Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 10 July 2008 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Common consular instructions: biometric identifiers and visa applications ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 EC/Mauritania Fisheries Partnership for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2008*
 Restructuring of EU fishing fleets affected by the economic crisis *
 Census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy
 Situation in China after the earthquake and before the Olympic Games
 The Commission's 2007 enlargement strategy paper
 on the situation in Zimbabwe
 Space and security
 Kashmir
 Bangladesh
 Death penalty

Common consular instructions: biometric identifiers and visa applications ***I
DOC 103k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 July 2008 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provisions on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications (COM(2006)0269 – C6-0166/2006 – 2006/0088(COD) )
P6_TA(2008)0358 A6-0459/2007

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2006)0269 ),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 62 (2) (b) (ii) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0166/2006 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0459/2007 ),

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 the Commission.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 10 July 2008 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No .../2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provisions on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications

P6_TC1-COD(2006)0088


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 62 (2) b) ii) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission║,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(1) ,

Whereas:

(1)   To ensure reliable verification and identification of visa applicants it is necessary to process biometric data in the Visa Information System (VIS) established by Council Decision 2004/512/EC(2) and to provide for a legal framework for the capturing of these biometric identifiers. Furthermore, the implementation of the VIS requires new forms of organisation for the reception of applications for visas.

(2)   The integration of biometric identifiers in the VIS is an important step towards the use of new elements, which establish a more reliable link between the visa holder and the passport in order to avoid the use of false identities. Therefore the personal appearance of the visa applicant -at least for the first application- should be one of the basic requirements for issuing a visa with the registration of biometric identifiers in the VIS.

(3)   ▌Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (VIS Regulation) (3) provides that fingerprints and photographs of the applicant should be stored in the VIS . This Regulation defines the standards for the collection of these biometric identifiers by referring to the relevant provisions set out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). No further technical specifications are required in order to ensure interoperability.

(4)    The reception arrangements for applicants should be made with due respect for human dignity and integrity. The processing of visa applications should be conducted in a professional and respectful manner and be proportionate to the objectives pursued.

(5 )   In order to facilitate the registration of visa applicants and to reduce the costs for Member States new organisational possibilities need to be envisaged in addition to the existing framework of "representation". Firstly a specific type of representation limited to the reception of visa applications and enrolment of biometric identifiers should be added to the Common Consular Instructions.

(6 )   Other options such as co-location, common application centres and outsourcing should be introduced. An appropriate legal framework for these options should be established, taking into account in particular data protection issues. In order to ensure the integrity of the visa issuing process, any activity related to the issuing of visas, including the collection of biometric data, should take place on the premises of a Member State which enjoy diplomatic or consular protection under international law or on European Commission premises recognised by the host State as inviolable. Under the legal framework established, Member States should be free in accordance with the conditions laid down in this Regulation to determine which type of organisational structure they will use in each third country. Details of those structures should be published by the Commission on a common Schengen visa internet site .

(7 )   When organising co-operation, Member States should ensure that the applicant is directed to the Member State responsible for the processing of his/her application.

(8 )   Since the issuing of visas is by its very nature a public task, any decision taken by the central authorities of a Member State to outsource part of the visa handling process to an external service provider should be taken only if no other possibility exists and if it is duly justified . Such arrangements should be established in strict compliance with the general principles for issuing visas, respecting the data protection requirements set out in Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(4) .

(9 )   Any contract that a Member State concludes with an external service provider should contain provisions on: the provider's exact responsibilities; direct and total access to its premises; information for applicants; confidentiality; compliance with data protection rules; and circumstances, conditions and procedures for suspending or terminating the contract. Member States should take appropriate measures to ensure that their contracts with external service providers are enforceable.

(10)    Member States should aim to organise the receipt of visa applications, the enrolment of biometric identifiers and the interview in such a way that the visa applicant is required to appear only once in person (one-stop-shop principle) in order to obtain a visa.

(11)    The European Data Protection Supervisor has issued an opinion in accordance with Article 28(2) of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data (5) and the Article 29 Working Party in accordance with Article 30(1)(c) of Directive 95/46/EC.

(12)    Directive 95/46/EC applies to the processing of personal data in application of this Regulation. However, certain points should be clarified, in particular in respect of the responsibility for the processing of data, of safeguarding the rights of the data subjects and of the supervision of data protection.

(13 )   Member States should be able to allow certain categories of applicants or all applicants direct access to their consular offices or diplomatic missions for humanitarian or other reasons.

(14 )   In order to facilitate the procedure of any subsequent application, it should be possible to copy biometric data from the first application within a period of 59 months from the start of the retention period provided for in Article 23 of the VIS Regulation. Once this period of time has elapsed, the biometric identifiers should be captured again.

(15 )   Owing to the requirement to capture biometric identifiers, commercial intermediaries such as travel agencies should no longer be used for the first application but only for the subsequent ones.

(16 )   The Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts should therefore be amended accordingly.

(17 )   The Commission should present a report on the implementation of this Regulation three years after the VIS is brought into operation and every four years thereafter , covering the implementation of the enrolment of biometric identifiers, the appropriateness of the ICAO standard chosen, compliance with data protection rules, experience with external service providers with specific reference to the collection of biometric data, the principle of the "first application" and the organisation of the reception and the processing of visa applications. The report should also include, on the basis of Article 17 (12), (13) and (14) and Article 50(4) of the VIS Regulation, the cases in which fingerprints could factually not be provided or were not required to be provided for legal reasons compared with the cases in which fingerprints are taken. The report should include information on cases in which a person who could factually not provide fingerprints was refused a visa. The report should be accompanied, where necessary, by appropriate proposals to amend this Regulation . The Commission should transmit the report to the European Parliament and the Council .

(18 )   Since the objective of this Regulation, namely the organisation of the receipt and processing of visa applications in respect of the insertion of biometric data in the VIS, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective .

(19)    This Regulation respects fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

(20 )   In accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of the Protocol on the position of Denmark annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty establishing the European Community, Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Regulation, and is not bound by it or subject to its application. Given that this Regulation builds upon the Schengen acquis under the provisions of Title IV of Part Three of the Treaty establishing the European Community, Denmark shall, in accordance with Article 5 of the said Protocol, decide within a period of six months after the Council has adopted this Regulation, whether it will implement it in its national law.

(21 )   As regards Iceland and Norway, this Regulation constitutes a development of provisions of the Schengen acquis within the meaning of the Agreement concluded by the Council of the European Union and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the association of those two States with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis which fall within the area referred to in Article 1, point B of Council Decision 1999/437/EC of 17 May 1999 on certain arrangements for the application of that Agreement(6) .

(22 )   This Regulation constitutes a development of provisions of the Schengen acquis in which the United Kingdom does not take part, in accordance with Council Decision 2000/365/EC of 29 May 2000 concerning the request of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to take part in some of the provisions of the Schengen acquis (7) . The United Kingdom is therefore not taking part in its adoption and is not bound by it or subject to its application.

(23 )   This Regulation constitutes a development of provisions of the Schengen acquis in which Ireland does not take part, in accordance with Council Decision 2002/192/EC of 28 February 2002 concerning Ireland's request to take part in some of the provisions of the Schengen acquis (8) . Ireland is therefore not taking part in its adoption and is not bound by it or subject to its application.

(24 )   As regards Switzerland, this Regulation constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis within the meaning of the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation concerning the Swiss Confederation 's association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis which fall within the area referred to in Article 4 (1) of Council Decision 2004/860/EC of 25 October 2004 on the signing, on behalf of the European Community, and on the provisional application of certain provisions of that Agreement(9) .

(25 )   This Regulation constitutes an act building on the Schengen acquis or otherwise related to it within the meaning of Article 3(2) of the 2003 Act of Accession,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

The Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts are hereby amended as follows:

(1)   In Point II, point 1.2 shall be amended as follows:

(a)   In point (b) the following paragraph shall be added:

"

A Member State may also represent one or more other Member States solely for the reception of applications and the enrolment of biometric identifiers. The relevant provisions of points 1.2 (c) and (e) shall apply. Where it receives an application, the representing Member State shall create the application file in the VIS and insert the data referred to in Article 9 of the VIS Regulation*. It shall then inform the consular post of the represented Member State of the application and the VIS entry through the VIS communication infrastructure as provided for in Article 16 of the VIS Regulation. The reception and transmission of files and data to the represented consular post shall be carried out in compliance with the relevant data protection and security rules.

____________________

* Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 concerning the Visa Information system (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (VIS Regulation) (OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 60).

"

(b)   Point (d) shall be replaced by the following:

"

When uniform visas are issued pursuant to points (a) and (b), the representation shall be reflected in the table of representation for the issuing of uniform visas set out in Annex 18.

"

(2)    In Point III, point -1 shall be added:

"

Conduct of staff involved in visa applications

Member States shall ensure that applicants are received courteously by all staff involved in visa applications.

All staff shall, in the performance of their duties, fully respect the human dignity and integrity of the applicant. Any measures taken shall be proportionate to the objectives pursued.

While performing their tasks, staff shall not discriminate against persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

"

(3 )   In Point III, point 1 shall be replaced by the following:

"

1.   1 Visa application forms - number of application forms

Applicants shall also be required to fill in the uniform visa form. Applications for a uniform visa must be made using the harmonised form, a specimen of which is given in Annex 16.

At least one copy of the application form must be filled in so that it may be used during consultation with the central authorities. The Contracting Parties may, insofar as national administrative procedures so require, request several copies of the application.

1.2.   Biometric identifiers

a)   Member States shall collect biometric identifiers comprising the facial image and ten fingerprints from the applicant respecting the rights laid down in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

At the moment of submission of his/her first visa application each applicant not benefiting from any of the exemptions referred to in point (b) shall be required to appear in person. At that time the following biometric identifiers shall be collected:

   a photograph, scanned or taken at the time of application and
   ten fingerprints taken flat and digitally captured.

For any subsequent application, within 59 months from the start of the retention period provided for in Article 23 of the VIS Regulation, the biometric identifiers shall be copied from the first application. After this period a subsequent application shall be considered as a "first application

"

The technical requirements for the photograph and the fingerprints shall be in accordance with the international standards as set out in ICAO Document 9303, Part 1 (Passports) Sixth Edition*.

The biometric identifiers shall be taken by qualified and duly authorised staff of the diplomatic mission or consular post or, under their supervision and responsibility , of the external service provider referred to in point 1.B.

The data shall be entered in the VIS only by the duly authorised consular staff referred to in Article 4(1), in accordance with Article 5 of the VIS Regulation.

Member States shall ensure that full use is made of all search criteria under Article 13 of the VIS Regulation in order to avoid false rejections and identifications.

The collection of biometric identifiers, including their transmission from the service provider to the responsible consular post, shall be supervised in accordance with Articles 41 and 43 of the VIS Regulation and Article 28 of the Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council **.

b)   Exemptions

The following applicants shall be exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints:

   children under the age of 12 ;
   persons where fingerprinting is physically impossible. If, however, fingerprinting of fewer than ten fingers is possible, the corresponding number of fingerprints shall be taken. Member States shall ensure that appropriate procedures guaranteeing the dignity of the person concerned are in place in the event of there being difficulties in enrolling. They shall also ensure that the decision as to whether fingerprinting is impossible is always taken by the duly authorised staff of the diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member States. Furthermore, should the impossibility be temporary, the applicant shall be required to give fingerprints at the following application. Consular staff shall be entitled to ask for further clarification of the reasons for the temporary impossibility .

