark enough funding for the promotion of decent work within the investing in people thematic programme;

83.   Welcomes the new integrated strategy for children's rights announced in the Commission communication Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child (COM(2006)0367 ) and recalls that action against child labour, as defined in the ILO Convention Nos 138 and 182 against forced labour, must be mainstreamed into national and international measures;

84.   Calls on Member States to adopt policies in line with the common basic principles on the integration of third-country nationals in the EU;

85.   Welcomes the Commission's intention to produce a follow-up report to its communication on decent work by 2008, which should include an analysis and assessment of the ratification and application by the Member States of the ILO conventions on employment, health and safety, maternity protection and migrant workers" rights; calls for that report to contain an action programme for decent work covering both cooperation in the European Union and efforts at international level;

86.   Welcomes the Commission's effort to improve analysis and to develop appropriate indicators related to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda;

87.   Welcomes the suggestion of the ministerial declaration adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council on 5 July 2006 that the Decent Work Agenda be developed under full steam, so as to achieve tangible results by 2015;

88.   Calls on the Commission to submit to Parliament specific figures showing how decent work and issues related thereto are financed in order better to assess, in terms of funding, the political commitment;

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

(1) OJ C 93, 27.4.2007, p. 38.
(2) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2003, p. 598.
(3) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 300 E, 11.12.2003, p. 290.
(5) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(6) OJ L 378, 27.12.2006, p. 41.
(7) OJ L 386, 29.12.2006, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 169, 30.6.2005, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(10) OJ L 344, 27.12.2005, p. 1.

Last updated: 28 January 2008Legal notice