Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 EU 2020 - Follow-up of the informal European Council of 11 February 2010
 Implementation of Goldstone recommendations on Israel/Palestine
 Situation of civil society and national minorities in Belarus
 Taxation of financial transactions
 Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
 Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
 Regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences
 2008 annual report on the CFSP
 Implementation of the European Security Strategy and the Common Security and Defence Policy
 Non-proliferation Treaty

Annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 March 2010 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities (COM(2009)0083 – C6-0074/2009 – 2009/0035(COD) )
P7_TA(2010)0052 A7-0011/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0083 ),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 44(1) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0074/2009 ),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) and Article 50(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 July 2009(1) ,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A7-0011/2010 ),

1.   Adopts the position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.   Calls for a general revision of the 4th and 7th Company Law Directives in 2010;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 10 March 2010 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2010/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0035


(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 50(1) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(2) ,

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(3) ,

Whereas:

(1)   The European Council of 8 and 9 March 2007 underlined in its conclusions that reducing administrative burden is important for boosting Europe's economy and that a strong joint effort to reduce administrative burdens within the EU is necessary.

(2)   Accounting has been identified as one of the key areas for reducing administrative burdens for companies within the Union.

(3)   In its Communication on a simplified business environment for companies in the areas of company law, accounting and auditing the Commission identified possible amendments to 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(4) , including an option for Member States to exempt micro-entities from the obligation to draw up annual accounts in accordance with that Directive.

(4)   Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC(5) defines micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. However, consultations with Member States have indicated that the thresholds for micro-enterprises laid down in that Recommendation may be too high for accounting purposes. Therefore, a sub-group of micro-enterprises, so-called micro-entities, should be introduced to cover companies with lower thresholds for balance sheet total and net turnover than the thresholds set up for micro-enterprises.

(5)   Micro-entities are in most cases engaged in business at local or regional level with no, or limited, cross-border activity and have limited resources with which to comply with demanding regulatory requirements. In addition, micro-entities are important for creating new jobs, fostering research and development and creating new economic activities.

(6)   Micro-entities are however often subject to the same reporting rules as larger companies. Those rules place a burden on them which is not in proportion to their size and is therefore disproportionate for the smallest enterprises as compared to larger ones. Therefore, it should be possible to exempt micro-entities from the obligation to draw up annual accounts, even if such accounts provide an input for statistical information. However, micro-entities must still be subject to the obligation to keep records showing the company's business transactions and financial situation as a minimum standard to which Member States remain free to add further obligations.

(7)   The High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens called in its opinion of 10 July 2008 for rapid enactment of an option enabling Member States to exempt micro-entities from the obligation to draw up annual accounts pursuant to Directive 78/660/EEC.

(8)   In its resolution of 18 December 2008 on accounting requirements as regards small and medium-sized companies, particularly micro-entities(6) , the European Parliament called on the Commission to present a legislative proposal that would allow Member States to exempt micro-entities from the scope of Directive 78/660/EEC.

(9)    Given that the threshold values set in this Directive will apply to numbers of businesses which will vary greatly from one Member State to another, and given that the activities of micro-entities have no bearing on cross-border trade or the functioning of the internal market, the Member States should take into account the differing impact of those values when implementing this Directive at national level.

(10)    Whilst it is imperative to ensure transparency also for micro-entities, in order to ensure that they are open and have access to the financial markets, Member States should take into account the specific conditions and needs of their own market when implementing Directive 78/660/EEC.

(11)   Since the objective of this Directive, namely to reduce the administrative burden for micro-entities, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, and can therefore by reason of its effect be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. 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 that objective.

(12)   Directive 78/660/EEC should therefore be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Amendment to Directive 78/660/EEC

In Directive 78/660/EEC the following Article is inserted:"

Article 1a

1.  Whilst maintaining the obligation to keep records showing the company's business transactions and financial situation, Member States may provide for an exemption from the obligations under this Directive for companies which on their balance- sheet dates do not exceed the limits of two of the three following criteria:

   (a) balance sheet total: EUR 500 000;
   (b) net turnover: EUR 1 000 000;
   (c) average number of employees during the financial year: 10.

2.   Where on its balance-sheet date a company exceeds the limits of two of the three criteria set out in paragraph 1 in two consecutive financial years, that company may no longer benefit from the exemption referred to in that paragraph.

Where on its balance-sheet date a company has ceased to exceed the limits of two of the three criteria set out in paragraph 1, it may benefit from the exemption referred to in that paragraph, provided that it has not exceeded those limits in two consecutive financial years.

3.   In the case of those Member States which have not adopted the euro, the amount in national currency equivalent to the amounts specified in paragraph 1 shall be that obtained by applying the exchange rate published in the Official Journal of the European Union on the date of the entry into force of any Directive setting those amounts.

4.   The balance-sheet total referred to in point (a) of paragraph 1 shall consist either of the assets referred to in points A to E under “Assets” in Article 9 or the assets referred to in points A to E in Article 10.

"

Article 2

Transposition

1.   Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive if and when they decide to make use of the option provided for in Article 1a of Directive 78/660/EEC, taking account in particular of the situation at national level regarding the number of businesses covered under the threshold values laid down in that Article . 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 measures, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such 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

Entry into force

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

Article 4

Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at ,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 317, 23.12.2009, p. 67.
(2) OJ C 317, 23.12.2009, p. 67.
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 10 March 2010.
(4) OJ L 222, 14.8.1978, p. 11.
(5) OJ L 124, 20.5.2003, p. 36.
(6) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 58.


EU 2020 - Follow-up of the informal European Council of 11 February 2010
DOC 47k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on EU 2020
P7_TA(2010)0053 B7-0151 , 0153 and 0160/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the informal European Council of 11 February 2010,

–   having regard to the public consultation on EU 2020 launched by the Commission, and its outcome (SEC(2010)0116 ),

–   having regard to the Commission's evaluation of the Lisbon Strategy (SEC(2010)0114 ),

–   having regard to the European Council document entitled ‘Seven steps to deliver on the European strategy for growth and jobs’,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the EU 2020 strategy should serve economic growth and create jobs, since the 4% drop in GDP, falling industrial production and a total of more than 23 million unemployed women and men represent a human and economic disaster,

B.   whereas the Lisbon Strategy underperformed owing to a weak governance structure, a lack of accountability, a highly complex objective with too many targets, over-ambitious goals and a lack of clarity, focus and transparency, and whereas it therefore welcomes the Commission's proposal for the EU 2020 strategy and the accompanying targets and framework,

General observations

1.   Believes that the EU 2020 strategy must provide an effective response to the economic and financial crisis, and lend new ambition and European coherence to the EU recovery process by mobilising and coordinating national and European instruments;

2.   Welcomes, given that too many European targets were not met under the previous Lisbon Strategy, the European Council's decision to set fewer targets, but to make them clearer, more realistic and more quantifiable;

A social market economy

3.   Believes that sustainable, full and high-quality employment, for both men and women, is an important goal to pursue in the EU, which can be achieved only if the EU institutions and the Member States implement the necessary reforms;

4.   Notes that unemployment is a core issue in current discussions in the context of the crisis; believes that, in order fully to address high and growing unemployment, the EU must implement an ambitious social agenda, including efforts to promote longer and healthier lives, to combat poverty and social exclusion, to help workers combine employment with care responsibilities, to reduce early school leaving, to foster lifelong learning and to fight discrimination and promote gender mainstreaming, gender equality and workers‘ rights and good working conditions; urges the Member States to tackle unemployment by creating more training opportunities and internships for young people, while protecting them against unfair employment practices;

5.   Stresses that, in order to address high and growing unemployment, the EU must implement an ambitious social agenda, and a strong gender equality strategy and integration policy;

6.   Believes that the EU needs to create inclusive and competitive labour markets through the restructuring of social security systems and the provision of greater flexibility for employers, combined with appropriate short-term unemployment benefits and support for re-employability;

7.   Calls on the EU to facilitate the free movement of all citizens, including workers; professionals; business people, researchers, students and retired people;

8.   Urges the EU to explore the possibility of European schemes designed to facilitate knowledge migration and prevent a European ‘brain drain’, promote excellence and develop a network of leading universities at international level; believes that creating the ‘fifth freedom’ of knowledge should contribute to this;

9.   Is disappointed that no mention was made of the agricultural sector in the original proposals for the EU 2020 strategy, despite agriculture's potential to make an active contribution to meeting the main challenges ahead; is convinced that, with the right policy framework and adequate budgetary resources, agriculture and forestry can play an important role in the overall European strategy designed to secure economic recovery and achieve climate targets, while at the same time contributing to EU and global food security, growth and job creation;

Strong European governance for a successful 2020 strategy

10.   Believes that the EU 2020 strategy should provide an ambitious and more coherent and target-based approach to the economic crisis, ensuring greater coherence between overlapping strategies, such as the Sustainable Development Strategy and the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), to help build a fair, sustainable and prosperous Europe;

11.   Takes the view that the Lisbon Strategy failed owing to a lack of commitment and lack of ownership by the Member States in relation to the implementation of agreed action plans, and the absence of effective incentives and binding instruments at EU level;

12.   Urges the European Council to abandon the ‘open coordination method’, based on the ‘exchange of best practices’ and ‘peer pressure’, in the field of economic policy; encourages the Commission to use all available provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, such as Articles 121, 122, 136, 172, 173 and 194, in order to coordinate the Member States‘ economic reforms and action plans;

13.   Emphasises that the Commission should draw up a precise scoreboard of obstacles and propose action on these key impediments, with a view to completing the internal market;

14.   Asks the Commission, while respecting the subsidiarity principle, to put forward new measures, such as regulations and directives, and possible sanctions for those Member States that do not implement the EU 2020 strategy and incentives for those that do;

15.   Recalls that both the Commission and the European Council have underlined Parliament's crucial role in the EU 2020 strategy, and should therefore respect its prerogatives by presenting annual policy recommendations to Parliament before the European Council takes a decision; urges the Council and the Commission to acknowledge Parliament's key role in implementing a 2020 strategy; takes the view that an interinstitutional agreement needs to be drawn up in order to set down and formalise a democratic, effective way forward, which should include a commitment by the Council not to agree on changes to the strategy in coming years without formally consulting Parliament first;

16.   Stresses the need for better cooperation with national parliaments and civil society; takes the view that involving more actors will increase the pressure on national administrations to deliver results;

17.   Takes the view that the Member States should, in close cooperation with the Commission, draft national action plans stipulating maximum and minimum values for certain macro-economic aspects of their economies;

18.   Notes that the implementation of the EU budget by the Commission and the Member States has been criticised by the European Court of Auditors; takes the view that, since the Member States manage 80% of the EU budget themselves, the Commission should put more pressure on them to take responsibility for spending these funds correctly, and consider financial penalties in the event that Member States refuse to cooperate;

19.   Believes that the Member States should indicate how they used EU funds to achieve the various EU 2020 objectives, and that EU funding should be conditional on results and compatibility with the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy;

Protecting the strength of the euro by stepping up financial oversight

20.   Stresses that budget consolidation and economic policies must be closely coordinated in order to increase growth, create jobs and ensure the future stability of the euro; takes the view that the Member States must comply with the criteria of the European Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), while striking a balance between the reduction of national deficits, investment and social needs;

21.   Believes that the failure by several Member States in the eurozone to comply with the SGP shows the need to strengthen economic coordination among countries in the EMU; believes that problems in the eurozone call for a European solution, and considers it unfortunate that there are no mechanisms to safeguard the euro's stability;

22.   Notes that speculative attacks on countries facing economic difficulties further deepen their economic problems and make it very expensive for them to borrow money;

23.   Stresses the need for a European supervisor to ensure effective oversight of micro- and macro-prudential supervision, thereby preventing future crises; stresses the need to establish an efficient European banking system capable of financing the real economy and making sure that Europe remains one of the world's leading financial centres and economies; underlines that oversight cannot remain a purely national matter, since markets are international and financial institutions operate across borders;

Freeing up the potential of the European internal market

24.   Notes that the single market contributes greatly to European prosperity, and welcomes the fact that Mario Monti has been assigned the task of proposing new and balanced ideas with a view to kick-starting the European common market; takes the view that, since the internal market is a key area of the EU 2020 strategy, the Council and Commission should come up with proposals for completing the internal market;

25.   Notes that some governments are practising economic protectionism, threatening to undo the work of 50 years of economic integration and solidarity;

26.   Reminds the Member States that they can use the enhanced cooperation method in areas where the negotiations have reached a deadlock;

27.   Takes the view that it is essential to complete the internal energy market in order to ensure economic growth, the integration of renewable energies and security of supply; is of the opinion that sustainable, low-carbon energy sources should account for a significant share of the EU's energy mix;

28.   Believes that European industry should take advantage of its leading role in the sustainable economy and green mobility technologies by exploiting its export potential; takes the view that, at the same time, this would reduce resource dependency and make it easier to comply with the necessary 20-20-20 climate change targets; stresses, however, that the EU economy needs sufficient high-tech raw materials in order to achieve this goal;

Promoting SMEs and jobs

29.   Believes that the Commission should have placed a greater emphasis on promoting and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), since most jobs are created in this sector and its innovation and technological progress play a crucial role in reinvigorating our economy; takes the view that more proposals to reduce red tape and promote innovative ideas are required;

30.   Underlines that the Small Business Act is a first step, but should be built on in a more ambitious manner; takes the view that priority should be given to SME-friendly legislation, encouraging entrepreneurship and improved access to finance;

31.   Underlines that a successful 2020 strategy should focus on promoting SMEs and jobs not only in the trade and service sectors, but also in industry and the agricultural sector, as these are vital for our future economy;

32.   Takes the view that the ageing of Europe's population requires lifelong learning policies and a more flexible retirement age (where employees opt for this), so as to keep a sufficient number of active people in the labour market and enhance their social inclusion; is of the opinion that the employment potential of older people and disabled workers is often neglected, and expects proposals aimed at enhancing their potential; urges, furthermore, the Commission to put forward a strategy to combat youth unemployment;

A budget reflecting smart, inclusive and sustainable growth as the priority for the 21st century

33.   Takes the view that the current budget does not sufficiently reflect the financial needs associated with tackling 21st-century challenges; urges the Commission to put forward an ambitious proposal to make the EU 2020 strategy a success;

34.   Urges the Commission to retain the target of spending 3% of GDP on R&D – as set out in the Lisbon Strategy – in the new strategy, for both the EU and national budgets; asks the Commission to put forward a proposal to make European research more efficient by streamlining existing structures, cutting red tape and creating a more research- and innovation-friendly investment climate in the public and private sector; takes the view that, in order to achieve a functioning knowledge triangle, it is essential to improve education and make innovation systems more structured and efficient, while at the same time supporting key enabling technologies; calls on the Member States to make better use of the potential synergy between cohesion policy funds and R&D funds;

35.   Believes that the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development should play a greater role in supporting infrastructure investment, green technologies, innovation and SMEs;

36.   Stresses that innovation starts with better education, and urges the Commission to encourage new partnerships between business, science and university research;

37.   Calls for a broad approach to future EU innovation policy; takes the view that key enabling technologies should receive adequate funding to make Europe a global leader in these areas;

38.   Considers that the transport sector is an important actor in achieving the sustainable growth foreseen in the 2020 strategy and that the sector contributes to a remarkable extent to the economic growth required for the implementation of EU 2020; considers that a mixture of different measures such as an energy mix, price formation measures and a realistic approach to the internalisation of external costs are important in this context, and that these measures should be accompanied by clearer and more realistic targets that should regularly be reviewed;

39.   Recalls that economic, social and territorial cohesion is a cornerstone of the European project, one which is currently being endangered by the effects of the economic crisis; takes the view that a 2020 strategy is an historic opportunity to maintain and strengthen European cohesion, mainly through a transparent, simplified and smart cohesion policy protected from renationalisation, and a sustainable long-term financial plan for the Trans-European Networks, energy and free and equitable access to ICT and broadband, so as to empower people – especially young people – to use modern communication technologies with ease while at the same time adopting a self-critical approach;

40.   Regards industry policy as very important in order to facilitate the transition to a sustainable economy; takes the view that the EU should promote innovation with a view to developing environmentally friendly modes of production and, where necessary, allow temporary compensation for greening European industry in the context of global markets;

41.   Believes that the EU should embark on major economic projects, such as a truly European energy grid, completion of the Galileo project and the widespread application of green technology, including systematic renovation of the EU's building stock, e-health and efforts to improve and update ICT infrastructure;

42.   Stresses that it regards this resolution as a first step, and will put forward a more detailed resolution on bottlenecks, problems and flagship projects in time for the June summit;

o
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43.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council and the Commission.