The fact that fingerprinting is physically impossible shall not influence the grant or refusal of a visa.

A Member State may provide for exemptions from the requirement to collect biometric identifiers for holders of diplomatic passports, service/official passports and special passports.

In each of these cases an entry "not applicable" shall be introduced in the VIS.

Without prejudice to the provisions of Point III.4, for persons under the age of 12, scanned photographs shall be used which do not require them to appear in person.

The exemption from the requirement to give fingerprints for children, and in particular the age range for the taking of fingerprints, shall be reviewed three years after the start of operation of the VIS. To this end the Commission shall present a report which shall in particular cover the experience of the VIS with regard to the taking and use of fingerprints from children aged 12 and over and a detailed technical assessment of the reliability of taking and using the fingerprints of children under the age of 12 for identification and verification purposes in a large-scale database such as the VIS. The report shall incorporate an extended impact assessment of lower and higher age limits for requiring fingerprints, including social, ergonomic and financial aspects.

The report shall make a similar assessment as regards the taking of fingerprints from the elderly. Should the report show significant problems with taking fingerprints of persons over a certain age, the Commission shall make a proposal to impose an upper age limit.

The report shall be accompanied, where necessary, by suitable proposals to amend this Regulation.

____________________

* The technical requirements are the same as for the passports delivered by Member States to their nationals in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 (OJ L 385, 29.12.2004, p. 1) .

** OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31 .".

(4 )   In Point VII, point 1 shall be replaced by the following text:

"

A Organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications

Each Member State shall be responsible for organising the reception and processing of visa applications.

For each location, Member States shall either equip their consular office with the required equipment for capturing/collecting biometric identifiers or, without prejudice to the above-mentioned representation options , decide to cooperate with one or more other Member States. Any cooperation shall take the form of co-location or the establishment of a Common Application Centre or, where these are inappropriate, co-operation with external service providers.

a)   Where "co-location" is chosen, the staff of the diplomatic posts and consular missions of one or more Member States shall process the applications (including biometric identifiers) addressed to them at the diplomatic post and consular mission of another Member State and share the equipment of that Member State. The Member States concerned shall agree on the duration and conditions for the termination of the co-location as well as the proportion of the administrative fee to be received by the Member State whose diplomatic post or consular mission is being used. Applicants shall be directed to the Member State responsible for the processing of the visa application.

b)   Where "Common Application Centres" are established, the staff of the diplomatic posts and consular missions of two or more Member States shall be pooled in the building of a Member State enjoying diplomatic or consular protection under international law or in a European Commission building recognised by the host State as inviolable in order to receive the visa applications (including biometric identifiers) addressed to them. Applicants shall be directed to the Member State responsible for the processing of the visa application. Member States shall agree on the duration and conditions for the termination of such co-operation as well as the cost sharing among the participating Member States. One Member State shall be responsible for contracts in relation to logistics and diplomatic relations with the host country.

c)   Co-operation with external service providers in accordance with 1.B.

1.   B Co-operation with external service providers

If, owing to particular circumstances or reasons relating to the local situation of the consular post, it is not appropriate to equip the consular office for capturing/collecting biometric identifiers or to organise co-location or a Common Application Centre, one or several Member States jointly may co-operate with an external service provider for the reception of visa applications (including biometric identifiers). In such a case, the Member State(s) concerned shall remain responsible for the processing of the data and therefore liable for any breaches of contract, and in particular for compliance with data protection rules for the processing of visa applications. Those Member State(s) shall ensure that an external service provider under Point VII, point 1.B.1 point b, undertakes its activities on the premises of a Member State which enjoy diplomatic or consular protection under international law or on European Commission premises recognised by the host State as inviolable, and that qualified and duly authorised staff of the diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member State(s) are present to closely supervise the activities of the external service provider.

1.B.1   - Types of co-operation with external service providers

Cooperation with external service providers shall take [one of] the following form[s]:

   a) the external service provider shall act as a call centre providing general information on the requirements for applying for a visa and be in charge of the appointment system;
   b) the external service provider shall provide general information on the requirements for applying for a visa, collect applications, supporting documents and biometric data from visa applicants and collect the handling fee (as provided for by Part VII, point 4, and Annex 12), transmit the completed files and data to the diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member State competent for the processing of the application and return the passport to the applicant or to the applicant's legal representative at the end of the procedure .

1.B.2   - Obligations of Member States

In compliance with Directive 95/46/EC , the Member State(s) concerned shall select an external service provider which is able to ensure a high quality of service and all the technical and organisational security measures necessary to protect personal data against accidental or unlawful destruction or accidental loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure or access, in particular where the processing involves the transmission of data over a network as well as the reception and transmission of files and data to the consular post, and against all other unlawful forms of processing.

When selecting external service providers, Member States" diplomatic missions or consular posts shall scrutinise the solvency and reliability of the company (including necessary licences, commercial registration, company statutes, bank contracts and shall ensure there is no conflict of interests.

The diplomatic missions or consular posts of the Member States shall ensure that the company selected offers relevant professional expertise in information assurance and data security. Member States should follow best procurement practices in contracting external visa support services.

External service providers shall not have access to the VIS for any purpose. Access to the VIS shall be reserved exclusively to duly authorised staff of diplomatic missions or consular posts solely for the purposes laid down in the VIS Regulation .

The Member State(s) concerned shall conclude a written contract with the external service provider in accordance with Article 17 of Directive 95/46/EC . Before concluding such a contract, the diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member State concerned shall justify, with reasons in accordance with Point VII, point 1.B, the need for the contract with the diplomatic missions and consular posts of other Member States and the Commission delegation within local consular cooperation .

In addition to the obligations set out in Article 17 of Directive 95/46/EC , the contract shall also contain provisions which:

   a) define the exact responsibilities of the service provider;
   b) require the service provider to act under the instructions of the responsible Member States and to process the data only for the purposes of processing of personal data of visa applications on behalf of the responsible Member States in compliance with Directive 95/46/EC ;
   c) require the service provider to provide applicants with the information required under Article 37 of the VIS Regulation;
   d) require the service provider to ensure that its staff are appropriately trained and respect the rules laid down in Point III, point -1;
   e) require the service provider to adopt appropriate anti-corruption measures;
   f) require the service provider to report to the responsible Member State without delay any security breaches or any other problems;
   g) require the service provider to record any complaints or notifications from applicants on data misuse or unauthorised access. The external service provider shall inform the responsible Member State's diplomatic mission or consular post without delay and coordinate with them in order to find a solution. Complaints shall be handled in such a way as to ensure that explanatory responses are given to visa applicants promptly;
   h) h ) provide for access by consular staff to the premises of the service provider at all times;
   i) i ) require the service provider and its staff to observe rules of confidentiality which shall also apply once the staff have left the employ of the external service provider or after the suspension or termination of the contract ;
   j) ensure data protection compliance, including reporting obligations, external audits, regular spot checks by, inter alia, national data protection authorities, and that mechanisms are in place for the apportionment of the liability of a contractor in the event of a breach of the regulations on privacy, including the obligation to compensate individuals where they have suffered damage resulting from an act or omission of the service provider;
   k) require the service provider to transmit without delay the completed file to the diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member State responsible for the processing of the application and not to copy, store, or otherwise retain any data collected after the transmission;
   l) require the service provider to prevent any unauthorised reading, copying, modification or deletion of visa data during the transmission from the service provider to the diplomatic mission or consular post of the Member State responsible for the processing of the application, in particular by means of appropriate encryption techniques;
   m) m ) contain a suspension and termination clause;
   n) contain a revision clause with a view to ensuring that contracts reflect best current practices;
   o) lay down rules on the conduct of the staff responsible for handling visa applications and for collecting biometric data with maximum respect for human dignity. Any measure taken when carrying out those duties shall be proportionate to the aims of that measure. In processing the application, staff shall avoid any discrimination among persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

A model contract shall be established within local consular cooperation.

Member States shall ensure that there is the least possible service disruption for visa applicants in the event of the external service provider suddenly ceasing to provide the services required under the contract.

The Member State(s) concerned shall cooperate closely with the external service provider and shall closely monitor the implementation of the contract, including:

   a) the general information provided by the service provider to visa applicants;
   b) the technical and organisational security measures and appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect personal data against accidental or unlawful destruction or accidental loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure or access, in particular where the processing involves the transmission of data over a network, and against all other unlawful forms of processing, as well as the reception and transmission of files and data to the diplomatic mission or consular post;
   c) the capturing and transmission of biometric identifiers;
   d) the measures taken to ensure compliance with data protection and data security provisions as well as measures against corruption.

The fee paid by the applicant shall not exceed the fee set out in Annex 12, irrespective of whether Member States cooperate with external service providers.

Member States shall ensure that a procedure is in place allowing for the identification of the external service provider handling any visa application.

The consular staff of the Member State(s) concerned shall give training to the service provider, corresponding to the knowledge needed to offer appropriate service and sufficient information to visa applicants.

1.B.3    - Information

Member States and their diplomatic missions or consular posts shall provide the general public with all relevant information in relation to a visa application, including:

   a) the criteria, conditions and procedures for applying for a visa;
   b) the means of obtaining an appointment, if applicable;
   c) where the application should be submitted (competent diplomatic mission or consular post, common application centre or external service provider).

This information to the general public shall also be available through a common Schengen visa internet site.

That site shall be established in order to further support the application of the common visa policy and the handling of the visa procedure.

1.B.4    - Information Campaign

Shortly before the VIS is brought into operation in a third country, the diplomatic missions or consular posts of Member States together with the delegation of the Commission shall launch a campaign informing the general public about the objectives pursued, the data stored in, and the authorities having access to, the VIS, and the rights of visa applicants. Such campaigns shall be conducted regularly.

1.   C Maintenance of direct access for applicants to Member States diplomatic missions and consular posts

Irrespective of the type of cooperation chosen, Member States may decide to maintain the possibility of allowing applicants direct access to lodge an application for a visa directly at the premises of their diplomatic missions or consular posts. Member States shall ensure the continuity of reception and processing of visa applications, in the event of the sudden termination of cooperation with other Member States or any type of external service provider.

1.   D Decision and publication

Member States shall inform the Commission of how they intend to organise the reception and processing of visa applications in each consular location. The Commission shall ensure appropriate publication on the common Schengen visa internet site .

Member States shall provide the Commission with the contracts they conclude.

1.    E General responsibilities

1.E.1    Documents

Any document, data or biometric identifier received by, or on behalf of, a Member State in the course of a visa application shall be considered a 'consular document' under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and shall be treated in an appropriate manner.

1.E.2    Training

Before being authorised to take biometric identifiers, the staff of the diplomatic mission or consular post shall receive appropriate training so as to ensure smooth and professional enrolment.

1.E.3    Liability

Any person who, or Member State which, has suffered damage as a result of an unlawful processing operation or any act in breach of this Regulation shall be entitled to receive compensation from the Member State which is responsible for the damage suffered. That Member State shall be exempted from its liability, in whole or in part, if it proves that it is not responsible for the event giving rise to the damage.

