Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 - StrasbourgFinal edition
VAT exemption on the final importation of certain goods (codified version) *
 Europol staff: adjustment of basic salaries and allowances *
 Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund
  Resolution
  Annex
 Draft amending budget 1/2009: floods in Romania
 Common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations (recast) ***III
 Common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations (recast) ***III
 Port State control (recast) ***III
 Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system ***III
 Investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector ***III
 The liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents ***III
 Civil liability and financial guarantees of shipowners ***II
 Compliance with flag State requirements ***II
 The charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
  Annex
 Public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) ***I
  Text
  Consolidated text
  Annex
 Guidelines for the Member States' employment policies *
 Rules of Procedure: extending the applicability of Rule 139
 The social situation of the Roma and their improved access to the labour market in the EU
 Facing oil challenges
 Greening of transport and internalisation of external costs
 Input to Spring 2009 European Council on the Lisbon Strategy
 Combating climate change
 Employment policy guidelines
 European Economic Recovery Plan
 Cohesion Policy: investing in the real economy

VAT exemption on the final importation of certain goods (codified version) *
PDF 67k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the proposal for a Council directive determining the scope of Article 143(b) and (c) of Directive 2006/112/EC as regards exemption from value added tax on the final importation of certain goods on the common system of value added tax (codified version) (COM(2008)0575 – C6-0347/2008 – 2008/0181(CNS) )
P6_TA(2009)0101 A6-0060/2009

(Consultation procedure – codification)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2008)0575 ),

–   having regard to Articles 93 and 94 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0347/2008 ),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 December 1994 – Accelerated working method for official codification of legislative texts(1) ,

–   having regard to Rules 80 and 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A6-0060/2009 ),

A.   whereas, according to the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the proposal in question contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts without any change in their substance,

1.   Approves the Commission proposal as adapted to the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission;

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

(1) OJ C 102, 4.4.1996, p. 2.


Europol staff: adjustment of basic salaries and allowances *
PDF 63k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the initiative of the French Republic with a view to adopting a Council decision adjusting the basic salaries and allowances applicable to Europol staff (14479/2008 – C6-0038/2009 – 2009/0804(CNS) )
P6_TA(2009)0102 A6-0078/2009

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the initiative of the French Republic (14479/2008),

–   having regard to the Council Act of 3 December 1998 laying down the staff regulations applicable to Europol employees(1) , and in particular Article 44 thereof,

–   having regard to Article 39(1) of the EU Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0038/2009 ),

–   having regard to Rules 93 and 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0078/2009 ),

1.   Approves the initiative of the French Republic;

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

3.   Calls on the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the initiative of the French Republic substantially;

4.   Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and the Commission, and to the government of the French Republic.

(1) OJ C 26, 30.1.1999, p. 23.


Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund
PDF 87k   DOC 37k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, in accordance with point 26 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (COM(2009)0023 – C6-0040/2009 – 2009/2007(ACI) )
P6_TA(2009)0103 A6-0106/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0023 – C6-0040/2009 ),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(1) , and in particular point 26 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(2) ,

–   having regard to the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008 on the Solidarity Fund,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0106/2009 ),

1.   Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

2.   Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

3.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and Commission.

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 11 March 2009

on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund, in accordance with point 26 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(3) , and in particular point 26 thereof,

having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(4) , and in particular Article 4(3) thereof,

having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Whereas:

(1)   The European Union has created a European Union Solidarity Fund (the "Fund") to show solidarity with the population of regions struck by disasters.

(2)   The Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 allows the mobilisation of the Fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion.

(3)   Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 contains the provisions whereby the Fund may be mobilised.

(4)   Romania submitted an application to mobilise the Fund, concerning a disaster caused by floods. The Commission considers that the application meets the conditions set out in Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, and therefore proposes to authorise the corresponding appropriations.

HAVE DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

In the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009, the European Union Solidarity Fund shall be mobilised to provide the sum of EUR 11 785 377 in commitment and payment appropriations.

Article 2

This Decision shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union .

Done at Strasbourg, 11 March 2009

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(3) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.


Draft amending budget 1/2009: floods in Romania
PDF 70k   DOC 32k
European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on Draft amending budget No 1/2009 of the European Union for the financial year 2009, Section III - Commission (6952/2009 – C6-0075/2009 – 2009/2008(BUD) )
P6_TA(2009)0104 A6-0113/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 272 of the EC Treaty and Article 177 of the Euratom Treaty,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(1) , and particularly Articles 37 and 38 thereof,

–   having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009, as finally adopted on 18 December 2008(2) ,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(3) ,

–   having regard to Preliminary draft amending budget No 1/2009 of the European Union for the financial year 2009, which the Commission presented on 23 January 2009 (COM(2009)0022 ),

–   having regard to Draft amending budget No 1/2009, which the Council established on 26 February 2009 (6952/2009 – C6-0075/2009 ),

–   having regard to Rule 69 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0113/2009 ),

A.   whereas Draft amending budget No 1 to the general budget 2009 covers the following items:

   Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 11,8 million in commitment and payment appropriations relating to the effects of the floods that hit Romania in July 2008,
   A corresponding reduction in payment appropriations of EUR 11,8 million from line 13 03 16 - European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-Convergence,

B.   whereas the purpose of Draft amending budget No 1/2009 is to formally enter these budgetary adjustments into the 2009 budget,

1.   Takes note of Preliminary draft amending budget No 1/2009, which is the third amending budget solely dedicated to the EU Solidarity Fund, as requested by the European Parliament and the Council in a joint declaration adopted during the Conciliation meeting of 17 July 2008;

2.   Approves Draft amending budget No 1/2009 unamended;

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

(1) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 69, 13.3.2009.
(3) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.


Common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations (recast) ***III
PDF 66k   DOC 32k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations (recast) (PE-CONS 3719/2008 – C6-0042/20092005/0237A(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0105 A6-0097/2009

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3719/2008 – C6-0042/2009 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0587 ),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(2) on the Council common position(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2008)0828 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0097/2009 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 632.
(2) Texts adopted, 24.9.2008, P6_TA(2008)0447 .
(3) OJ C 184 E, 22.7.2008, p. 11.


Common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations (recast) ***III
PDF 67k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations (recast) (PE-CONS 3720/2008 – C6-0043/20092005/0237B(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0106 A6-0098/2009

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3720/2008 – C6-0043/2009 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0587 ),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(2) on the Council common position(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2008)0826 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0098/2009 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 632.
(2) Texts adopted, 24.9.2008, P6_TA(2008)0448 .
(3) OJ C 190 E, 29.7.2008, p. 1.


Port State control (recast) ***III
PDF 66k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on port State control (recast) (PE-CONS 3721/2008 – C6-0044/20092005/0238(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0107 A6-0099/2009

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3721/2008 – C6-0044/2009 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0588 ),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(2) on the Council common position(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2008)0830 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0099/2009 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 584.
(2) Texts adopted, 24.9.2008, P6_TA(2008)0446 .
(3) OJ C 198 E, 5.8.2008, p. 1.


Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system ***III
PDF 66k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2002/59/EC establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system (PE-CONS 3722/2008 – C6-0045/20092005/0239(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0108 A6-0100/2009

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3722/2008 – C6-0045/2009 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0589 ),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(2) on the Council common position(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2008)0829 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0100/2009 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 533.
(2) Texts adopted, 24.9.2008, P6_TA(2008)0443 .
(3) OJ C 184 E, 22.7.2008, p. 1.


Investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector ***III
PDF 66k   DOC 32k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector and amending Directives 1999/35/EC and 2002/59/EC (PE-CONS 3723/2008 – C6-0046/20092005/0240(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0109 A6-0101/2009

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3723/2008 – C6-0046/2009 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0590 ),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(2) on the Council common position(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2008)0827 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0101/2009 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 546.
(2) Texts adopted, 24.9.2008, P6_TA(2008)0444 .
(3) OJ C 184 E, 22.7.2008, p. 23.


The liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents ***III
PDF 66k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents (PE-CONS 3724/2008 – C6-0047/20092005/0241(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0110 A6-0102/2009

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee (PE-CONS 3724/2008 – C6-0047/2009 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0592 ),

–   having regard to the amended Commission proposal (COM(2007)0645 ),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(2) on the Council common position(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2008)0831 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0102/2009 ),

1.   Approves the joint text;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 562.
(2) Texts adopted, 24.9.2008, P6_TA(2008)0445 .
(3) OJ C 190 E, 29.7.2008, p. 17.


Civil liability and financial guarantees of shipowners ***II
PDF 63k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the common position adopted by the Council with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims (14287/2/2008 – C6-0483/2008 – 2005/0242(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0111 A6-0072/2009

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council common position (14287/2/2008 – C6-0483/2008 )(1) ,

–   having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0593 ),

–   having regard to the amended Commission proposal (COM(2007)0674 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0072/2009 ),

1.   Approves the common position;

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

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 330 E, 30.12.2008, p. 7.
(2) OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 166.


Compliance with flag State requirements ***II
PDF 64k   DOC 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the common position adopted by the Council with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on compliance with flag State requirements (14288/2/2008 – C6-0484/2008 – 2005/0236(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0112 A6-0069/2009

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Council common position (14288/2/2008 – C6-0484/2008 )(1) ,

–   having regard to the statement of the Member States on maritime safety (15859/2008),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0586 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0069/2009 ),

1.   Approves the common position;

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

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 330 E, 30.12.2008, p. 13.
(2) OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 140.


The charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures ***I
PDF 265k   DOC 203k
Resolution
Consolidated text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (COM(2008)0436 – C6-0276/2008 – 2008/0147(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0113 A6-0066/2009

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2008)0436 ),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 71(1) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0276/2008 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A6-0066/2009 ),

1.   Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 March 2009 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2009/.../EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures

P6_TC1-COD(2008)0147


(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 71(1) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission║,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1) ,

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2) ,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3) ,

Whereas:

(1)   The promotion of sustainable transport is a key element of the common transport policy. To this end, the negative impacts of transport, in particular congestion, which impedes mobility, pollution, which creates health and environmental damage, and its contribution to climate change must be reduced. Moreover environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of other Community policies, including the common transport policy. The following priority objectives, namely environmental protection, social and economic cohesion and EU competitiveness, should also be reconciled in a balanced way as part of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and employment.

(2)   The objective of reducing the negative impacts of transport should be achieved in such a way as to avoid disproportionate obstacles to the freedom of movement in the interest of sound economic growth and the proper functioning of the internal market. It should also be emphasised that the principle of internalising external costs is the equivalent of a management instrument and should therefore be used to encourage road users and the related industrial sectors to exploit and expand their respective capabilities in the area of environmentally-friendly transport, for example by means of changes in driving behaviour or further technological development. It is vital that ways and means should be found of reducing the damage caused by road transport, rather than simply using the resulting revenue to cover the relevant costs.

(3)   To optimise the transport system accordingly, the common transport policy must use a variety of instruments to improve the transport infrastructure and technologies and enable a more efficient management of transport demand. This calls for further recourse to the "user pays" principle and the development of the "polluter pays" principle in the transport sector.

(4)   Article 11 of Directive 1999/62/EC (4) called on the Commission to present a model for the assessment of all external costs arising from use of the transport infrastructure to serve as the basis for future calculations of infrastructure charges. This model was to be accompanied by an impact analysis of the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport and a strategy for a stepwise implementation of the model and, if appropriate, by proposals for further revision of that Directive.

(5)   In order to move towards a sustainable transport policy, transport prices should better reflect the external costs related to the ▌ use of vehicles, trains, planes or ships ▌. This calls for a coherent and ambitious approach in all transport modes, taking into account their particular characteristics.

(6)    Transport modes other than road transport have already started to internalise external costs and the relevant Community legislation either phases in such internalisation or at least does not prevent it. CO 2 emissions should be tackled by including aviation in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The use of electricity for trains is also covered by the ETS and maritime transport is to be included in the ETS shortly. Other external costs can be internalised through airport charges, which can be differentiated for environmental purposes and through infrastructure charges for the use of railways pursuant to Directive 2001/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2001 on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure (5) . Moreover, the Commission should propose a recast of the First Railway Package in the near future in order to introduce harmonised noise-related track access charging schemes .

(7)    According to Article 7 of Directive 2001/14/EC, which sets out the charging principles for the use of railway infrastructure, internalisation of external costs is already possible. However, in order to modulate track access charges more widely and have a complete internalisation of external costs in the railway sector, it is a precondition that the road transport sector also applies external cost charging.

(8)    In the road transport sector, several taxes and charges already apply, including taxes and charges to partially compensate for external costs such as CO 2 , as is for example the case with excise taxes on fuel.

(9)    In the road transport sector, tolls as distance based charges for the use of infrastructure constitute a fair and efficient economic instrument to achieve the objective of moving towards a sustainable transport policy, since they have a direct relationship with the use of infrastructure and can vary according to the distance travelled, the environmental performance of vehicles and the place and time of use of vehicles and therefore can be set at a level which reflects the cost of pollution and congestion caused by the actual use of vehicles. Moreover, tolls do not create any distortion of competition within the internal market since they are payable by all operators irrespective of their Member State of origin or establishment and in proportion to the intensity of use of the road network.

(10)    The impact analysis shows that applying tolls calculated on the basis of the cost of pollution, and, on congested roads, on the basis of the cost of congestion, can contribute to or result in more efficient and environmentally friendly road transport and contribute to the EU strategy to fight climate change. It would reduce congestion and local pollution by encouraging the use of cleaner vehicle technologies, optimising logistic behaviour and reducing empty returns. It would indirectly play an important role in reducing fuel consumption and contributing to the fight against climate change. Tolls which integrate a cost element related to congestion for using congested roads into their calculation can only be effective if they are part of an action plan which includes measures related to other road users outside the scope of this Directive, such as similar charging schemes or measures with an equivalent effect, for example, traffic restrictions and high occupancy vehicle lanes. So far, however, it has been insufficiently demonstrated that such tolls have brought about substantial changes in modal split.

(11)    ▌The polluter pays principle will be implemented through ║external cost charging and this will also contribute to the reduction of external costs.

(12)    The model devised by the Commission for calculating the ▌external costs provides reliable methods and a range of unit values which can already serve as a basis for the calculation of road user charges.

(13)    Efforts should be made in the medium term to bring about convergence in the methods which all European charging systems use to calculate external costs in order to ensure that European road hauliers receive clear price signals, which act as an incentive to optimise their behaviour.

(14)    There are still uncertainties about the costs and benefits of the systems required to enforce differentiated user charges on roads with low traffic. Until such uncertainties are dealt with, a flexible approach at Community level appears most appropriate. This flexible approach should leave Member States to decide whether and on which roads to introduce external cost charges on the basis of the local and national characteristics of the network.

(15)    Time-based user charges and tolls should not be applied simultaneously within the territory of a Member State in order to avoid a fragmentation of the charging schemes with negative effects for the transport industry, except in certain specific cases where this is necessary to finance the construction of tunnels, bridges or mountain passes.

(16)    Time-based user charges levied on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis should not discriminate against occasional users, since a high proportion of such users are likely to be non-national hauliers. A more detailed ratio between daily, weekly, monthly and annual rates should therefore be fixed. For reasons of efficiency and fairness, time-based user charges should be considered as a transitional instrument for charging of infrastructure. A phasing out of time-based charging systems should therefore be taken into consideration. Member States with external borders with third countries should be allowed to derogate from this provision and to continue to apply time-based charging to heavy goods vehicles queuing at border-crossing points.

(17)    Inconsistent charging schemes should be avoided between the trans-European network and other parts of the road network which may be used by international traffic. The same charging principles should therefore be applied to the entire interurban road network.

(18)    Tolls based on distance travelled should be allowed to include an external cost element based on the cost of traffic-based air and noise pollution. Furthermore, on roads that are usually congested and during peak periods congestion costs which are mostly borne at local level should also be allowed to be recovered through the external cost charge. The external cost element included in tolls should be allowed to be added to the cost of infrastructure, provided that certain conditions are respected in the calculation of costs so as to avoid undue charging.

(19)    To better reflect the cost of traffic-based air and noise pollution, and congestion, the external cost charge should vary according to the type of roads, type of vehicles and time periods such as daily, weekly or seasonal peak and off peak periods and the night period.

(20)    The smooth functioning of the internal market requires a Community framework in order to ensure that road charges set on the basis of the local cost of traffic-based air and noise pollution and congestion are transparent, proportionate and non-discriminatory. This requires common charging principles, calculation methods and unit values of external costs based on acknowledged scientific methods together with mechanisms for notifying and reporting tolling schemes to the Commission.

(21)    The authority which sets the external cost charge should also have no vested interest in setting the amount at an undue level and should therefore be independent from the body which collects and manages toll revenue. Experience has shown that adding a mark-up to tolls in mountainous areas in order to finance priority projects of the trans-European network is not a practicable option where the definition of a corridor does not correspond to the actual traffic flow . To remedy this situation, the corridor on which a mark-up could be allowed should, in particular, cover road sections for which the introduction of a mark-up would result in a traffic diversion towards the priority project concerned .

(22)    In order to give precedence to the construction of priority projects of European interest, Member States which have the possibility of applying a mark-up should use this option before levying an external cost charge. To avoid an undue charging of users, an external cost charge should not be combined with a mark-up unless the external costs exceed the amount of the mark-up already levied. In such a case, it is thus appropriate that the amount of the mark-up should be deducted from the external cost charge.

(23)    Where differentiated external cost charges are levied, a variation in the infrastructure charge for the purpose of reducing congestion, optimising the use of the infrastructure, minimising infrastructure damage or promoting road safety would represent an undue burden on certain categories of users and should accordingly be precluded.

(24)    Discounts or reductions of the external cost charge should not be permitted as there would be a significant risk that they would unduly discriminate against certain categories of users.

(25)    Charging external costs through tolls will be more effective in influencing transport decisions if users are aware of these costs. They should accordingly be identified separately on a comprehensible statement, a bill or an equivalent document from the toll operator. Furthermore, such a document may make it easier for hauliers to pass on the cost of the external cost charge to the shipper or any other clients.

(26)    The use of electronic tolling systems is essential to avoid disruption to the free flow of traffic and to prevent adverse effects on the local environment caused by queues at toll barriers. It is therefore appropriate to ensure that the infrastructure and external cost charges are collected by means of such a system, subject to compliance with the requirements of Directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the Community(6) that foresees appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure that technical, legal, commercial and data protection and privacy concerns are properly addressed in the implementation of electronic tolling. Furthermore such systems should be designed without roadside barriers and in a way which allows subsequent extension to any parallel roads at low cost. Provision should however be made for a transitional period in order to permit the necessary adaptations to take place.

(27)    It is important that the objective of this Directive should be attained in a way which does not harm the proper functioning of the internal market. Moreover, it is important to avoid heavy goods vehicle drivers in future being saddled with ever more incompatible and expensive electronic equipment in their cabs and running the risk of making errors in its use. A proliferation of technologies is unacceptable. The interoperability of the toll systems in the Community, as provided for in Directive 2004/52/EC, should therefore be achieved as quickly as possible. Efforts should be made to limit the number of devices in the vehicle to one, which makes it possible to apply the various rates which are in force in the various Member States.

(28)    The Commission should take all necessary measures to ensure the rapid introduction of a truly interoperable system by the end of 2010, in accordance with Directive 2004/52/EC.

(29)    For reasons of legal clarity, it should be specified where regulatory charges specifically designed to reduce traffic congestion or combat environmental impacts, including poor air quality are permitted.

(30)    Member States should be able to use the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) budget and the Structural Funds in order to improve transport infrastructures with a view to reducing the external costs of transport in general and implementing electronic means of collecting the charges arising from the provisions of this Directive.

(31)    In accordance with the transport policy objectives of this Directive, the additional revenue generated from an external cost charge should be used as a matter of priority to reduce and eliminate the external costs of road transport where possible. It may also be used to promote sustainable mobility at large. Such projects should therefore relate to facilitating efficient pricing, reducing road transport pollution at source, mitigating its effects, improving CO2 and energy performance of road vehicles, and improving existing road infrastructure or developing alternative infrastructure for transport users. It includes, for example, research and development on cleaner vehicles and the implementation of the transport part of the action plans under Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996 on ambient air quality assessment and management(7) and Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise(8) , which may comprise measures to mitigate traffic-based noise and air pollution around large infrastructure and in agglomerations. Earmarking this revenue does not release Member States from the obligation laid down in Article 88(3) of the Treaty to notify the Commission of certain national measures, nor does it prejudge the outcome of any procedures initiated under Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty.

(32)    In order to promote interoperability of tolling arrangements, cooperation between Member States ▌in introducing a common system of tolls should be encouraged , subject to compliance with certain conditions. The Commission should support Member States which wish to cooperate in order to introduce a common system of tolls on their combined territories .

(33)    A comprehensive assessment of the experience acquired in those Member States which apply an external cost charge in accordance with this Directive should be sent in due time by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. This assessment should also include an analysis of progress in the strategy to fight climate change, including progress in defining a common fuel tax element related to climate change in Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity(9) , including of the fuel used by heavy goods vehicles. A comprehensive assessment of internalisation of external costs in all other transport modes should also be drawn up, to serve as a basis for further legislative proposals in this area. This should ensure the introduction of a fair and competitive system of internalisation of external costs that avoids any distortions of the internal market in all transport modes.

(34)    Article 55(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund║(10) provides that the revenue generated by charges borne directly by users must be considered in the determination of the funding-gap in the case of a revenue-generating project. However, since the revenue generated by an external cost charge is earmarked for projects aimed at reducing road transport pollution at the source, mitigating its effects, improving CO2 and energy performance of vehicles, and improving existing road infrastructure or developing alternative infrastructure for transport users, it should not be considered in the calculation of the funding-gap.

(35)    The measures necessary for the implementation of this Directive should be adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(11) .

(36)    In particular, the Commission should be empowered to adapt Annexes 0, III, IIIa and IV to technical and scientific progress, and Annexes I, II and IIIa to inflation. Since those measures are of general scope and are designed to amend non-essential elements of Directive 1999/62/EC , they must be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny provided for in Article 5a of Decision 1999/468/EC.

(37)    Since the objective of this Directive, namely to encourage differentiated charging based on external costs as a means towards sustainable transport, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States alone, and can therefore, by reason of the importance of the cross-border dimension of transport, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve this objective ,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Directive 1999/62/EC is amended as follows:

(1)   In Article 2, points (b) and (ba) are replaced by the following:"

   b) "toll" means a specified amount payable for a vehicle based on the distance travelled on a given infrastructure and comprising an infrastructure charge and/or an external cost charge;
(ba) "infrastructure charge" means a charge levied through a toll for the purpose of recovering the costs related to infrastructure incurred by a Member State or more than one Member State if the infrastructure project has been jointly undertaken ;
(bb) "external cost charge" means a charge levied through a toll for the purpose of recovering the costs incurred by a Member State related to traffic-based air pollution and traffic-based noise pollution ▌;
(bc) "cost of traffic-based air pollution" means the cost of the damage caused by the release of certain harmful air emissions in the course of the operation of a vehicle;
(bd) "cost of traffic-based noise pollution" means the cost of the damage caused by the noise emitted by a vehicle or created by the interaction of a vehicle and the road surface;

(be) "weighted average infrastructure charge" means the total revenue of an infrastructure charge over a given period divided by the number of vehicle kilometres travelled on the road sections subject to the charge during that period;
(bf) "weighted average external cost charge" means the total revenue of an external cost charge over a given period divided by the number of vehicle kilometres travelled on the road sections subject to the charge during that period;
"

(2)   Articles 7, 7a and 7b are replaced by the following:"

Article 7

1.   Member States may maintain or introduce tolls and/or user charges on the trans-European road network or on any section of their road network which customarily carries a significant volume of international transport of goods under the conditions laid down in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Article and in Articles 7a to 7j.

2.   Member States shall not impose within their territory both tolls and user charges ▌. However, a Member State which imposes a user charge on its network may also impose tolls for the use of bridges, tunnels and mountain passes.

3.   Tolls and user charges shall not discriminate, directly or indirectly, on the grounds of the nationality of the haulier, the Member State or the third country of establishment of the haulier or of registration of the vehicle, or the origin or destination of the transport operation.

4.   Member States may provide for reduced toll rates or user charges or exemptions from the obligation to pay tolls or user charges for vehicles exempted from the requirement to install and use recording equipment under Council Regulation (EEC) No 3821/85 of 20 December 1985 on recording equipment in road transport *, and in cases covered by, and subject to the conditions contained in, Article 6(2)(a) and (b) of this Directive.

5.   Until 31 December 2011, a Member State may choose to apply tolls and/or user charges only to vehicles having a maximum permissible laden weight of not less than 12 tonnes. From 1 January 2012, tolls and/or user charges shall be applied to all vehicles within the meaning of Article 2(d) unless a Member State considers that an extension to vehicles of less than 12 tonnes would(12) :

Article 7a

1.   User charges shall be in proportion to the duration of the use made of the infrastructure and shall be available for the duration of a day, week, month and a year. In particular, the monthly rate shall be no more than 10% of the annual rate, the weekly rate shall be no more than 5 % of the annual rate , and the daily rate shall be no more than 2 % of the annual rate.

2.   User charges, including administrative costs, for all vehicle categories shall be set by the Member State concerned at a level which is no higher than the maximum rates laid down in Annex II.

Article 7b

1.   The infrastructure charge shall be based on the principle of the recovery of infrastructure costs. The weighted average infrastructure charge shall be related to the construction costs and the costs of operating, maintaining, ▌developing and ensuring safety standards on the infrastructure network concerned. The weighted average infrastructure charge may also include a return on capital or a profit margin based on market conditions.

2.   The external cost charge shall be related to the cost of traffic-based air pollution, the cost of traffic-based noise pollution, or both. On road sections subject to congestion the external cost charge may also include the cost of congestion during the periods when these road sections are usually congested.

3.   The costs taken into account shall relate to the network or a part of the network on which tolls are levied and to the vehicles that are subject thereto. Member States may choose to recover only a percentage of these costs.

Article 7c

1.   The external cost charge shall vary according to the type of road and EURO emission class (Annex IIIa, Table 1) , and also according to the time period in cases where the charge includes the cost of congestion or traffic-based noise pollution.

2.   The amount of the external cost charge for each combination of class of vehicle, type of road and time period shall be set in accordance with the minimum requirements, the common formulae and the maximum chargeable external costs in Annex IIIa.

3.    The external cost charge shall not apply to vehicles which comply with future EURO emissions standards in advance of the dates of applicability laid down in the relevant rules.

4 .   The amount of the external cost charge shall be set by each Member State. If a Member State designates an authority for this task, that authority shall be legally and financially independent from the body in charge of managing and collecting all or part of the charge. ▌

Article 7d

1.   Member States shall calculate the infrastructure charge using a methodology based on the core calculation principles set out in Annex III.

2.   For concession tolls, the maximum level of the infrastructure charge shall be equivalent to, or less than, the level that would have resulted from the use of a methodology based on the core calculation principles set out in Annex III. The assessment of such equivalence shall be made on the basis of a reasonably long reference period appropriate to the nature of that concession contract.

3.   Tolling arrangements which were already in place on 10 June 2008 or for which tenders or responses to invitations to negotiate under the negotiated procedure were received pursuant to a public procurement process before 10 June 2008 shall not be subject to the obligations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 for as long as these arrangements remain in force and provided that they are not substantially amended.

Article 7e

1.  In exceptional cases concerning infrastructure in mountainous regions and conurbations , and after informing the Commission, a toll mark-up may be added to the infrastructure charge levied on specific road sections which are subject to acute congestion, or the use of which by vehicles is the cause of significant environmental damage, on condition that:

   a) the revenue generated from the mark-up is invested in financing ▌projects designed to promote sustainable mobility and contribute directly to the alleviation of the congestion or environmental damage and which are located in the same corridor as the road section on which the mark-up is applied;
   b) the mark-up does not exceed 15% of the weighted average infrastructure charge calculated in accordance with Article 7b(1) and Article 7d except where the revenue generated is invested in cross-border sections of ▌projects designed to promote sustainable mobility involving infrastructure in mountainous regions, in which case the mark-up may not exceed 25%;
   c) the application of the mark-up does not result in unfair treatment of commercial traffic compared to other road users;
   d) a description of the exact location of the mark-up and proof of a decision to finance the projects referred to in point (a) are submitted to the Commission in advance of the application of the mark-up; and
   e) the period for which the mark-up is to apply is defined and limited in advance and is consistent, in terms of the expected revenue to be raised, with the financial plans and cost-benefit analysis for the projects co-financed with the revenue from the mark-up.

The first subparagraph shall apply to new cross-border projects subject to the agreement of all Member States involved in that project.

2.  After informing the Commission, a mark-up may also be applied to a road section which constitutes an alternative route to that covered by the mark-up referred to in paragraph 1, if:

   the application of a mark-up on a road would result in a significant share of traffic being diverted to this alternative route; and
   the conditions set out in points (a) to (e) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 1 are complied with.

