Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 11 November 2010 - BrusselsFinal edition
Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: Ireland - SR Technics
  Resolution
  Annex
 Request for the waiver of parliamentary immunity of Krzysztof Lisek
 Alternative investment fund managers ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of Member States and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Upcoming EU-US summit and Transatlantic Economic Council
 EU external strategy on Passenger Name Record (PNR)
 European Innovation partnerships
 Strengthening the OSCE: a role for the EU
 Demographic challenge and solidarity between generations
 Implementation of the Research Framework Programmes
 Crisis in the EU livestock sector

Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: Ireland - SR Technics
PDF 91k   DOC 35k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2009/021 IE/SR Technics from Ireland) (COM(2010)0489 – C7-0280/2010 – 2010/2214(BUD) )
P7_TA(2010)0391 A7-0297/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2010)0489 – C7-0280/2010 ),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(1) (IIA of 17 May 2006) and in particular point 28 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund(2) (EGF Regulation),

–   having regard to the letter of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0297/2010 ),

A.   whereas the European Union has set up the appropriate legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market,

B.   whereas the scope of the EGF was broadened for applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis,

C.   whereas the Union's financial assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and made available as quickly and efficiently as possible, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008 and having due regard for the IIA of 17 May 2006 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the EGF,

D.   whereas Ireland has requested assistance in respect of cases concerning 850 redundancies in the enterprise SR Technics Ireland Ltd operating in the air transport sector in the NUTS III region Dublin,

E.   whereas the application fulfils the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation,

1.   Requests the institutions involved to make the necessary efforts to accelerate the mobilisation of the EGF;

2.   Recalls the institutions' commitment to ensuring a smooth and rapid procedure for the adoption of the decisions on the mobilisation of the EGF, providing one-off, time-limited individual support geared to helping workers who have suffered redundancies as a result of globalisation and the financial and economic crisis; emphasises the role that the EGF can play in the reintegration of workers made redundant into the labour market;

3.   Stresses that, in accordance with Article 6 of the EGF Regulation, it should be ensured that the EGF supports the reintegration of individual redundant workers into employment; reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements, nor measures restructuring companies or sectors;

4.   Notes that the information provided on the coordinated package of personalised services to be funded from the EGF includes detailed information on the complementarity with actions funded by the Structural Funds; reiterates its call to present a comparative evaluation of these data in its annual reports as well;

5.   Welcomes the fact that, in the context of mobilising the EGF, an alternative source of payment appropriations to unused European Social Fund has been proposed by the Commission, following the frequent reminders by the European Parliament that the EGF was created as a separate specific instrument with its own objectives and deadlines and that appropriate budget lines for transfers must therefore be identified;

6.   Notes, however, that, in order to mobilise the EGF for this case, payment appropriations will be transferred from a budget line dedicated to the support of SMEs and innovation; regrets the severe shortcomings of the Commission when implementing the programmes on competitiveness and innovation, particularly during an economic crisis which should significantly increase the need for such support;

7.   Recalls that the functioning and the added value of the EGF should be evaluated in the context of the general assessment of the programmes and various other instruments created by the IIA of 17 May 2006 within the process of the 2007-2013 multiannual financial framework mid-term review;

8.   Welcomes the new format of the Commission's proposal, which presents in its explanatory memorandum clear and detailed information on the application, analyses the eligibility criteria and explains the reasons which led to its approval, which is in line with Parliament's requests;

9.   Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of xxx

on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 28 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (application EGF/2009/021 IE/SR Technics from Ireland)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(3) , and in particular point 28 thereof,

having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund(4) , and in particular Article 12(3) thereof,

having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Whereas:

(1)   The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was established to provide additional support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation and to assist them with their reintegration into the labour market.

(2)   The scope of the EGF was broadened for applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers made redundant as a direct result of the global financial and economic crisis.

(3)   The Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 allows the mobilisation of the EGF within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million.

(4)   Ireland submitted an application on 9 October 2009 to mobilise the EGF, in respect of redundancies in SR Technics and supplemented it with additional information up to 18 May 2010. This application complies with the requirements for determining the financial contributions as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006. The Commission, therefore, proposes to mobilise an amount of EUR 7 445 863.

(5)   The EGF should, therefore, be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution for the application submitted by Ireland.

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

For the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund shall be mobilised to provide the sum of EUR 7 445 863 in commitment and payment appropriations.

Article 2

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

Done at,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 406, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 406, 30.12.2006, p. 1.


Request for the waiver of parliamentary immunity of Krzysztof Lisek
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European Parliament decision of 11 November 2010 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Krzysztof Lisek (2009/2244(IMM) )
P7_TA(2010)0392 A7-0301/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Krzysztof Lisek, forwarded by the Polish judicial authorities on 5 November 2009 and announced in plenary sitting on 14 December 2009,

–   having heard Krzysztof Lisek in accordance with Rule 7(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Articles 8 and 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaties,

–   having regard to the judgments of 12 May 1964 and 10 July 1986(1) of the Court of Justice of the European Union,

–   having regard to Article 151 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland,

–   having regard to Rules 6(2) and 7 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0301/2010 ),

A.   whereas criminal proceedings have been brought against Krzysztof Lisek, Member of the European Parliament, by the Polish judicial authorities, Mr Lisek being accused of criminal offences under Article 296(1) and (3) of the Penal Code of 6 June 1997 published in the Journal of Laws of 1997, No 88, Item 553, as amended; Article 586 of the Commercial Companies Code of 15 September 2000 published in the Journal of Laws of 2000, No 94, Item 1037, as amended; Article 77(1) and (2) of the Accountancy Act of 29 September 1994 (consolidated text published in Journal of Laws 2002, No 76, Item 694), as amended),

B.   whereas, according to Article 9 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, during the sessions of the European Parliament its Members enjoy in the territory of their own State the immunities accorded to members of their parliament; whereas immunity cannot be claimed when a Member is caught in the act of committing an offence; and whereas this does not prevent the European Parliament from exercising its right to waive the immunity of one of its Members,

C.   whereas the charges brought against Mr Lisek do not relate to opinions expressed or votes cast in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament,

D.   whereas, according to the Article 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, a member of the national Parliament (Sejm) shall not be subject to criminal liability without the consent of the Parliament,

E.   whereas Article 105 goes on to provide that a member of the national parliament shall not be liable for activities performed within the scope of a deputy's mandate during the term thereof nor following expiry thereof,

F.   whereas Mr Lisek is essentially charged with offences in relation to his management and accounting activities as chairman of the board of the Polish Youth Card Association and Campus Sp. during a period prior to his election to the European Parliament; and whereas the offences with which Mr Lisek is charged have nothing to do with his activities as a Member of the European Parliament,

G.   whereas no cogent evidence has been adduced as to the existence of any fumus persecutionis ,

H.   whereas it is therefore appropriate to waive his immunity,

1.   Decides to waive the immunity of Krzysztof Lisek;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this decision, and the report of the committee responsible, immediately to the appropriate authority of the Republic of Poland.

(1) Case 101/63 Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier [1964] ECR 195, and Case 149/85 Wybot v Faure and Others [1986] ECR 2391.


Alternative investment fund managers ***I
PDF 73k   DOC 51k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 November 2010 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Alternative Investment Fund Managers and amending Directives 2004/39/EC and 2009/…/EC (COM(2009)0207 – C7-0040/2009 – 2009/0064(COD) )
P7_TA(2010)0393 A7-0171/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0207 ),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 47(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0040/2009 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to 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 53(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0171/2010 ),

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

2.   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;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 November 2010 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2011/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on Alternative Investment Fund Managers and amending Directives 2003/41/EC and 2009/65/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1060/2009 and (EU) No 1095/2010

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0064


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive 2011/61/EU).


Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of Member States and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement ***I
PDF 81k   DOC 67k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 November 2010 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of Member States and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (COM(2010)0358 – C7-0162/2010 – 2010/0192(COD) )
P7_TA(2010)0394 A7-0294/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2010)0358 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 77(2)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0162/2010 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 3 November 2010 to approve Parliament's position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0294/2010 ),

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

2.   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;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 November 2010 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement

P7_TC1-COD(2010)0192


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) No 1211/2010).


Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy ***I
PDF 76k   DOC 36k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 November 2010 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy (COM(2010)0283 – C7-0139/2010 – 2010/0150(COD) )
P7_TA(2010)0395 A7-0246/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2010)0283 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(1)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0139/2010 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 September 2010(1) ,

–   after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 22 October 2010 to approve Parliament's position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0246/2010 ),

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

2.   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;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 November 2010 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy

P7_TC1-COD(2010)0150


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) No 1233/2010).

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


Upcoming EU-US summit and Transatlantic Economic Council
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the forthcoming EU-US Summit and the Transatlantic Economic Council
P7_TA(2010)0396 B7-0608 , 0609 and 0611/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 26 March 2009 on the state of transatlantic relations in the aftermath of the US elections(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions on the Transatlantic Economic Council and to its resolution of 22 October 2009 on the upcoming EU-US Summit and the Transatlantic Economic Council meeting(2) ,

–   having regard to the outcome of the EU-US Summit held in Washington on 3 November 2009,

–   having regard to the progress report adopted at the fourth meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council on 27 October 2009, to the Joint Statement adopted at the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD) and to the meetings held in New York from 4 to 9 December 2009 and in Madrid from 4 to 6 June 2010,

–   having regard to the EU-US Joint Statement on ‘Enhancing transatlantic cooperation in the area of Justice, Freedom and Security’ of 28 October 2009,

–   having regard to the EU-US Joint Declaration on Counterterrorism of 3 June 2010,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the G20 Summits held in Toronto on 26-27 June 2010 and in Seoul from 21 to 23 October 2010,

–   having regard to the UN High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals of 20-22 September 2010 and the conclusions thereof,

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

A.   whereas the transatlantic relationship is unique and broad in scope, including a mutual commitment to democracy, the rule of law and human rights, fighting terrorism, and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; noting, in the light of their shared interests and values, the need for the EU and US to listen to each other and the readiness of the European Parliament to listen to the US President and the US Congress,

B.   whereas the European Union and the United States work together around the world to advance a common agenda based on shared history, culture, interests and values, and whereas EU-US relations must play a pivotal role in ensuring that global issues and new challenges are tackled in the framework of international law and existing multilateral institutions, in particular the UN, the OSCE and NATO,

C.   whereas together the two transatlantic partners account for half the global economy, with their US$4.28 trillion partnership the largest, most integrated and longest lasting economic relationship in the world and a key driver of global economic prosperity; whereas the strength of and commitment to the transatlantic relationship are of even greater relevance given the current global financial and economic crisis; whereas co-ordinated monetary policies should take a higher priority in the transatlantic partnership,

D.   whereas the two partners are committed to cooperating in order to promote growth and jobs in their economies, and whereas the European Parliament continues to advocate the completion of a transatlantic market by 2015, based on the principle of a social market economy, the realisation of which – alongside the completion of the EU's own single market – will be a core factor in re-launching global economic growth and recovery,

E.   whereas the developing countries have contributed least to the impact of climate change ascribable to human activity, but are facing its most severe consequences; and whereas the negative externalities of climate change are placing international poverty-reduction investment at risk, thus threatening the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); noting also the need for a continued dialogue on the initiative for transatlantic partnership for development,

EU-US Summit

1.   Insists on the importance of the EU and the US Administration stepping up their strategic dialogue, cooperation and coordination when dealing with global challenges and regional conflicts;

2.   Calls on both partners to promote respect for democracy and human rights in the world as a key element of their policy; underlines the need for intensive coordination in the area of preventive and crisis diplomacy; calls again on the US Administration to ratify and accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; repeats its appeal for the universal abolition of the death penalty;

3.   Regards it as essential that at the EU-US Summit both partners should take a leading role on the implementation of the G20 commitments;

4.   Underlines the importance of EU-US cooperation in agreeing on concrete deliverables in order that an international agreement can finally be reached at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-16) in Cancun, on the basis of scientific evidence and including adequate international assistance with the financing of climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries;

5.   Welcomes the new approach taken by the US Administration towards Israel and calls for a re-invigorated Euro-American partnership to address the Israel-Palestinian conflict; welcomes, in this context, the launch of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as announced in Washington on 2 September 2010; points out that further negotiations are needed that will lead, within an agreed time frame, to a two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security; emphasises that a comprehensive peace, which is in the fundamental interests of all the parties in the region and of the EU, must be achieved on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, including land for peace, the Roadmap and the agreements previously reached by the parties, and emphasises that the active engagement of the Middle East Quartet in the peace process is needed, recognising the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative and the continuing cooperation with the Arab partners; urges the Israeli Government to renew the moratorium on settlement building; calls for a more active European engagement vis-à-vis Syria and Lebanon;

6.   Emphasises that the uncertainties about the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme are endangering the non-proliferation system and stability in the region and the world; expresses its disappointment at the continuing refusal by Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by obstructing the IAEA's work, denying it access to key nuclear facilities and vetoing the appointment of inspectors; calls on the Iranian leadership to ensure that Iran meets its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty; calls on Teheran to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol on the Safeguards Agreement and calls on the US and the EU to coordinate their foreign policies in order to achieve this objective;

7.   Calls for improved cooperation between the EU and the US in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the aim of contributing to peace and stability, democracy, human rights and development in the region; stresses the importance of the participation of neighbouring countries and other key actors in the region in this process, which can make a major contribution to regional stabilisation;

8.   Although aware that the leaking of classified military documents runs the risk of endangering military personnel, is highly concerned at the recent serious allegations that torture has been condoned in Iraq; calls for this issue to be raised at the EU-US summit with a view to an independent transatlantic inquiry;

9.   Strongly urges the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to honour its commitments in the context of the Six-Party Talks, including the complete and verifiable abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes; calls on the DPRK fully to meet all its relevant nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament obligations; reaffirms its strong support for the Six-Party Talks and remains determined to achieve a satisfactory and comprehensive resolution of the issues involved by diplomatic means;

10.   Welcomes the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit of April 2010, which highlighted the global importance of preventing nuclear terrorism and securing all vulnerable nuclear materials in four years and agreeing on a work plan for improving and universalising existing nuclear security agreements and programmes; supports the initiatives taken by individual countries to improve security at home and encourages other states to join in this process;

11.   Emphasises the importance of NATO as the cornerstone of transatlantic security and calls for strategic cooperation between the US and the EU Member States in order to address global security challenges; takes note of the work that has been done to reach agreement on a new Strategic Concept; considers that relevant developments in this wider security structure should also be addressed in dialogue with Russia and the non-EU OSCE Member States; underlines the importance of the CSDP and the value of an enhanced European defence capability in strengthening transatlantic security;