Claims for compensation against a Member State for the damage referred to in the previous subparagraph shall be governed by the provisions of national law of the defendant Member State.

1.E.4    Penalties

Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that any breach of this Regulation, in particular any misuse of data submitted for a visa application is punishable by penalties, including administrative and/or criminal penalties in accordance with national law, that are effective, proportionate and dissuasive .

"

(5)   In point VIII, point 5.2 shall be amended as follows:

   a) the title shall be replaced by the following:"
5.2.   Member States" diplomatic missions and consular posts" cooperation with commercial intermediaries "
   b) the following sentence shall be inserted between the title and point 5.2 (a):"
For repeated applications within the meaning of point III 1.2, Member States may allow their diplomatic missions or consular posts to cooperate with commercial intermediaries (i.e. private administrative agencies, transport or travel agencies (tour operators and retailers)). "

Article 2

The Commission shall present, three years after the VIS is brought into operation and every four years thereafter, a report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the implementation of this Regulation, including the implementation of the enrolment of biometric identifiers, the appropriateness of the ICAO standard chosen, compliance with data protection rules, experience with external service providers with specific reference to the collection of biometric data, the principle of the "first application" and the organisation of the reception and the processing of visa applications . The report shall also include, on the basis of Article 17 (12), (13) and (14) and of Article 50(4) of the VIS Regulation, the cases in which fingerprints could factually not be provided or were not required to be provided for legal reasons compared with the number of cases in which fingerprints were taken. The report shall include information on cases in which a person who could factually not provide fingerprints was refused a visa.

The report shall be accompanied, where necessary, by appropriate proposals to amend this Regulation.

Article 3

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

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

Done at ║,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) Position of the European Parliament of 10 July 2008.
(2) OJ L 213, 15.6.2004, p. 5.
(3) OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 60.
(4) OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.
(5) OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 176, 10.7.1999, p. 31.
(7) OJ L 131, 1.6.2000, p. 43.
(8) OJ L 64, 7.3.2002, p. 20.
(9) OJ L 370, 17.12.2004, p. 78.


EC/Mauritania Fisheries Partnership for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2008*
DOC 45k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 July 2008 on the proposal for a Council regulation on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2012 (COM(2008)0243 – C6-0199/2008 – 2008/0093(CNS) )
P6_TA(2008)0359 A6-0278/2008

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council regulation (COM(2008)0243 ),

–   having regard to Articles 37 and 300(2), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0199/2008 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets (A6-0278/2008 ),

1.   Approves the proposal for a Council regulation as amended and approves the conclusion of the Protocol;

2.   Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2 a (new)
(2a)    The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon would, if ratified, impose closer interinstitutional cooperation which, inter alia, should lead to the European Parliament having greater and better access to all the information relating to fisheries agreements, including during the negotiations on protocols.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 a (new)
Article 1a
A member of the European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries shall attend the meetings and proceedings of the Joint Committee provided for in Article 10 of the Agreement as an observer. Representatives of the fisheries sector covered by the Agreement may also attend these meetings.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 a (new)
Article 4a
The Commission shall forward the conclusions of the meetings of the Joint Committee provided for in Article 10 of the Agreement to the European Parliament. During the final year of application of the Protocol and before another agreement is signed on its renewal, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on its application.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 b (new)
Article 4b
In accordance with Article 30(3) of the Financial Regulation 1 , and in the spirit of the European Parliament's resolution of 19 February 2008 on transparency in financial matters 2 , the Commission shall publish annually on its website a list of individual end-beneficiaries of the EU financial contribution.
________
1 Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities (OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1).
2. Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2008)0051 .

Restructuring of EU fishing fleets affected by the economic crisis *
DOC 32k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 July 2008 on the proposal for a Council regulation instituting a temporary specific action aiming to promote the restructuring of the European Union fishing fleets affected by the economic crisis (COM(2008)0454 – C6-0270/2008 – 2008/0144(CNS) )
P6_TA(2008)0360 C6-0270/2008

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2008)0454 ),

–   having regard to Articles 36 and 37 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0270/2008 ),

–   having regard to Rules 51 and 134 of its Rules of Procedure,

1.   Approves the Commission proposal;

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

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

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


Census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy
DOC 62k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy
P6_TA(2008)0361 B6-0348/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms, the principles of equality and non-discrimination, the right to dignity, privacy and the protection of personal data, the rights of the child, the rights of persons belonging to minorities, as recognised by international and European conventions protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and the related case law of the European Court of Human Rights(1) , and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Treaties, and notably to Articles 2, 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 13 (measures against discrimination based on, inter alia, racial or ethnic origin), 12 (prohibition of discrimination on the basis of nationality), 17 (citizenship of the Union), 18 (freedom of movement) and 39 et seq. (free movement of workers) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(2) and notably to the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(3) and Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(4) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document on Community Instruments and Policies for Roma Inclusion (SEC(2008) 2172) and the Annual Report for 2008 of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on, inter alia, the Roma, racism and xenophobia, measures against discrimination, and freedom of movement, namely those of 28 April 2005 on the situation of the Roma in the European Union(5) , of 1 June 2006 on the situation of Roma women in the European Union(6) , of 15 November 2007 on the application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(7) , of 13 December 2007 on combating the rise of extremism in Europe(8) , and of 31 January 2008 on a European Strategy on the Roma(9) ,

–   having regard to Rules 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the EU is a community of values based on democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, equality and non-discrimination, including the protection of persons belonging to minorities, and whereas the EU is committed to fighting racism and xenophobia, as well as discrimination based on any of the grounds referred to in Articles 12 and 13 of the EC Treaty,

B.   whereas these values are implemented in the EU through the above-mentioned anti-discrimination and freedom of movement directives, as well as the policies underpinning them, and Member States are bound to implement them fully and refrain from acts that could infringe them,

C.   whereas, in its resolution of 31 January 2008, Parliament urged the Member States to solve the problem of slums and illegal camps, where there are no hygiene or safety standards and where a large number of Roma children die in domestic accidents, particularly fires, caused by the lack of such standards,

D.   whereas the Roma are one of the main targets of racism and discrimination, as shown by the recent incidents involving attacks and aggression against Roma in Italy and Hungary and further underlined by recent Eurobarometer surveys,

E.   whereas in its above-mentioned Staff Working Document the Commission emphasises that a series of EU legislative and financial instruments and policies are already available to Member States in order to fight discrimination against the Roma and promote the inclusion and integration of the Roma, particularly by exchanging and promoting good practices in this field,

F.   whereas the Roma population is a pan-European ethno-cultural community without a nation State and consequently the EU has a particular responsibility to devise a EU Roma strategy and policy together with the Member States,

G.   whereas on 21 May 2008 the Italian Government issued a decree declaring a state of emergency in relation to nomad settlements in the regions of Campania, Lazio and Lombardy(10) , based on Law No 225 of 24 February 1992 on the establishment of a national civil protection service, which empowers the government to declare a state of emergency in the event of 'natural disasters, catastrophes or other events that, on account of their intensity and extent, have to be tackled using extraordinary powers and means',

H.   whereas this decree was followed on 30 May 2008 by further orders ('ordinanze ') issued by the Prime Minister(11) that:

   - designate the Prefects of Rome, Milan and Naples as Commissioners ("Commissari delegati ") for the Roma emergency,
   - grant them extraordinary powers to identify persons, including minors and including by taking fingerprints,
   - empower them to take the necessary measures against those who are to or could be expelled by virtue of an administrative or judicial measure,
   - allow them to derogate (albeit without prejudice to the rule of law and EU law) from a series of laws concerning a wide spectrum of issues affecting constitutional prerogatives (for instance the right to be informed when subject to an administrative procedure such as fingerprinting and the requirement that persons be dangerous or suspect or that they refuse to identify themselves before undergoing identity screening involving photographing, fingerprinting or the gathering of anthropometric data),
   I. whereas the decree declared a state of emergency for a period of one year, until 31 May 2009,

J.   whereas the Italian Minister of the Interior has repeatedly declared that the purpose of taking fingerprints is to carry out a census of the Roma population in Italy and that he intends to allow the fingerprinting of Roma living in camps, minors included, by way of derogation from ordinary laws, affirming that Italy will proceed with these identification operations that will be concluded before 15 October 2008 in Milan, Rome and Naples,

K.   whereas fingerprinting operations are already under way in Italy, notably in Milan and Naples, and whereas according to information provided by NGOs such data are stored by Prefects in a database,

L.   whereas Commissioners Barrot and Špidla have underlined, in this respect, the importance of the principles of equality and non-discrimination in the EU, and have put forward a new horizontal anti-discrimination directive, affirming that EU law clearly forbids discrimination based on race and ethnicity,

M.   whereas UNICEF, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe have expressed their concerns, while the Commissioner has sent a memorandum to the Italian Government concerning, inter alia, racism, xenophobia and the protection of the human rights of the Roma,

N.   whereas the Italian Data Protection Authority has requested information from the competent authorities, notably the Prefects of Rome, Milan and Naples, concerning the possibility of fingerprinting Roma, including minors, expressing concern that it could entail discrimination that might also affect personal dignity, notably that of minors,

1.   Urges the Italian authorities to refrain from collecting fingerprints from Roma, including minors, and from using fingerprints already collected, pending the forthcoming announced evaluation by the Commission of the measures envisaged, as this would clearly constitute an act of direct discrimination based on race and ethnic origin prohibited by Article 14 of the ECHR and furthermore an act of discrimination between EU citizens of Roma origin and other citizens, who are not required to undergo such procedures;

2.   Shares the concerns of UNICEF and considers that it is inadmissible, with the aim of protecting children, to violate their fundamental rights and to criminalise them, as well as those expressed by the Council of Europe and by many NGOs and religious communities, and considers that the best way to protect the rights of Roma children is to guarantee them equal access to quality education, housing and health care, within the framework of inclusion and integration policies, and to protect them from exploitation;

3.   Calls on the Member States to take firm steps to protect unaccompanied minors subjected to exploitation, irrespective of their ethnic origin and nationality, and, where the identification of such minors would be useful for this purpose, to employ, on a case-by-case basis, ordinary, non-discriminatory identification procedures ensuring full respect for every form of legal guarantee and protection;

4.   Shares the view of the Commission that such acts would constitute a violation of the prohibition on direct and indirect discrimination, particularly as laid down in Council Directive 2000/43/EC and enshrined in Articles 12, 13 and 17 to 22 of the EC Treaty;

5.   Reaffirms that policies which increase exclusion will never be effective in combating crime and will not contribute to crime prevention or security;

6.   Condemns utterly and without equivocation all forms of racism and discrimination faced by the Roma and others regarded as 'Gypsies';

7.   Calls on the Member States to review and repeal laws and policies that discriminate against the Roma on the basis of race and ethnicity, directly or indirectly, and calls on the Council and the Commission to monitor the application by the Member States of the Treaties and of the directives on measures against discrimination and on freedom of movement in order to ensure their consistent and full implementation and to take the necessary measures if that is not the case;

8.   Calls on the Commission to thoroughly evaluate the legislative and executive measures adopted by the Italian Government in order to check their compatibility with the Treaties and with EU law;

9.   Expresses concern at the affirmation - contained in the administrative decrees and orders issued by the Italian Government - that the presence of Roma camps around large cities in itself constitutes a serious social emergency with repercussions for public order and security which justify declaring a state of emergency for one year;

10.   Is concerned that, owing to the declaration of a state of emergency, extraordinary measures in derogation from laws may be taken by Prefects to whom authority has been delegated to implement all measures, including the collection of fingerprints, based on a law concerning civil protection in the event of 'natural disasters, catastrophes or other events', which is not appropriate or proportionate to this specific case;

11.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to further strengthen EU policies on the Roma by launching an EU Roma Strategy to support and promote actions and projects by Member States and NGOs linked to the integration and inclusion of the Roma, particularly of Roma children;

12.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States, within the framework of an EU Roma Strategy and in the context of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, to enact legislation and policies to support Roma communities while promoting their integration in all fields to launch anti-racism and anti-discrimination programmes in schools, employment and the media and to enhance the exchange of expertise and best practices;

13.   Reiterates in this context the importance of developing strategies at EU and national level, making full use of the opportunities provided by EU funds, to abolish Roma segregation in education, to ensure equal access to quality education for Roma children (participation in mainstream education, introduction of special scholarship and trainee programmes), to ensure and improve Roma access to labour markets, to provide equal access to health care and social security benefits, to combat discriminatory practices in the provision of housing, and to increase the participation of the Roma in social, economic, cultural and political life;

14.   Welcomes the creation by the Commission of an anti-discrimination working group with representatives of all the Member States and calls for the competent Parliamentary committee to be associated and have full access to the proceedings of the working group; calls on its competent committee to establish a dialogue with the national parliaments of the Member States on this issue;

15.   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 Council of Europe, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, UNICEF and the Italian Data Protection Authority.