3.   A mark-up may be applied to an infrastructure charge which has been varied in accordance with Article 7f.

4.   When the Commission receives the required information from a Member State intending to apply a mark-up, it shall make this information available to the members of the Committee referred to in Article 9c. If the Commission considers that the planned mark-up does not meet the conditions set out in paragraph 1, or if it considers that the planned mark-up will have significant adverse effects on the economic development of peripheral regions, it may reject or request amendment of the plans for charges submitted by the Member State concerned, in accordance with the consultation procedure referred to in Article 9c(2).

5.   On road sections where the criteria for applying a mark-up pursuant to paragraph 1 are met, the Member States may not levy an external cost charge unless a mark-up is applied.

Article 7f

1.   Toll rates which comprise only an infrastructure charge shall be varied according to the EURO emission class (Annex IIIa, Table 1) in such a way that no toll is more than 100% above the toll charged for equivalent vehicles meeting the strictest emission standards.

2.   Where a driver is unable to produce the vehicle documents necessary to ascertain the EURO emission class of the vehicle in the event of a check, Member States may apply tolls up to the highest level chargeable, provided that there is a possibility of subsequent rectification to return any excess collected.

3.  Tolls which comprise only an infrastructure charge may also be varied for the purpose of reducing congestion, minimising infrastructure damage and optimising the use of the infrastructure concerned or promoting road safety, on condition that:

   a) the variation is transparent, openly published and available to all users on equal terms;
   b) the variation is applied according to the time of day, type of day or season; and
   c) no toll is more than 500% above the toll charged during the cheapest period of the day, type of day or season.

4.   The variations referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 are not designed to generate additional toll revenue. Any unintended increase in revenue shall be counterbalanced by changes to the structure of the variation which must be implemented within two years from the end of the accounting year in which the additional revenue is generated.

5.   If a toll includes an external cost charge, paragraphs 1 and 3 shall not be applied to the part of the toll consisting of an infrastructure charge.

Article 7g

1.  At least six months before the implementation of a new infrastructure charge tolling arrangement, Member States shall send to the Commission:

  a) for tolling arrangements other than those involving concession tolls:
   the unit values and other parameters used in calculating the various infrastructure cost elements, and
   clear information on the vehicles covered by the tolling arrangements, the geographic extent of the network, or part of the network, used for each cost calculation, and the percentage of costs that are intended to be recovered;
  b) for tolling arrangements involving concession tolls:
   the concession contracts or significant changes to such contracts,
   the base case on which the grantor has founded the notice of concession, as referred to in Annex VII B to Directive 2004/18/EC; this base case shall include the estimated costs as defined in Article 7b(1) envisaged under the concession, the forecast traffic, broken down by type of vehicle, the levels of toll envisaged and the geographic extent of the network covered by the concession contract.

2.   The Commission shall, within six months of receiving all the necessary information in accordance with paragraph 1, give an opinion as to whether the obligations of Article 7d are complied with. The opinions of the Commission shall be made available to the Committee referred to in Article 9c and to the European Parliament.

3.  At least six months before the implementation of a new external cost charge tolling arrangement, Member States shall send the Commission:

   a) precise information indicating the road sections where the external cost charge is to be levied and describing the class of vehicles, type of roads and the exact time periods according to which the external cost charge will vary;
   b) the envisaged weighted average external cost charge and the envisaged total revenue;
   c) the name of the authority designated in accordance with Article 7c(4) to set the amount of the charge, and of its representative; and
   d) the parameters, data and information necessary to demonstrate how the calculation method set out in Annex IIIa will be applied;
   e) the envisaged earmarking of the external cost charge;
   f) a specific plan indicating how additional revenue from external cost charges is to be used to reduce the negative impacts of transport .

4.   The Commission may, within six months of receiving the information in accordance with paragraph 3, decide to ask the Member State concerned to adapt the proposed external cost charge, if it considers that the obligations laid down in Articles 7b, 7c, 7i or 9(2) are not complied with. The decision of the Commission shall be made available to the Committee referred to in Article 9c and to the European Parliament.

Article 7h

1.   Member States shall not provide for discounts or reductions for any users in relation to the external cost charge element of a toll.

2.  Member States may provide for discounts or reductions to the infrastructure charge on condition that:

   a) the resulting charging structure is proportionate, openly published and available to all users on equal terms and does not lead to additional costs being passed on to other users in the form of higher tolls; and
   b) such discounts or reductions lead to actual savings in administrative costs and do not exceed 13% of the infrastructure charge paid by equivalent vehicles not eligible for the discount or reduction.

3.   Subject to the conditions provided for in Article 7f(3)(b) and in Article 7f(4), toll rates may, in exceptional cases, namely specific projects of high European interest in the field of freight transport , be subject to other forms of variation in order to secure the commercial viability of such projects where they are exposed to direct competition with other modes of vehicle transport. The resulting charging structure shall be linear, proportionate, openly published, and available to all users on equal terms and shall not lead to additional costs being passed on to other users in the form of higher tolls. The Commission shall verify compliance with these conditions prior to the implementation of the charging structure in question.

Article 7i

1.   Tolls and user charges shall be applied and collected and their payment monitored in such a way as to cause as little hindrance as possible to the free flow of traffic and to avoid any mandatory controls or checks at the Community's internal borders. To this end, Member States shall cooperate in establishing methods for enabling hauliers to pay user charges 24 hours a day, at least at the major sales outlets, using all common means of payment, inside and outside the Member States in which they are applied. Member States shall provide adequate facilities at the points of payment for tolls and user charges so as to maintain normal road safety standards.

2.   The arrangements for collecting tolls and user charges shall not, financially or otherwise, place non-regular users of the road network at an unjustified disadvantage compared to those who use alternative forms of payment . In particular, where a Member State collects tolls or user charges exclusively by means of a system that requires the use of a vehicle on-board unit, it shall ensure that appropriate on-board units compliant with the requirements of Directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council ** can be obtained by all users under reasonable administrative and economic arrangements.

3.   If a Member State levies a toll on a vehicle, the total amount of the toll, the amount of the infrastructure charge and the amount of the external cost charge shall be indicated in a document provided to the haulier, if possible by electronic means.

4.   An external cost charge shall be levied and collected by means of an electronic system which complies with the requirements of Article 2(1) of Directive 2004/52/EC. Member States shall also cooperate to ensure that they use interoperable electronic systems which can be used on one another's territory, with the provision that, if necessary, the rates can be adjusted.

5.    As soon as the operability of toll collecting services based on the Galileo satellite positioning system is technically worked out, external cost charges shall be levied and collected by an interoperable European electronic toll collecting system as specified in Directive 2004/52/EC.

Article 7j

This Directive does not affect the freedom of Member States which introduce a system of tolls and/or user charges for infrastructure to provide, without prejudice to Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty, appropriate compensation for these charges, even where the resulting amounts collected fall below the minimum rates set out in Annex I.

_______________________

* OJ L 370, 31.12.1985, p. 8.

** OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, P. 124.

"

(3)   In chapter III, the following article ║is inserted :"

Article 8b

1.   Two or more Member States may cooperate in introducing a common system for tolls applicable to their combined territories as a whole. In such a case, those Member States shall ensure that the Commission is closely involved in such cooperation and in the system's subsequent operation and possible amendment.

2.   The common toll system shall be subject to the conditions set out in Articles 7 to 7j and shall be open to other Member States.

"

(4)   In Article 9, paragraphs 1a and 2 are replaced by the following:"

1a.   This Directive shall not prevent the non-discriminatory application by Member States of regulatory charges specifically designed to reduce traffic congestion or combat environmental impacts, including poor air quality, on any ▌road, notably in urban areas, including trans-European road network roads crossing an urban area .

2.   A Member State in which an external cost charge is levied shall ensure that the revenue generated by the charge is earmarked as a priority to reduce and where possible eliminate the external costs arising from road transport. The revenue may also be used for measures aimed at facilitating efficient pricing, reducing road transport pollution at source, mitigating its effects, improving CO2 and energy performance of road transport vehicles, and developing and improving existing road infrastructure or developing alternative infrastructure for transport users.

A Member State in which an infrastructure charge is levied shall determine the use to be made of revenue generated by that charge. To enable the transport network to be developed as a whole, revenue from charges shall be used mainly to benefit the road transport sector and optimise the road transport system.

As from 2011, at least 15% of the revenues generated by the external cost charge and infrastructure charge in each Member State shall be dedicated to financially supporting TEN-T projects in order to increase transport sustainability. This percentage shall gradually increase over time.

"

(5)   Articles 9b and 9c are replaced by the following:"

Article 9b

The Commission shall facilitate dialogue and the exchange of technical know-how between Member States in relation to the implementation of this Directive and in particular the Annexes. The Commission shall adapt Annexes 0, III, IIIa and IV in the light of scientific and technical progress and Annexes I, II and IIIa in the light of inflation. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Directive, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 9c(3).

Article 9c

1.   The Commission shall be assisted by a Committee.

2.   Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 3 and 7 of Council Decision 1999/468/EC* shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

3.   Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5a(1) to (4) and Article 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

__________________

* OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.

"

(6)   Article 11 is replaced by the following:"

Article 11

1.  By 31 December 2012 at the latest, and every four years thereafter, Member States which levy an external cost charge and/or an infrastructure charge shall draw up a report on tolls levied on their territory and shall forward it to the Commission. The report shall comprise information on:

   a) the weighted average external cost charge and the specific amounts levied for each combination of class of vehicle, type of road and period of time;
   b) the total revenue raised through the external cost charge, and information on the use of that revenue;║
   c) the effect of the external cost charge or infrastructure charge on modal shift, on the optimisation of road transport and on the environment, and the effect of the external cost charge on the external costs which the Member State is seeking to cover by means of the charge; and
   d) the weighted average infrastructure cost charge and total revenue raised through the infrastructure charge.

2 .   By 31 December 2010 at the latest, the Commission shall present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the availability of safe and secured parking places on the trans-European road network.

After consulting the relevant social partners, this report shall be accompanied by proposals on:

   a) earmarking of infrastructure charge for a sufficient number of safe and secured parking areas on the trans-European road network to be complied with by infrastructure operators or by public authorities responsible for the trans-European road network;
   b) guidelines for the European Investment Bank, the Cohesion Fund and the Structural Funds for due consideration of safe and secure parking areas within the design and co-financing of trans-European road network projects.

3 .  By 31 December 2013 at the latest , the Commission shall present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation and effects of this Directive, in particular as regards the effectiveness of the provisions on the recovery of the costs related to congestion and traffic-based pollution and on the inclusion of vehicles of more than 3.5 and less than 12 tonnes. The report shall also assess:

   a) the relevance of integrating other external costs in the calculation of tolls, especially the cost of CO 2 emissions should the definition of a common fuel tax element related to climate change have not yielded satisfactory results, the cost of accidents and the cost of biodiversity loss;
   b) the relevance of extending the scope of this Directive to other categories of vehicles;
   c) the possibility of adopting a revised classification of vehicles for the purposes of varying tolls taking into account the average impact on the environment, congestion and infrastructure, their CO2 and energy performance, and the practical and economic feasibility of levying and enforcing tolls;║
   d) the technical and economic feasibility of introducing on the main inter-urban roads minimum distance-based charges. The report shall identify the possible types of road sections to be charged, the possible ways of levying and enforcing in a cost-effective way such charges and a common simple method to set the minimum rates;
   e) the technical and economic feasibility of gradually abolishing time-based charging systems and introducing distance-based systems and the need to maintain a derogation for Member States with external borders with third countries to continue to apply time-based charging systems to heavy goods vehicles queuing at border-crossing points; and
   f) the need for a proposal for a scheme to ensure the consistent and simultaneous internalisation of external costs for all other modes of transport.

The report shall be accompanied by an assessment of the progress of the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport and by a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council for further revision of this Directive.

"

(7)  Annex III is amended as follows:

   a) the first paragraph is replaced by the following:"
This Annex stipulates the core principles for the calculation of weighted average infrastructure charge to reflect Article 7b(1). The obligation to relate tolls to costs shall be without prejudice to the freedom of Member States to choose, in accordance with Article 7b(3), not to recover the costs in full through toll revenue, or to the freedom, in accordance with Article 7f, to vary the amounts of specific tolls away from the average*.
____________________
* These provisions, together with the flexibility offered in the way costs are recovered over time (see the third indent of point 2.1), give considerable margin to fix tolls at levels which are acceptable to users and adapted to the specific transport policy objectives of the Member State. "
   b) in point (1), second indent, the words "Article 7a(1)" are replaced by the words "Article 7b(3)".

(8)   After Annex III, the text set out in the Annex to this Directive is inserted as Annex IIIa.

Article 2

1.   Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 3l december 2010 at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and this Directive.

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.   Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this directive.

Article 3

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

Article 4

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at ║,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX

"ANNEX IIIa

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR LEVYING AN EXTERNAL COST CHARGE AND MAXIMUM CHARGEABLE EXTERNAL COST ELEMENTS

This Annex sets out the minimum requirements for levying an external cost charge and the maximum authorised cost elements to be included when setting the amount.

1.   The parts of the network concerned

The Member State shall specify precisely the part or parts of network which are to be subject to an external cost charge.

A Member State may choose to levy an external cost charge on only a part or parts of the network on the basis of objective criteria .

2.   The vehicles, roads and time period covered

The Member State shall notify the Commission of the classification of vehicles according to which the toll shall vary. It shall also notify the Commission of the location of roads subject to higher external cost charges (hereafter "suburban roads") and of roads subject to lower external cost charges (hereafter "other interurban roads").

Where applicable, it shall also notify the Commission of the exact time periods corresponding to the night period and to the various daily, weekly or seasonal peak periods during which a higher external cost charge may be imposed to reflect greater congestion or greater noise annoyance.

The classification of roads and the definition of time periods shall be based on objective criteria related to the level of exposure of the roads and their vicinities to congestion and pollution such as population density, the yearly number of pollution peaks measured in accordance with Directive 96/62/EC, the average daily and hourly traffic and the level of service (percentage of the day or the year when road usage is close to or above capacity, average delays and/or queues lengths). The criteria used shall be included in the notification.

3.   Amount of the charge

For each vehicle EURO emission class , type of road and time period, the independent authority shall determine a single specific amount. The resulting charging structure shall be transparent, openly published and available to all users on equal terms.

When setting the charges, the independent authority shall be guided by the principle of efficient pricing that is a price close to the social marginal cost of the usage of the vehicle charged. The charge shall be set as close as possible to the external costs which can be allocated to the category of road users concerned.

The charge shall also be set after having considered the risk of traffic diversion together with any adverse effects on road safety, the environment and congestion, and solutions to mitigate these risks.

The independent authority shall monitor the effectiveness of the charging scheme in reducing environmental damage arising from road transport and in relieving congestion where it is applied. It shall regularly adjust the charging structure and the specific amount of the charge set for a given EURO emission class of vehicle, type of road and period of time to the changes in transport demand.

4.   External cost elements

4.1.   Cost of traffic-based air pollution

When a Member State chooses to include all or part the cost of traffic-based air pollution in the external cost charge, the independent authority shall calculate the chargeable cost of traffic–based air pollution by applying the following formula or by taking the unit values in Table 1 if the latter are lower:

PCVij = ∑k EFik x PCjk where:

PCVij air pollution cost of vehicle class i on road type j (euro/vehicle.kilometre)

EFik emission factor of pollutant k and vehicle class i (gram/kilometre)

PCjk monetary cost of pollutant k for type of road j (euro/gram)

Only the emissions of particulate matter and of ozone precursors such as nitrogen oxide and volatic organic compounds will be taken into consideration. The emission factors shall be the same as those used by the Member State to draft the national emissions inventories provided for in Directive 2001/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on national emission ceilings for certain atmospheric pollutants (13) (which requires use of the EMEP/CORINAIR Emission Inventory Guidebook)(14) . The monetary cost of pollutants shall be taken from Table 13 of the "Handbook on estimation of external cost in the transport sector'║.

Table 1: Maximum chargeable air pollution cost of any vehicle in a given class

Euro cent/vehicle.kilometre

Roads subject to higher external cost charges/ Suburban roads and motorways

Roads subject to lower external cost charges/ Interurban roads and motorways

EURO 0

16

12

EURO I

11

8

EURO II

9

7

EURO III

7

6

EURO IV

4

3

EURO V ▌

3

2

EURO VI

2

1

Less polluting than EURO VI, for example hybrid and electric heavy goods vehicles or vehicles running on a natural gas/hydrogen mixtures or hydrogen power supply

0

0

Values in euro cents, 2000

The values in Table 1 represent arithmetic averages of the values given in Table 15 of the "Handbook on estimation of external cost in the transport sector'║ for vehicles belonging to four different weight classes. Member States may apply a correction factor to the values in Table 1 to reflect the actual fleet composition in terms of vehicle size. The values of Table 1 may be multiplied by a factor of up to 2 in mountain areas to the extent that it is justified by the gradient of roads, altitude and/or temperature inversions.

The independent authority may adopt alternatives methods using data from air pollutant measurement and the local value of the monetary cost of air pollutants, provided that the results do not exceed the results which would have been obtained with the above formulae or the above unit values for any class of vehicles.

All parameters, data and other information necessary to understand how the chargeable air pollution cost is calculated shall be made public.

4.2.   Cost of traffic-based noise pollution

When a Member State chooses to include all or part of the cost of traffic-based noise pollution in the external cost charge, the independent authority shall calculate the chargeable cost of traffic –based noise pollution by applying the following formulae or by taking the unit values in Table 2 if the latter are lower:

NCVij (day) = ∑k NCjk x POPk / ADT

NCVij (night) = n x NCVij (day) where

-   NCVij noise cost of vehicle class i on road type j (euro/vehicle.kilometre)

-   NCjk noise cost per person exposed on road type j to noise level k (euro/person)

-   POPk population exposed to daily noise level k per kilometre (person/kilometre)

-   ADT average daily traffic (vehicle)

   n night correction factor

The population exposed to noise level k shall be taken from the strategic noise maps drafted under Article 7 of Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 june 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise(15) .

The cost per person exposed to noise level k shall be taken from Table 20 of the "Handbook on estimation of external cost in the transport sector'║.

The average daily traffic shall assume a weighting factor of no more than 4 between heavy goods vehicles and passenger cars.

Table 2: Chargeable noise cost of vehicles (NCV)

Euro cent/vehicle.kilometre

Day

Night

Suburban roads

1,1

2

Other interurban roads

0,13

0,23

Values in euro cents, 2000

Source: Handbook on estimation of external cost in the transport sector, table 22║

The values of Table 2 may be multiplied by a factor of up to 5 in mountain areas to the extent that it is justified by the gradient of roads, temperature inversions and/or amphitheatre effect of valleys.

All parameters, data and other information necessary to understand how the chargeable noise cost is calculated shall be made public."

(1) OJ […], […], p. […].
(2) OJ […], […], p. […].
(3) OJ C 120, 28.5.2009, p. 47.
(4) OJ L 187, 20.7.1999, p. 42.║
(5) OJ L 75, 15.3.2001, p. 29.
(6) OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 124. ║
(7) OJ L 296, 21.11.1996, p. 55.║
(8) OJ L 189, 18.7.2002, p. 12.
(9) OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51. ║
(10) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 25. ║
(11) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.║
(12)* To be completed at a later stage in the legislative procedure.
(13) OJ L 309, 27.11.2001, p. 22.
(14) Methodology of the European Environmental Agency ║.
(15) OJ L 189, 18.7.2002, p. 12.


Public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) ***I
PDF 242k   DOC 177k
Text
Consolidated text
Annex
Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) (COM(2008)0229 – C6-0184/2008 – 2008/0090(COD) )
P6_TA(2009)0114 A6-0077/2009

(Codecision procedure - recast)

The proposal was amended on 11 March 2009 as follows (1) :

Regulation (EC) No .../2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 255(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission║,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(2) ,

Whereas:

(1)   A number of substantive changes are to be made to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents(3) . In the interest of clarity, that Regulation should be recast.

(2)   The second subparagraph of Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union enshrines the concept of openness, stating that the Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen.

(3)   Openness enables citizens to participate more closely in the decision-making process and guarantees that the administration enjoys greater legitimacy and is more effective and more accountable to the citizen in a democratic system. Openness contributes to strengthening the principles of democracy and respect for fundamental rights as laid down in Article 6 of the EU Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

(4)    Transparency should also strengthen the principles of good administration in the EU institutions as provided for by Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (4) ("the Charter"). Internal procedures should be defined accordingly and adequate financial and human resources should be made available to put the principle of openness into practice. [Am 1 ]

[Am 2]

[Am 3]

(5)    The consultation conducted by the Commission showed broad support from civil society for the European Parliament's call for the introduction of a genuine freedom of information instrument applicable to the institutional framework of the European Union, in accordance with the right to good administration laid down Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. [Am 92]

(6)   The purpose of this Regulation is to give the fullest possible effect to the right of public access to documents and to lay down the general principles and the limits on the grounds of public or private interest which govern such access in accordance with Article 255(2) of the EC Treaty and taking into account the experience of the initial implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 and of the resolution of the European Parliament of 4 April 2006 with recommendations to the Commission on access to the institutions' texts (5) . This Regulation is without prejudice to existing rights of access to documents for Member States, judicial authorities or investigative bodies . [Am 4]

(7 )   In accordance with Article 255(2) of the EC Treaty, this Regulation details the general principles and limits on grounds of public or private interest governing the right of access to documents with which all other EU rules should comply . [Am 16]

(8)   In accordance with Articles 28(1) and 41(1) of the EU Treaty, the right of access also applies to documents relating to the common foreign and security policy and to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. ▌[Am 5]

(9)   Since the question of access to documents is not covered by provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission should, in accordance with Declaration No 41 attached to the Final Act of the Treaty of Amsterdam, draw guidance from this Regulation as regards documents concerning the activities covered by that Treaty.

(10 )   The European Parliament and the Council adopted on 6 September 2006 Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies(6) . With regard to access to documents containing environmental information, this Regulation should be consistent with Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006.

(11)    The Council and the Commission act in their legislative capacity when, by associating the European Parliament, they adopt, even under delegated powers, rules of general scope which are legally binding in or for the Member States, by means of regulations, directives, framework decisions or decisions, on the basis of the relevant provisions of the Treaties. [Am 6]

(12 )   In compliance with the democratic principles outlined in Article 6(1) of the EU Treaty and the case-law of the Court of Justice on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, wider access should be granted to documents in cases where the institutions are acting in their legislative capacity, including under delegated powers. Legal texts should be drafted in a clear and understandable way (7) and published in the Official Journal of the European Union; preparatory documents and all related information, including legal opinions and the interinstitutional procedure, should be made easily accessible by citizens on the Internet in a timely manner.

Better law-making practices, drafting models and techniques as well as technical solutions to track the life-cycle of preparatory documents and to share them with the institutions and bodies associated in the procedure should be agreed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in accordance with this Regulation and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. [Am 8]

(13)    An interinstitutional register of lobbyists and other interested parties is a natural tool for the promotion of openness and transparency in the legislative process. [Am 11]

(14 )   Transparency in the legislative process is of utmost importance for citizens. Therefore, institutions should actively disseminate documents, which are part of the legislative process. Active dissemination of documents should also be encouraged in other fields.

(15)    By way of complementing this Regulation, the Commission should propose an instrument, to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, on common rules governing the re-use of information and documents held by the institutions which implements, mutatis mutandis, the principles outlined in Directive 2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the re-use of public-sector information (8) . [Am 22]

(16)    Without prejudice to national legislation on access to documents, in accordance with the principles of loyal cooperation and legal certainty, when implementing acts of the EU institutions, the Member States should not undermine the attainment of the objectives of this Regulation, including the level of transparency which it seeks to ensure at EU level and should, in particular, ensure that the Member States' national provisions implementing EU legislation should give European citizens and other persons concerned a clear and precise understanding of their rights and obligations and enable national courts to ensure that those rights and obligations are respected. [Am 100]

(17 )   Even though it is neither the object nor the effect of this Regulation to amend national legislation on access to documents, it is nevertheless clear that, by virtue of the principle of loyal cooperation which governs relations between the institutions and the Member States, the Member States should grant to their citizens at national level at least the same level of transparency as is granted at EU level when implementing EU rules .

By the same token and without prejudice to national parliamentary scrutiny, Member States should take care not to hamper the processing of EU classified documents . [Am 20]

(18)    Documents related to non- legislative procedures, such as binding measures without general scope or measures dealing with internal organisation, administrative or budgetary acts, or non-binding acts of a political nature (such as conclusions, recommendations or resolutions) should be easily accessible in compliance with the principle of good administration outlined in Article 41 of the Charter, while at the same time preserving the effectiveness of the institutions' decision-making process. For each category of document the institution responsible and, where appropriate, the other institutions associated should make accessible to citizens the workflow of the internal procedures to be followed, which organisational units could be in charge, as well their remit, the deadlines set and the office to be contacted. Special arrangements may be made with the interested parties in the procedure even when public access could not be granted; the institutions should duly take into account the recommendations of the European Ombudsman. [Am 9]

(19)    The institutions should agree on common guidelines as to the way in which to register their internal documents, to classify them and to archive them for historical needs according to the principles outlined in this Regulation. Council Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 354/83 of 1 February 1983 concerning the opening to the public of the historical archives of the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (9) should then be repealed. [Am 10]

(20 )   In order to develop the activities of the institutions in areas which require a degree of confidentiality, it is appropriate to establish a comprehensive security system covering the treatment of EU classified information. The term "EU classified" should mean any information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could cause varying degrees of prejudice to EU interests, or to one or more of its Member States, whether such information originates within the EU or is received from Member States, third countries or international organisations. In accordance with the democratic principles outlined in Article 6(1) of the EU Treaty, the European Parliament should have access to EU classified information notably when such access is necessary for the performance of legislative or non- legislative duties conferred by the Treaties . [Am 13]

(21 )   The Community institutions and bodies should treat personal data in a fair and transparent way and in full compliance with the rights of data subjects as defined by Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data(10) and by the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities ("the Court of Justice"). The institutions should define their internal procedures, duly taking into account the recommendation of the European Data Protection Supervisor .

Since the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 the case-law of the Court of Justice and decisions and positions adopted by the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor have clarified the relationship between that Regulation and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001, to the effect that it is Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 which is to be applied to requests for documents containing personal data and that any application of the exceptions to the rules allowing access to documents and information for the purpose of protecting personal data must be based on the need to protect the privacy and integrity of an individual. [Am 7]

(22)    The right of access to public documents is without prejudice to the right of access to personal data under Regulation (EC) No 45/2001. When a person requests access to data concerning him or her, an institution should on its own initiative examine whether that person is entitled to access under Regulation (EC) No 45/2001. [Am 99]

(23)    Article 4 of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament excludes the documents of Members of the European Parliament from the scope of the definition of "document" used in this Regulation. These documents, when transmitted to the institutions outside the legislative process, are still protected by Article 6 of the Members´ Statute. Therefore the interpretation of this Regulation should take due account of the protection of the political activities of Members of the European Parliament, as enshrined in the Members" Statute  in order to protect the democratic principles of the European Union. [Am 116]

(24 )   Clear rules should be established regarding the disclosure of documents originating from the Member States and of documents of third parties which are part of judicial proceedings files or obtained by the institutions by virtue of specific powers of investigation conferred upon them by EC law.

(25)    The Court of Justice of the European Communities has specified that the obligation for Member States to be consulted in relation to requests for access to documents originating from them does not give them a right of veto, or the right to invoke national laws or provisions, and that the institution receiving a request may refuse access only on the grounds of the exceptions in this Regulation. However, there is still a need to clarify the status of documents originating from third parties in order to ensure that information relating to legislative procedures is not shared more broadly with third parties,( including administrations of third countries) than with Union citizens to whom the legislation will apply. [Ams 93/110]

(26)    In accordance with Article 255(1) of the EC Treaty, the Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available. [Am 109]

(27 )   In order to bring about greater openness in the work of the institutions, access to documents should be granted by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission not only to documents drawn up by the institutions, but also to documents received by them. A Member State may request the European Parliament , the Commission or the Council not to communicate to third parties outside the institutions themselves a document originating from that State without its prior agreement. If such a request is not accepted, the institution which received the request should give the reasons for refusing it. According to Article 296 of the EC Treaty, no Member State is obliged to supply information the disclosure of which it considers contrary to the essential interests of its security. [Am 14]

(28 )   In principle, all documents drafted or received by the institutions and relating to their activities should be registered and accessible to the public. However, without prejudice to the European Parliament's scrutiny, access to the entire document or to part of it could be postponed. [Am 15]

(29)    The institutions should ensure that the development of information technology makes it easier to exercise the right of access and does not result in a reduction in the amount of information available to the public. [Am 17]

(30 )   In order to ensure that the right of access is fully respected, a two-stage administrative procedure should apply, with the additional possibility of court proceedings or complaints to the Ombudsman.