12.   Notes the growing number of diverse challenges which are emerging as common to both the EU and US; urges the partners to initiate an overarching joint process under which all transatlantic policy measures would be evaluated and developed in order to produce one coherent and wide-ranging strategy to address these issues effectively;

13.   Emphasises the importance of a fair and democratic referendum on the independence of South Sudan for the stability of the region; urges the EU and US to work closely with the Sudanese authorities to ensure that the January 2011 referendum on the future of Sudan is peaceful, fair and transparent;

14.   Welcomes the signing of the New START Treaty by US President Barack Obama and the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and looks forward to its speedy ratification by both parties;

15.   Recognises the overlapping commercial and political interests of the EU and the USA in Latin America, where the EU has strategic partnerships with Mexico and Brazil, has free trade agreements with Chile and Mexico and is negotiating such an agreement with Colombia;

Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) meeting and strengthening of the TEC

16.   Is convinced that the TEC constitutes the most appropriate mechanism for managing the transatlantic economic relationship; urges the partners to use the full potential of the TEC in order to overcome the existing barriers to economic integration and to achieve a transatlantic market by 2015, based on the principle of a social market economy, which will be a positive response to the current economic and social crises;

17.   Urges the TEC to be more strategic in order to address the concerns of all stakeholders; reiterates its call for the timely distribution of schedules of TEC meetings, agendas, roadmaps and progress reports, which should be available for stakeholders well ahead of meetings and then made public, in order to increase transparency;

18.   Welcomes the fact that the TEC is advised by a range of stakeholders, including representatives of business, and calls once again for a comparable role to be given to representatives of the trade union movement on each side of the Atlantic, so that the social dimension is fully included; calls for the heads of the Transatlantic Labour Dialogue and the Transatlantic Energy Dialogue to be included in the Group of Advisers;

19.   Calls on the Commission to pursue, in the light of the forthcoming TEC meeting, the formal adoption of procedures for the mutual recognition of declarations of conformity for products subject to mandatory third-party testing, in particular for ICT and electrical equipment, to insist on the mutual recognition of legal units of measurement, in particular acceptance of metric-only labelling of EU products in the US, to explore standardisation with US authorities, to establish round tables on standards, focusing on innovative solutions, and to coordinate internationally; believes that the Innovation Action Partnership should look beyond IP enforcement and address strategic dialogue about competition policy, technology transfer and convergence of standards;

20.   Considers it of the utmost importance to engage in a dialogue in the TEC on novel foods and the use of new technologies in food production; emphasises concerns regarding cloning in animal breeding;

21.   Calls for cooperation within the TEC on all matters affecting the regulatory environment for industries, especially SMEs, and for the approach taken in the EU ‘Small Business Act’ – thinking small first – to be followed when considering legislation with a transatlantic impact;

22.   Welcomes the signing of the second-stage ‘Open Skies’ EU-US aviation agreement in June 2010 as a cornerstone of effective cooperation, and the conclusion of the most recent International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreement of 8 October 2010 as an important step forward for the transatlantic aviation market; calls on the US authorities and the Commission, however, to work towards greater freedom of investment and ownership of air carriers across the Atlantic irrespective of foreign citizenship;

23.   Notes that the EU and the US face similar challenges as the world's largest producers, exporters and importers of agricultural products, and play an important role in ensuring food security in the world; calls for greater cooperation between the European Parliament and the US Congress on the parallel process of reform of their respective agricultural policies;

24.   Emphasises the importance of also using the TEC as a framework for macroeconomic cooperation between the partners, in the light of their unprecedented cooperation during the crisis, and encourages the competent monetary institutions to strengthen their coordination, especially in the area of supervision and systemic risk prevention; recognises the major role played by the EU and US in world financial institutions, including the IMF, the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements;

The role of the TLD in the TEC

25.   Calls once again on EU and US leaders, and the co-chairs of the TEC, to take account of the crucial role of legislators for the success of the TEC; urges them to involve the representatives of the TLD fully and directly in the TEC, as legislators share with their respective executive branches responsibility for the enactment and oversight of many TEC decisions;

26.   Believes that it is essential to ensure that key members of Congress and of the European Parliament are brought into the Legislators' Dialogue and the TEC process, in order to make sure that legislation has no unintended consequences for transatlantic trade and investment; hopes that the current TLD can gradually be upgraded to a transatlantic inter-parliamentary assembly, following recommendations made by Parliament in its above-mentioned resolution of 26 March 2009;

Bilateral and international trade

27.   Is resolved to continue calling on the US legislature – and urges the Commission to do likewise within the TEC – to reconsider the 100% container scanning obligation, and to develop cooperation with the US based on risk management, including mutual recognition of the EU and US Trade Partnership Programmes, in accordance with the World Customs Organisation's SAFE Framework of Standards;

28.   Emphasises the urgent need to conclude the Doha Development Round as soon as possible; calls for a common approach, involving emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil, to the development of multilateral trade rules and negotiations;

29.   Is convinced that the TEC can play an important role in fostering a common approach by the EU and the US to their trade relations with third countries, at the same time addressing market access concerns;

Development

30.   Recalls that the international undertakings given regarding the MDGs, the achievement of many of which is lagging behind schedule, can only be honoured if the industrialised countries maintain their commitments and set aside 0,7% of their GDP for overseas development aid by 2015; calls, therefore, on the EU and the US, and on other international donors, to honour their commitments and to take measures to speed up progress towards meeting the MDG targets by 2015;

Economic and financial crises

31.   Recalls that the Basel II Agreement, and its forthcoming revised version, is meant to be a global standard and urges the US speedily to implement Basel II; is therefore very much concerned that limitations laid down in various national laws adopted in response to the crisis (in particular in the US Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, limiting recognition of external ratings) would result in serious fragmentation in the application of this global standard; notes, further, that consistent global accounting rules are essential for a level playing field and calls on the US to adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS);

32.   Notes that the crisis was the worst global recession since the Great Depression, and that in response governments from around the world, especially in the EU and US, have cooperated in an unprecedented way to reform financial markets and institutions; urges the EU-US Financial Markets Regulatory Dialogue (FMRD), in its role of coordinating approaches between regulators, to identify gaps and work on improving convergence;

33.   Considers that the economic and financial governance structures in place at the onset of the crisis, whether at global level, in the US or in the European Union, have not provided enough stability for the global financial system; believes that in the light of increasing economic and financial market interdependence cooperation on macroeconomic policies and surveillance of the major economies needs to be strengthened; acknowledges, further, that the EU must address the issue of its representation in the IMF;

34.   Calls on the European Union and the United States to work with China towards settling the global dispute on foreign exchange rates without implementing protectionist or retaliatory measures; considers that the EU Member States are subject to different market pressures as compared to the US, especially in respect of sovereign bonds and the existence of a monetary union; calls on the United States, in implementing its domestic monetary policies, not to exacerbate the problem of the global balance of exchange rates;

35.   Notes that both the Frank-Dodd Bill and the programme of regulatory reform in the EU are consistent with the G20 initiatives, and considers it important for this cooperation to continue throughout the rulemaking process; notes that this is particularly evident in legislation on OTC derivatives markets; emphasises that many of the divergences are caused by differences in the nature of the legislatures and the roles of supervisors in rulemaking;

Energy, environment, transport, industry, research and science

36.   Welcomes the creation of the EU-US Energy Council to provide a new framework for deepening the transatlantic dialogue on strategic energy issues, such as security of supply or policies to move towards low-carbon energy sources, whilst strengthening ongoing scientific cooperation on energy technologies; welcomes the initialling of a new Energy Star EU-US Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficient labelling programmes for office equipment and cooperation on the development of energy technologies;

37.   Encourages the TEC to develop cooperation towards a common external energy and raw materials strategy which supports diversification of sources, supply routes and infrastructure and promotes an energy-efficient economy, in order to increase security of energy supply and enhance energy independence; encourages the TEC, further, to help seek convergent sustainability criteria for the energy mix and to step up research and development, including in the area of biofuels; regards an appropriate raw materials and rare earths policy aiming to decrease dependency on such materials as essential;

38.   Notes that climate change is a global challenge to which there is no single political and technological solution, but that the combination of existing opportunities and a dramatic increase in efficiency in all areas of the economy and society in developed and developing countries would contribute to resolving the problem of resources and distribution and pave the way for a third industrial revolution;

39.   Urges the EU Presidency to look for an ambitious US commitment at the forthcoming Cancun summit and for US cooperation in promoting links between the EU ETS and regional or federal trading schemes in the US; notes, in this respect, the importance of ensuring common standards and benchmarks in all emerging ETS markets so as to avoid unnecessary regulatory hurdles in this emerging market;

40.   Calls on the US to allow the full and effective implementation of the first-stage EU-US aviation agreement and of the EU-US aviation safety agreement; reminds both the Commission and the US authorities that failure to conclude a second-stage agreement could lead to the cancellation of the first-stage agreement by some Member States;

41.   Urges the TEC to stimulate cooperation in the field of research with a view to exploiting more effectively the potential of the recently extended EU-US Science and Technology Agreement, notably by extending a coordinated approach in areas of mutual strategic interest and by stepping up cooperation in energy research;

Intellectual property and consumer protection

42.   Emphasises the importance of close transatlantic cooperation on the digital agenda, such as the digital market, internet freedom in the world, net neutrality, the right of privacy, common standards, transparency and the rule of law in relation to ACTA;

43.   Considers it essential to develop a joint EU-US action strategy for the enforcement of intellectual property rights which aims to fight the soaring global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods; calls for the creation of a transatlantic task force to combat counterfeiting as a much-needed sign of political determination to tackle illegal activities which erode the competitiveness of innovative and creative industries, whilst respecting civil liberties, freedom of expression, privacy and due process;

Judicial and police cooperation, visas

44.   Insists that the EU must negotiate as a single entity on admission to the US visa waiver programme, to ensure that the four Member States – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – outside the visa waiver programme do not conclude bilateral agreements with the US to gain visa waiver status; reiterates that the Commission must continue to raise with the US at political and technical level the issue of the importance attached by the EU to the admission of the four remaining EU Member States to the visa waiver programme as soon as possible;

45.   Underlines the spirit of cooperation between the EU and US in the fight against global terrorism and urges the EU and US to continue to work cooperatively in order to further counter the renewed threat from terrorism; reiterates its determination in this field and its firm belief in the need to ensure that security measures do not undermine the protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights and the utmost respect for privacy and data protection; reaffirms that necessity and proportionality are key principles without which the fight against terrorism will never be effective;

46.   Welcomes the fact that the EU-US agreement on banking data transfers reflects the willingness of the US to respond positively to the data protection demands made by the European Parliament in the SWIFT report;

47.   Calls on the Council to agree swiftly on an ambitious negotiating mandate for a EU-US data protection agreement; urges the Union's negotiator to move the negotiations forward in order to ensure full protection of fundamental rights; supports the Commission's approach to have such a framework agreement apply to all future and all existing EU or Member State personal data transfer and processing agreements with the US, in the framework of judicial and police cooperation;

48.   Calls on both the US and the EU to limit data collection and processing to the absolute minimum genuinely necessary to meet security objectives, so as to minimise threats to freedom and civil liberties, and urges that data transfer demands, as well as other justice and home affairs arrangements, should generally be dealt with in a multilateral US-EU framework, rather than being pursued bilaterally with an individual Member State;

49.   Stresses its serious concerns about the so-called Travel Promotion Act, and its discriminatory impact in applying only to travellers under the US visa waiver programme, and about data protection concerns stemming from the fact that fees can only be paid using one of the four major credit cards, whose companies are all based inside the US; calls for the issue of the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) fee to be raised at the next EU-US JHA Ministerial Meeting in December;

50.   In view of recent developments on both sides of the Atlantic which pose challenges to harmonious, diverse societies, calls for an open dialogue between our governments and societies on how we can all strive for greater tolerance and respect for diversity in our respective communities, within the context of universal respect for fundamental human rights;

o
o   o

51.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the US Congress, the co-chairs of the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue and the co-chairs and secretariat of the Transatlantic Economic Council.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0193 .
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0058 .


EU external strategy on Passenger Name Record (PNR)
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the global approach to transfers of passenger name record (PNR) data to third countries, and on the recommendations from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations between the European Union and Australia, Canada and the United States
P7_TA(2010)0397 B7-0604/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 16 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 8 thereof, and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in particular Articles 6, 8 and 13 thereof,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 21 September 2010 on the global approach to transfers of passenger name record (PNR) data to third countries (COM(2010)0492 ),

–   having regard to the recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and Australia for the transfer and use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and other serious transnational crime,

–   having regard to the recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America for the transfer and use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and other serious transnational crime,

–   having regard to the recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and Canada for the transfer and use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and other serious transnational crime,

–   having regard to the recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the EU-US PNR data issue, notably its resolutions of 5 May 2010 on the launch of negotiations for passenger name record (PNR) agreements with the United States, Australia and Canada(1) , of 13 March 2003 on transfer of personal data by airlines in the case of transatlantic flights(2) , of 9 October 2003 on transfer of data by airlines in the case of transatlantic flights: state of negotiations with the USA(3) , of 31 March 2004 on the draft Commission decision noting the adequate level of protection provided for personal data contained in the passenger name records (PNRs) transferred to the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection(4) , its recommendation to the Council of 7 September 2006 on the negotiations for an agreement with the United States of America on the use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and transnational crime, including organised crime(5) , its resolution of 14 February 2007 on SWIFT, the PNR agreement and the transatlantic dialogue on these issues(6) , and its resolution of 12 July 2007 on the PNR Agreement with the United States of America(7) ,

–   having regard to the request for consent to conclude the Agreement between the EU and the USA on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS)(8) and to conclude the Agreement between the EU and Australia on the processing and transfer of EU-sourced passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the Australian Customs Service(9) ,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Commission communication on the global approach to transfers of PNR data to third countries,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the Treaty of Lisbon, amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, entered into force on 1 December 2009,

B.   whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union became binding with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009,

C.   whereas the Commission presented its recommendation to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the EU and the USA on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters on 26 May 2010,

D.   whereas, with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament is asked to give its consent to the agreements between the EU and, respectively, the USA and Australia on the transfer of PNR data, with a view to concluding those agreements,

E.   whereas Parliament decided on 5 May 2010 to postpone the vote on the request for consent to the agreements with the USA and Australia,

F.   whereas the Commission communication on the global approach to transfers of PNR data to third countries and the recommendations from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations between the EU and Australia, Canada and the USA reflect important elements contained in the relevant European Parliament resolutions on the matter,

G.   whereas the EU-Canada agreement on the transfer of PNR is no longer valid, owing to the expiry of the Adequacy Decision in September 2009, and the transfer of PNR data has taken place since that date on the basis of unilateral undertakings by Canada to the Member States,