Implementation of Goldstone recommendations on Israel/Palestine
DOC 37k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on implementation of the Goldstone recommendations on Israel/Palestine
P7_TA(2010)0054 B7-0136 , 0138 , 0145 and 0146/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, on which the Union is based, as set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–   having regard to the Geneva Conventions,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the Middle East,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process adopted on 8 December 2009,

–   having regard to the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission's report on the Gaza conflict,

–   having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 64/10,

–   having regard to the UN Secretary-General's report of 5 February 2010 to the UN General Assembly,

–   having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution of 26 February 2010;

–   having regard to the fact that Hamas is included in the EU's list of terrorist organisations,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the armed conflict in Gaza that started on 27 December 2008 and ended on 18 January 2009 saw more than 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed, and led to considerable destruction of civilian infrastructure,

B.   whereas the UN General Assembly, in its Resolution 64/10 of 5 November 2009, has called for all sides to undertake investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards,

C.   whereas, on 3 December 2009, the UN Secretary-General drew the attention of all parties to the relevant provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution 64/10, and requested written information within three months on any steps they might have taken or were in the process of taking,

D.   whereas the UN Secretary-General, in his statement of 4 February 2010, called on the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the Gaza conflict,

E.   whereas the UN General Assembly, in its resolution of 26 February 2010, reiterated its call on both Israel and the Palestinian side to conduct credible investigations, and requested further reports within five months,

F.   whereas the EU's action on the international scene must be guided by strict respect for the principles and objectives of the UN Charter and for international law; recalling that, under international law, states have an obligation to respect, protect and ensure the application of international humanitarian law,

G.   whereas the Government of Israel reports that it is investigating 150 separate incidents that occurred during the operation in Gaza,

H.   whereas the Palestinian authorities set up an independent investigation commission on 25 January 2010,

I.   whereas the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip has further deteriorated as a result of the blockade, which is in contravention of international humanitarian law,

1.   Stresses once again the importance of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and between Israelis and Palestinians in particular; underlines that respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all parties under all circumstances and trust-building between Israelis and Palestinians are essential components of a peace process leading to two states living side by side in peace and security;

2.   Reiterates its call on the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and on the Member States to work towards a strong EU common position on follow-up to the report of the fact-finding mission – led by Judge Goldstone – on the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, publicly demanding the implementation of its recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes;

3.   Urges both sides to conduct investigations within five months that meet international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, promptness and effectiveness, in line with the UN General Assembly resolutions adopted on 5 November 2009 and 26 February 2010; stresses that respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all parties and under all circumstances is an essential prerequisite for achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

4.   Reiterates its call on the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and on the Member States to monitor actively the implementation of the recommendations set out in the Goldstone report by consulting the EU's external missions and NGOs working in the field; calls for these recommendations and related observations to be included in EU dialogues with both sides, and in multilateral fora;

5.   Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to assess the findings of the investigations by all parties, and to report back to the European Parliament on these assessments;

6.   Welcomes the efforts made by the UN General Assembly to ensure accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law during the Gaza conflict, and encourages it to continue these efforts;

7.   Stresses that respect for the rule of law is a fundamental value both within the European Union and in its relations with third countries and parties; also underlines that the responsibility and credibility of the European Union and of its Member States require the investigations to be monitored fully;

8.   Urges the European Union and its Member States to take into consideration the outcomes of follow-up investigations and of the implementation of the Goldstone report's recommendations vis-à-vis all the parties referred to in that report;

9.   Stresses the importance of cooperation between official authorities and non-governmental organisations in the context of follow-up investigations and the implementation of the Goldstone report's recommendations by all sides; expresses its concern about pressure placed on NGOs involved in the preparation of the Goldstone report and in follow-up investigations, and calls on authorities on all sides to refrain from any measures restricting the activities of these organisations;

10.   Recognises the continuing plight of the people of Gaza as a result of the blockade, and welcomes the call made by the Council on 8 December 2009 for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings;

11.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Member States, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Quartet, the Quartet envoy to the Middle East, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, the Israeli Government and Parliament, the President of the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian Legislative Council.


Situation of civil society and national minorities in Belarus
DOC 44k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the situation of civil society and national minorities in Belarus
P7_TA(2010)0055 B7-0134 , 0152 , 0157 , 0161 and 0163/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Belarus, in particular that of 17 December 2009(1) ,

–   having regard to the conclusions on Belarus reached by the General Affairs and External Relations Council at its meeting of 17 November 2009, involving a further suspension of the application of the visa ban on certain Belarusian officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko, and the extension of the restrictive measures until October 2010,

–   having regard to the outcome of the 2996th Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 22 February 2010 and to the statement by the High Representative, Lady Ashton, on the situation of the Union of Poles in Belarus of 16 February 2010,

–   having regard to the Declaration on the Eastern Partnership issued by the European Council on 19 March 2009 and to the Joint Declaration issued at the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit of 7 May 2009,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1 February 1995,

–   having regard to the international principles and standards concerning national minority rights, particularly those contained in the international conventions on human rights, such as the Helsinki Final Act of 1 August 1975 (Section 1.VII), the Document of the Copenhagen meeting on the Human Dimension of 29 June 1990 and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe of 21 November 1990,

–   having regard to its debate on Belarus on 24 February 2010 and to the European Parliament ad hoc delegation mission to Belarus on 25-27 February 2010 and its findings,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas, on 15 February 2010, 40 activists, mainly members of the Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB), were arrested in Belarus, including Angelika Borys (Chairwoman of the UPB), Igor Bancer (Spokesman of the UPB), Mieczyslaw Jaskiewicz (Vice-Chairman), Andrzej Poczobut (President of the UPB Supervisory Board) and Anatol Lebedzka, the leader of the opposition United Civil Party in Belarus, in order to prevent them from taking part in the trial concerning the Polish House in Ivyanets; whereas by 20 February all the activists were released,

B.   whereas the UPB under the Chairmanship of Angelika Borys, who has been democratically elected twice in 2005 and in 2009, is not recognised by the state authorities and has been facing regular harassment and persecutions since 2005 and whereas its members are being repeatedly accused of illegal activities and facing criminal charges,

C.   whereas the Belarusian authorities have used the police forces against the members of the UPB in Hrodna in 2005 and in Ivyanets in 2010,

D.   whereas the Belarusian authorities have prevented the representatives of the UPB who were called to appear at the court session as witnesses for Mrs Teresa Sobol, Chairwoman of the local branch of the UPB in Ivyanets, from attending the trial,

E.   whereas the discrimination against the Union of Poles, the largest NGO operating in Belarus, which is led by Angelika Borys, is symptomatic of the general treatment of civil society and the democratic opposition in Belarus,

F.   whereas the ‘Polonica’, a Hrodna-based company headed by Angelika Borys, the only source of funding for the UPB, has been fined 71 m roubles for allegedly violating tax regulations and is now in danger of bankruptcy,

G.   whereas the Belarusian authorities consider Stanislaw Siemaszko to be the legitimate leader of the Union of Poles and declare support for the organisation under his leadership, considered illegitimate by the Polish community,

H.   whereas the representatives of the European Institutions, including Mr Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament, Baroness Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Mrs Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs, as well as the Polish Parliament and the French Foreign Ministry, have expressed their concern about the recent actions of the Belarusian authorities against the UPB and have condemned the use of the police against its members,

I.   whereas those actions of the Belarusian authorities are contrary to international standards for protection of national minorities set out, inter alia, in the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1 February 1995, while Belarus has intensified its actions against membership of this organisation,

J.   whereas the Joint Declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit, co-signed by Belarus, states in paragraph 1 that: ‘The participants of the Prague Summit agree that the Eastern Partnership will be based on commitments to the principles of international law and to fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’,

K.   whereas the European Council in its conclusions as of 17 November 2009 recognises that new possibilities have opened up for dialogue and deepened cooperation between the European Union and Belarus, with the aim of fostering genuine progress towards democracy and respect for human rights, and reaffirms in this context its readiness to deepen the European Union's relations with Belarus, subject to further progress towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as to assist the country in attaining these objectives,

1.   Expresses its grave concern at the recent human rights violations in the Republic of Belarus against members of civil society, especially members of the Union of Poles, and declares its solidarity with citizens unable to enjoy their full civil rights;

2.   Condemns the police and legal action against the Union of Poles and any attempts by the Belarusian authorities to impose a new leadership on the Polish community; demands that the Belarusian authorities re-legalise the Union of Poles in Belarus (UPB) led by Angelika Borys and ensure that its properties are returned to them in due time;

3.   Reiterates its interest in an open and structured dialogue with Belarus on condition that the democratisation of the political system in Belarus leads to concrete results and reflects respect for human rights and the rule of law;

4.   Urges Belarus to abide by its OSCE and international commitments in terms of the protection and promotion of the rights of its minorities; calls at the same time on the authorities to improve the conditions for the functioning of civil society, especially with regard to freedom of expression and assembly, the situation of independent media, including access to the internet, and the registration of NGOs, with a view to preparing and allowing a free and fair electoral process for the municipal elections on 25 April 2010;

5.   Repeats its call in recent resolutions, in particular those of 15 January and of 17 December 2009, to guarantee freedom of speech and association and to ensure the freedom to register political parties such as the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BDC), religious freedom and the creation of conditions conducive to the activity of civil society entities NGOs (such as ‘Viasna’) and independent media in Belarus;

6.   Urges the Belarusian authorities to release political activists such as Andrei Bandarenko and prisoners of conscience such as Ivan Mikhailau and Aristyom Dubski, to withdraw restrictive measures against civil society campaigners such as Tatiana Shaputsko, a participant in the Eastern Partnership's Civil Society Forum, and to refrain from measures aiming to control the content of the Belarusian sites of the World Wide Web;

7.   Underlines that the EU dialogue with Belarus can be mutually beneficial and believes that Belarus can be supported in obtaining maximum benefits from the Eastern Partnership, in particular in the most effective use of funds allocated under this programme to infrastructure, energy and social projects and by application of other EU instruments and policies, provided the Belarusian authorities commit themselves to real changes in the area of freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and in particular the rights of national minorities;

8.   Recalls that the European Union has already demonstrated considerable openness to engagement with Belarus, expressed also in Belarus's inclusion in the Eastern Partnership; recalls that the success of this engagement is conditional on steps towards democratisation and the upholding of human rights, including minority rights, by the Government of Belarus;

9.  Points out that, if the Belarusian authorities adhere to fundamental human rights and democracy-related criteria, Belarus will benefit from the following items:

   the conclusion and ratification of the EU-Belarus Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA),
   the effective utilisation of EU financial instruments such as European Investment Bank (EIB) instruments and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI),
   the extension of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) financing to projects in Belarus, involving state entities,
   restoration of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) to Belarus,
   obtaining another tranche of the stabilisation loan from International Monetary Fund (IMF),
   the resumption of negotiations on Belarus's accession to the WTO,
   the support for the extension of the OECD programme to Belarus;

10.   Attaches great importance to the liberalisation of political and civic life in Belarus and underlines that further violations of human rights and the rule of law in Belarus may lead to the revision of the EU's position towards Belarus, including reimposition of the sanctions;

11.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, the Secretariat of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Parliament and Government of Belarus.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0117 .


Taxation of financial transactions
DOC 40k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on financial transaction taxes – making them work
P7_TA(2010)0056 B7-0133/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 April 2009 on the London G20 Summit of 2 April 2009(1) ,

–   having regard to the Leaders‘ Statement issued following the Pittsburgh Group of Twenty (G20) Summit of 24 and 25 September 2009,

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2009 on the Pittsburgh G20 Summit of 24 and 25 September 2009(2) ,

–   having regard to the communiqué of the St Andrews G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of 7 November 2009,

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 10-11 December 2009, and in particular paragraph 15 thereof,

–   having regard to President Barroso's statement of 15 December 2009 to the European Parliament,

–   having regard to the letter of 18 January 2010 from the Swedish Finance Minister to the Presidency of the Council on the introduction of a stability fee in the Member States,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2008/7/EC of 12 February 2008 concerning indirect taxes on the raising of capital(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax, as regards the treatment of insurance and financial services (COM(2007)0747 ),

–   having regard to the question of 24 February 2010 to the Commission on financial transaction taxes – making them work (O-0025/2010 – B7-0019/2010 ),

–   having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas Parliament has welcomed the investigative work initiated at G20 level, following the Pittsburgh Summit in September 2009 towards an international framework for financial transaction taxation,

B.   whereas Parliament has called for speedy progress to ensure that the financial sector contributes fairly towards economic recovery and development since substantial costs and consequences of the financial crisis are being borne by the real economy, taxpayers, consumers, public services and society in general,

C.   whereas the European Council has emphasised the importance of renewing the economic and social contract between financial institutions and the society they serve and of ensuring that the public benefits in good times and is protected from risk; whereas the European Council has, in this context, encouraged the IMF to consider the full range of options, including a global financial transaction levy, in its review; whereas, in this context, the European Council has also called on the Council and the Commission to identify the key principles which new global arrangements would need to respect,

D.   whereas several Member States have called for a financial transaction tax,

E.   whereas the new regulatory initiatives, such as action against tax havens, removal of off-balance-sheet loopholes, requirements for exchange trading and use of trade repositories for registration of derivatives, have clearly changed the context of political action in this area,

F.   whereas the Commission, following questions raised at the meeting between the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Commissioner responsible for taxation on 6 October 2009, and as confirmed by President Barroso in his statement to Parliament on 15 December 2009, is currently working on ideas for ‘innovative financing’ in the context of global challenges, including financial transaction taxes in order to put forward proposals at an appropriate time,

G.   whereas the IMF is currently seeking views from the public on the matter of financial-sector taxation as part of the request made by the G20 at the Pittsburgh Summit of 24 and 25 September 2009,

H.   whereas taxes and levies on financial transactions exist in different forms in the Member States; whereas these national taxes and duties usually cover only transactions of selected assets; whereas Belgium and France have adopted legislation on a currency transaction tax at national level, but will only put it into effect if implemented at EU level,

I.   whereas, unlike other forms of taxation, indirect taxes on the raising of capital, such as capital duty, the stamp duty on securities and duty on restructuring operations, give rise to discrimination, double taxation and disparities which interfere with the free movement of capital,

J.   whereas there has been a huge and rapid increase over the past decade in the volume of financial transactions as compared to the volume of trade in goods and services, which can be explained, amongst other things, by the fast-growing derivatives market,

K.   whereas the G20 leaders have a collective responsibility to mitigate the social impact of the crisis, both in their member states and in developing countries, which have been hard-hit by the indirect effects of the crisis; whereas a financial transaction tax would contribute towards covering the costs generated by the crisis,

1.   Is of the opinion that the European Union should agree on a common position in the international framework of G20 meetings as regards the options as to how the financial sector should make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any burden which it has caused to the real economy or which is associated with government interventions to stabilise the banking system; takes the view that the EU, in parallel to and consistent with the G20 work, should develop its own strategy with regard to the range of possible options for action;

2.   Considers, with a view to reaching a coherent EU position based on objective analysis, that the Commission should elaborate, sufficiently in advance of the next G20 Summit, an impact assessment of a global financial transaction tax, exploring its advantages as well as drawbacks;

3.  Urges the Commission to carefully consider in its assessment, the following aspects:

   (a) past experiences with financial transaction taxes, especially in terms of tax avoidance behaviour and migration of capital or service provision to alternative locations, especially the impact of such taxes on individual investors and SMEs;
   (b) the benefits and drawbacks of the introduction of financial transaction taxes in the European Union alone, as compared to their introduction at global level and to the current situation;
   (c) the potential to generate substantial revenue in comparison to other sources of tax revenues, collection costs and distribution of revenues among countries;
   (d) the fact that, when assessing the potential revenues from financial transaction taxes at global or European level, account should be taken of different design options, whilst quantifying the increase in transaction costs in all markets potentially concerned (transaction on organised exchanges, over-the-counter transactions) and for Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumers B2C transactions;
   (e) the fact that the assessment should also take into account the potential of the different options to affect both price levels and stability in the short term and long run, as well as financial transactions and liquidity;
   (f) how a financial transaction tax needs to be designed in order to mitigate the negative side effects usually associated with indirect taxes on the raising of capital;
   (g) to what extent a financial transaction tax would contribute to the stabilisation of the financial markets in terms of its effect on excessive short-term trading and speculation and on transparency;
   (h) whether a financial transaction tax could prevent a future financial crisis by targeting certain types of ‘undesirable’ transactions; which should be defined by the Commission;

4.   Stresses that any solution must imperatively avoid reducing EU competitiveness or hampering sustainable investment, innovation and growth, which benefit the real economy and society;

5.   Underlines the importance of taking into account the need for the banking sector to build up healthy capital, ensuring the banking system's ability to finance real economy investments; and that excessive risk taking is prevented;

6.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to assess the potential of different financial transaction tax options to contribute to the EU budget;

7.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to assess to which extent the options under consideration could also be used as innovative financial mechanisms to provide support for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change for developing countries, as well as for financing development cooperation;

8.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Central Bank and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0330 .
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0028 .
(3) OJ L 46, 21.2.2008, p. 11.


Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
DOC 41k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
P7_TA(2010)0057 B7-0132/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the joint statement from the Commission and the European Central Bank of 4 May 2006 on the Single Euro Payments Area,

–   having regard to the European Central Bank Occasional Paper No 71 of August 2007 on the economic impact of the Single Euro Payments Area,

–   having regard to Directive 2007/64/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on payment services in the internal market(1) (Payment Services Directive),

–   having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2009 on the implementation of the Single Euro Payments Area(2) ,

–   having regard to the joint statement by the European Commission and the European Central Bank clarifying certain principles underlying a future SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) business model of 24 March 2009,

–   having regard to the Commission's second survey on public administrations‘ preparedness and migration to SEPA of 22 July 2009,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 10 September 2009: Completing SEPA: a Roadmap for 2009-2012 (COM(2009)0471 ),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on cross-border payments in the Community and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001(3) ,

–   having regard to the Working Document of the Commission of 30 October 2009: Applicability of Article 81 of the EC Treaty to multilateral interbank-payments in SEPA Direct Debit (SEC(2009)1472 ),

–   having regard to the Commission's second annual Progress Report on the State of SEPA Migration in 2009 of 9 November 2009,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 2 December 2009 on SEPA,

–   having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is to be an integrated market for payment services, which is subject to effective competition and in which there is no distinction between cross-border and national payments in euros,

B.   whereas SEPA should be not only a self-regulatory initiative by the European Payments Council (EPC), but also a major public policy initiative reinforcing the Economic and Monetary Union and the future EU 2020 Strategy; whereas SEPA is supported by the Payment Services Directive, which provides the necessary harmonised legal framework; and whereas the success of SEPA is, therefore, a matter of particular interest to Parliament,

C.   whereas the SEPA decision-making process is currently at the discretion of the European Payments Council (EPC), where only banks take decisions on SEPA products neglecting end-users‘ requests,

D.   whereas SEPA officially started on 28 January 2008 with the launch of the SEPA payment instrument for credit transfer (SCT), while the SEPA Cards Framework has been in force since 1 January 2008, and the SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) scheme started on 2 November 2009,

E.   whereas consumers have expressed concern that the features of SEPA products should meet existing end-users‘ needs, notably in relation to the checking of mandates for direct debits, and whereas it is desirable that progress is made towards addressing this issue,

F.   whereas no legally binding end-date for migration to SEPA instruments has been set, and whereas a large majority responding to a public consultation by the Commission supported the idea of setting such an end-date to stimulate SEPA migration,

G.   whereas the Commissioner-designate for the Internal Market and Services stated in his written answers to Parliament's questionnaire that he intended to propose a legislative initiative for adoption by the Commission with the objective of setting one or more deadlines for migration to SEPA products for direct debits and credit transfers, as well as an initiative to improve governance,

H.   whereas migration to SEPA has been sluggish: in August 2009, only 4.5 % of total transactions had been made by way of the SEPA Credit Transfer format, and whereas the deadline originally foreseen, namely the migration of a critical mass for SCT, SDD and card payments by end-2010, has become unrealistic,

I.   whereas migration to SEPA instruments by public administrations is lagging behind expectations in most Member States, though these bodies should play a catalytic role in creating the critical mass needed to accelerate migration towards SEPA,

J.   whereas it is important that all relevant stakeholders – legislators, the banking industry and payment services users – are involved in the achievement of SEPA,

K.   whereas the use of SEPA instruments merely for cross-border payment transactions would not result in the success of the SEPA project, as fragmentation would persist and anticipated benefits for the banking industry as well as for its customers could not be realised,

L.   whereas Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 provides for legal certainty as regards the application of multilateral interchange fees (MIF) during a transitional period until 31 October 2012, in which industry should develop and agree a common, long-term business model for the operation of the SEPA Direct Debit which should be in line with EC competition law and the Community regulatory framework,

M.   whereas in March 2009, the Commission and the European Central Bank indicated that there appeared to be no clear and convincing reason for a per transaction MIF to exist after 31 October 2012, and whereas the Commission conducted a public consultation on the applicability of Article 81 of the EC Treaty to multilateral interbank-payments in SEPA Direct Debit,

N.   whereas the application of a MIF should also be resolved definitely with regard to an EU card solution based on the SEPA Cards Framework,

O.   whereas the continued legal validity of existing direct debit mandates should be ensured in all Member States, as the obligation to sign new mandates when switching from national direct debit schemes to the SEPA Direct Debit scheme would be burdensome; whereas, however, the maintenance of these mandates does not contribute to an early implementation of the SEPA Direct Debit scheme unless a solution to migrating existing mandates is found,

1.   Emphasises its continued support for the creation of SEPA, which is subject to effective competition and in which there is no distinction between cross-border and national payments in euros;

2.   Regrets that hardly any progress has been made as regards the issues mentioned in Parliament's resolution on the implementation of SEPA of 12 March 2009 since its adoption, and calls for the involvement of all stakeholders to promote and contribute to achieving SEPA;

3.   Welcomes the SEPA roadmap adopted by the Commission in September 2009, and fully supports the actions set out therein in six priority areas (i.e. foster migration; raise SEPA awareness and promote SEPA products; design a sound legal environment for SEPA and strengthen SEPA compliance; promote innovation; ensure necessary standardisation, interoperability and security; clarify and improve the governance of SEPA);

4.   Calls again on the Commission to set a clear, appropriate and binding end-date, which should be no later than 31 December 2012, for migrating to SEPA instruments, after which all payments in euros must be made using the SEPA standards;

5.   Calls on the European Payment Council to take into consideration the end-users‘ requests and subsequently modify its rulebooks;

6.   Fully supports the Commission's intention to foster public administrations‘ migration process through the drawing up of integrated and synchronised national migration plans; in this respect, welcomes the Commission's efforts to survey and publish the Member States’ public administrations‘ preparedness and migration to SEPA, and calls on Member States to take part in these surveys;

7.   Calls on the Commission to clarify definitely and no later than 30 September 2010, based on the outcome of the respective consultation, including all the stakeholders, the issue of a harmonised long-term economic model for SEPA direct debits, which has to be Europe-wide applicable, cost efficient and end-consumer convenient; insists on the need for this model to be developed in close cooperation between the payment sector and the Commission and in line with EC competition law and the Community regulatory framework;

8.   Calls on all stakeholders to support the setting-up of a European card scheme, to be either a complementary new scheme, an alliance between existing schemes or an expansion of an existing scheme; in this respect, calls again on the Commission to clarify further the issue of a MIF for card payments, and calls on the industry to find proper solutions, in close cooperation with the Commission, in line with EC competition law and the Community regulatory framework;

9.   Calls on Member States to ensure the continued legal validity of existing direct debit mandates in the SEPA Direct Debit scheme; emphasises that the transition from the existing direct debit scheme to the SEPA Direct Debit scheme should not cause any burden for consumers;

10.   Insists that consumers should be clearly informed about the differences between the former scheme and the new scheme;

11.   Calls on the Commission to monitor the migration to SEPA instruments and ensure that it does not result in a more expensive payment system for EU citizens;

12.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Central Bank and the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 319, 5.12.2007, p. 1.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2009)0139 .
(3) OJ L 266, 9.10.2009, p. 11.


Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
DOC 41k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the transparency and state of play of the ACTA negotiations
P7_TA(2010)0058 B7-0154 , 0158 , 0173 , 0179 and 0180/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 207 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 February 2010 on a revised Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the Commission for the next legislative term(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2009 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast), to be considered as Parliament's position at first reading(2) (COM(2008)0229 – C6-0184/2008 – 2008/0090(COD) ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2008 on the impact of counterfeiting on international trade(3) ,

–   having regard to the European Data Protection Supervisor's Opinion of 22 February 2010 on the current negotiations by the European Union of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA),

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, as last amended by Directive 2009/136/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009,

–   having regard to Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market (‘Directive on Electronic Commerce’),

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

A.   whereas in 2008 the European Union and other OECD countries opened negotiations on a new multilateral agreement designed to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and combat counterfeiting and piracy (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – ACTA), and jointly agreed on a confidentiality clause,

B.   whereas in its report of 11 March 2009 Parliament called on the Commission to ‘immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available’,

C.   whereas on 27 January 2010 the Commission provided assurances as to its commitment to a reinforced association with Parliament, in line with Parliament's resolution of 9 February 2010 on a revised Framework Agreement with the Commission calling for ‘immediate and full information at every stage of negotiations on international agreements (...), in particular on trade matters and other negotiations involving the consent procedure, (...) to give full effect to Article 218 of the TFEU’,

D.   whereas Council representatives have attended rounds of ACTA negotiations alongside Commission representatives,

E.   whereas the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, is obliged to uphold the acquis communautaire when negotiating international agreements affecting legislation in the EU,

F.   whereas, according to documents leaked, the ACTA negotiations touch on, among other things, pending EU legislation regarding the enforcement of IPRs (2005/0127 (COD) – Criminal measures aimed at assuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED-II)) and the so-called ‘Telecoms Package’ and on existing EU legislation regarding e-commerce and data protection,

G.   whereas the ongoing EU efforts to harmonise IPR enforcement measures should not be circumvented by trade negotiations which are outside the scope of normal EU decision-making processes,

H.   whereas it is crucial to ensure that the development of IPR enforcement measures is accomplished in a manner that does not impede innovation or competition, undermine IPR limitations and personal data protection, restrict the free flow of information or unduly burden legitimate trade,

I.   whereas any agreement reached by the European Union on ACTA must comply with the legal obligations imposed on the EU with respect to privacy and data protection law, notably as set out in Directive 95/46/EC, Directive 2002/58/EC and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU),

J.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty has been in force since 1 December 2009,

K.   whereas, as a result of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it will have to give its consent to the ACTA Treaty text prior to its entry into force in the EU,

L.   whereas the Commission has committed itself to providing immediate and full information to Parliament at every stage of negotiations on international agreements,

1.   Points out that since 1 December 2009 the Commission has had a legal obligation to inform Parliament immediately and fully at all stages of international negotiations;

2.   Expresses its concern over the lack of a transparent process in the conduct of the ACTA negotiations, a state of affairs at odds with the letter and spirit of the TFEU; is deeply concerned that no legal base was established before the start of the ACTA negotiations and that parliamentary approval for the negotiating mandate was not sought;

3.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with the Treaty and with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents;

4.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to engage proactively with ACTA negotiation partners to rule out any further negotiations which are confidential as a matter of course and to inform Parliament fully and in a timely manner about its initiatives in this regard; expects the Commission to make proposals prior to the next negotiation round in New Zealand in April 2010, to demand that the issue of transparency is put on the agenda of that meeting and to refer the outcome of the negotiation round to Parliament immediately following its conclusion;

5.   Stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives;

6.   Deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation;

7.   Calls on the Commission to conduct an impact assessment of the implementation of ACTA with regard to fundamental rights and data protection, ongoing EU efforts to harmonise IPR enforcement measures, and e-commerce, prior to any EU agreement on a consolidated ACTA treaty text, and to consult with Parliament in a timely manner about the results of the assessment;

8.   Welcomes affirmations by the Commission that any ACTA agreement will be limited to the enforcement of existing IPRs, with no prejudice for the development of substantive IP law in the European Union;

9.   Calls on the Commission to continue the negotiations on ACTA and limit them to the existing European IPR enforcement system against counterfeiting; considers that further ACTA negotiations should include a larger number of developing and emerging countries, with a view to reaching a possible multilateral level of negotiation;

10.   Urges the Commission to ensure that the enforcement of ACTA provisions – especially those on copyright enforcement procedures in the digital environment – are fully in line with the acquis communautaire ; demands that no personal searches will be conducted at EU borders and requests full clarification of any clauses that would allow for warrantless searches and confiscation of information storage devices such as laptops, cell phones and MP3 players by border and customs authorities;

11.   Considers that in order to respect fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy, while fully observing the principle of subsidiarity, the proposed agreement should not make it possible for any so-called ‘three-strikes’ procedures to be imposed, in full accordance with Parliament's decision on Article 1.1b in the (amending) Directive 2009/140/EC calling for the insertion of a new paragraph 3(a) in Article 1 of Directive 2002/21/EC on the matter of the ‘three strikes’ policy; considers that any agreement must include the stipulation that the closing-off of an individual's Internet access shall be subject to prior examination by a court;

12.   Emphasises that privacy and data protection are core values of the European Union, recognised in Article 8 ECHR and Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which must be respected in all the policies and rules adopted by the EU pursuant to Article 16 of the TFEU;

13.   Points out that ACTA provisions, notably measures aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizure of goods, should not affect global access to legitimate, affordable and safe medicinal products – including innovative and generic products – on the pretext of combating counterfeiting;

14.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the states party to the ACTA negotiations.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0009 .
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0114 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0634 .


Regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences
DOC 35k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences
P7_TA(2010)0059 B7-0181 and 0182/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and in particular the 1979 ‘enabling clause’,

–   having regard to its legislative resolution of 5 June 2008 on the proposal for a Council regulation applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences for the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011 (2007/0289(CNS) ),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 of 22 July 2008,

–   having regard to Chapter 1 of Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–   having regard to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

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

A.   whereas the ‘enabling clause’ is the WTO legal basis for the generalised system of preferences (GSP),

B.   whereas, since 1971, the Community has granted trade preferences to developing countries, within its scheme of generalised tariff preferences,

C.   whereas Parliament was consulted on the Commission proposal for a Council regulation on GSP for the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011 (COM(2007)0857 ),

D.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009,

E.   whereas, pursuant to Chapter 1 of Title V TEU, the Union's action on the international scene must be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and must foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty,

F.   whereas, pursuant to Article 207 TFEU, Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (OLP), must adopt the measures defining the framework for implementing the common commercial policy,

1.   Recognises the importance of the GSP, which allows developed countries to offer non-reciprocal preferential treatment in respect of products originating in developing countries;

2.   Points out that the creation of the GSP by the European Community in 1971 was explained as being an instrument for resolving trade imbalances between developed and developing countries and was expected to contribute to their sustainable development; considers that it has been an EC and EU trade instrument to assist developing countries by generating revenue through international trade, thus contributing to their sustainable development and good governance;

3.   Notes that the current GSP regulation will expire on 31 December 2011; therefore, taking into account the time necessary for the adoption of a new regulation under the OLP, calls on the Commission to propose a revised GSP regulation to the European Parliament and the Council by 1 June 2010;

4.   Considers that the preferences granted under the GSP should be targeted on the developing countries that need them most, so that the new list of beneficiary countries should reflect the actual economic situation of developing countries;

5.   Stresses that all countries benefiting from the GSP+ scheme should, under Article 15(1), not only ratify but also effectively implement all 27 ILO and UN conventions listed in Annex III to the GSP Regulation;

6.   Stresses the need for more transparency and democratic accountability on how the investigation processes are initiated and conducted; therefore asks to be fully informed and adequately involved by the Commission at all the various stages of GSP and GSP+ procedures, including with regard to the Council proposal on the lists of beneficiary countries;

7.   Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the situation in Sri Lanka and on the Sri Lankan Government to quickly react to normalise the situation in the country before the actual implementation of the suspension of GSP+;

8.   Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the human rights situation in Colombia and to report to Parliament;

9.   Calls on the Commission to pursue a coherent policy on GSP+, particularly when addressing possible suspension of the scheme in the event of human rights violations, and to fully involve Parliament in the process;

10.   Urges the Commission to submit to the European Parliament and the Council - before the present regulation ceases to apply and in time for discussion of the next regulation - a report on the state of ratification and implementation of the 27 conventions by each country benefiting from the special incentive arrangements; calls on the Commission to define, in its revised GSP regulation, the monitoring bodies which are to recommend whether additional steps for the effective implementation of a convention should be taken by a specific country; states that, in that report, the Commission must also evaluate the effectiveness of the special incentive arrangements in fulfilling their aim and recommend, where appropriate, revision of Annex III;