(31 )   The institutions should in a consistent and coordinated way inform the public of the measures adopted to implement this Regulation and train their staff to assist citizens exercising their rights under this Regulation. [Am 19]

[Am 21]

(32 )   In accordance with Article 255(3) of the EC Treaty and the principles and rules outlined in this Regulation each institution lays down specific provisions regarding access to its documents in its rules of procedure,(11) (12) (13) [Am 23]

(33 )   In order to ensure the full application of this Regulation to all activities of the Union, all agencies established by the institutions should apply the principles laid down in this Regulation. All the other EU institutions are invited to adopt comparable measures in accordance with Article 1 of the EU Treaty. [Am 12]

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

TITLE I

General Principles

Article 1

Purpose

The purpose of this Regulation is:

   a) to define in accordance with Article 255 of the EC Treaty, the principles, conditions and limits on grounds of public or private interest governing the right of access to documents of the European Parliament, Council and Commission (hereinafter referred to as "the institutions") as well as of all the Agencies and bodies created by those institutions to grant ▌the widest possible access to such documents; [Am 24]
   b) to establish rules ensuring the easiest possible exercise of this right;
   c) to promote transparent and good administrative practice in the institutions in order to improve access to their documents.[Am 25]

Article 2

Beneficiaries ▌[Am 27]

1.   Any natural or legal person or any association of legal or natural persons shall have a right of access to documents of the institutions, subject to the principles, conditions and limits defined in this Regulation. [Am 28]

[Ams 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34]

2.    This Regulation shall not apply to documents covered by Article 4 of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament. [AM 114]

3.    In order to ensure that the principle of institutional transparency is fully applied, free public access to documents concerning infringement mechanisms and proceedings should be guaranteed. [AM 108]

Article 3

Scope

1.    This Regulation shall apply to all documents held by an institution, that is to say documents drawn up or received by it and in its possession, in all areas of activity of the European Union.

2.    Documents shall be made accessible to the public either in electronic form, in the Official Journal of the European Union, or in an official institution's register, or following a written application.

The documents drawn up or received in the course of a legislative procedure shall be made directly accessible in accordance with Article 11.

3.    This Regulation shall be without prejudice to enhanced rights of public access to documents held by the institutions which might follow from instruments of international law or acts of the institutions implementing them or by the Member States' legislation. [Am 35]

Article 4

Definitions

For the purpose of this Regulation:

   a) "document" shall mean any data or content whatever its medium (written on paper or stored in electronic form or as a sound, visual or audiovisual recording) concerning a matter relating to the policies, activities and decisions falling within the institution's sphere of responsibility ; information contained in electronic storage, processing and retrieval systems (including external systems used for the institution's work) shall constitute a document or documents. An institution that intends to create a new electronic storage system, or to substantially change an existing system, shall evaluate the likely impact on the right of access provided for by this Regulation and act so as to promote the objective of transparency.

The functions for the retrieval of information stored in electronic storage systems by the institutions shall be adapted in order to satisfy repeated requests from the public which cannot be satisfied using the tools currently available for the exploitation of the system ; [Am 36]

   b) "classified documents" shall mean documents the disclosure of which could affect the protection of the essential interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States, notably in public security, defence and military matters, and which may be partially or totally classified; [Am 37]
   c) "legislative documents' shall in principle mean documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of acts, including under delegated powers, which are legally binding in or for the Member States and for the adoption of which the Treaty provides for the intervention or association of the European Parliament; by way of exception, measures of general scope which according to the Treaties are adopted by the Council and the Commission without associating the European Parliament shall also be considered "legislative". [Am 101]
   d) "non- legislative documents" shall mean documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of non-binding acts, such as conclusions, recommendations or resolutions or acts which are legally binding in or for the Member States, but which are not of general scope as are the ones cited in point (c); [Am 39]
   e) "administrative documents" shall mean documents relating to the institutions' decision-making process or measures dealing with organisational, administrative or budgetary matters which are internal to the institution concerned; [Am 40]
   f) "archive" shall mean an institution's tool for managing in a structured way the registration of all the institution's documents referring to an ongoing or recently concluded procedure; [Am ]41
   g) "historical archives" shall mean that part of the archives of the institutions which has been selected, on the terms laid down in point (a), for permanent preservation; [Am 42]
   ( h) "third party" means any natural or legal person, or any entity outside the institution concerned, including the Member States, other Community or non-Community institutions and bodies and third countries.

A detailed list of all the categories of the acts covered by the definitions in points (a) to (e) shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the Internet sites of the institutions. The institutions shall also agree and publish their common criteria for archiving. [Am 43]

Article 5

Classified documents

1.    When grounds of public policy exist under Article 6(1), and without prejudice to parliamentary scrutiny at EU and national level, an institution shall classify a document where its disclosure would undermine the protection of the essential interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States.

Information shall be classified as follows:

(a)    "EU TOP SECRET": this classification shall be applied only to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could cause exceptionally grave prejudice to the essential interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States;

(b)    "EU SECRET ": this classification shall be applied only to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could seriously harm the essential interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States;

(c)    "EU CONFIDENTIAL ": this classification shall be applied to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could harm the essential interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States;

(d)    "EU RESTRICTED": this classification shall be applied to information and material the unauthorised disclosure of which could be disadvantageous to the interests of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States;

2.    Information shall be classified only when necessary.

If possible, the originators shall specify on classified documents a date or period when the contents may be downgraded or declassified.

Otherwise, they shall review the documents at least every five years, in order to ensure that the original classification remains necessary.

The classification shall be clearly and correctly indicated, and shall be maintained only for as long as the information requires protection.

The responsibility for classifying information and for any subsequent downgrading or declassification rests solely with the originating institution or that which received the classified document from a third party or another institution.

3.    Without prejudice to the right of access by other EU institutions, classified documents shall be released to third parties only with the consent of the originator.

However, the institution refusing such access shall give reasons for its decision in a manner which does not harm the interest protected under Article 6(1).

When more than one institution is involved in the processing of a classified document, the same ground of classification shall be granted and mediation shall be initiated if the institutions have a different appreciation of the protection to be granted.

Documents relating to legislative procedures shall not be classified; implementing measures shall be classified before their adoption insofar as the classification is necessary and aimed at preventing an adverse effect on the measure itself. International agreements dealing with the sharing of confidential information concluded on behalf of the European Union or of the Community cannot give any right to a third country or international organisation to prevent the European Parliament from having access to confidential information.

4.    Applications for access to classified documents under the procedures laid down in Articles 17 and 18 shall be handled only by those persons who have a right to acquaint themselves with those documents. Those persons shall also assess which references to classified documents could be made in the public register.

5.    Classified documents shall be recorded in an institution's register or released only with the consent of the originator.

6.    An institution which decides to refuse access to a classified document shall give the reasons for its decision in a manner which does not harm the interests protected by the exceptions laid down in Article 6(1).

7.    Without prejudice to national parliamentary scrutiny, Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that, when handling applications for EU classified documents, the principles set out in this Regulation are respected.

8.    The security rules of the institutions concerning classified documents shall be made public.

9.    The European Parliament shall have access to classified documents through a special oversight committee composed of members appointed by its Conference of Presidents. These Members shall comply with a specific clearance procedure and solemnly swear not to reveal in any way the content of the information accessed.

The European Parliament shall establish in its internal rules and in compliance with the obligations conferred by the Treaties, security standards and sanctions equivalent to the ones outlined in the Council and Commission Internal Security rules. [Am 44]

Article 6 [Am 45]

General exceptions to the right of access

1.  Without prejudice to the cases dealt with in Article 5, the institutions shall refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards: [Am 46]

   a) the internal public security of the European Union or of one or more of its Member States ; [Am 47]
   b) defence and military matters;
   c) the privacy and the integrity of the individual, in accordance with Community legislation regarding the protection of personal data, in particular the rules applicable to the institutions as laid down in Article 286 of the EC Treaty, as well as the principle of transparent and good administrative practice outlined in Article 1(c) of this Regulation; [Am 49]
   ( d ) international relations;
   ( e ) the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Community or a Member State;
   ( f ) the environment, such as breeding sites of rare species.

2.  The institutions shall refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of public or private interests linked to : [Am 48]

   a) commercial interests of a natural or legal person;
   b) intellectual property rights; 
   c) legal advice and court proceedings, except for legal advice in connection with procedures leading to a legislative act or a non-legislative act of general application ; [Am 50]
   d) the purpose of inspections, investigations and audits;
   e) the objectivity and impartiality of public procurement procedures until a decision has been taken by the contracting institution, or of a Selection Board in proceedings leading to the recruitment of staff until a decision has been taken by appointing authority . [Am 51]

[Am 52]

3 .   The exceptions under paragraph (2) shall apply unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure. A strong public interest in disclosure exists where the requested documents have been drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of EU legislative acts or of non-legislative acts of general application. When balancing the public interest in disclosure, special weight shall be given to the fact that the requested documents relate to the protection of fundamental rights or the right to live in a healthy environment. [Am 53]

4.    The definition of an overriding public interest in disclosure shall take due account of the protection of the political activity and independence of Members of the European Parliament, in particular with regard to Article 6(2) of the Members" Statute. [AM 115]

5.    Documents the disclosure of which would pose a risk to environmental protection values, such as the breeding sites of rare species, shall only be disclosed in conformity with Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006. [Am 54]

6 .  Personal data shall not be disclosed if such disclosure would harm the privacy or the integrity of the person concerned. Such harm shall not be deemed to be caused:

   if the data relate solely to the professional activities of the person concerned unless, given the particular circumstances, there is reason to assume that disclosure would adversely affect that person;
   if the data relate solely to a public person unless, given the particular circumstances, there is reason to assume that disclosure would adversely affect that person or other persons connected with him or her;
   if the data have already been published with the consent of the person concerned .

Personal data shall nevertheless be disclosed if an overriding public interest requires disclosure. In such a case, the institution or body concerned shall be required to specify the public interest. It shall give reasons why, in the specific case, the public interest outweighs the interests of the person concerned.

Where an institution or body refuses access to a document on the basis of paragraph 1, it shall consider whether it is possible to grant partial access to that document . [Ams 90 + 96 + 102]

7 .   If only parts of the requested document are covered by any of the exceptions, the remaining parts of the document shall be released.

8 .   The exceptions as laid down in this Article shall not apply to documents transmitted within the framework of procedures leading to a legislative act or a non-legislative act of general application. The exceptions shall only apply for the period during which protection is justified on the basis of the content of the document. The exceptions may apply for a maximum period of 30 years. In the case of documents covered by the exception relating to privacy and the integrity of the individual, the exception may, if necessary, continue to apply after this period. [Am 55]

9.    9 The exceptions as laid down in this Article shall not be interpreted as referring to information of public interest relating to the beneficiaries of European Union funds that is available within the framework of the financial transparency system. [Am 56]

Article 7 [Am 57]

Consultation of third parties  

1.   As regards third-party documents, they shall be disclosed by the institutions without consulting the originator if it is clear that none of the exceptions in this Regulation are applicable. A third party shall be consulted if that party has requested, when handing in the document, that it be treated in a specific way, with a view to assessing whether an exception provided for in this Regulation is applicable. Documents provided to the institutions for the purpose of influencing policy-making should be made public. [Am 58]

2.   Where an application concerns a document originating from a Member State:

   which has not been transmitted by that Member State in its capacity as a member of the Council, or
   which does not concern information submitted to the Commission concerning the implementation of EC policies and legislation,
the authorities of that Member State shall be consulted. The institution holding the document shall disclose it unless the Member State gives reasons for withholding it, based on the exceptions referred to in Article 4 or in equivalent provisions of its own legislation, or objects on the basis of Article 296(1)(a) of the EC Treaty that the disclosure would be contrary to its essential security interests. The institution shall assess the adequacy of reasons given by the Member State. [Am 91]

3.   Without prejudice to national parliamentary scrutiny, where a Member State receives a request for a document in its possession, which originates from an institution, unless it is clear that the document shall or shall not be disclosed, the Member State shall consult with the institution concerned in order to take a decision that does not jeopardise the objectives of this Regulation. The Member State may instead refer the request to the institution. [Am 60]

Article 8

Reproduction of documents

This Regulation shall be without prejudice to any existing rules on copyright which may limit a third party's right to reproduce or exploit released documents. [Am 82]

Article 9

Principle of good administration

The institutions shall on the basis of the code of good administrative behaviour adopt and publish general guidelines on the scope of the obligations of confidentiality and professional secrecy set out in Article 287 of the EC Treaty, the obligations arising from sound and transparent administration and the protection of personal data in accordance with Regulation (EC) 45/2001. These guidelines shall also define the sanctions applicable in the event of failure to comply with this Regulation in accordance with the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities, the Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities and in the institutions' internal rules. [Am 107]

TITLE II

Legislative and Non-legislative Transparency

Article 10

Legislative Transparency

1.    In compliance with the democratic principles outlined in Article 6 (1) of the EU Treaty and with the case-law of the Court of Justice on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, institutions acting in their legislative capacity, including under delegated powers, shall grant the widest possible access to their activities.

2.    Documents relating to their legislative programmes, preliminary civil society consultations, impact assessments and any other preparatory documents linked to a legislative procedure shall be accessible on a user-friendly interinstitutional site and published in a special series of the Official Journal of the European Union.

3.    Legislative proposals as well other EU legal texts shall be drafted in a clear and understandable way and the institutions shall agree common drafting guidelines and models improving legal certainty in accordance with the relevant case-law of the Court of Justice.

4.    During the legislative procedure, each institution or body associated in the decision-making process shall publish its preparatory documents and all related information, including legal opinions, in a special series of the Official Journal of the European Union as well on a common Internet site reproducing the lifecycle of the procedure concerned.

5.    Any initiative or documents provided by any interested parties with a view to influencing the decision-making process in any way shall be made public.

6.    Once adopted, legislative acts shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union as provided for by Article 12.

7.    By virtue of the principle of loyal cooperation which governs relations between the institutions and the Member States, in order not to undermine the attainment of the objectives of this Regulation, the Member States shall seek to ensure that an equivalent level of transparency is granted in relation to national measures implementing acts of the institutions of the European Union, in particular by clearly publishing the references of the national measures. The objective is to give citizens a clear and precise understanding of their rights and obligations deriving from specific EU rules and enable national courts to ensure that those rights and obligations are respected in accordance with the principles of legal certainty and the protection of individual.[Am 103]

Article 11

Publication in the Official Journal

1.   In accordance with the principles outlined in this Regulation, the institutions shall agree on the structure and presentation of the Official Journal of the European Union by taking into account the pre-existing interinstitutional agreement.

In addition to the acts referred to in Article 254(1) and (2) of the EC Treaty and the first paragraph of Article 163 of the Euratom Treaty, the following documents shall, subject to Article 6 of this Regulation, be published in the Official Journal:

   a) common positions adopted by the Council in accordance with the procedures referred to in Articles 251 and 252 of the EC Treaty and the reasons underlying those common positions, as well as the European Parliament's positions in these procedures;
   (b) Directives other than those referred to in Article 254(1) and (2) of the EC Treaty, decisions other than those referred to in Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty, recommendations and opinions;
   c) conventions signed between Member States on the basis of Article 293 of the EC Treaty;
   d) international agreements concluded by the Community or in accordance with Article 24 of the EU Treaty.
   e) common positions referred to in Article 34(2) of the EU Treaty;
   f) framework decisions and decisions referred to in Article 34(2) of the EU Treaty;
   g) conventions established by the Council in accordance with Article 34(2) of the EU Treaty;

2.    Other documents to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union shall be determined by a joint decision of the European Parliament and of the Council, on a proposal by the Management Committee of the Publication Office of the EU (14) . [Ams 74 + 105]

Article 12

Administrative transparency practice in the institutions [Am 77]

1.   The institutions shall develop good administrative practices in order to facilitate the exercise of the right of access guaranteed by this Regulation. The institutions shall organise and maintain the information in their possession in such a way that the public may be granted access to the information without additional effort. [Am 78]

2.    In order to ensure that the principles of transparency and good administration are effectively applied, the institutions concerned shall agree on common implementing rules and procedures for the presentation, classification, declassification, registration and dissemination of documents.

In order to facilitate a genuine debate among the players involved in the decision-making process and without prejudice to the principle of transparency, the institutions shall make clear to citizens if and when, during the specific phases of the decision-making process, direct access to documents may not be granted. These limitations shall not apply once that decision has been taken. [Am 79]

3.    The institutions shall inform citizens, in a fair and transparent way, about their organisational chart by indicating the remit of their internal units, the internal workflow and indicative deadlines of the procedures falling within their remit, to which services may citizens refer to obtain support, information or administrative redress. [Am 80]

4 .   The institutions shall establish an interinstitutional Article 255 committee to examine and exchange best practice, identify access and usability barriers and unpublished data sources, address possible conflicts, promote interoperability, re-use and merger of registers, standardise document coding through a European standards organisation, create a single EU portal to ensure access to all EU documents and discuss future developments on public access to documents. [Am 81]

Article 13

Financial transparency

Information relating to the EU budget, its implementation and beneficiaries of EU funds and grants shall be public and accessible to citizens.

Such information shall also be accessible via a specific website and database, searchable on the basis of the above information, dealing with financial transparency in the EU. [AM 85]

TITLE III

Method of access

Article 14

Direct access to documents 

1.    The institutions shall as far as possible make documents directly accessible to the public in electronic form or through a register in accordance with the rules of the institution concerned. [Am 71]

2 .   The institutions shall make all documents directly accessible to the public in electronic form or trough a register, particularly those drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of EU legislative acts or non-legislative acts of general application. ▌ [Am 72]

3 .   Where possible, other documents, notably documents relating to the development of policy or strategy, shall be made directly accessible in electronic form.

4 .   Where direct access is not given through the register, the register shall as far as possible indicate where the document is located.

5 .   The institutions shall establish a common interface for their registers of documents, and shall in particular ensure a single point of access for direct access to documents drawn up or received in the course of procedures for the adoption of legislative acts or non-legislative acts of general application . [Am 73]

Article 15

Registers

1.   To make citizens' rights under this Regulation effective, each institution shall provide public access to a register of documents. Access to the register should be provided in electronic form. References to documents shall be recorded in the register without delay.

2.   For each document the register shall contain a reference number (including, where applicable, the interinstitutional reference), the subject matter and/or a short description of the content of the document and the date on which it was received or drawn up and recorded in the register. References shall be made in a manner which does not undermine protection of the interests in Article 6.

3.  Without prejudice to the internal rules of the institutions, the register or system of registers (in the case of multiple registers for the same institution) of each institution shall in particular contain references to:

   incoming and outgoing documents, as well as the official mail of the institution where such mail falls within the definition set out in Article 4(a),
   agendas and summaries of meetings and documents prepared before meetings for circulation, as well as other documents circulated during meetings.

   by ... (15) , adopt and publish internal rules concerning the registration of documents,
   by ... (16) *, ensure that its register is fully operational. [Am 70]

Article 16

Applications

1.   Applications for access to a document shall be made in any written form, including electronic form, in one of the languages referred to in Article 314 of the EC Treaty and in a sufficiently precise manner to enable the institution to identify the document. The applicant is not obliged to state reasons for the application.

2.   If an application is not sufficiently precise the institution shall within 15 working days ask the applicant to clarify the application and shall assist the applicant in doing so, for example, by providing information on the use of the public registers of documents.▌ [Am 62]

3.   In the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the institution concerned may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding a fair and practical solution.

4.   The institutions shall provide information and assistance to citizens on how and where applications for access to documents can be made.

Article 17

Processing of initial applications

1.   An application for access to a document shall be handled promptly. An acknowledgement of receipt shall be sent to the applicant. Within a maximum of 15 working days from registration of the application, the institution shall either grant access to the document requested and provide access in accordance with Article 10 within that period or, in a written reply, state the reasons for the total or partial refusal and inform the applicant of his or her right to make a confirmatory application in accordance with paragraph 4 of this Article. [Am 63]

2.   In exceptional cases, for example in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the time-limit provided for in paragraph 1 may be extended by a maximum of 15 working days, provided that the applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are given. [Am 64]

3.   In the event of a total or partial refusal, the applicant may, within 15 working days of receiving the institution's reply, either make a confirmatory application asking the institution to reconsider its position or, where the applicant calls into question whether any actual harm will be caused to the relevant interests and/or argues that there is an overriding interest in disclosure, the applicant may request the European Ombudsman to give an independent and objective view on the question of harm and/or overriding public interest.

While waiting for the delivery of the European Ombudsman' opinion, the time-limit provided for in paragraph 1 shall be suspended for a maximum of 30 working days.

Following delivery of the European Ombudsman's opinion, or at the latest at the end of a period of 30 working days, the applicant may, within a maximum of 15 working days, make a confirmatory application asking the institution to reconsider its position. [Am 104]

4.   Failure by the institution to reply within the prescribed time-limit shall entitle the applicant to make a confirmatory application.

Article 18

Processing of confirmatory applications

1.   A confirmatory application shall be handled promptly. Within 15 working days from registration of such an application, the institution shall either grant access to the document requested and provide access in accordance with Article 10 within that period or, in a written reply, state the reasons for the total or partial refusal. In the event of a total or partial refusal, the institution shall inform the applicant of the remedies open to him or her. [Am 66]

2.   In exceptional cases, for example in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the time limit provided for in paragraph 1 may be extended by a maximum of 15 working days, provided that the applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are given. [Am 67]

3.   In the event of a total or partial refusal, the applicant may bring proceedings before the Court of First Instance against the institution and/or make a complaint to the European Ombudsman, under the conditions laid down in Articles 230 and 195 of the EC Treaty, respectively.

4.   Failure by the institution to reply within the prescribed time limit shall be considered as a negative reply and shall entitle the applicant to institute court proceedings against the institution and/or make a complaint to the Ombudsman, under the relevant provisions of the EC Treaty.

[Am 68]

Article 19

Access following an application

1.   The applicant shall have access to documents either by consulting them on the spot or by receiving a copy, including, where available, an electronic copy, according to the applicant's preference.

2.   If a document is publicly available and is easily accessible to the applicant, the institution may fulfil its obligation of granting access to documents by informing the applicant how to obtain the requested document.

3.   Documents shall be supplied in an existing version and format (including electronically or in an alternative format such as Braille, large print or tape) with full regard to the applicant's preference.

4.   The cost of producing and sending copies may be charged to the applicant. This charge shall not exceed the real cost of producing and sending the copies. Consultation on the spot, copies of less than twenty A4 pages and direct access in electronic form or through the register shall be free of charge. In the case of printouts or documents in electronic format based on information contained in electronic storage, processing and retrieval systems, the actual cost of searching for and retrieving the document or documents may also be charged to the applicant. No additional charge shall be made if the institution has already produced the document or documents concerned. The applicant shall be informed in advance of the amount and method of calculating any charge. [Am 69]

5.   This Regulation shall not derogate from specific modalities governing access laid down in EC or national law, such as the payment of a fee.

Article 20

Information

1.   Each institution shall take the requisite measures to inform the public of the rights they enjoy under this Regulation.

2.   The Member States shall cooperate with the institutions in providing information to the citizens.

Article 21

Information Officer

1.    Each directorate-general within each institution shall appoint an Information Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions of this Regulation and good administrative practice within that directorate-general.

2.   The Information Officer shall determine which information it is expedient to give the public concerning:

   a) the implementation of this Regulation;
   b) good practice;
and shall ensure the dissemination of that information in an appropriate form and manner.

3.    The Information Officer shall assess whether the services within his or her directorate-general follow good practice.

4.    The Information Officer may redirect the person who requires the information to another directorate if the information in question falls outside its remit and within the remit of a different directorate within the same institution, provided that he or she is in possession of such information. [Am 106]

TITLE IV

Final provisions

Article 22

Reports

1.    Each institution shall publish annually a report for the preceding year including the number of cases in which the institution refused to grant access to documents, the reasons for such refusals and the number of sensitive documents not recorded in the register.

2.    At the latest by ...*, the Commission shall publish a report on the application of the principles of this Regulation and shall make recommendations including, if appropriate, proposals for the revision of this Regulation which are necessitated by changes in the current situation and an action programme of measures to be taken by the institutions. [Am 83]

Article 23

Repeal

Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is repealed with effect from [...].

References to the repealed Regulation shall be construed as references to this Regulation and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table in the Annex.

Article 24

Entry into force

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

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

Done at,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX

Correlation Table (17)

Regulation 1049/2001

This Regulation

Article 1

Article 1

Article 2(1)

Article 2(1)

Article 2(2)

-

Article 2(3)

Article 2(2)

Article 2(4)

Article 2(3)

Article 2(5)

Article 2(4)

-

Article 2(5)

-

Article 2(6)

Article 2(6)

Article 2(7)

Article 3

Article 3

Article 4(1) (a)

Article 4(1)

Article 4(1) (b)

Article 4(5)

Article 4(2)

Article 4(2)

Article 4(3)

Article 4(3)

Article 4(4)

Article 5(1)

Article 4(5)

Article 5(2)

-

Article 4(4)

Article 4(6)

Article 4(6)

Article 4(7)

Article 4(7)

Article 5

Article 5(3)

Article 6

Article 6

Article 7

Article 7

Article 8

Article 8

Article 9

Article 9

Article 10

Article 10

Article 11

Article 11

Article 12

Article 12

Article 13

Article 13

Article 14

Article 14

Article 15

Article 15

Article 16

Article 16

Article 17(1)

Article 17

Article 17(2)

-

Article 18

-

-

Article 18

-

Article 19

-

Annex

(1) The matter was then referred back to committee pursuant to Rule 53(2) (A6-0077/2009 ).
(2) ...
(3) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(4) OJ C 303, 14.12.2007, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 151.
(6) OJ L 264 , 25.9.2006, p. 13.
(7) Interinstitutional Agreement of 22 December 1998 on common guidelines for the quality of drafting of Community legislation (OJ C 73, 17.3. 1999, p. 1).
(8) OJ L 345, 31.12.2003, p. 90.
(9) OJ L 43, 15.2.1983, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 340, 31.12.1993, p. 43. ║
(12) OJ L 46, 18.2.1994, p. 58. ║
(13) OJ L 263, 25.9.1997, p. 27.
(14) See Article 7 of SEC (2008)2109.
(15)* Six months from the date of entry into force of this Regulation .
(16)** One year from the date of entry into force of this Regulation .
(17) To be updated.


Guidelines for the Member States' employment policies *
PDF 68k   DOC 30k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 March 2009 on the proposal for a Council decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States (COM(2008)0869 – C6-0050/2009 – 2008/0252(CNS) )
P6_TA(2009)0115 A6-0052/2009

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2008)0869 ),

–   having regard to Article 128(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0050/2009 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A6-0052/2009 ),

1.   Approves the Commission proposal;

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

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

4.   Reiterates its longstanding call on the Commission and the Council to ensure that the Parliament is given the necessary time, and in any event no less than five months, to fulfil its consultative role, as defined in Article 128(2) of the Treaty, during the full revision of the Employment Guidelines, which is scheduled to take place at the end of 2010;

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


Rules of Procedure: extending the applicability of Rule 139
PDF 74k   DOC 34k
European Parliament decision of 11 March 2009 extending the applicability of Rule 139 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure until the end of the seventh parliamentary term
P6_TA(2009)0116 B6-0094/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 290 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Council Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community(1) , as last amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 920/2005(2) ,

–   having regard to the Code of Conduct on Multilingualism adopted by the Bureau on 17 November 2008,

–   having regard to the Bureau's decision of 13 December 2006 on a derogation from Rule 138 and its subsequent decisions extending that derogation until the end of the current parliamentary term,

–   having regard to Rules 138 and 139 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas, pursuant to Rule 138, all Parliament's documents are to be drawn up in the official languages, and all Members have the right to speak in Parliament in the official language of their choice, with interpretation into the other official languages,

B.   whereas, under Rule 139, derogations from Rule 138 are permissible until the end of the sixth parliamentary term if, and to the extent that, despite adequate precautions, the linguists required for an official language are not available in sufficient numbers; whereas with respect to each official language for which a derogation is considered necessary, the Bureau, on a proposal from the Secretary-General, shall ascertain whether the conditions are fulfilled, and the Bureau shall review its decision every six months,

C.   whereas, on 13 December 2006, the Bureau accepted that the difficulties of providing sufficient language cover for Maltese, Romanian, Bulgarian and Irish were such that the conditions were fulfilled for a derogation from Rule 138 in respect of each of those languages; whereas by subsequent Bureau decisions those derogations have been extended such that, from 1 January 2009 until the end of the parliamentary term, a derogation applies in respect of Bulgarian and Romanian (interpretation), Czech (interpretation during the Czech Council Presidency), Maltese (interpretation and translation) and Irish (interpretation, translation and legal-linguistic verification),

D.   whereas Council Regulation (EC) No 920/2005 provides for temporary (renewable) derogation measures for a five-year period in respect of Irish,

E.   whereas, despite all adequate precautions, the capacity in Irish and Maltese is not expected to be such as to allow a full interpretation service in those languages from the beginning of the seventh parliamentary term; whereas, for certain other languages, although there will be sufficient capacity to cover the needs arising from the usual activities of Parliament, the number of interpreters may not be sufficient to allow full coverage of all the extra needs expected during the Council Presidencies of the Member States concerned during the seventh parliamentary term,

F.   whereas, despite sustained and continuous interinstitutional efforts, the number of qualified translators and lawyer-linguists is still expected to be so limited as regards Irish that, for the foreseeable future, only a reduced coverage of that language can be assured; whereas Council Regulation (EC) No 920/2005 does not require legislation of the European Union adopted before 1 January 2007 ('the Acquis ') to be translated into Irish; whereas, as a result of the derogation measures laid down in that Regulation, only Commission proposals for codecision regulations are currently being presented in Irish and, as long as this situation persists, it will not be possible for Parliament's services to prepare Irish versions of other types of legal act,

G.   whereas, during the seventh parliamentary term, other European States may become members of the European Union; whereas, for the new languages concerned, linguists may not be available in sufficient numbers from the day of accession, which will require transitional measures,

H.   whereas Rule 139(4) provides that, on a reasoned recommendation from the Bureau, Parliament may decide, at the end of the parliamentary term, to extend that Rule,

I.   whereas, in the light of the foregoing, the Bureau has recommended that Rule 139 be extended until the end of the seventh parliamentary term,

1.   Decides to extend the applicability of Rule 139 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure until the end of the seventh parliamentary term;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and the Commission for information.