H.   whereas other third countries are already requesting the transfer of PNR data, or have announced their intention of doing so in the near future,

I.   whereas, in our digital age, data protection, the right of informational self-determination, personal rights and the right to privacy have become values that play an ever-increasing role and must therefore be protected with special care,

J.   whereas, in a world in which mobility is essential, greater security and improved efforts to combat serious crime and terrorism must go hand in hand with more effective, focused and faster exchanges of data both within Europe and globally,

1.   Recalls its determination to fight terrorism and organised and transnational crime, and, at the same time, its firm belief in the need to protect civil liberties and fundamental rights, including the rights to privacy, informational self-determination and data protection; reaffirms that necessity and proportionality, as set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are key principles in ensuring effectiveness in the fight against terrorism;

2.   Welcomes the Commission communication on the global approach to transfers of PNR data to third countries;

3.   Welcomes the recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for agreements between the EU and Australia, Canada and the USA for the transfer and use of PNR data to prevent and combat terrorism and other serious transnational crime; welcomes the decision of the Council to start all negotiations simultaneously, while acknowledging that the length of the negotiations may vary;

4.   Underlines the importance of the spirit of cooperation between the EU and the USA, Canada and Australia in the fight against global terrorism and urges the EU and the USA, Canada and Australia to continue to work cooperatively in order to further counter the threat from terrorism;

5.   Calls to mind that the purpose of the agreements is to ensure that the transfer of data is in line with European data protection standards; emphasises, therefore, that the legal base must include Article 16 TFEU;

6.   Points out that proportionality remains a key principle in data protection policies, and that any agreement or policy measure must also stand the legal proportionality test, demonstrating that it aims to attain Treaty objectives and does not exceed what is necessary to attain those objectives; reiterates its call to the Commission to provide it with factual evidence that the collection, storage, and processing of PNR data is necessary for each of the stated purposes; equally reiterates its call to the Commission to explore less intrusive alternatives;

7.   Reiterates its position that PNR data shall in no circumstances be used for data mining or profiling; in this respect, reiterates its demand to the Commission to clarify the differences between the concepts of ‘risk assessment’ and ‘profiling’ in the PNR context;

8.   Highlights the need to be fully informed on all PNR-related and relevant developments in order to be able to consider giving its consent to the agreements under negotiation; therefore urges the Commission and the Council to clarify fully the state of play with regard to bilateral agreements and memorandums of understanding between Member States and the USA concerning the exchange of law-enforcement data and participation in the US Visa Waiver Programme, as well as the One-Stop Security programme;

9.   Emphasises that bilateral memorandums of understanding between Member States and the USA, alongside negotiations between the EU and the USA, are contrary to the principle of loyal cooperation between the EU institutions; urges the Council to provide further information and legal clarity on the situation regarding the legal base and competence of bilateral memorandums of understanding between Member States and the USA concerning information exchanges related to PNR data;

10.   Welcomes and strongly supports the recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the EU and the USA on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters; supports the Commission's approach of having such a framework agreement apply to all future and all existing EU or Member States' agreements with the USA on personal data transfer and processing for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences in the framework of judicial and police cooperation;

11.   Emphasises that the firm objectives set out in the Commission's recommendation to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the EU and the USA on protection of personal data when transferred and processed for the purpose of preventing, investigating, detecting or prosecuting criminal offences, including terrorism, in the framework of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters are essential for any data-sharing agreements with USA – as is an early start to negotiations on enforceable data-protection rights, in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and with Directive 95/46/EC;

12.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Data Protection Supervisor, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government of Canada, the Government of Australia, the US Congress and the Government of the United States of America.

(1) OJ C 281 E, 15.3.2011, p. 70.
(2) OJ C 61 E, 10.3.2004, p. 381.
(3) OJ C 81 E, 31.3.2004, p. 105.
(4) OJ C 103 E, 29.4.2004, p. 665.
(5) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 250.
(6) OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 349.
(7) OJ C 175 E, 10.7.2008, p. 564.
(8) Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (2007 PNR agreement) (COM(2009)0702 ).
(9) Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and Australia on the processing and transfer of EU-sourced passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the Australian Customs Service (COM(2009)0701 ).


European Innovation partnerships
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on European Innovation Partnerships within the Innovation Union flagship initiative
P7_TA(2010)0398 B7-0602/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010)2020 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union (COM(2010)0546 ),

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

A.   the Innovation Union initiative is the most significant to date and a concrete attempt at an integrated European innovation policy, whose success depends upon well-coordinated cooperation at regional, national and European level, with the maximum involvement of all relevant players at each level,

B.   whereas the European Innovation Partnerships represent an innovative concept aiming to create synergies between existing and, where necessary, new European and Member State initiatives in the field of innovation and maximise and accelerate the delivery of results and benefits to society,

1.   Welcomes the first proposed topic for European Innovation Partnership, on active and healthy ageing, and the suggested approach by the Commission to first run a pilot project testing the most suitable format for these partnerships before launching any further ones;

2.   Calls on the Commission, when running the first pilot project on active and healthy ageing, to include social innovation which leads to a better quality of life, prevents disease, improves social networks within public sectors and among social partners, and promotes the introduction of new technologies supporting the quality of life;

3.   Stresses that the success of this novel concept lies in having a clear-cut scope and delineation of responsibilities among the various partners involved, precise timelines for the realisation of individual projects, measureable and feasible targets oriented to the market as closely as possible, with simplified administrative procedures relating to implementation and optimum dissemination and access to research findings; in this sense further stresses the central role of the Commission in providing the right operational framework and guidance for the separate projects under the hat of a single partnership;

4.   Calls on the Commission, when setting up the governance framework for these partnerships, to make an inventory of existing European and national structures and to assess how to effectively incorporate them into the partnerships without unnecessarily creating new ones; and to ensure adequate participation by smaller innovative companies, universities and research institutions;

5.   Urges the Commission to ensure the appropriate and efficient financing of the partnerships, by effectively pooling the resources of the European Union, Member States, regions and other public and private players, while respecting clear criteria and the principles of transparency, openness and equal opportunities with regard to their allocation; welcomes in this context the Commission's Communication on the EU budget review with its strong focus on research, innovation and education;

6.   Supports the areas identified by the Commission for the proposed partnerships; calls upon the Commission when launching a partnership to assess the level and extent of ongoing work and the potential of the partnership to deliver the quickest and widest possible results and benefits for competitiveness and society;

7.  Considers that the following partnerships would benefit most immediately from the created value-added and that the overarching principle of these partnerships should be resource intelligence, thus promoting resource efficiency and at the same time efficient production throughout the supply chain, as well as smart consumption:

   (a) smart cities – with a focus on improving energy, transport and infrastructure efficiency and management, as well as providing the basis for rapid progress towards the EU's energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate objectives at local level, and
   (b) raw materials – security of supply of raw materials, including sustainable extraction and processing, recycling and substituting, while possible issues of land use planning require intensive study;

8.   Calls on the Commission to duly inform Parliament of the progress and results of this pilot project and to clearly outline the Parliament's involvement in determining the strategic orientation of future Partnerships, in line with the urgency of major societal challenges; proposes to reassess the roadmap of actions of the Partnerships biannually, and asks the Commission to report amendments to the roadmap of actions accordingly;

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


Strengthening the OSCE: a role for the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on strengthening the OSCE – a role of the EU
P7_TA(2010)0399 B7-0603/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the Charter of Paris and the Copenhagen Document of 1990, the Charter on European Security and the Vienna Document of 1999, and other milestone documents of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE/OSCE),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 December 1999 on the OSCE(1) ,

–   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 its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(2) ,

–   having regard to the final report and recommendations of the Panel of Eminent Persons, entitled ‘Common Purpose - Towards a More Effective OSCE’, of 27 June 2005,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2007 on the external dimension of the fight against international terrorism(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 May 2008 on EU election observation missions: objectives, practices and future challenges(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 September 2009 on the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis in Kazakhstan(5) ,

–   having regard to Ministerial Council Decision No 4/08 of 5 December 2008, entitled ‘Strengthening the legal framework of the OSCE’ and the previous decisions on the OSCE's legal capacity, privileges and immunities,

–   having regard to the speech given by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 5 June 2008 in Berlin on the need for a pan-European conference to reflect on European Security, and his proposal of 29 November 2009 for a European Security Treaty,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 11-12 December 2008, endorsing the report of 11 December 2008 of the Secretary-General of the Council/EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) on the implementation of the European Security Strategy – Providing Security in an Changing World,

–   having regard to the OSCE Ministerial Council Declaration on the Corfu Process: ‘Reconfirm-Review-Reinvigorate Security and Cooperation from Vancouver to Vladivostok’ and Decision No 1/09 on furthering the Corfu Process, of 2 December 2009,

–   having regard to the Analysis and Recommendations of the Group of Experts on a New Strategic Concept for NATO, entitled ‘NATO 2020: Assured Security; Dynamic Engagement’, of 17 May 2010,

–   having regard to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office's interim report summarising proposals put forward by the participating States within the Corfu Process of 21 June 2010,

–   having regard to the decision of the OSCE Permanent Council following the agreement reached at the informal Ministerial Council in Almaty on 16-17 July to hold an OSCE Summit in Astana in December 2010 and a Review Conference in preparation thereof,

–   having regard to the speech given by Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), at the Almaty informal meeting (SPEECH /10/393) on the EU priorities for the Astana Summit,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the OSCE is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic, Eurasian security architecture and is distinguishable by: its comprehensive concept of security, including political-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions; its broad membership, uniting countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok; and the variety and flexibility of its mechanisms,

B.   whereas the EU and the OSCE, although different in nature and structures, share the same principles and values; whereas all the EU Member States are also OSCE participating States; whereas both organisations exercise responsibilities in institution-building, the promotion of democracy and human rights, and in the area of conflict prevention and management, in full recognition of the primary role of the UN Security Council in matters of international peace and security,

C.   whereas the Helsinki Final Act, celebrating this year its 35th anniversary, has been the basis for the Helsinki Process, which has prompted significant democratic change in Europe,

D.   whereas the last OSCE Summit took place in Istanbul in 1999, resulting in the adoption of the Charter on European Security; whereas significant changes have occurred since then in the OSCE region and the OSCE has seen its role decline,

E.   whereas the OSCE is the sole organisation among those dealing with security issues in the European region that lacks an international legal personality; whereas this situation has a number of political and practical legal implications; whereas a convention setting out the OSCE's legal status, privileges and immunities was finalised in October 2007 and the text of its articles has remained uncontested by the participating states since then,

F.   whereas the origins of the Corfu Process lie in the proposal made by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 5 June 2008 on the need to discuss the issue of European security with a view to drafting a legally binding European Security Treaty; whereas the OSCE is an important forum for discussing the proposal,

G.   whereas the Corfu Process has brought new energy into the OSCE, and whereas the Summit should reconfirm the commitment to the principles and spirit of the Helsinki Final Act and define a clear strategic vision for the way ahead, including the improvement and updating of existing instruments,

H.   whereas efforts should be aimed at reforming the decision-making mechanism, which has not always allowed the OSCE to respond in a timely manner to crises; whereas more effective crisis management instruments should be developed and more emphasis should be placed on conflict mediation and resolution,

I.   whereas the OSCE, as the most inclusive forum for consultation in the Euro-Atlantic Eurasian region, still has an essential role to play on a number of issues, including non-proliferation, disarmament, economic cooperation, protection and promotion of human rights, and the rule of law,

J.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU a clearer and stronger voice in the world and encourages all types of mutually beneficial EU cooperation with relevant international and regional organisations, including with the OSCE,

1.   Underscores the importance of the current intensive discussions on European security within the OSCE, NATO and the EU since reaffirming common values and strengthening mechanisms could enhance mutual trust and confidence in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region and thus result in a stronger European security architecture;

OSCE added value
Cross-cutting issues

2.   Emphasises the need to maintain a balance between the three dimensions of the OSCE, developing them coherently and comprehensively and building on what has already been achieved; points out that none of the dimensions may be strengthened to the detriment of another; stresses, moreover, that security threats and challenges should be tackled through all three dimensions if action is to be truly effective, including contemporary ones such as organised crime, terrorism, cyber-threats, human and drug trafficking, energy security, as well as activities relating to early warning mechanisms, and conflict prevention and resolution;

3.   Emphasises that the strengthening of the OSCE should not come at the price of weakening the existing institutions and mechanisms or affecting their independence, when they have not yet been reformed or alternatives have not yet been agreed, particularly as regards the work of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);

4.   Calls on the OSCE to further strengthen its capacity to ensure respect for and the implementation of principles and commitments undertaken by its participating States in all three dimensions, inter alia by enhancing follow-up mechanisms;

5.   Believes that reinforcing the interaction and promoting synergy with the other relevant regional organisations could only benefit the work of the OSCE and calls for the creation of more clear and flexible cooperation frameworks that facilitate and speed up such synergies;

Political-Military Dimension

6.   Considers that the OSCE has played an essential role in enhancing security, drawing on a unique network of treaties, commitments, norms and measures, including the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), the Open Skies Treaty and the 1999 Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures; recognising, however, that the political-military dimension has not been able to make progress, particularly with the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the inability to address effectively the protracted conflicts in the Caucasus and Transnistria, the suspension by Russia of the CFE, and the refusal until now of NATO member states to ratify the Adapted CFE Treaty; urges NATO member states and Russian Federation to ratify and implement the existing treaties and to comply with their obligations, including the implementation of the 1999 Istanbul Commitments;

7.   Considers that the OSCE is the suitable framework for negotiations concerning regional conflicts within its area of responsibility; regrets the lack of will of the EU and the Member States to use the possibilities of the OSCE in this area more effectively; argues in favour of strengthening the OSCE's instruments for conflict prevention; regrets the non-innovative approaches to the peace processes and notes that progress in the solution of these protracted conflicts would significantly contribute to raising the credibility of the OSCE and should not be overlooked in the Corfu Process; considers, therefore this goal should be addressed in the Summit conclusions;

8.   Takes note of the OSCE mission in Transnistria (Moldova); deplores the downgrading of the mission and the interruption of disarmament activities at the Colbasna storage facility since 2004; recalls the EU's firm determination to seek a settlement to the Transnistrian conflict on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova; calls for the resumption, as soon as possible and without preconditions, of the negotiations in the 5 +2 format; calls for concerted EU efforts to align the German-Russian Meseberg initiative with the efforts of the OSCE mission in Transnistria;

9.   Recalls the important EU engagement in stopping the hostilities and in negotiating the ceasefire agreements during the 2008 conflict in Georgia and considers in this regard that the EU has a role to play, together with the OSCE, in preventing and mitigating inter-ethnic conflicts and tensions in the OSCE area; underlines that these conflicts are not only of considerable local and regional relevance but also have a direct impact on EU security architecture; calls for a new agreement to revive an OSCE peace monitoring mission in Georgia in order to prevent further violence, protect minorities and promote negotiations, ensuring security and stability in the South Caucasus region;

