Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 25 November 2010 - StrasbourgFinal edition
2011 budget
 Human rights, social and environmental standards in International Trade agreements
 European Ombudsman's activity report for 2009
 Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the European Commission in Complaint 676/2008/RT (According to Rule 205(2), 1st part)
 26th Annual Report on Monitoring the Application of European Union Law (2008)
 Public service broadcasting in the digital era: the future of the dual system
 10th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security
 The situation in the beekeeping sector
 A new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020
 Preparations for Cancun Climate Change Conference (29 November-10 December 2010)
 Situation in Western Sahara
 Ukraine
 International Trade Policy in the context of Climate Change imperatives
 Corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements
 Competition horizontal cooperation rules
 Iraq - in particular the death penalty (including the case of Tariq Aziz) and attacks against Christian communities
 Tibet - plans to make Chinese the main language of instruction
 Burma - conduct of elections and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
 Fighting colorectal cancer in the European Union
 Camp Ashraf

2011 budget
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the ongoing negotiations on the 2011 budget
P7_TA(2010)0433 B7-0683/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 310 to 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2011, which the Commission presented on 27 April 2010 (COM(2010)0300 ), and to Amending Letters Nos 1, 2 and 3 presented by the Commission on 15 September 2010, 11 October 2010 and 20 October 2010 respectively,

–   having regard to the position on the draft budget of the European Union for the financial year 2011 adopted by the Council on 12 August 2010 (12699/2010 – C7-0202/2010 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the Council's position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2011– all sections(1) ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council regulation laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2007-2013 (COM(2010)0072 ) and the Commission document on a Draft Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on cooperation in budgetary matters (COM(2010)0073 ), both presented on 3 March 2010,

–   having regard to Draft Amending Budget No 3 to the general budget 2010 (COM(2010)0149 ) of 8 April 2010 and Draft Amending Budget No 10 to the general budget 2010 (COM(2010)0598 ) of 20 October 2010,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument (COM(2010)0150 ), which the Commission presented on 8 April 2010,

–   having regard to the Council's position on Draft Amending Budget No 3/2010, which the Council established on 13 September 2010 (13472/2010 – C7-0263/2010 ), and to Parliament's resolution of 20 October 2010 on the Council's position on Draft Amending Budget No 3/2010 of the European Union for the financial year 2010, Section III – Commission(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 September 2010 on the proposal for a Council regulation laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2007-2013(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2007 on the future of the European Union's own resources(4) ,

–   having regard to Rule 78 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the Council's position on the draft budget has limited payment appropriations to an amount that represents an increase of 2.91% over the 2010 budget,

B.   whereas Parliament agreed on a ‘seven-point strategy’ aimed at implementing the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, supported by budgetary amendments, while showing its willingness to confirm the level of payments in the context of an overall agreement,

C.   whereas on 15 November 2010 the Parliament-Council Conciliation Committee failed to agree on a joint text for the 2011 budget,

1.  Expresses its readiness to facilitate an agreement on the 2011 budget and related elements within a very tight time frame, provided the conditions set out below are met by the Commission and the Council:

   (a) an agreement on genuine flexibility mechanisms which comply with the existing principles for revisions, as laid down in the IIA of 17 May 2006, to be decided by Parliament and by qualified majority in the Council, allowing proper future financing of the policies, for 2011 and subsequent years, stemming from the new competences conferred on the EU by the Treaty of Lisbon and from the Europe 2020 project;
   (b) a commitment by the Commission to present by 1 July 2011 substantive proposals, based on Article 311 of the TFEU, on new own resources for the EU, and a commitment by the Council to discuss these proposals with Parliament within the negotiating process for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), in line with Declaration No 3 on the Review of the Financial Framework of the IIA of 17 May 2006;
   (c) an agreement between the three institutions on a method for working together which includes participation by Parliament in the process of negotiating the next MFF and participation of MEPs in relevant meetings, and regular deliberations held at the level of the Presidents of Parliament, the Council and the Commission, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 324 and 312(5) of the TFEU;

2.   Welcomes the Commission's commitments on European Added Value and the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty for the EU budget, and to a precise time frame for own resources;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0372 .
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0371 .
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0328 .
(4) OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 214.


Human rights, social and environmental standards in International Trade agreements
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements (2009/2219(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0434 A7-0312/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 2, 3, 6 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to Articles 153, 191, 207 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to Articles 12, 21, 28, 29, 31 and 32 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other United Nations instruments in the field of human rights, in particular the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and the outcome document of the United Nations Millennium Summit September 20-22, 2010 in New York,

–   having regard to the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Declaration adopted at the fourth ministerial conference held in November 2001 in Doha, in particular paragraph 31,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 September 1996 on the Commission communication on the inclusion of respect for democratic principles and human rights in agreements between the Community and third countries(COM(1995)0216 )(1) and its resolution of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2001 on openness and democracy in international trade(3) calling for the WTO to respect the fundamental social standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the EU's acceptance of the ILO's decisions, including any calls for sanctions in connection with serious breaches of fundamental social standards,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 April 2002 on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the European Union's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries (COM(2001)0252 )(4) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘The Social Dimension of Globalisation - the EU's policy contribution on extending the benefits to all’ (COM(2004)0383 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2005 on the social dimension of globalisation(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2005 on the exploitation of children in developing countries, with a special focus on child labour(6) ,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 June 2010 on child labour(7) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 on fair trade and development(8) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2007 on ‘Global Europe: external aspects of competitiveness’(9) in response to the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘Global Europe: Competing in the World. A contribution to the EU's Growth and Jobs Strategy’ (COM(2006)0567 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Promoting decent work for all – the EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world’ (COM(2006)0249 ),

–   having regard to the 2006 Ministerial Declaration of the UN Economic and Social Council on Full Employment and Decent Work, recognising full and productive employment and decent work for all as a key element of sustainable development,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all(10) , calling for the promotion of decent work through inclusion of social standards in EU trade agreements, particularly bilateral agreements,

–   having regard to the ILO's Decent Work Agenda and Global Jobs Pact, adopted by a worldwide consensus on 19 June 2009 at the International Labour Conference, and the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation,

–   having regard to the Brussels Convention of 1968, as consolidated by Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters(11) ,

–   having regard to the generalised system of preferences (GSP), in force since 1 January 2006, which grants duty-free access or a tariff reduction for an increased number of products and also includes a new incentive for vulnerable countries faced with specific trade, financial or development needs,

–   having regard to all of the agreements between the European Union and non-member States,

–   having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), and the European Union, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, and its revisions in 2005 and 2010,

–   having regard to its resolutions on economic partnership agreements with ACP regions and countries, and particularly those of 26 September 2002(12) , 23 May 2007(13) and 12 December 2007(14) ,

–   having regard to the international agreements on the environment, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987), the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes (1989), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997),

–   having regard to Chapter 13 of the free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea, signed in October 2009,

–   having regard to the conclusion of the negotiations between the EU, Colombia and Peru on signature of a Multi-Party Trade Agreement,

–   having regard to the hearing on ‘Application of Social and Environmental Standards in Trade Negotiations’ which Parliament held on 14 January 2010,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0312/2010 ),

A.   whereas the link between trade, human rights and social and environmental standards has become a key part of economic and trade relations and is integral to negotiations on free trade agreements,

B.   whereas distortions of competition and the risks of environmental and social dumping are becoming more and more frequent, to the detriment in particular of undertakings and workers in Europe who are required to comply with more stringent social, environmental and fiscal standards,

C.   whereas, in its relations with third countries, the EU must adopt a trade strategy that is based on reciprocity, but which must be differentiated in accordance with its partners' level of development, as regards both its social and environmental demands and trade liberalisation, to create the conditions for just and fair international competition,

D.   whereas bilateral fora have become the main platform for pursuing these political objectives, so much so that the prospects for establishing multilateral rules governing relations between trade, labour or the environment within the WTO framework are not very promising,

E.   whereas, nonetheless, it is essential to try to find a new balance between trade law and fundamental rights and to step up the dialogue between the main international organisations, particularly between the ILO and the WTO, with a view to greater coherence of international policies and better world governance,