11.   Asks the Commission to make provision in its revised GSP regulation for a regular assessment of compliance by each beneficiary country with its commitments under GSP+, and thus ensure that none of the reasons set out in Article 15(1) and (2) and Article 16(1) and (2) for the temporary withdrawal of preferential arrangements applies; calls for that annual report to be sent to Parliament and the Council;

12.   Calls on the Commission, before it revises the system, to conduct an impact assessment of the effects of the GSP over the period from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2009 and to evaluate how its initial aims have been met as regards the specific socio-economic indicators relevant for each country, and, in particular, poverty reduction; states that the study must subsequently be submitted to Parliament and the Council; states that the new proposal for a revised GSP regulation must duly take into consideration the results of the impact assessment;

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


2008 annual report on the CFSP
DOC 95k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in 2008, presented to the European Parliament in application of Part II, Section G, paragraph 43 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 (2009/2057(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0060 A7-0023/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in 2008, presented to the European Parliament in application of Part II, Section G, paragraph 43 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006(1) ,

–   having regard to the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, in particular Title V of the Treaty on European Union as thus amended, entitled ‘General Provisions on the Union's External Action and Specific Provisions on the Common Foreign and Security Policy’,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003 and the Report on the Implementation of the ESS adopted on 11 December 2008,

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

–   having regard to its resolutions on the 2006 and 2007 CFSP annual reports, of 5 June 2008(2) and 19 February 2009(3) respectively,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2009 on the institutional aspects of setting up the European External Action Service(4) ,

–   having regard to Rule 119(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0023/2010 ),

A.   whereas the role of the European Union as a global player has increased over the last decades, and whereas a new approach and further financial means are needed if the EU is to act collectively and meet global challenges in a democratic, coherent, consistent and efficient manner,

B.   whereas the European Union, in its relations with the wider world, shall further develop its foreign policy objectives, uphold and promote its values and interests, contribute to the protection of its citizens and advance these values worldwide with the aim of contributing to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as the strict observance and development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter, whereas the promotion of human rights, in particular the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, shall be at the centre of the EU's external action and whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights is now binding on the external activities of the EU,

C.   whereas the Treaty of Lisbon brings a new dimension to the external action of the Union as a whole, including the CFSP, which together with the legal personality of the EU and the relevant institutional innovations, notably the creation of the office of Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (‘the Vice-President/High Representative’) and the setting-up of the European External Action Service (EEAS), could be a decisive factor in the coherence, consistency and effectiveness of the Union's external action and could significantly enhance its shaping power in the international arena,

D.   whereas further efforts are needed to improve the timeliness of the response of the EU to political crises and regional conflicts; whereas the present decision-making and funding mechanisms can hamper timely and comprehensive reactions and whereas ways must be found to further limit and overcome the unanimity rule,

E.   whereas it is essential to correctly identify, and act in accordance with, the common European interests in order to attain the objectives of the Union's external actions and in particular those of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); whereas it is essential to ensure that all policies decided and actions taken are also in accordance with international law, including the principles laid down in the UN Charter,

F.   whereas the promotion of peace, human rights and the rule of law worldwide are the central goals of the EU's external policies,

G.   whereas the Treaty of Lisbon mandates the Vice-President/High Representative to assist the Council and the Commission in ensuring consistency between the different areas of external action and between these and the Union's other policy areas,

H.   whereas as from the date of entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon the European Union exercises all rights and assumes all obligations of the European Community whilst continuing to exercise existing rights and assume obligations of the EU,

I.   whereas the new security challenges require a stronger emphasis to be placed on strengthening, combining and balancing different civilian and military instruments across the spectrum of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, crisis management and peace-building activities,

J.   whereas some 10 years after the launching of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), during which period some 23 missions have been deployed in crisis areas, there is a need to enhance military and civilian capabilities and consolidate structures so as to adequately reflect the role which the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) plays in supporting the CFSP and in delivering international security,

Principles of European external action

1.   Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative and her services to develop – with a view to deepening the Union's collective strategic thinking – a coherent EU foreign policy strategy based on the objectives and principles established in Article 21 TEU; is of the opinion that such a strategy should clearly identify the common security interests of the EU and thereby serve as a reference framework for policy-making as well as for the formulation, financing, implementation and monitoring of the EU's external action; calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to fully associate the European Parliament's relevant bodies in such an endeavour; believes that the concepts of Human Security as defined by the 2007 Madrid Report of the Human Security Study Group, and Responsibility to Protect, as defined by the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, should become two of its guiding principles;

The Council's 2008 annual report on the CFSP

2.   Welcomes the Council's ambition to take a more strategic, theme-driven and streamlined approach to CFSP issues when drawing up its 2008 annual report; also commends the introduction by the Council of a more transparent structure, with main chapters on past activities and, in particular, future prospects in the CFSP area; also notes the improvement in the report as regards the elaboration of the regional context of external actions;

3.   Stresses once again that the scope of the report should not be limited simply to a description of CFSP activities but should provide the opportunity to establish a dialogue with the European Parliament aimed at developing a more strategic approach to the CFSP; recommends that the annual CFSP report be turned into a yearly report discussing the implementation of the EU's foreign policy strategy, evaluating its effectiveness and outlining its future direction; recommends further that more references be made to the budgetary needs and financial impact of external actions in such reporting;

4.   Believes in the added value of a more extensive and comprehensive approach in the context of the CFSP annual reports and specifically their chapters on regional groups and partners and on the interconnections between CFSP/CSDP missions and other instruments promoting the EU's role as a global player; is of the view that such a perspective would, among other things, afford a better overview of the total contribution from the EU budget in a given region;

5.   Reiterates its position that, in order to enhance the democratic legitimacy of the CFSP, Parliament's competent bodies should be consulted on the launch of CSDP missions and that decisions should where appropriate take into account, and contain references to, the positions adopted by Parliament; considers that such consultation should include information about the rationale behind the chosen course of action and an explanation as to how the mission relates to relevant EU and international actions, what financial implications it entails and how it interacts with other EU instruments;

Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon

6.   Welcomes the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which provides the EU with tools for the further enhancement of its role and visibility on the international scene; stresses, in this respect, the fundamental role that each Member State, the Council and the new Vice-President/High Representative must play in translating the written provisions of the Treaty into actual facts and substantial action by strengthening the EU's relations with its strategic partners and consolidating its leadership in multilateral forums; underlines the importance of the Treaty provision according to which the competence of the Union in matters of the CFSP will now cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union's security, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy that might lead to a common defence;

7.   Notes that the President of the European Council will ‘at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy’; warns, however, that this must be done without prejudicing the powers of the Vice-President/High Representative, and in full acknowledgment of the key role played by the European Commission, not only in establishing and maintaining the acquis communautaire in terms of external relations, but also in ensuring the external representation of the Union, with the exception of the CFSP;

8.   Welcomes the role to be played by the Vice-President/High Representative in chairing the Foreign Affairs Council and the fact that her representative is to chair the Political and Security Committee (PSC); expects these new functions to consolidate inter-institutional contacts and foster a more stable dialogue between the institutions; invites the Vice-President/High Representative to build on the experience of the periodic appearances by the outgoing High Representative and External Relations Commissioners before Parliament in plenary and before its Committee on Foreign Affairs, and on the practice of informal meetings, in order to step up and develop regular, systematic and substantive consultations with Parliament and its competent bodies;

9.   Is of the view that the merging of the inter-governmental and Community pillars and functions into one single post of the Vice-President/High Representative, who is subject to a collective vote of consent by the European Parliament, can increase the democratic legitimacy of CFSP activities provided a continuous strategic dialogue is established on an equal footing between Parliament, the Council and the Commission at all levels;

10.   Stresses that Member States should work in a spirit of mutual political solidarity for the achievement of an ever-increasing degree of convergence of actions in the field of the CFSP;

11.   Reiterates that, in order to allow the EU to play an active role in the world, sufficient funds need to be allocated in the EU budget; regrets that the relevant budget continues to be underfunded and expresses its serious concern over the consequences of under-financing for the Union's ability to conduct a credible and proactive foreign policy; underlines the need to equip the Union with the necessary financial means for a consistent and adequate response to unforeseen global challenges and, in this regard, looks forward to being consulted on, and fully involved in, the procedures for granting rapid access to appropriations in the Union budget for urgent financing of CFSP initiatives; calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to develop at the same time an effective communication strategy to better inform EU citizens of the purposes and the merits of the CFSP and, in this regard, strongly reiterates the importance of the democratic legitimacy and scrutiny of the European Union's foreign and security policy;

12.   Reiterates its concerns about the lack of transparency and information as regards the financing of the common costs of EU operations having military or defence implications, since the Athena mechanism clearly does not afford an overview of all the financial implications of missions conducted under the CFSP; welcomes, therefore, the setting-up of the start-up fund under Article 41(3) TEU and asks to be consulted on its management, in line with the EP's general prerogatives in relation to the CFSP and the CDSP as defined in Article 36 TEU; points out that increased participation by Parliament in defining, monitoring and following up the CFSP ensues from both the interconnection between the CFSP and the CDSP, as underlined in Article 42 TEU, and the enhanced parliamentary scrutiny at national and European level enshrined in Protocol No 1 thereto;

13.   Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President/High Representative to seize the opportunity offered by the setting-up of the EEAS to create a more coherent, consistent and effective foreign policy; expects in this regard that the basic values and objectives of the Union's foreign policy such as respect for and promotion of human rights, as enshrined in the now legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights, and priorities of the Union's foreign policy such as crisis management and peace building, will be duly mirrored in the structure of the EEAS, including in the human resources; reiterates that the setting-up and operation of the EEAS must preserve the European Parliament's rights of democratic and budgetary scrutiny;

14.   Notes that the Treaty of Lisbon has substantial implications for the CFSP by reorganising administrative responsibilities, and therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that the economies of scale in terms of support structures lead to a reduction in administrative costs;

15.   Stresses the need to establish greater clarity on the criteria for the appointment and evaluation of EU Special Representatives (EUSRs), bearing in mind also the need for sufficient representation of both genders; recalls that at present Parliament has no means of challenging an EUSR's individual mandate, since appropriations for the exercise of such a mandate are included in Article 19 03 06, which covers all EUSR mandates; calls, therefore, for increased parliamentary scrutiny of, and control over, EUSR appointments and mandates; considers that relevant EUSRs should gradually be phased out and their functions carried out by country-based EU Heads of Delegation while EUSRs with regional responsibilities must coordinate and provide political guidance to EU Heads of Delegation under the authority of the Vice-President/High Representative in the countries concerned in order to ensure coherent and consistent European external action; points out that double-hatting is, in this respect, the first – but not the only – step that needs to be taken in order to create economies of scale and make the CFSP more efficient; calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to take steps with a view to entrusting EUSRs with the task of coordinating and providing political guidance also with regard to CSDP missions within their remit;

16.   Requests the Vice-President/High Representative to consult Parliament's relevant committee about appointments she makes to senior posts in the EEAS, including EUSRs; determines to invite certain EUSRs and Heads of Delegation to appear before the committee on their appointment;

17.   Notes that the Treaty of Lisbon includes new financial procedures for the CFSP, strengthens the dialogue between the Council and Parliament on the CFSP by introducing two annual debates to be held with the Vice-President/High Representative, and details the role and responsibilities of Parliament in relation to the CSDP; calls, therefore, for a review and extension of existing inter-institutional agreements, with the involvement of its Committee on Foreign Affairs, so as to ensure the smooth and efficient implementation of the budgetary, consultation and supervision procedures for the CFSP and the CSDP and to improve access to sensitive information; draws particular attention in this regard to the above-mentioned Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 and to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 November 2002 between the European Parliament and the Council concerning access by the European Parliament to sensitive information of the Council in the field of security and defence policy(5) ; expresses its determination to exercise its budgetary power and its democratic scrutiny with regard to the CFSP in connection with all institutional innovations, including the funding arrangements for the EEAS;

18.   Notes that the Treaty of Lisbon extends the consent procedure to all agreements related to fields to which the ordinary legislative procedure applies and strengthens the right of Parliament to be duly informed by the Commission of the progress of the negotiation of international agreements as referred to in Article 218 of the TFEU; considers therefore that the negotiation of a new Inter-Institutional Agreement with Parliament should be explored so as to provide Parliament with a substantive definition of its involvement in every stage of the negotiations leading to the conclusion of an international agreement;

19.   Urges the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to act by qualified majority vote whenever the new Treaty so provides;

20.   Is of the view that Articles 42(2) and (7) TEU together with Article 10 of Protocol No 1 on the role of national parliaments in the European Union renders the residual functions of the Western European Union (WEU) obsolete; therefore calls on the EU Member States concerned to act according to Article XII of the WEU Treaty and to give one year's notice of their intention to denounce the Treaty; recalls that the right of parliamentary scrutiny over CFSP and CSDP activities lies with the European Parliament and the national parliaments of the EU Member States;

CFSP matters of a thematic nature

21.   Continues to be concerned about the security of energy supply and repeated gas crises such as the Russian-Ukrainian crisis of January 2009, which highlighted the EU's increasing energy dependency on sources of supply and transit channels; also underlines the need to prevent the energy dependency of the EU on third countries weakening the independence of EU foreign policy; recalls the urgent need to address energy challenges by implementing a common European external energy policy; calls in this regard on the Vice-President/High Representative to pursue with determination Parliament's recommendations for the development of a coherent and coordinated policy, in particular by promoting EU cohesion in constructive dialogue with energy suppliers, especially with Russia and transit countries, by supporting EU energy priorities and defending the common interests of the Member States, by developing effective energy diplomacy and more efficient mechanisms for responding to crisis situations and, finally, by promoting the diversification of energy supplies, sustainable energy use and the development of renewable energy sources; stresses that only a common EU approach could prevent any future shortcomings in the oil and gas supplies of the Member States and could increase the energy security of the EU as a whole;

22.   Welcomes the signing of the Nabucco project agreement; calls on the Commission and the Council to strive for the successful implementation of that agreement; emphasises the importance of guaranteeing EU energy security by promoting a southern corridor for the supply of crude oil to Europe, including via the Constanţa–Trieste pan-European oil pipeline;

23.   Believes that significant potential threats and conflicts arise from intensified competition over access to, and control of, natural and energy resources, and consequently that the EU should further develop mitigation, adaptation and energy conservation policies with a view to addressing the security risks posed by environmental degradation and climate change; stresses in this regard that the EU must strengthen its leadership in global climate governance and further develop a dialogue with other key actors such as the emerging powers (China, Brazil, Russia, India), the United States and developing countries, given that climate change has become a key element of international relations;

24.   Expresses its support for the Union continuing to contribute actively and effectively to the resolution of global issues, not least through a strengthening of the United Nations system and according special importance to consolidating the Human Rights Council and abolishing the death penalty;

25.   Comments on the importance of conflict prevention and management, including post-crisis rehabilitation and reconstruction; underlines the need for the EU to further develop preventive strategies, to improve early warning and to enhance cooperation with regional organisations in accordance with the UN Charter;

26.   Underlines that the external dimension is crucial for the successful achievement of a European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice; reiterates the importance of orderly migration management; with this in mind, welcomes the adoption of the Stockholm Programme by the European Council of December 2009; considers it essential to secure the cooperation of both the countries of origin and transit, and to encourage an attitude of solid cooperation by applying a policy of positive conditionality; points to the need to avert illegal immigration by promoting local development in the countries of origin and fighting criminal organisations that traffic in human beings; insists that the external dimension of the European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice must be fully taken into account in European foreign policy;

27.   Underlines the need to strengthen capacities so as to provide for better monitoring of the Union's civilian and military missions and to enable lessons to be learned from the manner in which they are conducted, so as to improve the planning and management of future missions; in this respect, underlines also the need for a more strategic approach to CSDP missions; suggests that the regular Joint Consultation Meetings also aim to assess the successes and shortfalls of completed missions in order to help develop a forward-looking approach to future needs that encompasses all aspects (finances, implementation, administrative organisation);

28.   Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative, the Council and the Member States to ensure an adequate balance between civilian and military planning capabilities in the Council Secretariat and to provide an appropriate number of staff in the fields of justice, civilian administration, customs and mediation so as to ensure that adequate and sufficient expertise can be provided for CSDP missions;

29.   Calls in this respect for adequate staffing of the civilian component and urges the Member States to use the great opportunity provided by the EEAS to pool currently available resources in order to achieve a coherent, effective and efficient crisis management planning capability;