10.   Notes the role played by the OSCE in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, especially with regard to the ceasefire and ongoing negotiations; notes that, although the EU is not directly involved in the OSCE Minsk Group peace talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it can make important practical and political contributions in support of its efforts, including by offering an EU mandate for its French co-chair, as stipulated in the EP resolution on the need for an EU Strategy in the South Caucasus;

11.   Calls for the revival of the process for conventional arms limitation and disarmament in the OSCE; is in favour of opening negotiations on further steps to reduce forces and arms (CFE II), and calls on the EU and its Member States to take appropriate initiatives in the OSCE;

12.   Calls on the EU and its Member States to make available their experience and capacities in the field of defence conversion and to actively promote OSCE agreements in this area;

13.   Underlines the great importance of re-establishing mutual trust and a sense of common purpose; notes that there is a need for further development of confidence- and security-building measures and a strong and efficient regime of conventional arms control and, to this end, emphasises the crucial importance of finding a solution to the CFE crisis and modernising the Vienna Document; welcomes the language of the declaration made by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in June 2010 on the future of conventional arms control and the CFE treaty; welcomes the decision taken by the US Government in January 2010 to appoint a Special Envoy on the CFE Treaty; supports the valuable OSCE activities in the areas of counter-terrorism, border management and police-related work; underlines that these activities are crucial not least in Central Asia, where they contribute to stabilising the security situation in the whole region;

14.   Notes that the EU's development of its capacities should not be perceived as downgrading the role of the OSCE but as a necessary step towards improving cooperation also among the OSCE participating State and points out that regular meetings at the highest level and constant mutual reporting, information exchanges and consultations between the EU and the OSCE would promote that understanding;

Economic- Environmental Dimension

15.   Underscores the Conclusions of the OSCE Ministerial Council on the Strategy Document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension recognising that more effective cooperation by the OSCE participating States to counteract threats and challenges caused by economic and environmental factors can make a crucial contribution to security, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region and stresses the fact that economic and environmental factors can be driving forces behind conflicts;

16.   Firmly believes that cooperation and promotion of early warning on economic and environmental issues - such as energy, trade, climate change, or water security - may serve as tools to diminish tensions, prevent conflict, build confidence and promote good neighbourly relations and multilateral regional cooperation in the OSCE area; encourages the OSCE Economic Forum, therefore, to tackle such issues by strengthening capacity to provide advice and assistance and by effectively mobilising and facilitating deployment of the expertise and resources of other international organisations; calls on the Council to reflect this during the Corfu Process and at the Summit;

17.   Takes the view that since not only the EU and the Russian Federation but all the member states of the OSCE are dependent on each other as importers and exporters of energy and energy sources, and since conflicts in the area of energy supply have increased throughout the OSCE area in recent years to the detriment of the civilian population, the energy policy dialogue for the whole region should be given a central role;

18.   Considers that the challenges of climate change in all facets of life will be long-lived and its burdens heavy, in some regions much more than in others; calls on the OSCE to strengthen efforts to mitigate man-made contributions to global warming and promote stability and sustainable security in places where climate change effects are most likely to occur;

Human Dimension

19.   Emphasises that human and minority rights and fundamental freedoms are at the core of the OSCE's comprehensive concept of security, witnessed by the wide-ranging set of existing commitments and mechanisms that should be fully implemented; underlines that the Corfu process and the Summit should aim at further strengthening the follow-up and implementation of these commitments and mechanisms;

20.   Recognises the essential role of the ODIHR in election observation, in promoting human rights and democratisation, the rights of minorities, as well as Roma and Sinti; underlines the role and duty of the High Commissioner on National Minorities in enhancing peaceful coexistence of minority communities and in the prevention of ethnic conflicts, with all the necessary early warning mechanisms; welcomes the work of the Representative on the Freedom of the Media and of the Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings; calls for the active participation of the European Parliament in the ODIHR's activities;

21.   Calls on the OSCE, with particular regard to election observation, which should be reinforced and accepted as a sign of confidence in each OSCE Member State, to reaffirm and preserve the independence of the ODIHR and further strengthen its role and capacity as the leading OSCE institution responsible for election observation, with which the European Parliament has developed strong and efficient cooperation in this field; calls for the strengthening of this cooperation and coordination between the OSCE/ODIHR and the European Parliament both in preparation for, during and after international election observation missions in OSCE countries;

22.   Calls on the Council to ensure that the OSCE further enhances and diversifies the work under this dimension, considering also other concerns that can be tackled with the existing expertise, such as counter-terrorism and the impact of population movement, including that of IDPs and refugees;

Field Missions

23.   Calls on the Member States to emphasise the importance of the OSCE field missions, where significant expertise has been developed and which play an essential role in promoting progress in all three dimensions by complementing the EU delegations in promoting democratisation and reform processes through the monitoring of   war crime  trials, fostering national reconciliation and supporting the development of civil society, and which are a fundamental tool of early warning and conflict prevention, and to ensure that funding for field missions is not decreased; urges the EU to learn from this expertise in its own field missions;

24.   Takes note of the OSCE's efforts in Kyrgyzstan, showing its potential to respond promptly to crisis situations where it has a presence on the ground; welcomes, to this end, the OSCE Permanent Council Decision of 22 July 2010 to deploy a Police Advisory Mission; stresses that the ongoing instability of this country requires a stronger and more substantial international presence, aimed at assisting and supporting local forces and enhancing police action; considers that the OSCE could play a leading role in Central Asia and restore its role in Georgia; deplores the fact that Police Advisory Mission has not been deployed as planned at the beginning of September 2010, due to resistance from the Kyrgyz Government; urges the OSCE member states and the Kyrgyz Government to allow the immediate deployment of neutral and international police forces in the country, to significantly increase the number of personnel deployed and to make sure that its mandate is executive instead of purely advisory;

Corfu Process

25.   Welcomes the Corfu Process, launched by the Greek OSCE Chairmanship and promptly taken up by the Kazakh OSCE Chairmanship, aiming to re-establish trust and confidence and renew commitment to the principles of the OSCE and to tackle security challenges through multilateral dialogue and cooperation and by addressing the sensitivities and concerns of all OSCE participating States;

26.   Recalls that the process follows the call for a renewed dialogue on pan-European security of June 2008 and the one of 8 October 2008 for the modernisation of European security within the OSCE framework, and that the OSCE is an important forum to discuss the issues contained in the proposal for a new Security Treaty; takes the view that more coordination and deeper cooperation with Russia is needed as it plays a crucial role in respect of European security;

27.   Considers that the final aim of the Corfu Process should be the strengthening of the OSCE, building upon the existing commitments and the principles and spirit of the Helsinki Final Act, to ensure that it can play a significant role in dealing with current and future challenges, including a more flexible decision-making procedure and discussing comprehensively the security issues in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area, and specifically helping to resolve them, and to enhance its visibility;

28.   Applauds the initiative of Kazakhstan, as holder of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office, to hold an OSCE Summit as a way of giving political impetus to the ongoing discussions on security within, and the strengthening of, the OSCE; calls on the Commission and the OSCE member states to urge Kazakhstan in advance of the Summit to take concrete steps to safeguard and respect basic OSCE values such as human rights, the rule of law, freedom of expression, including the decriminalising of liberties, and to guarantee access to justice; stresses that the key priorities on the Summit agenda should be to strengthen the conventional arms control framework, to strengthen the implementation of the human dimension commitments and to strengthen the OSCE's capabilities in all three dimensions to promote conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, particularly in relation to protracted conflicts;

29.   Calls on the EU Members States, the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy to cooperate with OSCE members at the Summit in December 2010 with the goal of formulating an Action Plan that would outline a road map towards a charter for a security community in the OSCE area and to mandate preparation of a follow-up summit two to four years from now;

30.   Calls on the OSCE and EU member states to add US Vice President Biden's proposal for an OSCE Crisis Prevention Mechanism to the agenda for the Summit; advocates building on a US initiative in the context of the Corfu Process to enhance the role of the OSCE Secretary-General and the OSCE chairs, or a trio of present, past and future chairs, in OSCE crisis management;

Role of the EU

31.   Regards the work of the OSCE as very valuable, and calls therefore for a serious reflection on how the EU can take on greater responsibilities and participate more efficiently in achieving joint objectives, for which implementing a system of permanent dialogue, agreeing on joint initiatives and coordinating local activities may be appropriate instruments in the context of a formal agreement between the OSCE and the EU; calls on the EU Council of Foreign Ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the OSCE Permanent Council to work on a mechanism aimed at increasing cooperation, coordination and consultations between the two organisations; calls on EU Member States, the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to present proposals concerning the EU's willingness and ability to participate in OSCE-mandated missions;

32.   Calls on the VP/HR to consider how the future EEAS could establish appropriate cooperation procedures with the ODIHR in order to strengthen, without overlapping, the role of the EU with regard to election observation in the OSCE area;

33.   Considers that the EU, through its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, its Member States and the President of the European Council, should ensure, through the timely adoption of an EU common position on OSCE reforms, that the Summit results in an Action Plan for further engagement on strengthening the OSCE, particularly with regard to conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, ensuring, inter alia , that high level summits occur at regular intervals to give political impetus to the work of the OSCE; welcomes the new practice of holding informal Ministerial Meetings;

34.   Welcomes and endorses the articulation and definition of priorities by the EU in the OSCE, considering a focus on key areas to be essential for realising the full potential of the Summit;

35.   Encourages the EU Member States and the EU Delegation in Vienna to continue contributing substantially to the Corfu Process; calls on Lithuania, the next holder of the OSCE Chairmanship, to ensure continuity and progress in the process of strengthening the OSCE;

36.   Call on the EU, its Member States, and the present and the incoming OSCE Chairmanships-in-Office to continue the dialogue on the legal framework of the OSCE and to reiterate the need for a prompt adoption of the draft Convention on international legal personality, legal capacity and privileges and immunities, an arrangement that does not affect the existing nature of OSCE commitments but strengthens its identity and profile, also solving a number of practical problems for its personnel, especially when employed in crisis areas;

37.   Considers that its President should be invited to participate in the Summit and calls on the European Council to provide for such an invitation;

38.   Deems that, with a view to strengthening relations with the OSCE, it should reflect on  its participation in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and study the possibility of establishing a standing Delegation to the OSCE PA, to follow more closely the activities of the OSCE and the OSCE PA;

o
o   o

39.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and the Commission, the OSCE Member States and OSCE Secretary-General.

(1) OJ C 296, 18.10.2000, p. 126.
(2) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 580.
(3) OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 524.
(4) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2009, p. 31.
(5) OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 30.


Demographic challenge and solidarity between generations
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the demographic challenge and solidarity between generations (2010/2027(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0400 A7-0268/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 March 1997 on the Commission report to the Council and European Parliament on the demographic situation in the European Union (1995)(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 March 1998 on the Commission demographic report 1997(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2000 on the Commission communication ‘Towards a Europe for all ages – promoting prosperity and intergenerational solidarity’(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper on ‘Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations’ (COM(2005)0094 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on demographic challenges and solidarity between the generations(4) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 September 2006 on a European Social Model for the future(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2008 on progress made in equal opportunities and non-discrimination in the EU (the transposition of Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC)(6) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 February 2008 on the demographic future of Europe(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 on promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, including child poverty, in the EU(8) ,

–   having regard to its position of 2 April 2009 on the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation(9) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on ‘The demographic future of Europe – from challenge to opportunity’ (COM(2006)0571 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication on ‘Promoting solidarity between the generations’ (COM(2007)0244 ),

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 March 2007 on ‘The family and demographic change’(10) and its core proposal that the Member States should sign a ‘European Pact for the Family’,

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document on ‘Europe's demographic future: facts and figures’ (SEC(2007)0638 ),

–   having regard to Cedefop publications on ‘Innovative learning measures for older workers’(11) , on ‘Working and ageing. Emerging theories and empirical perspectives’(12) , on ‘Modernising vocational education and training. Fourth report on vocational education and training research in Europe: Synthesis report’(13) and on ‘Skills supply and demand in Europe. Medium-term forecast up to 2020’(14) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Demography Report 2008: Meeting Social Needs in an Ageing Society (SEC (2008) 2911),

–   having regard to the joint report prepared by the Commission and the Economic Policy Committee (Ageing Working Group) on the ‘2009 Ageing Report: economic and budgetary projections for the EU-27 Member States’ (2008-2060),

–   having regard to Articles 25 and 34 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which explicitly refer to the rights of the elderly to lead a life of dignity and independence and to participate in social and cultural life, and their entitlement to social security benefits and social services providing protection in old age,

–   having regard to Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which explicitly prohibits any discrimination on grounds of age,

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

–   having regard to Article 2 and Article 3(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(15) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0268/2010 ),

A.   convinced that a humane society is necessarily based on the principle of justice between the generations,

B.   whereas the gender-specific dimension of intergenerational relations needs to be taken into consideration,

C.   whereas much more must be done to end the widespread unfair discrimination often faced by older people on the basis of their age alone, both in employment and in access to goods, facilities and services,

D.   whereas there are strong links between discrimination against older people on the basis of age, social exclusion and poverty among older people,

E.   whereas many older people also have a disability and therefore may be subjected to multiple discrimination,

F.   whereas demographic change has impacted strongly on personal and working life, especially in the case of women, while insufficient services, inadequate welfare payments, the slow and difficult nature of integration into the labour market proper, long periods spent in insecure or temporary employment, and lack of support for young couples are among the reasons for young people postponing forming a family and having children,

G.   whereas, if the economy and society are to achieve their purposes, they need the experience, input and wealth of ideas of all generations,

H.   whereas, according to the Commission's estimates, demographic changes could profoundly change population structure and the age pyramid; whereas, for example, the number of young people aged 0 to 14 would drop from 100 million (1975 index) to 66 million in 2050, the working population would peak at 331 million in about 2010 and thereafter decrease steadily (to about 268 million in 2050), while, with life expectancy rising by 6 years for men and 5 years for women between 2004 and 2050, the number of people over 80 would rise from 4.1 % in 2005 to 11.4 % in 2050,

I.   whereas, under the ambitious employment-rate targets in the EU 2020 Strategy, the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 should be increased to 75 % by 2020, while simultaneously facing a demographic challenge,

J.   whereas demographic change is manageable and sustainable if it is properly anticipated and taken seriously by everyone; whereas demographic issue should be addressed with a sense of long-term strategic purpose, and action taken to tackle unfair age-based discrimination,

K.   whereas in times of demographic change the role of parents is especially significant, as they are needed both as employees and as (co-)mothers and fathers, whereas the risk of this double burden falling solely on women's shoulders should be prevented,