(1) OJ 17, 6.10.1958, p. 385.
(2) OJ L 156, 18.6.2005, p. 3.


The social situation of the Roma and their improved access to the labour market in the EU
PDF 153k   DOC 92k
European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on the social situation of the Roma and their improved access to the labour market in the EU (2008/2137(INI) )
P6_TA(2009)0117 A6-0038/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 3, 6, 7, 29 and 149 of the EC Treaty, in particular the requirement that Member States ensure equal opportunities for all citizens of the Union,

–   having regard to Article 13 of the EC Treaty, which enables the Community to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based, inter alia, on racial or ethnic origin,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 28 April 2005 on the situation of the Roma in the European Union(1) , of 1 June 2006 on the situation of Roma women in the European Union(2) , of 31 January 2008 on a European strategy on the Roma(3) and of 10 July 2008 on the census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 on promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, including child poverty, in the EU(5) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(6) and Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(7) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2008 on a Renewed social agenda: opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st century Europe (COM(2008)0412 ) (Commission Communication on a Renewed Social Agenda),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 2 July 2008 for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426 ),

–   having regard to its position of 17 June 2008 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)(8) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all(9) ,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1 February 1995 and the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950,

–   having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984,

–   having regard to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area of 27 November 2003,

–   having regard to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 2007 annual report on racism and xenophobia in the Member States,

–   having regard to the Declaration of the Decade of Roma Inclusion of the 2 February 2005 and the establishment of the Roma Education Fund on 12 May 2005,

–   having regard to the Commission report on The Situation of Roma in an Enlarged European Union of 2005,

–   having regard to the High Level Advisory Group of Experts on the Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities and their Full Participation in the Labour Market report on Ethnic Minorities in the Labour Market: An Urgent Call for Better Social Inclusion of the of April 2007,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Final Report on the Human Rights Situation of the Roma, Sinti and Travellers in Europe of 2006,

–   having regard to the European Economic and Social Committee opinion on the 'Integration of minorities - Roma'(10) (EESC Opinion),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0038/2009 ),

A.   whereas following recent enlargements of the European Union, the need for social integration has created new challenges, which must be dealt with in the context of new demographic and economic circumstances and whereas although those challenges must be tackled in all Member States, the Member States in central and eastern Europe are more affected because of their structural, economic and social transformation over the last twenty years; notes, therefore, that vulnerable social groups, such as Roma, are in the most endangered situation,

B.   whereas in Member States where industrial sectors have collapsed, regions have seen their prospects of development decline and, as a result, many Roma in particular have been forced to the margins of society through the rapid escalation of poverty; whereas Parliament notes and reiterates that, during the course of this process, the Roma's right to national and EU citizenship has become devalued and the benefits flowing from enlargement have not reached them in an appropriate way, causing a deepening of their marginalisation in several ways and increasing the risk they face of multiple discrimination,

C.   whereas the strategic political offensive to promote equal opportunities for Roma must contend with an extremely complex social situation because the Roma, Europe's largest ethnic minority, share the disadvantages of other groups, and whereas that struggle could most effectively be assisted by a comprehensive Roma strategy and a coordinated set of instruments extending to a range of sectoral policies and with the aid of financing for them,

D.   whereas travellers constitute a separate ethnic phenomenon, which could justifiably be discussed as a separate issue from the point of view both of human rights and of social and labour-market issues,

E.   whereas the process of integrating the Roma population into society is not unilateral but multilateral and there is a need for the Roma to be actively involved in the decision-making process when social inclusion policies are drawn up,

F.   whereas the living conditions of Roma, their health status and the level of their schooling determine their social and labour-market situation and often serve as pretexts for their exclusion from majority societies and for racism, and hamper improvements to their quality of life, thus preventing the exercise of the most fundamental human and civil rights,

G.   whereas poor transport infrastructure, a dearth of public administrative bodies and services, in particular high-quality educational institutions and health provision and the relocation of businesses compel young people to move away from home for economic reasons, aggravating regional disparities and ghettoisation,

H.   whereas it is very important, just before the end of the second part of the Lisbon process, to evaluate the social situation and employment prospects of the Roma and to decide what should be done,

I.   acknowledging the importance of the Structural and Cohesion Funds in promoting integration and noting that, because of the complexity of social problems facing the Roma, it is not conceivable that they can be solved purely by means of the project system characteristic of the Structural and Cohesion Funds,

J.   whereas it is unquestionably important to acknowledge previous good practices, but whereas their validity is limited in time and place,

K.   whereas many Roma communities currently tend to remain immobile rather than moving to areas where greater job opportunities may exist,

Roma on the labour market: access or exclusion?

1.  Considers that there is a need for a coordinated approach to improving the working and living conditions of the Roma community that aims at the following three objectives:

   increasing economic opportunities for the Roma;
   building human capital, and;
   strengthening social capital and community development;

2.   Points to the fact that policies targeting the Roma have, in a number of cases, not improved their situation; requests that, in all EU and Member State actions which particularly affect the Roma, the stakeholders of the Roma community participate as decision-makers, so that their capacity and responsibility for organising themselves is respected;

3.   Notes that the unequal access to services and the socioeconomic disadvantages facing Roma children put early development and high-quality education out of their reach in practice; notes that those disadvantages in turn negatively effect their emotional, social, physical and personal development as well as their subsequent chances on the labour market and hence their integration into the mainstream society;

4.   Notes that education systems are selective and that despite the efforts of the Member States to overcome segregation, the many and varied systems ostensibly designed to tackle segregation in fact often serve to accentuate disparities between social groups and profoundly disadvantage the poor, in particular the Roma, who find themselves on a downward spiral; stresses, therefore, the need for targeted education policies which address Roma families and encourage active participation;

5.   Stresses that, although the proportion of Roma young people in secondary and higher education has increased in certain Member States, their level of qualifications still remains far below the EU average; points to the gap between labour shortages on the one hand and a high unemployment rate linked with low skill levels among Roma on the other; demands, therefore, that the Member States and the EU support the Roma to increase their qualifications as a priority; draws attention to the fact that, in the absence of formal qualifications, the position of Roma on the labour market can also be improved by devising a system for acknowledging practical skills;

6.   Urges the Member States to guarantee that Roma women and girls have access on equal terms to high-quality education and to introduce incentives (e.g. professional development opportunities) to attract high-quality teachers to schools in more deprived socio-economic areas, especially in rural communities with a large proportion of Roma inhabitants;

7.   Calls on the Member States to improve access for Roma women to vocational training, and adjust vocational training to the needs of local labour markets in order to provide Roma women with marketable skills;

8.   Notes that the vast majority of Roma graduates do not return to their communities after leaving university and that some of them either deny their origins or are no longer accepted in their community when they attempt to return;

9.   Recommends that a comprehensive programme package be planned which promotes and motivates the return of Roma graduates to their communities and the employment of the Roma within their communities and in the interests of those communities;

10.   Considers that the Roma citizens in some Member States influence the population pyramid in a specific way; notes that the proportion of Roma children in the population is high, while their life expectancy at birth is a full 10 years less than that of people belonging to the majority population;

11.   Considers that although the Member States have used substantial EU and Member-State resources to help the long-term unemployed to find work, no coherent solution has yet been found at EU level: Member States are tackling the situation in very different ways and to very different extents, and have not provided opportunities to return to the labour market long-term, while their measures, such as public employment programmes, have further aggravated the stigmatisation of the Roma; requests, therefore, that both the EU and the Member States change their policy to an integrated approach that addresses all aspects of their deprivation;

12.   Calls on the Member States to adjust vocational training programmes to the needs of local labour markets and to provide incentives to employers who provide unskilled people (including the Roma) with work and offer them training and opportunities to acquire practical experience directly in the workplace;

13.   Calls on Member State and local authorities to deliver annual gender disaggregated assessments of the rate of re-employment among the long-term unemployed (including the Roma) who have completed labour market training and, based on the experience gained, to draw up new methodologies and launch training programmes adapted to local abilities and economic needs;

14.   Calls on the Member States to use EU funds to preserve and protect traditional Roma activities;

15.   Endorses the Commission view that Roma adults, due to their multiple disadvantages, are under-represented in the working population and in lifelong learning, often have no access to ICT, and are over-represented among the long-term unemployed and those working in low-prestige occupations, which create the greatest barriers of their reintegration into the labour market; calls, therefore, for the effective implementation of Directive 2000/78/EC, which prohibits discrimination in employment and occupation on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation;

16.   Considers it important to provide for specific Community action to promote access to professional training programmes by the Roma;

17.   Draws it to the attention of the Member States that this social dichotomy may compel many Roma job-seekers to transfer from the legal to the informal economy, and that a coordinated effort is needed at EU and Member State level to entice those people back into legal employment with work-related and social security rights;

18.   Considers that steps should be taken to promote an inclusive social and economic policy, including through ad hoc measures to provide decent housing;

19.   Draws particular attention to the fact that encouraging unqualified and unskilled labour mobility may lead to worse discrimination against Roma women who are already extremely vulnerable to multiple discrimination, and may hinder their further progress in the labour market;

20.   Calls on the governments of the Member States to improve Roma women's economic independence by promoting easy self-employment and start-up measures for small and medium-sized enterprises and access to micro-credits and by stimulating a service economy within their own settlements in order to expand Roma women's knowledge and expertise;

21.   Calls on the governments of the Member States, inter alia, to generate incentive systems through fiscal advantages, for undertakings that employ Roma women;

22.   Considers it necessary to take account of the fact that, in practice, the elimination of Roma settlements is difficult to achieve using EU resources under the rules which currently apply to the European Regional Development Fund, as, in the case of Member States which acceded after 2004, the minimum population figure for the eligibility of settlements for financing from housing budgets is such that it is precisely those living under the worst conditions, in the smallest settlements, who cannot be reached;

23.   Stresses the fact that the solution to the social and economic problems of the the Roma calls for a comprehensive approach and a long-term, coordinated solution, involving housing, education, health-care and labour market policies; therefore suggests to the Commission and the Member States that all measures intended to improve the situation of the Roma should be considered as an inseparable part of the measures designed to support regional development and social inclusion;

24.   Considers that the Member States should exploit the revision of the rules governing the Structural and Cohesion Funds which affords more scope for complex programmes by allowing more than 10 % to be transferred between different funds;

25.   Notes the proposal for a comprehensive new directive to combat discrimination outside employment on the grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and calls for the effective implementation of Directive 2000/43/EC; considers that, in the spirit of the Social Agenda, the Commission should identify specific objectives and draw up well-balanced programmes with the aim of eliminating discrimination against and stigmatisation of the Roma, and criminalisation of Roma communities;

26.   Stresses that the basic prerequisite for promoting social inclusion and access to the labour market for the Roma is that they be given equal social and political rights; calls on the Member States and candidate countries, in this connection, to establish a strategy to improve the participation of the Roma in elections as voters and candidates at all levels;

27.   Endorses the importance of micro-credits, which are recommended from various points of view in the Commission Communication on a Renewed Social Agenda and the EESC Opinion and which, by providing a minimal resource, can set the poorest people on the road to achieving personal responsibility and business skills and developing their creative powers, including by providing credit to cover the cost of self-employment;

28.   Supports the proposal by the EU institutions that, with request to the principle of equal treatment, the number of Roma working in public services should be increased; points out, however, that in order to make this possible it is necessary not only for governments to pursue personnel and labour-force training policies which promote it but also to make special efforts and provide active support to facilitate public acceptance of the principle;

29.   Stresses that, inter alia, the social market, health care, domestic help, the public catering and the provision of services in support of child care may create new jobs for the Roma who are unemployed, particularly women; reaffirms, however, that the social market requires a permanent link between the provider and the user of services and that, therefore, an increase in the employment of the Roma in those fields is possible only in a context of social acceptance, but that such employment also promotes social acceptance;

30.   Calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures to eliminate racial hatred and incitement to discrimination and violence against the Roma in the media and in every form of communication technology, and urges the mass media to establish good practices with respect to staff recruitment in such a way as to reflect the make-up of the population as a whole;

31.   Observes that Roma women are often actors in the informal economy and have a very low employment rate and considers that, to overcome multiple discrimination, high unemployment and poverty, targeted policies should focus on creating real access to the labour market for Roma women, which is a prerequisite for improving their social and family status;

32.   Considers that the employment of Roma women should also be promoted by means of employment-friendly operation of social support systems and appropriate training and specialisation opportunities, to prepare them in the long term for work from which they can earn a living and make it possible to reconcile family life and work; calls on Member States to adopt measures which help to increase child-care opportunities for Roma children even if their mother is at home with her other children;

33.   Stresses that better housing and health-care services could improve Roma women's access to the labour market and increase their chances of keeping their jobs for longer;

34.   Points out that social and employment policies should contribute to the individual potentials and needs of citizens and create more opportunities for the largest pool of labour such as older people, people with disabilities and poor, unskilled people, including the Roma;

35.   Points out that the multiple discrimination faced by Roma women should also be recognised and specifically addressed in policies targeting Roma women that could have a double, long-term positive impact on them and other family members, in particular children;

36.   Opposes the view that subsidies designed to help the long-term unemployed (including many Roma) to find work, whether paid to employers or employees, violate the principle of competitive neutrality, as the reintegration of the Roma is a social policy objective, the pursuit of which requires that subsidised market positions be created; expresses the view that subsidising jobs on the labour market in order to reintegrate Roma workers is preferable to subsidising the long-term unemployed;

37.   Recognises that some traditional Roma occupations, such as arts and crafts, can help both to preserve this community's specific characteristics and improve its material situation and level of social integration, and considers it desirable to support some specific professional activities;

The struggle to survive on the margins of society

38.   Notes that among the European Union's cultures, that of the Roma is marked by a strong family tradition; observes that the image of Roma families in public opinion features an emphasis on traditional gender roles, large numbers of children, cohabitation of several generations, the tendency of relatives to live in close proximity, and the extensive cultivation of relationships; considers, therefore, that in EU and Member State programmes for Roma families, it is necessary to build on the strengths of that natural support network;

39.   Highlights the importance of conserving and affirming the specific cultural characteristics of the Roma in order to protect their identity and reduce prejudice against them, and therefore considers it necessary for the Member States and the Commission to play a more active part in supporting the spiritual life of the Roma minority;

40.   Endorses the view in the EESC Opinion that Roma women have a low status in family hierarchy, marry early, often suffer domestic violence, and are often victims of prostitution and human trafficking;

41.   Considers, therefore, that EU and Member State programmes for the Roma should aim at individual emancipation from traditional hierarchies and the socioeconomic independence of members of Roma communities, in particular women;

42.   Points out that Roma children's tendency to leave school early damages their personal education, their ability to integrate socially, and their opportunities on the labour market, whilst in the case of Roma women, their physical and psychological health and the fact that they leave school early also affects the health and schooling of their children, facilitating their social exclusion; therefore stresses the importance of services which increase awareness in the provision of information to Roma women;

43.   Urges the Member States to guarantee that existing and future legal frameworks include provisions for preventing and addressing the multiple forms of discrimination faced by Roma women in order to improve their socio-economic status and to ensure their access to high-quality health care, child care and education as preconditions for employment;

44.   Considers that the process of integration must be initiated at an early stage in life, in order effectively to provide alternatives to poverty and social exclusion; considers, therefore, that it is necessary to provide an institutional framework for community-based social and educational services for children and families which meet regional and personal needs, guaranteeing equal access to high-quality services; calls on the Commission, therefore, to provide particular support for programmes for the early integration of Roma children in all countries where EU resources such as the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance or the Structural and Cohesion Funds, can be accessed;

45.   Notes that Roma children are over-represented in special schools and that a large proportion of them are assigned to such schools without justification, mostly on account of discrimination; points out that forcing children who have been unlawfully classed as 'mentally disabled' to attend special schools is discriminatory and seriously violates their fundamental right to high-quality education and gives rise to difficulties in further study and in finding work and to a greater likelihood of inactivity on the labour market, at the same time forming a burden on budgets;

46.   Endorses the suggestion in the EESC Opinion that, in the interests of the development of young children, complex forms of aid are required which are aimed at the whole family and which, while geared to the needs of the family, provide tailor-made practical assistance, such as the 'sure start' programme;

47.   Endorses the view expressed in the EESC Opinion that, due to its demographic characteristics, the Roma community has asymmetrical access to social benefits; stresses that social benefits are intended to counterbalance the burdens or lacks arising from individual life situation, the commitment of looking after children and other socially useful commitments;

48.   Endorses the recommendation in the EESC Opinion that in order to promote participation in the official labour market supplementary support should be provided to those changing jobs; stresses that declared work must be rendered desirable to both employees and employers;

49.   Stresses that the part of their active lives which Roma have spent in a state of exclusion hinders their access to health-care services and is responsible for their situation in old age; stresses also that starting work at an early age, frequent unemployment, a lack of employment protection, invisible work performed in the informal economy, which is often physically onerous, while there is no pension cover arising from such periods of employment, all act to prevent Roma from drawing proper pensions and from leading a dignified old age;

50.   Recommends that the Commission take the initiative to identify the most efficient ways of supporting the social, economic and cultural integration of the largest minority in the European Union, and stresses the need for cooperation between the Commission and the Member State governments in order to take specific action aimed at resolving the complex transnational problems of the Roma;

Conclusions

51.   Considers that preserving the Roma language and culture is a Community value; does not, however, endorse the idea that the Roma should be members of a stateless 'European nation' because this would absolve Member States of their responsibility and call into question the possibility of integration;

52.   Draws the attention of Member States to the risk that adopting excessive measures as regards Roma communities could lead to a worsening of the minority's already dramatic situation and could jeopardise their chances of integration;

53.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Roma communities and leaders in order to develop a jointly acceptable plan for the social inclusion of the Roma, to be implemented in close partnership;

54.   Calls on the Member States to design and implement projects intended to combat negative stereotypes of the Roma at all levels which can be supported by the Structural and Cohesion Funds and also by specific programmes such as Progress and initiatives such as the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogues and the forthcoming 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion;

55.   Observes that whereas the improvement of the social and economic situation of the Roma was a significant consideration in the enlargement process, progress has generally been limited; calls on the Member States and the Commission to review previous and existing programmes and initiatives and evaluate their results; considers that the European Union has a duty to coordinate instruments of social inclusion better and more closely and that such coordination should help combat poverty, promote Roma access to better, longer-lasting and more stable employment, pave the way for efforts to render social inclusion and protection systems more effective, and be a means of analysing political experience and mutual learning and create a system for coherent analysis of best practices;

56.   Calls on the Commission to assess specifically the impact of the objectives and instruments of each of its sectoral policies on the Roma, along with developing a coherent political strategy and achieving a high level of coordination; calls on the Commission to ask Member States, in reports on integrated indicators and on the open method of coordination for social inclusion, to devote attention to changing the situation of the Roma; calls on the Commission to monitor the extent of discrimination, regularly assess the situation of the Roma with regard to the changes in the education, employment, social, health and housing in the Member States and in the candidate countries;

57.   Calls on the Commission to ask the Member States to adopt clear employment policies for disadvantaged groups, including the active Roma population, as soon as possible, with support measures to facilitate their phased integration into the labour market, measures that will combat the effects of dependence created by the social security system;

58.   Calls on the Commission to cooperate with the various international organisations and support the development of an academic network of Roma experts which would provide scientific data and support, through research, analysis, the accumulation of evidence and the drafting of recommendations, in order to analyse the issues related to the integration of the Roma question, decide agendas, describe Roma issues with due seriousness on the basis of the summary reports drawn up by those organisations, and draw up an overall EU assessment at least every two years;

59.   Criticises the Member States that have not yet ratified the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; calls on those Member States to ratify the Convention urgently; calls on the Member States that have issued restrictive declarations under the Framework Convention affecting the recognition of the Roma as a national minority to withdraw those declarations;

60.   Recommends that Member States

   a) create an EU-level expert group including representatives of the Roma to coordinate Member States' Roma strategy and the use of EU funds for its promotion;
   b) establish partnerships between the various organisations representing Roma interests and the appropriate institutions of the Member States; and
   c) devise instruments such as concessionary credit or public grants and that, in the planning of farm subsidies, make it an important objective to enable Roma citizens to attain conditions in which they can earn a living from farming; so that, in addition to or instead of seeking paid employment in farming, they would be open to the idea of seeking innovative forms of agricultural work, including social cooperatives, thus justifying the provision of the necessary resources;

61.   Considers that in some Member States the target groups (in Roma settlements or parts of settlements) can be reached effectively by using the 'multiple disadvantages' definition, but that it is difficult to reach smaller units such as the family and the individual through those target groups;

62.   Considers, however, that the legal conditions should be established for the initiation of voluntary and anonymous data collection and the creation of a comparable database, with due regard for data protection and human rights protection rules and without resorting to methods which violate human dignity; considers that the Commission should propose the requisite amendments to legislation;

63.   Calls on the Commission to facilitate the drawing-up, verification and confirmation of a portfolio of best practices in programmes for the Roma, as regards, inter alia, housing, education and employment, following analyses carried out by an independent body;

64.   Considers that creating the database is not an alternative but a precondition for a system of assessment and evaluation which can balance the impact of exchanges of best experiences and of the use of resources; believes that, to this end, an indicator system is needed which extends to all areas of life and can be used by everybody, which, in addition to output and input indicators for programmes, also concerns the use of social result and impact indicators, including as a condition for financing; recommends, therefore, that the Commission establish such a system of indicators in the Framework Regulation on Structural Funds and in the regulations relating to other types of public grant;

65.   Recommends that the Commission adopt more consistent and uniform expectations of all development programmes financed from EU resources from which it is possible to demand an account of the prevention or reversal of social exclusion of the Roma; considers that Member State and EU bodies should examine all development which is financed from the Structural and Cohesion Funds from the point of view of the impact which the programme has on the social integration of the Roma; recommends further that in the case of every programme at the selection stage priority should be assigned to those developments which are also designed to improve the situation of the Roma living in particularly disadvantaged settlements and those who are poor and unemployed;

66.   Calls the Commission, in cooperation with each Member State, to develop and implement a wide-reaching information campaign addressed to the general public and the Roma about Member State programmes for improving the living conditions of the Roma and their implementation on an ongoing basis;

67.   Calls on the Commission to monitor, on an ongoing basis, measures and activities and their impacts on the improvement of the position of the Roma in the labour market;

68.   Would like resources on which decisions are taken at EU level to be used, inter alia, for targeted programmes that also involve experts from organisations with experience in this area who would provide support and advice, to counterbalance Roma disadvantages in education and qualifications; considers that the Member States, in allocating EU funds and their own funds, should, when deciding on the funding of fields other than early development and public education, give consideration to whether local government bodies, organisations, etc., which have applied for support, have complied with their obligations to eliminate segregation;

69.   Calls the Commission to encourage national authorities to cease the discriminatory practice of evicting occupants of Roma slums and instead develop concrete housing projects with the support of the technical expertise and monitoring mechanisms of, inter alia, the Commission, the World Bank and NGOs focusing on the Roma; believes that solving the housing problems of Roma living in rural areas must be a priority and should become a matter of special concern and an area for action;

70.   Calls on the Commission to devote particular attention not only to civil society organisations but also to the Roma's capacity for organising themselves and providing support for integration policy, to support the development of communities particularly by means of projects which increase Roma participation in the decision-making process and their responsibility for decisions taken in concert with them;

71.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States in cooperation with NGOs focusing on the Roma to examine existing policies and programmes in order to draw lessons from the failed projects of the past;

72.   Calls on the Commission to support NGOs focusing on Roma at EU, national or local level, in order to monitor the implementation of policies and programmes targeting the Roma, as well as Community education for democracy and human rights;

73.   Proposes that the Commission and the Member States establish an EU-wide forum in which social movements, trade unions and NGOs representing the Roma and their interests can consult one another on an on-going basis in order to draw up guidelines and exchange best practices, with a view to promoting a coordinated approach at EU level;

74.   Calls on the Member States to be more proactive in encouraging the transfer of jobs to where the Roma communities are situated and in encouraging Roma to move to where the jobs are situated;

75.   Reminds Member States and the Commission that while social welfare has a key role to play in supporting and strengthening disadvantaged communities such as the Roma, the promotion of self help is also important; considers that a culture of independence, rather than dependence, should be the long-term aim;

76.   Considers that much greater priority should be given to the provision of local jobs and the encouragement of entrepreneurship and local artisans, as well as the development of the basic skills to fulfil them, so that greater wealth as well as greater self-worth may develop;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2006, p. 129.
(2) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 283.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0035 .
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0361 .
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0467 .
(6) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(7) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(8) Texts adopted, P6_ΤΑ(2008)0286.
(9) OJ C 102 Ε, 24.4.2008, p. 321.
(10) OJ C 27, 3.2.2009, p. 88.