F.   whereas there are many reasons for including provisions on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements, from the wish to establish fair and equitable trade and a level playing field to the more prescriptive approach of upholding the universal values supported by the EU and pursuing consistent European policies,

G.   recalls that the 1986 UN Declaration of the Right to Development confirms that ‘the right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social and cultural development’; considers, therefore, that the EU has an obligation not to undermine this right and, indeed, to incorporate it into international agreements and use it as a guideline for European policies,

H.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty reaffirms that the European Union's external action, of which trade is an integral part, should be guided by the same principles as those which inspired its creation; whereas the European social model, which combines sustainable economic growth with better working and living conditions, can also serve as a model for other partners; whereas trade agreements must also be compatible with other obligations and international agreements which the parties have entered into, in line with their national laws,

I.   whereas it is important to preserve the level of social and environmental standards in force in the European Union, and ensure that they are respected by foreign undertakings operating in the single European market,

J.   whereas including human rights and social and environmental standards in trade agreements can add value to such agreements, allowing more civil society interaction and greater support for political and social stability, thus establishing a climate which is more conducive to trade,

K.   whereas the trade sector and the protection of human rights, social and environmental standards are important aspects in guaranteeing peace and prosperity in the world, but they cannot be called upon as a solution to all the problems which occur between states; whereas, however, that deadlock in political situations can be overcome by strengthening trade relations, thereby ensuring the definition of common interests, notably in the field of environmental protection, as a way to settle conflicts,

L.   whereas other countries have set positive examples for including social standards in trade agreements,

M.   whereas the generalised system of preferences is conditioned in the respect of the principles of international human rights conventions and core labour standards by beneficiary countries, and includes a special scheme of supplementary tariff preferences to promote the ratification and effective implementation of core international conventions on human and labour rights, environmental protection and good governance; whereas failure to comply with the conditions can lead to the trading arrangement being suspended,

1.   Calls, therefore, for the European Union's future trade strategy not to envisage trade as an end in itself, but as a tool for the promotion of European values and commercial interests and as an instrument for fair trade that can bring into general practice the effective inclusion and implementation of social and environmental standards with all EU trade partners; considers that the EU should adopt an approach in its negotiations which is positive, yet also legally binding; underlines that including provisions on sustainable development, particularly in bilateral agreements, will benefit all parties;

2.   Recalls that the common commercial policy is an instrument in the service of the European Union's overall objectives, and that, pursuant to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU's common commercial policy must be conducted ‘in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action’, and that, pursuant to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, it must contribute, in particular, ‘to the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter’;

Human rights and social and environmental standards in multilateral trade relations

3.   Encourages greater cooperation at multinational level between the WTO and the main United Nations institutions in the human rights field; considers that closer links with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and with the special procedures would be particularly useful to provide a multilateral trade framework which would enhance respect for human rights; considers, similarly, that the High Commission's expertise could be taken into account within WTO panels and the appeals body when cases of serious breaches of human rights are observed;

4.   Considers that the Human Rights Council's universal periodic review should be a useful tool to monitor compliance with human rights provisions in international trade agreements;

5.  Underlines that closer cooperation with the ILO, the body responsible for establishing and negotiating international labour standards and supervising their application in law and in practice, and full participation of the ILO in the work of the WTO, are essential;

   (a) to this end calls for the ILO to be granted official observer status in the WTO and the right to speak at WTO ministerial conferences;
   (b) proposes setting up a committee on trade and decent work within the WTO, on the lines of the Committee on Trade and Environment; and insists that both committees are given a clearly defined remit, and have tangible influence;
   (c) proposes that relevant cases where a breach of international labour conventions is involved in a trade dispute could be referred to the ILO as well as to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;
   (d) proposes that, when a WTO member state considers that a decision by the dispute settlement body calls into question ILO decisions on compliance with labour conventions, there should be an appeal route to the ILO;

6.   Reaffirms that the objectives of maintaining and preserving an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trade system on the one hand, and protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development on the other hand, should be mutually supportive; underlines that, pursuant to Article 20 of the GATT, the Member States may adopt trade measures to protect the environment, subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination; encourages the Member States to make full use of this provision;

7.   Welcomes the existence of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment, which should be an essential forum for pursuing integration and strengthening the link between the environment and trade; expresses the hope that the Committee's role and its work will develop in order to address in a positive manner the most important trade and environment challenges facing the international community;

8.   Underlines the importance of improving access to green goods and technologies to achieve sustainable development objectives, and encourages all the parties to the negotiations to redouble their efforts to reach a rapid conclusion to the negotiations on reducing or removing tariff and non-tariff barriers for environmental goods and services, in order to promote new forms of employment policies and the creation of jobs meeting ILO decent work standards and growth opportunities for European industries and SMEs;

9.   Underlines the need to make progress in the negotiations on the other points at Article 31 of the Doha Declaration concerning the relationship between existing WTO rules and specific trade obligations set out in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and to promote closer cooperation between the MEA secretariats and the WTO committees, a key factor in ensuring that trade and environmental regimes develop coherently;

10.   Considers that a multilateral climate agreement would be the best instrument for internalising negative external environmental factors relating to CO2, but that there is a risk that such an agreement will not be concluded in the near future; takes the view, therefore, that the EU should continue to look into the possibility of putting in place, for those industries that are actually exposed to carbon leakage, appropriate environmental instruments in addition to the auctioning of CO2 quotas under the EU's emissions trading scheme, in particular a ‘carbon inclusion mechanism’ that complies with WTO rules, as such a mechanism would make it possible to combat the risk of CO2 emissions being transferred to third countries;

11.   Proposes, once the international agreement on the climate has been negotiated and signed, that a genuine World Environmental Organisation be set up to enforce application of the commitments that will have been made, and to ensure compliance with environmental standards; points out that it would, for example, be obligatory to refer cases of environmental dumping to this future organisation;

Human rights and social and environmental standards in bilateral trade agreements

12.   Firmly supports the practice of including legally binding human rights clauses in the EU's international agreements, but points out that major challenges persist with regard to monitoring and implementing these clauses; reaffirms that these clauses must also be included in all trade and sectoral agreements, with a clear and precise consultation mechanism modelled on Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement; in this respect welcomes the inclusion of such a clause in the ‘new-generation’ free trade agreements;

13.   Underlines the fact that the same approach of systematic inclusion should also be applied to the chapters on sustainable development in bilateral agreements;

14.   Notes that future trade agreements may be concluded against the background of the current financial crisis; considers that this must not mean neglecting social and environmental standards, particularly on greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous waste management, in order to achieve other goals;

15.  Taking into account the objectives cited above, calls on the Commission to include systematically in all free trade agreements negotiated with non-EU countries a series of social and environmental standards that include:

   (a) a list of minimum standards that must be respected by all the EU's trading partners; from a social viewpoint, these standards must correspond to the ILO's eight Core Labour Standards as listed in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles (1998); in addition to these eight Core Standards, there are the four ILO Priority Conventions for the industrialised countries; with regard to the environment and respect for human rights, the minimum standard must correspond to the list of conventions on the environment and the principles of good governance as set out in the European regulation on the scheme of generalised tariff preferences;
   (b) a list of other conventions that should be implemented gradually and flexibly, taking account of developments in the economic, social and environmental situation of the partner concerned; from a social viewpoint, the ultimate objective must be geared to full implementation of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda;

16.   Stresses that respect for these standards must be understood to include their ratification, their incorporation into national law and their effective implementation throughout the country's territory;

17.   Demands that all future trade agreements provide for a ban on the exploitation of child labour, in particular in the extraction and processing of natural stone, and include a uniform European certification system which ensures that imported natural stone and natural stone products have been demonstrably produced along the entire value chain without the exploitation of child labour within the meaning of ILO Convention 182;

18.   Underlines that in the context of free trade agreements, conditional liberalisations, including shortening the timetable for abolishing restrictions or access to an additional market, could be envisaged when environmental and social standards are complied with;

19.  Underlines the importance of constant monitoring of implementation of the agreement, with an open and inclusive approach at all phases:

   (a) notes the use of impact studies on sustainable development but considers that they should also be carried out before, during and after the negotiations, to ensure continuing evaluation; also points out the importance of acting in full on their results; also considers that the negotiators should take more account of the priorities and concerns that emerge from these impact studies;
   (b) asks the Commission to carry out impact studies on human rights in addition to those on sustainable development, with comprehensible trade indicators based on human rights and on environmental and social standards;
   (c) calls on both parties to submit regular reports on the general progress of implementation of all the commitments made under the agreement;
   (d) asks the Commission to ensure that partner countries' parliaments are involved in trade negotiations, with a view to enhancing governance and democratic scrutiny in developing countries;
   (e) underlines the importance of public involvement at all stages of the negotiations and follow-up to the agreement, and to this end calls for sustainable development fora or advisory groups to be set up to allow the social partners and representatives of independent civil society to be consulted;

20.   Calls for EU trade agreements effectively to provide for the highest levels of transparency, stringent public procurement standards and country-by-country reporting by businesses in both developed and developing countries, with a view to combating illicit capital flight;

21.   Urges the Union to assert the right of access to natural resources in negotiations of trade agreements and the rights of native and indigenous peoples with regard to access to essential natural resources; calls on the Commission to incorporate the problem of the purchase and ownership of land in third countries, in particular in the least-developed and developing countries, into international trade negotiations and agreements;

22.  Recognises that the chapter on sustainable development in the bilateral agreements currently under negotiation is binding but could be strengthened by providing for:

   (a) a complaints procedure open to the social partners,
   (b) appeals to an independent body to settle disputes relating to social and environmental problems speedily and effectively, such as panels of experts selected by both parties on the basis of their expertise in human rights, labour law and environmental law, and whose recommendations would have to form part of a well-defined process, with implementing provisions,
   (c) recourse to a dispute settlement mechanism on an equal footing with the other parts of the agreement, with provision for fines to improve the situation in the sectors concerned, or at least a temporary suspension of certain trade benefits provided for under the agreement, in the event of an aggravated breach of these standards;

23.   Underlines the importance of adding accompanying measures to these agreements, including technical assistance measures and cooperation programmes, aiming to improve implementation capacity, in particular of the fundamental conventions in the area of human rights and social and environmental standards;

Human rights and social and environmental standards in unilateral trade relations: GSP and GSP+

24.   Considers that the 27 conventions for which ratification and effective implementation are requested so that they can benefit from GSP+ represent a unique mixture of conventions on human rights, labour law, environment and good governance standards; underlines that to date, GSP+ has had a positive and visible impact with regard to ratification of these conventions, but less so with regard to their implementation, and therefore hopes to place more emphasis on accompanying measures to improve implementation capacity; also considers that, to ensure the credibility of GSP+, the Commission must launch investigations if consistent evidence indicates that some countries are not implementing the 27 conventions, and where appropriate withdraw the preferences;

25.   Considers that a closer link could be established between human rights clauses and GSP+ in European Union agreements with non-member states, particularly with regard to monitoring;

26.   Encourages the Commission, during the process of reviewing the GSP system, to ensure that the countries that benefit from it most are those that are most in need, and to simplify the rules of origin so that countries that benefit from the Everything But Arms initiative and the GSP+ system may derive maximum benefit from the preferences granted; calls for the establishment of points of comparison, mechanisms and transparent criteria for granting and withdrawing preferences under this system; also calls for the full participation of the European Parliament throughout this process, particularly with regard to the Council proposal on the lists of beneficiary countries, the launch of investigations and the temporary suspension of GSP+;

27.   Urges the Commission to swiftly table a proposal for a regulation banning the import into the EU of goods produced using modern forms of slavery, forced labour, especially forced labour of particularly vulnerable groups, in violation of basic human rights standards;

28.   Calls on the Commission, in accordance with the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission, to provide Parliament at all times with comprehensive information on all relevant topics during negotiations on international trade agreements;

29.   Calls on the Commission, in the light of Parliament's extended powers under the Lisbon Treaty, to guarantee the efficient flow of information and to accord Parliament, in the persons of its delegates, observer status, and thus access to all relevant meetings and documents, at all times;

o
o   o

30.   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 320, 28.10.1996, p. 261.
(2) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 107.
(3) OJ C 112 E, 9.5.2002, p. 326.
(4) OJ C 131 E, 5.6.2003. p. 147.
(5) OJ C 280 E, 18.11.2006, p. 65.
(6) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p.84.
(7) Council conclusions of 14.6.2010 on child labour, 10937/1/10.
(8) OJ C 303 E, 13.12.2006, p. 865.
(9) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 128.
(10) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 321.
(11) OJ L 12, 16.1.2001, p. 1.
(12) OJ C 273 E, 14.11.2003, p. 305.
(13) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 301.
(14) OJ C 323 E, 18.12.2008, p. 361.


European Ombudsman's activity report for 2009
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the annual report on the European Ombudsman's activities in 2009 (2010/2059(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0435 A7-0275/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the annual report on the European Ombudsman's activities in 2009,

–   having regard to Article 24, third paragraph, and Article 228 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to Articles 41 and 43 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom of the European Parliament of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties(1) ,

–   having regard to the framework agreement on cooperation concluded between the European Parliament and the Ombudsman on 15 March 2006, which entered into force on 1 April 2006,

–   having regard to the Commission's communication of 5 October 2005 entitled ‘Empowerment to adopt and transmit communications to the European Ombudsman and authorise civil servants to appear before the European Ombudsman’ (SEC(2005)1227 ),

–   having regard to Decision 2008/587/EC, Euratom of the European Parliament of 18 June 2008 amending Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties(2) ,

–   having regard to the revision by the Ombudsman of his implementing provisions in order to reflect the changes to the Statute, which revision came into force on 1 January 2009,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the European Ombudsman's activities,

–   having regard to Rule 205(2), second and third sentences, of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Petitions (A7-0275/2010 ),

A.   whereas the annual report on the European Ombudsman's activities in 2009 was formally submitted to the President of Parliament on 19 April 2010 and the Ombudsman, Mr Nikiforos Diamandouros, presented the report to the Committee on Petitions in Brussels on 4 May 2010,

B.   whereas Article 24 of the TFEU lays down that ‘every citizen of the Union may apply to the Ombudsman established in accordance with Article 228’,

C.   whereas, under Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, ‘every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions and bodies of the Union’,

D.   whereas Article 43 of the Charter states that ‘any citizen of the Union and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State has the right to refer to the Ombudsman of the Union cases of maladministration in the activities of the Community institutions or bodies, with the exception of the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance acting in their judicial role’,

E.   whereas, since the TFEU entered into force, the common foreign and security policy and the activities of the European Council have fallen within the remit of the Ombudsman,

F.   whereas pursuant to Article 228 of the TFEU the Ombudsman is now ‘elected after each election of the European Parliament for the duration of its term of office’ and no longer ‘appointed’ by the Parliament,

G.   whereas the work of the Ombudsman contributes towards a Union ‘in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen’, as provided for in Article 1, second paragraph, of the Treaty on European Union,

H.   whereas the Ombudsman registered 3098 complaints in 2009 compared to 3406 in 2008, and whereas 727 complaints (23 %) compared to 802 in 2008 were found to be within his mandate,

I.   whereas in 2009 the Ombudsman opened 335 inquiries on the basis of complaints and completed and closed 318 inquiries, 311 of which were based on complaints while seven were own-initiative investigations,

J.   whereas in 179 cases (56 % of the total) closed in 2009, the institution concerned accepted a friendly solution or settled the matter, which shows a strong willingness on the part of the institutions and bodies to see complaints to the Ombudsman as an opportunity to remedy mistakes that have occurred and to cooperate with the Ombudsman for the benefit of citizens,

K.   whereas in 2009 the Ombudsman found maladministration to have been committed in 12 % of cases (37 inquiries), giving rise to critical remarks in 35 cases,

L.   whereas 15 draft recommendations were issued in 2009,

M.   whereas the most common types of alleged maladministration were lack of transparency, including refusal of information (36 % of inquiries), injustice or abuse of power (14 %), avoidable delays (13 %), procedural errors (13 %), negligence (6 %), failure by the Commission to fulfil its duty to act as the guardian of the Treaties (6 %), legal errors (6 %) and discrimination (5 %),