30.   Calls on the Member States to redouble their efforts to find and deploy sufficient numbers of suitable, qualified and gender-balanced personnel to take part in CSDP civilian and military endeavours throughout the world in a coherent and well coordinated framework, including in specific high-risk areas, since the success of CSDP missions largely depends on the skills and knowledge of well-trained staff; calls, in this respect, for common training of the personnel of CSDP missions; fully supports the efforts already made in terms of developing guidelines and exchanging best practices with a view to improving common training for staff; is convinced that increased coherence and cohesion as regards staff on the ground will enhance the running of missions and also facilitate the secondment of EU nationals, which, from a purely budgetary perspective, is preferable to using international contracted staff;

31.   Calls on the European Council and Commission to intensify the EU's engagement in multilateral negotiations to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons;

32.   Reiterates the need for disarmament and strengthened international guarantees of non-proliferation; welcomes, in this regard, the Joint Statement of 4 December 2009 by which the President of the United States of America and the President of the Russian Federation committed themselves to continue to work together after the expiry of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and looks forward to a new pact on strategic arms to be signed and enter into force as soon as possible; calls, at the same time, on the EU and its Member States to enhance their diplomatic efforts in order to achieve a successful revision of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in May 2010;

33.   Stresses the importance of gender equality, human rights and good governance objectives being fully integrated in the planning and conduct of all CSDP missions and operations, including fact-finding missions, as gender awareness and sensitivity contribute to operational effectiveness and situational awareness; in this context, welcomes the appointment of a gender adviser to nearly all CSDP missions; regrets that there are no women among the 11 EUSRs; calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to systematically include gender equality and women's empowerment in the EU's political dialogue and policy discussions with partner countries;

34.   Commends the important role played by human rights defenders worldwide; warmly welcomes the fact that the Foreign Affairs Council, at its meeting of 8 December 2009, expressed its commitment to supporting human rights defenders, through public meetings with them and by giving visibility to their activities;

35.   Calls on the Council to include human rights and good governance aspects in the mandates of EUSRs and to appoint human rights and good governance advisers to positions on the staff of EUSRs;

Main priorities in the geographical areas

36.   Recommends that the EU strengthen the political dialogue with third countries and regions, particularly with strategic partners with whom to coordinate positions in the international organisations and support and promote democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights; reiterates in this regard the important role that parliamentary diplomacy plays as a supplementary tool in the Union's relations with third countries and regions; is therefore of the view that the Vice-President/High Representative and her services including the EUSRs should engage with Parliament in devising common strategies towards partner countries and regions and should be available to assist Parliament orally and in writing with regard to specific issues and visits;

37.   Calls on the Council, the Member States and the Vice-President/High Representative actively to seek peaceful solutions in international conflicts and to strengthen the EU's conflict prevention mechanisms;

International organisations

38.   Highlights the United Nations as the main guarantor of international peace and security and the most comprehensive framework for multilateral cooperation; takes the view that the strengthening of global governance, international institutions and respect for international law is of paramount importance for effective multilateralism, and that it must therefore be an overriding strategic priority for the Union; considers that the EU institutions and the Member States should continue their efforts in deepening cooperation and coordination with strategic partners exerting global influence, in particular within the United Nations; in this light, stresses the urgency of addressing global issues of common concern for the EU and world stability, such as terrorism, organised crime, energy security, climate change, the achievement of the MDGs and the eradication of poverty, crisis management, conflict prevention and conflict resolution, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and disarmament, migration management and promotion of human rights and civil liberties;

39.   Considers it essential that the relevant EU delegations at the UN's headquarters in New York and Geneva be adequately equipped with means and staff in order to be able credibly and effectively to deliver in practice the new institutional arrangements under the Treaty of Lisbon; notes with concern, therefore, that an approach of budget neutrality runs counter to this urgent need quickly and efficiently to establish the EU's presence at the UN during the initial phase of implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon;

40.   Believes that the OSCE provides an important framework for restoring trust and enhancing cooperation between the countries of Europe, Central Asia and North America on a number of issues, including non-proliferation, disarmament, economic cooperation and protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law; supports, therefore, the strengthening of the OSCE also in terms of opening a discussion on the idea of granting it a legal personality;

41.   Without prejudice to the international obligations of the EU under the UN Charter, takes the view that the EU and NATO should develop a more intense and effective partnership, taking into account the progressive development of the EU's foreign, security and defence policies while respecting the decision-making autonomy of the two organisations; to that end, recommends a review of the so-called Berlin-Plus arrangements and the development of a more strategic dialogue on shared strategic interests and contingency planning; urges the facilitation of broader practical cooperation on the ground at military or civilian level, in particular when both organisations operate in the same theatre of missions; deplores in this respect the continuing clash between Turkey and Cyprus which increasingly undermines the effectiveness and credibility of both the EU and NATO;

Transatlantic relations

42.   Reiterates its commitment to the transatlantic partnership as an important element and one of the main pillars of the EU's external action; urges the Vice-President/High Representative to ensure that the EU acts as a coherent, active, equal and yet autonomous partner of the US in strengthening global security and stability, promoting peace and respect for human rights and the achievement of the MDGs, as well as adopting a united approach to global challenges such as nuclear proliferation, terrorism, climate change and energy security; is of the view that the Treaty of Lisbon opens up a propitious opportunity for improving and renewing the framework of EU-US relations; encourages the Vice-President/High Representative to work towards strengthening EU-US institutional mechanisms in line with Parliament's resolutions; underlines that the work of the Transatlantic Economic Council needs to be strengthened in pursuit of the goal of a genuine, integrated transatlantic market, and that such a market should provide the basis for a reinforced transatlantic partnership; strongly supports the Transatlantic Legislators‘ Dialogue in its broad effort to create effective legislator-to-legislator relationships between Parliament and the US Congress;

43.   Calls on both partners, the EU and the US, to encourage China, India, Russia, Brazil and other emerging powers to share responsibility for the global order and for the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts in compliance with international law; insists that, while the EU and US should offer full support to the economic and social development of these countries on a basis of fair cooperation, these countries should also accept their global responsibilities especially for the fight against climate change and for sustainable development;

Western Balkans

44.   Stresses that the countries of the Western Balkans are part of the enlargement process; considers that stability in the Western Balkans based on the rule of law should remain a top priority in the Union's external action, and therefore attaches the utmost importance to the efforts to bring the countries of that region closer to the EU, with the shared goal of European integration, inter alia by promoting reforms and enhancing regional cooperation and inter-ethnic reconciliation in order to meet the Copenhagen criteria and prepare for accession; recommends that an international conference on the future of the Western Balkans should be convened, bringing together the countries in the region and the relevant regional and global actors, in order to identify and address the current challenges facing the region;

45.   Notes with satisfaction the increasingly peaceful and stable situation in Kosovo and the efforts to build a multi-ethnic society, as demonstrated by the calm and orderly local elections held on 15 November 2009; is aware that not all Member States have recognised the independence of Kosovo; welcomes the fact that the EULEX rule of law mission in Kosovo, which is the largest civilian CSDP mission launched so far by the EU, is working at full operational capacity on the basis of the United Nations‘ status-neutral approach; underlines the mission's importance in promoting inter-ethnic reconciliation, the rule of law, public order and security throughout the whole of Kosovo, by assisting the Kosovo institutions, judicial authorities and law enforcement agencies in their progress towards sustainability and accountability; in this respect, welcomes the decision to open a new EU office in the north; however, notes the need to increase the number of prosecutors working in EULEX, and calls on the Member States to provide additional personnel;

46.   Encourages the Council to continue its efforts, with the support of the international community, to pursue a dialogue with political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in order to help that country and its peoples to remain on the path to European integration; takes note of the joint diplomatic efforts by the EU Presidency, the European Commission and the US administration, and recommends further negotiations taking into account previous arrangements concluded between politicians in BiH; recalls the need to involve parliamentarians and civil society more closely in sustaining a viable country;

Eastern Partnership, Black Sea cooperation

47.   Continues to support the development of the Eastern Partnership with the Union's European neighbours, integrating them economically into the internal market and intensifying political, economic and cultural cooperation; underlines the importance of providing this partnership with credible projects and of tangible medium- and long-term incentives for reform, which would strengthen the commitment of societies in the partner countries to the process of modernisation and integration with the EU; in particular, points out the need – while maintaining security for all EU citizens – to progressively remove all obstacles to the free movement of persons (including, eventually, visa-free travel) and to enhance cooperation in all aspects of security, especially energy security; reiterates its view that the partnership needs to be provided with adequate financial resources; emphasises the need to ensure the Partnership's complementarity with regional initiatives, in particular the Black Sea Synergy;

48.   Reaffirms the importance for the EU of more effective regional cooperation in the Eastern Neighbourhood, in which spirit the EU will support the implementation of result-oriented projects under both the Eastern Partnership and the Black Sea Synergy, in full complementarity;

49.   Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to step up efforts to implement projects under the Black Sea Synergy; also urges the Vice-President/High Representative to develop new ideas for an effective Black Sea Cooperation Strategy;

50.   Welcomes the pro-European stance of the new government of the Republic of Moldova and expresses its hope of an acceleration of the country's internal reforms, in such a way as to achieve economic integration, political association and institutional approximation between the Republic of Moldova and the EU; encourages the Vice-President/High-Representative to identify multilateral solutions for unblocking the situation in Transnistria;

51.   Takes note of the conduct and outcome of the presidential elections in Ukraine; calls on all parties to contribute to the necessary political, economic and social stability in Ukraine by strengthening reform efforts; encourages the country to achieve greater interoperability with the European Union, thus consolidating its European perspective;

Russia

52.   Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to ensure that the EU's approach towards Russia, including in the negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, is coherent and driven by a commitment to the values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, including international law; underlines at the same time the need for a reinvigorated partnership with Russia, based on mutual respect and reciprocity, on the issues of the fight against terrorism, energy security and supply, climate change, disarmament, conflict prevention and nuclear non-proliferation as well as with regard to Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East, pursuing the goal of strengthening global security and stability; takes the view that cooperation on such issues should form the basis for the new EU-Russia agreement, and therefore looks forward to speedy progress in the current negotiations on a new comprehensive agreement that is expected to substantially enhance EU-Russia relations; urges the Vice-President/High Representative to coordinate actions, facilitate consultation and improve communication between the Member States with regard to bilateral issues with the Russian Federation of common concern; stresses the need for Member States to coordinate their relations with the Russian Federation on the basis of the Union's general interests and in such a way as to reflect and promote those interests adequately and consistently;

South Caucasus

53.   Urges the Council to insist on full implementation of the ceasefire agreement between the Russian Federation and Georgia and calls on the EU to uphold the principle of Georgia's territorial integrity and respect for minorities; welcomes the renewal of the mandate of the EU Monitoring Mission and urges the Council to ensure that EU monitors are granted full access to all areas affected by the conflict including the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and, to that end, to use the financial instruments of the EU to assist the populations in the whole conflict area; calls on the EU, with reference to the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, to draw the lessons of the past in order to develop effective conflict-prevention mechanisms including the promotion of people-to-people contacts;

54.   Urges the Vice-President/High Representative to intensify the EU's efforts to work towards effective conflict prevention and peaceful settlement under international law of the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria and, above all, that between Russia and Georgia and its breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia by giving fresh impetus to the Geneva talks; stresses the dangerous potential for a spillover of frozen conflicts in the region; in this context, recommends the setting-up of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the South Caucasus, embracing the countries concerned and the relevant regional and global actors, with a view to developing a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus; welcomes the recent rapprochement between the governments of Turkey and Armenia, and urges ratification of the accords by their respective parliaments;

The Middle East

55.   Stresses the need for the Peace Process negotiations to be conducted within a limited time-frame and in a climate of mutual trust; considers that they should aim at the creation of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security within internationally recognised frontiers in compliance with all relevant United Nations resolutions;

56.   Calls on the EU, in line with the Council Conclusions of 12 December 2009, to assume a stronger political role in the ongoing international efforts to re-launch the Peace Process, commensurate with its financial engagement in supporting a Palestinian economic recovery and addressing the dramatic humanitarian crisis in Gaza; calls on the Vice-President/High Representative to consider all means to promote a lasting peace in the region;

57.   Welcomes the Council's decision to extend the mandate of the EU Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS) until December 2010; believes that more robust support for the development of the rule of law and policing capacities is required and calls for intensified efforts in this regard; takes note of the Council's decision to extend the mandate of the EU Border Assistance Mission in Rafah (EUBAM Rafah) and its determination and readiness to reactivate the mission; believes that this determination should result in concrete initiatives to restore freedom of movement in the Palestinian Territories and to reactivate the Agreement on Access and Movement, negotiated in 2005, to which the parties subscribed;

The Union for the Mediterranean

58.   Considers it important to intensify political dialogue among the members of the Union for the Mediterranean at all levels in order to overcome tensions that have delayed the setting-up of the Barcelona-based Secretariat and the promotion of concrete projects of mutual social, economic and ecological interest; hopes that the Union for the Mediterranean may contribute positively to the resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East, rapprochement between Turkey and Cyprus, and the democratic development of the Arab states;

59.   Believes that the Union for the Mediterranean could contribute to the easing of tensions in the Middle East by promoting concrete cooperation projects for the whole region; at the same time, stresses that trust-building measures between Palestinians and Israelis in order to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East are of the utmost importance to facilitate the appropriate functioning of this new institution;

60.   Underlines that, from an EU perspective, the co-presidency must be compatible with the external representation of the EU in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon; recalls that the Treaty of Lisbon provides an opportunity for the EU to ensure consistency, coherence and continuity in its representation in the new institutions of the Union for the Mediterranean;

Asia

61.   Notes that post-election Afghanistan is now entering a decisive and critical period, with the formation of a new government in Kabul providing the opportunity to frame a new agenda and a new contract with the Afghan people;

62.   Welcomes the Council's Action Plan for strengthened EU action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, adopted at the October 2009 General Affairs and External Relations Council, and its declaration of its renewed readiness to assist in meeting the challenges of the region, in cooperation with the countries concerned and the international partners, but stresses that the Plan will remain just that unless there is a clear commitment from the EU Member States to contribute to its implementation; calls on the Council, the Commission and the Presidency to make a concerted effort to implement the Plan without delay; urges the Council to make more progress towards full deployment of staff in EUPOL in order to establish sustainable and effective civilian policing arrangements capable of enhancing the security environment;

63.   Recognises that Pakistan continues to face very serious challenges and endorses the EU's firm support for a strong, secular and civilian government of Pakistan; stresses Pakistan's key role in the region and reiterates that a stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan is also central to addressing global issues such as counter-terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation, counter-narcotics and human rights, and strongly encourages it to adopt a comprehensive strategy to fight terrorism and address its root causes;

64.   Endorses the EU's commitment to supporting democracy in a unified, federal Iraq; stresses its support for the EU's strong and continuing commitment to the development of the rule of law in Iraq, and welcomes the extension of the mandate of EUJUST LEX for one year and its pilot activities on Iraqi territory; looks forward to the further work planned in this context, as promised by the Council; calls for increased institutional interaction, particularly on economic issues, with the authorities of the Kurdish Regional Government; calls on the Commission to accelerate the activation of its own premises in Baghdad;

65.   Expresses its grave concern over the political developments in Iran and the reported massive electoral fraud during the presidential elections of June 2009, which has ignited the biggest protest movement in the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic, with demonstrations and violent repression by the security forces still ongoing; is very concerned not only about the arrests, torture and murder of political opponents but also about the continuous stalemate in the negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme, and calls on the Iranian Government to enter into serious negotiations on the nuclear issue; regrets that the visit by the Iran delegation of the European Parliament in January 2010 has been cancelled by the Iranian authorities and expresses its solidarity with those Iranians who, risking their lives, continue to publicly demand respect for human rights and greater democratic freedoms in Iran; condemns Iran's efforts to block freedom of information by jamming foreign broadcasts and the Internet; calls on the Council and Commission to consider sanctions against individual members of the administration and the security services responsible for the widespread human rights violations and to devise measures in support of those participants in the ‘Green movement’ who suffer persecution and/or exile in their plight;

66.   Takes note of the fact that EU-China economic relations have experienced steady growth and that people-to-people contacts have grown in scope and scale; at the same time, remains gravely concerned about the lack of willingness on the part of the Chinese authorities to tackle numerous human rights violations and to ensure that the people enjoy basic rights and freedoms;

67.   Expresses the expectation that a strategic relationship between the EU and China will be developed, and states its desire to explore ways of strengthening the relationship on issues of mutual interest going beyond the economic and trade sectors;