(1) Notably the ruling on the case D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic [GC], no. 57325/00, ECHR 2007 – (13.11.07).
(2) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(3) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(4) OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.
(5) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2006, p. 129.
(6) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 283.
(7) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0534 .
(8). Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0623 .
(9) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0035 .
(10) Gazzetta Ufficiale (Italian Official Journal) No 122 of 26 May 2008, p. 9.
(11) No 3676 on Lazio, No 3677 on Lombardy and No 3678 on Campania, Gazetta Ufficiale No 127 of 31 May 2008, pp. 7, 9 and 11 respectively.


Situation in China after the earthquake and before the Olympic Games
DOC 38k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the situation in China after the earthquake and before the Olympic Games
P6_TA(2008)0362 B6-0340 and 0341/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on the natural disaster in China(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on Tibet(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2007 on the EU-China Summit and the EU-China human rights dialogue(3) ,

–   having regard to the outcome of the 25th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in Brdo, Slovenia, on 15 May 2008,

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

A.   whereas both China and the EU are committed to contributing to peace, security and sustainable development in the world,

B.   having regard to the scale of the destruction wrought by the violent earthquake in South-west China on 12 May 2008; whereas that earthquake claimed tens of thousands of victims, in particular in Sichuan province; whereas, according to the latest estimate, 10 million people were affected by the earthquake and almost 70 000 killed, including thousands of schoolchildren who died when their classrooms collapsed,

C.   whereas the Chinese Government took exceptional emergency measures, deploying personnel – including part of the army – and medical teams to aid the inhabitants of the stricken region,

D.   having regard to the extraordinary mobilisation and solidarity of the entire Chinese people and of the international community in efforts to aid the victims of the disaster,

E.   whereas the opening of Tibet to tourists and the media should not be used as a "public relations event" but as a real opening, which will allow journalists, the media and tourists to visit the region of Tibet,

F.   having regard to the concluding statements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which underlined that granting the 2008 Olympic Games to China would help to open up the country and improve the human rights situation,

1.   Expresses satisfaction at the developments in EU-China relations, the sectoral dialogues and the closer cooperation on various globalised issues;

2.   Calls on the Chinese authorities to bear in mind that earthquake warnings constitute one benchmark of the development of a country; stresses, therefore, the vital importance of responding actively and promptly to any warning that the scientific community can give the authorities in the unlikely but possible situation of another natural disaster in China;

3.   Welcomes the resumption of contacts, after the events of March 2008 in Lhasa, between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities; encourages the two parties to intensify these contacts so as to establish the bases for mutual trust, without which it will be impossible to arrive at a mutually acceptable political solution;

4.   Regrets that while there has been major progress in relations with China as regards trade and economics, that progress has not been accompanied by substantial achievements as regards issues relating to human rights and democracy;

5.   Deplores the fact that China's human rights record remains a matter of concern owing to widespread and systematic human rights abuses; recalls the commitments to human rights made by China when the country won its bid to host the Olympic Games;

6.   Condemns China's frequent use of the death penalty and calls on the Chinese authorities to establish a moratorium on executions;

7.   Deplores the fact that no international calls have succeed in stopping the Chinese authorities from pursuing their follow-up to the riots of 14 March 2008 in Tibet, with participants in the protest in Lhasa still being traced, detained and arbitrarily arrested, and their families being given no information as to their whereabouts, although this is required by Chinese law; calls on the Chinese authorities to halt its "patriotic re-education" campaign, which has been intensified since the beginning of April, during the Olympic Games in the name of the long-established "Olympic Truce";

8.   Notes with satisfaction that China rapidly agreed to accept the assistance of the international community in helping the victims of the earthquake in the Sichuan region and facilitating the operation of voluntary humanitarian aid organisations in distributing aid;

9.   Stresses the importance of the support of the European Union, of its Member States and of the international community for the reconstruction phase in the affected region;

10.   Calls on China to abide by the public commitments which it made with regard to human rights and minority rights, democracy and the rule of law and which the IOC announced when it decided to allow China to organise the Olympic Games;

11.   Urges the Chinese authorities to take this historic opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the granting of the Olympic Games to Beijing has provided a unique chance to improve their human rights record by displaying clemency to all political prisoners and human rights activists in gaol, including those in gaol in Tibet following the uprising of March 2008 (except, of course, for perpetrators of violent crimes); calls, moreover, on the Chinese authorities to stop discrimination against rural migrants and ethnic minorities and to refrain from harassing trade-union activists, lawyers and journalists when they denounce violations of fundamental freedoms; reiterates its conviction that the imprisonment of such people is against the universal and accepted spirit of the ius gentium (law of nations);

12.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0232 .
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0119 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0622 .


The Commission's 2007 enlargement strategy paper
DOC 52k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the Commission's 2007 enlargement strategy paper (2007/2271(INI) )
P6_TA(2008)0363 A6-0266/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2007-2008 (COM(2007)0663 ),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 16 March 2006 on the Commission's 2005 enlargement strategy paper(1) and of 13 December 2006 on the Commission's Communication on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007(2) ,

   having regard to its previous resolutions on the countries of the Western Balkans, Turkey and the European partners of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0266/2008 ),

A.   whereas the EU's Enlargement Strategy has both an external and an internal dimension,

B.   whereas the external dimension of this strategy involves the promotion of reforms, in line with European standards, of democracy, of respect for human rights, of peace and of stability and prosperity,

C.   whereas the internal dimension of the Enlargement Strategy directly influences the EU's ability to pursue its policy objectives and to achieve an ever closer union, as laid down in the Treaties,

D.   whereas a politically integrated EU capable of developing ambitious solidarity and stability policies is necessary,

E.   whereas, in accordance with the Treaty of Rome, "any European state may apply to become a member of the Community",

F.   whereas, since previous enlargements have undoubtedly been a success both for the EU and for the Member States which joined it and have contributed to the stability, development and prosperity of Europe as a whole, it is essential to create the conditions needed to ensure that future enlargements are a success too,

G.   whereas the Stabilisation and Association Agreements are making an important and successful contribution to relations between the EU and the western Balkan countries with a view to their European integration, and are promoting regional cooperation,

H.   whereas the 2003 European Council held in Thessaloniki and the 2006 European Council held in Brussels reaffirmed the EU's intention to respect its commitments to the countries of south-eastern Europe and the western Balkans,

I.   whereas the renewed consensus adopted by the European Council in December 2006 is based on the principles of consolidation of commitments, fair and rigorous conditionality and better communication with the public,

J.   whereas the Enlargement Strategy is much more than a negotiating methodology, reflecting as it does the core belief that the EU is a community of shared values and is intricately linked to the debate on the EU's objectives and effectiveness, its future and its role in the neighbourhood and the world,

K.   whereas the methodology and criteria outlined in the above-mentioned Commission Communication for pursuing accession negotiations deserve full support and should be implemented rigorously, and whereas political considerations should not override strict compliance with those criteria,

L.   whereas the EU's Enlargement Strategy should be part of a broad array of policy instruments designed to consolidate democracy and build stability and social development in the EU's neighbourhood and to enhance the EU's role in the world,

M.   whereas these policies should encompass the variety of situations prevailing in the EU's neighbourhood, notably in those countries which have candidate status and have started negotiations, those which have candidate status but have not yet started negotiations, those which have membership prospects, those which have a European integration goal and those which merely wish to have close neighbourly ties with the EU,

N.   whereas these policies should be independent and without prejudice to provisions allowing a given country to advance from one type of relationship with the EU to another, if the necessary internal and external conditions of that country are fulfilled,

O.   whereas the Eastern partners of the ENP are clearly identifiable as European countries and some of them have expressed a European perspective goal,

P.   whereas, as stated in its above-mentioned resolution of 13 December 2006, countries with European prospects should benefit from a close bilateral or multilateral relationship with the EU, matching their specific needs and interests; whereas this option, which entails a broad spectrum of operational possibilities, would grant partner countries a stable, long-term perspective of institutionalised relations with the EU and provide the incentive necessary to foster stability, peace, respect for human rights and democratic and economic reform in the countries concerned,

Q.   whereas, in accordance with the same resolution, it would be up to all countries with recognised membership prospects to decide whether they want to benefit from similar multilateral arrangements as an intermediate step towards full membership,

R.   whereas the EU Enlargement Strategy needs also to be effectively explained and communicated to the current EU citizens as well as to all future citizens so as to ensure that they are fully aware of the policies in question and boost public support for the EU's commitments towards its neighbours, thus guaranteeing the EU's credibility and solidarity as a partner while seeking to respond to legitimate concerns,

1.   Agrees with the Commission that past enlargements have been a great success, benefiting the old as well as the new EU Member States by fostering economic growth, promoting social progress and bringing peace, stability, freedom and prosperity to the European continent; believes that lessons can be learned from previous accessions and that further ways of improving the quality of the enlargement process must be based on the positive experiences accumulated so far;

2.   Reaffirms its firm commitment to all candidate countries and to those which have been given clear membership prospects, with the understanding that full and rigorous compliance with all the criteria laid down in Copenhagen in 1993 is imperative, that the EU must make efforts to strengthen its integration capacity and that this capacity should be fully taken into account;

3.   Recalls in this context that, for the countries of the former Yugoslavia, full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is also a sine qua non;

4.   Takes the view that the EU's Enlargement Strategy should comply with the provisions of the EU Treaty and reflect the commitments already entered into by the EU, as well as striking a balance between the EU's geo-strategic interests, the impact of political developments outside its borders, and the EU's integration capacity, including its ability to cope with future internal and external challenges and to realise its political integration project;

5.   Recalls in this context the need to undertake the necessary internal reforms, aimed at, inter alia , increasing efficiency, social cohesion and strengthening democratic accountability;