N.   whereas the average time taken to consider complaints fell from 13 months in 2008 to 9 months in 2009, which bears witness to the Ombudsman's efforts to shorten the average length of his inquiries and the spirit of cooperation of the institutions concerned,

O.   whereas no case of maladministration led to a special report to the European Parliament in 2009,

P.   whereas the critical remarks and recommendations of the Ombudsman are not legally binding but have the aim of encouraging self-monitoring by the institutions and bodies of the European Union and may serve as a basis for avoiding a repetition of errors and malfunctions in future,

Q.   whereas the role of the Ombudsman has evolved since the office was created, thanks to the Ombudsman's independence and the democratic scrutiny of his activities performed by Parliament and the Committee on Petitions,

R.   whereas it is essential that the European institutions and bodies make full use of the necessary resources in order to fulfil their obligation to ensure that citizens receive prompt and substantive responses to their enquiries, complaints and petitions,

S.   whereas Parliament adopted the Ombudsman's Code of Good Administrative Behaviour in its resolution of 6 September 2001(3) ,

T.   whereas the European Network of Ombudsmen makes it possible to redirect complainants to the ombudsmen or other similar bodies which are expected to provide the assistance most appropriate to their level and to exchange information and good practices,

U.   whereas the work of the Ombudsman and that of the Committee on Petitions are complementary and promote greater effectiveness of their respective work,

1.   Approves the annual report on the European Ombudsman's activities in 2009;

2.   Points out that the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty increases the democratic legitimacy of the Ombudsman thanks to his election by Parliament and extends his remit to include the common foreign and security policy and the activities of the European Council;

3.   Welcomes the fact that, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is now legally binding, defines the right to good administration as one of the fundamental rights vested in citizens of the Union; calls therefore on the Ombudsman, in his everyday consideration of complaints, to enforce the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

4.   Considers that transparency, access to information and respect for the right to good administration are vital preconditions for maintaining citizens' confidence in the institutions' ability to assert their rights;

5.   Considers, therefore, that the term ‘maladministration’ should continue to be broadly interpreted so as to include not only infringements of legal rules or general principles of European administrative law, such as objectivity, proportionality and equality, non-discrimination and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, but also instances where an institution fails to act consistently and in good faith, or to take into account the legitimate expectations of citizens, including when an institution has itself undertaken to respect certain norms and standards without being obliged to do so by the Treaties or secondary legislation;

6.   Congratulates the Ombudsman on the clear and comprehensive presentation of his work; suggests, nonetheless, that in future reports the summary of activities and thematic analysis should place greater emphasis on structural problems and general trends;

7.   Considers that the Ombudsman has exercised his powers in an active and balanced way during the reporting period, both with regard to examining and handling complaints and conducting and concluding inquiries and with regard to maintaining constructive relations with the European Union's institutions and bodies and encouraging citizens to avail themselves of their rights in relation to those institutions and bodies;

8.   Welcomes the excellent relationship between the Ombudsman and the Committee on Petitions within the institutional framework as regards reciprocal respect for their competences; favours the continuation of the practice already established by the Ombudsman of sending a representative to each meeting of the Committee on Petitions;

9.   Recognises the vital contribution made by the European Network of Ombudsmen, represented by 94 offices in 32 countries, of which the Committee on Petitions is a member, in line with the principle of subsidiarity; welcomes the collaboration between the European Ombudsman and ombudsmen and similar bodies at national, regional and local levels in the Member States;

10.   Notes that the Ombudsman registered 3098 complaints in 2009 and that 318 inquiries were completed and concluded during that year;

11.   Welcomes the large number of procedures concluded by an amicable resolution or by the institution concerned (56 %), which bears witness to the constructive cooperation which exists between the Ombudsman and the institutions and bodies of the Union; encourages the Ombudsman and the institutions and bodies of the Union to continue to apply this approach;

12.   Welcomes the Ombudsman's endeavours which resulted in his shortening the average length of his inquiries to nine months; calls for all EU institutions and bodies to be given the necessary budgetary and human resources to ensure that rapid action is taken in response to complaints and petitions;

13.   Notes that more than a third of the inquiries opened by the Ombudsman in 2009 concerned a lack of transparency; calls therefore for the current revision of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 not to restrict the existing right of access to information and documents but to adopt a more proactive approach;

14.   Welcomes the progress made in 2009 as regards facilitating the Ombudsman's access to confidential Council documents;

15.   Notes the communication and website development strategy, which, according to the Ombudsman, has helped to cut the number of inadmissible complaints, and encourages the Ombudsman to continue his efforts to inform Europe's citizens about his role and the limits to his powers and about their rights;

16.   Endorses the Ombudsman's opinion that, in addition to respect for the binding rules which apply to administrators, it is essential to develop a genuine tradition of service to the public in order to ensure good administration; calls on the Ombudsman, therefore, more often to take the initiative to promote such a tradition of service on the part of the European institutions and citizens;

17.   Deplores the number of complaints concerning avoidable delays in registering requests, handling cases and taking decisions; proposes that the revision of the Financial Regulation should include provision for financial compensation in the event of manifest and prolonged delays;

18.   Notes that the Ombudsman has completed an own-initiative inquiry into the rules which the Commission applies to applications by members of the public for access to documents concerning infringement proceedings; favours increased cooperation with the Committee on Petitions and suggests that the Ombudsman keep that Committee regularly informed about the own-initiative inquiries which he is conducting and the results thereof; calls on the Commission to adopt a more open and proactive attitude towards information about infringement proceedings;

19.   Considers that the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour proposed by the Ombudsman and approved by Parliament in its resolution of 6 September 2001 serves as a guide and resource for the staff of all Community institutions and bodies; welcomes the fact that the Code of Good Behaviour has been approved by the European Economic and Social Committee; welcomes the fact, also, that a Memorandum of Understanding has been concluded with the European Investment Bank concerning the handling of complaints; calls on the Ombudsman to consider revising the Code of Good Behaviour on the basis of the experience gained in the past 10 years and in that way to promote and exchange good practices;

20.   Regrets that complaints about the inadequate application by a Member State of EU law received by national ombudsmen are not recorded by the European Ombudsman; suggests that the European Ombudsman consider pooling them in order to facilitate better understanding of the problem;

21.   Calls on the Ombudsman to encourage national ombudsmen to hold regular exchanges of views with their national parliaments, modelled on those which have been established between the European Ombudsman and Parliament;

22.   Calls on the Commission to draft a European administrative law common to all the bodies, institutions and agencies of the Union;

23.   Draws the attention of the Ombudsman to the new procedure for selection of staff by EPSO and suggests monitoring its application and analysing the developments observed;

24.   Supports the idea of an intranet portal common to all members of the European Network of Ombudsmen in order to disseminate results regularly;

25.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the report of the Committee on Petitions to the Council, the Commission, the European Ombudsman, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and their ombudsmen or similar competent bodies.

(1) OJ L 113, 4.5.1994, p. 15.
(2) OJ L 189, 17.7.2008, p. 25.
(3) OJ C 72 E, 21.3.2002, p. 331.


Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the European Commission in Complaint 676/2008/RT (According to Rule 205(2), 1st part)
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the Special Report by the European Ombudsman following his draft recommendation to the European Commission in complaint 676/2008RT (2010/2086(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0436 A7-0293/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament submitted on 24 February 2010,

–   having regard to Article 228(1), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (ex Article 195 TEC),

–   having regard to Articles 41(1), 42, and 43 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom of the European Parliament of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties(1) , as last amended by Decision 2008/587/EC, Euratom of the European Parliament of 18 June 2008(2) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman on relations with the complainant in respect of infringements of Community law(3) ,

–   having regard to Rule 205(2), first sentence, of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Petitions (A7-0293/2010 ),

A.   whereas Article 228 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union empowers the European Ombudsman to receive complaints from any citizen of the Union concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of the Union institutions or bodies,

B.   whereas complaints submitted by EU citizens constitute an important source of information on possible infringements of EU law,

C.   whereas, according to Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, ‘Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union’,

D.   whereas, on 1 March 2007, a non-governmental organisation acting in the field of environmental protection asked the Commission for access to information and documents held by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry and the former Vice-President of the Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry, relating to meetings between the Commission and representatives of car manufacturers at which the issue of the Commission's approach to carbon dioxide emissions from cars had been discussed,