68.   Welcomes the efforts undertaken by both Taipei and Beijing to improve cross-strait relations, which help to reinforce stability and security in East Asia, and encourages both sides to further enhance dialogue, practical cooperation and confidence-building; commends the Council's declaration of 8 May 2009, which reiterates its support for Taiwan's participation in the WHO; strongly supports Taiwan's participation as an observer in relevant international organisations and activities, such as ICAO and UNFCCC, where Taiwan's participation is important to the EU and global interests;

69.   Reaffirms its strong support for strengthening the strategic relationship between the EU and India, and for exploring further ways to upgrade the relationship in areas of mutual interest in the economic, political, security and trade sectors;

70.   Recognises ASEAN's growing role as a force for regional stability and prosperity; believes that the Union and ASEAN, which both have a commitment to regional integration, have great potential for cooperation; notes that measures to step up economic and trade relations between the Union and ASEAN are needed in order to help to consolidate overall relations between the two regions and encourage further progress regarding political cooperation and security, the advancement of democracy and human rights and further progress in the field of energy and the environment, in the socio-cultural field and in the area of cooperation and development;

Africa

71.   Notes with satisfaction that EUNAVFOR Atalanta continues to make a successful contribution to maritime security off the coast of Somalia by protecting vessels chartered by the World Food Programme delivering aid to Somalia, vessels supplying critical shipments to the African Union peace support operation in Somalia and other vulnerable vessels; welcomes the Council's decision to extend the mandate of the operation to 12 December 2010; expresses its support for launching a crisis management operation to contribute to the training of the National Security Forces of the Somali Transitional Federal Government; stresses the need to integrate trained security forces into state and command structures so that, once they return, they will not turn against the government they are supposed to be protecting;

Latin America

72.   Recalls once again the proposal made in its resolution of 15 November 2001 on a global partnership and a common strategy for relations between the EU and Latin America(6) – subsequently repeated in its resolutions of 27 April 2006(7) and 24 April 2008(8) respectively adopted with a view to the Vienna and Lima EU-LAC Summits – to draw up a Euro-Latin American Charter for Peace and Security which, on the basis of the UN Charter, would allow for joint political, strategic and security-related actions and initiatives; calls on the Council and the Commission to take active steps to realise this ambitious goal and to support this proposal at the next EU-LAC Summit, which will take place in May 2010 in Madrid;

73.   Considers that negotiations on the Association Agreement with the Central American countries as well as progress towards renewed negotiations on the Association Agreement with MERCOSUR are matters of priority; notes that the negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement with the Andean Community countries have been concluded; will endeavour to carry out with due accuracy the parliamentary ratification procedure on these agreements in order to ensure that they have a positive impact on all aspects of mutual concern;

o
o   o

74.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary General of NATO, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairman-in-office of the OSCE, the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the President of the WEU Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0254 .
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0074 .
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0057 .
(5) OJ C 298, 30.11.2002, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 140 E, 13.6.2002, p. 569.
(7) OJ C 296 E, 6.12.2006, p. 123.
(8) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0177 .


Implementation of the European Security Strategy and the Common Security and Defence Policy
DOC 109k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (2009/2198(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0061 A7-0026/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union, Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and Protocols 10 and 11,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy (ESS) entitled ‘A Secure Europe in a Better World’, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the report on the implementation of the ESS entitled ‘Providing Security in a Changing World’, adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2008,

–   having regard to the reports by the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) of 9 December 2008 and 16 June 2009,

–   having regard to the ESDP conclusions and the declaration entitled ‘ESDP Ten Years – Challenges and Opportunities’, adopted by the Council on 17 November 2009,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the subject, including that of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(1) , that of 16 November 2006 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the ESDP(2) , that of 5 June 2008 on the implementation of the European Security Strategy and ESDP(3) and that of 19 February 2009 on the European Security Strategy and ESDP(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2009 on the role of NATO in the security architecture of the EU(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2009 on a political solution to the problem of piracy off the Somali coast(6) ,

–   having regard to the exchange of letters among the European Union and the Governments of Kenya and the Republic of the Seychelles, concerning the transfer to these countries of suspected pirates and armed robbers apprehended by EUNAVFOR in the operation area,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2009 on institutional aspects of setting up the European External Action Service(7) ,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0026/2010 ),

European Security Strategy: a comprehensive approach

1.  Recalls that the European Security Strategy (ESS) and the report on its implementation highlight the key threats and challenges facing the European Union:

   proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
   terrorism and organised crime,
   regional conflicts,
   state failure,
   maritime piracy,
   small arms and light weapons, cluster munitions and landmines,
   energy security,
   impact of climate change and natural disasters,
   cyber-security,
   poverty;

2.   Emphasises that, through the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the Union is taking steps to address the challenges and threats identified in the ESS, thereby helping to improve the security of European citizens;

3.   Stresses that the Union must enhance its strategic autonomy through a strong and effective foreign, security and defence policy, so as to preserve peace, prevent conflicts, strengthen international security, protect the security of its own citizens and the citizens concerned by CSDP missions, defend its interests in the world and uphold its founding values, while contributing to effective multilateralism in support of international law and advancing respect for human rights and democratic values worldwide, in accordance with the objectives stated in Article 21(2)(e) of the TEU, with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, with the principles of the Helsinki Final Act and with the aims of the Charter of Paris, including those relating to external borders;

4.   Stresses that primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the world lies with the UN Security Council and reiterates the need for a reform of the United Nations Organisation in order to make it more capable of exercising its functions and providing effective solutions to global challenges and threats;

5.   Acknowledges the need for the Union to pursue these objectives by enhancing its own institutional capacity to respond to these challenges and by means of multilateral cooperation with and within international organisations – in particular the United Nations – and regional organisations – in particular the OSCE and the African Union –in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

6.   Reiterates its support for the Union's efforts to address these threats and challenges by developing a comprehensive and proactive approach synergising the various means of action – both civil and military – available to the Union and its Member States: conflict prevention and crisis management, financial assistance and development cooperation, social and environmental policies, diplomatic and trade policy instruments and enlargement; emphasises that such coordination of civil and military means gives genuine added-value to the Union's crisis management policy;

7.   Calls on the Member States, in this context, to coordinate more effectively their national strategies and means of action with those of the Union with a view to ensuring coherence, effectiveness and a greater impact and a higher profile on the ground;

8.   Supports, in connection with action to combat terrorism, the pursuit of the approach based on the EU's counter-terrorism strategy and the EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment, in particular in relation to the use of the Internet for the purposes of terrorism and radicalisation; proposes to stimulate debate on the protection and promotion of human rights, with a special focus on the victims;

9.   Recognises that energy security is crucial to the functioning of EU Member States and therefore encourages Member States to cooperate closely on this element of security policy;

10.   Welcomes the efforts of Member States to counter cyber threats; urges the Council and the Commission to come forward with an analysis of the challenges of a cyber nature and measures for an efficient and coordinated response to such threats based on the best practices, resulting, in the future, in a European cyber security strategy;

11.   Reiterates its recommendation for a regular review of the ESS, every five years, coinciding with the beginning of a new parliamentary term and after due consultation with the European Parliament;

12.   Emphasises that a White Paper – providing scope for a wide-ranging public debate – would raise the profile of the CSDP and step up security and defence cooperation by defining the Union's security and defence objectives and interests more clearly in relation to the means and resources available, thereby making the implementation of the ESS and the planning and conduct of EU crisis management operations more effective and better defined;

Lisbon Treaty and Common Security and Defence Policy Structures

13.  Calls on the Council to enter into a substantial debate with the European Parliament and the national parliaments in 2010 on the implementation of the new provisions in the Lisbon Treaty concerning the CSDP, including:

   a. the clause on mutual assistance in the event of armed aggression on the territory of a Member State,
   b. the solidarity clause in the event of a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster,
   c. the role of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, coupled with the establishment of a European External Action Service (EEAS) incorporating, in a comprehensive manner, conflict prevention, civil/military crisis management and peace-building units,
   d. a broader remit for the CSDP,
   e. permanent structured cooperation for those Member States that meet higher standards in terms of military capability and have made more binding commitments in this area in preparation for the most demanding missions, as well as enhanced cooperation,
   f. the establishment of a start-up fund for preparatory activities in the lead-up to operations;

14.   Calls, after the introduction of a clause on mutual assistance, as formulated in Article 42 (7) of the Treaty on European Union, on those European Union Member States belonging to the Western European Union (WEU) to terminate the Modified Brussels Treaty of 1954, including the WEU Parliamentary Assembly;

15.   Calls, after the introduction of a solidarity clause into the new treaty, on the Council to reopen the debate on establishing a European civil protection force – inter alia on the basis of the May 2006 Barnier report – that would pool the Member States‘ resources in order to generate an effective collective response in the event of natural or man-made disasters; takes the view that the military CSDP should also provide scope for responding to civilian hazards;

16.   Stresses, in the light of the progress made possible by the Treaty of Lisbon in relation to the CSDP, the legitimacy and value of setting up a Defence Council within the Foreign Affairs Council, which would comprise the defence ministers, be chaired by the Vice-President/High Representative and play a special role in stepping up cooperation and in harmonising and integrating military capabilities;

17.   Takes the view that the Vice-President/High Representative should act very rapidly to make the Union's various external policies more coherent, and that this coherence should be reflected on the ground by special representatives/heads of delegation under her authority vested with the necessary authority vis-à-vis the parties concerned and the international community;

18.   Supports the establishment of a civil-military Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD) to take responsibility for crisis management and strategic planning of the Union's civil and military operations and help develop the CSDP, particularly in terms of civil and military capabilities; deprecates, however, the extremely lengthy delay in setting up this new structure; calls for close coordination within the EEAS between, on the one hand, the CMPD and the other CSDP structures and, on the other hand, the crisis platform and other relevant services of the Commission, which should be included in the EEAS, in order to build up a coordinated strategic planning capacity so as to develop a comprehensive European approach;

19.   Calls on the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, the Council and the Member States to overcome the imbalance between civilian and military planning capabilities and ensure that adequate and sufficient expertise in fields such as justice, civilian administration, customs and mediation can be provided for ECDP missions;

20.   Calls once again for the establishment of a permanent EU operations centre overseen by the Vice-President/High Representative, which would be responsible for operational planning and the conduct of military operations; calls for this operations centre to be attached to the EEAS; stresses that the division of the existing system into seven headquarters makes it less effective and responsive and generates huge costs, and that a permanent interlocutor in the military sphere is essential for civil and military coordination on the ground; takes the view that the permanent operations centre could therefore be classed as a form of military planning and conduct capability, and located in the same place as the CPCC in order to allow the necessary synergies for effective civilian and military coordination; reiterates that the EU operations centre would facilitate cooperation with NATO, without compromising the decisional autonomy of both organisations;

21.   Stresses the urgent need to put in place permanent structured cooperation based on the most inclusive criteria possible, which should enable the Member States to increase their commitments under the CSDP;

22.   Stresses that the progress and development of the CSDP must fully respect and not undermine the neutrality and non-alignment of some of the EU Member States;

23.   Stresses the importance of these reforms in order to achieve the level of ambition set for the CSDP, which was renewed in December 2008 and approved by the European Council, to boost the effectiveness and added-value of the CSDP in a context in which it is increasingly being enlisted;

Military operations and civil missions

24.   Welcomes the achievements of the ESDP/CSDP on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, and notes that the Union launches civil and military operations under the CSDP in response to threats to international and European security; notes that the majority of these missions have been in the field of civilian crisis management; commends the 70 000 or so personnel involved in the 23 missions and operations currently in progress or already completed in the context of the ESDP; commends Mr Javier Solana, hitherto Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, for his work on developing the ESDP; calls once again on the Member States to define the criteria for the deployment of ESDP missions and to consider the subject of national ‘caveats’;

Somalia – Horn of Africa

25.   Welcomes the successful contribution made by the European Union's naval operation EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atalanta in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, notably in an effort to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches all the people in need in this country; emphasises that Operation Atalanta has established itself as a key player in the fight against piracy, inter alia through the Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa); welcomes the Council decision to extend the mission for another year until December 2010 and takes note of the broadening of the mandate of this operation designed to address a security issue directly affecting the EU (security of citizens and supplies, protection of vulnerable vessels) and respond to a humanitarian and operational emergency (by escorting ships chartered by the World Food Programme to deliver food to the Somali population and ships delivering logistical support to the African Union's military observation mission in Somalia (AMISOM)); praises, at the same time, its contribution to the reinforcement of naval cooperation in Europe and the further development of the maritime dimension of the CSDP; also welcomes the involvement of non-EU countries (Norway, Croatia and Montenegro) and the operation's constructive cooperation with the other naval forces present in the region, particularly in the context of the SHADE (Shared Awareness and Deconfliction) processes; regrets, however, the continuing problems with the prosecution of suspected pirates and armed robbers apprehended in the operation area, which undermine the credibility of the international anti-piracy efforts;

26.   Stresses the need to address the causes of piracy, which stem from the prevailing instability and poverty in Somalia, and consequently takes the view that the Union should support the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) by means of measures aimed at restoring security, political stability and the rule of law and promoting sustainable development, in partnership with the African Union and the United Nations, and develop a joint strategy with the aim of starting a regional peace process;

27.   Calls for the EU's approach to Somalia to take into consideration that only a large-scale, long-term state-building exercise - going above and beyond the building up of the TFG's security forces - will contibute to peace and security in that country in a sustainable way; therefore calls on the Council and the Commission to propose an ambitious joint, comprehensive ‘EU strategy for Somalia’;

28.   Particularly emphasises the need for urgent action to shore up the TFG and help it extend the scope of its control on Somali territory; to this end, welcomes that the Council agreed on 25 January 2010 to set up a CSDP military mission (EU Training Mission, EUTM Somalia) to contribute to the training of the Somali security forces in Uganda, in close coordination with EU partners, including the TGF, Uganda, the African Union, the United Nations and the United States; calls on the High Representative to inform and consult the European Parliament accordingly;

29.   Also emphasises the need to improve maritime surveillance capability in the region, inter alia by providing training and setting up a network of coastguards from countries in the region, and takes the view that the Union should contribute to these efforts by endorsing the Djibouti Code of Conduct and the associated implementation plan developed by the International Maritime Organization, as approved by the countries in the region (including the establishment of an information exchange centre in Yemen and a training centre in Djibouti for ships‘ crews);

30.   Regarding the situation in Yemen, recalls its resolution of 10 February 2010 and calls on the Commission and the Council, jointly with international partners, including Yemen's neighbours, to assist the government through a comprehensive approach encompassing security sector reform, counter-terrorism, as well as political dialogue, humanitarian and economic assistance and education;

Afghanistan and Pakistan

31.   Recalls the need to stabilise the security and political situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to contain the global threats directly affecting Europeans‘ security (terrorism, drug trafficking and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction) and, accordingly, welcomes the EU Action Plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan adopted by the Council on 27 October 2009; reiterates the need for a comprehensive approach in dealing with these issues, linking security more closely with development, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as gender-related aspects; calls, therefore, on the Council and the Commission to take more tangible steps in this direction, also by increasing the EU's contribution and ensuring that its activities are better integrated with those of the Member States and the international community;

32.   Takes the view that strengthening the institutional and administrative capacity of the Afghan State, particularly the justice system and law enforcement agencies other than the police, should be a priority in implementing a new European strategy;

33.   Urges the Council and the Commission to significantly increase resources for civilian engagement in Afghanistan in order to make the EU's civilian priority credible and more visible in the eyes of the Afghans and international partners alike; highlights the need to set up an effective and reliable civil police force to establish the rule of law in Afghanistan, and commends the work of the EUPOL Afghanistan mission; calls on the Council to remedy the ongoing problem of personnel shortages within the EUPOL mission as a matter of urgency, and to facilitate its deployment to the provinces by providing additional accommodations and adequate logistical support to the mission; calls on NATO to cooperate more closely with the mission and to coordinate its police work with EUPOL under the auspices of the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB);

34.   Supports the Council's proposal to explore the possibility of an assistance mission to Pakistan aimed at reforming the security sector and building anti-terrorism capacity, so as to help the country develop a counter-terrorism strategy, as well as entering into dialogue on the rule of law and human rights;

Balkans

35.   Commends the successful deployment of the EULEX Kosovo mission throughout Kosovo, and emphasises the need for all its components (police, justice and customs) to be able to continue to operate unhindered throughout the territory, including in the north;

36.   In this connection, welcomes the signing of the police cooperation agreement between EULEX Kosovo and Serbia, and notes the purely technical nature of this agreement designed to facilitate the fight against organised crime;

37.   Condemns all hostile acts against EULEX Kosovo, whose mission is to work with the Kosovo authorities to establish and strengthen the rule of law for the benefit of all the communities in Kosovo;