6.   Recalls that integration capacity is linked to the EU's ability at a given point in time to decide on and thus to achieve its political objectives, in particular the aims of promoting economic and social progress and a high level of employment in its Member States, of asserting its identity and its ability to act on the international scene, of promoting the rights and interests of EU Member States and European citizens alike, of developing an area of freedom, security and justice, of fully maintaining and building on its acquis communautaire and of upholding fundamental rights and freedoms, as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

7.  Considers that the concept of integration capacity comprises four elements:

   i) accession states should contribute to and not impair the ability of the EU to maintain momentum towards the fulfilment of its political objectives;
   ii) the institutional framework of the EU should be able to deliver efficient and effective government;
   iii) the financial resources of the EU should be adequate to meet the challenges of social and economic cohesion and of the EU's common policies;
   iv) a comprehensive communication strategy should be in place to inform public opinion about the implications of enlargement;

8.   Stresses that, in order to enhance the credibility and the effectiveness of the enlargement strategy, the Copenhagen criteria must be fully respected and complied with by Member States as well, in order to avoid requiring of applicant countries higher standards than those applied in some parts of the EU;

9.   Recalls, furthermore, that the economic structure and interests of each new Member State could have an impact on the direction which the EU's policies and budget take and that the policy adaptations required could affect the nature of the EU itself; recalls that a cohesive Community of nations and citizens must be based on coherent policies and solidarity of interests;

10.   Considers that the budgetary as well as the broader economic and social implications of further possible enlargements must be taken into due consideration during the mid-term review of the 2007-2013 multi-annual financial framework and the drafting of subsequent financial frameworks;

11.   Is also convinced that any acceding State should try to resolve its main internal problems, particularly those concerning its territorial and constitutional set-up, before it can join the EU; takes the view that, before and during the negotiations with any such State, the EU should assist in resolving those issues;

12.   Endorses the emphasis on consolidation, conditionality and communication as guiding principles of the EU Enlargement Strategy;

13.   Takes the view that every enlargement must be followed by adequate consolidation and political concentration, that is to say, by a serious reassessment of the EU's policies and means in order to respond to the expectations of European citizens and to guarantee the viability of the EU as a political project;

14.   Is concerned that enlargement without adequate consolidation and preparation could negatively influence the EU's internal cohesion and could have serious implications for the EU's capacity to act, since it would weaken its institutions, make Member States more vulnerable to external pressure and undermine the EU's credibility as global actor;

15.   Believes, moreover, that the success of the enlargement process (and, thus, the success of the EU political integration process) can only be achieved if there is clear and long-lasting public support for the EU membership of each candidate country; is therefore of the view that further enlargements should be accompanied by a concerted communication policy involving all EU Institutions and Member States' Governments, as well as representatives of civil society, and that this communication policy should be designed to explain to the EU's citizens the political, economic, social and cultural benefits of enlargement; therefore reminds the governments and parliaments of the Member States that it is their responsibility adequately to inform public opinion about the positive achievements of former enlargements, the status quo of the ongoing negotiations and the issues connected with the accession of new Member States;

16.   Takes the view that countries with European prospects should make every effort to explain, involve and prepare their public opinion for integration into the EU, involving civil society in this process from the outset;

17.   Is also convinced that the Enlargement Strategy should be flanked by a more diversified range of external contractual frameworks and that these frameworks could be structured as mutually permeable concentric circles, with countries being offered the opportunity, under strict but clear internal and external conditions, to move from one status to another if they so wish and if they fulfil the criteria pertaining to each specific framework;

18.   Affirms that participation in the ENP does not constitute, either in principle or in practice, a substitute for membership or a stage leading necessarily to membership; takes the view that the conceptual, political and legal gap existing between the EU's Enlargement Strategy and its Neighbourhood Policy needs to be filled in order to respond to the expectations of its eastern neighbours; is convinced that the Commission's strengthened neighbourhood policy is not sufficient in this respect, although it represents an already positive step in the right direction, and that a more substantive qualitative change is required;

19.   Suggests, therefore, that, as regards those eastern neighbours which, in view of their political, economic and social situation and the EU's current integration capacity, at present do not enjoy membership prospects but at the same time fulfil certain democratic and economic conditions, the EU should establish an area based on common policies covering, in particular, the rule of law, democracy and human rights, foreign and security policy cooperation, economic and financial issues, trade, energy, transport, environmental issues, justice, security, migration, visa-free movement and education; takes the view that these common policies should pursue the overall goal of assisting the eastern neighbours gradually to achieve EU standards and thus open the way for their closer integration into the European fold; is also convinced that the common policies referred to above should be shaped jointly with the participating countries on the basis of specific decision-making mechanisms, and should be underpinned by adequate financial assistance; takes a positive view of the Polish-Swedish proposal for an Eastern Partnership submitted to the meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 26-27 May 2008, provided that the initiative which that proposal involves is pursued within the framework of the EU;

20.   Welcomes the re-launch, within the framework of the EU, of the "Barcelona Process: A Union for the Mediterranean" as a positive step in the EU's relations with the southern neighbours; believes that this new development strengthens the argument in favour of specific contractual multilateral relations also with the EU's eastern neighbours, which, compared to the southern partners, have clear European ambitions and perspectives; recalls that, as a first step, these relations should translate themselves into the establishment of a Free Trade Area, to be followed by closer relations along the lines of a European Economic Area Plus (EEA +), of a European Commonwealth or of specific regional cooperation frameworks;

21.   Reiterates, in the context of the above-mentioned specific regional cooperation frameworks, the importance of devising a more sophisticated and comprehensive EU strategy for the Black Sea region, that goes beyond the current synergy initiative and envisages the establishment of a Black Sea Cooperation Agreement, which should include the EU, Turkey and all Black Sea littoral states as equal partners, while seeking the full involvement of Russia, and which could, at a later stage, develop into a Union of the Black Sea; believes that such a multilateral framework would not only offer the countries involved the possibility of strengthening their cooperation with the EU across a wide variety of policy fields, but would also allow the EU to play a more active role in finding peaceful solutions to the region's conflicts, thus contributing positively to security in the region;

22.   Believes at the same time that countries which enjoy recognised membership prospects but still have considerable ground to cover before they can attain the political, economic and social conditions necessary to achieve candidate status, could usefully participate, on a totally voluntary basis, in arrangements similar to the above-mentioned bilateral or multilateral frameworks; recalls that such an intermediate step would facilitate the deployment of all instruments available to the EU in order to help the countries concerned on their path towards full membership;

23.   Welcomes in this context the Commission Communication on the Western Balkans: Enhancing the European Perspective, of 5 March 2008 (COM(2008)0127 ), which outlines a range of measures for supporting the countries in the region in their efforts towards EU integration and for deepening the EU's relations with them, whether in the areas of trade, energy, education and/or research; expresses satisfaction at the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 7 November 2007 with the Republic of Serbia and on 16 June 2008 with Bosnia-Herzegovina, which it regards as a further step in consolidating the ties between the region concerned and the EU; calls in this respect for the negotiations for visa liberalisation with the countries of the western Balkans to be speeded up, in order to facilitate their participation in Community programmes;

24.   Urges the Commission to come up with concrete proposals for a more diversified external relations policy towards the EU's neighbours, along the lines outlined in the present resolution, and, when considering its own administrative set-up, at least to establish a link between the activities carried out by the Enlargement and the RELEX Directorates-General;

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

(1) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 402.
(2) OJ C 317 E, 23.12.2006, p. 480.


on the situation in Zimbabwe
DOC 56k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the situation in Zimbabwe
P6_TA(2008)0364 B6-0347/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Zimbabwe, in particular that of 24 April 2008(1) ,

–   having regard to Council Common Position 2008/135/CFSP(2) of 18 February 2008 renewing until 20 February 2009 the restrictive measures against Zimbabwe imposed under Common Position 2004/161/CFSP(3) ,

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions on Zimbabwe adopted on 29 April 2008 and on 26-27 May 2008,

–   having regard to the resolution on the [then] forthcoming election run-off in Zimbabwe, adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples" Rights (the African Commission) meeting at its 43rd Ordinary Session in Ezulwini, Kingdom of Swaziland, from 7 to 22 May 2008,

–   having regard to the report of the Pan-African Parliament Election Observer Mission on the harmonised elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe on 29 March 2008,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 19-20 June 2008, which reiterated the readiness of the EU to adopt additional measures against those responsible for the violence,

–   having regard to the preliminary statement of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Election Observer Mission on the Zimbabwe presidential run-off and House of Assembly by-elections of 29 June 2008,

–   having regard to the interim statement of the Pan-African Parliament Election Observer Mission to the presidential run-off and parliamentary by-elections in Zimbabwe of 30 June 2008,

–   having regard to the preliminary statement of the African Union (AU) Observer Mission to Zimbabwe of 29 June 2008,

–   having regard to the resolution on Zimbabwe adopted by the AU Assembly at the 11th AU Summit, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 30 June-1 July 2008,

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

A.   whereas the Zimbabwean presidential run off took place on 27 June 2008 despite the withdrawal of the presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai due to increasing violence and restrictions on the opposition party and supporters,

B.   whereas monitors from the SADC, the Pan-African Parliament and the AU said the run-off vote was undermined by violence, fell short of AU and SADC standards and did not reflect the will of the people,

C.   whereas elections to the House of Assembly of Zimbabwe, the Senate of Zimbabwe, the Presidency and the organs of local government took place on 29 March 2008,

D.   whereas, according to official results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won a majority of seats in the House of Assembly, while Morgan Tsvangirai won 47,9% and Robert Mugabe won 43,2% of the votes in the presidential election,

E.   whereas the results of the presidential election were delayed for several weeks, thus undermining the credibility and transparency of the electoral process,

F.   whereas Robert Mugabe declared before the run-off election that the MDC would never rule Zimbabwe and that he was prepared to fight to prevent them from taking power,

G.   whereas, in the run-up to the second round of the presidential election, activists and supporters of the opposition suffered from state-sponsored violence, torture, intimidation and arbitrary arrests, and according to the MDC at least 86 of its supporters were killed and 200 000 displaced from their homes,

H.   whereas, during the election campaign, Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested several times, pursued by armed soldiers and forced to take refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Harare,

I.   whereas MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti was arrested on 12 June 2008 and charged with subversion and treason,

J.   whereas the state media banned MDC campaign adverts, thus impeding a free and fair electoral campaign; whereas the MDC rally planned for 22 June 2008 in Harare was obstructed by violent supporters of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF),

K.   whereas on 24 June 2008 the President of the African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, described the situation in Zimbabwe as 'out of control', calling for urgent intervention by the United Nations and the SADC,

L.   whereas the UN Security Council (UNSC) has at last unanimously condemned the campaign of violence being waged by the Zimbabwean Government, though falling short of declaring this election illegitimate, owing to South Africa's objection,

M.   whereas the AU did not agree on any guidelines or a clear timetable for starting and ending negotiations and whereas, in addition, divisions within the SADC make dialogue unlikely,

N.   whereas journalists have been harassed and intimidated and foreign journalists barred from entering the country,

O.   whereas police have arbitrarily arrested civil society activists, including members of church-based civic groups in Harare, and a number of NGOs and aid agencies have had to suspend their operations,