E.   whereas the Commission granted access to 15 out of 18 letters sent to then-Commissioner Günter Verheugen, but refused access to three letters sent by the German car manufacturer Porsche on the grounds that their disclosure would undermine protection of the company's commercial interests,

F.   whereas Article 1(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents(4) provides that the aim of this regulation is to ensure the widest possible access to documents held by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission, and whereas, according to the established case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, any exceptions to this principle must be interpreted strictly,

G.   whereas the Commission refused to grant the complainant access to the relevant letters from Porsche AG on the basis of the first paragraph of Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, which provides that ‘the institutions shall refuse access to a document where disclosure would undermine the protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual property ...’,

H.   whereas the letters in question were sent by Porsche AG in the context of the Commission's consultation of key stakeholders concerning the review of the Community strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars, whereas it was consequently likely that the three letters contained information on Porsche AG's business relations, and whereas the Commission could therefore have regarded them as falling within the scope of the exception laid down in Article 4(2), first paragraph, of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001,

I.   whereas the Ombudsman's services inspected the three letters from Porsche AG as well as an exchange of e-mails between the Commission and Porsche in which the Commission informed Porsche that it intended not to disclose the three letters, and whereas the Ombudsman, on the basis of the inspection, concluded that the Commission had wrongly refused full access to the letters from Porsche AG under Article 4(2), first paragraph, and partial access under Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001(5) , and whereas this was an instance of maladministration,

J.   whereas, on 27 October 2008, the Ombudsman made a draft recommendation to the Commission setting out the details of his factual and legal analysis, in which he stated that the Commission should grant access to the three letters sent by Porsche AG to the former Vice-President, Günter Verheugen, in their entirety or consider partially disclosing them,

K.   whereas the Ombudsman, on the basis of Article 195 EC (now Article 228 TFEU), asked the Commission to give a detailed opinion within three months, that is, by 31 January 2009,

L.   whereas the Commission did not give its opinion within the three-month deadline provided for in Article 228 TFEU, but instead requested six extensions of the deadline for submitting its detailed opinion on the Ombudsman's draft recommendation, and whereas, in July and again in September 2009, the Ombudsman informed the Commission Secretariat of his intention to present a Special Report to Parliament if he did not receive an answer to his draft recommendation,

M.   whereas the new Commission, once it had had taken office, did indeed grant access to the letters, but whereas this occurred more than 15 months after the draft recommendation had been issued rather than the three months stipulated in the Ombudsman's Statute and in Article 228 TFEU,

N.   whereas the Commission, by delaying its reply to the draft recommendation for 15 months, breached its obligation to cooperate with the Ombudsman sincerely and in good faith during his inquiry into case 676/2008/RT, and whereas this is detrimental not only to interinstitutional dialogue, but also to the EU's public image,

O.   whereas the Ombudsman has identified delays by the Commission in a further case involving access to documents (355/2007(TN)FOR), in which the Commission should have submitted its detailed opinion to the Ombudsman's draft recommendation by 31 October 2009, but has still not done so to date,

P.   whereas the Commission met the original deadlines for replying to complaints in only four of the 22 cases involving access to documents dealt with by the Ombudsman in 2009; whereas in 14 of these 22 cases it submitted its reply more than 30 days late, and in six cases it submitted its reply at least 80 days late,

Q.   whereas Parliament's responsibility as the EU's sole elected body is to safeguard and protect the independence of the European Ombudsman in the conduct of his duties towards EU citizens and to monitor the implementation of his recommendations,

1.   Endorses the European Ombudsman's critical remarks and his recommendation to the Commission in relation to complaint 676/2008/RT;

2.   Recognises that the excessive delays in responding to the Ombudsman in this case constitute a breach of the Commission's duty of sincere cooperation as envisaged in the Treaty;

3.   Is very concerned at the general practice of delay and obstruction by the Commission in respect of the Ombudsman's inquiries in cases involving access to documents;

4.   Recalls that, in the context of the consultations provided for in Article 4(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, the Commission must establish a deadline for the third-party author of a document to reply, and underlines that the Commission should exercise this power in a way that enables it to abide by its own deadlines(6) ;

5.   Recalls the relevant case-law concerning the principle of sincere cooperation (Article 4(3) TEU), according to which the Union institutions have a duty to cooperate in good faith in their relations with each other, and notes that this obligation is clearly stipulated in the new Article 13(2) TEU;

6.   Considers that the Commission's uncooperative attitude in this and other cases risks eroding citizens' trust in the Commission and undermining the ability of the European Ombudsman and the European Parliament to adequately and effectively supervise the Commission, and that it as such, runs counter to the very principle of the rule of law upon which the European Union is founded;

7.   Demands that the Commission give an undertaking to the European Parliament that it will fulfil its duty of sincere cooperation with the European Ombudsman in future;

8.   Considers that in the case that the Commission fails to give such an undertaking and/or persists in its uncooperative practices towards the Ombudsman, Parliament may sanction the Commission, and that such sanctions may include inter alia placing a portion of the Commission's budget for administrative expenditure into reserve;

9.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European Ombudsman.

(1) OJ L 113, 4.5.1994, p. 15.
(2) OJ L 189, 17.7.2008, p. 25.
(3) OJ C 244, 10.10.2002, p. 5.
(4) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(5) Article 4(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 reads as follows: If only parts of the requested document are covered by any of the exceptions, the remaining parts of the document shall be released.’
(6) Article 5(5) of the Detailed rules for the application of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, annexed to Commission decision 2001/937/EC, provides that: The third-party author consulted shall have a deadline for reply which shall be no shorter than five working days but must enable the Commission to abide by its own deadlines for reply ...’.


26th Annual Report on Monitoring the Application of European Union Law (2008)
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the 26th Annual Report on Monitoring the Application of European Union Law (2008) (2010/2076(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0437 A7-0291/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Report from the Commission entitled ‘EU Pilot Evaluation Report’ (COM(2010)0070 ),

–   having regard to the 25th Annual Report from the Commission on Monitoring the application of Community law (2007) (COM(2008)0777 ),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working documents SEC(2009)1683 , SEC(2009)1684 , SEC(2009)1685 and SEC(2010)0182 ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 5 September 2007 entitled ‘A Europe of results – applying Community law’ (COM(2007)0502 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 20 March 2002 on Relations with the complainant in respect of infringements of Community law (COM(2002)0141 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 February 2008 on the Commission's 23rd Annual report on monitoring the application of Community law (2005)(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2008 on the role of the national judge in the European judicial system(2) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Petitions (A7-0291/2010 ),

1.   Regrets that the Commission has not responded to the issues raised by Parliament in its previous resolutions, in particular the aforementioned resolution of 21 February 2008; notes the lack of improvement with regard to transparency, particularly with reference to the ‘EU Pilot’ project and the issue of human resources;

2.   Notes that through EU Pilot the Commission is aiming to increase ‘commitment, co-operation and partnership between the Commission and Member States’(3) and is considering, in close cooperation with national administrations, how to deal with the application of European Union law; considers that this initiative responds to the new need for cooperation between all Institutions of the European Union in the interests of a well functioning, citizen-focused Union following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty; underlines the obligation on the Commission laid down in Article 17 TEU to ‘ensure the application of the Treaties, and of measures adopted by the institutions pursuant to them’;

3.   Notes that on the one hand citizens are portrayed as having an essential role in ensuring compliance with EU law on the ground(4) , whilst on the other – in EU Pilot – they are even further excluded from any subsequent procedure; considers that this is not in line with the Treaties' solemn declarations that ‘decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen’ (Article 1 TEU), that ‘the Union institutions ... shall conduct their work as openly as possible’ (Article 15 TFEU) and that ‘[I]n all its activities, the Union shall observe the principle of the equality of its citizens, who shall receive equal attention from its institutions’ (Article 9 TEU);

4.   Notes that in order to make the EU Pilot operational, the Commission has created a ‘confidential on-line database’(5) for communication between Commission services and Member State authorities; calls on the Commission to give Parliament meaningful access to that database in order to enable it to perform its role of scrutiny of the Commission's discharge of its role as guardian of the Treaties;