38.   Calls on the Council to consider the possibility of deploying a military operation under the CSDP to relieve KFOR;

39.   As regards Bosnia and Herzegovina, notes that, despite the ongoing political problems, the security situation remains relatively calm and stable despite the ongoing political problems, and emphasises the contribution made by the EU's military operation (EUFOR ALTHEA) in this respect; supports the Council's decision to refocus the work of the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) on fighting organised crime and corruption and underlines the need for a comprehensive approach to the rule of law sector (police – justice – prisons); encourages the Council to take a decision in the near future with a view to making training for the Bosnian armed forces the new focus of EUFOR ALTHEA; deplores the lack of concerted political decision-making on the future of the international force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is resulting in unilateral withdrawals by a number of states participating in the force and is liable to detract from the credibility and coherence of the EU's action in Bosnia and Herzegovina; reminds the Council to uphold the prospect of accession to the EU as agreed upon in Thessaloniki in 2003;

Caucasus

40.   Recalls the Union's decisive role in averting an escalation of the conflict between Georgia and Russia, inter alia thanks to the rapid deployment of an observation mission to supervise the implementation of the agreements of 12 August and 8 September 2008; regrets that the Russian Federation has until now not fulfilled its commitments with regard to these Agreements; emphasises that the role of the EU observation mission in Georgia has become particularly crucial following the departure of the OSCE and United Nations missions;

41.   Is in favour of extending the mission for a further year and calls for a strengthening of its observation capacity, including its technical outfit; views it as regrettable that mission personnel have been prevented by Russian and local forces from visiting the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia;

Middle East

42.   Takes the view that the Union must up-grade its activities in the Palestinian Territories; commends the work of the EUPOL COPPS police mission and calls on the Council to consider expanding the mission and to propose a new arrangement with a view to maintaining and making more effective the border assistance mission at the Rafah Crossing Point (EUBAM Rafah) and alleviating the dramatic humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip;

43.   As regards the EUJUST LEX mission for Iraq, supports the gradual commencement of activities on Iraqi territory, depending on the security situation on the ground;

Sub-Saharan Africa

44.   Acknowledges the need for EU involvement in reforming the security sector in a number of African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea-Bissau, and calls on the Council to base its actions on a comprehensive approach to Security Sector Reform (SSR) and to assess the effectiveness and impact of these missions on a regular basis;

Haiti

45.   Stresses, as regards the situation in Haiti, the importance of coordination of the European support measures; welcomes, in this context, the collective EU contribution, numbering at least 300 police personnel, to provide a temporary reinforcement of the police capability of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) as well as the Council decision to set up a cell in Brussels (EUCO Haiti) to coordinate contributions by Member States of military and security assets to meet needs identified by the UN, thereby complementing the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC); regrets, however, the lack of coordination on the field in Haiti among Member States and the European Union; calls the High Representative/Vice President to lead European efforts in this area;

Lessons learnt

46.   Emphasises the importance of lessons learnt processes on EU operations, and calls on the Council to give thought to a mechanism enabling it to be involved in those processes; wishes in this regard, to be informed of the first annual report on efforts to identify and act upon lessons learnt concerning civilian missions; urges the High Representative/Vice-President to initiate a thorough and transparent audit of past and present ESDP/CSDP missions in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses;

47.   Welcomes the successful handover from the EU operation in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR Tchad/RCA) to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), and now wishes to be kept informed about the current lessons learnt process, particularly as to how existing deficits and problems relating to practical cooperation with the United Nations and the African Union can be avoided in future missions;

Exercise policy

48.   Emphasises that the planning and conduct of EU exercises in the field of CSDP as part of a more ambitious EU exercise policy, including the possibility for the EU to conduct real-life exercises (LIVEX), would greatly contribute to a more effective coordination of the Member States‘ capabilities fostering greater interoperability and exchange of experience;

Gender and human rights mainstreaming
49.Recalls the importance of systematically addressing human rights and gender aspects in all phases of CSDP operations, during both the planning and the implementation phases; calls for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and 1889 (2009) on women, peace and security to be taken into account both in the training of staff and during operations and for a larger proportion of the personnel sent on operations to be women; recommends enhancing staff's human rights training and knowledge of civil society;
Non-proliferation and disarmament

50.   Welcomes UNSC Resolution 1887 (2009) and fully supports its calls for a halt to the spread of nuclear weapons and intensified efforts to achieve disarmament under strict and effective international control; calls on the Member States to formulate a strong common position for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and reiterates its recommendation to the Council of 24 April 2009 on non-proliferation and the future of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(8) , stressing the need to reinforce further all three pillars of the NPT, namely non-proliferation, disarmament and cooperation on the civilian use of nuclear energy; urges, furthermore, the ratification and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT);

51.   Highlights the importance of developing an international system of safe and guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel (i.e. an international fuel bank system under the control of the IAEA) and mechanisms to better enforce the so-called WMD clause which is part of cooperation agreements of the EU with third countries;

52.   Welcomes the declarations and stated objectives of the new American administration and its commitment to take nuclear disarmament forward and calls for close EU-US cooperation in promoting nuclear non-proliferation; calls on the two European nuclear powers to express their explicit support for this commitment and to come forward with new measures to achieve it; welcomes, at the same time, the commitment of the Russian Federation and the United States to continue negotiations to conclude a new comprehensive legally binding agreement to replace the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I), which expired in December 2009; looks forward to tangible results in this regard, at the earliest possible date;

53.   Takes note of the German coalition agreement of 24 October 2009 on the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany in the context of its support for President Obama's policy for a world free of nuclear weapons, the desirability of intermediate steps in reaching this goal and the necessity of introducing new dynamics in arms control and disarmament at the 2010 NPT Review Conference; encourages other Member States with US nuclear weapons on their soil to make a similar clear commitment; welcomes, in this respect, the letter sent on 26 February 2010 by the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Norway to the Secretary General of NATO calling for a comprehensive discussion in the Alliance on how it can get closer to the overall political objective of a world without nuclear weapons;

54.   Reiterates its misgivings about the situation in Iran and North Korea, pointing out that the Union has undertaken to use every means at its disposal to prevent, deter, halt and, where possible, eliminate proliferation programmes, which are a source of global concern; recalls, however, that the disarmament process started by some states has no direct bearing on whether other states choose to halt or continue their proliferation programmes, meaning that a firm approach is needed in respect of states or organisations prepared to embark on, or having already embarked on, programmes for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; underlines the importance of all Member States acting accordingly, in line with the Union approach to this matter;

55.   Points out, in connection with conventional disarmament, that special attention should be paid to taking forward the discussions on an international treaty regulating the arms trade;

56.   Reiterates its full support for wider disarmament and a total ban on weapons, such as chemical and biological weapons, antipersonnel mines, cluster and depleted uranium munitions, that cause great suffering to civilians; urges, therefore, enhanced multilateral efforts to secure full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention (APMC) and the further development of the international regime against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; welcomes, in this regard, the commitments undertaken by all EU Member States with the adoption of the EU Common Position on Arms Exports, as well as the provision of Article 28B(1) of the Lisbon Treaty, which entrusts joint disarmament operations to the EU;

Capability development

57.   Recalls that, with a view to meeting growing operational requirements and ensuring more professional crisis management, the Union needs to increase its civil and military capabilities; calls on the Council to set a new headline goal, which could encompass both civil and military dimensions and should focus first and foremost on effective capacity building;

58.   Stresses the need to seek synergies between civil and military capabilities and to identify areas in which the Member States can pool their efforts and capabilities at the EU level in a difficult economic climate, which is crucial to overcoming the combined effects of the increasing costs of defence equipment and the existing limits on defence spending, using also the opportunity provided by the setting-up of the EEAS which should have a single unit overseeing civil and military capability development;

59.   Reiterates its support for the ambitious goals set at the December 2008 European Council in terms of increased civil and military capabilities; calls on the Council to make progress in implementing proposed projects in this area, notwithstanding the current recession; calls on the Council to keep it regularly informed of the efforts made by the Member States to achieve these goals;

60.   Emphasises the numerous obstacles that have been identified to the rapid deployment of civil missions; calls on the Member States to encourage their Justice and Interior Ministries to take due responsibility in this area; supports the Council's efforts to facilitate the secondment and deployment of qualified, appropriately trained and gender-balanced civilian personnel (through the adoption of national strategies and common standards, improvements to the force generation process and pre-deployment training, a revised concept of civilian response teams (CRTs)) and the rapid provision of equipment for new civil missions (by means of framework contracts and a permanent warehouse project); welcomes, in this connection, the decision to set up a temporary equipment warehouse as part of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

61.   Stresses the need to make integrated, secure communication tools compatible with military communication systems available to civil missions;

62.   Calls on the Council to give the EEAS a permanent structure centralising common support functions for civil missions and military operations (including recruitment procedures and procurement processes) so that they can concentrate on their primary task;

63.   Stresses the need for close coordination between CSDP civil missions and other EU instruments in order to ensure rational use of resources; calls on the High Representative/Vice President to coordinate with the Commission to plan its activities in similar fields in conjunction with the EEAS; calls for an ongoing exchange of information between CSDP civil missions and the bodies responsible for intra-European police and judicial cooperation, including Europol, particularly in relation to the fight against organised crime;

64.   Notes that the Battle Groups – despite the significant investment they represent – have not yet been used, partly for political reasons and partly because their deployment is subject to very stringent criteria; supports more effective and flexible use of the Battle Groups so that they can also serve as a reserve force or as a partial substitute in the event of a disappointing force generation process, subject to proper account being taken of the wishes of the countries that jointly formed the groups concerned; calls for an extension of the provisional agreement designed to cover the costs arising from strategic deployment of the Battle Groups, as well as an expansion of the common costs associated with their use; calls on the Council to deploy them as part of full-scale military exercises; commends the work undertaken at the instigation of the Swedish Presidency on flexible use of the Battle Groups and, on this basis, calls on the Member States to implement the recommendations adopted;

65.  Commends the progress made in terms of military and civil capabilities, and calls for rapid advances in respect of:

   projects designed to allow speedier deployment of ESDP missions and EU forces namely:
   the establishment of a European air transport fleet, the governance plan adopted by 14 Member States at the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 17 November 2009 in a defence ministers composition, the establishment of a European air transport command in Eindhoven and the creation of a multinational A400M unit, while viewing the major delays in delivery as regrettable and calling on the Member States concerned and the EADS to make a success of the A400M project so that the multinational unit can be set up rapidly; stresses the importance of the use of military transport capabilities in support of civil protection and crisis management operations;
   helicopter modernisation, crew training and the planned heavy transport helicopter;
   projects designed to provide better intelligence to military teams deployed by the European Union:
   the new generation of observation satellites (MUSIS programme),
   agreements between some Member States and the EU Satellite Centre (EUSC) with a view to facilitating access to government images (Helios II, Cosmo-Skymed and SAR-Lupe) for the EUSC,
   the work done by the European Defence Agency (EDA) on expressing military requirements in the area of space surveillance,
   the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) project, while viewing it as regrettable that this project does not do enough to address the specific needs of the security and defence sector, particularly in terms of image resolution; suggests that the EUSC could serve as an interface in this area;
   projects designed to strengthen the EU's maritime dimension, putting the CSDP's military resources at its disposal:
   the establishment of a maritime surveillance system based on the SUBCAS model used in the Baltic, in order to make maritime transport more secure, curb illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings and combat marine pollution;
   the roadmap for integrated maritime surveillance scheduled for 2010; takes the view that the lack of cooperation among the various European players must on no account impede the implementation of these projects;

66.   Welcomes the decisive role played by the EDA in developing these crucial defence capabilities, inter alia through the introduction of common programmes; calls on the Member States to make greater use of the EDA's potential in accordance with the new treaty, to give it a budget commensurate with the expectations placed upon it and to facilitate its planning by adopting a triennial financial framework and work programme; calls on the Member States to finalise the administrative arrangement between the EDA and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and the security agreement between the EU and OCCAR as soon as possible, with a view to ensuring effective cooperation between the two bodies in the armaments field;

67.   Supports the establishment of a competitive European industrial and technological defence base and an open, transparent European market for defence equipment; calls, accordingly, on the Member States to continue their research and development efforts by honouring their commitment to devote 2% of defence spending to this area, and to transpose the defence package directives in a harmonised manner;

68.   Calls on European national defence procurement agencies to take concrete steps, with the support of the EDA, towards making more European purchases, namely by signing up to a voluntary Code of Conduct that would introduce the principle of ‘European preference’ in some areas of defence equipment where it is important to maintain strategic autonomy and operational sovereignty from a European perspective, and to sustain European industrial and technological pre-eminence;

69.   Strongly supports the establishment of synergies between civil and military capabilities; hopes that the CMPD and the EDA will rapidly define their complementary roles: under the authority of the High Representative/Vice President, the CMPD within the EEAS should play a strategic role in instigating and coordinating activities, particularly when it comes to identifying common needs, while the EDA should play an operational role in developing dual technologies and civil and military capabilities; takes the view that, inter alia, the security strand of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development could serve as a basis for developing such synergies;

70.   Welcomes the progress made under the Swedish Presidency with a view to setting up a pool of civilian and military experts able to be deployed in the context of reforming the security sector, while deploring the delay in implementing this measure proposed in autumn 2008, and hopes that such a pool will now be formed as a matter of urgency;

71.  With a view to making it easier for European personnel to work together, supports training projects including:

   the development of an exchange programme for young European officers, modelled on the Erasmus programme;
   efforts to increase training capacity at EU level; particularly stresses the need to set up the new-look European Security and Defence College, as decided by the Council in December 2008, as soon as possible;
   efforts to increase the institutional training capacity at EU level; particularly stresses the need to set up the new-look European External Action Academy which, in close cooperation with appropriate bodies in the Member States and incorporating existing training structures such as the Defence College, would provide Union officials and officials of the Member States who are to work in external relations functions, as well as staff from CSDP missions, with training based on uniformly harmonised curricula, with comprehensive and common training for all officials and appropriate training in consular and legation procedures, diplomacy, conflict mediation and international relations, together with knowledge of the history and experience of the European Union;

72.   Takes the view that, in order to improve the training of deployed personnel and ensure optimum use of training resources, a more systematic link should be established between attendance at training courses and deployment on missions; calls on the Council to draft a common European statute for deployed personnel, governing training standards, rules of engagement or deployment and degrees of operational freedom, rights and duties, quality of equipment and medical care and social security arrangements in the event of death, injury or incapacity;

73.   Welcomes the signing of the Treaty of Strasbourg on 26 February 2009, which confers legal personality on the European Army Corps (Eurocorps); calls for the Union to use this multinational force where necessary;

Funding the CSDP

74.  Recalls that the Lisbon Treaty does not fundamentally alter the funding of missions and operations carried out under the CSDP, such that:

   civil missions are financed from the EU budget,
   the common costs associated with military operations are financed via the Athena mechanism;

75.   Recalls the provision in the Lisbon Treaty on the start-up fund available to the Vice-President/High Representative for the purpose of financing preparatory activities for CSDP missions which, for one reason or another, are not covered by the EU budget; emphasises the added-value of this fund, which should make it easier for the Vice-President/High Representative to prepare effectively and rapidly for action in the context of the CSDP; encourages the Member States to start the necessary implementation work in the near future;

76.   Calls on the Member States to extend the list of common costs financed via the Athena mechanism so as to generate greater mutual solidarity and encourage more Member States to participate in EU military operations;

77.   Suggests, in the context of revising the Financial Regulation, that the rules and procedures applicable to crisis management – an area subject to specific requirements such as rapid deployment and security considerations – be made more flexible;

78.   Recalls that the financial instruments administered by the Commission are crucial for crisis management, especially the Instrument for Stability and the European Development Fund (including the African Peace Facility); stresses the need to coordinate these different instruments;

Partnerships
EU/NATO

79.   Recalls the need to consolidate the strategic partnership and ensure constructive cooperation between the EU and NATO; recommends avoiding blockages and calls for a review of the present arrangements for EU-NATO operational cooperation (Berlin Plus agreement) as well as the development of a new functional framework that facilitates broader cooperation when the two organisations are present in the same theatre of operations;

80.   Insists that the Vice-President/High Representative should engage in a rigorous dialogue with the Secretary-General of NATO with respect to NATO's current review of its strategic concept, in order to ensure that NATO takes full account of the development of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy, including the potential permanent structured cooperation in defence;

81.   Views it as regrettable that the technical agreements between the NATO and EU operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo have still not been signed; calls on the Council and Member States to bring their political influence to bear in the appropriate EU and NATO bodies to secure implementation;