P.   whereas the 'silent diplomacy' of the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, over the years, has, unfortunately, not produced any tangible results as regards the political situation in Zimbabwe and his notable sympathies for Robert Mugabe eventually led to a refusal by the Zimbabwe opposition to accept him as a mediator,

Q.   whereas the crisis in Zimbabwe is producing spill-over effects into neighbouring countries, notably South Africa,

R.   whereas, according to a report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme, an estimated two million face hunger between July 2008 and September 2008 in Zimbabwe, and this figure is expected to rise to 5,1 million in January-March 2009,

S.   whereas one in ten children in Zimbabwe die before their fifth birthday and average life expectancy is 37 years for men, and 34 years for women,

1.   Stresses that the elections of 27 June 2008 cannot be regarded as legitimate, and welcomes the Council Presidency's statement of 28 June 2008 clearly stating this position;

2.   Strongly condemns the government-sponsored campaign of violence against the political opposition ahead of the second round of the presidential election, which resulted in the killing, arbitrary arrest and harassment of opposition activists and supporters as well as human rights defenders;

3.   Considers that the campaign of violence, threats and intimidation against the opposition made a free and fair run-off presidential election in Zimbabwe impossible, as widely acknowledged by the international community, including the African election observers and African leaders;

4.   Welcomes the UNSC presidential statement condemning the conduct of Zimbabwe's presidential election;

5.   Welcomes the G8 leaders' statement on Zimbabwe of 8 July 2008, in particular their refusal to accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people, their recommendation to appoint a Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to report on the political, humanitarian, human rights and security situation and to support regional efforts to take forward mediation between political parties while respecting the results of the election on 29 March 2008, and their intention to take further steps, inter alia introducing financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for violence;

6.   Calls on all African countries and the wider international community to refuse to recognise the Mugabe regime;

7.   Calls on the AU, the SADC and the UN to facilitate an inclusive mediation process with clear timeframes for negotiations, enabling a rapid and positive solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, based on free and fair elections;

8.   Stresses that for the mediation effort to lead to meaningful and productive national dialogue, other external actors alongside President Thabo Mbeki must be brought in, and internal dialogue should not be restricted to the two political parties, but rather include other civil society actors such as NGOs, churches, trade unions and the parliament;

9.   Calls for a negotiated settlement of the current crisis, leading to the creation of a transitional administration, with a mandate to end the state-sponsored violence, demobilise militias, repeal repressive legislation, resolve the humanitarian crisis, stabilise the economy, initiate an inclusive constitutional review process, and reconstitute the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in order to create conditions for free and fair presidential elections in the near future under the auspices of the AU and the UN; calls for such negotiations to be observed by an AU/UN envoy;

10.   Calls on the UN to put in place a full and independent investigation of the human rights violations which were committed and insists that those responsible must not enjoy impunity and must be brought before a competent and impartial tribunal;

11.   Underlines the need for the rehabilitation of the victims and calls for transitional justice measures, including the setting-up of a truth and reconciliation commission;

12.   Welcomes the position of many African countries, as well as a large group of highly respected African personalities, including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan, condemning the situation in Zimbabwe, and encourages them to engage concretely in a political and democratic solution;

13.   Supports Botswana in its calls for Zimbabwe to be suspended from African forums until free and fair elections are held;

14.   Calls for South Africa to assume a key role in the SADC region for the future of Zimbabwe, and deeply regrets South Africa's refusal in the UNSC to declare this election illegitimate;

15.   Calls on the international community to increase diplomatic pressure on the Mugabe regime to stop all violence immediately, and to allow the Parliament which was duly elected 3 months ago to convene;

16.   Calls on the Council to tighten and extend targeted sanctions against members of the Mugabe regime and others responsible for grave violations of human rights, if mediation efforts are not accepted and the state-sponsored violence is not ended, and to press for sanctions to be adopted at UN level, including an arms embargo and a comprehensive freeze of assets of the entire government and ruling party leadership; underlines the need to implement them strictly and to coordinate with the wider international community in order to ensure their effectiveness, and to prevent evasions;

17.   Insists that such coercive measures should name and shame those business people responsible for financing the repressive ZANU-PF regime, including rescinding their rights of residence in Europe, and denying their family members access to employment and educational institutions, as well as exposing to shareholders the international banks which act as conduits for corrupt earnings, or provide loans and investment such as Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered and others; encourages other European and international companies to review any activities that allow the regime access to hard currency and, in this context, welcomes Tesco's and Giesecke & Devrient's decision to end business relations with Zimbabwe;

18.   Calls, consequently, on the Member States not to grant any visa to Robert Mugabe, his cabinet and the ZANU PF leadership for any national or international purpose on EU territory, as they, representing an illegitimate de facto regime, cannot claim any privileges under relevant international conventions on diplomatic freedoms and privileges;

19.   Calls on Member States, the Council and the Commission to step up the diplomatic engagement with African governments, the SADC and the AU, as well as with other important actors, including the Chinese Government, in order to identify common positions on the crisis in Zimbabwe;

20.   Calls on China and Libya to cease their support for the Mugabe regime;

21.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to engage specifically with South Africa, as the key country of the region, in order to express deep concern at the failure to produce any tangible mediation results over the last years with regard to the crisis in Zimbabwe, to point out that the impact of this crisis on neighbouring countries, including South Africa, should not be disregarded in the region and to clarify that continued political and economic support for the Mugabe regime might have negative effects on relations between the EU and South Africa;

22.   Calls on the Council to push for effective and tangible international conflict-prevention and mitigation measures, if necessary with the rapid deployment of AU/UN peacekeeping troops;

23.   Urges the immediate release of all persons detained for solely political reasons;

24.   Notes the devastating impact that the political crisis is having upon the people of Zimbabwe, and calls on the Mugabe Government to lift all restrictions against humanitarian aid agencies and to ensure that humanitarian aid can be delivered in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence;

25.   Calls on the Zimbabwe Government to immediately disarm and demobilise youth militias and war veterans and prosecute cases against individuals who have committed human rights violations;

26.   Condemns the fact that a UN human rights official was expelled from Zimbabwe one week before the scheduled elections, and calls on the government to grant unhindered access to UN staff;

27.   Calls on the South African authorities and the Member States not to deport Zimbabwean refugees and to grant them a temporary status until a safe return is possible;

28.   Calls on the Commission to step up support for human rights defenders and react swiftly to additional humanitarian needs caused by the political crisis, in particular with regard to the needs and safety of internally displaced people;

29.   Expresses its concern about the 10% to 40% predicted increase in numbers of Zimbabweans crossing borders in the next few weeks; notes that, among these migrants, children will be in a particularly vulnerable situation, at risk of abuse and forced to take up dangerous jobs such as mining, handling farm machinery or sex work in order to survive;

30.   Calls on the EU to halt any aid that is distributed through the current Zimbabwean authorities and to channel it through national and international independent institutions and organisations instead;

31.   Welcomes Commissioner Michel's commitment to increase significantly support for Zimbabwe and its people by pledging EUR 250 million in development aid, once democracy returns and a legitimate and credible government is elected;

32.   Insists that the democratic wishes of the Zimbabwean people be respected; urges all those who wish to participate in the future of Zimbabwe to cooperate with the forces of democratic change;

33.   Calls on the Zimbabwean Government to honour its own commitments to democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law as a signatory to the SADC Treaty and the Protocols thereto, including the SADC electoral protocol, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the New Partnership for Africa's Development;

34.   Calls on those of goodwill in the structures of the regime and in ZANU-PF to reject the anti-democratic forces and to take action to cooperate with the MDC in bringing about rapid change before it is too late;

35.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments of the G8 countries, the governments and parliaments of Zimbabwe and South Africa, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Chairmen of the Commission and Executive Council of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, and the Secretary-General and governments of the Southern African Development Community and its Parliamentary Forum.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0184
(2) OJ L 43, 19.2.2008, p.39.
(3) OJ L 50, 20.2.2004, p.66.


Space and security
DOC 63k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on Space and security (2008/2030(INI) )
P6_TA(2008)0365 A6-0250/2008

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy entitled "A secure Europe in a better world", adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the EU Strategy against proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, likewise adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to Council resolution of 21 May 2007 on the European Space Policy(1) ,

–   having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Treaty on European Union (TEU), as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, and their relevant provisions on European space policy (Article 189 of the TFEU), permanent structured cooperation on security and defence matters (Articles 42(6) and 46 of the TEU and Protocol 10) and enhanced cooperation in the civilian area (Part Six, Title III of the TFEU), as well as the solidarity clause (Article 222 of the TFEU) and mutual assistance provisions in the event of armed aggression against a Member State or States (Article 42(7) of the TEU),

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 January 2004 on the action plan for implementing the European space policy(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(3) ,

–   having regard to the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies ("the Outer Space Treaty"),

–   having regard to the EU-Russia cooperation on space policy, which in 2006 created the Tripartite Space Dialogue between the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos (the Russian Federal Space Agency),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A6-0250/2008 ),

A.   whereas freedom from space-based threats and secure sustainable access to, and use of, space must be the guiding principles of the European Space Policy,

B.   whereas the various political and security challenges which the European Union is increasingly facing make an autonomous European Space Policy a strategic necessity,

C.   whereas the lack of a common approach to space policy between EU Member States results in overly costly programmes,

D.   whereas the crisis management operations within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) suffer from a lack of interoperability between space assets operated by EU Member States,

E.   whereas the European Union is lacking a comprehensive European space-based architecture for security and defence purposes,

F.   whereas the development of a new generation of launchers takes approximately 15 years and the present generation of launchers will need replacing in the next 20 years,

G.   whereas development of space assets by the USA, Russia, Japan and other emerging space-faring states, most notably China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Israel, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, is rapidly advancing,

H.   whereas the French Presidency of the European Union during the second semester of 2008 sets out an advancement of the European Space Policy as one of its priorities,

I.   whereas one of the most cost-effective elements of a space architecture and of achieving a sustainable fleet of space assets is on-orbit servicing, using in-situ means,

General considerations

1.   Notes the importance of the space dimension to the security of the European Union and the need for a common approach necessary for defending European interests in space;

2.   Underlines the need for space assets in order that the political and diplomatic activities of the European Union may be based on independent, reliable and complete information in support of its policies for conflict prevention, crisis management operations and global security, especially the monitoring of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of transportation and verification of international treaties, the transnational smuggling of light weapons and small arms, the protection of critical infrastructure and of the European Union's borders, and civil protection in the event of natural and man-made disasters and crises;

3.   Welcomes the endorsement of the European Space Policy by the "Space Council" as proposed by a joint communication presented by the Commission and the European Space Agency (COM(2007)0212 ), especially the chapter on security and defence, while regretting the absence of any reference to the threat of weaponisation of space within the "key issues to be considered in the development of a strategy for international relations" (as mentioned in Annex 3 to the above-mentioned Council Resolution of 21 May 2007); recommends, therefore, that the revised European Security Strategy should take this policy appropriately into account, and is of the view that space matters should be reflected in the possible White Paper on Security and Defence Policy;

4.   Notes the inclusion of a legal basis for the European Space Policy in the Treaty of Lisbon; welcomes the opportunity given to it and to the Council to lay down, under the ordinary legislative procedure, the measures needed to shape a European Space Programme; calls on the Commission to submit to it and to the Council an appropriate proposal for such measures, together with a Communication relating to the establishment of appropriate relations with the European Space Agency; also welcomes the possibilities of permanent structured cooperation in security and defence matters and enhanced cooperation in the civilian area;