5.   Highlights that the active role of the citizens of the European Union is clearly stated in the Treaty on European Union, particularly with reference to the European Citizens' Initiative; considers that the possibility for citizens to set the legislative agenda is also directly connected with their current essential role in ensuring the correct application of, and compliance with, European Union law and the transparency and reliability of the related procedures;

6.   Notes that in the Commission's summary of monitoring the application of Community law, more emphasis is placed on transposition than on actual application. Calls on the Commission to properly acknowledge the role of petitions in monitoring the actual application of Community law; petitions are very often first indicators that, beyond transposition, the Member States are lagging behind in implementing legal measures;

7.   Is of the opinion that, in their present form, the Commission's annual reports ‘on monitoring the application of European Union law’ do not give citizens or the other institutions sufficient information about the true state of application of EU law, as the Commission only makes reference to formal proceedings being opened against Member States that have not transposed EU law into their national legal systems; considers however that it would also be very much in the interest of citizens and Parliament to be informed when the Commission opens infringements for the incorrect or bad transposition of EU law, with details of those infringements also being supplied;

8.   Wishes to ensure that the Commission continues to produce detailed data on all types of infringement, and that the entirety of this data is made freely available to Parliament to enable it to perform its role of scrutiny of the Commission's discharge of its role as guardian of the Treaties; points out that the collation and categorisation of such data should be consistent with previous annual reports in order to assist Parliament in making meaningful assessments of the progress being made by the Commission, regardless of whether the infringement has been processed via the EU Pilot or the original infringement procedure;

9.   Notes that delays in correctly applying, transposing and enforcing European Union law directly affect the daily lives of citizens and businesses and the enjoyment of their rights, resulting in legal uncertainty and preventing them from enjoying the full benefits of the internal market; highlights the high costs deriving from non-compliance with, and non-application of, EU law and the consequent lack of trust in the European Institutions;

10.   Deplores the fact that some Member States underestimate the value of the correct and timely application of EU law; urges them to give suitable priority to transposition and application, in order to avoid delays;

11.   Calls on the Commission to propose a ‘procedural code’ in the form of a regulation under the new legal basis of Article 298 TFEU, setting out the various aspects of the infringement procedure, including notifications, time-limits, the right to be heard, the obligation to state reasons, etc., in order to enforce citizens' rights and transparency; reminds the Commission that its 2002 Communication represents an important point of reference for the drafting of such a ‘procedural code’;

12.   Recalls that its Legal Affairs Committee recently launched a Working Group on EU administrative law with the aim of examining whether a codification of EU administrative law is possible and what such a project would involve in practice; considers that the conclusions of this Working Group should be taken into account when discussing a European administrative code;

13.   Recalls that its Legal Affairs Committee recently unanimously adopted a letter in support of a petitioner's views calling for a standard administrative procedure for supervising and enforcing EU law which, while respecting the Commission's discretion as to when and against whom to instigate proceedings, would restrict that discretion to within the boundaries of good administration practice(6) ;

14.   Recalls that the Commission has a primary role as the guardian of the Treaties in ensuring the correct and timely application of European Union law by the Member States; encourages the Commission to use all the competences granted to her by the Treaties, especially the new provisions of Article 260 TFEU concerning Member States' failure of notification of transposition measures of directives;

15.   Recalls the Parliament's resolution of 9 February 2010 on a revised Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the Commission(7) in which it calls on the Commission ‘to make available to Parliament summary information about all infringement procedures based on the letter of formal notice, including, if so requested by Parliament, ... on the issues concerned by the infringement procedure’(8) ;

16.   Takes the view that EU citizens should expect the same level of transparency from the Commission whether they are making a formal complaint or exercising their right of petition under the Treaty; asks, therefore, for its Committee on Petitions to be provided with clear information on the stages reached in infringement procedures also covered by an open petition. Calls on the Commission, furthermore, to clarify the circuits for dealing with enquiries and complaints for the benefit of the Committee on Petitions and the public at large;

17.   Endorses the measures planned by the Commission for 2009 and beyond to ensure compliance by Member States with European legislation and asks to be associated in the infringement procedures in cases where petitions are pending, such as in the cases of Campania on the subject of waste legislation and Spain on the subject of water management legislation.

18.   Calls on the Commission to supply Parliament with relevant data to enable an analysis to be made of the added value EU Pilot brings to the existing process of managing infringement files, which would justify extending the project further; considers that this data should, for example, allow Parliament to check whether the 10 weeks granted to a Member State to find a solution to a concrete case have not further delayed the initiation of an infringement procedure, the duration of which is already extremely lengthy and indeterminate;

19.   Notes with particular interest the Commission's commitment to deliver systematically an evaluation of the reply to a complaint provided by a Member State; calls on the Commission to provide such an evaluation with the greatest attention and after prompt analysis of the dossier; calls for a clarification of the role of complainant in the evaluation process;

20.   Asks the Commission to allocate sufficient resources to be able to monitor fully the implementation of EU law, initiate own cases and develop priorities for stronger and systematic actions; calls on the Commission to provide Parliament, as has been repeatedly requested, with clear and exhaustive data on the resources earmarked for processing infringement cases in the various Directorates-General and on those allocated to the EU Pilot project; reminds the Commission that Parliament committed itself to supporting the Commission via increased budget appropriations for increased resources;

21.   Asks the Commission to consider innovative mechanisms, such as the mutual evaluation procedure envisaged in the Services Directive, to ensure more effective application of EU law;

22.   Welcomes the nascent one-stop shop for citizens seeking advice or recourse or making complaints through ‘Your Europe’(9) . With the addition of the widely publicised Citizens' Initiative (Art 11(4) TEU) to the list of instruments for citizens' participation, the need for explanation and guidance has increased exponentially. The European Parliament would like to be involved in the development of this website in order to ensure coherence with its own plans for providing better guidance for citizens;

23.   Recalls the Council's pledge to encourage Member States to draw up and publish tables illustrating the correlation between directives and national transposition measures; stresses that such tables are essential in order for the Commission to be able to monitor implementation measures in all Member States effectively;

24.   Urges that Parliament's role in the areas of the application, enforcement and monitoring of single market rules be strengthened; supports the idea of an annual Single Market Forum;

25.   Stresses the key role of the Internal Market Scoreboard and the Consumer Market Scoreboard in the context of the more effective use of monitoring and benchmarking instruments, which constitute an important indirect disciplinary mechanism; calls on the Commission and Member States to provide adequate financing and staffing so as to ensure that the Consumer Market Scoreboard can be further developed;

26.   Notes that the national courts play a vital role in applying European Union law and fully supports the EU's efforts to enhance and coordinate judicial training for national judges, legal professionals, officials and civil servants in the national administrations;

27.   Is of the opinion that when the Commission starts an infringement procedure against a Member State, it should also issue a communication stating that the act which infringed EU legislation can be challenged by the citizens affected in the Member State in question before their national courts;

28.   Recalls its resolution of 17 June 2010 on judicial training in civil and commercial matters; takes the view that it is of fundamental importance that judicial training be enhanced, inter alia in the context of the Action Plan implementing the Stockholm Programme;

29.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the European Ombudsman and the parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 184 E, 6.8.2009, p. 63.
(2) OJ C 294 E, 3.12.2009, p. 27.
(3) EU Pilot Evaluation Report, p. 2.
(4) Commission 2002 Communication, p. 5: ‘the Commission has regularly acknowledged the vital role played by the complainant in detecting infringements of Community law’.
(5) Report from the Commission ‘EU Pilot Evaluation Report’ COM(2010)0070 , p. 2.
(6) ‘Discretion may be a necessary evil in modern government; absolute discretion coupled with an absolute lack of transparency, however, is fundamentally contrary to the rule of law’ - Frassoni Report (2005/2150(INI) ) on the Commission's 21st and 22nd Annual Reports on Monitoring the application of Community law (2003 and 2004), p. 17 of the Explanatory Memorandum.
(7) Texts adopted of that date, P7_TA(2010)0009 .
(8) Idem , paragraph 3(e) point 5.
(9) http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope/


Public service broadcasting in the digital era: the future of the dual system
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on public service broadcasting in the digital era: the future of the dual system (2010/2028(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0438 A7-0286/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 14 and 106(2) of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to Protocol No 29, annexed to the TEU, on the system of public broadcasting in the Member States,