L.   whereas we are now facing a twofold crisis – a high unemployment rate among young people coupled with a question mark over retirement pension funding – and whereas these two phenomena must be dealt with together, working towards a strengthening of social entitlements and greater participation by young people in creating wealth and kick-starting the economy; whereas, as the Committee of the Regions has pointed out (CdR 97/2009), in our ageing society youth must be seen as a valuable resource that is essential to society, and which can and must be put to use in order to achieve social and economic goals,

M.   whereas the Member States possess the main instruments for promoting justice between the generations (in the form of pension systems, budget, indebtedness and healthcare provision and complex rehabilitation) and ending unfair discrimination, but the EU can take important initiatives based on monitoring, exchanges of best practice and action programmes, and by monitoring the implementation of EU anti-age discrimination legislation and agreeing important new proposed anti-discrimination legislation which will outlaw age discrimination in the access to goods, facilities and services,

N.   whereas the proportion of people aged over 60 in the EU will rise faster than ever before, with the greatest increase expected between the years 2015 and 2035, when this age group will grow by two million each year,

O.   whereas age discrimination is undermining intergenerational solidarity; it is forbidden under the Treaty but remains widespread and severely constrains older and younger workers' access to the labour market, social security and certain services,

Principles and aims

1.   Regards justice and solidarity between the generations as synonymous and defines justice between the generations as an even, reasonable, conscious intergenerational sharing of advantages and burdens, and views solidarity in general as one of the fundamental values of European cooperation;

2.   Argues that functional cooperation between the generations depends on the basic values of freedom, rights and solidarity, justice and selfless support for the next generation, and that it must be informed by mutual respect, shared responsibility and a willingness to accept the fundamental rights that people deserve as human beings and EU citizens and to care for one another, as well as by individual planning for the future, including increased commitment to behaviour based on health prevention;

3.   Considers that the perspective of shrinking populations by 2050 may implicate a lowering of the pressure on the environment and provide an opportunity for sustainable development, which in turn needs proactive policies to adapt spatial planning, housing, transport and all other kinds of infrastructures accordingly;

4.   Recognises that, happily, life expectancy is increasing and that, for more of their lives, people are active and involved in an independent and committed way in the life of society; takes the view that rising life expectancy is a positive development which must not have the effect of reducing employees' rights; recognises also that birth rates in the Member States have remained low for a number of decades, a situation which, if not tackled in a timely manner, will place a heavy burden on rising generations and lead to conflict over burden-sharing; points out that these challenges can be a key driver towards fairer burden-sharing and more inclusive and higher quality social security systems;

5.   Takes the view that a policy for justice between the generations must aim to create the necessary bases, rights and tools for conducting an open and frank intergenerational dialogue, with a view to achieving win-win situations and thus also measures leading to fair intergenerational sharing;

6.   Considers it important to make clear that older people with and without disabilities and workers approaching retirement age are not a burden on the economy and society and do not constitute an obstacle to modernisation in work processes, but rather – through their experience, their achievements, their knowledge and their greater loyalty to their place of work – a dependable asset and significant added value; considers it important to fight prejudice and discrimination in all its forms and towards all groups of society and to work towards a society where older people are treated equally as human beings with fundamental rights; notes that the EU policy on older people is based on the principle of ‘society for all’ and that all projected policy measures must therefore serve in every way to reinforce that understanding; is convinced that every opportunity should be offered in all Member States for people of different ages to participate actively in society, irrespective of their age; points out that young people are the future, meaning that policymakers must take into account the modernisation of society and participation by all;

7.   Asks that special attention be paid to the gender perspective when considering demographic challenge and solidarity, as gender relations structure the entire life cycle from birth to old age, influencing access to resources and opportunities and shaping life strategies at every stage;

8.   Stresses that European economies faced with demographic challenges need competitive companies resulting from low fiscal and bureaucratic burden and reformed state sector; considers that a competitive and innovative private sector is a key element in creating new job opportunities across generations;

9.   Given that civil society, the churches, and charities have a long and unbroken tradition of social support and development action, whether aimed at families or at every category of citizens in need, considers that their involvement in planning and carrying out measures of this kind will help to enhance policies centring on social and intergenerational solidarity, thus giving practical expression to the subsidiarity principle;

10.   Notes that as a result of demographic change there is a significant number of older potential volunteers which is a huge untapped resource in our communities; calls on the Commission to promote opportunities for older volunteers, and to develop a Seniors Action Programme for the increasing number of very experienced senior citizens who are willing to volunteer that might run in parallel with and complement the Youth in Action Programme, and furthermore to promote specific programmes for intergenerational volunteering and for mentoring;

Transparency initiative

11.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to introduce generational accounting to inform and further develop the Eurostat sustainable development indicators (SDIs) in all the Member States and at EU level, with a view to producing reliable models and forecasts of payment flows and the degree to which each generation will benefit or be burdened;

12.   Advocates a compulsory ‘generation check’ impact assessment to make clear the effects of EU and national legislation on justice between the generations and to permit long-term cost-benefit analysis;

13.   Calls on the Commission to present separately the current trends in the rate of dependency, dramatically decreasing fertility and difficulty of access to expensive artificial insemination for the citizens of the Member States (including the relevant labour market regulations), as well as the financial consequences of these procedures, in order to help existing generations plan their life strategy;

14.   Asks the European Institute for Gender Equality to monitor and analyse relations among generations, based on indicators by gender and age group;

Education and employment policies

15.   Is convinced that open and equitable access to training and work for all age groups must be a core feature of policy-making for justice between the generations and that it lays the foundations for prosperity, independence and sustainability;

16.   Taking into account the EU's ageing society, believes that active attempts should be made to bring people on to the labour market and keep them there, applying this approach to all age groups, older people included; considers it essential to strike a balance between giving people a sufficient sense of security and maintaining the motivation to work and earn an income; believes that, to raise skill levels, all groups in society should be guaranteed education of the highest possible standard and better opportunities than hitherto for lifelong learning;

17.   Considers that an employment policy which takes into account the situation of older workers implies reflecting on new ways of organising work in companies, facilitating flexible formulas progressively leading to retirement, reducing stress, improving working conditions and promoting anti-discriminatory practices with regard to recruitment and vocational training;

18.   Stresses that demographic change faces the European Union with the challenge of managing human resources, which calls for a proactive policy aiming at full employment;

19.   Recognises that work means more than just paid employment and that both young and older people contribute substantially, through their work at family and community level, to making our society more humane and improving the stability of services and workplaces, and calls on governments to facilitate and recognise voluntary work, local community-building, care in the community and family care and to resolve issues of legal responsibility in that regard without delay;

20.   Calls on the Member States to take measures to recognise the invisible and informal work in the field of intergenerational solidarity carried out by family members (predominantly women) of all ages to care for older and younger members needing care at a legal, social and economic level (particularly as regards social security, professional status, earnings and equal opportunities for men and women) as outlined in the Report adopted by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on 8 December 2008;

21.   Strongly believes that unfair discrimination on the grounds of age in the workplace is widespread and that more must be done as a priority to combat it, in particular through the effective implementation of Directive 2000/78/EC (the European Employment Equality Directive) in all Member States and by further non legislative measures to ensure that older people are aware of their rights and can access support and legal advice if needed;

22.   Acknowledges that older women on the labour market often suffer direct or indirect discrimination and multiple discrimination, a situation which needs to be properly addressed;

23.   Notes that in order to be able to access employment, older people need first to be able to get to their place of work and therefore believes it is important that the proposed antidiscrimination directive to outlaw age discrimination in access to goods, facilities and services is agreed and implemented as soon as possible;

24.   Believes it is wrong for any older worker to be forced to stop working against their will because of an arbitrarily concluded compulsory retirement age; therefore calls on Member States to look again at the feasibility of scrapping compulsory retirement ages which prevent people who want to carry on working from doing so, while maintaining a pensionable age so that those people who want to retire can do so and still receive their pension and retirement-based benefits;

25.   Considers that unbalanced measures to reduce the age of a workforce will result not in a higher level of innovation, as is frequently claimed, but are in reality a way of reducing costs by dismissing experienced and hence highly-paid workers, and are a waste of experience, knowledge and skills, particularly where training older people is better compensated by their remaining longer in the same jobs;

26.   Considers that any measures concerning the retirement age should be based on the needs of the persons concerned; considers that there is a need for more flexible retirement provisions which respect the needs of individuals in an ageing workforce and respond to labour market demand; calls on Member States to put priority on developing and improving social security systems to respond to these needs;

27.   Deplores the fact that some people's patterns of employment are becoming increasingly uneven and insecure as a result of temporary work and the growth of short-term contracts, in some Member States, without decent wages and social security rights, as well as undeclared work, precarious, marginal employment and unemployment, and that the majority of jobs are difficult for older people to access; recognises that periods spent working, learning, caring or volunteering are complementary and provide valuable experience at all ages; notes that the increase in precarious employment also has an impact on the financial security of the current generation and will thus impose a greater burden on succeeding generations; but points out also that many forms of independent working, self-employment, flexible working, part-time work and different types of temporary work can play an absolutely vital role in helping many older people to increase their income or secure an income, for example if they have caring responsibilities for their immediate family or friends;

28.   Is convinced that flexisecurity can contribute to more open, responsive and inclusive labour markets and can ease the transition between the various stages of people's working lives, in particular when it is based on solidarity and shared responsibility between the generations and when it takes the different demands and needs of all age and income groups into account; points out that care must be taken to ensure well-regulated mechanisms to provide appropriate training, monitoring of workers' rights and respect for family life; notes that flexisecurity also involves comprehensive lifelong learning strategies and up-to-date, appropriate and sustainable social security systems;

29.   Stresses that career and training security should be fully guaranteed; everyone should be able to have a full and uninterrupted working life, entitling them to a full-rate pension;

30.   Emphasises that lifelong learning must be a central aim in all education-related measures and that it is something for which all generations, the public authorities and businesses bear a responsibility; calls on the Member States in consequence to endorse vocational training schemes, especially if they include a period of practical training, sometimes in the form of an apprenticeship;

31.   Calls on the EU to pursue an effective policy to ensure that older workers can remain available for work and are not subject to age discrimination;

32.   Calls for promoting a culture which provides for the management of ageing in companies, both for the arrival of young people and for the departure of older workers, and tailoring its details, notably by means of possibilities for phased retirement, while taking account of the arduousness of the jobs occupied and the conditions in terms of work, health and safety;

33.   Is convinced that optimal management of human resources in the form of initial and lifelong training is the responsibility of economic stakeholders, including occupational groups, who should anticipate their employment and training needs;

34.   Points out that, in order to be of the greatest possible benefit to employees, lifelong learning must be attested by diplomas and certificates; draws attention to the need to make the practice of validating prior achievements the norm;

35.   Proposes the systematic monitoring and statistical representation of the participation of older workers in life-long learning structures;

36.   Proposes that additional incentives be provided for older workers and unemployed persons to participate in life-long learning programmes in order either to strengthen their position or to ensure their successful return to the labour market;

37.   Calls for increased involvement of women of all age groups in life-long learning programmes;

38.   Notes that, as a result of changing demographics, it is estimated that by 2030 the ratio between active and inactive people will be 2:1; calls on the Commission and Member States to support the future role of family carers by developing policy initiatives that will enable women and men to achieve a balance between professional and caring responsibilities;

39.   Stresses that demographic change should not be advanced as a justification for the general dismantling of social entitlements and services but that it is, on the contrary, a challenge for today's society, and that these entitlements and services must be balanced with regard to both active and inactive generations; urges the Member States to simplify social legislation with a view to making it more flexible, more accessible and more comprehensible for employers and employees alike;

40.   Considers that the Commission should support the implementation of new initiatives promoting active, healthy and dignified ageing through the existing policy instruments and programmes of the EU;

European Youth Guarantee initiative

41.   Emphasises that youth unemployment is one of our most pressing problems because it leads to denial of opportunities, social exclusion, rising social costs and a waste of valuable human resources, all these constituting an important social reason for birth-rate decline and feeding the spiral of lack of justice between generations; underlines the need to reduce the time gaps which arise when young people move from one institution of education to another or before they are employed after graduation; and notes that it is very important to ensure young people's social inclusion, to provide them with the possibility of obtaining suitable employment and to support youth entrepreneurship;

42.   Emphasises the need for young people to have long-term prospects, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to take steps to promote learning mobility and quality traineeships for young people, to create more employment opportunities for young people and to ensure that they participate fully in society, to invest in young people and to encourage youth opportunities so that the next generation enjoys its full rights and maintains its dignity;

43.   Stresses that youth unemployment, and in particular development disparities between regions, are an obstacle to achieving territorial cohesion;

44.   Stresses that the demographic trend will give rise to a shortage of skilled labour, which can be offset to a large extent by qualified female workers; to this end, governments and employers must change their thinking and take measures to adapt framework and employment conditions more closely to the needs of women;

45.   Emphasises that particular attention must be paid to the start of young people's careers and to doing everything possible to encourage their successful entry onto the labour market, because an unsuccessful start to a young person's working career could have an impact on the rest of his or her life and on his or her activities on the labour market;

46.   Calls on the Council and the Commission to make particular efforts and to devise practical measures – one of which should be a European Youth Guarantee – to ensure that, after a maximum period of four months' unemployment, young people are offered a job, an apprenticeship, additional training or combined work and training, with the proviso that those concerned support the process of their integration into work through their own efforts;

47.   Giving young unemployed workers the advice, the guidance and the aid they require in order to get them back into work (or into work for the first time), and the same for students or future students, so that they can choose their career path in full knowledge of the potential job opportunities;

Fifty-plus employment pact initiative

48.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure that the following aims are achieved under an expanded EU-2020 strategy:

   (i) securing full employment among the population aged over 50 up to the legal retirement age and achieving the minimum of 55 % employment;
   (ii) eliminating incentives e.g. for early retirement, which damage social security systems, distribute burdens unequally and are therefore not sustainable;
   (iii) combating age discrimination;
   (iv) setting country-specific targets for access to training and lifelong learning for older workers, broken down by age group and gender, thus increasing the proportion of people of all generations in initial and further training; and facilitating access to training for older workers by the setting up of incentives/bonuses by employers for older workers who decide to continue their education after the age of 50;
   (v) combating age-based discrimination in the workplace and training and developing incentives for workers over the age of 60 to remain available for work, so that they can pass on their knowledge and experience to subsequent generations, which will require the Member States to adopt appropriate legislation designed to promote the recruitment of such people by companies;
   (vi) supporting the (re)integration, based on a new approach of complex rehabilitation that takes equal account of the biological and physical environment, of older people who become disabled, rather than classifying them as ‘disabled’;