Facing oil challenges
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on possible solutions to the challenges in relation to oil supply (2008/2212(INI) )
P6_TA(2009)0118 A6-0035/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 10 January 2007 entitled An energy policy for Europe (COM(2007)0001 ),

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

–   having regard to Council Directive 73/238/EEC of 24 July 1973 on measures to mitigate the effects of difficulties in the supply of crude oil and petroleum products(1) ,

–   having regard to Council Decision 77/706/EEC of 7 November 1977 on the setting of a Community target for a reduction in the consumption of primary sources of energy in the event of difficulties in the supply of crude oil and petroleum products(2) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2006/67/EC of 24 July 2006 imposing an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 13 November 2008 for a Council directive imposing an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products (COM(2008)0775 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 13 November 2008 on the Second Strategic Energy Review: an EU energy security and solidarity action plan (COM(2008)0781 ),

–   having regard to the Green Paper of 12 November 2008 "Towards a secure, sustainable and competitive European energy network" (COM(2008)0782 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2007 on the macro-economic impact of the increase in the price of energy(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 September 2005 on oil dependency(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2008 on the crisis in the fisheries sector caused by rising fuel prices(6) ,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions on energy security of the European Council of 15 and 16 October 2008,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions on the policy implications of high food and oil prices of the European Council of 19 and 20 June 2008,

–   having regard to the World Energy Outlook 2008 of the International Energy Agency (IEA),

–   having regard to exploratory opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 January 2009 on possible solutions to the challenges in relation to oil supply(7) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6-0035/2009 ),

A.   whereas increasing attention will have to be paid at European level to the diversification of energy supply routes and sources, energy savings and energy efficiency in order to guarantee the security of energy supply in the coming decades,

B.   whereas it is becoming ever more urgent to develop a coherent and comprehensive Community energy policy in order to ensure security of supply at a time when the European Union is becoming increasingly dependent on imports,

C.   whereas oil is a finite resource,

D.   whereas oil production by the European Union and Norway still made a contribution towards meeting domestic demand of more than 30% in 2007,

E.   whereas many oil resources, some of them easily extractable, are at present not fully accessible in many countries of the world owing to environmental measures or in the context of resource management and the costs of oil extraction have doubled since 2005 owing to the general rise in the cost of raw materials and equipment,

F.   whereas according to calculations by the United States Energy Information Administration, worldwide demand for oil will be more than a third higher in 2030 than it was in 2006 and demand in the European Union will rise by an average of 0.25% per year between 2005 and 2030, chiefly due to increased demand in the transport sector, which means that oil's share of primary energy demand in the European Union in 2030 will stand at 35%,

G.   whereas the European Union's dependence on oil imports will rise to 95% by 2030, whilst at the same time conventional oil reserves will be increasingly concentrated in the countries in the strategic ellipse ,and growing competition in demand could create uncertainties in supply,

H.   whereas rising oil prices are to be expected in the long term,

I.   whereas the rise of inflation, triggered by hikes in the price of oil and basic commodities has provoked an erosion of purchasing power,

J.   whereas the price fluctuations in 2008 cannot be attributed solely to supply and demand at that particular point in time and are having negative effects on the economy,

K.   whereas the development of new investment vehicles on the market for oil and other basic commodities has amplified the price volatility of those commodities; and whereas there is a need to ensure greater transparency in energy markets,

1.   Notes that the question of security of energy supply has again become the central issue in the above-mentioned Commission Communication on the Second Strategic Energy Review; regrets, however, that the Commission has not learnt lessons from the economic crisis, which has shown that only a complete shift in EU energy policy will lead to a solution as regards security of supply, and solidarity among Member States, and to employment, and in social, environmental and economic issues; regrets further the lack to date of a clear commitment to further change in energy policy and structure;

2.   Stresses that, in addition to short-term measures to secure supply, account should also be taken of the long-term outlook;

3.   Calls on the Commission to focus more on analysing the indirect as well as the direct impact of proposed measures on security of supply and costs when preparing legislative proposals;

Exploitation of existing resources

4.   Notes that, according to various estimates, it will still be possible to extract sufficient oil to meet demand in the coming decades, even though new extraction methods are likely to lead to higher oil prices; notes that this in turn will stimulate energy efficiency behaviour and will promote alternative fuels such as second generation biofuels and hydrogen, and the use of electric cars; notes also that the conditions of investment must be improved, and stresses further in this regard that the sustained demand for oil has increasingly pushed supply to capacity limits;

5.   Points to the uncertainty surrounding the question of when and to what extent a gap will develop between mounting demand and falling supply; is concerned that this uncertainty will increasingly be reflected in growing oil price volatility; is therefore convinced that all measures that could reduce demand for fossil energy sources should be vigorously pursued;

6.   Supports the Commission's proposal for short-term measures to be taken if necessary to mitigate future oil price spikes; calls on Member States to provide financial support for investments in alternative energy sources such as renewable energy, and to prioritise consumer awareness measures promoting the purchase of energy-efficient goods and services in order to minimise long-term expense as well as to mitigate a future decrease in oil supply;

7.   Calls for an intensification of efforts to make unconventional oil resources commercially viable, and in this way to contribute to diversification, provided that environmentally friendly extraction processes are developed and then used; stresses that a life-cycle approach concerning greenhouse gas emissions from fuels placed on the EU market, as introduced in the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the use of road transport fuels and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specifications of fuels used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC (COM(2007)0018 ), will provide a real incentive for the oil industry to reduce its share of the impact on climate change by improving its production processes;

8.   Believes that the use of oil and other carbon-intensive energy sources should be reduced, both through increased energy efficiency and by a shift to more carbon-neutral solutions, such as nuclear energy and energy derived from renewable sources;

9.   Takes the view that the extraction of existing resources is increasingly being hampered by political factors, including political instability, insufficient legal protection, but also environmental measures and resource management; calls, therefore, on the Commission to step up the dialogue with producing countries at all levels and to seek pragmatic solutions to disputes in the interests of both parties;

10.   Calls on the Commission, in dialogue with the oil companies and producer countries, to seek ways in which steady investment can be secured despite fluctuating prices and profits;

11.   Expects petroleum companies to reinvest their substantial recent profits in exploration and development of new oil reserves and in promoting energy saving technology and research into oil substitutes (notably for transport applications);

12.   Urges a more dynamic relationship between the European Union and the oil-producing countries involving a willingness to give as well as take on both sides and aiming towards a more stable and steady supply and pricing environment for oil, which would be in the interests of all parties concerned and the world economy at large;

13.   Welcomes the Commission's initiative to have a global political dialogue in the form of a high-level summit between oil-consuming and oil-producing countries in order to establish a fair balance between supply and demand on the oil market and to prevent oil-producing countries from maintaining oil prices at artificially high levels;

Market transparency and pricing

14.   Is concerned at the increasing oil price volatility, which was a striking feature in 2008 and has a negative effect on the whole European Union economy and its consumers;

15.   Takes the view that fluctuations in the price of oil reflect an increased demand for oil, progressive depletion of oil reserves, changes in demographic and urbanisation trends, especially in emerging economies, where the rise in average income is causing an increase in demand, speculation on the commodity markets, and global economic cycles; stresses also that oil and other commodities have been increasingly used for portfolio diversification as a result of the depreciation of the US dollar;

16.   Expresses its concern at the volatility of oil prices and its impact on economic and financial stability; while recognising the benefits of active markets in oil and other energy products, urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure the highest practicable level of transparency in energy markets;

17.   Recognises that the economies of oil exporters are also damaged by such volatility and a stabilisation of oil prices is therefore in the interest of both sides;

18.   Welcomes the Commission's Communication of 13 June 2008 on facing the challenge of higher oil prices and echoes its concern over the recent oil price volatility and the negative effects thereof on inflation, competitiveness, trade and economic growth;

19.   Considers that the main reason for the oil price rise in the past eight years lies with a strong growth in demand that has led to bottlenecks in the extraction, transport and refining of oil and to large windfall profits made by a few big oil oligopolies; recognises that the marked rise in prices for raw materials and speculative transactions on the financial markets have heightened the trend in oil prices;

20.   Highlights the need to prioritise the monitoring of competition in the processing and sale of oil and petroleum products and to increase the transparency of data on commercial oil stocks;

21.   Considers it vital to improve market transparency in order to stabilise oil prices; calls on the Commission to submit corresponding proposals to Parliament and the Council; points out that transparency must urgently be increased in the producer countries as well, and volumes of production and the level of reserves in particular must also be published in a transparent way; calls on the Commission and Member States to work towards greater transparency within the framework of their dialogues with producer countries;

22.   Welcomes, in this context, the proposal for a study on the usefulness and cost of a weekly publication of the level of oil stocks; calls on the Commission to incorporate the results of the study in its future legislative proposals for minimum oil stocks; stresses at the same time that transparency in this regard must be achieved worldwide;

23.   Points out that differing technical specifications for oil products in the main importing countries lead to market fragmentation that may play a key part in pushing up prices in the event of supply shortages; calls on the Commission to submit proposals outlining ways in which such constraints on market access can be removed;

24.   Takes the view that the function of strategic reserves is to respond to physical bottlenecks arising from supply shortages; for this reason and for reasons of sustainable budgetary policy, rejects all attempts to counter oil price volatility by using these reserves;

25.   Stresses the importance of actively working to make new alternative energy accessible to small businesses in order to make them less dependent on oil price fluctuations; recognises the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises in the production of biofuels and other forms of renewable energy; is concerned about the technical and regulatory barriers which still exist in the production and commercialisation of those products and calls upon the Commission to work towards facilitating market access for those fuels;

26.   Stresses that an effective emissions trading system and the adoption of a wide range of other energy saving measures should be important tools for stimulating the development of a wide-ranging, cutting-edge market for energy-efficient technologies and products; also underlines the importance of the application of the "polluter pays" principle; recalls that the greater the number of countries that put similar policies in place, the more limited their impact on the sectoral competitiveness of those policies;

Investments in oil extraction and processing

27.   Notes that, according to the IEA, annual investments amounting to USD 350 billion are necessary in the oil industry by 2020 in order to guarantee security of supply; calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide incentives for investment in their corresponding policies, also and in particular within the European Union; highlights the role of long-term investment security in this connection; rejects, however, the notion of public money being substituted for private investments and capital;

28.   Is concerned at the effects of the current credit crisis on investment possibilities in the oil industry and calls on the Commission and Member States closely to coordinate their efforts to overcome the crisis;

29.   Welcomes the contribution that could be made by the increased use of biofuels in the transport sector, particularly in increasing security of supply; notes that this will lead to consolidation and restructuring in the oil-processing industry; notes further that structural measures must also be taken in the transport sector in order to minimise the demand for oil;

30.   Calls on the Member States and operators to ensure that, despite these developments, sufficient reserve capacities remain available in the European Union to offset bottlenecks arising from natural disasters, for example;

31.   Calls on the Member States, the Commission and oil companies to ensure adequate training for the specialists who are required for research into oil reserves and for oil production;

Transport routes

32.   Welcomes the results achieved within the framework of the INOGATE Programme, particularly in the field of confidence-building measures; calls on the Commission to draw up a strategy outlining how such projects can be supported through flanking measures and how coordination can be improved;

33.   Points to the crucial importance of good neighbourly relations among transit states and between them and their neighbouring countries and urges the Member States and the Commission to step up their efforts in this connection;

34.   Notes that oil pipelines have been excluded from the trans-European energy networks and calls on the Member States and the Commission to consider including oil infrastructure in the trans-European energy networks (TEN-E) in view of current developments, in particular falling domestic production and the simultaneous rise in dependence on imports and the need for new transport capacities;

35.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to work towards stabilisation, in particular in producer countries threatened by political instability, within the framework of the common foreign, trade and security policy, since stability provides the basis for investment and prosperity;

36.   Emphasises that new oil infrastructure projects such as the Odessa-Gdansk and Constanța-Trieste pipelines should continue to be high-priority projects of European interest;

37.   Is concerned at the growing piracy that threatens international shipping and hence oil transport, and welcomes the Council's Joint Action(8) in this regard;

38.   Is also concerned at the threat to transport routes and strategic infrastructure posed by terrorism and calls on the Commission and Member States to step up the dialogue with key players;

Transport and buildings

39.   Points to the potential for energy savings in the buildings sector, which could reduce demand for fossil energy sources such as oil and gas, and welcomes the efforts currently being made by the Commission and the Member States to make even better use of this potential;

40.   Welcomes the European Union's efforts to diversify energy sources in the transport sector; favours market-based approaches to the introduction of new technologies; recognises that price represents the best indicator for the competitiveness of new technologies; views as regrettable, however, the unambitious approach to exploiting the potential of energy-efficient, better-built, lighter vehicles;

41.   Expresses doubts regarding the medium- and long-term suitability of first-generation biofuels as a substitute for oil; calls for increased efforts in researching synthetic fuels;

42.   Is convinced that in the medium and long term the growth in oil consumption in the transport sector can be reduced only if the European Union and Member States take additional measures to shift transport and mobility towards more sustainable modes that consume little or no oil, such as rail, waterborne transport and intermodal mobility chains in urban areas (walking, cycling, public transport, vehicle sharing); is convinced, also, that considerable energy savings can be achieved through the more efficient use of modern traffic management systems to reduce delays and circuitous routes in road and air transport and shipping, and by intensifying efforts to promote green logistics;

Relations with countries with rising oil consumption

43.   Takes the view that increased account must be taken of energy policy matters in the European Union's common external relations with countries whose energy consumption is rising sharply, and that the European Union must work towards cutting state subsidies for oil products;

44.   Calls on the Commission to include in its common foreign, trade and neighbourhood policy measures that can contribute towards progress being made worldwide in removing the link between economic growth and oil consumption;

45.   Points out, in particular, that the geopolitical impact of the changes in global conditions for international energy security and the consequences for future international governance policy have not yet been adequately considered and debated by the European Union; takes the view that a continued reliance on national solutions must give way to new and close forms of political and economic cooperation between the European Union, the United States, Russia and China, which must also be given institutional form in the medium term;

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

(1) OJ L 228, 16.8.1973, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 292, 16.11.1977, p. 9.
(3) OJ L 217, 8.8.2006, p. 8.
(4) OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 548.
(5) OJ C 227 E, 21.9.2006, p. 580.
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0308 .
(7) OJ C 182, 4.8.2009, p. 60
(8) Council Joint Action 2008/851/CFSP of 10 November 2008 on a European Union military operation to contribute to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast (OJ L 301, 12.11.2008, p. 33).


Greening of transport and internalisation of external costs
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on the greening of transport and the internalisation of external costs (2008/2240(INI) )
P6_TA(2009)0119 A6-0055/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2008 entitled "Greening Transport" (COM(2008)0433 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2008 entitled "Strategy for the internalisation of external costs" (COM(2008)0435 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2008 entitled "Rail noise abatement measures addressing the existing fleet" (COM(2008)0432 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 July 2007 on keeping Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2008 on sustainable European transport policy, taking into account European energy and environment policies(2) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0055/2009 ),

A.   whereas the European Union's objectives are to reduce greenhouse gases by 20%, increase the use of renewable energy sources to 20% and reduce energy consumption by 20%, all by 2020,

B.   whereas, as far as greening transport is concerned, the Commission has put forward a number of suggestions aimed at combating climate change, a communication on the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport, a communication on rail noise abatement, and one specific legislative proposal revising the tolls applicable to heavy goods vehicles,

C.   whereas Article 11, third and fourth paragraphs, of the Eurovignette Directive(3) as amended in 2006 stipulated that: "No later than 10 June 2008, the Commission shall present, after examining all options including environment, noise, congestion and health-related costs, a generally applicable, transparent and comprehensible model for the assessment of all external costs to serve as the basis for future calculations of infrastructure charges. This model shall be accompanied by an impact analysis of the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport and a strategy for a stepwise implementation of the model for all modes of transport. The report and the model shall be accompanied, if appropriate, by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council for further revision of this Directive',

D.   whereas internalisation must be integrated into a more comprehensive policy to promote co-modality and a sustainable transport system and this policy must also include the promotion of research, funding of infrastructure, opening of markets and standardisation; whereas, nevertheless, these price signals will not in themselves be sufficient to change the behaviour of users unless the necessary alternatives are available to them (cleaner cars, alternative forms of transport, etc.),

E.   whereas the Commission has convincingly described the public health nuisance caused by rail noise; however as a cornerstone to its rail noise abatement initiative, it is merely setting out a requirement for freight wagons to be retrofitted with low-noise brakes,

Greening of transport

1.   Welcomes the Commission communication on greening transport as an important first partial step towards a more comprehensive approach making for more environmentally friendly transport in its many and varied modes as well as recognition of the importance and necessity of making transport more efficient in the context of combating climate change;

2.   Points out that mobility greatly benefits personal quality of life, growth and employment in the EU, socio-economic and territorial cohesion, trade with non-EU countries, and the firms and employees involved directly or indirectly in the transport sector and logistics;

3.   Recognises that, as well as having positive effects and being indispensable for the European Union's economic development and socio-economic and territorial cohesion, mobility also entails adverse consequences for the natural environment and for people, and therefore maintains that European transport policy – without disregarding the legitimate interests of individuals and industry where mobility is concerned – should continue to aim to green the transport sector so as to cancel out, or at any rate reduce, the harmful effects of transport, in line with the Union's objectives on combating global warming by 2020;

4.   Welcomes the fact that the Commission, in its communication, has compiled an "inventory" of EU measures to date to promote a sustainable transport policy;

5.  Regrets that the Commission has failed to produce an integrated plan to green transport, that is to say, covering every transport sector; observes that the Commission has already taken preliminary initiatives which should ultimately lead to a comprehensive strategy for the internalisation of external costs in all modes of transport; but has so far instead:

   adopted a piecemeal approach drawn up in a Handbook for estimating the external costs of transport and for their internalisation in individual sectors (see the 'Handbook on estimation of external costs in the transport sector'),
   has submitted a proposal to amend Directive 1999/62/EC (the Eurovignette Directive), which is intended to permit Member States to charge for the external costs arising from heavy goods vehicles, in line with Article 11 of that Directive,
   proposed taxing the external costs caused by rail noise via noise-differentiated infrastructure charges;

6.   Calls on the Commission, therefore, where every mode of transport is concerned, to provide for the measures and instruments required to make transport greener, taking into account the international conventions in force and the measures already implemented in the various transport sectors; with reference to those proposals, to conduct scientifically sound assessments of the impact of the individual measures and their competition implications in terms of modes as well as their impact on the costs of mobility and competitiveness; and, proceeding from that basis, to submit an integrated plan for the greening of transport, together with specific legislative proposals;

Internalisation of external costs

7.   Notes that in its communication on the strategy for the internalisation of external costs, the Commission has failed to fulfil the obligation imposed on it by the Parliament and the Council, under the Article 11 of the amended Eurovignette Directive, since it has not – by its own admission – devised and put forward a generally applicable, transparent, and comprehensible model for the assessment of external costs as a whole, given that it has not analysed the impact on every mode of transport and, at the practical level, has produced only for heavy goods vehicles a first step for a strategy for the stepwise implementation of the model for all modes of transport;

8.   Notes that the Commission communication makes copious references to the Handbook published in January 2008 regarding the calculation of external costs, which brings together the most recent scientific knowledge concerning the calculation of external costs in the transport sector;

9.   Notes that the Commission, in its communication, has put forward scientifically coherent justifications for the charging of individual external costs to various modes of transport, and has adopted what it terms a "pragmatic approach based on the average cost"; generally supports the Commission's basis of marginal social cost pricing, in line with the White Paper on Transport of 2001;

10.   Notes that in its communication and in the proposal for a directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC (the Eurovignette Directive), the Commission explicitly takes account of the "polluter pays" principle laid down in Article 175(5) of the Treaty; calls on the Commission, however, in further steps with regard to the internalisation of external costs, to take account of all forms of internalisation of external costs which already exist, such as oil taxes and road tolls;

11.   Calls on the Commission, when putting forward further proposals to green the transport sector, to include assessments of the impact of competition between transport modes and associated social and environmental impacts, as was done with the proposal to amend Directive 1999/62/EC (the Eurovignette Directive), and to include the costs of mobility and competitiveness;

12.   Regrets the fact that the Commission has not proposed measures to mitigate the effects of increased remoteness arising from EU enlargement and has not made any forecasts regarding the consequences of its application, in particular in those Member States with geographical barriers and for those which do not as yet have multimodal alternatives; calls, therefore, on the Commission to remedy these shortcomings as part of the forthcoming review of the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T);

13.   Encourages the Commission, to this end, to submit a supplementary proposal for multimodal mobility corridors ('green corridors') as part of the review of the TEN-T, offsetting the burdens imposed by the present proposal by enabling accessibility and mobility without obstacles;

14.   Calls on the Commission to take steps without delay firstly, to produce specific proposals for all modes of transport and secondly, to perform the task deriving from Article 11 of the amended Eurovignette Directive by submitting a comprehensive plan for calculating and charging external costs and assessing their impact on the basis of a comprehensible model;

Rail noise abatement

15.   Recognises that in its communication on rail noise abatement measures for the existing fleet, the Commission has responded to the need to reduce the noise nuisance, from freight wagons in particular, for persons living by the side of railway lines;

16.   Underlines that the retrofitting of wagons at a reasonable cost presupposes the resolution of the existing technical obstacles, as well as the elimination of administrative burdens in the relevant certificates, as soon as possible and before the adoption of any binding legislative measure;

17.   Calls on the Commission to draw up a proposal for a directive with a view to introducing noise-related track access charges for locomotives and wagons in order to provide incentives as quickly as possible for railway undertakings to re-equip their fleets rapidly with low-noise vehicles by replacing brake blocks; considers that, if and wherever necessary, short-term measures may also be considered and that no legislative measure should have a negative impact on the rail sector in intermodal competition;

18.   Looks to the Commission to provide in its proposal for a practicable way of ensuring, through earmarking of revenue, that upgrading of this kind will not be confined to wagons belonging to railway undertakings, but will also extend to wagons of other companies carried by railway undertakings;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 175 E, 10.7.2008, p. 556.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2008)0087 .
(3) Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (OJ L 187, 20.7.1999, p. 42).


Input to Spring 2009 European Council on the Lisbon Strategy
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on the input to the Spring 2009 European Council in relation to the Lisbon Strategy
P6_TA(2009)0120 B6-0109/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 entitled 'Implementation report for the Community Lisbon Programme 2008-2010' (COM(2008)0881 ) and the Commission Recommendation of 28 January 2009 for a Council recommendation on the 2009 up-date of the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community and on the implementation of Member States' employment policies (COM(2009)0034 ),

–   having regard to the 27 National Lisbon Reform Programmes, as presented by the Member States,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 3 October 2007 entitled 'The European Interest: Succeeding in the age of globalisation - Contribution of the Commission to the October Meeting of Heads of State and Government' (COM(2007)0581 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 November 2007 a single market for 21st century Europe (COM(2007)0724 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs - Reporting on market access and setting the framework for more effective international regulatory cooperation (COM(2008)0874 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 entitled 'An updated strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training' (COM(2008)0865 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 entitled 'New Skills for New Jobs – Anticipating and matching labour market and skills needs' (COM(2008)0868 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 entitled 'Cohesion policy: investing in the real economy' (COM(2008)0876 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2008 entitled 'A European Economic Recovery Plan' (COM(2008)0800 ),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 16 December 2008 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 on establishing the Globalisation Adjustment Fund (COM(2008)0867 ),

–   having regard to the European Council's conclusions of 23 and 24 March 2000, 23 and 24 March 2001, 22 and 23 March 2005, 27 and 28 October 2005, 23 and 24 March 2006, 8 and 9 March 2007 and 13 and 14 March 2008,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2007 on the European Interest: succeeding in the age of globalisation(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (Part: broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community): Launching the new cycle (2008-2010)(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 November 2008 on the EMU@10: The first ten years of Economic and Monetary Union and future challenges(3) ,

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

Financial crisis and economic and social impacts

1.   Notes that the global financial crisis stemming from global macro-economic imbalances and a worldwide credit crisis has inflicted serious damage on financial systems all over the world, including the European Union; notes also that the global financial crisis has brought massive destruction of equity market capitalisation all over the world, that its negative effects on 'real economies' are profound and, in particular, that the implications for employment and the social situation are far-reaching; underlines that financial markets are of crucial importance to the 'real economy' and that one of the priorities – besides safeguarding employment – for growth and employment is to get capital flowing again, providing credits and financing to investments, which calls for renewed confidence and trust, through clear commitments and government guarantees, as well as better implemented supervision, covering all financial markets in a global perspective, and regulations supporting responsible provision of credits to the markets;

2.   Recommends that the short-term measures applied to counterbalance the immediate direct consequences of the crisis and minimise the negative effects on the real economy, and the recovery packages must be followed by a coordinated short- and long-term action plan that would bring the EU economies to a stable growth path and protect against similar crises in the future;

3.   Recalls that, in its resolution of 20 February 2008 on the input for the 2008 Spring Council as regards the Lisbon Strategy(4) , Parliament already pointed to the overriding importance of safeguarding the stability of financial markets, noted that the recent subprime crisis shows the need for the European Union to develop oversight measures in order to strengthen the transparency and stability of the financial markets and better protect customers, requested an evaluation of the current systems and instruments of prudential supervision in Europe and insisted on close consultation with Parliament, leading to clear recommendations on how to improve the stability of the financial system and its ability to provide secure long-term finance for European business;

4.   Stresses that financial markets are, and will remain, at the core of functioning social market economies, that they are meant to provide financing for the 'real economy' and also to infuse efficiency in resource allocation and that they are also meant to provide economies with the means to prosper, which in turn have made it possible for citizens to make sustained gains in their living standards in the past decades; stresses that fully reliable, efficient and transparent financial markets are prerequisites for a healthy and innovative growth-and-jobs-creating European economy;

5.   Stresses that the financial crisis has created an opportunity where the need for innovation as a motor for the economy can no longer be ignored; the time is right to create the dynamic knowledge-based economy Europe set out to build some eight years ago; it is time to create the most energy-efficient economy that has the potential to transform the world and ensure European prosperity and international competitiveness for decades to come. It is time to stimulate innovative industries, with the capacity to bring new growth to Europe;

6.   Recognises the positive results of rescue measures adopted to avoid additional damage to the fiscal system; calls, nevertheless, for a new financial architecture through the establishment of transparent and effective regulation which is in the best interest of consumers, enterprises and employees; calls for further legislative proposals as well as international agreements that can tackle excessive risk-taking, leveraging and economic short-termism as basic sources of the crisis; reminds the Commission of its obligation to respond to Parliament's requests concerning the regulation of hedge funds and private equity and expects legislative proposals in the short term;

7.   Stresses the urgent need to ensure that the financial sector, which benefited from public support, provides companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and households with sufficient credit; insists that rescue plans must contain binding conditions with regard to dividend distribution as well as lending practices;

8.   Warns against a vicious circle of lower investments and lower consumer spending, leading to job cuts, downsized business plans and less innovation, which is likely to push the EU into a deep and longer-lasting recession; stresses that a coordinated European response is crucial in this context to avoid the crisis leading to a sum of conflicting national plans for financial stability and economic recovery, with potential conflicts and costs, undermining the internal market, economic stability and the Economic and Monetary Union, as well as the European Union's role as global economic actor;

9.   Expects joint action to overcome the effects of the financial crisis on the real economy; calls for the setting of benchmarks with regard to future employment and growth rates, which should then help to determine the size and components of the European Economic Recovery Plan; calls, in this context, for the development – in the framework of the growth and stability pact and its rules of flexibility – of a coherent European strategy for future investments (e.g. in qualified and skilled human capital to allow technological breakthroughs and development, innovation, energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructures, communication technologies, interconnection and services including health services, and opportunities for business life, not least for SMEs to invest in new products and markets), the safeguarding of jobs and income, as well as better coordination of economic and social policies;

10.   Takes the view that energy from renewable sources, energy efficiency and the environment can act as a strategic focus for stimulus measures, which will create high quality green jobs and give Europe's industry a first-mover advantage over other regions of the world that have yet to seize the initiative;

11.   Takes the view that only a policy which combines the fight against growing unemployment and poverty in the short term with preparing the ground for the transition of our economy towards sustainability in the longer term can bring about a longer-lasting solution which takes its inspiration from the sustainability strategy agreed in Gothenburg, which has been declared part of the Lisbon Strategy;

12.   Stresses that the European Union's top priority must be to protect its citizens from the effects of the financial crisis as they are most strongly affected whether as workers, members of households, or entrepreneurs; takes the view that many workers and their families are or will be hit by the crisis and that action needs to be taken to help stem the loss of jobs and to help people return rapidly to the labour market, rather than face long-term unemployment; expects the 2009 Spring European Council to agree on clear guidance and concrete measures to safeguard employment and create job opportunities;

13.   Considers that among the impacts of the economic crisis the rise of poverty in the European Union is the greatest concern; considers it essential to halt the current rise in unemployment in the European Union; points out that the most efficient way of reducing and preventing poverty is through a strategy based on the goals of full employment, high-quality jobs, social inclusion, measures to encourage entrepreneurship, and activities to boost the role of SMEs and investments; recalls that a strategy to address exclusion from the labour market should be based on adequate living standards and income support, inclusive labour markets as well as access to high-quality services and education; considers, therefore, that employment must be supported by actions for entrepreneurs, SMEs and investments, as well as initiatives to help people in re-entering the labour market; considers that a special priority in this respect should be retraining the unemployed and providing education aimed at creating a skilled and specialised workforce; considers that the principle of solidarity is fundamental to the European construction process, that Community financing should be made available to Member States in respect of schemes aimed at preventing the excessive loss of jobs, retraining workers and endowing non-skilled people with skills; considers that labour regulation needs to be developed in order to achieve a higher degree of flexibility and security within the labour market as well as in getting a new job; considers that Community financial instruments, such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, must be revamped so that they can be deployed efficiently and in a timely manner, in relation to large sectors of the economy that are shedding jobs; welcomes the Commission's proposal to simplify the criteria for the European Social Fund and refocus activities towards the most vulnerable;

14.   Points out that SMEs, which form the keystone of Europe's economy, are particularly hard hit by the current economic downturn; stresses that the credit squeeze has hit the SME sector hardest, since it is the part of the economy that relies most on short-term working capital, usually provided through credits; points out that lack of capital, coupled with a generalised slump in demand is forcing SMEs to retreat on all fronts; points out that the current hardships of SMEs, as the largest contributors to GDP and the largest employer in the European Union, have the furtherst-reaching consequences as regards the European Union as a whole, and, in particular, as regards the most vulnerable and affected regions; stresses, furthermore, the importance of rapidly implementing the Small Business Act in general and, in particular, provisions for credits to SMEs through European Investment Bank (EIB) action;

15.   Stresses that sufficient, affordable and reasonably secure access to finance is a decisive precondition for investment and growth; believes that, in the current economic climate, the Small Business Act and its objectives are now more important than ever, as SMEs offer untapped potential for economic growth and for creating and sustaining jobs, and provide an opportunity for political leadership and the underpinning of confidence in Europe's enterprise sector;

