Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 25 September 2008 - BrusselsFinal edition
Community Media in Europe
 VAT on insurance and financial services *
 Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) 2007
 Concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union
 Controlling energy prices
 White Paper on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related health issues
 Cross-border collective copyright management

Community Media in Europe
DOC 52k
European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2008 on Community Media in Europe (2008/2011(INI) )
P6_TA(2008)0456 A6-0263/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 150 and 151 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, signed on 2 October 1997 and Protocol No 9 on the system of public broadcasting in the Member States(1) ,

–   having regard to Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which recognises the legitimacy of public policies for the recognition and promotion of pluralism,

–   having regard to Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive)(2) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive)(3) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive)(4) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive)(5) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2007/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2007 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities(6) ,

–   having regard to Decision No 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision)(7) ,

–   having regard to the White Paper presented by the Commission on a European communication policy (COM(2006)0035 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 20 December 2007 on a European approach to media literacy in the digital environment (COM(2007)0833 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 July 1995 on the Green Paper strategy options to strengthen the European programme industry in the context of the audiovisual policy of the European Union(8) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document on Media Pluralism in the Member States of the European Union (SEC(2007)0032 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 April 2004 on the risks of violation, in the EU and especially in Italy, of freedom of expression and information (Article 11(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights)(9) ,

–   having regard to the study "The State of Community Media in the European Union", commissioned by the European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe Recommendation (Community Media/Rec(2007)2) of the Committee of Ministers to member states on media pluralism and diversity of media content,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe Declaration (Decl-31.01.2007E) of the Committee of Ministers on protecting the role of the media in democracy in the context of media concentration,

–   having regard to the Joint Declaration on Diversity in Broadcasting drafted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the ACHPR (African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples' Rights) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, adopted on 12 December 2007,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0263/2008 ),

A.   whereas community media are non-profit organisations accountable to the community that they seek to serve,

B.   whereas their non-profit nature means that the primary objective of such media is to engage in activities of public or private interest without any commercial or monetary profit,

C.   whereas being accountable to the community means that community media must inform the community about their actions and decisions, justify them, and be penalised in the event of any misconduct,

D.   whereas there are major differences between Member States regarding community media dissemination and impact, which are the most extensive in those Member States which clearly recognise their legal status and are aware of their added value,

E.   whereas community media should be open to participation in the creation of content by members of the community, and thereby foster the active participation of volunteers in media production rather than passive media consumption,

F.   whereas community media very often do not represent a majority of those in society but serve instead a variety of smaller, specific target groups overlooked by other media, which are in many cases locally or regionally based,

G.   whereas community media fulfil a broad yet largely unacknowledged role in the media landscape, particularly as a source of local content, and encourage innovation, creativity and diversity of content,

H.   whereas community media are obliged to present a clearly defined mandate, such as providing a social benefit, which also has to be reflected in the content they produce,

I.   whereas one of the main weaknesses of community media in the European Union is their lack of legal recognition by many national legal systems, and whereas, moreover, none of the relevant Community legal acts have yet addressed the issue of community media,

J.   whereas the introduction of a code of practice, in addition to legal recognition, would clarify sector status, procedures and role, contributing to sector certainty while also ensuring independence and preventing misconduct,

K.   whereas the internet has propelled the sector into a new age with new possibilities and challenges, and whereas the costs of switching from analogue to digital transmission put a considerable burden on community media,

L.   whereas 2008 has been designated European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, which means that the media in the Union have a particularly important role to play, providing an eminently suitable means of expression and information for smaller cultural entities within society as a whole and for continuation of the intercultural dialogue throughout 2008 and beyond,

M.   whereas community media are an important means of empowering citizens and encouraging them to become actively involved in civic society; whereas they enrich social debate, representing a means of internal pluralism of ideas; and whereas concentration of ownership presents a threat to in-depth media coverage of issues of local interest for all groups within the community,

1.   Stresses that community media are an effective means of strengthening cultural and linguistic diversity, social inclusion and local identity, which explains the diversity of the sector;

2.   Points out that community media help to strengthen the identities of specific interest groups, while at the same time enabling members of those groups to engage with other groups in society, and therefore play an important role in fostering tolerance and pluralism in society and contribute to intercultural dialogue;

3.   Stresses also that community media promote intercultural dialogue by educating the general public, combating negative stereotypes and correcting the ideas put forward by the mass media regarding communities within society threatened with exclusion, such as refugees, migrants, Roma and other ethnic and religious minorities; stresses that community media are one of the existing means of facilitating the integration of immigrants and also enabling disadvantaged members of society to become active participants by engaging in debates that are important to them;

4.   Points out that community media can play a significant role in training programmes involving external organisations, including universities, and unskilled community members, and act as a valuable hub for work experience; points out that training people in digital, web and editorial skills through their participation in community media activities provides useful and transferable skills;

5.   Points out that community media act as a catalyst for local creativity, providing artists and creative entrepreneurs with a public platform for testing new ideas and concepts;

6.   Considers that community media contribute to the goal of improving citizens" media literacy through their direct involvement in the creation and distribution of content and encourages school-based community outlets to develop a civic attitude among the young, to increase media literacy, as well as to build up a set of skills that could be further used for community media participation;

7.   Stresses that community media help to strengthen media pluralism, as they provide additional perspectives on issues that lie at the heart of a given community;

8.   Points out that, in light of the withdrawal or non-existence of public and commercial media in some areas, including remote areas, and the tendency of commercial media to reduce local content, community media may provide the only source of local news and information and the sole voice of local communities;

9.   Welcomes the fact that community media can make citizens more aware of existing public services and can help to foster civil participation in public discourse;

10.   Considers that community media may serve as an effective means of bringing the Union closer to its citizens by addressing specially targeted audiences; and recommends also that the Member States collaborate more actively with community media in order to enter into a closer dialogue with citizens;

11.   Points out that good quality community media are essential in order for the sector to fulfil its potential and stresses the fact that without proper financial resources there cannot be such quality; notes that the financial resources of community media vary greatly but are in general rather scarce, and acknowledges that additional funding and digital adaptation would enable the community media sector to extend its innovative profile and to provide new and vital services that bring added value to the existing analogue services;

12.   Notes that the sector lacks the support needed for it to be able to make major efforts to improve its representation to, and contact with, EU and national decision-makers;

13.   Stresses the need for community media to be politically independent;

14.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take into account the contents of the resolution by defining community media as:

   a) non-profit making and independent, not only from national, but also from local power, engaging primarily in activities of public and civil society interest, serving clearly defined objectives which always include social value and contribute to intercultural dialogue;
   b) accountable to the community which they seek to serve, which means that they are to inform the community about their actions and decisions, to justify them, and to be penalised in the event of any misconduct, so that the service remains controlled by the interests of the community and the creation of 'top-down' networks is prevented;
   c) open to participation in the creation of content by members of the community, who may participate in all aspects of operation and management, although those in charge of editorial content must have professional status;

15.   Advises Member States, without causing detriment to traditional media, to give legal recognition to community media as a distinct group alongside commercial and public media where such recognition is still lacking;

16.   Calls on the Commission to take into account community media as an alternative, bottom-up solution for increasing media pluralism when designing indicators for media pluralism;

17.   Calls on Member States to support community media more actively in order to ensure media pluralism, provided that such support is not to the detriment of public media;

18.   Stresses the role that may be played by local, regional and national authorities in supporting and promoting community media by providing suitable infrastructure, together with support within the context of programmes encouraging exchanges of best practice, such as the Community "Regions for Economic Change" (formerly Interreg) programme;

19.   Calls on Member States to make television and radio frequency spectrum available, both analogue and digital, bearing in mind that the service provided by community media is not to be assessed in terms of opportunity cost or justification of the cost of spectrum allocation but rather in the social value it represents;

20.   Acknowledges that on the one hand only a small portion of the sector has the knowledge and experience to apply for and benefit from EU support, while on the other hand funding officers are not aware of community media's potential;

21.   Recognises that the sector could make more use of Community funding schemes in so far as they contribute to the objectives of community media, through the implementation of a number of specific programmes, such as those of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund as well as the opportunities for educating and training journalists through the Lifelong Learning Programmes and others; stresses, however, that funding must come principally from national, local and other sources;

22.   Urges community media to establish a European internet platform through which useful and relevant information for the sector can be diffused, and to facilitate networking and exchange of best practices;

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

(1) OJ C 340, 10.11.1997, p. 109.
(2) OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 33.
(3) OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 7.
(4) OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 21.
(5) OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 51.
(6) OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 27.
(7) OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p.1.
(8) OJ C 249, 25.9.1995, p. 219.
(9) OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 1026.


VAT on insurance and financial services *
DOC 109k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 25 September 2008 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax, as regards the treatment of insurance and financial services (COM(2007)0747 – C6-0473/2007 – 2007/0267(CNS) )
P6_TA(2008)0457 A6-0344/2008

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2007)0747 ),

–   having regard to Article 93 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0473/2007 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A6-0344/2008 ),