–   having regard to Article 11(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 September 1996 on the role of public service television in a multi-media society(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 September 2008 on concentration and pluralism in the media in the European Union(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2008 on media literacy in a digital world(4) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2009 on the application of State aid rules to public service broadcasting(5) ,

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

–   having regard to Recommendation No R (96) 10 of 11 September 1996 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Member States on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting,

–   having regard to the resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 25 January 1999 concerning public service broadcasting(6) ,

–   having regard to Recommendation No CM/Rec(2007)2 of 31 January 2007 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on media pluralism and diversity of media content,

–   having regard to Recommendation No CM/Rec(2007)3 of 31 January 2007 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on the remit of public service media in the information society,

–   having regard to Recommendation No 1878 (2009) of 25 June 2009 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the funding of public service broadcasting,

–   having regard to the declaration of 27 September 2006 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting in the member states,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0286/2010 ),

A.   whereas, in a democratic European society, participation of citizens in public debate and access to information in the digital world depend on a vibrant and competitive audiovisual and written press sector,

B.   whereas broadcast media are among the most important sources of information available to citizens in EU Member States, and as such are an important factor in shaping people's values and opinions,

C.   whereas both public service and private-sector broadcasting have a crucial role to play with regard to European audiovisual production, cultural diversity and identity, information, pluralism, social cohesion, the promotion of fundamental freedoms and the functioning of democracy,

D.   whereas public service broadcasters have a pioneering role in stimulating and utilising technological developments in order to offer their content to the public via innovative media and distribution techniques,

E.   whereas the EU audiovisual landscape is unique, and is characterised by what has been described as the ‘dual system’, based on a true balance between public service and commercial broadcasters,

F.   whereas an effective dual system with a genuine balance between public service and private-sector broadcasters, is in the general interest,

G.   whereas the coexistence of public service and commercial broadcasters has ensured a diverse range of freely accessible programming, which benefits all EU citizens and contributes to media pluralism, cultural and linguistic diversity, editorial competition (in terms of content quality and diversity) and freedom of expression,

H.   whereas the EU attaches special importance to the role of the dual system in contributing to the production and dissemination of EU content,

I.   whereas changes in the audiovisual landscape in recent years, with the development of digital technologies, proprietary pay platforms and new online media actors, have had an impact on the traditional dual broadcasting system and on editorial competition (in terms of content quality and diversity), making it necessary for public service and private broadcasters to diversify their operations and consider new distribution platforms,

J.   whereas the spread of new technologies has changed the way European citizens gain access to the media and to information,

K.   whereas traditional boundaries in the media sector can no longer be upheld in the online environment, since traditional media cannot survive without expanding into new platforms (such as SMS services, web pages and applications for smartphones), in line with the objectives of the EU's Digital Agenda,

L.   whereas newspapers and magazines are, and should continue to be, essential components in a pluralistic and diverse European media landscape,

M.   whereas telecom providers, internet service providers and search engines are playing an ever-increasing role in the new media environment,

N.   whereas in the digital era – which is characterised by increased consumer choice, but also by a risk of audience fragmentation, increasing media concentration, the rise of vertically integrated media companies, a shift towards pay services and encryption – public service broadcasting does and should help to maintain a public sphere, providing high quality, socially valuable programming and objective information,

O.   whereas in certain Member States public service broadcasting is not yet sufficiently socially embedded and does not have adequate resources at its disposal,

P.   whereas public broadcasters in some Member States are confronted with major problems that jeopardise their political independence, their viability and even their financial basis, posing a direct threat to the very existence of the dual system,

Q.   whereas commercial television has recently faced economic hardship as a result of the advertising recession,

R.   whereas it lies within the exclusive competence of the Member States to define the public service remit and to provide for the funding of their public service broadcasters, in accordance with the principles of the Amsterdam Protocol,

S.   whereas public service media need sufficient public funding, participation in relevant new technologies and platforms and a stable and foreseeable regulatory environment in order to be able to fulfil their remit in terms of offering a high standard of cultural and news content, and as such explicitly to develop media literacy for the benefit of the public,

T.   whereas public service broadcasting can be improved through exchanges of experience and best practice between the Member States,

U.   whereas respect for European standards relating to freedom of expression, media pluralism and the independence, remit and funding of public service media should be a priority for all the Member States,

V.   whereas the EU does not currently have the appropriate instruments at its disposal to monitor, and react to, threats to public service media and the dual system in Member States or specific regions of the EU,

1.   Reaffirms its commitment to the dual broadcasting system, in which private and public service media play their respective roles, independent of political and economic pressure, and calls for access to broadcasting of the highest level to be ensured irrespective of consumers' and users' ability to pay;

2.   Underlines, in particular, the fundamental role of a genuinely balanced European dual system in promoting democracy, social cohesion and integration and freedom of expression, with an emphasis on preserving and promoting media pluralism, media literacy, cultural and linguistic diversity and compliance with European standards relating to press freedom;

3.   Notes that the coexistence of public service and private media has greatly contributed to innovation and diversification in terms of content and has had a positive impact on quality;

4.   Reiterates the need to maintain strong and vibrant independent public service broadcasting, whilst adapting it to the requirements of the digital age, and calls for specific measures to be taken to attain this objective;

5.   Highlights, in this context, the fact that in the digital era public service broadcasting has a specific mission to cultivate a public sphere by making high-quality media content of public interest universally accessible on all relevant platforms;

6.   Calls on the Member States to ensure that there are sufficient resources to enable public service broadcasters to take advantage of the new digital technologies and to secure the benefits of modern audiovisual services for the general public;

7.   Calls, in this regard, for public service broadcasters to be structured in such a way as to offer attractive, quality online content in order to reach young people who access the media almost exclusively via the internet;

8.   Calls on the Member States to address the digital divide – for example between urban and rural areas – and to ensure that, with digitisation, all individuals in all regions have equal access to public service broadcasting;

9.   Urges the Member States to consider the possibility of making it easier for consumers to switch from analogue to digital television;

10.   Urges the Member States to define the remits of public service broadcasters so that they can retain their distinctiveness through a commitment to original audiovisual production and high-quality programming and journalism regardless of commercial considerations or political influence, which is precisely what marks them out as distinctive; notes that these remits should be defined as precisely as possible, but with due regard for the broadcasters' programming autonomy;

11.   Recalls that, according to the principle of technological neutrality, public service broadcasters, within the remit assigned to them, must have the opportunity to offer their services, including new services, on all platforms;

12.   Emphasises that the lack in some Member States of legal provisions relating to public service broadcasting activities on the internet could affect the sector's ability to expand into new platforms;

13.   Recalls that terrestrial broadcasting platforms based on open, interoperable standards play a central role in the dual broadcasting system and are ideal for providing users with free, easily accessible audiovisual media services, which can better cope with the fragmentation of local markets and thereby address local cultural and social expectations;

14.   Acknowledges the Commission's broadcasting communication of July 2009, which recognises the right of public service broadcasters to be present on all relevant distribution platforms and reaffirms the competence of the Member States to define the remit, funding and organisation of public service broadcasting while acknowledging the Commission's responsibility to check for manifest errors, and calls on the Member States to maintain a balance amongst the digital media services on offer, to ensure fair competition between public service broadcasting and private media and thus to preserve a vibrant media landscape in the online environment;

15.   Welcomes the recognition of the principle of technological neutrality and of the need to respect the editorial independence of public service broadcasters, taking due account of their need for stable and secure funding;

16.   Points, however, to the enormous costs of (existing) ex ante tests, and stresses its support for proportionate evaluations;

17.   Recalls the importance of the Council of Europe's recommendations and declarations, which have been agreed upon by all the EU Member States and lay down European standards relating to freedom of expression, press freedom, media pluralism and the independence, organisation, remit and funding of public service media, particularly in the information society, thereby safeguarding the credibility of public service broadcasting;

18.   Reminds the Member States of their commitment to these European standards, and recommends that they provide appropriate, proportionate and stable funding for public service media so as to enable them to fulfil their remit, guarantee political and economic independence and contribute to an inclusive information and knowledge society with representative, high quality media available to all;