16.   Points out that, for sustained growth, Europe needs a healthy, dynamic and skilled labour force; and that this is unfortunately undermined, inter alia, by negative population growth in most Member States; considers that an effective childcare infrastructure, as agreed at the European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002, is an important catalyst for reconciling work and family life; considers that the development of child care, based on families, makes it easier for women as well as men to take part in working life and raise families; points out that increasing women's employment not only leads to the growth of the economy as a whole but also contributes to alleviating the demographic challenges that are facing Europe today; considers that solidarity between generations must be stimulated to gain more potential from existing labour force;

17.   Insists nonetheless, that Member States must revamp their immigration policies, so as to aim to specifically attract, in a targeted manner, highly skilled immigrants who meet the demands of the European labour market, building on the United States" experience in this area, and taking care to cooperate with the countries of origin in order to avoid a brain drain; considers that education policy should be aimed more at attracting foreign researchers and students, who stay in the European Union for longer periods of time (e.g. the Erasmus Mundus programme, 2007-2012); considers that one of the crucial prerequisites for creating the world's leading knowledge-based economy is that all Member States guarantee and protect the basic rights of legal migrants and provide them access to common European values and respect for cultural diversity;

Citizens' needs and necessary responses

18.   Notes that, owing to the current crisis, there are a number of key priorities of the Lisbon Strategy, the implementation of which should be pursued by the European institutions with increased urgency: promoting regional and local competitiveness and adhering to the competition rules, as well as promoting consumer policies to make markets more efficient and equitable, taking advantage of the internal market, particularly in retailing and services; frontloading the implementation of the Small Business Act, in particular the rapid implementation of Directive 2000/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2000 on combating late payment in commercial transactions(5) and the rapid adoption and implementation of the Commission proposal of 25 June 2008 for a Council regulation on the Statute for a European private company (COM(2008)0396 ), moving forward quickly with the implementation of the European Research Area and the 'fifth freedom' proposals to improve the free circulation of knowledge and innovation by boosting knowledge transfer within the scope of education, research and development (R&D) and industrial production; the adoption of the cost-effective Community Patent and EU-wide Patent Court system, which would significantly improve the competitiveness of European businesses, facilitating companies' access to financing and stimulating innovation;

19.   Takes the view that the European Union should pursue a common fundamental goal to create employment opportunities and thus prevent mass unemployment; considers that that goal should therefore determine the magnitude and components of the European Economic Recovery Plan; considers that solidarity is indispensable with a view to ensuring that the European Economic Recovery Plan and accompanying measures have the most positive impact on labour markets in Europe; stresses the need for additional efforts to support the most vulnerable groups in society;

20.   Strongly advocates a labour market policy that encourages labour market access for all and promotes lifelong learning; calls on the Member States and the social partners to reach innovative agreements to keep people employed; supports, inter alia, the reduction of social charges on lower incomes to promote the employability of lower-skilled workers and the introduction of innovative solutions (e.g. service cheques for household and child care, hire subsidies for vulnerable groups), which have already been successfully pioneered in some Member States; expects exchanges of best practices in this respect;

21.   Stresses the need to strengthen the effectiveness of consumer protection rules in order to respond to the strong expectations of citizens of the Union, in particular with regard to financial products; encourages Member States to establish policies which support the most severely hit victims of the financial crisis;

22.   Stresses the importance of ensuring free movement and mobility on the labour market without delay, while insisting on the need to guarantee equal pay for equal work and full respect for collective bargaining and the role of trade unions, including their right to collective action; stresses that the removal of barriers to mobility on the European labour market allows greater protection for the European workforce; notes that the European Union must make an effort to explain to citizens the benefits of an approach that effectively combines enlargement, integration, solidarity and labour mobility;

23.   Notes that some Member States have introduced the concept of a minimum wage; suggests that other Member States might benefit from studying their experience; calls on the Member States to safeguard the preconditions for social and economic participation for all and, in particular, to provide for regulations on such matters as minimum wages or other legal and generally binding arrangements or through collective agreements in accordance with national traditions that enable full-time workers to make a decent living from their earnings;

24.   Believes the financial crisis provides the opportunity for necessary reforms, with an emphasis on sound economic fundamentals, ranging from appropriate investment in education and skills to quality in public finances and an environment that nurtures innovation and job creation; considers that sustainable growth and job creation in the European Union increasingly depends on excellence and innovation as the main drivers of European competitiveness;

25.   Calls on the European Union and its Member States to take swift action to promote growth and jobs and to strengthen demand and consumer confidence; considers a smart growth initiative focusing on the Lisbon Strategy goals such as investments in the "knowledge triangle" (comprising education, research and innovation), green technologies, energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructures and communication technologies to be essential in this context; underlines the synergy effects of such an initiative with regard to future competitiveness, the labour market and the protection of the environment and resources;

26.   Stresses that Member States should continue the reform of labour markets to create more jobs and education systems in order to help raise skill levels, considers that Member States should also continue efforts to encourage productivity growth through more investment in education; stresses also that meeting the challenges of innovation and its dissemination as well as ensuring the labour force's employability and flexibility requires improved education and training, as well as lifelong learning; points out, however, that the current investment in human capital in Europe is still clearly inadequate for a 'knowledge-intensive' economy;

27.   Stresses that the current crisis must not be used as a pretext to delay a much needed reorientation of spending towards 'green' investments, but should rather be understood as an extra incentive to press ahead with the much needed ecological conversion of the industry; is convinced that the economic case for tackling climate change is clear and every step to delay the necessary action will ultimately lead to greater costs;

28.   Calls on the Member States to revise their budgets and to invest in smart growth projects, thereby making full use of the revised Stability and Growth Pact;

29.   Stresses that Member States" economies are highly interdependent; stresses, therefore, the need for more effective coordination and improved governance, which is even more pressing in times of crisis; points out that the argument for more cooperation is strongest in the euro area; refers to its recommendations in the framework of the EMU@10 resolution in this context; expects from the Commission clear and strong guidance towards an improved coordinated approach amongst all Member States;

30.   Believes that ditching the fight against climate change and putting environmental investments on hold would be a devastating mistake which would have both an immediate and an inter-generational impact;

Europe's scope for action

31.   Stresses the need to strengthen the social dimension of the European and national recovery plans; calls on the Commission to monitor and make proposals on the social impact of the financial crisis, especially on social exclusion, poverty and pensions, up to the 2009 Spring European Council;

32.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the European Social Fund's main funding scheme is mainly directed towards retraining and increased employability as well as social inclusion activities in order to overcome the negative social effects of the crisis; recalls that the focus should be on those most remote from the labour market;

33.   Points out that we need a Green New Deal for Europe, which tackles the economic, environmental and social crisis: job creation in the sector of manufacturing and industry-related need to be complemented by massive investment in social services, in particular education and health, by creating better conditions for teaching our children and students, and by massively increasing the number of teachers and improving the physical conditions for learning, all of which is an investment that will pay back in the future;

34.   Points out that such a Green New Deal investment should also aim for efficiency gains and substitution for resources other than oil ("critical materials"), which are likely to become scarce in the short to medium term and will hamper the development of certain sectors, e.g. the information, communication and entertainment industry; notes that, according to recent studies, huge efficiency gains can be made on such materials, which would reduce waste, costs and resource dependency;

35.   Points out, with regard to energy, that Europe is currently dependent on fossil fuels as its main source of energy; considers that, while dependency on fossil fuels must be reduced, it is also imperative to achieve energy security for Europe; believes that this means diversifying its sources of fossil fuels, while trying to maintain energy at affordable prices; considers that energy sectors in Member States must be opened up and real competition must be achieved; considers that energy efficiency must be improved through R&D and the mainstreaming of 'best practices'; considers that, with high oil and gas prices in the long run, Europe must be able to reduce its exposure in this area; considers it of utmost importance that the European Union should consider moving towards an internal energy market, to distribute its energy more efficiently between Member States, and to counter its dependence on energy from third countries; considers that the European Union's share of energy from renewable sources must be increased in order to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels; considers that R&D in this area should be intensified and diverse local solutions should be favoured in order to make best use of available energy from renewable sources;

36.   Notes that the European Union is still lagging behind the speed of innovations in the US economy; points out that innovation can ensure a speedy recovery of European economies by providing comparative advantage on global markets; points out that, in times of economic downturn, it is common practice to cut back on R%D spending, but that this is the wrong approach, since it is exactly the opposite that needs to be done; believes that increased investment in R&D and education enhances productivity and thus growth; calls for investments in research and science with a view to achieving the goal of 3 % of GDP; stresses that the EU budget must allow for a bigger share of spending for research; considers that Member States should increase, or at least meet, their R&D investment targets and should provide support for private-sector R&D investments, through fiscal measures, loan guarantees and regional clusters and centres of excellence, and any other instruments that can contribute to this objective; considers that adult education and lifelong learning should be priorities at all policy levels, as they increase productivity, while providing the necessary skills for entering the labour market and staying employable within a highly competitive working area;

37.   Points out that, since the beginning of the 21st century, technology and telecommunications tools have unleashed the forces of globalisation on a previously unimagined scale, have 'flattened' communications and labour markets and have contributed to a period of unprecedented innovation, making economies more productive and also connecting global citizens; believes, therefore, that by maximising the power and impact of technology on the economy, further open up the internal market in telecommunications, energy and research and the industrial sector in particular, the European Union can emerge stronger from the current economic turmoil, strengthen the quality and affordability of its health care, advance climate-friendly energy development and deployment, improve education throughout its Member States and promote the prospects of the European Union becoming the world's leader in technology and applied technological innovation; points out that the knowledge-based economy needs the development of high-quality services and a broadband strategy able to accelerate the upgrading and extension of networks; takes the view that the Commission proposal within the European Economic Recovery Plan aiming to achieve full coverage with broadband communication networks by 2010 is a necessary step forward that will allow the European Union to maintain its competitiveness;

38.   Asks for more attention to be focused on the Commission's White Paper of 21 November 2001 on Youth (COM(2001)0681 ) and on the European Council's European Youth Pact adopted on 22 and 23 March 2005 as one of the instruments contributing to the Lisbon Strategy goals; is of the opinion that the Commission should consider and incorporate the impact on youth and the results of the structures dialogue with youth organisations when preparing legislative proposals and that Member States should focus on youth when implementing the Lisbon National Reform Programmes and take youth into account in the relevant policy fields; considers that an increase in student mobility and the quality of the different educational systems should be a priority in the context of redefining the major goals of the Bologna Process beyond 2010 and action must be taken across different policy areas; points out that various aspects of mobility go beyond the scope of higher education and concern the scope of social affairs, finance, and immigration and visa policies to develop a real European Area for Higher Education;

39.   Considers a 'Europeanisation' of the financial supervision structure, effective competition rules, appropriate regulation and improved transparency of the financial markets to be essential in the medium term to avoid a repetition of the current crisis; takes the view that an integrated, comprehensive (covering all financial sectors) and coherent supervisory framework, starting with a balanced approach in regulating the cross-border spread of financial risk on the basis of harmonised legislation, would decrease compliance costs in the case of multi-jurisdiction activities; calls on the Commission to put forward proposals for revising the existing supervisory architecture along those principles; calls on the Member States, notwithstanding the measures set out in this paragraph, to return in the medium term to balanced public financing, and therefore calls on the Member States to clarify how they will be able to achieve that objective;

40.   Supports the decision of the European members of the G20 at the end of February 2009 in Berlin to take 'definitive actions against tax havens and uncooperative jurisdictions', by agreeing on a toolbox of sanctions as soon as possible, which has to be endorsed at the London summit; recommends that the EU adopt at its own level the adequate legislative framework with appropriate incentives towards market players to refrain from doing business with these jurisdictions; underlines how convergent approaches globally are essential to tackle this issue;

41.   41 Calls on the Member States and the European Union to amend the EU budget with a view to allowing for the use of unused financial resources in order to support the policy goals of the European Union;

42.   Is concerned by the increasing regional differences with regard to the effects of the financial crisis, reflected, inter alia, in the increasing spread between the creditworthiness of Member States, leading to higher costs for loans for those with lower ratings; calls for the development of new innovative financial instruments in order to mitigate these effects and to attract fresh capital;

43.   Underlines that the crisis is having extremely negative economic and social consequences in many of the new Member States, substantially slowing their convergence with the EU-15; expects, furthermore, spill-over effects, affecting the euro and the economies of the euro-zone; calls, therefore, for strong European solidarity measures to protect the eurozone and strengthen the internal consistency of the European Union, in particular with a view to stronger support for the economies of Central and Eastern Europe, especially by adapting the structural funds and the Globalisation Fund for these countries, as well as special support from the EIB with regard to new innovative financial instruments; points to the importance of European unity in times of economic crisis when the economic downturn also threatens European common values; calls, therefore, for more attentive and careful action on the part of the Commission with regard to the new Member States;

44.   Notes that EU funding instruments should be used to support public spending; points out that, in order to contribute to the economic recovery of the European Union, the implementation rate and speed of these funding instruments needs to be accelerated; considers that the European Union's cohesion policy is an excellent instrument of territorial solidarity, especially the trans-border components thereof; is very satisfied with the recent "Lisbonisation" of the cohesion policy; considers that, through steps to direct regional funds more towards entrepreneurship, research, innovation, employment and new skills, considerable funds should become available at local level to enhance business potential and support the most vulnerable;

45.   Points out that the programmes relating to the Trans-European Transport Network (TENs-T) and the Trans-European Energy Networks (TENs-E) should also make their full contribution both to the European Economic Recovery Plan and to the Lisbon Strategy goals; considers that the positive efforts of the coordinators as well as the setting-up of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency, together with the implementing legislation to improve the efficiency of co-modality, have resulted in a substantial number of fully completed TEN-T projects all over the European Union to boost sustainable growth and better mobility;

46.   Notes the essential role of the EIB with regard to the European Economic Recovery Plan; welcomes the increase in capital for the EIB from the Member States in order to issue more loans to SMEs; insists that loans are accessible to SMEs from all Member States, in a transparent and equitable manner; calls for a further strengthening of the role of the EIB with regard to new innovative financial instruments;

47.   Considers, with regard to economic governance, that the current economic crisis requires firm, coordinated and timely government intervention by all Member States, as well as regulatory measures in order to shore up financial markets and restore confidence; considers that new legislative measures should be based on the principles of transparency and accountability and that effective monitoring needs to be implemented so as to safeguard consumer rights; considers that new regulation should include requirements against excessive leveraging and for higher capital reserves for banks; points, moreover, in this connection, to the present problems relating to valuation rules and risk assessment; considers that controls need to keep up with financial innovations and that the European Union should enhance the know-how of its regulatory bodies in this respect; considers that more regulation is not necessarily better regulation; considers that Member States must coordinate their regulatory actions; considers that stabilisation standards and regulation of the financial supervision in the euro area must be safeguarded;

48.   Recalls that credit rating agencies bear their share of responsibility for the financial crisis; welcomes the call by the European Council to speed up the adoption of the Commission proposal of 12 November 2008 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Credit Rating Agencies (COM(2008)0704 ) to tighten up the rules on rating agencies;

49.   Calls on the Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal to exempt so-called micro-entities from the scope of the Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EEC of 25 July 1978 based on Article 54(3)(g) of the Treaty on the annual accounts of certain types of companies(6) ;

50.   Believes that it is very urgent to enhance global regulation of the financial sector, which has to reach far beyond the classic banking sector, to undertake bold measures to establish binding rules for prudential supervision, transparency and good practices, and to apply sanctions to all states and territories which do not cooperate; calls on the Commission to put forward appropriate proposals in this regard and urges the Council to prepare the political field in international negotiations for a swift acceptance of such an approach; notes that global financial stability is a public good, and that responsibility for safeguarding this lies with political leaders;

51.   Urges the Council to settle, by March 2009, the review of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax(7) in order to allow for reduced VAT levels on labour-intensive and staff-intensive services and other appropriate measures to stimulate domestic demand; calls for coordinated action and solidarity by the Member States in this respect by allowing for the differentiated options in sectoral VAT reduction provided for in the VAT Directive which Member States may or may not choose to implement, according to their respective priorities; considers that selective tax incentives should stimulate domestic demand as well as the economy;

52.   Warmly welcomes the fact that the Commission has called for a High-Level Group on Debureaucratisation and asks that the proposals agreed by that Group be implemented as soon as possible; stresses that the Lisbon Strategy should provide for the reduction of regulatory burdens on companies, while furthering productivity and thus higher growth rates across the board; believes that the European Union must examine alternatives for regulation, consult with stakeholders on new regulation and focus on the ratios between the costs and benefits of regulation;

Lisbon Strategy evaluation, next steps and the way ahead

53.   Welcomes the progress made under the Lisbon Strategy during recent years but notes that a number of important legislative initiatives are still pending and should be adopted as a matter of priority; underlines the unbalanced situation regarding the quality and quantity of initiatives under the different European guidelines; calls for a more balanced approach in the interests of a real multi-supportive EU policy mix reform programme; supports the strengthening of the external dimension of the European reform agenda, providing for high standards, appropriate regulatory framework and cooperative working methods in order to collaborate with other international economic players and to meet global challenges; welcomes, in this context, the work undertaken by various Commission directorates-general in developing new qualitative indicators; urges the Council to ask the Commission to ensure that such indicators be used in the upcoming evaluations of the NRPs and be incorporated in the Commission's monitoring, thereby creating a more comprehensive and adequate picture of the successes of the Lisbon-Gothenburg Strategy;

54.   Emphasises that greater delivery within the Lisbon Strategy requires effective peer pressure on the part of the Council within the framework of multilateral surveillance;

55.   Points out that the open method of coordination, on which the Lisbon Strategy has been based for nine years, has revealed these limitations in the face of new internal and external challenges confronting the European Union; urges, therefore, that the post-Lisbon Strategy period be based on a more proactive, more global policy, i.e. on the updating of existing common policies (for trade, internal market, economic and monetary union, etc.) and on new common external policies (energy, climate, development, migration, etc.);

56.   Regrets that, with only one year left on the timescale of the Lisbon strategy, clearly defined goals have not been met and progress in programme areas has been insufficient; takes the view that Member States" efforts have been lacking in implementing measures to bring the goals of the Lisbon strategy closer; believes that the Lisbon Strategy must be seen as an important guideline for future-shaping policies, aimed at a strong, competitive and growth-fostering EU; considers, therefore, that it deserves to be taken more seriously by Member States and should not be seen merely as a set of distant goals, but as an action plan for the further development of Europe;

57.   Proposes that further reflection on a 'Lisbon Plus-Agenda' (which must start in 2010) should be based on the general architecture of the present Lisbon Strategy (competitiveness and greening of European industries, more and better jobs, social inclusion, sustainability), but stresses the need to present a more homogenous and mutually supportive approach capable of decisively enlarging the European Lisbon governance capacity; c. asks the Commission for a thorough evaluation of the past nine years of the Lisbon Strategy and of the achievement of and commitment to the goals of the Lisbon strategy by the Member States to be presented before the end of 2009;

58.   Asks the Commission to analyse the usefulness of a post-Lisbon strategy with new aims and goals, and especially to assess the readiness of Member States to implement such a new programme, and its viability; stresses the need to refocus the IPGs against the background of the economic downturn and urges the Council to agree on short-term measures to safeguard the 2008 employment rate, to invest in the fight against climate change and to ensure sufficient incomes, especially with regard to the most vulnerable groups of society; expects the Commission to launch initiatives and present proposals with respect to these goals in good time for the Spring Lisbon Council in 2010;

59.   Stresses that the 'Lisbonisation' of public expenditure in all Member States and of the EU budget must become a reality, as it would mainstream the Lisbon Strategy itself and radically enhance effectiveness in the quest for achieving the goals of growth and job creation;

60.   Notes that the tools needed by the European Union to foster the goals of the Lisbon Strategy are essentially the streamlining of all related policies, all financial instruments and funds, as well as the EU budget in such a way as to induce an acceleration and deepening of efforts for growth and job creation; considers that, in the short run, stronger fiscal stimuli are needed for swift recovery from the economic crisis provided that it reorientates private expenses and behaviour in consistency with the objectives set by the Lisbon-Gothenburg Strategy and the climate-energy package; warns, in this context, against indiscriminate tax cuts; takes the view that fiscal stimuli must be targeted towards social and environmental objectives; considers that possible means are reductions in value-added tax levels, for labour-intensive services and locally supplied services, considers also that funding can be provided for green initiatives in, inter alia, the energy sector, as well as the automobile and the construction sector, especially since those sectors are experiencing a collapse in demand for their products; considers that consumers can, for example, be supported in buying greener cars and environmentally friendly housing through tax exemptions;

61.   Regrets the still weak visibility of the Lisbon Strategy in the national policies of many Member States; takes the view that the mobilisation of all economic stakeholders is essential to ensure its effective implementation; believes, in particular, that the closer involvement of social partners, national parliaments, regional and local authorities as well as civil society will improve the achievements of the Lisbon Strategy and enhance the public debate on appropriate reforms; believes that the mobilisation of all stakeholders can be ensured through proper implementation of the principle of multi-level governance;

62.   Regrets, once again, that a clear plan and code of practice has still not been agreed between Parliament, the Council and the Commission in consultation with the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, which would guarantee appropriate cooperation and the full involvement of all relevant EU institutions concerned in the appropriate further handling of the follow-up of the Lisbon Strategy; calls, in this connection, on the Council and the Commission to submit forthwith proposals for the close cooperation of the relevant EU institutions with a view to the impending revision of the integrated policy guidelines as well as the reflection and set-up of the forthcoming Lisbon II agenda;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 422.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0058 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0543 .
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0057 .
(5) OJ L 200, 8.8.2000, p. 35.
(6) OJ L 222, 14.8.1978, p. 11.
(7) OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1.


Combating climate change
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on an EU strategy for a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen and the adequate provision of financing for climate change policy
P6_TA(2009)0121 B6-0134/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 175 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to the climate and energy package adopted by Parliament on 17 December 2008, in particular its positions on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading system of the Community(1) and on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community's greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020(2) ,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 19 and 20 June 2008 and 11 and 12 December 2008,

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2009 on '2050: The future begins today – Recommendations for the EU's future integrated policy on climate change'(3) ,

–   having regard to the 14th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 14) and the Fourth Conference of Parties serving as a meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 4), held between 1 and 12 December 2008 in Poznań (Poland),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 28 January 2009 entitled 'Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen' (COM(2009)0039 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 26 November 2008 entitled 'A European Economic Recovery Plan' (COM(2008)0800 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 22 November 2007 entitled 'A European strategic energy technology plan (SET-Plan) – Towards a low-carbon future' (COM(2007)0723 ),

–   having regard to Rule 103 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas negotiations on a comprehensive international agreement on climate change consistent with the objective of limiting global temperature increases to below 2ºC are due to be concluded in Copenhagen in December 2009,

B.   whereas recent studies show that there is potential for reducing global greenhouse emissions by 40 % by 2030 and that, at a cost of less than half of one percent of global GDP, wind, solar and other sustainable renewable energies could provide almost a third of total global power needs; whereas energy efficiency could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than a quarter and whereas deforestation could be almost halted,

C.   whereas an increasing number of scientists are recognising that avoiding dangerous climate change will require a stabilisation of the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at 350 ppmv CO2 equivalent, a level significantly lower than previously recommended,

D.   whereas the European Union will agree on its negotiating position at the Spring 2009 European Council,

E.   whereas the EU has striven to play a leading role in the fight against global warming and is fully supportive of the UNFCCC negotiation process,

F.   whereas the EU has adopted the above-mentioned climate and energy package consisting of legislative measures to implement a unilateral 20 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2020, with the commitment to move to a 30 % reduction if a sufficiently ambitious international agreement is reached in Copenhagen,

G.   whereas emissions are growing rapidly in developing countries, which cannot reduce them without considerable technical and financial support,

H.   whereas deforestation and forest degradation account for some 20 % of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and also pose a major threat in the context of climate change since they jeopardise the important function of forests as a carbon sink; whereas deforestation occurs at an alarming rate of 13 million hectares per year, most of it in tropical regions in developing countries,

I.   whereas the EU emission trading scheme (EU ETS) may work as a template for the development of emission trading in other developed countries and regions,

J.   whereas half of the global mitigation efforts could be met through low-cost 'win-win' measures, i.e. by improving energy efficiency,

K.   whereas auctioning in emissions trading has the potential to generate a considerable amount of revenue in the future which could be used to finance mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries,

L.   whereas the facilitation of financing for high-quality projects in developing countries, especially as regards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is dependent on a comprehensive, transparent and continuous flow of information regarding the availability of, and the means to apply for, funding; whereas this must be the responsibility of the international community, with the EU taking a leading role and setting a good example,

M.   whereas, according to recent estimates, new investment needed in emission reduction globally amounts to EUR 175 000 million by 2020, of which more than half should be invested in developing countries,

N.   whereas the Commission has estimated that halving deforestation by 2020 will cost EUR 15-25 000 million annually by that year, and that halting deforestation will require even larger amounts,

O.   whereas various studies by international organisations have estimated the cost of adaptation to climate change in developing countries to be in the range of tens of billions of euros annually,

1.   Underlines that the EU must maintain a leading role in international climate policy; stresses the importance of the EU speaking with one voice in order to maintain its credibility in this role;

2.   Calls for the EU to actively pursue a Copenhagen agreement which takes into account the most recent scientific reports on climate change, commits the parties to stabilisation levels and temperature targets that provide a strong probability of avoiding dangerous climate change, and allows for regular reviews to ensure that targets are in line with the latest science; welcomes the Commission's proposals in this area;

3.   Recalls that, in order to limit the global average temperature increase to not more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, it is necessary not only that developed countries significantly reduce their emissions but also that developing countries should contribute to the attainment of this objective;

4.   Points out that the reduction of emissions in developing countries below 'business as usual' levels will be instrumental in limiting the average global temperature increase to well below 2ºC and requires broad support from industrialised countries;

5.   Underlines that, in order to allow the necessary mitigation action in developing countries, significantly increased financial resources are needed;

6.   Emphasises the responsibility of industrialised countries for providing sufficient, sustainable and predictable financial and technical support to the developing countries to give them incentives to commit themselves to the reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to the consequences of climate change and to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to enhance capacity-building in order to comply with obligations under the future international agreement on climate change; stresses that a majority of such funds must be new and additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA);

7.   Recalls its above-mentioned resolution of 4 February 2009 and in particular those parts devoted to the international dimension and to financing and budgetary matters, including the importance of setting for the EU and the other industrialised countries as a group a long-term reduction target of at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990;

8.   Furthermore recalls its recommendation that certain principles adopted in the climate and energy package be used as blueprint for the international agreement, in particular the binding linear pathway for industrialised country commitments, differentiation on the basis of verified emissions, and a strengthened compliance regime with an annual abatement factor;

9.   Emphasises that, in the current financial and economic crisis, the EU's objective of fighting climate change can be combined with major new economic opportunities to develop new technologies, to create jobs and to enhance energy security; underlines that an agreement in Copenhagen could provide the necessary stimulus for such a 'Green New Deal' boosting economic growth, promoting green technologies and securing these new jobs in the EU and in developing countries;

10.   Calls for the European Council to aim for an international agreement with industrialised countries achieving collective greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the high end of the 25-40 % range as recommended by the Fourth Assessment Report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 4AR), and for those reductions to be domestic;

11.   Is concerned about the lack of precision regarding the level of the EU's financial responsibility in the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 28 January 2009; calls on the European Council, when adopting a negotiating mandate for the Copenhagen conference, to make tangible commitments on financing that are consistent with the global efforts needed in order to limit the average temperature increase to well below 2°C;

12.   Believes that such commitments on financing should include, as provided for by the European Council in December 2008, a pledge by Member States to use a significant part of the auctioning revenues generated by the EU ETS to finance actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change in developing countries which will have ratified the international agreement on climate change, but stresses that as less than 50% of EU emissions are covered by emission trading it is necessary to include other sectors of the economy in the Member States when it comes to the effort of financing these important actions;

13.   Insists that such commitments must provide for predictable financing for mechanisms set up in the UNFCCC context which are additional to ODA and independent from annual budgetary procedures in the Member States;

14.   Welcomes the two alternatives for innovative funding outlined in the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 28 January 2009, as long as they are designed in a manner that guarantees sufficiently predictable levels of funding; furthermore agrees with the suggestion that this be combined with funding from auctioning for aviation and maritime transport under cap and trade systems;

15.   Welcomes the Commission's idea that part of the finance should be given in the form of loans because some activities can create a 'win-win' situation also in developing countries;

16.   Underlines that binding targets would enable investors to better assess the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and would involve investors in projects that would meet mitigation as well as adaptation targets; underlines, moreover, the need for clarity regarding the role of private capital in the investment necessary in order to reach the targets;

17.   However, considers it of the utmost importance to adopt a more comprehensive action plan on the future financing of climate policy, which would cover all relevant areas and sources of financing; regards the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 28 January 2009 as a good starting point for that work, but stresses that it must be strengthened with clearly defined measures; calls on the European Council to mandate the Commission to urgently develop such an action plan with a view to the Copenhagen negotiations;

18.   Believes that a large part of the collective contribution towards the mitigation efforts and adaptation needs of developing countries must be dedicated to projects which strive to halt deforestation and forest degradation, and to reforestation and afforestation projects in such countries;

19.   Welcomes the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a possible way to enable developing countries to participate in the carbon market; underlines that the use of offsets to meet emission reduction targets by industrialised countries cannot be part of the responsibility of developing countries to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions in an international agreement on climate change; insists, therefore, that stringent project quality criteria must be part of future offsetting mechanisms, in order to avoid industrialised countries taking away the low-cost reduction options from developing countries, and in addition to guarantee the high standard of such projects, with reliable, verifiable and real emission reductions that also provide for sustainable development in such countries;

20.   Considers that the collective contribution by the EU towards developing countries' mitigation efforts and adaptation needs should not be less than EUR 30 000 million per annum by 2020, a figure that may increase as new knowledge is acquired concerning the severity of climate change and the scale of its costs;

21.   Underlines that large financial flows for mitigation efforts and adaptation needs in developing countries are only part of the solution; insists that the funds should be spent in a sustainable way, avoiding bureaucracy, in particular for SMEs, and corruption; stresses that the funding must be predictable, coordinated and transparent, building capacity within developing countries at both central and local level, giving priority to the people that face problems with climate change and not only the governments; stresses in this context the importance of continuous and easily accessible information on the funding available; calls on the Council and the upcoming Swedish Presidency to actively promote these principles during the UNFCCC COP15 negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009;

22.   Calls on the Commission to abandon its previous resistance to the inclusion of forestry in emissions trading schemes; believes that both market and non-market based finance will be required to fund future 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation' (REDD) mechanisms under a post-2012 agreement; in this context, calls on the Commission and the Council to take the lead in developing pilot carbon markets for REDD; further calls on the Commission and the Council to elaborate on how market and non-market based forestry funds could complement each other;

23.   Believes that, with the EU leading the way in the provision of financial and technical support for developing countries, the chances of success in the Copenhagen negotiations will improve considerably; believes that it is necessary for the EU to show leadership in the area of finance by providing concrete negotiating figures at an early stage, in order to mobilise sufficient domestic public support, to encourage developing countries to adopt ambitious binding reduction targets, and to encourage other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries to contribute in a similar manner;

24.   Acknowledges the fact that the EU as a whole is on track to meet the Kyoto target but points out that some Member States are far away from their Kyoto target, and that this could undermine the credibility of the EU in the Copenhagen process; insists, therefore, that those Member States that are not already on track to meet the Kyoto target should intensify their efforts;

25.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretariat of the UNFCCC, with a request to the latter that it be forwarded to all contracting parties which are not EU Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0610 .
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0611 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0042 .