1.   Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

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

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 1
(1)   The financial service industry makes an important contribution to growth, competitiveness and job creation but can fulfil its role only under neutral conditions of competition in an internal market. It is necessary to provide a framework which provides legal certainty as to the value added tax (VAT) treatment of financial products and their marketing and management.
(1)   The financial service industry makes an important contribution to growth, competitiveness and job creation but can fulfil its role only under neutral conditions of competition in an internal market. It is necessary to provide a framework which provides such neutral conditions in regard to the value added tax (VAT) treatment of financial products and their marketing and management.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 2
(2)   The existing rules governing the exemptions from VAT for financial and insurance services laid down in Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax are out of date and have led to uneven interpretation and application. The complexity of the rules and the variation in administrative practices generates legal uncertainty for economic operators and tax authorities. This uncertainty has led to considerable litigation and has increased the administrative burden. It is therefore necessary to clarify which insurance and financial services are exempt and thereby create greater legal certainty and reduce the administrative burden for operators and authorities.
(2)   The existing rules governing the exemptions from VAT for financial and insurance services laid down in Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax are out of date and have led to uneven interpretation and application. The complexity of the rules and the variation in administrative practices generates legal uncertainty for economic operators and tax authorities and fails to secure a level playing field in the EU . This uncertainty has led to considerable litigation and has increased the administrative burden. It is therefore necessary to clarify which insurance and financial services are exempt and thereby create greater legal certainty and a level playing field in the EU and reduce the administrative burden for operators and authorities.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 5
(5)   Insurance services and financial services require similar forms of intermediation. It is therefore appropriate for intermediation in insurance and intermediation in financial services to be treated in the same way.
(5)   Insurance services and financial services require similar forms of intermediation. It is therefore appropriate for intermediation in insurance and intermediation in financial services to be treated in the same way, including intermediation by an agent who has neither a contractual relationship nor any other direct contact with any of the parties to an insurance or financial transaction to whose conclusion the agent has contributed. In such cases the tax exemption should uniformly cover all activities that are typical of an insurance or financial services agent, including all activities preparatory and subsequent to concluding a contract .
Amendment 4
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)    It is appropriate for activities constituting management of investment funds to continue to fall within the exemption if carried out by third-party economic operators.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 7
(7)   Suppliers of insurance and financial services are increasingly able to allocate input VAT on costs incurred by them precisely to the output to be taxed. Where the services they supply are fee-based, they can establish the taxable amount for these services easily. It is therefore appropriate to extend the possibility to opt for taxation for such operators.
(7)   Suppliers of insurance and financial services are increasingly able to allocate input VAT on costs incurred by them precisely to the output to be taxed. Where the services they supply are fee-based, they can establish the taxable amount for these services easily. It is therefore appropriate to extend the possibility to opt for taxation for such operators, preventing any double taxation concerns that may arise by coordinating such taxation with national taxes on insurance and financial services .
Amendment 6
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 8 a (new)
(8a)    In adopting measures under Directive 2006/112/EC governing the right of option for taxation, the Council should ensure the uniform application of such rules in the internal market. Pending the adoption of such rules by the Council, Member States should be able to lay down the detailed rules governing the exercise of the option. Member States should notify the Commission of draft measures in this regard six months before their adoption. During that period, the Commission should assess the draft measures and issue a recommendation.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 1 – point a
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a) insurance and reinsurance;
(a) insurance, including reinsurance;
Amendment 8
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 1 – point a
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135 – paragraph 1 – point d
(d) exchange of currency and provision of cash;
(d) exchange of currency, provision of cash and cash claims transactions ;
Amendment 9
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 1 – point a
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135 – paragraph 1 – point e
(e) supply of securities;
(e) transactions concerning trading in securities;
Amendment 10
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 1 – point a
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135 – paragraph 1 – point g a (new)
(ga) derivatives of all kinds;
Amendment 11
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 1 – point b
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135 – paragraph 1a
1a.   The exemption provided for in points (a) to (e) of paragraph 1 shall apply to the supply of any constituent element of an insurance or financial service, which constitutes a distinct whole and has the specific and essential character of the exempt service.
1a.   The exemption provided for in points (a) to (f) of paragraph 1 shall apply to the supply of any constituent element of an insurance or financial service, which constitutes a distinct whole and has the specific and essential character of the exempt service.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 1
(1) 'insurance and reinsurance ' means a commitment whereby a person is obliged, in return for a payment, to provide another person , in the event of materialisation of a risk, with an indemnity or a benefit as determined by the commitment;
(1) 'insurance' means a commitment whereby one or more persons is or are obliged, in return for a payment, to provide one or more other persons , in the event of materialisation of a risk, with an indemnity or a benefit as determined by the commitment;
Amendment 13
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 8 – introductory part
(8) 'supply of securities' means the supply of tradable instruments other than an instrument establishing title to goods or to the rights referred to in Article 15(2), representing financial value and reflecting any one or more of the following:
(8) 'transactions concerning trading in securities' means the sale of tradable instruments other than an instrument establishing title to goods or to the rights referred to in Article 15(2), representing financial value and reflecting any one or more of the following:
Amendment 14
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 8 – point c
(c) unit ownership in undertakings for collective investment in the securities referred to in points (a) or (b), in other exempted financial instruments referred to in points (a) to (d) of Article 135(1) or in other undertakings for collective investment;
(c) unit ownership in investment funds, as defined in point 10, or in undertakings for collective investment in other undertakings for collective investment;
Amendment 15
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 8 – point c a (new)
(ca) title to cash-settled financial, credit, and commodity derivatives and related options;
Amendment 16
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 9
(9) 'intermediation in insurance and financial transactions' means the supply of services rendered to, and remunerated by, a contractual party as a distinct act of mediation in relation to the insurance or financial transactions referred to in points (a) to (e) of Article 135(1), by a third party intermediary ;
(9) 'intermediation in insurance and financial transactions' means the supply of services rendered as a distinct, direct or indirect act of mediation in relation to the insurance or financial transactions referred to in points (a) to (e) of Article 135(1), by third-party intermediaries, provided that none of the intermediaries is a counterparty to those insurance or financial transactions ;
Amendment 17
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 10
(10) 'investment funds' means undertakings for collective investment in the exempted financial instruments referred to in points (a) to (e) of Article 135(1) and in real estate ;
(10) 'investment funds' means specially constituted investment vehicles created for the sole purpose of gathering assets from investors and investing those assets in a diversified pool of assets, including pension funds and vehicles used to implement and execute collective pension schemes ;
Amendment 18
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 135a – point 11
(11) 'management of investment funds' means activities aimed at realising the investment objectives of the investment fund concerned.
(11) 'management of investment funds' means activities aimed at realising the investment objectives of the investment fund concerned and shall include at least strategic and tactical asset management and asset allocation, including advisory services, as well as currency and risk management .
Amendment 19
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 3
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137 – paragraph 1 – point a
(3)    In Article 137(1), point (a) is deleted.
deleted
Amendment 20
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137a – paragraph 1
1.   From 1 January 2012, Member States shall allow taxable persons a right of option for taxation in respect of the services referred to in points (a) to (g) of Article 135(1).
1.   From 1 January 2012, Member States shall allow taxable persons in each individual case a right of option for taxation in respect of one of the services referred to in points (a) to (ga) of Article 135(1), where that service is provided to another taxable person established in the same Member State or elsewhere in the Community .
Amendment 21
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137a – paragraph 1 a (new)
1a.    The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the right of option under paragraph 1 by ...*. If appropriate, the Commission shall present a legislative proposal concerning detailed rules governing the exercise of that right of option and any other amendments of this Directive in this regard .
_______________________
* Three years after the entry into force of Directive .../.../EC.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137a – paragraph 2
2.   The Council shall adopt the measures necessary for the implementation of paragraph 1 pursuant to the procedure provided for in Article 397. So long as the Council has not adopted such measures, Member States may lay down the detailed rules governing exercise of the option under paragraph 1.
2.   The Council shall adopt the measures necessary for the implementation of paragraph 1 pursuant to the procedure provided for in Article 397. So long as the Council has not adopted such measures, Member States may maintain the existing detailed rules governing exercise of the option under paragraph 1.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137b – point 1
(1) the group itself and all its members are established or resident in the Community;
(1) the group itself is established in the Community;
Amendment 24
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137b – point 3
(3) members of the group are supplying services which are exempt under Article 135(1)(a) to (g) or other services in respect of which they are not taxable persons;
(3) members of the group are supplying services which are exempt under Article 135(1)(a) to (ga) or other services in respect of which they are not taxable persons;
Amendment 25
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137b – point 4
(4) the services are supplied by the group only to its members and are necessary to allow members to supply services which are exempt pursuant to Article 135(1)(a) to (g);
(4) the services supplied by the group are necessary to allow members to supply services which are exempt pursuant to Article 135(1)(a) to (ga);
Amendment 26
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 137b – point 5
(5) the group claims from its members only the exact reimbursement of their share of the joint expenses, excluding any transfer-pricing adjustments made for the purposes of direct taxation.
(5) the group claims from its members only the exact reimbursement of their share of the joint expenses; transfer-pricing adjustments made for the purposes of direct taxation shall not affect the group's exemption from turnover tax .
Amendment 27
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 4 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 169 – point c
(4a)    In Article 169, point (c) is replaced by the following:
'(c) transactions which are exempt pursuant to points (a) to (ga) of Article 135(1), where the customer is established outside the Community or where those transactions relate directly to goods to be exported out of the Community.'
Amendment 28
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1
1.   Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 31 December 2009 at the latest . They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and correlation table between those provisions and Directive.
1.   Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive while ensuring that end-consumers benefit from the restructuring of the present VAT arrangement . They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and correlation table between those provisions and Directive.

Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) 2007
DOC 60k
European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2008 on the annual debate on the progress made in 2007 in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) (Articles 2 and 39 of the EU Treaty)
P6_TA(2008)0458 B6-0425/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 2, 6 and 39 of the EU Treaty and Articles 13, 17 to 22, 61 to 69, 255 and 286 of the EC Treaty, which form the main legal basis for the development of the EU and the Community as an area of freedom, security and justice,

–   having regard to Oral Questions B6-0006/2008 and B6-0007/2008 ,

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

A.   whereas Member States have prime responsibility for ensuring freedom, security and justice for their citizens; whereas, however, following the entry into force of the Treaty of Maastricht and, even more so, that of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Union is required to contribute to the achievement of those same objectives, bearing in mind the expectations of citizens of the Union as regards the protection of fundamental rights and the application within the Union of the principles of the rule of law and loyal and effective cooperation between Member States;

B.   whereas the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon is an essential and urgent precondition for ensuring that the Union is an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ), as it contains fundamental improvements to the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU action,

C.   whereas the comments made both at the preparatory meeting of 26 November 2007 with the national parliaments and during the most recent debate in plenary on 31 January 2008 underlined the importance of laying thorough groundwork for the transition to the new legal framework that will result from the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, signed on 13 December 2007, which will amend the EU Treaty and establish a Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

D.    whereas, however, the establishment of a genuine AFSJ is far from having been completed and still faces major difficulties and obstacles, as confirmed in the Communication from the Commission of 2 July 2008 entitled "Report on Implementation of the Hague Programme for 2007" (COM(2008)0373 ),

E.    whereas, as that Report stresses and notwithstanding the adoption of a number of major measures, the programme established by the Hague European Council in 2004 is seriously behind schedule and, in particular,

   there is still a serious lack of mutual trust and, above all, solidarity between Member States, especially as regards policies on legal and illegal immigration and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters,
   these problems also affect the phase of transposition of the few measures adopted since "an insufficient level of achievement was evident in the following areas: Visa Policy, Sharing of Information among Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities, Prevention of and the Fight against Organised Crime, Management of Crises within the European Union, Police and Customs Cooperation and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters",

F.    F . whereas the Member States themselves mention these problems in the context of their preparatory work for the future AFSJ programme for the period 2010-2014, recognising that the acquis in the field of Home Affairs, which was developed step by step, is necessarily unstructured and therefore difficult to explain to citizens of the Union; whereas it is sometimes hard even for specialists to understand and some of the instruments overlap and the legal basis for some actions can be found in different acts; whereas, finally, it is becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming to monitor the proper implementation of EC directives by as many as 27 Member States,