5.   Encourages the Member States of the European Union , the European Space Agency and the various stakeholders to make greater and better use of the existing national and multinational space systems and to foster their complementarity; notes in this respect that common capabilities are needed for ESDP in at least the following areas: telecommunications, information management, observation and navigation; recommends the sharing and exchange of these data in line with the EU concept for Network Centric Operations Architecture;

6.   Applauds the efforts of the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety to promote remediation, understanding and measures in respect of space debris;

Autonomous threat assessment

7.   Calls on the EU Member States to pool and exchange the geospatial intelligence necessary for autonomous EU threat assessment;

Earth observation and reconnaissance

8.   Urges that the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC) be fully developed to make full use of its potential; moreover, recommends the urgent conclusion of agreements between the European Union Satellite Centre and the EU Member States to provide imagery available to ESDP operation and force commanders while ensuring complementarity with Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) observation capacities and derived security-related information; in this regard, welcomes the Tactical Imagery Exploitation Station project, run jointly by the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the European Union Satellite Centre;

9.   Recommends that the EU develop a common concept for geospatial intelligence, creating conditions for involvement of the EUSC in the planning for each ESDP operation requiring space-based observation and space-based intelligence; recommends that the EUSC establish a secure communication link in support of ESDP operations not only with the Operations Headquarters (OHQ) based in the EU but also with the Force Headquarters (FHQ) in the deployment region; furthermore, suggests that the EU explore the possibility of a financial contribution to the EUSC from the EU budget in order to provide sufficient funds to meet the increasing needs of ESDP operations;

10.   Urges the EU Member States having access to the various types of radar, optical and weather observation satellites and reconnaissance systems (Helios, SAR-Lupe, TerraSAR-X, Rapid Eye, Cosmo-Skymed, Pleiades) to make them compatible; welcomes the bilateral and multilateral agreements between the leading EU countries (e.g. SPOT, ORFEO, the Helios cooperative framework, the Schwerin agreement and the future MUSIS); recommends that the MUSIS system be brought within a European framework and financed from the EU budget;

11.   Emphasises the importance of GMES for foreign as well as security and defence policies of the European Union; urges the creation of an operational budget line to ensure the sustainability of GMES services in response to users" needs;

Navigation – positioning – timing

12.   Underlines the necessity of Galileo for autonomous ESDP operations, for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, for Europe's own security and for the Union's strategic autonomy; notes that, in particular, its public-regulated service will be vital in the field of navigation, positioning and timing, not least in order to avoid unnecessary risks;

13.   Notes the first-reading agreement between Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the further implementation of the European satellite radionavigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo), which establishes that the Community is the owner of the system and that its deployment phase is fully financed by the Community budget;

14.   Draws attention to its position adopted on 23 April 2008 on the European satellite radionavigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo)(4) , in particular, to the fact that the EGNOS and Galileo programmes should be considered as one of the major pillars of the future European Space Programme, and to the governance of these programmes, together with the Galileo Interinstitutional Panel, which may serve as a model in the development of a European Space Policy;

Telecommunications

15.   Underlines the need for secure satellite-supported communication for ESDP operations (EU Military Staff, EU Headquarters, deployable headquarters) and EU Member States' deployments under UN, NATO and other similar organisations;

16.   Requests that the current and future satellite telecommunication systems at the disposal of the EU Member States (e.g. Skynet, Syracuse, Sicral, SATCOM Bw, Spainsat) be interoperable in order to provide for cost reduction;

17.   Supports the cooperative development of a Software-Defined Radio (SDR) by the Commission and the European Defence Agency; notes that SDR will contribute to better interoperability of the ground segment of telecommunications systems;

18.   Recommends that savings be achieved by shared use of the ground infrastructure supporting different national telecommunications systems;

19.   Supports the possibility of funding future European satellite telecommunications systems supporting ESDP operations from the EU budget;

Space surveillance

20.   Supports the creation of a European space surveillance system leading to space situational awareness (including, for example, GRAVES and TIRA) to monitor the space infrastructure, space debris and, possibly, other threats;

21.   Supports the possibility of funding the future European space situational awareness system from the EU budget;

Satellite-based early warning against ballistic missiles

22.   Deplores the fact that EU Member States do not have access to instant data on ballistic missile launches around the world; expresses support, therefore, for projects leading towards satellite-based early warning against ballistic missile launches (such as the French "Spirale"); furthermore, calls for information acquired through these future systems to be available to all EU Member States in order to protect their population and to support possible countermeasures, as well as to serve in the verification of compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and for the purposes of ESDP operations and safeguarding Europe's security interests;

Signal intelligence

23.   Supports the exchange of signal intelligence (electronic intelligence such as the French "Essaim" and communications intelligence) at European level;

Autonomous access to space and international environment

24.   Supports secure, independent and sustainable access to space for the European Union as one of the preconditions of its autonomous action;

25.   Recommends that the European non-commercial satellites be carried into orbit by European launchers, preferably from the territory of the European Union, bearing in mind the aspects of security of supply and protection of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base;

26.   Points out that it is necessary to increase the development effort in order for an enhanced Ariane 5 to be available before 2015;

27.   Recommends that strategic long-term investment in new European launchers be initiated as soon as possible, in order to keep up with the rising global competition; demands a greater degree of discipline for this project, in budgetary and time-frame terms;

28.   Recommends that on-orbit servicing be established as a means of support to enhance the endurance, persistence, availability and operational efficiency of operational space assets and, at the same time, to reduce asset deployment and maintenance costs;

Governance

29.   Encourages strong inter-pillar cooperation for space and security, involving all the relevant actors (i.e. the Commission, the Council, the European Defence Agency and the European Union Satellite Centre), in order to safeguard the security policy and data security linked with the ESDP;

30.   Strongly recommends the promotion of equal access for all EU Member States to operational data gathered using space assets under a reinforced ESDP framework;

31.   Recommends that administrative and financial capacities for the management of space-related activities be developed by the European Defence Agency;

Financing

32.   Points out that the EU budget commits expenditure amounting to approximately EUR 5 250 million in the years 2007-2013 on common European space activities, resulting in an average expenditure of EUR 750 million per year over that period;

33.   Calls on the European Union to set up an operational budget for space assets that serve to support the ESDP and European security interests;

34.   Is alarmed by the fact that the lack of coordination among Member States results in a scarcity of resources due to unnecessary duplication of activities; therefore supports the idea of the launching of joint programmes by the Member States, which will provide costs savings in the longer term;

35.   Furthermore, notes that the cost of the absence of a common European approach to the procurement, maintenance and functioning of space assets is estimated to amount to hundreds of millions of euros;

36.   Points out that, as experience has shown, large-scale common projects cannot be properly managed when 27 different national budget authorities applying the principle of "fair return" are involved; therefore strongly recommends that these projects and programmes be financed from the EU budget;

37.   Notes that the estimates of available expertise suggest that the level of investment needed to address the European security and defence needs in terms of satellite telecommunications, and the appropriate expenditure of the European Union on Earth observation and intelligence gathering, including signal intelligence, should be substantially increased in order to provide for the needs and ambitions of a comprehensive space policy;

38.   Takes the view that the European Union, the European Space Agency, the European Defence Agency and their Member States should provide for reliable and adequate funding for the space activities envisaged and the research connected therewith; attaches great importance to the financing from the budget of the EU, such as on the Galileo project;

Protection of space infrastructure

39.   Underscores the vulnerability of strategic space assets as well as the infrastructure allowing access to space, e.g. launchers and space ports; therefore stresses the need for them to be adequately protected by ground-based theatre missile defence, planes and space surveillance systems; furthermore supports the sharing of data with international partners in the event that satellites are rendered inoperable by enemy action;

40.   Calls for the vulnerability of future European satellite systems to be reduced through anti-jamming, shielding, on-orbit servicing, high-orbit and multi-orbital constellation architectures;

41.   Emphasises that the protective measures must be fully compliant with international standards regarding peaceful uses of outer space and commonly agreed transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs); asks EU Member States to explore the possibility of developing legally or politically binding "rules of the road" for space operators, together with a space traffic management regime;

42.   Stresses that, as a result of this vulnerability, advanced communication should never be made fully dependent on space-based technologies;

International legal regime for uses of space

43.   Reiterates the importance of the principle of the use of space for peaceful purposes expressed in the above-mentioned 1967 Outer Space Treaty; is therefore concerned by the possible future weaponisation of space;

44.   Urges that under no circumstances should European space policy contribute to the overall militarisation and weaponisation of space;

45.   Calls for the international legal regime to be strengthened so as to regulate and protect non-aggressive space uses and for the strengthening of TCBMs, within the framework of the drafting by the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) of space debris mitigation guidelines consistent with those of the Inter-Agency Debris Coordination Committee as well as the development by the UN Conference on Disarmament of a multilateral agreement on the prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space; furthermore, asks the EU Presidency to represent the EU proactively in COPUOS; calls on the EU institutions to promote a conference to review the Outer Space Treaty, with the aim of strengthening it and expanding its scope to prohibit all weapons in space;

46.   Calls on all international actors to refrain from using offensive equipment in space; expresses its particular concern about the use of destructive force against satellites, such as the Chinese anti-satellite system tested in January 2007, and the consequences of the massive increase in debris for space security; recommends, therefore, the adoption of legally binding international instruments focusing on banning the use of weapons against space assets and the stationing of weapons in space;

47.   Calls on all space users to register their satellites, including military satellites, by way of a space security confidence-building measure promoting transparency; supports the Council's pursuit of a comprehensive EU Code of Conduct on Space Objects; demands that this Code be transformed into a legally binding instrument;

48.   Urges the United Nations and the European Union to engage in the active diminution of, and protection from, space debris harmful to satellites;

Transatlantic cooperation on space policy and missile defence

49.   Urges the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to launch a strategic dialogue on space policy and missile defence, while bearing in mind the legal imperative of avoiding any action that might be incompatible with the principle of the peaceful use of space, especially on the complementarity and interoperability of systems for satellite communications, space surveillance, and early warning of ballistic missiles, as well as protection of European forces by a theatre missile defence system;

50.   Calls on the European Union and the United States of America to engage in a strategic dialogue on the use of space assets and to take the global lead within and outside the UN to make sure that outer space is preserved for peaceful policies only;

Other international cooperation

51.   Welcomes the strengthened cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation within the framework of the above-mentioned Tripartite Space Dialogue set up in 2006 between the European Commission, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, including space applications (satellite navigation, Earth observation and satellite communications) as well as access to space (launchers and future space transportation systems);

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52.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Space Agency, the parliaments of the Member States and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

(1) OJ C 136, 20.6. 2007, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 96 E, 21.4.2004, p. 136.
(3) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0167 .