Employment policy guidelines
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on implementation of the guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States 2008-2010
P6_TA(2009)0122 B6-0133/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its position of 20 May 2008 on Employment Guidelines 2008-2010(1) ,

–   having regard to the Commission's Communication of 26 November 2008 on A European Economic Recovery Plan (COM(2008)0800 ),

–   having regard to the Council Decision 2008/618/EC of 15 July 2008 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States(2) ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States of 28 January 2009 (COM(2008)0869 ),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 11 and 12 December 2008, which set out the EU framework of action to avoid recession and sustain economic activity and employment,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 on promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, including child poverty, in the EU(3) ,

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

A.   whereas there is a strong interrelationship between economic growth, employment, the fight against poverty and social inclusion,

B.   whereas the current economic crisis presents the unprecedented challenges of increasing unemployment and social exclusion, and whereas the European Union's economic situation is forecast to deteriorate even further, generating decreased or even negative employment growth and increased unemployment in the Union in 2009,

C.   whereas the European Employment Strategy and the Employment Guidelines are the main instruments within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy aimed at addressing labour market challenges,

D.   whereas the Union and the Member States have a shared responsibility for addressing the challenges, opportunities and uncertainties of citizens in respect of globalisation,

E.   whereas the global financial and economic crisis requires the Union to respond in a decisive and coordinated way in order to prevent job losses, support adequate income of citizens and avoid recession, and to turn the present economic and employment challenges into opportunities,

F.   whereas it is therefore urgent to step up efforts at all levels of governance, with the involvement of social partners and other relevant actors, to invest in people and modernise European labour markets, in particular by applying flexicurity approaches, in consultation with the social partners in accordance with national custom and practice,

General: economic recovery and employment policy guidance

1.   Believes that, in the face of a severe worldwide recession and a forecast increase in unemployment of at least 3,5 million in the EU by the end of 2009, the central goals of employment policy for the Union and its Member States must be: to preserve as many viable jobs as possible from the short-term failure of demand; to assist employment creation; and to support both the purchasing power of unemployed workers and their ability rapidly to re-gain employment; calls on the Commission to give a clear signal to Member States that the Employment Guidelines should be implemented in this spirit, and to tackle employment as a priority issue by putting proposals to the 2009 Spring European Council for a European Employment Initiative, with coordinated action by Member States to safeguard employment and create new jobs;

2.   Welcomes the Commission's Communication on a European Economic Recovery Plan and its emphasis on the connection between short-term fiscal stimulus and the long-term Lisbon Strategy and the Integrated Guidelines; underlines in this respect the importance of ensuring that any short-term measures taken by Member States to recover the economy contribute towards achieving the commonly agreed objectives;

3.   Notes as a central dilemma in the current crisis that European economic policy instruments are not yet developed enough to successfully meet the challenges ahead; requires, therefore, a review and an update of the essential policy tools, in particular the Integrated Guidelines, the Stability and Growth Pact, as well as the Sustainable Development Strategy, in order to integrate them under the umbrella of a New Deal for Smart Growth in the European Union;

4.   Stresses the necessity to refocus the Integrated Guidelines against the background of the economic downturn and urges the Council to agree on short-term measures to safeguard the 2008 employment rate and to invest in the fight against climate change, and to call on the Member States and the social partners, in accordance with national practice, to ensure sufficient incomes with special regard to the most vulnerable groups of society; expects the Commission to launch initiatives and present proposals with respect to these goals in time for the forthcoming Spring European Council;

5.   Recalls that coordinated investment by the Member States in the five core Lisbon goals – research, education, active labour market policies, childcare and incentives for private investment – must be a key element in employment policy, and that childcare infrastructure is to be regarded as one of the preconditions for increasing participation, particularly by women in the labour market; encourages the Member States to mainstream these common principles in consultation with the social partners regarding their national reform programmes;

Employment Guidelines 2008-2010: urgent need for a rigorous implementation

6.  Considers that, in implementing the guidelines, the Member States must:

   take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health, and
   aim to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation;

7.   Considers that the Member States must ensure strengthened interaction between the guidelines and the open method of coordination on the Social Protection and Social Inclusion Process;

8.   Considers that the Member States, in cooperation with the social partners and in accordance with their national traditions, must examine and report in their National Reform Plans on how to improve compliance with and implementation of the principles and rules of European social legislation, agreements between the social partners and the fundamental principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination;

9.   Reiterates the importance of using the flexicurity concept in guideline 21 to create a bridge between jobs, and emphasises that this demands a high level of protection in the social security schemes as well as active labour market policies;

10.   Welcomes in this regard the Commission's statement that it is essential: to reinforce activation schemes, in particular the low-skilled workers; to enhance job subsidies and short training courses for vulnerable groups and those most at risk of long-term unemployment; to provide (re)training and new skills needed in less badly affected sectors; to ensure adequate social protection that provides income security, as well as to make a crucial commitment to the social dialogue and the involvement of the social partners;

11.   Underlines the importance of targeted actions for vulnerable groups in times of high unemployment, and in particular of targeted actions for groups of long-term unemployed people, people with disabilities and immigrant groups;

12.   Believes that, in view of the severity of the economic crisis, the Commission must be prepared to take exceptional measures, including a widening of access to the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), which must be able to support workers in a wider range of situations, including temporary workers who have lost their jobs, and a temporary opening of the European Social Fund (ESF) to support employment preservation measures via training schemes;

13.   Believes that the economic crisis requires the strengthening of EU measures to deal with restructuring, in particular the strengthening of information and consultation rights;

14.   Believes that the next reform of the EU Structural Funds should seek to focus the Funds' objectives more closely on the creation of sustainable, high-quality employment;

15.   Stresses, moreover, the importance of education not only to increasing workers" employability but also to improving their mobility, which is important for the functioning of the internal market; emphasises, therefore, the importance of validation of formally and non-formally obtained skills;

16.   Underlines the importance of guideline 23 and of substantial investments in lifelong learning in order to lower the unemployment rate as well as achieve the goal of creating better jobs in Europe; stresses in this context the need for all citizens to have equal access to, and opportunity to take part in, lifelong learning programmes while paying special attention to vulnerable groups; stresses that the ESF and the EGF should be used to finance such actions immediately;

17.   Regrets the fact that those with the lowest levels of initial education, older people, people in rural areas, and people with disabilities are the least likely to participate in education, training and lifelong learning in all countries;

18.   Stresses that improving the delivery of adult learning is essential to raise participation, and that measures to promote effective delivery include availability of learning sites and childcare facilities locally, open and distance learning services for those in remote areas, information and guidance, tailored programmes and flexible teaching arrangements;

19.   Recalls the fact that the unemployment rates among young people in Europe are still too high; recalls also that experience from earlier economic crises shows that young adults who become unemployed on leaving education are substantially less able to enter the labour market; stresses, therefore, the importance of all Member States fulfilling the objective of guideline 18, that every young person who has left school should be offered, within four months, a job, apprenticeship, additional training or other employability measure;

20.   Calls for decisive action to combat the problem of low participation of women in the labour market; recalls that women's employment rates are generally lower, and that it is more common for women than for men to have a part-time job; underlines, therefore, the importance of a policy in which men and women take equal responsibility; in order to achieve this, calls on Member States to urgently fulfil their obligations according to the Barcelona targets;

21.   Notes with concern that part-time employment, in which the majority of workers are women, is proving to be particularly susceptible to the economic crisis;

22.   Considers that in times of high unemployment, there is an obvious risk that regional and social cohesion will suffer, and therefore underlines the importance of guideline 17 concerning the implementation of social and territorial cohesion to prevent deficiencies in this area; calls therefore on the Member States to promote active social integration for all in order to combat poverty and social exclusion by ensuring a decent income and high-quality social services together with access to the employment market through opportunities for recruitment and initial or ongoing vocational training;

23.   Emphasises the importance, especially in the economic crisis, of investments in the welfare sector; considers this to be a sector that is performing a wide range of important community services, as well as employing a large proportion of the population; stresses that the welfare sector therefore needs to be maintained in order to prevent a decline in quality of community services and a rise in unemployment rates;

24.  Notes with regret that it is possible that during this time of economic crisis there may be some pressure on wages in some companies as a voluntary alternative to selective redundancies; emphasises, however, the importance of not letting the crisis put downward pressure on wages in general; considers it important that:

   each Member State, in accordance with national tradition and practices, establish a policy of taking competition on the basis of poverty wages out of the market,
   collectively bargained agreements have a wide coverage,
   the hierarchy of collective agreements be respected,
   wages and working conditions, as laid out in collective agreements and/or labour law, be respected and implemented in practice;

Need for coordinated action in response to the economic crisis

25.   Underlines the importance of proactive and coordinated investments across Member States, including in productive infrastructure, education and climate change, to achieve the goal of raising employment levels, contribute to the creation of quality jobs and ensure social cohesion; emphasises in this context the importance of EU support to the development of modern and sustainable industry;

26.   Underlines the importance of not only creating additional jobs but also of retaining and improving the quality of jobs available today;

27.   Calls on Member States to continue promoting ownership and improving the involvement of all actors concerned, including social partners and other stakeholders, where appropriate, in order to implement the Employment Guidelines effectively;

o
o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0207 .
(2) OJ L 198, 26.7.2008, p.47.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0467 .


European Economic Recovery Plan
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on a European Economic Recovery Plan (2008/2334(INI) )
P6_TA(2009)0123 A6-0063/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 4 March 2009 for the Spring European Council on Driving European recovery (COM(2009)0114 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2008 on a European Economic Recovery Plan (COM(2008)0800 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 29 October 2008 entitled "From financial crisis to recovery: A European framework for action" (COM(2008)0706 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 28 January 2009 for a Council recommendation on the 2009 up-date of the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community and on the implementation of Member States' employment policies (COM(2009)0034 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 17 December 2008 on a Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis(1) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on the Implementation Report for the Community Lisbon Programme 2008 – 2010 (COM(2008)0881 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on Cohesion Policy: investing in the real economy (COM(2008)0876 ),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 16 December 2008 on the Single Market Review: one year on (SEC(2008)3064 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication 16 December 2008 on the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs: Reporting on market access and setting the framework for more effective international regulatory cooperation (COM(2008)0874 ),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 16 December 2008 for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 on establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (COM(2008)0867 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2007 on the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2008-2010) including a Commission recommendation on the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community (under Article 99 of the EC Treaty) and a proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States (under Article 128 of the EC Treaty) (COM(2007)0803 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 7 May 2008 on EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union (COM(2008)0238 ) (Communication on EMU@10),

–   having regard to Member States' Action plans and updated National Reform Programmes for the period 2008-2010,

–   having regard to the composition of the High Level Expert Group on EU financial supervision, chaired by Mr Jacques de Larosière, and to its report to the Commission of 25 February 2009 in view of the European Council of Spring 2009,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council meeting of 11 and 12 December 2008 as concerns economic and financial questions,

–   having regard to the meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Eurogroup, held on 12 October 2008, with a view to adopting a coordinated rescue plan to combat the economic crisis,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council of 13 and 14 March 2008 as concerns launching the new cycle of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs (2008-2010),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Ecofin Council meeting of 7 October 2008 as concerns immediate responses to the financial turmoil,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Ecofin Council meeting of 4 November 2008 as regards international initiatives in response to the financial crisis and preparations for the international summit on the crisis,

–   having regard to the Ecofin Council contribution of 2 December 2008 to the proceedings of the European Council on 11 and 12 December 2008,

–   having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding of 1 June 2008 on Cooperation Between the Financial Supervisory Authorities, Central Banks and Finance Ministries of the European Union on Cross-Border Financial Stability,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2008 on the European Council meeting on 15 and 16 October 2008(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on the Integrated Policy Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (Part: broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community): Launching the new cycle (2008-2010)(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 November 2008 on the EMU@10: The first ten years of Economic and Monetary Union and future challenges(4) , (resolution on the EMU@10)

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 September 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on hedge funds and private equity(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on the Lamfalussy follow-up: future structure of supervision(6) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0063/2009 ),

A.   whereas the international economy and global markets have been able to deliver an unprecedented and historically unique growth the last 25 years, with a capacity of production that has established prosperity for more people than ever before, a capacity that needs to be readjusted in an economic slowdown followed by decreasing demand,

B.   whereas the financial and economic crisis is worsening day by day, bringing the European Union and its neighbouring countries, in the absence of far stronger and effective public action than has been seen so far, closer and closer to a profound social and political crisis challenging European solidarity,

C.   whereas the main challenges for countering the downturn of the international and the European economy now is the lack of confidence on the financial and capital markets as well as rising unemployment,

D.   whereas the unprecedented dimension of the current financial crisis and the depth of the ensuing downturn requires a considered overhaul of the regulatory and governance framework of financial markets, at EU and international level, in order both to prevent future problems in the international economy create problems of the same kind on the financial markets and to make the EU economy more robust to changes,

E.   whereas the failure of crucial financial institutions undermines credit markets, hinders capital flow, investments and trade, and pushes down prices and values, thereby eroding the stability and the capital assets needed for financial institutions to lend and for companies to secure their own financing,

F.   whereas the causes of and reasons for the current financial crisis have proved to be lax monetary policies and politically enforced increased credits for housing, and as macro-economical imbalances mainly between the US and emerging economies such as China in the past; stresses the need to develop further EU competitiveness and investments in infrastructure and research as well as in new companies and new markets,

G.   whereas the main priorities for EU policy makers in securing economic recovery should be to re-establish the functioning of financial and capital markets, and to safeguard employment, thereby making it possible to help the EU economy to return to growth, investments and new jobs,

H.   whereas the current recession should be used as an opportunity to promote 'green' investments and create 'green' jobs in line with the achievement of the long-term Lisbon-Göteborg goals and the climate and energy package,

I.   whereas securing the economic recovery requires coordinated action in the framework of EU legislation regarding competition and State aid as well as stability for financial and labour markets, thereby not distorting competition between companies or creating an imbalance between the Member States, in the interest of securing the stability and competitiveness of the EU economy,

J.   whereas the consequences of the financial crisis on the real economy have resulted in exceptional economic circumstances that require timely, targeted, temporary and proportional measures and decisions in the interests of finding solutions to an unprecedented global economic and employment situation and whereas public intervention, although inevitable, distorts what are the appropriate roles of the private and public sectors in more normal times,

K.   whereas the shortcomings of the current financial regulatory framework have already been addressed by Parliament in its positions relating to legislative proposals and in its resolutions,

L.   whereas the most recent data provided by the Community on 2009 prospects indicates a rapid deterioration of economic conditions throughout the European Union and whereas the European Union and the Member States have now the ultimate responsibility for guaranteeing macro-economic stability, sustainable growth and employment;

M.   whereas the financial crisis has revealed the dilemma between the need to tackle regulatory competence for economic policy at the EU level on the one hand and the fact that economic stimulus plans are within the competence of Member State authorities on the other,

N.   whereas the short-term actions initiated by individual Member States require comprehensive EU coordination to guarantee a joint-multiplier effect on the one hand and to avoid spill-over effects, distorted markets and wasteful duplication of efforts on the other,

O.   whereas short-term actions must fit in with and support the long-term objectives of making the European Union the most competitive knowledge economy, not undermining future trust and confidence, and ensuring macro-economic stability,

P.   whereas Member States" different capacities to engage in recovery programmes should be recognised; whereas a sizeable complementary EU approach with strong focus on a mutually supportive mix of policy measures in the fields of economic, environment, employment and social policies should be developed,

Q.   whereas membership of the euro area has proved to enhance economic stability in the relevant Member States; whereas, apart from responsible government intervention to counter the economic downturn, citizens expecting such a time of economic recession, a strong response by the European Union's provisions and social and regional cohesion, whilst preserving the rules and principles that guarantee a strong and stable currency,

R.   whereas it is of the utmost importance that confidence is restored in order to allow for the orderly functioning of the financial markets and thereby to limit the negative effects of the financial crisis on the real economy,

S.   whereas Member States that have recently acceded to the European Union and that are not in the euro area are badly affected by speculation against their currencies, capital flight and the freezing of international credit markets,

General

1.   Welcomes the Commission initiative to launch a European economic recovery plan (Recovery Plan) as a reaction to the serious ongoing economic downturn; notes, that the Community dimension of that proposal amounts to 15 % of the budget for the recovery programme, which still needs to be implemented urgently;

2.   Stresses that the top priority of the Recovery Plan must be to stimulate the economy and competitiveness of the European Union in order to safeguard citizens' opportunities and security, and to avoid increased unemployment; considers that the Recovery Plan must reverse the economic decline by enabling financial markets to function properly again, facilitate investments, and improve opportunities for growth and jobs while strengthening the EU economy and labour market and improving the framework conditions for growth and the creation of jobs;

3.   Expects from the Commission clear and strong guidance towards an improved coordinated approach amongst all Member States in managing this deep economic crisis in order to safeguard as many jobs and as much employment in Europe as possible;

4.   Insists that all financial aid be timely, targeted and temporary; warns of possible crowding-out effects and dissolution of EU competition policy; urges to restore, as soon as practicable, fair competitive markets as defined in the Treaties; notes with concern the rapid rise in public debt and budget deficits; moreover, calls for a return to sound state finance as soon as possible, as provided for in the revised Stability and Growth Pact (revised SGP), in order to avoid putting too much burden on future generations;

5.   Stresses that temporary exceptions and deviations from Community competition policy must be reversed, and normality restored, in clearly defined time perspectives;

6.   Stresses that the Recovery Plan must serve the purpose of delivering a fair and equitable international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 and that such an agreement must, inter alia, give poorer countries the opportunity to escape poverty without fuelling global warming by helping to finance massive investment into adapting to climate change and into renewable energy and energy efficiency;

7.   Notes with concern the rapid rise of public debt and budget deficits; is concerned that public debts may become an excessive burden for future generations;

8.   While accepting the need to adjust to a globally competitive environment and turning the European economy back to growth as very important common goals, calls for the European Union to step up its efforts to invest in skills, training and sustainable job creation, the safeguarding of employment, and the prevention of mass unemployment while ensuring constructive tax policies, which should help determine the size and components of the Recovery Plan; expects agreement at the 2009 Spring European Council on clear guidance and concrete measures towards safeguarding employment and creating job opportunities;

9.   Recommends, as an essential requirement for effectiveness, that the coordination of national recovery plans allows for each programme to be tailored to each country's specific needs, but taking into account the common interest, the common strategies defined in terms of fight against climate change, and the assurance of the strongest possible multiplier effect, in particular as regards employment;

10.   Recommends new horizontal initiatives at EU level, given that different national capacities and margins of budgetary manoeuvre may generate very asymmetric outcomes across the European Union; recalls, however, the responsibility of each Member State to exercise fiscal discipline, investments and structural reforms;

11.   Strongly advises against the risk that the solutions implemented become the sum of all the national policies, with potential conflicts and costs, undermining the single market, the economic and monetary union and weakening the European Union's role as a global actor;

12.   Supports the Commission's commitment to the revised SGP and notes its willingness to use all the flexibility as a way to conduct anti-cyclical policies to address the economic recession which is foreseen by the pact in order to allow Member States to respond adequately to the economic crisis, namely to assess whether short-term investment decisions are compatible with medium-term budgetary targets and conducive to sustainable growth and long-term Lisbon Strategy goals;

13.   Emphasises that it is imperative that Member States continue to follow the revised SGP with a view to tackling the present exceptional circumstances effectively on the one hand and to guaranteeing a firm commitment to bringing normal budget discipline back on track as soon as the economy recovers, whilst reinforcing the counter-cyclicality of the revised SGP on the other;

Financial markets: from controlling the crisis to sound markets in the future
Returning to confidence in the financial sector

14.   Welcomes the short-term measures adopted to restore confidence to the financial system; recalls that those emergency measures are insufficient to tackle some of the fundamental problems at the source of the crisis, namely global imbalances, extreme risk-taking, leveraging and rewarding short-termism; recalls the necessity to review remuneration schemes as possible sources of financial instability;

15.   Calls for coordinated action between Member States allowing for general and explicit national bank guarantees covering liabilities, but excluding equity capital, in order to reduce uncertainty in the credit markets and facilitate the functioning of those markets;

16.   Invites the Member States, and in particular those belonging to the euro area, to examine the possibility of a major European loan guaranteed jointly by the Member States;

17.   Restates that safeguarding the savings of, and credit provision for, individuals and undertakings, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is the overriding justification for the current exceptional public intervention in the financial system; reminds Member State governments of their responsibility for and accountability to their parliaments in the use of public money in rescue plans and strongly recommends that a set of adequate surveillance and, as necessary, sanctions, be introduced and coordinated at EU level to ensure the achievement of such goals;

18.   Stresses the importance of ensuring that central interest rate cuts are passed on to borrowers;

19.   Recalls the necessity for regulators and the relevant Member State authorities to scrutinise in depth the activities of the banks and the bankers over the last months, and also to determine whether reprehensible and even criminal behaviour might have contributed to the banking meltdown and to ensure that the public intervention and monetary policy decisions, in terms of interest rates, has been able to reverse the credit squeeze;

20.   Considers that strict monitoring of the rescue packages to financial institutions must be implemented in order to ensure a level playing field, including: the solvency level, the expected benefits, the liquidity on the interbank market, the evolution of human resources and the confidence of clients, whether private clients or entrepreneurs;

21.   Considers that conditionality should be attached to the banking sector rescue plans in terms of monetary incentives, provision of credit, lending conditions, restructuring of the sector and protection of social policy terms;

22.   Believes that the development of microcredit, which is recognised as an efficient tool with a strong multiplier effect, should be encouraged, in particular by making it a requirement for commercial banks that have benefited from public support;

23.   Insists that prime consideration must be given to recovering to normal levels of credit extension by banks when considering any new regulatory environment particularly in the interests of reviving the securitisation process as essential to the recovery of finance for mortgages, car finance and credit card funding;

24.   Calls on the Commission to produce a clear analysis of the impact of the rescue package on the competitiveness of the financial sector and the functioning of the interbank market; calls on the Commission to establish interdisciplinary teams, including expertise from the Commission Directorates General for Competition, Economic and Financial Affairs, and Internal Market and Services, the three Level 3 supervisory committees, and the European System of Central Banks, in order to pool knowledge and know how and to ensure that there will be balanced impartial high-quality and timely judgements across the Member States;

More effective regulatory and supervisory structures

25.   Considers that although the European Central Bank (ECB) has no official supervisory mandate, there is a need to enhance its role as regards monitoring financial stability in the euro area, notably in terms of supervision of the EU-wide banking sector; recommends, therefore, that the ECB should be involved in EU-wide macro-prudential supervision of systemically important financial institutions on the basis of Article 105 (6) of the Treaty;

26.   Regrets the absence of clear EU instruments and policies by which to address, in a thorough and timely manner, the asymmetric impacts of the financial crisis among Member States inside and outside the euro area;

27.   Reiterates its call for the Commission to analyse the effects of the behaviour of banks that moved their assets from the more recently acceded Member States after adoption of rescue plans by other Member States and to examine carefully the speculative action (short-selling) in relation to the currencies of the more recently acceded Member States; invites the Commission to communicate the results of that analysis to the de Larosière group and to Parliament's responsible committee;

28.   Encourages the Commission and the Member States to tackle the problem of banking guarantees urgently, in order to ensure that similarly designed schemes would prevent banks from failing across the European Union, thus allowing interbank lending to be revived, such revival being a necessary condition for ending to the banking crisis and allowing new credit to be given to the real economy, increasing investment and consumption and so leading the way out of the economic crisis;

29.   Strongly urges the de Larosière Group to take on board the recommendations put forward in Parliament's previous resolutions, relating to financial market supervision; urges the Commission to endorse its contributions to create a stable and efficient structure of regulation and supervision, which may prevent or limit the adverse impacts of future crises; calls on the Council duly to take into consideration the position that Parliament may express on those conclusions before endorsing them;

30.   Acknowledges the recommendations of the de Larosière group and stresses that many of them have been called for by Parliament in recent years; welcomes the Commission's intention to use its power of initiative and take action to tackle the most urgent problems in relation to the financial crisis, and urges the Commission to start the process as soon as possible; calls on the 2009 Spring European Council to give a strong political impetus and to establish a road map for all legal initiatives in order to ensure their timely adoption together with Parliament;

31.   Reaffirms that more transparency and better risk-management as well as coordinated supervision provide most of the solutions to further crisis prevention and that the regulatory reform must be all-encompassing, applying to all actors and transactions in the financial markets; points to the fact that the global nature of financial markets necessitates an international coordination of reforms; stresses that regulatory initiatives must aim to create transparency, sustainability, stability and increased responsibility of financial actors in the market; reminds the Commission of its obligation to respond to Parliament's requests regarding hedge funds and private equity;

32.   Considers that credit rating agencies should close information gaps and reveal uncertainties as well as conflicts of interests; insists on the need for a revision and improvement of accounting policies in order to avoid pro-cycle effects;

33.   Proposes to assess carefully whether or not future steps towards the sound regulation of the financial sector, notably the macro-prudential supervision of the regulatory framework, may render economic recovery and innovation in the field of financial products difficult or impossible and reduce the attractiveness of EU financial markets, diverting financial flows and enterprises towards third markets; recalls its best interest to remain the first financial market place in the world;

The real economy: the crisis as an opportunity to achieve sustainable growth
Safeguarding employment and boosting demand

34.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to use all means at their disposal to support EU undertakings, in particular SMEs, to promote job creation and boost the confidence of EU investors, employers, workers and consumers;

35.   Strongly recommends that sufficient, affordable and reasonably secure access to credit is urgently guaranteed across the European Union to SMEs, citizens and those sectors in which a sustainable future is endangered due to the crisis, in particular due to the lack of credit; calls on the Commission to ensure exchanges of best practices in this respect;

36.   Stresses that, in the current climate where SMEs face severe cash-flow problems and restricted credit access, public authorities and private clients should respect a maximum 30-day period for payments to SMEs; urges the Commission to take over this issue when revising the late payments directive(7) ;