G.    whereas Parliament is convinced, however, like the Council, that the Union has no other choice but to insist on implementing the AFSJ, which touches the core of the national constitutional orders, and that Member States have a special interest in maintaining a dialogue with each other as much as with the European institutions,

H.    whereas, in this transitional phase pending the conclusion of the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, it is necessary to adopt before the end of 2009 certain general measures which, while drawing their inspiration from the Treaty of Lisbon, could still be adopted under the existing Treaties in full compliance with Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and which could reduce the adverse effects of the problems mentioned above; whereas these would include measures to:

   take account of the institutions' procedures, structures and decisions, and of the principles and objectives set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, proclaimed in Strasbourg on 12 December 2007 (1) ,
   promote decision-making transparency at Union and national level, in particular in connection with the AFSJ, in accordance with the recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ) on legislative transparency (Turco case (2) ),
   effectively involve national parliaments in the establishment and implementation of the AFSJ, including as regards assessment of these policies in the other Member States and by European Union agencies,
   ensure respect for the primacy of Community law over EU law (Article 47 of the EU Treaty) in the conclusion of international agreements, especially in the case of sanctions affecting nationals of third countries or where citizens of the Union are liable to be discriminated against (visa waiver); Parliament should systematically be associated with the conclusion by the EU of international agreements relating to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters,
   strengthen loyal cooperation and solidarity between Member States in implementing policies and measures taken by the Union by strengthening and democratising the mutual assessment mechanisms already provided for as part of Schengen cooperation and in the fight against terrorism,
   initiate enhanced cooperation under the first pillar where the required unanimity is impossible to achieve (see the debate concerning the proposal from the Commission of 17 July 2006 for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 as regards jurisdiction and introducing rules concerning applicable law in matrimonial matters (COM(2006)0399 )),
   go beyond the as yet embryonic and uncertain nature of initiatives conducted by the agencies set up by the Union and cooperation with national administrations,
   set up a genuine communication policy enabling citizens of the Union to be better informed about initiatives established at Union and national level and to become familiar with the relevant Union and national authorities which they can contact without prejudice to court action with regard to aspects liable to affect citizens' fundamental rights,
  I. whereas, during this transitional period, it is all the more important, in the interests of the citizens of the Union, to take account of the improvements which the Treaty of Lisbon will bring in terms of:
   the protection of fundamental rights, as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,
   the judicial control exercised by the ECJ, including over legislation pertaining to police and judicial control,
   the democratic control resulting from the extension of codecision by Parliament and from the involvement of national parliaments in the Union's law-making process and in the assessment of its impact, including with regard to AFSJ-related policies

J.   whereas, under the existing Treaties, the means of redress for citizens of the Union in relation to AFSJ measures are still more limited than in other areas of EU activity, whereas the ECJ's powers are limited, in particular in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and whereas, in addition, some Member States still restrict dialogue between the EU courts and national courts in this area; whereas the Council should postpone the adoption of any measure which might affect fundamental rights until the Treaty of Lisbon has been ratified,

1.  Calls on the European Council, the Council and the Commission to:

   a) initiate forthwith the process of determining priorities for the forthcoming AFSJ multiannual programme for the period 2010-2014, on the basis of an ambitious and coherent approach, going far beyond ministerial thinking, and drawing its inspiration from the objectives and principles laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
   b) join Parliament in its dialogue with national parliaments on the priorities for the period 2010-2014, taking into account the problems encountered in implementing the Tampere and Hague Programmes, the work carried out within the Council and the European Council's initial strategic indications regarding immigration, asylum and integration; with a view to completing this initial phase of dialogue at Parliament's annual debate on the progress made in 2008 in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and with a view to a Commission communication subsequently being issued, on the understanding that it will be for the newly elected Parliament and the European Council to adopt the final programme at the appropriate time;
   c) agree with Parliament a list of texts or proposals that could or should be adopted as a matter of priority before the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force and, at any rate, before the end of the current Parliamentary term;
  d) make progress in negotiations on proposals for police and judicial cooperation (which will be subject to codecision) by seeking a political agreement with Parliament, and ensure that, once agreement is reached:
   either their formal adoption is postponed until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon,
   or the Council adopts the decisions or framework decisions in question under the EU Treaty as it currently stands, while agreeing to re-adopt them under the EU Treaty as amended by the Treaty of Lisbon, which would enable the ECJ to exercise full judicial control; should a political agreement already have been reached, Parliament could agree not to re-open negotiations on the substance, as is the case in the adoption procedure for official codification(3) ;

2.  Proposes the following as priorities regarding areas subject or to be subject to codecision/ assent during the transition period:

In the area of fundamental rights and citizenship


   defining more transparent criteria at Union level, in particular where EU measures might undermine guarantees protected under the constitutions of the Member States (Article 52 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)) and revising EU measures censured by the ECJ (see Cases T-228/02 Organisation des Modjahedines du peuple d'Iran v Council, T-47/03 Sison v Council, T-253/04 KONGRA-GEL and Others v Council, T-229/02 PKK v Council, on black lists),
   systematically taking account of the impact on fundamental rights of EU legislation and national implementing measures, in particular with regard to the fight against terrorism, taking account of the replies recently sent to the Commission in this area by the Member States,
   initiating the preparatory dialogues for the negotiating mandate for the EU's accession to the ECHR (Article 6(2) of the EU Treaty),
   revising the programme of activities of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, taking account of the priorities indicated by the institutions, and in particular by Parliament, in the area of police and judicial cooperation and respect for EU principles (Article 7 of the EU Treaty) (see the interinstitutional declaration adopted at the time of adoption of Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(4) ),
   putting forward a legislative proposal to restrict direct and indirect discrimination affecting the movement of citizens of the Union, access to justice in a country other than the country of origin and consular and diplomatic protection in third countries (Article 20 of the TFEU),
   submitting a proposal concerning the transparency and confidentiality of information and documents handled by the EU institutions,
   submitting a proposal concerning data protection (providing for the consolidation of measures that currently vary according to which pillar is concerned), in response to concern about the rapid erosion of data protection standards in the Union, with particular reference to inadequate standards for the protection of transatlantic data transfers, and urging the Council to adapt the Framework Decision on Data Protection in the third pillar in line with Parliament's recommendations,
   strengthening the internal structures of institutions responsible for protecting fundamental rights in the Union, in particular within the Council (conversion of the Council's Ad hoc Working Party on Fundamental Rights and Citizenship into a Standing Working Party, as proposed by the Slovenian Presidency),
   strengthening, through administrative cooperation (Article 66 of the EC Treaty), the dialogue between the Member States, mutual knowledge of legal systems, the activation of the dialogue procedure to involve national parliaments and Parliament, in particular where difficulties arise in the implementation of EU strategies and measures affecting the AFSJ;
Regarding the European judicial area
   revising the legislative proposal on the rights of individuals in criminal procedure (Article 69 A TFEU),
   submitting a proposal on the rights of victims of crime and terrorism (Article 69 E TFEU),
   improving mutual recognition among the Member States both of measures taken in absentia and of evidence (Article 69 E TFEU),
   interconnecting criminal records,
   revising the status of Europol, Eurojust and the European Judicial Network in the light of the new legal basis,
Regarding border protection
   adopting appropriate measures to ensure the full entry into use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the entry into force of the decisions linked to the Prüm Treaty(5) ,
   strengthening Frontex and assessing the impact of the Commission's new proposals for border controls,
   strengthening Frontex's information on the agreements which it has signed with third countries and on the evaluation reports on joint operations, and ensuring that border checks are respectful of human rights; amending Frontex's mandate to include sea rescue operations,
   establishing structured cooperation between Frontex and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to simplify the operations involved, taking into account the protection of human rights;
Regarding migration and asylum
   swift and ambitious action by the Commission and the Council to drive the Union's forward-looking strategy on:
   legal migration: the forthcoming legal migration package (Blue Card Single Application procedure, seasonal workers, and the Intra-Corporate Transferees and remunerated trainees proposal as well as others),
   illegal migration: proposals including sanctions and an EU resettlement scheme,
   asylum: implementation of Phase II, including revision of Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005 on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status(6) and Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted(7) , and the establishment of a European Asylum Support Office,
   development of a Community policy on migration and asylum based on the opening up of channels for legal migration and on the definition of common standards for the protection of migrants' and asylum seekers' fundamental rights in the Union,
   inclusion, within EC decisions and framework decisions, of all the provisions laid down by the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 1990,

3.   Welcomes the proposal for the completion of the anti-discrimination package and urges Council to act in the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon and incorporate Parliament's recommendations;

4.   Considers that, from now on, national parliaments and civil society should be involved in a structured manner in drafting these legislative measures and in evaluating these policies in the Member States; asks the Commission and the Council, with this aim in mind, to re-examine with Parliament the networks, agencies and instruments that would assess the impact of AFSJ policies and to aid closer interaction with European civil society;

5.  Stresses that the Treaty of Lisbon will recognise Parliament's role in the conclusion of international agreements concerning AFSJ policies; asks, in this context:

   to be consulted in good time on all agreements with third countries that have not been concluded by 31 December 2008,
   to receive regular updates on the negotiations under way,
   as a matter of urgency, that a debate be held on the external dimension of the AFSJ, as the Union is creating de facto police and judicial cooperation with third countries, notably the US, by means of bilateral agreements on a range of issues, thereby circumventing formal democratic decision-making procedures and Parliamentary scrutiny;

o
o   o

6.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and to invite those parliaments to submit their comments, suggestions and proposals by 15 November 2008, in time for the December 2008 annual debate on the progress made in 2008 in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice.

(1) JO C 303, 14.12.2007, p. 1.
(2) Judgment of 1 July 2008 in Joined cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P Kingdom of Sweden and Maurizio Turco v Council of the European Union.
(3) Paragraph 4 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 December 1994 on the accelerated working method for official codification of legislative texts (OJ C 102, 4.4.1996, p. 2).
(4) OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.
(5) Treaty of 27 May 2005 between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Austria on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration.
(6) OJ L 326, 13.12.2005, p. 13.
(7) OJ L 304, 30.9.2004, p. 2.


Concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union
DOC 71k
European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2008 on concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union (2007/2253(INI) )
P6_TA(2008)0459 A6-0303/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(1) ,

–   having regard to the protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam on the system of public broadcasting in the Member States(2) (Amsterdam Treaty Protocol),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled "Media pluralism in the Member States of the European Union" (SEC(2007)0032 ),

–   having regard to Directive 2007/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2007 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2002 on media concentration(4) ,

–   having regard to the 2005 Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Unesco Convention on cultural diversity),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 April 2004 on the risks of violation, in the EU and especially in Italy, of freedom of expression and information (Article 11(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights)(5) ,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 2001 on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting(6) ,

–   having regard to the Council Resolution of 25 January 1999 concerning public service broadcasting(7) ,

–   having regard to the Recommendation Rec(2007)3 of 31 January 2007 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Member States on the remit of public service media in the information society,

–   having regard to the Recommendation Rec 1466(2000) of 27 June 2000 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on media education;

–   having regard to the Recommendation Rec(2007)2 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 31 January 2007 on media pluralism and diversity of media content;

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 November 2007 on the interoperability of digital interactive television services(8) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and (A6-0303/2008 ),

A.   whereas the European Union has confirmed its commitment to the defence and the promotion of media pluralism, as an essential pillar of the right to information and freedom of expression enshrined in Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which remain fundamental principles for preserving democracy, civic pluralism and cultural diversity,

B.   whereas Parliament has repeatedly expressed its view that the Commission should establish a stable legal framework, both in the media and in the information society as a whole, aimed at ensuring an equivalent level of protection of pluralism in the Member States and enabling operators to benefit from the opportunities created by the single market,

C.   whereas, as the Commission stressed in its above-mentioned staff working document, the concept of media pluralism cannot be limited to the issue of concentration of ownership of companies, but also includes issues related to public broadcasting services, political power, competition in the economy, cultural diversity, the development of new technologies, transparency, and the working conditions of journalists in the Union,

D.   whereas public broadcasting services need to have the necessary resources and institutions to allow them to be genuinely independent of political pressures and market forces,

E.   whereas as things stand public broadcasting services are under pressure, unjustifiably and to the detriment of content quality, to compete for ratings with commercial channels, whose objective is ultimately not quality but satisfaction of majority public taste,

F.   whereas the Unesco Convention on cultural diversity attaches considerable importance to, inter alia, the creation of conditions conducive to media diversity,

G.   whereas the Unesco Convention on cultural diversity recognises the right of its parties to take measures aimed at enhancing diversity of the media, including through public service broadcasting,

H.   whereas the important role of the public audiovisual media in ensuring pluralism is recognised in the Unesco Convention on cultural diversity and in the Amsterdam Treaty protocol, which stipulates that the system of public broadcasting in the Member States is directly related to the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society and the need to preserve media pluralism, while the Member States are responsible for determining the remit of public television broadcasting and providing for its funding,

I.   whereas the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 2001 fully recognises the central role played by public broadcasting bodies in promoting plurality and cultural and linguistic diversity and stresses that, in examining the state aids in question, the Commission will apply criteria such as the importance of promoting cultural diversity and meeting the democratic, social and cultural needs of each society,

J.   whereas the above-mentioned Council Resolution of 25 January 1999 reiterates the vital role of public service broadcasting in ensuring pluralism and demands that Member States give it a wide remit that reflects its role of bringing to the public the benefits of new audiovisual and information services and new technologies,

K.   whereas the Amsterdam Treaty protocol has been adopted to ensure Member States' competence to organise their national public service broadcasting system in a way tailored to the democratic and cultural needs of their society, so as to best serve the aim of preserving media pluralism,

L.   whereas the above-mentioned Recommendation Rec(2007)3 underlines the specific role of public service broadcasting as a source of impartial and independent information and comment, and of innovative and varied content which complies with high ethical and quality standards, and as a forum for public discussion and a means of promoting broader democratic participation of individuals, and thus demands that Member States remain empowered to adapt that remit to fulfil its purpose in a new media environment,

M.   whereas media pluralism can only be guaranteed by a proper political balance in the content of public service television,

N.   whereas experience shows that the unrestricted concentration of ownership jeopardises pluralism and cultural diversity and whereas a system purely based on free market competition alone is not able to guarantee media pluralism,

O.   whereas in Europe the two-pillar arrangements for private and public television and audiovisual media services have proved their value in consolidating media pluralism and should be further developed,

P.   whereas concentration of ownership is generating increased dependence by media professionals on the owners of large media enterprises,

Q.   whereas new technologies, and in particular the shift to digital technology for the production and dissemination of audiovisual content and the entry on the market of new communications and information services have significantly influenced the quantity of available products and means of dissemination; whereas, however, a quantitative increase in media and services does not automatically guarantee content diversity; whereas new updated means of ensuring media pluralism and cultural diversity and the provision of prompt and objective information to the public are therefore necessary,

R.   whereas the current telecommunications regulatory framework, reflecting the direct relationship and interdependence between infrastructure and content regulation, provides Member States with suitable technical instruments for the protection of media and content plurality, such as access and must-carry rules,

S.   whereas, however, respect for pluralism of information and diversity of content is not automatically guaranteed by technological advances, but must come about through an active, consistent and vigilant policy on the part of the national and European public authorities,

T.   whereas, while the internet has greatly increased access to various sources of information, views and opinions, it has not yet replaced traditional media as a decisive public opinion former,

U.   whereas due to technological developments, newspaper publishers are increasingly disseminating content via the internet and are therefore largely dependent on (online) advertising revenue,

V.   whereas the media remains a tool of political influence, and whereas there is a considerable risk concerning the media's ability to carry out its functions as a watchdog of democracy, as private media enterprises are predominantly motivated by financial profit; whereas this carries the danger of a loss of diversity, quality of content and multiplicity of opinions, therefore the custody of media pluralism should not be left purely to market mechanisms,

W.   whereas large media enterprises have built substantial and often dominant positions in some Member States, and whereas the existence of press groups owned by enterprises that may award public procurement contracts represents a threat to media independence,

X.   whereas the contribution of multinational media enterprises in some Member States is essential for revitalising the media landscape, but whereas certain improvements are also needed in working conditions and remuneration,

Y.   whereas working conditions and the quality of media professionals' work must be improved and whereas, in the absence of social guarantees, a growing number of journalists are employed under precarious conditions,

Z.   whereas EU competition law is somewhat limited in its ability to address media concentration issues because the activities creating concentration of media ownership at vertical and horizontal level in the new Member States have not reached the financial threshold at which EU competition law would apply,

AA.   whereas the introduction of over-restrictive rules on media ownership risks reducing the competitiveness of European enterprises on the world market and increasing the influence of non-European media groups,

AB.   whereas media consumers should have access to a wide choice of content,

AC.   whereas media creators strive to produce the highest quality content possible but the conditions are not uniformly satisfactory for achieving this in all Member States,

AD.   whereas the proliferation of new media (broadband internet, satellite channels, digital terrestrial television, etc.) and the varied forms of media ownership are not sufficient in themselves to guarantee pluralism in terms of media content,

AE.   whereas the rules on content quality and on the protection of minors should be applied both at public and commercial levels,

AF.   whereas media enterprises are indispensable as regards media pluralism and the preservation of democracy and should thus be more actively concerned with practices relating to business ethics and social responsibility,

AG.   whereas in commercial media outlets private user-generated content, especially audiovisual content, is increasingly utilised for a nominal fee or without any payment, raising problems of ethics and protection of privacy, a practice putting journalists and other media professionals under undue competitive pressure,

AH.   whereas weblogs represent an important new contribution to freedom of expression and are increasingly used by media professionals as well as by private persons,

AI.   whereas public broadcasters have to be given stable funding, must act in a fair and balanced way and be given the means to promote the public interest and social values,

AJ.   whereas the Member States have wide scope for interpreting the remit of the public service media and its financing,

AK.   whereas the public service media have a noticeable market presence only in the audiovisual and non-linear areas,

AL.   whereas the enduring basis of the European audiovisual model must be the balance between a strong, independent and pluralist public service and a dynamic commercial sector; whereas the continuity of this model is essential for the vitality and quality of creation, the pluralism of the media and respect for and promotion of cultural diversity,

AM.   whereas sometimes the public service media of the Member States suffer from both inadequate funding and political pressure,

AN.   whereas the tasks assigned to public sector broadcasting by each Member State require long-term funding and guaranteed independence, which is far from being the case in all Member States,

AO.   whereas in certain Member States the public service media may play a pre-eminent role in terms of both quality and audience,

AP.   whereas universal public access to high-quality, diverse content is becoming even more crucial in this context of technological changes and increased concentration and in an ever more competitive and globalised environment; whereas public audiovisual services are essential for democratic opinion-forming, to enable people to familiarise themselves with cultural diversity and to guarantee pluralism; and whereas these services must be able to use the new broadcasting platforms to carry out the task they are given, to reach out to all the groups that make up society, whatever means of access are used,

AQ.   whereas public service media need to have sufficient public funding to enable them to compete with commercial media, in terms of offering a high standard of cultural and news content,

AR.   whereas new media channels have emerged over the last decade and whereas a rising share of advertising revenues going to internet outlets is a source of concern for traditional media outlets,

AS.   whereas public service broadcasters and commercial broadcasters will continue to play complementary roles, together with new players, in the new audiovisual landscape characterised by a multiplicity of delivery platforms,

AT.   whereas the EU has no intrinsic competence to regulate media concentration, nevertheless its competence in various policy fields enables it to play an active role in safeguarding and promoting media pluralism; whereas competition and state aid law, audiovisual and telecommunication regulation as well as external (trade) relations are areas in which the EU can and should actively pursue a policy to strengthen and foster media pluralism,

AU.   whereas there are a growing number of conflicts concerning freedom of expression,

AV.   whereas, in the information society, media education is an essential means of empowering citizens to make an informed and active contribution to democracy,

AW.   whereas the increased supply of information (particularly thanks to the internet) is making the interpretation and assessment thereof increasingly important,

AX.   whereas the promotion of media literacy among the citizens of the European Union needs much more support,

AY.   whereas the European media are now operating on a globalised market, which means that comprehensive restrictions regarding their ownership will considerably detract from their ability to compete with third-country undertakings not bound by similar restrictions; whereas it is therefore necessary to strike a balance between the consistent implementation of fair competition rules and the provision of pluralist safety valves on the one hand and ensuring that businesses have the necessary flexibility to compete on the international media market on the other,

AZ.   whereas we live in a society in which we are constantly being inundated with information, instant communications and unfiltered messages, while the selection of information requires particular abilities,

BA.   whereas measures to consolidate and promote pluralism in the media must be fundamental to EU foreign relations (in the field of trade and elsewhere), particularly in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy, enlargement strategy and bilateral partnership agreements,

1.   Urges the Commission and the Member States to safeguard media pluralism, to ensure that all EU citizens can access free and diversified media in all Member States and to recommend improvements when needed;