Age Management initiative

49.   Argues that older people's employability also depends on initiatives in the fields of health, the level of income and contributions in cash and in kind in comparison to pension and other retirement benefits, further training, working-time patterns, autonomy and individual choice for workers, better work-life balance, job satisfaction and management behaviour, as well as a guarantee of reasonable accommodation, consistent with the provisions of Directive 2000/78/EC, and in the field of accessibility, and that such initiatives should be devised jointly by the social partners, where applicable, for all employees and promoted by the Commission and Member States;

50.   Considers that the Member States should encourage companies to introduce age management strategies that will enhance their competitiveness by harnessing the experience and specific qualities of older workers;

51.   Suggests to the social partners, employers and the Member States that they guarantee workers aged over 50 the possibility of being promoted until the end of their careers;

Intergenerational tandem initiative

52.   Calls for specific initiatives to promote mixed-age teams for work processes and suggests that companies taking such initiatives should be supported and that outstanding projects should receive recognition, highlighting how the varying distribution of generations increases competitiveness and harmonious growth;

53.   Proposes that specific initiatives be taken to create a new entrepreneurial culture for the management of human resources, so as to bring about a switch towards employing older workers with linkage to Corporate Social Responsibility;

54.   Is convinced that Member States could increase the effectiveness of public job centres for older unemployed persons, including the options of social/charity work;

Guaranteeing a decent pension’ initiative

55.   Is convinced that the right to retire is a right that any employee is entitled to claim after the legal retirement age set by each Member State in consultation with the social partners and in accordance with national practices; considers that, should they decide not to extend their working lives beyond the national retirement age, this must not affect their pension rights or other social rights;

56.   Calls on the Council and the Member States to conduct an impartial review of upper age-limits for certain jobs and posts and for eligibility for funding and concluding insurance policies, no later than 2012, and to do away with such limits; calls on the Council and the Member States to look at the difficulty experienced by older people in accessing credit;

'Active Ageing' initiative

57.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a review of activities related to healthy ageing and to present an action plan in 2011 for:

   enhancing older people's dignity, health, quality of life, and autonomy,
   allowing them equal access to health care regardless of income,
   highlighting in particular the health risks for people who suddenly cease being active, and
   emphasising prevention of health problems, which requires the Member States to support healthy lifestyles and take appropriate measures to reduce smoking, alcohol misuse, obesity and other major health risks;

58.   Welcomes the fact that many voluntary organisations have declared 29 April a day of ‘Solidarity between Generations’, and calls on the Commission to develop a proposal for 2012 as the ‘European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations’ which will highlight the contribution that older people make to society and afford opportunities to get younger and older people working together;

59.   Considers that the Member States should make active ageing one of the priorities for the coming years; points out that this includes, in particular, the creation of suitable framework conditions for mobilising the potential of older persons and the development of innovative approaches for activities, as well as appropriate training for supporting services´ staff;

60.   Considers that active ageing should be regarded from the wider perspective of sustainable employability of women and men throughout their working lives and that encouraging older workers to stay in employment requires notably the improvement of working conditions to safeguard their health and safety or the adaptation of work places to their health status and needs, fighting age and gender discrimination, updating their skills by providing appropriate access to lifelong learning and training and the review, when necessary, of tax and benefit systems to ensure that there are effective incentives for working longer;

61.   Considers that the Member States and the EC should use all the possibilities offered by the Open Method of Coordination, the Employment Strategy and other Community instruments and programmes, including the financial support of the Structural Funds, especially the European Social Fund, to foster active ageing;

62.   Considers that the Member States and the EC should use existing advisory and policy committees, including the Social Protection Committee, the Employment Committee, the Economic Policy Committee and the Group of Experts on Demographic Issues, to maintain active ageing high on the EU's and Member States' policy agenda;

63.   Calls on the Council and the Member States to take rapid measures to guarantee decent pensions for all, which must not in any circumstances lie below the poverty level;

64.   Calls on the Commission to draw up a study on the effectiveness and benefits of the active participation of older workers in the labour market, with regard to the sustainability of social protection systems, the promotion of productivity and growth and measures to combat social exclusion;

Reconciliation policies

65.   Emphasises that in order to avoid a disproportionate burden on women because of an increased demand for care in an ageing society, labour and care should be rendered compatible for both men and women in all Member States and equally distributed between women and men; emphasises too that this requires the provision of affordable, high-quality care, better education and child care, paternity leave and the promotion of part-time work among men;

66.   Stresses the fact that elderly people often play an important role in the family by taking care of children, with the provision of childcare during school holidays and after school, which constitutes a high value in general as well as representing a significant economic value;

67.   Recognises the need for action to improve the arrangements governing not only maternity leave but also paternity leave and parental leave for working fathers;

68.   Notes the need for EU-wide measures to increase birth rates, without which it will not be possible to deal with the problems of an ageing Europe;

69.   Encourages the Member States to enter into permanent long-term commitments to the family, including entitlement to additional allowances for parents, especially additional measures to support single mothers, and tax or social relief for crèches and for voluntary, cooperative and charitable organisations; likewise, encourages exchanges of proven good practice through the European Alliance for Families and other relevant platforms and organisations; calls on the Member States to implement systems of incentives enabling workers to take full-time or part-time leave to care for their children and find their acquired rights intact when they return to the company;

70.   Calls on the Member States to reduce the burden on those who care for older people or people with disabilities and – in order to enable carers to take up employment – to set up integrated care systems;

71.   Advocates the right to part-time work, flexible working places, working hours adapted to the needs of workers, and appropriate arrangements regarding maternity, pregnancy, parental leave, child benefits, job sharing and home working, while retaining high levels of social security as measures that contribute to compatibility between care responsibilities and work;

72.   Considers it essential to encourage intergenerational solidarity, especially in the context of the gender dimension, by means of targeted tax policies, measures to encourage active ageing, housing policy and the creation of integrated networks of services for children, old people and disabled and dependent people, with a view to impacting favourably on the work-life balance;

73.   Underlines the fact that reconciling work and family life is possible only if unpaid care duties are divided more equally between women and men and if accessible and affordable good-quality care services for families are provided; calls on the Member States to ensure accessible, affordable, flexible and high-quality services, and in particular access to childcare facilities, aiming to ensure conditions for the provision of 50 % of necessary care for children aged up to three years and 100 % of care for three-to-six-year-olds, as well as improved access to care for other dependents and adequate leave arrangements for both mothers and fathers;

74.   Points out that many older people may have little or no family to rely upon and calls on Member States to do more to seek to exchange best practice in terms of policies, to ensure that older people can remain independent for as long as possible and that if support services are needed they are available and personalised to the individual;

75.   Notes that, if the conditions for reconciling professional, family and private life are absent from the labour market, there will be no encouragement for the various services to families to be broadened, and the birth-rate will fall, greatly exacerbating the ageing of European society;

76.   Calls on undertakings and governments to establish high-quality advice and support facilities for family members who provide for or take care of their older relatives and to make it possible for them to have the care they provide calculated as contributions to their own pension entitlements and to receive adequate financial compensation; considers that care provided by family members must not be abused as a means of making savings;

Economic and growth policies

77.   Takes the view that tapping into new markets in the ‘silver economy’ offers a major opportunity for improving competitiveness and innovative potential and for boosting growth and employment and for increasing volunteering; believes that by opposing proposed antidiscrimination legislation on the grounds of age, many umbrella business organisations have failed to spot this opportunity;

78.   Considers that one means of tackling the digital divide – a phenomenon that particularly affects women, especially older women, and leads to professional and social exclusion – would be for schools to organise experimental IT literacy initiatives;

79.   Believes that the agreement of strong new antidiscrimination legislation in the access to goods and services will offer a major opportunity for economic growth and employment, as the barriers faced by older people to certain services and goods are dismantled; calls for an end to any unreasonable or unfair blanket bans on goods and services based on age alone, which many older people face when trying to purchase insurance, holidays or car rentals, for example;

80.   Calls on the Member States to put in place framework conditions, and particularly to take innovative and barrier-free measures, that reflect differing regional conditions in this regard;

81.   Calls for action closer to the ground, for example by creating ‘regional’ or ‘territorial’ or ‘local’ employment councils, bringing together political decision-makers and social partners;

82.   Considers that the Member States should take strong measures to discourage the black and grey economy fields occupied by an ‘unregulated’ labour force, which are adversely affecting the EU labour market, rather than just promoting measures aiming to protect their internal labour force; points out that countering undeclared work by means of measures/sanctions vis-à-vis the employers and/or intermediaries really does act as a deterrent;

83.   Calls for efforts to improve the fight against illegal labour, notably by increasing the human and other resources available to the control bodies (factory inspectorate services, labour courts, etc);

Pension and budgetary policies

84.   Calls attention to the fact that social security systems face major challenges and that Member States should be carrying out ambitious structural reforms and searching for new ways of sustainable financing of health care and pensions;

85.   Considers, given that rapid population ageing is becoming a worldwide problem, posing challenges for the Member States' health care and welfare systems that will have to be met within the next few years, that the Commission should assume a coordinating role in working out solutions regarding health and care services for older people and in disseminating best practice in Member States;

86.   Calls for more to be done to ensure that older people know what their rights and obligations are with regard to social security systems and pensions and that this information is provided in a simple and accessible format;

87.   Emphasises that it is a human right to enjoy a decent livelihood and that people who have worked all their lives must not fall victim to the economic crisis;

88.   Stresses that the gender pay gap between men and women – currently 17 % in the EU 27 – must be addressed, as it has consequences in the form of lower income from the birth of the first child and, ultimately, lower pensions and a higher rate of poverty among older women;

89.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to re-examine welfare systems where they still entail considerable inequalities between men's and women's pension levels, and to consider the options of introducing corrective factors taking account of the gaps in contributions arising from temporary employment or maternal responsibilities;

90.   Emphasises the need to take account of the practice in all Member States in this area of social policy because national pension systems differ between the Member States;

91.   Emphasises that decreasing the expected and continually increasing burden on future generations is a fundamental priority, given the dramatic increase in the proportion of people over 80 (the very elderly);

92.   Notes the impact of the global recession on public finances and the wider economy; in addition, considers that an ageing population coupled with a declining birth-rate within Europe represents a fundamental demographic change which will require reform of the welfare and fiscal systems of Europe, including pension systems, providing good care for older generations whilst avoiding the accumulation of a debt burden for younger generations; encourages reform of the stability and growth pact, so that Member States can fulfil their obligation to make their pension systems more sustainable;

93.   Notes that numerous issues relating to demographic change in society fall exclusively within the competence of the Member States and that there is no general Community competence for establishing European rules to address demographic change; recognises the need for each Member State to take action to ensure its public finances are sustainable and can adequately manage demographic change;

94.   Notes that in recent years various ways of intergenerational accounting, projecting the development of public debt in the next decades and the implicit costs to future generations, have been used which highlight sustainability gap indicators, for example the required primary balance, which represents the structural budget balance needed to ensure the sustainability of public finances;

95.   Calls on the Commission to provide continuous intergenerational accounting, including estimates on future debt burdens and sustainability gaps in public finances of the Member States, and to make the results publicly available in a way that is easily accessible and understandable;

96.   Notes that the current debt projections are alarming and will pile up huge debt burdens on future generations, and therefore calls on the Member States to cut their structural primary deficits and move towards a sustainable debt ratio;

97.   Recommends that the Member States put forward measures to increase general productivity and especially productivity in the provision of welfare services, including health services and care for the elderly;

98.   Notes that if all the increased years of life expectancy were healthy rather than sick, the sustainability gap of public finances would be 1.5 % of GDP smaller according to some calculations and hence considers that it is of the utmost importance to prevent health problems and to treat them at an earlier stage;

99.   Is concerned at the failure of many Member States to reform their pension systems; calls on the Commission to present an analysis of the situation in all Member States, highlighting the long-term risks for each Member State;

100.   Emphasises the need for Member States to increase participation in the labour market through flexible working hours, promotion of part-time work and working from home;

101.   Encourages Member States to support all families within their tax and benefits systems and to promote the provision of childcare services to families with small children;

102.   Encourages Member States to remove all disincentives, particularly in relation to tax and pensions, for older people to continue working beyond retirement age, and encourages effective support mechanisms and incentives, since the impact of ageing depends on the employment rate and the average amount of working hours;

103.   Takes the view that, given demographic trends, there is great potential for developing sustainable and decent jobs in the area of social and healthcare services;

Migration policies

104.   Takes the view that migration combined with successful integration, including economic integration, can be one of the ways of coping with demographic change and that too many people from a migrant background do not yet feel that they belong in the Member States where they live, in part because of the discrimination they face;

105.   Is convinced that open and sincere debate is essential in order to discuss different immigration policies, admission conditions for immigrants and their economic perspectives, the problems of illegal immigration, the growing unemployment rate among immigrants due to the current economic crisis, and effective measures to avoid the social and cultural isolation of newcomers;

106.   Calls attention to the fact that elder people have a natural lower social mobility and adaptability to new environments, although higher integration skills;

107.   Is convinced that a sense of identification in accordance with democratic traditions and fundamental constitutional values, participation based on equal opportunities and responsibility are prerequisites for successful integration, that integration can work only where immigrants are prepared to adapt and locals are receptive, and that solidarity between generations is complemented by solidarity between cultures, which implies the removal of prejudices about different cultures;

108.   Believes that the creation of a climate among the population of the host country which accepts immigrants depends directly on proper and comprehensive information and the creation of a culture against xenophobia;

109.   Is convinced that active ageing should imply full societal participation and inclusion in participatory democratic decision-making processes;

Health and Care policies

110.   Calls attention to the severe regional imbalances apparent in terms of demographic change, and the fact that it sets in train processes of migration away from rural and peripheral regions, with the result that structural transformations in social and health care must be envisaged, funding must be made available for them, and an intensive exchange of best practices and those which support developments and services based on modern information and communications technologies must be undertaken;

111.   Considers that home services for the elderly could be promoted and organised by encouraging autonomous and cooperative forms of activity, on the basis of agreements with local authorities and the introduction of dedicated vouchers for families;

112.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission, given that the population is ageing across the board, to pursue every form of cooperation with a view to devising sustainable financing systems for care provision so as to ensure that the necessary care services will be available;

113.   Notes that there is considerable evidence of discrimination against older people in health care; points out that older patients are less likely than younger patients to receive all of the necessary treatments they require due to discrimination on the basis of their age alone; considers that such differential medical treatment and care can have significant effects on the health outcomes of older people;

114.   Points out that demographic change and the consequences thereof have a different effect on the western and eastern parts of the EU and that a common policy ensuring balanced growth and sustainable regional development is needed;