82.   Emphasises the constructive cooperation between the two organisations in the fight against piracy (Operation Atalanta and NATO's Operation Ocean Shield);

83.   Congratulates NATO's Secretary General on wishing to involve the Union, including the European Parliament, in the discussions on a revised strategic concept for that organisation; expects this to give rise to specific initiatives in the near future;

84.   Welcomes the cooperation between the EU and NATO in the field of military capability, such as the efforts to improve operational helicopter capacity;

EU/United Nations

85.   Recalls the need for close cooperation between the EU and the United Nations in the area of crisis management, particularly in those theatres of operation in which both organisations are present and/or have to take over from one other; calls for such cooperation to be strengthened in the early stages of a crisis, particularly as regards planning;

EU/African Union

86.   Emphasises the need for constructive cooperation between the European Union and the African Union, in accordance with the commitments entered into as part of the Peace and Security Partnership associated with the Africa-EU Joint Strategy; takes the view that the European Union should, as far as is possible, support the African Union, particularly in those theatres of operation – such as Somalia – in which the latter is the sole organisation on the ground, and calls on the African Union to endeavour to develop Africa's crisis response capability and ensure that more effective use is made of assistance received from international partners; calls on the Commission and the Member States to devote special attention to the problem of the uncontrolled proliferation of small arms and light weapons, particularly in Africa, and in this context to place the emphasis on compliance with the existing rules on arms in crisis areas from all Member States;

EU/United States

87.   Calls on the Council to further the Union's relationship with the United States in the field of peace-building and crisis management, including in respect of military issues and natural disasters; such cooperation is particularly important when it comes to the fight against piracy missions in Somalia, efforts to strengthen African peacekeeping capabilities, and operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan; particularly welcomes the United States‘ participation in the EULEX Kosovo mission under European command;

88.   Takes the view that the new version of the anti-missile shield envisaged by the American administration should be studied in depth and verified, and if such system is to be developed, it should take account of a common European approach to protecting Europe against ballistic threats, in a dialogue on a continental scale, and with efforts being made to involve the European defence industry in its development;

Involvement of non-EU countries in the ESDP

89.   Recalls that 24 countries on the five continents have participated in 16 EU civil and military operations to date; emphasises that the involvement of non-EU states represents significant political and operational added-value to EU operations; takes the view that the Union should continue on this path and explore possible ways of involving these non-EU countries more fully, without undermining its decision-making autonomy;

Parliamentary prerogatives

90.   Welcomes the Council's increased involvement in the European Parliament's security and defence work, particularly within the specialised subcommittee; welcomes the inclusion of a section on relations with Parliament in the Council's latest conclusions on the ESDP; encourages the Vice-President/High Representative, in the context of the Lisbon Treaty, to continue on this path with a view to conferring strong democratic legitimacy on the CSDP;

91.   Recalls that the European Parliament is the only supranational institution with a legitimate claim to exercise democratic supervision over the EU's security and defence policy, and that this role has been strengthened by the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty; takes the view that the WEU Assembly – which owes its existence to a treaty (the Modified Brussels Treaty) that has not been signed by all the EU Member States – is neither politically equipped nor legally entitled to exercise parliamentary supervision over the CSDP;

92.   Recommends in consequence that the European Parliament and the national parliaments, bearing in mind the options available under the Lisbon Treaty, make full use of Protocol No 1 to that treaty to step up their cooperation in relation to the CFSP and the CSDP by developing closer, more structured working relationships between their respective competent committees vis-à-vis security and defence matters; emphasises that this closer cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments will replace the prerogatives misappropriated by the WEU Assembly; also emphasises the need to modify its own structures in order to supervise the CSDP more effectively; urges the Council and the High Representative/Vice-President to find ways to involve the European Parliament and its competent committee from the early stages of the setting-up of Civilian Crisis Management Concepts and Operation Plans;

93.   Calls on the Council to inform Parliament in advance of the preparation and conduct of missions and operations; suggests that the Council, out of a concern for transparency, keep it regularly informed regarding the use of the Athena mechanism and the start-up fund, as it already does in the case of the use of CFSP appropriations for civil missions; considers that in the interests of budgetary clarity first all non-military expenditure should be indicated in the EU budget and that, as an additional step, after a necessary Treaty amendment, military expenditure should also be shown in the EU budget;

94.   Calls for the revision of the 2002 interinstitutional agreements between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the European Parliament's access to sensitive Council information relating to the ESDP and the CSDP, so that the MEPs responsible – including the Chairs of the subcommittees on security and defence and on human rights – can obtain the necessary information to exercise their prerogatives in an informed manner;

o
o   o

95.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the Member States‘ parliaments, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and NATO.

(1) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(2) OJ C 314 E, 21.12.2006, p. 334.
(3) OJ C 285 E, 26.11.2009, p. 23.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0075 .
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0076 .
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0099 .
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0057 .
(8) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0333 .


Non-proliferation Treaty
DOC 53k
European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
P7_TA(2010)0062 B7-0137 , 0141 , 0142 and 0143/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 24 April 2009 on non-proliferation and the future of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (2008/2324 (INI))(1) ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions of 26 February 2004(2) , 10 March 2005(3) , 17 November 2005(4) and 14 March 2007(5) on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament,

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on Iran(6) ,

–   having regard to the forthcoming 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

–   having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions relating to issues of non-proliferation and disarmament, especially Resolutions 1540 (2004), 1673 (2006) and 1887 (2009),

–   having regard to the EU-US Summit Declaration of 3 November 2009 (Annex 3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 June 2008 on implementation of the European Security Strategy and ESDP(7) ,

–   having regard to the European Union Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the recent six-monthly Progress Report on the implementation of the EU Strategy against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (2009/II),

–   having regard to the Council statement of 8 December 2008 on tighter international security, in particular points 6, 8 and 9 thereof, which expresses the EU's determination to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery,

–   having regard to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which expired in 2009, and the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT),

–   having regard to the report on the implementation of the European Security Strategy agreed by the European Council on 11 December 2008,

–   having regard to the questions of 21 December 2009 to the Commission and to the Council on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (O-0170/2009 – B7-0010/2010 , O-0169/2009 – B7-0009/2010 ),

–   having regard to the European Council declaration on Iran of 10-11 December 2009,

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

A.   whereas the proliferation of WMD, and their means of delivery, represents one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and whereas the most pressing security priorities are to prevent terrorists or additional states from obtaining or using nuclear weapons, to reduce global stockpiles, and to move toward a world without nuclear weapons,

B.   whereas there has been a distinct lack of progress in achieving concrete objectives (such as the so-called ‘13 Practical Steps’(8) ) in pursuit of the goals of the NPT Treaty, as agreed at the previous review conferences, especially now that threats are arising from a variety of sources, including increasing proliferation; whereas this is coupled with greater demand for, and availability of, nuclear technology and the potential for such technology and radioactive material to fall into the hands of criminal organisations and terrorists,

C.   whereas the NPT, as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, must be strengthened, while bold political leadership and a number of progressive consecutive steps are urgently needed in order to reaffirm the validity of the NPT and reinforce the agreements, treaties and agencies that make up the existing proliferation and disarmament regime, in particular the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),

D.   whereas there is a need further to reinforce all three pillars of the NPT, namely non-proliferation, disarmament and cooperation on the civilian use of nuclear energy,

E.   whereas nuclear weapons states that are signatories to the NPT are delaying action to reduce or eliminate their nuclear arsenals and decrease their adherence to a military doctrine of nuclear deterrence,

F.   calling for further progress on all aspects of disarmament to enhance global security,

G.   whereas the EU has committed itself to making use of all instruments at its disposal to prevent, deter, halt and if possible eliminate proliferation programmes causing concern at global level, as clearly expressed by the EU Strategy against Proliferation of WMD adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

H.   whereas there is a need for the EU to step up its efforts to counter proliferation flows and financing, to sanction acts of proliferation and to develop measures to prevent intangible transfers of knowledge and know-how, using all means available, including multilateral treaties and verification mechanisms, national and internationally coordinated export controls, cooperative threat reduction programmes and political and economic levers,

I.   welcoming the Declaration on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (Annex 3) adopted at the EU-US Summit of 3 November 2009, which highlighted the need to preserve and strengthen the relevant multilateral measures and in particular the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, expressed support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and called for the start of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty in January 2010; noting furthermore that the declaration reiterates the necessity for Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to fulfil their international nuclear obligations,

J.   whereas Iran missed the end-of-year deadline for complying with calls to open its nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors; whereas Iran has so far done nothing to rebuild the confidence of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme,

K.   encouraged by disarmament proposals called for by Henry Kissinger, George P. Shultz, William J. Perry and Sam Nunn in January 2007 and January 2008, similar endorsements in Europe by former statesmen in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium, the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, promoted globally by civic organisations and political leaders, and campaigns such as ‘Global Zero’,

L.   whereas the revision of NATO's Strategic Concept offers an opportunity for reassessing the nuclear policy of the alliance as a whole so as to reach the objective of a world without nuclear weapons; whereas under NATO nuclear-sharing or bilateral arrangements, an estimated 150 to 200 tactical nuclear weapons continue to be deployed in five NATO non-nuclear states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey),

M.   whereas there is a need for close coordination and cooperation between the EU and its partners, in particular the United States and Russia, with a view to reviving and strengthening the non-proliferation regime,

N.   welcoming, in this respect, the joint British-Norwegian initiative aimed at assessing the feasibility of, and establishing clear procedural steps for, the eventual dismantling of nuclear weapons and the related verification procedures relating thereto, which is a concrete contribution in the right direction,

O.   whereas in 2008 the French and British Governments announced reductions in their operational warheads but decided at the same time to modernise their nuclear arsenals; whereas all Member States have an obligation to contribute successfully to EU non-proliferation and disarmament policies,

1.   Calls on all parties concerned to seize the opportunity of the forthcoming 2010 UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to advance the goal of nuclear disarmament based on an international Treaty for the progressive elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide, and to pursue the goal of complete global nuclear disarmament to be realised on a step-by-step concerted, multilateral basis;

2.   Stresses the need to develop strategies at the 2010 NPT Review Conference aimed at achieving agreement on a treaty to halt the production of fissile material for weapons purposes in a way that is not discriminatory, which means that the treaty thus negotiated should require non-nuclear-weapons States or States currently outside the NPT to forswear the production of fissile material for weapons and to dismantle all their established fissile material production facilities for such weapons;

3.   Stresses that the five UN Security Council members, all of which possess nuclear weapons, should aim at progressively forswearing the production of fissile material for weapons and dismantling all their established fissile material production facilities for such weapons;

4.   Calls on all parties to review their military doctrine with a view to renouncing the first-strike option;

5.   Calls on the Council and the Member States to make a coordinated, positive and visible contribution to the 2010 NPT Review Conference discussions, in particular by proposing an ambitious timetable for a nuclear-free world and concrete initiatives for revitalising the UN Conference on Disarmament and by promoting disarmament initiatives based on the ‘Statement of Principles and Objectives’ agreed at the end of the 1995 NPT Review Conference and on the ‘13 Practical Steps’ unanimously agreed at the 2000 Review Conference;

6.   Expresses its concern about the fact that Israel, India and Pakistan did not become States Parties to the NPT and that North-Korea withdrew from it in 2003; calls on these countries to become States Parties to the treaty;

7.   Urges the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and the Commission to keep Parliament regularly informed about all preparatory meetings in the run-up to the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to take due account, with regard to that conference, of its views on non-proliferation and disarmament matters;

8.   Urges, in this respect, the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and the Commission to make every effort to raise European awareness on non-proliferation issues, in collaboration with all the parties and non-state actors working for a nuclear-free world, with regard, in particular, to the network of Mayors for Peace;

9.   Welcomes the inclusion of non-proliferation of WMD clauses in the EU agreements with third countries and action plans; points out that such measures must be implemented by all EU partner countries without exception;

10.   Greatly welcomes US President Barack Obama's speech in Prague on 5 April 2009 expressing his commitment to taking nuclear disarmament forward and his vision of a world without nuclear weapons in a concerted effort forward; calls on the Council to express its explicit support for this commitment;

11.   Reiterates the importance of the Council's active support, in cooperation with its partners, for concrete proposals to bring the production, use and reprocessing of all nuclear fuel under the control of the IAEA, including the creation of an international fuel bank; supports, in addition, other initiatives for the multilateralisation of the nuclear fuel cycle aimed at the peaceful use of nuclear energy, bearing in mind that Parliament welcomes the readiness of the Council and the Commission to contribute up to EUR 25 million towards the creation of a nuclear fuel bank under the control of the IAEA and wishes to see speedy approval of joint action on this subject;

12.   Supports further efforts to strengthen the mandate of the IAEA, including the generalisation of the Additional Protocols to the IAEA Safeguard Agreements and other steps designed to develop confidence-building measures; seeks to ensure that sufficient resources are made available to that organisation to enable it to fulfil its vital mandate in making nuclear activities secure; encourages the Council and the Commission to pursue their efforts to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency capacities, including the modernisation the IAEA's Safeguards Analytical Laboratory at Seibersdorf, Austria;

13.   Stresses the importance of the earliest possible entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); welcomes in this respect the US Administration's intention to secure the treaty's ratification; asks the Council to fully support the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear devices as soon as possible; looks forward to the new Nuclear Posture Review, that should commit the USA not to develop new nuclear weapons including nuclear bunker-busters, foresee a dramatic reduction of the nuclear stockpile and steer the USA towards increased emphasis on non-nuclear defence;

14.   Calls for a deepening of the dialogue with the new US administration and all nuclear-weapons powers, with a view to pursuing a common agenda aimed at progressive reduction of the nuclear warheads stockpile; in particular, supports those steps being taken by the US and Russia to substantially reduce their nuclear weapons as agreed in START 1 and in SORT;

15.   Welcomes in this connection the decision of the Russian Federation and the US to conduct negotiations with a view to concluding a new, comprehensive, legally binding agreement to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired in December 2009, and the signature of the ‘Joint understanding for a follow-on agreement to START-1’ by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow on 6 July 2009; welcomes the recent progress in US-Russian negotiations and looks forward to a final agreement in the context of the next round of talks starting on 9 March 2010 in Geneva;

16.   Takes note of the fact that the USA has abandoned its original plans for a missile defence shield in Europe; supports a new approach involving all of Europe and Russia;

17.   Calls for the establishment of nuclear-free zones as a positive step towards a nuclear-free world; takes the view, in this regard, that a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East is of fundamental importance for the achievement of lasting and comprehensive peace in the region; points out that the withdrawal of all tactical warheads in Europe could, in the meantime, set a precedent for further nuclear disarmament;

18.   Draws attention to the strategic anachronism of tactical nuclear weapons and the need for Europe to contribute to their reduction and to eliminate them from European soil in the context of a broader dialogue with Russia; against this background, notes the German coalition agreement of 24 October 2009 to work towards the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany as part of the overall process of achieving a nuclear-free world; welcomes the letter sent on 26 February 2010 by the Foreign Ministers of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Norway to the Secretary General of NATO calling for a comprehensive discussion in the Alliance on how it can move closer to the overall political objective of a world without nuclear weapons;

19.   Supports the dual-track approach concerning Iran's nuclear programme; urges once again Iran to comply fully and without further delay with its obligations under the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the IAEA, notably to meet the requirements set out by the IAEA Board of Governors‘ resolution of 27 November 2009; urges the Council to support action by the United Nations Security Council if Iran continues not to cooperate with the international community over its nuclear programme; calls on the Council to be ready to take the necessary ’smart‘, targeted and non-proliferation-focused measures including sanctions to accompany this UNSC process;

20.   Deplores the latest nuclear testing conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the rejection by that country of UN Security Council Resolution 1887 (2009) of 24 September 2009; supports, nevertheless, the US bilateral dialogue approach, within the framework of the Six-Party Talks, in pursuit of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and notes that China plays a special role in this regard;

21.   Supports the convening of the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, recognising that the unauthorised trade in and use of nuclear materials is an immediate and serious threat to global security, and looks forward to concrete proposals to increase the security of vulnerable nuclear materials, which could include measures to effectively investigate instances where material has been unlawfully diverted and prosecute those responsible;

22.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Member States, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and the Director-General of the IAEA.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0333 .
(2) OJ C 98 E, 23.4.2004, p. 152.
(3) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 253.
(4) OJ C 280E, 18.11.2006, p.453.
(5) OJ C 301 E, 13.12.2007, p.146.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0016 .
(7) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0255 .
(8) United Nations: 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, NPT/CONF.2000/28 (Parts I and II).

Last updated: 30 November 2010Legal notice