2.   Firmly believes that a pluralistic media system is an essential requirement for the continued existence of the democratic European social model;

3.   Notes that the European media landscape is subject to continuing convergence, as regards both the media and markets;

4.   Highlights that the concentration of ownership of the media system creates an environment favouring the monopolisation of the advertising market, introduces barriers to the entry of new market players and also leads to uniformity of media content;

5.   Points out that the development of the media system is increasingly driven by profit-making and that, therefore, societal, political or economic processes, or values expressed in journalists' codes of conduct, are not adequately safeguarded; considers, therefore, that competition law must be interlinked with media law, in order to guarantee access, competition and quality and avoid conflicts of interests between media ownership concentration and political power, which are detrimental to free competition, a level playing field and pluralism;

6.   Reminds the Member States that a balance must always be sought, in the decisions of the national regulatory authorities, between their duties and freedom of expression, the protection of which is ultimately the responsibility of the courts;

7.   7 Calls on the Commission to commit itself to promoting a stable legal framework with a guaranteed high standard of protection of pluralism in all the Member States;

8.   Calls, therefore, both for a balance between public and private broadcasters - in those Member States where public broadcasters presently exist - and for the interlinking of competition and media law to be guaranteed in order to strengthen the plurality of the media;

9.   Believes that the main objectives of public authorities should be to create conditions that ensure a high level of media quality (including in the public media), secure media diversity and guarantee the full independence of journalists;

10.   Calls for measures to improve the competitiveness of European media concerns in order to make a significant contribution to economic growth, to be fostered also through raising the level of awareness and knowledge of economic and financial issues among citizens;

11.   Highlights the growing influence of third-country media investors in the EU, especially in the new Member States;

12.   Calls for the consistent application of competition legislation at EU and national level in order to ensure a high level of competition and to enable new competitors to enter the market;

13.   Takes the view that EU competition law has helped to restrict media concentration; nevertheless stresses the importance of independent, Member State supervision of the media and urges, to that end, that media regulation at a national level be effective, clear, transparent and of a high standard;

14.   Welcomes the Commission's intention to develop specific indicators to evaluate media pluralism;

15.   Calls for further indicators, in addition to media pluralism, to be drawn up as criteria for analysing the media, including its orientation as regards democracy, the rule of law, human and minority rights and professional codes of conduct for journalists;

16.   Considers that the rules on media concentration should govern not only the ownership and production of media content, but also the (electronic) channels and mechanisms for access to and dissemination of content on the internet, such as search engines.

17.   Underlines the need for ensuring access to information for disabled people;

18.   Recognises that self-regulation has an important role in ensuring media pluralism; welcomes existing industry initiatives in this area;

19.   Encourages the creation of a charter for media freedom to guarantee freedom of expression and pluralism;

20.   Calls for media freedom to be respected and for media reporting to comply consistently with ethical codes;

21.   Stresses the need to institute monitoring and implementation systems for media pluralism based on reliable and impartial indicators;

22.   Stresses the need for the EU and Member State authorities to ensure journalistic and editorial independence by appropriate and specific legal and social guarantees, and points out the importance of the creation and uniform application of editorial charters in Member States, and all markets where EU-based media companies operate, to prevent owners, shareholders, or outside bodies such as governments, from interfering with news content;

23.   Calls on the Member States to ensure through appropriate means a suitable balance among political and social sensibilities, in particular in the context of news and current affairs programmes;

24.   Welcomes the dynamics and diversity brought into the media landscape by the new media and encourages responsible use of all the new technology such as mobile TV as a platform for commercial, public and community media;

25.   Encourages an open discussion on all issues relating to the status of weblogs;

26.   Supports the protection of copyrights at the level of online media, with third parties having to mention the source when taking over declarations;

27.   Recommends the inclusion of media literacy among the European key competences and supports the development of the European core curriculum for media literacy while underlining their role in overcoming any form of digital divide;

28.   Maintains that the purpose of media education must be, as is laid down in the above-mentioned Recommendation Rec1466(2000), to provide citizens with the means of bringing critical interpretation to bear on, and utilising, the ever growing volume of information being imparted to them; considers that this learning process will thus enable citizens to formulate messages and select the most appropriate media for communicating them, and hence to exercise their rights to the full where freedom of information and expression is concerned;

29.   Urges the Commission, in adopting a European approach to media literacy, to pay sufficient attention to standards of critical content assessment and exchanges of best practice in this connection;

30.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to consolidate an objective framework for granting broadcasting licences in the areas of cable and satellite TV and analogue and digital broadcasting markets, on the basis of transparent and fair criteria, in order to establish a system of pluralist competition and prevent abuses by companies enjoying monopolies or dominant positions;

31.   Reminds the Commission that on several occasions, it has been asked to draw up a directive that would aim to ensure pluralism, encourage and preserve cultural diversity as defined in the Unesco Convention on cultural diversity, as well as to safeguard access for all media companies to the technical elements that can enable them to reach the public in its entirety;

32.   Calls on the Member States to support high-quality public broadcasting services which can offer a real alternative to the programmes of commercial channels and can, without necessarily having to compete for ratings or advertising revenue, occupy a more high-profile place on the European scene as pillars of the preservation of media pluralism, democratic dialogue and access to quality content for all citizens;

33.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support greater cooperation between European regulatory authorities and to intensify the formal and informal discussions and exchanges of views between regulatory authorities in the broadcasting field;

34.   Recommends that, where appropriate, public service media in the Member States reflect the multicultural nature of regions;

35.   Encourages the disclosure of ownership of all media outlets to help achieve greater transparency regarding the aims and background of the broadcaster and publisher;

36.   Encourages the Member States to ensure that the application of national competition law to the media as well as to the internet and communication technology sector facilitates and promotes media pluralism; calls on the Commission, in implementing EU competition rules, to take account of their impact on media pluralism;

37.   Recommends that regulations governing state aid are devised and implemented in a way which allow the public service and community media to fulfil their function in a dynamic environment, while ensuring that public service media carry out the function entrusted to them by Member States in a transparent and accountable manner, avoiding the abuse of public funding for reasons of political or economic expediency;

38.   Asks the Commission, when making a decision about the necessity of a revision of the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 2001, to take due account of the Unesco Convention on cultural diversity and the above-mentioned Recommendation Rec(2007)3; in the event that the Commission decides to revise the existing guidelines, asks that any measure or clarification proposed is assessed as far as its impact on media pluralism is concerned and duly respects Member States' competences;

39.   Recommends that the Commission use the process of revising the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 2001- if it considers it necessary - as a way to strengthen public service broadcasting as an important guarantor of media pluralism in the EU;

40.   Considers that, in order to enable the public audiovisual media to fulfil their task in the era of digital technology, it is necessary for them to develop new information services and media over and above traditional programmes and to be able to interact with every digital network and platform;

41.   Welcomes the implementation in certain Member States of provisions requiring cable television providers to include state-run channels and to allocate a section of the digital spectrum to public providers;

42.   Urges the Commission to apply a broad understanding of the remit of public service broadcasters in line with a dynamic and future-proof interpretation of the Amsterdam Treaty protocol, in particular with regard to an unconstrained participation of public service broadcasting in technological developments and deriving forms of content production and presentation (in the form of both linear and non-linear services); whereas this should also include adequate funding for new services as part of the public service broadcasting remit;

43.   Reiterates that the regulation of spectrum use must take account of public interest objectives such as media pluralism and thus cannot be subjected to a purely market based regime; considers in addition that Member States should remain responsible for deciding on frequency allocation to serve the specific needs of their societies in particular with respect to safeguarding and promoting media pluralism;

44.   Recommends during the revision of the Telecom Package to retain and, where necessary, to extend must-carry rules;

45.   Agrees with the above-mentioned Recommendation Rec(2007)2 that fair access by content providers to electronic communication networks should be ensured;

46.   Draws attention to its above-mentioned resolution of 13 November 2007, as interoperability is of fundamental importance for media pluralism;

47.   Calls for a balanced approach to the allocation of the digital dividend to ensure equitable access for all players, thereby safeguarding media pluralism;

48.   Is concerned about the dominance of a few large online players, which restricts new market entrants and thereby stifles creativity and entrepreneurship in this sector;

49.   Calls for greater transparency with respect to personal data and information on users stored by internet search engines, email providers and social networking sites;

50.   Considers that regulation at EU level sufficiently safeguards the accessibility of electronic programme guides and similar overview and navigation facilities, but that further action could be considered with regard to the way that information about the available programmes is presented to ensure that services of general interest are easily accessible; calls on the Commission to ascertain by means of consultative procedures whether minimal guidelines or sector-specific regulation are needed to safeguard media pluralism;

51.   Calls for safeguarding of the balance between public law and private broadcasters, and of the coherent application of competition and media law, to strengthen media pluralism.

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

(1) OJ C 303, 14.12.2007, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 340, 10.11.1997, p. 109.
(3) OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 27.
(4) OJ C 25 E, 29.1.2004, p. 205.
(5) OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 1026.
(6) OJ C 320, 15.11.2001, p5
(7) OJ C 30, 5.2.1999, p 1.
(8) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0497 .