115.   Calls on the Member States to assist regions of net emigration by guaranteeing a high level of services of general interest (e.g. education including pre-school and child care, welfare and health services, postal services) and accessibility (e.g. of public transport, transport infrastructures and telecommunications networks) and to safeguard economic participation and skills (e.g. through training, including methods of lifelong learning and the use of and investment in new technologies); calls for the practical framework for fulfilment of these tasks to be adapted to local needs and local actors and to improve their adaptability; draws particular attention to the situation of islands, border areas, mountainous regions and other areas remote from centres of population;

116.   Calls on the Member States to give consideration to regulated labour migration (immigration from third countries into the EU);

117.   Emphasises that, irrespective of their income level, age or social status or the degree of health risk they face, people must receive affordable, high-quality medical treatment and care and if this is to be achieved proposed new EU antidiscrimination legislation must be adopted as soon as possible which includes access to health services;

118.   Welcomes the EU-funded Predict project (‘Increasing the participation of the elderly in clinical trials’), which seeks to discover why discrimination against older people in clinical trials persists; takes the view that older people should be provided with drugs that have been tested for efficacy and safety for their age group;

119.   Recognises what has been achieved by the Member States in the field of care for older people, but calls on them to bring greater attention than hitherto to bear on the enforcement of, and compliance with, quality criteria for service provision; believes that Member States and the Commission should improve cooperation as regards the supervision of care services and that, to that end, the Member States could consider setting up a network of national care contact points, that could be used both at national level and within the EU to obtain information about the care services available and their quality and to lodge complaints about service quality;

120.   Calls for a Green Paper to be produced by the Commission on abuse of the elderly and safeguarding older people in the community and in care homes;

121.   Calls, through the open method of communication, for an exchange of information and best practice between Member States on the provision of long-term care for older people and, in particular, measures to safeguard older people in the community and in care homes and to tackle abuse of the elderly;

122.   Recognises that a large number of women migrants are engaged in caring for the elderly and proposes, on the one hand, that Member States intensify controls to curb the phenomenon of undeclared work in this particular sector and, on the other, measures to facilitate access by these workers to the relevant training courses, as part of life-long learning, in order to ensure high quality care;

123.   Calls on Member States to address the issues faced by family carers – including the right to choose freely whether they want to be a carer, the option to combine caring with paid employment, and access to social security schemes and old age pensions – in order to avoid impoverishment as a direct result of caring;

124.   Stresses the importance of individually based social security and pension rights recognising unpaid caring work;

125.   Takes the view that an EU-wide code of conduct for the provision of long-term care, outlining minimum guidelines and service outcomes, needs to be drawn up and to be adopted by Parliament and the Council;

Involvement in society

126.   Takes the view that every individual should have the opportunity to become engaged with society; stresses, nevertheless, that social engagement must always remain a voluntary commitment;

127.   Stresses that in view of the demographic trend the guiding principle of an active civil society is gaining ever greater weight, making it necessary to reappraise the relationship between citizens and the state in the exercise of duties in society;

128.   Takes the view that the provision of care requires a high level of skill and an exceptional degree of responsibility on the part of the carer, which must be duly recognised in social and financial terms; and considers that this is the only way of ensuring that quality standards can be maintained in the long term and sufficient numbers of well trained and motivated carers can be recruited;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 115, 14.4.1997, p. 238.
(2) OJ C 104, 6.4.1998, p. 222.
(3) OJ C 232, 17.8.2001, p. 381.
(4) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 131.
(5) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 141.
(6) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 23.
(7) OJ C 184 E, 6.8.2009, p. 75.
(8) OJ C 9 E, 15.1.2010, p. 11.
(9) OJ C 137 E, 27.5.2010, p. 68.
(10) OJ C 161, 13.7.2007, p. 66.
(11) Cedefop Panorama Series, 159. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2008.
(12) Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2010.
(13) Cedefop Reference Series. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2009.
(14) Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2010.
(15) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.


Implementation of the Research Framework Programmes
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes (2010/2079(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0401 A7-0274/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes (COM(2010)0187 ),

–   having regard to the Commission decision of 23 June 2009 on Acceptability Criteria for Average Personnel Cost Methodologies (C(2009)4705),

–   having regard to the Expert Group Report ‘Ex-post Evaluation of the Sixth Framework Programmes (2002-2006)’ (‘the Rietschel Report’) and the subsequent Commission Communication (COM(2009)0210 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 26 May 2010 entitled ‘More or less controls? Striking the right balance between the administrative costs of control and the risk of error’ (COM(2010)0261 ),

–   having regard to the Council conclusions on ‘guidance on future priorities for European research and research-based innovation in post-2010 Lisbon strategy’, adopted on 3 December 2009, and the Competitiveness Council conclusions on ‘simplified and more efficient programmes supporting European Research and Innovation’, adopted on 26 May 2010,

–   having regard to the Berlin declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committees on Budgetary Control and Regional Development (A7-0274/2010 ),

A.   whereas the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) is the largest transnational R&D programme in the world and a critical element in the realisation of a European Research Area and the fulfilment of objectives of the EU2020 strategy,

B.   whereas research provides a fundamental contribution in terms of economic growth, job creation and green and sustainable energy,

C.   whereas the FP requires the highest standards of excellence, efficacy and efficiency in research to attract and keep the best scientists in Europe and foster a more innovative and knowledge-based EU economy able to compete in a global economy,

D.   whereas there is still limited coordination between national, regional and European research policies, which causes major obstacles to achieving cost-effective solutions,

E.   whereas the current management of FP7 is, despite the improvements made in relation to FP6, still characterised by excessive bureaucracy, low risk tolerance, poor efficiency and undue delays that act as a clear disincentive to the participation of the research community, academia, civil society organizations, businesses and industry (especially smaller research actors, including SMEs),

F.   whereas all stakeholders are calling for further simplification and harmonisation of rules and procedures, with simplification not an objective per se , but rather a means to ensure the attractiveness and accessibility of EU research funding, and to reduce the time that researchers have to invest in the process itself,

G.   whereas result-based funding might limit the scope of the research projects to less risky projects and research orientated towards the market, something that would hamper the EU in pursuing excellence in frontier research and innovation,

H.   whereas research and innovation need to be clearly distinguished as two different processes (research is turning investment into knowledge and innovation is turning knowledge into investment),

I.   whereas the current simplification process comes at a crucial moment, providing impetus for the Midterm Review of FP7 and for the preparations of the forthcoming FP8,

J.   whereas the design and implementation of the current FP7 and future Framework Programmes must be based on the principles of simplicity, stability, transparency, legal certainty, consistency, excellence and trust,

1.   Supports the Commission Communication's initiative in simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes, providing serious and creative measures in dealing with the bottlenecks faced by the FP participants;

2.   Draws attention to the fact that, despite the importance of the simplification process, it is only one of the necessary reforms required to improve EU research funding;

3.   Highlights the need to stipulate, in the case of each individual simplification measure, whether it enters into force under the current legal framework or whether changes to the rules of the Financial Regulation, Rules for Participation or the specific rules applying to FP programmes are required;

4.   Calls on the Commission to contribute to the present reform of the Financial Regulation, which pursues the following aims: increase of coherence in the present legal framework; reduction of provisions; clarity, unambiguousness and manageability; to this end, calls for the incorporation of the Rules for Participation into the body of the Financial Regulation;

5.   Emphasises the fact that, alongside the simplifications the Commission has proposed, it should draw up a detailed plan for developing research infrastructure in the new Member States, in order to create equal opportunities for all Member States to access funding under FP7 and the future FP8;

6.   Notes that the participation of the private sector in the FP remains low due to complex and time-consuming rules governing participation, high personnel costs and excessive red tape;

A pragmatic shift towards administrative and financial simplification

7.   Welcomes the increasing efforts towards the administrative and financial simplification of FP rules throughout programme and project life cycles (application, evaluation and management), something that should be of primary benefit for stakeholders;

8.   Highlights that any simplification process should be carefully deployed within the current FP7 to maintain stability, consistency and legal certainty, providing mutual trust between all the stakeholders; in that regard stresses that, whereas uniform interpretation of existing rules should be pursued as a matter of urgency, for ongoing contracts the application of post-conclusion ‘guidelines’ should be avoided;

9.   Expresses its concern that the current system and the practice of FP7 management are excessively control-oriented, thus leading to waste of resources, lower participation and less attractive research landscapes; notes with concern that the current management system of ‘zero risk tolerance’ seems to avoid, rather than to manage, risks; calls therefore for the revision and/or extended interpretation of the EU Staff Regulation on the issue of personal liability, as well as for the presentation of concrete proposals in the ongoing reform of the Financial Regulation (e.g. insurance or risk-pooling system);

10.   Considers that EU monitoring and financial control carried out by the Commission and OLAF should be primarily aimed at safeguarding public funds and combating fraud, whilst distinguishing clearly between fraud and errors; in that regard considers it necessary to establish a clearer definition of ‘errors’ in all binding legal documents, including the mechanisms for the establishment of errors as opposed to differing interpretations; calls, therefore, for thorough analysis and communication of errors and remedial actions relating thereto;

11.   Believes that the management of European research funding should be more trust-based and risk-tolerant towards participants at all stages of the projects, while ensuring accountability, with flexible EU rules to align better, where possible, with existing different national regulations and recognised accounting practices;

12.   Supports fully the adoption of a higher rate of tolerable risks of error (TRE), something that reduces both complexity and ex-post audits, ensuring a proper balance between sound financial management and appropriate controls; emphasises that it is crucial to ensure that the rules of participation are interpreted and applied in a uniform manner, leading to a decrease in the error rate;

13.   Requests that beneficiaries who receive grants under FP should be informed about the Commission's relevant audit strategies; recommends disseminating these strategies via the National Contact Points and including them in Cordis;

14.   Agrees to, and recommends, broader acceptance of usual accounting practices for the eligible costs of participants once they have been clearly defined and agreed upon, especially for average personnel cost methodologies, provided that these procedures are in accordance with national rules and certified by competent authorities, leaving enough flexibility for each beneficiary to use either actual personnel costs methodology or average personnel costs methodology;

15.   Urges the Commission to actively pursue Parliament's requests as raised in its discharge decisions for the years 2007 and 2008, in particular for concrete proposals to be made on simplifying the calculation of average personnel cost and for these proposals to be applied;

16.   Considers that in the case of public bodies the statements of assurance on the reliability of the organization's annual accounts and on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions issued by the national Court of Auditors and/or the national Public Auditors should be accepted by the European institutions when auditing the whole methodology of costs;

17.   Supports a further reduction in combinations of funding rates and methods for defining indirect costs across the different instruments and between activities (management, research, demonstration and dissemination) without jeopardising the current level of funding rates; acknowledges, however, that the current differentiation between universities/research centres, industry, non-profit organizations and SMEs should be maintained; calls on the Commission to retain the use of actual costs as one method of combining funding rates and defining indirect costs;

18.   Is of the opinion that lump sums and flat rates should be used on a voluntary basis and only applied where appropriate; calls on the Commission to further clarify the terminology in use on flat rates and lump sums;

19.   Favours the introduction of lump sums covering ‘other direct costs’, provided that the option of real costs remains; calls on the Commission rigorously to assess the use of lump sums for personnel costs; highlights that lump sums are the most effective alternative for International Cooperation Partner Countries within the FP;

20.   Acknowledges that reducing the size to smaller consortia, whenever possible, contributes to simplifying the process, shortening the calendar of the projects and reducing administrative costs;

21.   Believes that larger teams should be justified by the multidisciplinary nature of the work to be performed;

22.   Proposes, for example, a tacit approval procedure in order to facilitate modification of the grant award agreement, particularly in order to take account of changes in the composition of consortia or their administrative and financial configuration;

23.   Favours the total abolition of time-recording mechanisms, such as time-sheets (this abolition should not be restricted to the use of lump sums);

24.   Welcomes the immediate lifting of the obligation to recover interest fees on pre-financing;

25.   Agrees that the use of prizes is to be encouraged but not as a substitute for properly structured funding;

26.   Calls on the Commission to allow the reimbursement of costs incurred after the presentation of the proposal, once successfully selected, in order to ease the participation of industrial partners, and particularly of SMEs;

27.   Requests simplified interpretation and further clarification on the definition of eligible costs (such as taxes and charges in personnel costs, sick leave and maternity leave), as well as on the question whether VAT can be covered under eligible costs; calls on the Commission to examine the possibility of considering VAT an eligible cost item where non-deductible; requests further clarification on procedures related to exchange rates for partners using different currencies;

28.   Regrets that the introduction of the participation identification code (PIC) has not reduced repeated requests for legal and financial information (and supporting documents) and that the reception of PIC during the application process is not always followed by a validation process; calls, therefore, on relevant actors to improve the PIC and make its usage more efficient;

29.   Asks the Commission to present more precise, consistent and transparent rules of procedure for audits, including rules and principles ensuring that the rights of the audited body are respected and that all parties are heard, and to report on the cost/benefit ratio of the audits;

30.   Urges the Commission to implement the ‘single audit approach’ and to switch to real-time auditing performed by a single entity, thereby allowing beneficiaries to correct any systemic errors and hand in improved cost statements the following year; believes that such a single audit approach should further ensure that finished projects will not be audited more than once by various auditors, so that the opinion of the first appointed independent auditor is trusted by the Commission and documents are provided only once, however many audits are carried out;

31.   Calls on the Commission to provide legal certainty by refraining from applying a stricter definition of the rules for participation retroactively and by refraining from asking recipients to recalculate financial statements already approved by Commission services, hence reducing the need for ex-post audits and retroactive corrections; asks the Commission rapidly to resolve prior situations arising from inspections in progress, acting with discernment and respect for the principles of sound financial management; recommends that disputes regarding such prior situations be resolved by agreement between all parties, based for example on an independent re-audit and/or with the intervention of an ad hoc independent mediator;

32.   Proposes the introduction of a response procedure under which, in the absence within a deadline to be established of any reaction from the Commission to information received, the latter shall be considered as validated by the Commission;

33.   Invites the Commission to report regularly to Parliament on the administrative cost of FP7, including the management costs for both the Commission and participants, as well as on measures taken or planned to reduce this cost;

A radical shift towards improving quality, accessibility and transparency
Moving to a ‘science-based’ approach

34.   Reminds the Commission that beneficiaries of EU programmes are assumed to carry out funded activities in good faith and making their best effort to achieve the results expected;

35.   Is therefore concerned about the current Commission's overall trend towards result-based funding (essentially justified by the principles of sound accountability) and is deeply concerned about the possible impact of result-based funding on the quality and nature of research, with possible constraints on scientific research and a negative impact on projects with non-measurable objectives or with an objective measurable using parameters other than that of immediate utility; is equally concerned about the potential outcome in terms of further ex-ante and ex-post evaluation of project output/results and about the pinpointing of the criteria necessary to define them;