37.   Calls for full enforcement and accelerated implementation, at both EU and national level, of Parliament's recommendations in relation to the Commission communication on 'Think Small First' - A 'Small Business Act' for Europe (COM(2008)0394 );

38.   Calls for the effective launch of a comprehensive European employment initiative, by ensuring that an undertaking can be set up free of charge anywhere in the European Union within three days, and that the formalities for the hiring of first employees can be fulfilled via a single access point on the one hand, and, by reinforcing activation schemes, particularly for the low-skilled, through personalised advice, intensive training or retraining and up-skilling of workers, apprenticeships, subsidised employment and start up grants for the self-employed and businesses on the other; in addition, is supportive of the allocation of the European Social Fund payments by the Commission to promote the development and matching of skills;

39.   Strongly recommends that the EU employment initiative include an early intervention at the time at which jobs are in fact lost, not least in order to reduce the risk of people becoming excluded from the labour market; considers that such interventions will require significant investment in training, including an increase in training providers while concentrating on the better coordination of training and labour reintegration programmes, and should use not only short-term measures but should also endeavour to make high-level qualifications possible in order to increase the overall skill levels within the European Union and to respond to the changing needs of the current economy;

40.   Welcomes the proposals of the Commission and calls on the Member States to adapt new provisions of the regulations of the European Social Fund, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, including the simplification of the procedures and the widening of eligible costs to serve employment and social inclusion goals even more efficiently, continuing to support employment in key sectors of the economy and ensuring that when providing such assistance strengthening of social and territorial cohesion remain a priority in order to avoid asymmetrical development within the European Union; hopes for the speedier release of funding targeted at employment support, and for EU support programmes to be geared to helping the most vulnerable groups in society including programmes to guarantee decent living conditions and access to high-quality services of general interest;

41.   Calls on the Member States to invest in the social economy, which can contribute to growth since it has considerable potential for creating high-quality jobs and strengthening social and territorial cohesion;

42.   Stresses the importance of implementing common principles of flexicurity while guaranteeing adequate social protection for all, in particular social security systems that provide appropriate protection with respect to national traditions;

43.   Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to continue to monitor regularly the development of the situation on the EU labour market and the impact of the crisis on that market, and to take appropriate measures to set the economies of the European Union on the road towards sustainable development;

44.   Stresses the need to guarantee adequate living standards for all citizens of the Union and calls for adequate emergency measures to be taken; calls for social policies to be adapted to cope with the recession, supporting active labour market and social inclusive policies and paying special attention to the most vulnerable members of society;

45.   Calls on the Commission to assess urgently the recession risks affecting industrial sectors across Europe in order to intervene at EU level, if needed; stresses, however, that some of the problems of EU industries may not be caused only by the financial crisis; is of the view, therefore, that State aid measures should be carefully targeted so as to not go beyond offsetting the effects of the financial crisis, and that they must be accompanied by the strictest conditions of restructuring, investment in innovation and sustainability;

46.   Warns against the undue loosening of the EU competition rules, as this might weaken the internal market; is concerned that national responses to the economic downturn may lead to protectionism and distortion of competition, which, in the long term, would seriously undermine the economic prosperity of the citizens of the Union;

47.   Calls for an assessment of the measures contained in the national recovery plans as regards their immediate impact on purchasing power;

48.   Calls for the Council to approve the proposal to give all Member States the option to apply a reduced VAT rate for energy-efficient goods and services, labour-intensive and locally supplied services; considering their potential employment and demand-boosting effect;

49.   Stresses the added value of the trans-European transport network programme (TEN-T) for the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy, the European Union's climate change goals and for greater social, economic and territorial cohesion, while providing timely support for sustaining aggregate demand in the European Union; stresses the importance of the 30 TEN-T priority projects - in particular the cross-borders corridors - for re-launching the economy and for enabling the increasing demand for a better, environmentally friendly, co-modality; calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop new methods of financing transport infrastructures and to increase substantially the budget for the TEN-T projects in future financial frameworks and in the Recovery Plan;

50.   Asks Member States to consider the possibility of reducing labour taxation in lower incomes in order to increase the purchasing power and stimulate demand for retail products;

Greater cohesion and less economic divergence

51.   Stresses the importance of territorial cohesion goals within the framework of proposed stimulus arrangements, given the clear asymmetric impact of the crisis across the European territory;

52.   Calls for the Commission duly to address, particularly in light of the present crisis, the impact of horizontal policies on regional divergent performances in the euro area, as highlighted in its Communication on EMU@10;

53.   Calls for the development of adequate mechanisms to guarantee that accelerated convergence of the less dynamic regions is structured upon strategic objectives such as, the greening of the economy and an adequate participation in the Lisbon Strategy namely by supporting innovation, SMEs and micro-level initiatives;

54.   Welcomes all the Commission proposals that simplify and accelerate access to the available cohesion instruments, and speed up project implementation, namely through front-loading funds, temporarily increasing community support rates, improving technical assistance, and accelerating payment procedures;

Smart and sustainable structural reforms and investments

55.   Calls for the refinement of the recovery instruments and policies at both EU and Member State level, capable of boosting demand and confidence across the European Union, in accordance with a common set of priorities within the Lisbon Strategy, such as: investing in education, infrastructure, research and development, skills and lifelong learning, energy efficiency and green technologies, broadband networks, urban transport, creative industries and services, health services, and services for children and older people;

56.   Welcomes the Commission's proposal to bring forward from 2010 to 2009, EUR 500 million in investment in transport infrastructure; nevertheless stresses the need for the Commission and the Member States to include urban transport and TEN-T priority projects among those for the additional EUR 5 billion fund to be mobilised in accordance with the Recovery Plan; considers that those TEN-T projects at an advanced stage of implementation should, in particular, benefit from the greater availability of appropriations;

57.   Stresses that in the current, very dire, circumstances, access to EU funds is necessary for Member States that have more recently acceded to the European Union and that are not members of the euro area; those funds would be the required budget stimulus for countries which do not have the room for manoeuvre of the Member States in the euro area, or because they are running large budget and current account deficits;

58.   Stresses that the crisis has extremely negative economic and social consequences in many of the new Member States, posing a substantial risk to reduced growth and stability and increased poverty; furthermore, expects there to be spill-over effects affecting the euro and the economies of the euro area; therefore, calls for a Community-wide and coordinated approach for the purposes of Community solidarity and the realisation of collective responsibility in this respect; calls on the Commission to review and tighten all instruments for the stabilisation of affected Member States, including the stabilisation of exchange rates, so that quick and efficient safety net provisions and response packages can be implemented;

59.   Calls on the Commission to consider possible measures for the improvement of the energy security through the accelerated development of an internal gas transmission network of the European Union that would ensure the security of supply;

60.   Believes that a strong public investment policy, aiming at creating a "low-carbon economy" is of utmost importance to face the economic recession;

61.   In this respect, calls on Member States to undertake reforms in their fiscal regimes for ensuring that certain sectors like agriculture, transport and energy, which impact so heavily on the environment, perform sustainably;

62.   Strongly supports the launching of a set of urban policies combining energy efficiency in transport and buildings with job creation;

63.   Stresses the need for an unprecedented coordinated effort to make major investments in the fields of energy, the environment and infrastructure to support sustainable development, help the creation of high-quality jobs and ensure social cohesion; considers, therefore, that people are more likely to accept the efforts required of them if those efforts are perceived to be fair and on the one hand and to guarantee employment and social integration on the other;

64.   Calls for EU initiatives in the field of education and training, and access to risk capital, credit and microcredit facilities in order to boost growth and convergence throughout the European Union;

65.   Stresses the need to reduce the bureaucratic burden on investment projects co-financed by private companies; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to take measures that accelerate and facilitate investments;

66.  Stresses that in tackling the acute problems resulting from the economic crisis, sight should not be lost of the long-term strategy and the possibility of achieving some long-overdue goals, notably to:

   intensify the elimination of barriers to the freedom to provide services, as provided for in the Services Directive(8) , the implementation of which has been delayed, because of the enormous job-creation potential in the services sector;
   enhance the implementation of the Postal Services Directive(9) ;
   complete the internal market for energy;
   urgently enhance investment in R&D, including by requiring substantial investment in R&D and innovation as a pre-condition for any support to industry, because the - fairly modest - Lisbon target of 3 % GDP has not been met to date, mainly because the private sector has failed to deliver on its 2 % share, and because, despite the stated objective of becoming the most dynamic knowledge economy in the world, the gap in R&D investment between the European Union and other regions is widening;
   urgently finalise the EU patent regime;
   remove any remaining obstacles to the freedom of movement for workers;
   complete the TEN-T priority networks;

European economic instruments: the European Union acting in unison
Economic coordination

67.   Calls for improved coherence between the present recovery plan at Member State level, the Lisbon Strategy goals and priorities, the integrated policy guidelines and the National Reform Programmes as well as the use of the flexibility facilities granted by the revised SGP;

68.   Notes as a central dilemma in the current crisis that European economic policy instruments are not yet developed enough in order successfully to meet the challenges ahead; requires, therefore, a review and an update of the essential policy tools towards the 2010 Spring European Council, in particular the integrated policy guidelines;

69.   Calls for guidance by the Commission on the National Reform Programmes in light of its growth forecasts;

70.   Calls for adequate detailed criteria and standards to be developed for the close monitoring and regular reassessment of the effectiveness of the recovery plans by the Commission, in particular as regards the reality of the announced investments, bearing in mind that the full extent of the crisis and the requisite remedies cannot yet be totally assessed;

71.  Calls upon all relevant parties - Parliament, Council, the Commission and the social partners at EU and national level - to work together on the basis of the following suggestions during the Spring European Council in March 2009:

   - the development of mutual reinforcement of stability, and growth-oriented macro-economic policies by making stability policy and investment a matter of common and mutually supportive concern;
   - the establishment of a binding framework for Member States within which they consult each other and the Commission before taking major economic policy decisions, based on a common understanding of problems, priorities and the remedial measures which are necessary and appropriate;
   - the adoption of ambitious and tailored national recovery plans, updated stability and convergence programmes and a review of national budgets to react to the latest economic forecasts, as well as a commitment to their urgent implementation;
   - the formulation of a coherent EU strategy of short and long-term measures, based on common priorities and targets;
   - the strengthening of the economic governance of the euro area in line with the recommendations set out in Parliament's resolution of 18 November 2008 on the EMU@10;

72.   Calls for an urgent examination by the Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the European Investment Bank of the benefits that would derive from the feasibility of a European sovereign debt fund, the debt servicing cost of which would be lower than for the equivalent aggregate of national debts and which would be temporary in nature and would be transferred after a period of time to national debts;

European Investment Bank

73.   Considers that involvement of the European Investment Bank (EIB) is crucial and that a large share of lending referred to in the Recovery Plan is within its competence; welcomes the Member States' agreement on a capital increase for the EIB; recalls that some of the EIB interventions also require support from the EU budget, but that this is not currently provided for in the Recovery Plan; considers that this could be done either through blending grants and loans or in the form of equity or joint-risk sharing instruments such as the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and the Loan Guarantee Instrument for Trans-European Transport Network projects (LGTT); in the latter case, the EIB could be requested to contribute with its own reserves, which would multiply the leverage effect; emphasises the EIB role in refinancing SMEs, commercial banks, including existing private-public partnership structures; recalls, in this respect, that there is a need to develop environmentally friendly funding criteria;

EU Budget

74.   Recalls that the Economic Recovery Plan and the subsequent measures proposed on 28 January 2009 by the Commission contain a Community contribution estimated at EUR 30 000 000 000, to be distributed among the following sectors: EUR 5 000 000 000 for energy interconnections and high-speed internet through a revision of the 2007-2013 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and measures related to the CAP "Health Check"; advanced payments under the Structural and Cohesion Funds; several initiatives in the area of research and innovation such as the European green cars initiative, factories of the future initiative and energy-efficient buildings initiative; an increase in the pre-financing for the most advanced trans-European transport projects as well as for initiatives in favour of SMEs or the Community innovation programme (CIP) and for funding already granted by existing or new loans and funds from the EIB;

75.   Stresses that the current crisis should not be used as a pretext to delay a much needed reorientation of spending towards 'green' investments, but should, rather, be used as an additional incentive to press ahead with such reorientation, and reiterates, in this context, the importance of the budgetary review planned for 2009, which should not be limited to a theoretical vision of what the budget could look like after 2013, but which should include bold proposals for a shift in programming at the time of the mid-term review of the multi-annual programmes to respond to the current crisis, promoting sustainable development and taking into account the challenges posed by climate change;

76.   Stresses that some elements proposed in the Recovery Plan are too vaguely formulated; asks the Commission to supply the two branches of the budgetary authority without delay with all the detailed information they need to take a decision; also stresses that several elements included in the Recovery Plan require the modification of the existing multi-annual programmes; recalls, in this regard, that these changes must be made in full compliance with the powers of Parliament;

77.   Stresses that, as a result, there is a risk that the implementation of the Recovery Plan as proposed by the Commission will take a considerable time and urges all the institutions concerned to adopt the necessary decisions as quickly as possible, given the very difficult current economic situation of the European Union;

78.   Stresses that most of the Community measures proposed by the Commission are based on a budgetary redeployment of allocations already programmed and not on the mobilisation of new budget resources; calls on the Commission to draw all the necessary conclusions from the very bad economic forecast it published in January 2009 and to reassess it budget proposals in the light of these new forecasts;

79.   Welcomes the Recovery Plan and related initiatives and recalls that any new expenditure that is not foreseen in the 2009 Budget must be financed with fresh money, in order not to compromise the 2007-2013 MFF negotiated between the two branches of the budgetary authority; recalls, in this context, the possibilities offered by the provisions of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 (IIA), in particular points 21 to 23 thereof;

80.   Emphasises that the Recovery Plan proposes multi-layered coordinated action to strengthen Europe's economies; reiterates Parliament's readiness to enter into negotiations with the Council for the EUR 5 000 000 000 revision of the 2007-2013 MFF proposed by Commission and any other modification of instruments that would have a budgetary impact; considers that negotiations should concentrate on extending the area of projects supported within this budgetary revision, in accordance with Member States" priorities;

81.   Acknowledges the predominant role of the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in contributing to financing investments and enhancing access to financing for business, in particular for SMEs; points out that contributions by the EU budget to EIB operations have the potential to create a substantial leverage effect on investment and wishes to examine how the EU budget could contribute further to bringing about such effects, and that, in any event, they should be accompanied by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the EIB on the priorities for investment, ensuring that these are geared towards truly sustainable projects; expresses concern at the growing tendency in the Council and the Commission to confer on the EIB and the EBRD many extra duties without having first provided all the necessary economic and financial guarantees that the EIB and EBRD will be able to carry out these duties successfully; notes that the Commission proposes to increase the financial instruments put in place by the EIB under the 2007-2013 MFF; asks the Commission to supply a first evaluation of the activities already undertaken in this context and to propose solutions regarding the budgetary and regulatory difficulties in the implementation of actions such as JASMINE, JASPERS and JEREMIE;

82.   Expects the Commission to clarify its intentions regarding the future actions, in particular regarding a possible contribution from the EU budget to reinforcing these instruments; calls on the Commission to indicate to the two branches of the budgetary authority the extent to which new instruments made available to the EIB for future initiatives will require intervention from the EU budget; further notes that the increase in the tasks conferred on the EIB and the EBRD poses significant questions with regard to the democratic scrutiny of the projects being financed, when funds from the EU budget are at stake;

83.   Regrets that the Commission proposal to invest in trans-European energy interconnections and broadband infrastructure projects remains in vain because of a lack of agreement within the Council, contrary to the will of the European Council, as expressed in December 2008; considers that the EU budget should be used to contribute in facing the economic crisis by means of the appropriate instruments provided for in the IIA and invites Council to enter into discussions with Parliament as soon as possible; considers that use can be made only of those margins that have been confirmed and not on the basis of estimated needs in future budget years; recalls that the exercise of redeployment could hinder existing policies; considers the mid-term review to be an ultimate and late opportunity for reacting to the economic crisis; points out that the Recovery Plan, if approved, will have a significant impact on the 2009 Budget; reminds the Commission that its proposal is indicative and dependent on the approval of the legislator; requests further details on the development stage of each project to guarantee a speedy implementation as well as an assessment of their effects in the short term on employment and growth of the whole EU economy and asks for concrete figures relating to implementation, particularly in respect of the financial programming; points out that EU spending on energy projects, which under the current EU financial framework must be limited, should focus on projects that can be started swiftly and which help to reach the European Union's 2020 targets on climate change policies, notably energy savings and energy efficiency projects as well as investments in renewable energy networks;

84.   Recalls the joint declaration agreed at the conciliation meeting on 21 November 2008 on "Implementation of the cohesion policy" highlighting the benefits for the economy of accelerating the implementation of structural and cohesion funds and on "payment appropriations" supporting the financing of new initiatives particularly regarding the economic crisis; notes that the amount of additional advance payments foreseen in 2009 on the basis of the Commission proposal on the financial management of the ESF, ERDF and the Cohesion Fund is EUR 6 300 000 000 and that other proposed modifications to the financial management of the funds may increase the speed of interim payments;

85.   Asks the Commission to keep the budgetary authority informed and clarify whether anticipating payments in the framework of the financial management of the Funds will be in line with the schedule of payments foreseen for 2009 by the budgetary authority, namely if the level of payments agreed by Parliament and the Council will be enough to finance current or future initiatives;

86.   Recalls that any change in the level of payments that the Commission will propose must be included in an amending budget to be adopted by the two arms of the budgetary authority;

87.   Stresses the added value of the trans-European transport network programme (TEN-T) for the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy, the European Union's climate change goals and for a greater social, economic and territorial cohesion, while also providing timely support for sustaining aggregate demand in the Europe Union; therefore welcomes the Commission's proposal to bring forward from 2010 to 2009 EUR 500 000 000 in investment in transport infrastructure;

88.   Asks the Commission when presenting the list of specific projects applying for EU budget financing, and as requested by the December 2008 European Council, to take into account the need to increase the competitiveness of the EU economy with a long-term perspective, advancing infrastructure projects already decided and planned;

89.   Recommends a flexible approach to the European budget spending structure and the allocation of uncommitted appropriations or non-annually budgeted appropriations to priorities identified under a cohesion framework; calls once again for the urgent strengthening of the European budget, reassessing its size and its expenditure structure;

European Union and global governance

90.   Strongly encourages the European Union to play a leading role in international fora, notably in the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and at the coming meetings of the G20; considers it especially important to strengthen the multilateral surveillance of currency areas and financial markets; recalls that, in times of free global capital flows, convergence is at the heart of a true level playing field and of a comprehensive regulatory and supervisory framework;

91.   Recalls the importance of the next G20 Summit to be held in London on 2 April 2009, when it is anticipated that statements will be converted into decisions; recalls the importance of agreeing on a clear timetable for action so as to make the process output-oriented; insists on the fact that not only financial considerations should be agreed upon but that Member States' Heads of State or government should also reflect on how to correct global imbalances and agree to coordinate the various, recently adopted recovery plans, bearing in mind the unemployment issue; supports the use of the recommendations of the de Larosière group as a basis for shaping the EU position on future financial architecture; calls on the Council and the Commission to seek Parliament's views before agreeing on a negotiating position for the Summit;

92.   Strongly supports the decision of the European members of the G20 to take definitive action against tax havens and uncooperative jurisdictions by agreeing on a toolbox of sanctions as soon as possible, to be endorsed at the London summit; recommends that the EU should adopt at its own level the adequate legislative framework to restrict business with those jurisdictions; stresses that global convergent approaches are essential in order to tackle this issue;

93.   Strongly recommends that the impact of international transactions on the real economy across the European Union, particularly as regards trade, climate change and finance, be duly assessed; supports enhanced international dialogue with the most important currency blocks to avoid the consequences of currency manipulation and volatility on the real economy;

94.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to intensify consultation and foster cooperative relations with the European Union's commercial partners, and, in particular, with the newly appointed US administration;

95.   Considers that the present crisis must not preclude the European Union's responsibilities as regards promoting international development and combating world poverty; warns that the risk of a fallback to protectionist policies must be avoided; stresses that the worldwide recovery effort could be greatly enhanced by the timely conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations;

o
o   o

96.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the president of the Eurogroup.

(1) OJ C 16, 22.1.2009, p. 1.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0506 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0058 .
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0543 .
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0425 .
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0476 .
(7) Directive 2000/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2000 on combating late payment in commercial transactions (OJ L 200, 8.8.2000, p. 35).
(8) Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36).
(9) Directive 2008/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 with regard to the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal workers (OJ L 52, 27.2.2008, p. 3).


Cohesion Policy: investing in the real economy
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European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on Cohesion Policy: Investing in the real economy (2009/2009(INI) )
P6_TA(2009)0124 A6-0075/2009

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Communication of the Commission of 26 November 2008 'A European Economic Recovery Plan' (COM(2008)0800 ),

–   having regard to the Communication of the Commission of 16 December 2008 'Cohesion Policy: Investing in the real economy' (COM(2008)0876 ),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 14 November 2008 'Regions 2020 - an assessment of future challenges for EU regions' (SEC(2008)2868 ),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council of 11 and 12 December 2008,

–   having regard to the proposal of the Commission for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund concerning certain provisions relating to financial management (COM(2008)0803 ),

–   having regard to the proposal of the Commission for a regulation of the European Parliament and Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006 on the European Social Fund to extend the types of costs eligible for a contribution from the ESF (COM(2008)0813 ),

–   having regard to the proposal of the Commission for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund as regards the eligibility of energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in housing (COM(2008)0838 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0075/2009 ),

A.   whereas the European economy is suffering from the consequences of the global financial crisis and from the most widespread and serious downturn for 60 years,

B.   whereas the EU's cohesion policy makes an important contribution to the European Economic Recovery Plan and is the Community's largest source of investment in the real economy, providing targeted assistance for addressing priority needs and areas with growth potential both in public and private sectors,

C.   whereas the more than 65% of the total financial allocation of the EU cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013 that has been "earmarked" for investment in the four priority areas of the Union's renewed Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs - namely people, business, infrastructure, and energy, research and innovation - represents a significant tool, and whereas these kinds of investments are essential in order to provide an effective response to the current financial crisis,

D.   whereas the current recession should be used as an opportunity to promote green investments and create green jobs,

E.   whereas success in mitigating the economic slow-down depends on the willingness of Member States and regions to rapidly implement their programmes" objectives,

1.   Strongly welcomes the adoption of the European Economic Recovery Plan outlining coordinated action by Member States and the Commission to tackle the economic crisis; considers that the Plan is based on the principle of solidarity and social justice and should not conflict with the Lisbon Strategy, and that its proposed measures will contribute to deeper and long-term structural reforms;

2.   Considers that the EU cohesion policy, being a policy aimed at ensuring economic growth and social development, and at truly stimulating the economy in the short, medium, and long term, can make an important contribution to overcoming the current financial crisis and to working towards the recovery of Member States and regions, including those with permanent handicaps;

3.   Stresses that the Structural Funds are powerful tools, designed to help regions in their economic and social restructuring and thus to implement the actions under the Plan's four priority areas in order to boost the economy, and endorses their use, in preference to precipitating the invention of new economic tools; notes that these actions complement those undertaken at national level; believes that due to the significant pressure on national budgets, EU cohesion policy funds and interventions should be accelerated, in order to give a timely boost to the economy and provide support especially to people hit by the crisis;

4.   Supports the Commission's legislative proposals, which are parallel and complementary to the European Economic Recovery Plan, to amend three of the existing Structural Funds Regulations 2007-2013 (Regulations (EC) No 1083/2006, No 1080/2006 and No 1081/2006); fully endorses the proposed changes that aim to improve cash flow and liquidity in the Member States, facilitate the use of financial engineering instruments, expand the possibilities for support to investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in housing and increase the flexibility of the Structural Funds to adapt them to meet the needs of the extraordinary economic circumstances with a long-term perspective;

5.   Requests the Commission to closely monitor the economic measures taken by Member States, so as to ensure that these do not violate free market competition, and social standards which have been essential pillars of European integration since its foundation, as well as the implementation of requirements of Community legislation on the environment and on climate protection;

6.   Urges the Commission and Member States to ensure that the measures adopted to accelerate, simplify and make more flexible the implementation of the Structural and Cohesion Funds do not diminish their responsibility to monitor their implementation;

7.   Welcomes the establishment by the Commission of the expert group ("task force on simplification") working on further possible simplification of procedures for the implementation of Structural Funds; eagerly awaits further simplification proposals from the Commission scheduled for the beginning of 2009;

8.   Calls on the Member States and the regions to guarantee that the partnership principle laid down in Article 11 of the general Regulation on the Structural Funds (Regulation (EC) No. 1083/2006) is fully applied and that the requirement of full involvement of partners is complied with;

9.   Highlights the important role that grass-roots organisations, NGOs and the social economy play in promoting social cohesion and inclusion particularly during times of an economic crisis; calls on the Commission to ensure that any simplification of the Structural Funds will reduce administrative burdens on such organisations;

10.   Is particularly concerned by the asymmetric territorial impact of the crisis across the European territory and its harder impact on the Member States that already have a lower quality of life than the EU average, and urges the Commission and the Member States to take due account of the territorial cohesion objective in planning and implementing concrete measures to combat the economic crisis; asks, in particular, the Commission to ensure a suitable geographical balance when presenting the list of specific projects, requested by the European Council for strengthening investment in infrastructure and in energy efficiency;

11.   Considers that measures, such as flexibility and acceleration of payments, the use of lump sum payments and flat rates will stimulate and accelerate policy implementation especially in infrastructure, energy and environmental sectors and in ESF projects; considers that, in this regard, the Commission should provide Member States with clear guidance; regrets, nonetheless, that other important measures have not been taken into account, such as proposals for the actual and immediate increase of liquidity on the ground by intervening to a greater extent in the coming years on interim payments;

12.   Welcomes the Commission's proposal to increase advance payments, so as to facilitate the implementation of projects by providing financial resources at an early stage of project implementation thus reducing the need for bank loans; nevertheless urges banks and financial institutions to make full use of the facilities granted to them to maintain and support lending to the economy and pass on key interest rates reductions to borrowers;

13.   Strongly highlights the positive role that cohesion policy can play in strengthening solidarity and restoring confidence by introducing measures to provide public investment to boost internal demand;

14.   Calls on the Member States and regional and local authorities to secure their contribution as required by the co-financing rules, so that the funds allocated by the Structural Funds can be fully exploited;

15.   Underlines the importance of measures in support of people and business but above all employment, for a successful economic recovery; calls for decisive action to support the demand side of the economy, as well as measures to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), social economy enterprises, and local and regional authorities in order to maintain cohesion and to safeguard key investment and infrastructural projects; calls on Member States to make wide use of Structural Funds to secure job creation, to promote SMEs, entrepreneurship and professional training;

16.   Welcomes the proposal that investments in energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energies in the housing sector should be eligible for ERDF funding throughout the Union; urges the Member States and the regions to make comprehensive use of this new possibility and to adapt their operational programmes accordingly, in order to reinforce their sustainable development path and to invest in climate-friendly infrastructures and innovations; stresses, in general, the importance of investment on energy infrastructure, which became apparent, for example, during the recent gas crisis;

17.   Encourages Member States to explore synergies between cohesion policy financing and the other sources of Community funding (TEN-T, TEN-E, the Seventh Research and Technological Development Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme ) as well as the financing provided by the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; urges Member States to simplify and improve access to the funds' allocation made available by the financial instruments JESSICA, JASMINE and JEREMIE in order to stimulate more frequent use of them by SMEs and interested beneficiaries;

18.   Encourages the Commission to elaborate on measures to improve cash flow to the responsible authorities and to increase technical assistance to Member States and the exchange of best practices between regions, in order to improve project quality and efficiency of project implementation; underlines the importance of JASPERS for project preparation; calls on the Commission to support Member States in revising, if necessary, their operational programmes; stresses the need, however, for immediate dissemination of information to local and regional authorities on these modifications;

19.   Considers the approval of the established national management and control systems by the Commission as crucial for speeding up programme implementation and calls on Member States to finalise the process of informing the Commission as soon as possible;

20.   Highlights the role of education and training in ensuring long-term economic recovery and demands that the measures available under the ESF be updated, both in terms of ensuring a higher availability of resources and reaching a higher level of flexibility;

21.   Calls on the Commission to develop adequate detailed criteria and standards for close monitoring and permanent reassessment of the effectiveness of the recovery plans at national and regional levels particularly with regard to compliance with transparency requirements; requests an evaluation in 2010 of the effectiveness of the reforms following the adoption of the revised Structural Fund Regulations, in order to further improve the efficiency of those measures, as well as to analyse the reasons for problems and delays in their implementation; urges the Commission to take these observations into account in its proposals for the next generation of Structural Funds programmes;

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

Last updated: 2 December 2009Legal notice