Controlling energy prices
DOC 42k
European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2008 on getting a grip on energy prices
P6_TA(2008)0460 B6-0428 , 0431 , 0436 and 0445/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 September 2005 on oil dependency(1) and its resolution of 19 June 2008 on the crisis in the fisheries sector caused by rising fuel prices(2) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 13 June 2008 entitled 'Facing the challenge of higher oil prices' (COM(2008)0384 ),

–   having regard to the Presidency conclusions of the European Council of 19-20 June 2008,

–   having regard to the agreement at the informal ECOFIN Council of 12-13 September 2008 in Nice,

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

A.   whereas in the summer oil prices reached their all-time highest level in real terms, prices of other energy products have also risen and consumer fuel prices have been following the trend of the crude oil price; whereas the weak US dollar has contributed to pressure on oil prices,

B.   whereas estimates indicate that oil prices may stay high in the medium- to long-term and that this will have a negative impact on inflation and the growth of the EU economy,

C.   whereas the higher energy price levels are undermining the purchasing power of EU citizens, with the most negative impact being on the lowest income households and energy-intensive industry sectors,

D.   whereas the hike in energy prices is influenced by a combination of complex sets of factors: structural shift of oil supply and demand, shrinking number and size of new oilfields; limited oil production expansion; geopolitical factors; less investment in technology advances; higher investment costs; and lack of qualified workforce in the main producing countries; whereas some oil producing countries tend to use their natural resources for political purposes,

E.   whereas the increased transparency, reliability and more frequent publication of data on commercial oil stocks are important for the efficient functioning of oil markets,

F.   whereas the current financial turmoil has pushed investors to seek alternative investments and has contributed to increased short-term price volatility,

G.   whereas the EU economy is still highly dependent on imported oil, and potential new fields are mostly in 'unconventional deposits', making investment costs higher for their development,

H.   whereas a common European foreign policy on energy, based on solidarity and diversification of supply, would create synergies ensuring security of supply for the European Union and would enhance the EU's strength, capacity for action in foreign policy matters and credibility as a global actor,

1.   Emphasises, that unless there is a global concerted shift in energy policy and consumption, the energy demand will continue to grow in the coming decades; expresses its concern at the increase in energy prices, notably because of its negative effect on the world economy and consumers, which is also hampering the attainment of the Lisbon Strategy objectives;

2.   Underlines the necessity to take measures that will enable the EU economy to maintain its competitiveness and to adapt to the new energy price environment;

3.   Calls for strong political commitment to take concrete measures towards cutting energy demand, to promote renewables and energy efficiency, and to pursue diversification of energy supply and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels; considers this shift to be the most appropriate response to higher energy prices, to increase stability in the energy markets, to deliver long-term cost benefits to consumers and to meet the objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its related Kyoto Protocol; endorses the need for those strategic measures necessarily to be followed up by commensurate financial resources in R&D;

4.   Considers that short-term and targeted measures should be taken by Member States to alleviate the negative impact on the poorest households; highlights the fact, however, that measures inducing more inflation should be avoided as they can be a detriment to public finance sustainability and neutralised by higher prices of oil;

5.   Reiterates its first-reading position of 18 June 2008 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/54/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity(3) and of 9 July 2008 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/55/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas(4) ; considers that the Commission should bring forward a communication on tackling energy poverty in the European Union; calls on Member States to provide national definitions of energy poverty and to develop national action plans to eradicate energy poverty; calls on the Commission to monitor and coordinate the data provided by Member States, in addition to ensuring that universal and public service obligations are respected;

6.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that the proposed Energy Consumers Charter clearly sets out consumers' rights; calls on the national regulatory authorities to use the powers at their disposal to help consumers;

7.   Notes the drop in crude oil prices to USD 100 per barrel in the last few weeks, breaking the trend of continuous rising oil prices; notes with concern, however, that consumers are continuing to pay higher energy prices, not always fully reflecting downward fluctuations in crude oil prices; calls on the Commission to monitor price developments, in particular with regard to how price increases or reductions affect consumers;

8.   Calls on the Commission to guarantee compliance with existing EU competition rules, with particular focus on investigating and fighting anti-competitive practices in the gas and electricity sectors, as well as in oil refining and distribution to points of consumption;

9.   Calls on the Commission to investigate the linkage between oil and gas prices in long-term gas contracts and to produce an adequate policy response;

10.   Calls on ECOFIN to introduce reduced VAT for energy-saving goods and services;

11.   Encourages measures that help the adjustment process of energy-intensive industries and services so that they can be more energy-efficient; asks the Commission, however, to monitor the impact of such measures and to take appropriate action in the event of competition distortion;

12.   Stresses, furthermore, that renewable energy sources, combined with energy conservation measures, including incentives to improve household energy efficiency, reduce Europe's dependence on energy imports and thus diminish the political and economic risks resulting from these imports;

13.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energies are prioritised in the design of future EU energy policy, in particular under the forthcoming 2nd Strategic Energy Review;

14.   Considers that the European Investment Bank should have a more prominent role in providing funding for energy efficiency, renewables and R&D projects, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises;

15.   Notes the increase in tax revenues on energy in some Member States due to recent oil price increases; underlines the importance of adequate fiscal policies, as a means of reducing dependence on fossil fuels, addressing climate change and creating incentives for investments in energy-efficiency, renewable energy and environmentally friendly products;

16.   Invites the Commission to present its proposal on review of Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity(5) (the so-called "Energy Tax Directive"), having carefully examined the effects that taxation measures could have on inflation, new investments, and on the transition to a low-carbon and EU energy-efficient economy;

17.   Stresses the importance of the increased transparency and reliability of data on oil markets and oil commercial stocks; considers it important to improve the understanding of oil products price development; calls for a timely revision of the Community legislation on emergency oil stocks;

18.   Stresses that the EU should speak with one voice as regards energy policy; reiterates the importance of an EU common energy policy and commitment to the European Neighbourhood Policy; believes in this respect that the EU should take the lead in the energy dialogue with key oil and gas supply countries; welcomes the idea of a high-level summit between oil and gas consuming and producing countries, aimed at greater stability of prices, more predictability in supplies and payment for sales in euros;

19.   Encourages EU companies to be more proactive, by making further investments, and to take the lead in new technology know-how and engineering skills in order to remain key partners with the main oil producing countries; notes that investments are particularly needed to develop the refining and exploration capabilities in order to cope with increasing demand;

20.   Notes that Corporate Social Responsibility should be improved within the major energy companies in order to channel more private investment in the energy industry into energy-saving programmes and alternative energy technologies and related R&D;

21.   Invites the Member States to coordinate policy interventions in tackling the increase in energy prices; calls on the Commission to prepare an analysis based on Member States' best practice policy measures in their response to high energy price challenges;

22.   Calls on the Council to reach an agreement as soon as possible on the next key steps towards achieving a fully liberalised internal energy market, as this will contribute to reducing EU vulnerability to energy prices and enhance security of supply; reaffirms in this respect its strong support for the completion of the EU internal energy market;

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

(1) OJ C 227 E, 21.9.2006, p. 580.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0308 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0294 .
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0347 .
(5) OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51.


White Paper on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related health issues
DOC 71k
European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2008 on the White Paper on nutrition, overweight and obesity- related health issues (2007/2285(INI) )
P6_TA(2008)0461 A6-0256/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission's White Paper of 30 May 2007 entitled "A Strategy for Europe on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity related health issues" (COM(2007)0279 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 February 2007 on promoting healthy diets and physical activity (1) ,

–   having regard to the Second World Health Organisation (WHO) European Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy 2007-2012, adopted by the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Belgrade, 17-20 September 2007, and the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity, adopted by the WHO Regional Office in 2006,

–   having regard to the objectives set by the WHO European Ministerial Conference held in Istanbul on 15-17 November 2006, with the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity,

–   having regard to the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, adopted by the 57th World Health Assembly on 22 May 2004,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of 2 and 3 June 2005 concerning obesity, nutrition and physical activity,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of 5 and 6 December 2007 entitled "Putting an EU strategy on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity related Health Issues into operation",

–   having regard to the WHO Regional Office for Europe publication of 2006 entitled "Physical activity and health in Europe: evidence for action",

–   having regard to the Commission's White Paper on sport of 11 July 2007 (COM(2007)0391 ),

–   having regard to the Commission's Green Paper of 25 September 2007 entitled "Towards a new culture for urban mobility" (COM(2007)0551 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0256/2008 ),

A.   whereas overweight and obesity and diet-related disease are becoming growing epidemics and are major contributors to the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in Europe,

B.   whereas it is scientifically proven that the incidence rate and the gravity of nutrition-related diseases affect men and women differently,

C.   whereas, according to the WHO, more than 50% of the European adult population are overweight or obese,

D.   whereas more than 5 million children are obese and almost 22 million are overweight and these figures are rising rapidly, so that by 2010 a further 1,3 million children per year are predicted to become overweight or obese,

E.   whereas obesity and overweight-related diseases are thought to take up 6% of government health care expenditure in some Member States; whereas the indirect costs of those conditions, through reduced productivity and sick leave for example, are considerably higher,

F.   whereas abdominal obesity is scientifically recognised as one of the main predictors of several weight-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,

G.   whereas eating habits established in childhood often endure into adulthood and research has shown that obese children are more likely to become obese adults,

H.   whereas European citizens are living in an "obesogenic" environment in which sedentary lifestyles have raised the risk of obesity,

I.   whereas poor diet is a major risk factor for other diet-related diseases that are the major killers across the EU including coronary heart-disease, cancers, diabetes and stroke,

J.   whereas the WHO's 2005 report on health in Europe analytically demonstrates that a large number of deaths and illnesses are caused by seven major risk factors, six of which (hypertension, cholesterol, the body mass index, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol consumption) are related to diet and physical exercise, and whereas those health determinants must be acted upon simultaneously with a view to preventing a significant number of deaths and illnesses,

K.   whereas physical activity, coupled with a healthy balanced diet, is the primary method of prevention against overweight; whereas an alarming one in three Europeans do not exercise at all in their free time, while the average European spends over five hours a day sitting down; whereas many Europeans do not consume a balanced diet,

L.   whereas the number of lessons devoted to sport has decreased in the past decade at both primary and secondary school level, and there are major disparities among Member States with regard to facilities and equipment,

M.   whereas with the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity the WHO has set the target of achieving visible progress in fighting child obesity over the next four or five years, with the objective of reversing the current trend by 2015 at the latest,

N.   whereas a healthy diet must have certain quantitative and qualitative properties and be geared to individual needs and always in strict adherence to dietetic principles,

O.   whereas a diet must include the following categories of criteria to be considered as having "health value": (1) nutrient and energy content (nutritional value), (2) health and toxological criteria (food safety), (3) natural food properties ("aesthetic/gustatory" and "digestive" qualities), (4) ecological nature of food production (sustainable agriculture),

P.   whereas overweight and obesity should be tackled by means of a holistic approach acting across government policy areas and at different levels of government, especially at national, regional and local level, with all due regard for subsidiarity,

Q.   whereas the significance of alcohol, with its high calorie intake, and of smoking, both of which distort the appetite for food and drink and carry many established hazards to health, should not be overlooked,

R.   whereas account must be taken of the social dimension of the problem, and in particular the fact that the highest incidence rates of overweight and obesity are registered in lower socio-economic groups; whereas this situation could lead to greater health and socio-economic inequalities, particularly for the most vulnerable groups of the population, such as the disabled,

S.   whereas socio-economic inequalities are taking on another dimension with the rise in raw material prices (such as cereals, butter and milk) which is unprecedented both in terms of the number of products concerned and the extent of the increases,

T.   whereas the conjunction of higher raw material prices and the opacity of the rules governing large-scale distribution in some Member States has led to an escalation in the prices of basic food products of high nutritional value, such as fruit and vegetables and sugar-free dairy products, which is eroding the budgets of the majority of households in the EU, and whereas the EU needs to rise to this challenge,