36.   Regards as inadequate, save in exceptional and duly justified circumstances, the general use of lump sums such as negotiated project-specific lump sums or pre-defined lump sums per project; favours instead the ‘high-trust’ approach tailor-made for frontier research; recommends launching pilot tests of the ‘result-based funding’ with project-specific lump sums paid against agreed output/results for research and demonstration projects in specifically challenging areas;

37.   Favours instead a ‘science-based’ funding system, with emphasis on scientific/technical criteria and peer review based on excellence, relevance and impact, with simplified and efficient financial control, respecting the right of all sides to be heard; believes that this science-based approach will entail a major shift from the financial to the scientific/technical side with regard to control mechanisms; considers that this approach allows stakeholders to focus their efforts on their core competences, on scientific/technical matters and on the construction of the ERA;

Optimising time

38.   Welcomes the overall trend towards shortening the average time-to-grant and time-to-pay but expresses some reservations about the generalised use of larger-scope calls and calls with cut-off dates; recognizes, however, that such calls are appropriate for SMEs as a means of decreasing uncertainty on funding opportunities and of encouraging further participation;

39.   Expresses its concern that current average time from proposal deadline to signed contract (time-to-contract) is still too long, with discrepancies within different services of the Commission; calls on the Commission to shorten time-to-contract to maximum 6 months and to set appropriate deadlines for evaluation and contract negotiation, based on a benchmark system;

40.   Invites the Commission to extend the average time from the publication of the call for proposals to the deadline for submitting the application;

41.   Has strong reservations about the effects of abolishing the legal requirement for an opinion by committees of Member State representatives on selection decisions on individual projects, especially those with impact on ethics, security and defence;

42.   Believes that the approach aimed at favouring the identification of common basic principles should not prejudice national ethical options and specificities in the matter of research;

43.   Supports the general trend towards a ‘two-stage’ application procedure, particularly in cases where the expected oversubscription is very high, provided that the evaluation is undertaken thoroughly in the first stage (objectives, scientific approach, competences of participants, added value of scientific collaboration and overall budget); stresses that this increases the chances of success at the second stage, provided that it is not at the expense of longer time-to-contract or grant periods; believes that this approach reduces application costs;

Shifting to a ‘user-centred’ approach in terms of access

44.   Underlines that the FP management must place beneficiaries at the centre of its missions and provide better access to FP;

45.   Calls for a substantive improvement in the clarity and accessibility of guidance documents, which should be compiled in a handbook and translated into the EU official languages;

46.   Stresses the need for increasing participation by the new Member States in FP projects by means of simplification of the application and contractual procedures, which represent significant obstacles to entry at the proposal stage, in particular for first-time applicants;

47.   Recommends improving the stability provided to stakeholders by having, as far as possible, one single Commission project officer, delivering personalised support throughout the lifetime of a project with consistent implementation of rules, as well as a ‘one face to the customer’ approach, in which advice on multiple programmes can be received from just one contact point;

48.   Requests that each document provided by the Commission and its services should clearly establish its legal status, specifying both who is bound by its content and how they are bound;

49.   Supports the introduction of more e-administration and IT tools and, in particular, the development of a research participant portal and the introduction of the e-signature; calls on the Commission to establish an integrated and user-friendly online system; supports making all electronic information on programme management available (identification, application, negotiation and report); supports making this online system available on day one of the programme and accessible at all stages; takes the view that videoconferencing should be promoted to replace face-to-face meetings; recommends that e-administration services use open protocols and formats when communicating so as to ensure transparency, accessibility and interoperability;

50.   Recommends that the Commission launch an information and awareness-raising campaign on the information technology tools available under the programme;

51.   Welcomes the Commission's Open Access Pilot, which aims at improving access to the results of research both through the Cordis system and through encouraging scientists to register their research in a repository;

52.   Stresses that beneficiaries' access to projects in the field of research and innovation requires high technical capacity and strong knowledge of administrative and financial procedures and, therefore, that this access is extremely difficult for smaller applicants such as SMEs and small research institutes located in peripheral regions; recalls that some 90% of businesses in Europe are SMEs and that it is necessary to ensure their full and effective involvement in the use of FP7 resources;

53.   Stresses the need for increased transparency as regards the process of topic selection for calls which should ensure relevant stakeholder participation;

54.   Recommends the creation of a more transparent, coherent, and harmonised peer review system based on merit;

Synergies of programmes and instruments

55.   Urges that the complexity of EU programmes (e.g. FP, CIP, Structural Funds) and associated instruments (JTIs, Article 187 initiatives, PPPs, Article 185 projects, KICs, Era-net etc.) be reduced; stresses that this will lead to full exploitation of synergies resulting from their combined action;

56.   Regrets the extreme multiplication of research bodies, cooperation models and management mechanisms and the resultant complexity, which creates problems of transparency in relation to the budgetary authority and differences in the treatment of beneficiaries;

57.   Recommends a reduced set of rules and common principles for funding to govern EU funding for R&D and calls for coherence and harmonisation in the implementation and interpretation of the rules and procedures; stresses the need to apply this common set of rules across the whole FP and associated instruments and within the Commission, regardless of the entity or executive agency in charge of implementation;

58.   Recommends establishing mechanisms to provide common guidance within the Commission, and launching training for project officers and internal auditors; urges the creation of an appeal mechanism such as an ‘FP mediator’ for participants in cases of incoherent and inconsistent interpretation of rules and procedures; believes that decisions taken by this mediator should be final and binding;

59.   Takes the view that innovation can be best fostered at regional level, thanks to the proximity between universities, public research bodies, large companies, SMEs and regional and local public authorities, for example within clusters; also notes that fostering innovation at the regional level can help reduce social and regional disparities; nonetheless encourages the various levels (regional, national and Community) to coordinate more effectively their efforts to plan R&D activities at European level; also emphasises the need for better links between academia and industry;

Lessons to be drawn for the future FP8

60.   Believes that a radical overhaul of the administration of the FP is one of the highest priorities to be tackled in designing the forthcoming FP;

61.   Considers that the revision of the Financial Regulation, the Staff Regulations and the implementation of a research-specific TRE have a pivotal role in restructuring the research financing framework and in allowing further progress in simplifying research funding;

62.   Invites the Commission to assess the effectiveness of each individual instrument, within each programme, towards the achievement of specific policy goals, and calls for a reduction in the diversity of instruments whenever effectiveness or distinctive contribution is not clearly demonstrated, whilst maintaining enough flexibility to accommodate projects' specificities;

63.   Supports a science-based funding system and a well balanced division between top-down, impact-driven and bottom-up, science-driven research as the basis for FP8;

64.   Believes that FP8 should focus on frontier research while taking into consideration the whole chain of innovation through frontier research, technological development, demonstration, dissemination, valorisation of results and rapid integration of research results into markets;

65.   Believes that FP8 should encourage collaboration between European researchers by introducing a research voucher scheme with money for research following researchers who move to universities across the Member States, contributing to centres of excellence, independent universities and increased mobility among researchers;

66.   Asks the Commission to publish an analysis of the participation levels of different Member States in FP7 and to take the conclusions into account in order to ensure a balanced research development across the Member States in FP8;

67.   Believes that in setting the priorities for FP8, consideration should be given to the wider non-grant-based funding alternatives for innovation including public-private venture and loan capital investments;

68.   Recommends further internationalisation of FP8 through cooperation with third countries, including developing countries, providing them with simple and specific management rules; encourages, in anticipation of the upcoming FP8, the exchange of best practices and standards with all other international partners;

69.   Supports the role of the Commission as gatekeeper when financing from national or regional authorities is required;

70.   Welcomes the setting up of the Commission's innovation subgroup, and its discussions on how to measure the effectiveness of EU R&D policy and related spending on R&D projects;

o
o   o

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


Crisis in the EU livestock sector
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European Parliament resolution of 11 November 2010 on the crisis in the EU livestock sector
P7_TA(2010)0402 B7-0605 , 0606 and 0612/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2010 on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2010 on fair revenues for farmers: a better functioning food supply chain in Europe(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on evaluation and assessment of the animal welfare action plan 2006-2010(3) ,

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

A.  whereas the viability of many EU livestock holdings is being seriously threatened at present by a combination of factors, which include:

   the rising costs of inputs, such as fuel and fertilisers,
   the high cost of complying with EU regulations,
   greater competition from third-country imports,
   a dependence on third countries for feed material,
   the recent surge in cereals prices, due particularly to unforeseen climatic conditions and the negative impact of speculation and price volatility,
   the low prices being received by farmers for meat products,

B.   whereas European producers must comply with the most stringent regulations in the world in terms of food safety and quality, the environment, animal health and welfare and labour conditions; whereas meeting these extremely high standards adds significantly to the production costs of European producers, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis third-country producers,

C.   whereas the current crisis in the livestock sector may lead to a significant reduction in meat production across the European Union, which will have serious consequences, not only for prices but also for food security in the EU, and will result in greater dependence on imports,

D.   whereas the European Union is highly dependent on soya beans and maize imported from third countries, and whereas any interruption of the supply of these products resulting from a minute presence of non-authorized GMOs has a very costly impact on the European feed industry and livestock farmers (for example, EUR 1 billion if the disruption lasts six months),

E.   whereas imports from third countries have been gaining market shares in the European Union and putting further pressure on market prices for livestock products,

F.   whereas world demand for meat and other livestock products will rise in the coming decades, owing to a combination of a growing world population and increasing purchasing power in developing countries, leading to the adoption of a westernised diet,

G.   whereas the large-scale investments required in the livestock sector make it particularly vulnerable to market crises,

H.   whereas, in certain new Member States very few farmers in the livestock sector have benefited from direct payments and have therefore had greater difficulties in complying with the stringent European standards that require costly investment,

I.   whereas the pig and poultry sectors do not receive any direct support from the CAP, have no safety net to alleviate the impact of market volatility and must comply with the most stringent EU regulations regarding the environment and animal welfare,

J.   whereas the gap between prices paid by consumers and prices received by producers has grown noticeably,

K.   whereas primary producers are being squeezed between large multinational processors and retailers, who buy their produce, and large multinational supply companies, who provide their inputs,

L.   whereas small livestock holdings in the EU are inextricably linked to the economies of Europe's rural areas and deliver significant environmental benefits, and whereas many of them are situated in less-favoured areas where there are no viable production alternatives,

M.   whereas the situation on the beef market is closely linked to developments in the dairy sector, given that 60 % of EU red meat production comes from dairy cows,

N.   whereas the EU dairy sector has been facing extreme market volatility since 2007, which has had a detrimental effect on dairy farmers' incomes and on their ability sustainably to produce quality food for European consumers,

O.   whereas Commission data on the functioning of the food supply chain shows that there is a need for more transparency and more information relating to production and market developments,

1.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to ensure that the post-2013 CAP is adequately financed, in order to guarantee the viability of all EU farmers, including livestock farmers; stresses, in this context, that fair competition between farmers in the Member States must be guaranteed;

2.   Calls on the Commission urgently to introduce efficient and flexible market mechanisms in the livestock sector and to put in place the measures needed to limit, across the agricultural sector as a whole, the impact of price volatility and speculation;

3.   Calls on the Commission to make use of the available market mechanisms to alleviate the current crisis in the pigmeat sector and other livestock sectors;

4.   Notes the Commission's intention to release 2.8 million tonnes of cereals currently stored in intervention by the end of November, via a tendering process;

5.   Calls on the Commission to propose market tools that guarantee an appropriate supply of cereals for animal feed; believes that a safety net should be applied in all cereals sectors, with a minimum intervention price for the tendering system;

6.   Calls on the Commission to take the necessary steps to fight against the excesses of speculation on Community markets as well as on the world market, in particular in the framework of the new Financial Instruments Directive;

7.   Asks the Commission to propose flexible market mechanisms which enable the Union to respond more quickly to critical situations within the Single CMO (Article 186);

8.   Supports, as a matter of urgency, the introduction of a protein plan for the European Union that would promote the cultivation of protein and leguminous crops, which could also play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions;

9.   Expresses serious concern at the recent consolidation in the fertiliser market, which has led to a situation on many national markets whereby there is effectively only one supplier and no competition; calls, therefore, on the Commission to ask the competition authorities to investigate and take the necessary action to prevent price fixing and abuses of dominant positions;

10.   Asks the Commission to ensure, in the context of increased consolidation, that a free market exists in the inputs sector, including fertilisers, given that energy and fertilisers are essential for agricultural production and food security;

11.   Asks the Commission to take into account, as part of the next CAP reform, the special vulnerability of certain livestock sectors – for example, grassland beef production - and the unfair conditions under which they are competing with third countries;

12.   Asks the Commission to consider, as part of the next CAP reform, specific measures to prevent serious losses of EU support for livestock farmers that employ sustainable production methods;

13.   Calls on the Commission to step up measures to support the livestock sector in less- favoured areas;

14.   Calls on the Commission actively to seek to simplify and reduce the bureaucratic burden imposed on farmers in the livestock sector;

15.   Considers it necessary to provide the European Union with a tool to forecast world market trends;

16.   Asks the Commission and the Member States to take into account the high costs of complying with animal welfare legislation, especially as these costs are not reflected in sale prices; calls, therefore, on the Commission to ensure that third-country imports comply with EU animal welfare standards, in order to prevent unfair competition; stresses that in the coming years the pigmeat and the poultry sectors will have to comply with still more stringent requirements, without any financial support from the European Union;

17.   Calls on the Commission to evaluate the economic impact of the introduction of new animal welfare rules, and emphasises that before any new legislation is drafted, existing rules – whether general or specific – should be properly enforced;

18.   Considers that primary producers are being ‘squeezed’ between high input prices and low consumer prices, owing to the strong positions of processors, retailers and input companies in the food supply chain, and therefore cannot fully benefit from increased output prices;

19.   Calls on the Commission to propose a strengthening of producer organisations in all livestock sectors, in order to enable them to negotiate better prices for their products while taking into account the production costs;

20.   Asks the Commission to ensure that the actions it takes on trade and agriculture are not in conflict with each other and to recognise that there is a need for a balanced set of objectives which ensures progress on trade whilst providing the European livestock sector with a sustainable future;

21.   Calls on the Commission fully to safeguard the interests of European producers in bilateral trade negotiations with Mercosur and other third countries, by avoiding any concessions that could put EU livestock production at risk;

22.   Calls on the Commission to provide legal certainty for imports of soy and maize from third countries by introducing a pragmatic threshold for the adventitious presence of GMOs which are not yet authorized in the European Union but are under scientific consideration;

23.   Asks the European Commission to review the current ban on meat and bone meal for non-ruminants and to evaluate the possibility of lifting the restrictions under conditions which would ensure a maximum level of food safety;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0286 .
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0302 .
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0130 .

Last updated: 20 February 2012Legal notice