Kashmir
DOC 36k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on allegations of mass graves in Indian-administered Kashmir
P6_TA(2008)0366 B6-0349 , 0355 , 0359 , 0362 , 0367 and 0368/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the reports of its ad hoc delegation visits to Kashmir from 8 to 11 December 2003 and from 20 to 24 June 2004,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2006 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2005 and the EU's policy on the matter(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 May 2007 regarding the present situation and future prospects of Kashmir(2) ,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas it is reported that hundreds of unidentified graves have been discovered since 2006 in Jammu and Kashmir and whereas at least 940 bodies have reportedly been found in 18 villages in the Uri district alone,

B.   whereas the Srinagar-based Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) issued a report on 29 March 2008 indicating the existence of multiple graves in localities which, because of their proximity to the Line of Control with Pakistan, are not accessible without the specific permission of the security forces,

C.   whereas, according to human rights organisations, it cannot be excluded that the grave sites contain the remains of victims of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other abuses which have occurred in the context of armed conflict persisting in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989,

D.   whereas estimates of the number of persons having gone missing since 1989 vary greatly, with associations of families of victims speaking of more than 8 000 and government authorities claiming fewer than 4 000,

E.   whereas a state police report of 2006 confirmed the deaths in custody of 331 persons and 111 enforced disappearances following detention since 1989,

F.   whereas allegations of human rights violations continue despite the Government of India's commitment in September 2005 not to tolerate human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir any longer,

G.   whereas Parvez Imroz, an award-winning human rights lawyer, president of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and founder of the APDP, survived an armed attack on 30 June 2008 in Srinagar by alleged security forces members, and whereas other members of the International Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir, which is being facilitated by the APDP, have reportedly been harassed,

1.   Calls on the Government of India urgently to ensure independent and impartial investigations are undertaken into all suspected sites of mass graves in Jammu and Kashmir and, as an immediate first step, to secure the grave sites in order to preserve the evidence;

2.   Calls on the Commission to offer financial and technical assistance to the Indian Government in the context of the Stability Instrument for such thorough investigations and possible further conflict resolution measures in Kashmir;

3.   Calls on the Member States to address the issue in the forthcoming dialogue on human rights, which is to take place in the second half of 2008;

4.   Expresses its concern for the safety of Parvez Imroz and other human rights activists who are investigating the unmarked graves and other allegations of human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, and calls on the Indian authorities to ensure their protection and allow them to operate without fear of harassment and violence; urges the authorities to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into the attack on Parvez Imroz, to make the results public and to bring those responsible to justice;

5.   Reiterates its call on the Indian Government and the state authorities to investigate all allegations of enforced disappearances; urges jurisdiction for all cases in which military, security or law-enforcement agents are suspected of being involved to be assigned to a civilian prosecutor's office, and a single public database of all persons who have gone missing and all bodies that have been recovered to be created; calls on Member States to facilitate and support all possible cooperation between the Indian and Pakistani Governments in relation to this investigation;

6.   Calls on the state authorities to ensure that all detention procedures meet the minimum requirements of international legal standards, proper treatment, registration and prosecution, prompt access to family members, to lawyers and to independent courts, as well as accountability for any violation of such procedures;

7.   Strongly condemns the unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and other human rights abuses which have occurred in Jammu and Kashmir since the beginning of the armed conflict in 1989; insists that the families of the victims be granted full reparation;

8.   Calls on all governments to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to ratify and implement without reservation the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and, pursuant to Articles 31 and 32 of that Convention, to declare that they recognise the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances;

9.   Calls for full access to be granted to both sides of the Line of Control for the UN Special Rapporteurs under the terms of reference of the UN Special Procedures, notably the Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances;

10.   Calls again on the Lok Sabha to amend the Human Rights Protection Act in order to allow the National Human Rights Commission to investigate independently allegations of abuse by members of the armed forces;

11.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the government and parliament of India, the government and parliament of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the government and parliament of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the UN Secretary-General.

(1) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p.341.
(2) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p.468.


Bangladesh
DOC 40k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on Bangladesh
P6_TA(2008)0367 B6-0356 , 0360 , 0361 , 0364 , 0365 and 0366/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions, on Bangladesh, in particular those of 16 November 2006(1) and 6 September 2007(2) ,

–   having regard to the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People's Republic of Bangladesh on Partnership and Development(3) ,

–   having regard to the state of emergency which was decreed by the caretaker government of Bangladesh on 11 January 2007,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the EU has good, long-standing relations with Bangladesh, including through the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development,

B.   whereas on 11 January 2007, amid violence in the run-up to the election, the caretaker government of Bangladesh imposed a state of emergency and shortly afterwards adopted Emergency Power Rules giving the army and the paramilitary forces the same arrest powers as the police; whereas the EU Election Observation Mission then suspended its operations on 22 January 2007,

C.   whereas the imposition of the Emergency Power Rules was accompanied by the suspension of a series of civil rights guaranteed by the constitution of Bangladesh,

D.   whereas the suspension of those rights has led to an alarming number of recent rulings by the appellate division of the Supreme Court, with serious implications for individual rights and the principle of legality,

E.   whereas on 11 June 2008 a new counterterrorism ordinance was adopted without public input, violating fundamental freedoms and basic fair trial rights and introducing a broad definition of 'terrorist acts', which now includes mere property crimes as well as attacks against individuals; whereas that definition is contrary to the recommendations of the United Nations; whereas human rights organisations and lawyers' associations have expressed concern that the ordinance will be employed for the purposes of political persecution,

F.   whereas, according to international human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the number of people reportedly arrested since the introduction of the state of emergency 18 months ago has risen to well over 300 000, most of whom have subsequently been released; whereas, since the right to apply for release on bail is restricted under the Emergency Power Rules, the ongoing wave of mass arrests may put serious pressure on the prison system,

G.   whereas a large number of those arrested have allegedly been severely tortured, and whereas increased incidences of extrajudicial killings have been reported by Odhikar, the Bangladesh national human rights organisation,

H.   whereas it has consistently called for a moratorium on the death penalty in all countries and under all circumstances,

I.   welcomes the recent relaxation of the ban on political activities, the agreement between the government and the Awami League to enter into negotiations on planned national elections in December and the fact that other parties are to engage in this process,

J.   whereas in the course of the new wave of mass arrests since 28 May 2008 more than 12 000 people have been arrested, including local party activists; whereas the government has rejected suggestions that the arrests are politically motivated, claiming instead that they are part of a planned sweep against criminals,

K.   whereas, citing the need for a comprehensive voters' list, the caretaker government has so far ignored appeals from political parties and civil society organisations to pave the way for the speedy holding of early national elections and is sticking to the absolute deadline which has been set for the third week of December 2008,

L.   whereas the hardship faced by the general population of Bangladesh has been compounded by the increase in recent months, by a third or more, of the price of basic food items such as rice and whereas, for a large part of the population, food expenses already accounted for over 60% of their budget before the price explosion,

M.   whereas an elected government would the effects of climate change easier to tackle; whereas as much as a quarter of Bangladesh's territory faces the threat of being permanently submerged by rising levels of sea water in the Bay of Bengal; whereas climate scientists warn that Bangladesh may have 20 to 25 million climate refugees by 2050,

1.   Calls on the Bangladeshi Government to lift the state of emergency as the most important step in preparing for the holding of the country's next parliamentary elections and so that local council elections can take place in August 2008;

2.   Calls on the Bangladeshi Government to ensure that its new counterterrorism ordinance meets internationally recognised legal standards on combating terrorism, such as those recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counterterrorism and Human Rights;

3.   Calls on the Bangladeshi Government to abolish the death penalty;

4.   Calls on the Bangladeshi Government immediately to put an end to the recent wave of mass arrests and the harassment of political opponents or journalists under the state of emergency and expresses concern at reports of torture by the authorities; calls on the government to guarantee to all detainees their basic right to due process and to those charged a fair trial; urges the authorities either to charge the thousands detained on the basis of credible evidence or to release them;

5.   Applauds the Bangladeshi Government for banning former war criminals from standing in elections and calls on it to follow up this positive step by forming an independent committee of inquiry to initiate the trial of war criminals;

6.   Congratulates the caretaker government on progress in preparing for parliamentary elections and on making essential progress with the reform of the electoral process and the drawing-up of an accurate electoral register by the authorities; calls on the government to ensure that members of Bangladesh's ethnic and religious minorities are in a position freely to cast their votes; calls for freedom of the press in the pre-electoral period in Bangladesh;

7.   Welcomes the release of former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on humanitarian grounds;

8.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to play a more proactive role and to impress on the Bangladesh Government the need for a speedy and complete lifting of the state of emergency and of all regulations adopted under its auspices;

9.   Calls for free and fair elections conducted in accordance with international standards, with the participation of all parties; calls for the EU Election Observation Mission to resume its activities as soon as this is feasible and advisable; calls on EU Member State missions and the Commission Delegation in Bangladesh to monitor the human rights and political situation in Bangladesh carefully;

10.   Calls for the armed forces to withdraw from involvement in the political process;

11.   Calls on the Bangladesh Government to provide maximum scope for a large-scale mobilisation of all sections of society, environmental and other non-governmental organisations, journalists and scientists in order to prepare the country for the forthcoming climate change-induced disasters and considers emergency rule as an alarming obstacle to achieving this goal;

12.   Believes that the G8 Summit has an enormous responsibility to avert further acceleration in climate change and an increase in the number of catastrophes that threaten the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh and elsewhere by adopting effective and far-reaching measures to curb CO2 emissions;

13.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation and the Bangladeshi Government.

(1) OJ C 314 E, 21.12.2006, p. 377.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0385 .
(3) OJ L 118, 27.4.2001, p.48.


Death penalty
DOC 36k
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the death penalty, particularly the case of Troy Davis
P6_TA(2008)0368 B6-0350 , 0357 , 0358 , 0363 , 0369 and 0370/2008

The European Parliament ,

-   having regard to its previous resolutions on the abolition of the death penalty and the need for an immediate moratorium on executions in those countries where the death penalty is still imposed,

-   having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 62/149 of 18 December 2007 on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the world,

-   having regard to the updated and revised version of the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, adopted by the Council on 16 June 2008,

A.   having regard to the case of Troy Davis, sentenced to death by the Georgia State Court in 1991 for the murder of a policeman and scheduled to be executed at the end of July 2008,

B.   whereas, according to Troy Davis' lawyers, there is abundant proof of his innocence, material evidence against him has never been produced and seven witnesses for the prosecution have retracted their testimony,

C.   whereas on 4 August 2007 the Supreme Court of Georgia agreed to reconsider new elements casting doubt on Troy Davis' guilt,

D.   whereas on 17 March 2008 the Supreme Court of Georgia denied Troy Davis a retrial, although the Chief Justice dissented,

E.   whereas since 1975 more than 120 people have been released from death row in the United States, having been found innocent,

F.   whereas in the United States the power of clemency in cases where a capital sentence has been imposed exists as a failsafe against irreversible errors that the courts are unable or unwilling to remedy,

G.   whereas New Jersey is the first US State to have abolished capital punishment by legislation since the reintroduction of the death penalty in the United States in 1972, citing the inescapable risk of executing those wrongfully convicted,

1.   Calls upon those countries where the death penalty is imposed to take the necessary steps towards its abolition;

2.   Asks that Troy Davis' death sentence be commuted and, in view of the abundant evidence which might lead to such commutation, for the relevant courts to grant him a retrial;

3.   Appeals urgently to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Troy Davis' death sentence;

4.   Calls on the Presidency of the Council and the Delegation of the Commission to the United States to raise the issue as a matter of urgency with the US authorities;

5.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of the United States, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Attorney General of Georgia.

Last updated: 31 March 2009Legal notice