U.   whereas the disabled make up 15% of the active population of the EU; whereas, moreover, studies show that the disabled are at greater risk of obesity owing, inter alia, to pathophysiological changes in the metabolism of energy and the composition of the body, and to muscle atrophy and physical inertia,

V.   whereas all multi-stakeholders" initiatives should be facilitated in order to improve dialogue, the exchange of best practice and self-regulation, for example through the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health as well as the Working Group on Sport and Health and the EU network Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA),

W.   whereas different traditional cuisines should be promoted as part of our cultural heritage, but at the same time action should be taken to ensure that consumers are aware of their actual impact on health in order to facilitate informed decisions,

X.   whereas consumers in Europe should have access to the information necessary to enable them to select the best sources of nutrition for an optimal diet in the light of their individual life-style and state of health,

Y.   whereas recent industry initiatives on advertising self-regulation will address the balance and nature of food and beverage advertising; whereas self-regulatory measures need to cover all forms of marketing on the Internet and other new media; whereas food advertising accounts for around half of all advertising broadcast during children's TV viewing times and whereas there is clear evidence that TV advertising influences short-term consumption patterns of children aged between 2 and 11 years; whereas the use of new forms of marketing using all technological means and in particular the so-called "advergames" involving cell phones, instant messaging, video games and interactive games on the Internet are a source of concern; whereas numerous food producers, advertising and marketing firms and health and consumer protection associations are now displaying considerable commitment in the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and can already point to successful studies and projects,

Z.   whereas malnutrition, which particularly affects older people, costs European healthcare systems similar amounts as obesity and overweight,

1.   Welcomes the above-mentioned White Paper on Nutrition as an important step in an overall strategy to stem the rise in obesity and overweight and address diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke, cancer and diabetes, in Europe;

2.   Reiterates its call to Member States to recognise obesity as a chronic disease; believes that care should be taken to avoid stigmatising individuals or groups of people who are vulnerable to nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health problems due to cultural factors, diseases such as diabetes or pathological consumption such as anorexia or bulimia, and advises Member States to ensure that these people have access to appropriate treatment under their national systems;

3.   Considers a multilevel and comprehensive approach to be the best way to fight obesity among the EU population and points out that there are many European programmes (on research, health, education, life-long learning) that can help us to tackle this real scourge;

4.   Considers that policy geared to food quality can make an important contribution to promoting health and reducing obesity and that comprehensible information on labels is the key to enabling consumers to choose between good, better and less good nutrition;

5.   Approves the setting up of the High-Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity and European health survey systems collecting physical and biological measurements such as the Health Examination Survey (HES) and the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) monitoring system, as effective tools for policy-makers and all actors involved in improving knowledge and the exchange of best practice in the fight against obesity;

6.   Calls on the Commission to ensure balanced representation of women and men in the future High-Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity, so as to target the problems more closely and propose the best solutions in keeping with the gender dimension, i.e. for men on the one hand and for women on the other;

7.   Recognises the substantial role of self-regulation in fighting obesity, and stresses the need for clear and concrete targets for all parties concerned and independent monitoring of these targets; notes that regulation is sometimes necessary to deliver substantive and meaningful change across all sectors of industry, particularly when concerning children, in order to ensure consumer protection and high standards of public health; notes with interest 203 commitments undertaken in the context of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health aiming at product reformulation, reduction in advertising to children and labelling for the promotion of a balanced diet; considers that membership of the platform should be extended to include manufacturers of computer games and consoles as well as Internet providers;

8.   Calls, however, for more tangible measures especially targeted at children and at-risk groups;

9.   Urges the Commission to take a more holistic approach to nutrition and make malnutrition, alongside obesity, a key priority in the fields of nutrition and health, incorporating it wherever possible into EU-funded research initiatives and EU-level partnerships;

10.   Considers that European consumers should have access to the information necessary to allow them to choose the best sources of nutrients needed to achieve and maintain the optimal nutrition intake best suited to their individual lifestyle and health; believes that greater attention should be paid to improving the health literacy of citizens to empower them to make effective decisions about their own and their children's diets; considers that informing and educating parents on nutritional issues should be carried out via the relevant professionals (teachers, cultural events organisers and health professionals) at the appropriate locations; is convinced that consumer information, nutritional education and food labelling should be based on consumer research;

11.   Draws attention, in this context, to the importance of linking a future school fruit programme to a broader educational strategy, for example by means of lessons on diet and health in primary schools;

12.   Draws attention to the fundamental role played by parents in nutrition education in the family and the decisive contribution they can make to combating obesity;

13.   Calls on Member States, regions and local entities to be more proactive in developing "activity-friendly communities', especially in the context of urban planning to make municipalities conducive to physical exercise as a daily routine and by creating opportunities in the local environment that motivate people to engage in leisure time physical activity; this can be achieved by introducing local measures to reduce reliance on cars and promoting walking and by mixing in a sensible way commercial and residential development, by promoting public means of transport, parks and accessible sports facilities, biking trails and pedestrian crossings; invites municipalities to promote a network of "towns for a healthy lifestyle" providing common actions to fight obesity;

14.   Encourages Member States to adopt the notion of active commuting both by schoolchildren and workers; encourages local authorities to consider this notion as a priority when assessing urban transport and planning;

15.   Notes that the provision of areas where children and young people can experience nature gives them an alternative to traditional leisure activities and at the same time enhances the faculties of imagination and creativity and the urge to explore;

16.   Calls on sports organisations to bear in mind in particular that girls in their later teenage years often cease to participate actively in sporting activities; considers that sports organisations have a large role to play in maintaining the interest of girls and women in participating in various sports activities;

17.   Stresses that the private sector has a role to play in reducing obesity by developing new and healthier products, but that it should also be further encouraged to develop clear information systems and improve labelling to enable consumers to make an informed choice;

18.   Stresses that the European Union should take a leading role in formulating a common approach and promoting coordination and best practice between Member States; is convinced that an important European added value can be provided in fields such as consumer information, nutritional education, media advertising, agricultural production and food labelling in particular with indication of trans-fat content; calls for the development of European indicators such as waist size and any other risk factor relating to obesity (especially abdominal obesity);

Our priority: children

19.   Invites the Commission and all actors to set as a priority the fight against obesity from the early stages of life, bearing in mind that eating habits established in childhood often endure after many years;

20.   Calls for information campaigns to raise awareness among pregnant women about the importance of a balanced and healthy diet, with an optimal provision of some nutrients during pregnancy, and for women and their partners to be made aware about the importance of breastfeeding; recalls that breastfeeding, delaying weaning until babies are six months old, introducing children to healthy foods and controlling portion sizes can all help to prevent children becoming overweight or obese; stresses, however, that breastfeeding is not the sole means of fighting obesity, and that balanced eating habits are acquired over a long period; emphasises that awareness campaigns should bear in mind that breastfeeding is a private matter and should respect women's free will and choice;

21.   Calls on Member States to ensure that national health services promote specific nutritional advice for pregnant women and menopausal women, since pregnancy and the menopause are two important stages in women's lives when there is an increased risk of storing fat;

22.   Urges Member States to propose guidelines drawn up by experts on how to improve physical activity as early as the pre-school period and to promote nutritional education already at this early stage;

23.   Considers that it is primarily at school level that steps have to be taken to ensure that physical activity and balanced eating become part of the behaviour of a child; calls on the High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity to develop guidelines on nutrition policies at school and for the promotion of nutritional education as well as the continuation of such education in the post-school period; calls on Member States to include the benefits of a balanced diet and physical exercise in school curricula;

24.   Further, asks Member States, local entities and school authorities to monitor and to improve the quality and nutritional standards of school and kindergarten meals including by means of specific training and guidelines for catering staff, quality control of caterers and guidelines for healthy food in canteens; underlines the importance of adapting portion sizes to needs and including fruit and vegetables in these meals; asks for more nutrition education on a balanced diet and encourages a move away from the sale of foods and beverages high in fat, salt or sugar and of poor nutritional value in schools; advocates instead making fresh fruit and vegetables more available at points of sale; invites competent authorities to ensure that at least three hours a week of the school curriculum are devoted to physical activities, in accordance with the objectives of the above-mentioned White Paper on sport, and asks those authorities to provide plans for the construction of new public sports facilities, accessible also to disabled persons, and for the safeguarding of existing sports facilities in schools; welcomes a possible "fruit at school" project to be financially supported by the EU similar to the current school milk programme; calls for solutions to be found to continue the free distribution of fruit and vegetables to schools and charitable institutions during 2008 as requested by some Member States, pending the entry into application of the school fruit scheme on 1 January 2009;

25.   Calls on Member States" local authorities to promote the availability and affordability of leisure facilities and to promote the creation of opportunities in the local environment that motivate people to engage in leisure time physical activity;

26.   Asks Member States, local entities and school authorities to ensure that healthy options are provided in school vending machines; considers that sponsorship and advertising for so-called HSSF products (those high in sugar, salt, fat) of poor nutritional value in school buildings should be subject to the request or with the express permission of school authorities, and should be monitored by pupil-parent associations; considers that sport organisations and teams should set an example with regard to exercise and healthy diet, and calls for a voluntary commitment by all sports organisations and teams to promote balanced nutrition and physical activity especially among children; assumes that all sports organisations and teams promote balanced nutrition and physical activity; stresses, moreover, that the European sports movement should not be blamed for overweight and obesity in Europe;

27.   Welcomes the reform of the Common Market Organisation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) allowing more fruit and vegetables to be served in schools, provided that the quality and chemical safety of these products is monitored;

28.   Urges the EU, and in particular the ECOFIN Council, to be more flexible over Member States" application of lower VAT rates for necessities of a social, economic, environmental or health-oriented nature; in this respect, calls on those Member States which have not yet done so to cut VAT on fruit and vegetables, recalling that Community law authorises them to do so; calls, in addition, for current Community legislation to be amended to allow fruit and vegetables to benefit from a very low rate of VAT (under 5%);

29.   Welcomes EU initiatives such as the setting-up of the "EU mini-chefs" website and the European Day for Healthy Food and Cooking held on 8 November 2007; recommends the organisation of information campaigns to improve awareness about the relationship between energy-dense products and the equivalent in time of physical activity needed to burn off their calories;

Informed choices and availability of healthy products

30.   Believes that product reformulation is a powerful tool for reducing the intake of fat, sugar and salt in our diets and encourages food producers to further engage in reformulation of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods in order to reduce fat, sugar and salt and enrich their fibre, fruit and vegetable content; welcomes commitments undertaken on a voluntary basis by producers to implement nutrition criteria for the formulation of foods;

31.   Stresses that nutrition labelling must be mandatory and clear to help consumers make a healthy choice of food;

32.   Calls for an EU-wide ban on artificial trans-fatty acids; urges Member States to follow good practice in controlling the content of substances (e.g. salt) in food and calls on the Commission to draw up a programme for exchanging best practice across Member States; points out that special exemptions should be provided for PDO (protected designation of origin), PGI (protected geographical indication), TSG (traditional speciality guaranteed) and other types of traditional products in order to preserve original recipes; to this end, has high expectations of the future Green Paper on quality policy in agriculture in terms of better quality and PGI schemes;

33.   Stresses that the present state of scientific knowledge shows us that an excessive consumption of trans-fatty acids (over 2% of total energy intake) is linked to significantly higher cardiovascular risks; deeply regrets, therefore, that only a few European governments to date have acted to reduce European consumers" cumulative exposure to the artificial trans-fatty acids and saturated fatty acids that are present in numerous processed products of low nutritional value;

34.   Underlines the fact that industrially processed trans-fatty acids pose a serious, well documented and unnecessary threat to the health of Europeans and should be addressed with an appropriate legislative initiative seeking to eliminate effectively industrially processed trans-fatty acids from food products;

35.   Calls for an analysis of the role played by artificial flavour enhancers such as glutamates, guanylates and inosinates, particularly in ready meals and industrially produced foodstuffs, in order to determine their influence on consumption patterns;

36.   Calls on industry to review single-serving portion sizes, providing a broader range of smaller portion options;

37.   Welcomes the Commission's new proposal for the revision of Council Directive 90/496/EEC of 24 September 1990 on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs(2) ; urges it to ensure that labelling is visible, clear and easily understandable to the consumer;

38.   Further asks the Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the health impact of the CAP to assess whether policy changes could be made which would facilitate an improvement in diets across Europe;

Media and advertising

39.   Calls on all operators in the media sector, in cooperation with the Member States and sports organisations, to create additional incentives for more physical exercise and taking up a sport in all media;

40.   Is aware of the importance of the media in informing, educating and persuading in relation to promoting a healthy and balanced diet as well as their role in the creation of stereotypes and body image; considers the voluntary approach adopted in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive(3) on the advertising of food of poor nutritional value directed at children to be a step in the right direction, to be specifically monitored, and asks the Commission to bring forward stricter proposals if the 2011 review of the Directive declares the voluntary approach to have failed in this field; calls on Member States and the Commission to encourage media service providers to develop codes of conduct regarding inappropriate audiovisual commercial communication relating to food and beverage products and urges operators to come forward with concrete actions at national level to implement or to strengthen this directive;

41.   Calls for the industry to exercise particular care when advertising food products specifically targeted at children; asks for protected times and for restrictions on commercials for unhealthy food specifically targeted at children; any such restrictions should also cover new forms of media such as online games, pop-ups and text messaging;

Health care and research

42.   Acknowledges that health professionals, especially paediatricians and pharmacists, should be made aware of their essential role in the early identification of patients at risk of overweight and cardiovascular disease and considers that they should be major actors in the fight against the obesity epidemic and non-communicable diseases; calls, therefore, on the Commission to develop European anthropometric indicators and guidelines on cardiometabolic risk factors associated with obesity; emphasises the importance of carrying out systematic routine measurements in association with screening for other cardiometabolic risk factors, in order to evaluate overweight/obesity co-morbidities at primary care level;

43.   Draws attention to the problem of malnutrition, a state in which a deficiency, excess or imbalance in the diet has a measurable adverse impact on tissue, body shape and body function; notes also that malnutrition is a heavy burden both for individual wellbeing and for society, particularly the health care system, and that it results in increased mortality, longer hospital stays, greater complications and reduced quality of life for patients; recalls that extra days in hospital and treatment of complications due to malnutrition cost billions of euros in public funding every year;

44.   Highlights estimates that show that 40% of patients in hospitals and between 40 and 80% of people in elderly care homes are malnourished; calls on Member States to improve the quantity and quality of food in hospitals and elderly care homes which will lead to a reduction in the time spent in hospitals;

45.   Is convinced of the need for full regulation of the qualification of medical professionals as "clinical dieticians" as well as "nutritionists";

46.   Calls on the Commission to promote best medical practices, for example through the EU Health Forum, as well as information campaigns on obesity-related risks and abdominal obesity in particular drawing attention to the cardiovascular risks; urges the Commission to provide information about the dangers of 'home diets', especially if they involve the use of anti-obesity drugs taken without medical prescription; calls on the Commission to devote greater attention to the problems of malnutrition, inadequate nutrition and dehydration;

47.   Calls on Member States to implement Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2002 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to food supplements(4) ;

48.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to fund research into the links between obesity and chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes as epidemiological research needs to identify the factors which are most associated with the increase in obesity prevalence, such as identification and evaluation of multivariate biomarkers in subgroups of subjects, to elucidate the biological mechanism leading to obesity; also calls for studies comparing and evaluating the effectiveness of different interventions, including psychological research; calls on Member States to set up a system to ensure access to and quality delivery of services for the prevention, screening and managing of overweight, obesity and associated chronic diseases;

49.   Welcomes the inclusion of "diabetes and obesity" as a priority in the context of the theme within the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) dedicated to health;

50.   Encourages further scientific research into and monitoring of abdominal obesity in the context of FP7;

51.   Calls on the Commission to promote Europe-wide information campaigns aimed at the general public and, in particular, at the medical profession, to raise awareness of the risks of abdominal obesity;

52.   Calls for serious account to be taken of nutrition in all European policies and options;

o
o   o

53.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States and candidate countries and to the World Health Organisation.

(1) OJ C 250 E, 25.10.2007, p. 93.
(2) OJ L 276, 6.10.1990, p. 40.
(3) Directive 2007/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2007 (OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 27).
(4) OJ L 183, 12.7.2002, p. 51.


Cross-border collective copyright management
DOC 40k
European Parliament resolution of 25 September 2008 on collective cross-border management of copyright and related rights for legitimate online music services
P6_TA(2008)0462 B6-0423/2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Commission Recommendation 2005/737/EC of 18 October 2005 on collective cross-border management of copyright and related rights for legitimate online music services(1) (hereinafter 'the 2005 Recommendation'),

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, in particular Articles 95 and 151 thereof,

–   having regard to Articles II-77 and II-82 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to Article 97a of the Lisbon Treaty(2) ,

–   having regard to the international agreements in force which apply to music rights, namely the Rome Convention of 26 October 1961 for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the WIPO Copyright Treaty of 20 December 1996, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 20 December 1996 and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 15 April 1994,

–   having regard to the body of EC law ('acquis communautaire') in the area of copyright and related rights which applies to music rights, namely Directive 2006/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property(3) , Council Directive 93/83/EEC of 27 September 1993 on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission(4) , Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights(5) and Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society(6) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's Green Paper of 19 July 1995 on copyright and related rights in the Information Society (COM(1995)0382 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 May 2003 on the protection of audio-visual performers(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2004 on a Community framework for collective management societies in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights(8) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication of 16 April 2004 on the Management of Copyright and Related Rights in the Internal Market (COM(2004)0261 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2006 on implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: more research and innovation – investing for growth and employment: A common approach(9) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication of 3 January 2008 on Creative Content Online in the Single Market (COM(2007)0836 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 on freedom of expression on the Internet(10) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2007 on the Commission Recommendation of 18 October 2005 on collective cross-border management of copyright and related rights for legitimate online music services (2005/737/EC)(11) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 September 2007 on institutional and legal implications of the use of 'soft law' instruments(12) ,

–   having regard to the summary report presenting the results of the monitoring of the 2005 Recommendation(13) ,

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

A.   whereas in its resolution of 13 March 2007 Parliament invited the Commission to make it clear that the 2005 Recommendation applied exclusively to online sales of music recordings, and to present as soon as possible – after consulting widely with interested parties – a proposal for a flexible directive to be adopted by Parliament and the Council in codecision with a view to regulating the collective management of copyright and related rights as regards cross-border online music services, while taking account of the specificity of the digital era and safeguarding European cultural diversity, small stakeholders and local repertoires, on the basis of the principle of equal treatment,

B.   whereas in its resolution of 13 March 2007 Parliament considered that the interests of authors and therefore of cultural diversity in Europe would be best served by the introduction of a fair and transparent system of competition that avoids downward pressure on authors' revenues,

1.   Recalls that in the light of the territorial nature of copyright and despite the existence of Directive 2001/29/EC, the situation in the field of collective management of copyright and related rights for online services is genuinely complex, owing mainly to the lack of European licenses;

2.   Considers that, owing to the refusal to legislate – despite various European Parliament resolutions – and the decision to try to regulate the sector through a recommendation, a climate of legal uncertainty has been created for right-holders and for users, especially broadcasters;

3.   Emphasises that, on the other hand, following a complaint from users, the Commission's Directorate-General for Competition intervened by instituting a procedure against CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), which includes 24 European collecting societies amongst its members; points out that the effect of the decision taken in this regard will be to preclude all attempts by the parties concerned to act together in order to find appropriate solutions – such as, for instance, a system for the clearing of rights at the European level – and to leave the way open to an oligopoly of a number of large collecting societies linked by exclusive agreements to publishers belonging to the worldwide repertoire; believes that the result will be a restriction of choice and the extinction of small collecting societies to the detriment of minority cultures;

4.   Considers that the report presenting the results of the monitoring of the 2005 Recommendation does not reflect accurately the existing situation and does not take account of the opinion given by Parliament in its resolution of 13 March 2007;

5.   Considers that this situation reflects the fact that the Commission has chosen to ignore the warnings given by Parliament, in particular in its resolution of 13 March 2007, which includes concrete proposals for controlled competition, as well as protection and incentives for minority cultures within the European Union;

6.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that Parliament is involved effectively, as co-legislator, in the initiative on creative content online;

7.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission.

(1) OJ L 276, 21.10.2005, p. 54.
(2) OJ C 306, 17.12.2007, p. 71.
(3) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 28.
(4) OJ L 248, 6.10.1993, p. 15.
(5) OJ L 372, 27.12.2006, p. 12.
(6) OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, p. 10.
(7) OJ C 67 E, 17.3.2004, p. 293.
(8) OJ C 92 E, 16.4.2004, p. 425.
(9) OJ C 303 E, 13.12.2006, p. 640.
(10) OJ C 303 E, 13.12.2006, p. 879.
(11) OJ C 301 E, 13.12.2007, p. 64.
(12) OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p. 75.
(13) http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/copyright/docs/management/monitoring-report_en.pdf

Last updated: 3 June 2009Legal notice