19.   Calls on the Commission to encourage the Member States to exchange best practice at different levels (national media authorities, stakeholders, management of public service broadcasters, independent regulators and representatives of viewers and consumers);

20.   Calls on the Member States to intensify the cooperation between national media regulators within the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA) and step up the exchange of experience and best practice in relation to their respective national broadcasting systems;

21.   Reminds the Member States that members of public service broadcasters' boards should be appointed on the basis of their competence and acquaintance with the media sector;

22.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to give the European Audiovisual Observatory a mandate, coupled with the necessary resources, to gather data and carry out research on the way in which the Member States have applied these standards, in order to examine whether the standards have achieved the desired effect, and urges that Member States be held accountable for failing to fulfil these commitments;

23.   Calls on the Commission to give higher priority to the dual system as a part of the EU acquis in the context of accession negotiations, and urges that the progress made by candidate countries in this respect be monitored;

24.   Calls further on Member States adequately to address the issue of underfunding of public service broadcasters; bearing in mind particularly the specific remit of the public media to be accessible to the greatest possible number of viewers and listeners on all the new media platforms;

25.   Notes that transparent ownership of private broadcasters has to be guaranteed in all Member States, and calls on the Commission to monitor and support progress to this end;

26.   Calls on the Member States to end political interference regarding the content of services offered by public service broadcasters;

27.   Welcomes the conclusions of the independent study, conducted at the Commission's request, on defining indicators to measure the pluralism of EU media;

28.   Encourages the implementation of the Media Pluralism Monitor, which is an effective tool for diagnosing threats to media pluralism;

29.   Recalls the financial instruments offered by the EIB, and encourages public service broadcasters facing financial difficulties to apply for a soft loan from the EIB for the renewal of their infrastructure, particularly in connection with digitisation and innovation;

30.   Encourages the various stakeholders to intensify their cooperation with a view to safeguarding the dual system and, in particular, encourages public service and private broadcasters to cooperate with one another and with publishers in relation to content-sharing and innovative projects and to find ways of working together;

31.   Calls on the Commission to launch an initiative bringing together different media actors in order to help identify possible areas of cooperation, facilitate exchanges of best practice and address relevant issues;

32.   Points out, in this context, that community broadcasters, especially in smaller communities, have problems with long-term financing (e.g. from advertising) and that there is potential here for using the new options made available by digitisation in order to set up regional-level community broadcasting covering a wide area;

33.   Encourages the Commission to adapt copyright to the new digital era, allowing broadcasters to continue to provide a wide range of qualitative European content, and to consider specific ways of facilitating the re-use of archive content and putting in place extended collective licensing systems and easy, one-stop-shop systems for the clearance of rights;

34.   Looks forward to the implementation report on the provisions of the AVMS directive regarding the broadcasting time allocated to European programmes, given that certain Member States have failed to take any action in this respect;

35.   Urges the Commission to ensure that content aggregators comply with the existing legal framework, and calls on it to consider ways in which search engines and internet service providers could contribute to the financing of content creation;

36.   Emphasises the importance of media education for the responsible use of services provided by content aggregators;

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

(1) OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 320, 28.10.1996, p. 180.
(3) OJ C 8 E, 14.1.2010, p. 85.
(4) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2010, p. 9.
(5) OJ C 257, 27.10.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 30, 5.2.1999, p. 1.


10th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security
P7_TA(2010)0439 B7-0624 , 0625 , 0626 , 0627 and 0649/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security and UN Security Council Resolution 1888 (2009) on sexual violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict, which emphasises the responsibility of all states to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including those relating to sexual and other violence against women and girls,

–   having regard to UN General Assembly resolution 54/134 of 7 February 2000, which established 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,

–   having regard to the EU Council Plan of Action on Gender Equality in Development Cooperation, which should ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed throughout the EU's work with partner countries at all levels,

–   having regard to the appointment in March 2010 of a Special Representative to the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict,

–   having regard to the Council paper ‘Comprehensive Approach to the EU Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and 1820’ and the operational document on ‘the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 as reinforced by UNSCR 1820 in the context of ESDP’, both adopted in December 2008, and to the Council document on ‘Mainstreaming of Human Rights into ESDP’ of September 2006,

–   having regard to the EU Guidelines on violence and discrimination against women and girls and the EU guidelines on children and armed conflict,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 May 2009 on gender mainstreaming in EU external relations and peace-building/nation-building(1) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on women in armed conflicts and their role in post-conflict reconstruction(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2006 on women in politics(3) ,

–   having regard to the 2007 gender-mainstreaming action plan of its Subcommittee on Security and Defence,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 October 2010 on failures in protection of human rights and justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo(4) ,

–   having regard to the new UN Gender Entity (UN Women),

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

A.   whereas violence against women in conflict zones is often an extension of the gender discrimination that already exists in peacetime; whereas this year the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women coincides with the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which was the first resolution to address the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women and to link women's experiences of conflict to the maintenance of international peace and security, covering the inter-linked thematic areas of participation, protection, prevention, relief and recovery,

B.   having regard to the International Day against Violence against Women on 25 November,

C.   whereas Security Council Resolutions 1820, 1888 and 1889 strengthen and complement Resolution 1325, and whereas the four resolutions must be regarded as the set of Security Council commitments on women, peace and security,

D.   whereas the implementation of these commitments is a common concern and responsibility of each UN Member State, be it conflict-affected, donor or other; having regard to the adoption in December 2008 of the EU Guidelines on violence against women and girls and the EU Guidelines on children and armed conflict and combating all forms of discrimination against them, which represent a strong political signal that these are priorities for the Union,

E.   whereas the implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1820 and 1325 should be assigned priority in the use of the EU's external financial instruments to provide adequate support for civil-society organisations working in armed conflicts and conflict-affected countries and regions,

F.   whereas the European Parliament should observe the broad approach adopted and the implementation of the prospective Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in EU External Action, as well as the implementation of the guidelines on violence against women and children,

G.   whereas having a gender perspective in a civilian or military mission greatly increases operational effectiveness, to which the EU could contribute considerable added value by actively concerning itself with women and armed conflict,

H.   whereas the EU should enable women to participate in conflict prevention, crisis management, peace talks and post-conflict phases such as post-war reconstruction planning,

I.   whereas, when part of a widespread and systematic practice, rape and sexual slavery are recognised under the Geneva Convention as crimes against humanity and war crimes; whereas rape is also now recognised as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted group; whereas the EU should support efforts to end impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence against women and children,

J.   whereas the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS) should significantly contribute to further implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 1820 with regard to both its internal structure and its external actions and policies,

K.   whereas the EU has adopted a series of important documents on how to implement UNSC Resolutions 1820 and 1325,

L.   whereas 2010 is also the year of the ‘MDG plus 10’ review,

M.   whereas only a minority of EU Member States drafted national action plans to implement UNSC Resolution 1325; whereas Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom have adopted national action plans,

1.   Stresses that the 10th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325 should mark the start of a reinvigorated agenda for the implementation of that resolution, on which no progress can be made without political leadership at the highest levels and increased resources; strongly recommends that this issue be duly addressed in the ongoing review of the EU's human rights policy when it comes to the elaboration of a comprehensive Human Rights Country Strategy and to the evaluation of the EU Guidelines on violence against women and girls and the EU guidelines on children and armed conflict and combating all forms of discrimination against them;

2.   Calls for the allocation of specific and significant financial, human and organisational resources for the participation of women and gender mainstreaming in the field of foreign and security policy; calls for more women to be deployed in police, military and justice and rule-of-law missions and in peace-keeping operations; calls on EU Member States to actively promote participation by women in their bilateral and multilateral relations with states and organisations outside the EU;

3.   Urges HR/VC Ashton, in a mid-term review after five years, to monitor the implementation of commitments and facilitate the exchange of good practices;

4.   Strongly encourages the HR/VC to also strengthen the EU Task Force on women, peace and security and hopes that it will peer-review the adoption and implementation of national action plans on UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 1820, conduct systematic gender analyses of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and monitor and advise EU delegations in conflict-affected countries and regions;

5.   Considers the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS) a unique opportunity to reinforce the role of the EU with respect to the implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1820 and 1325;

6.   Urges therefore the HR/VC to reinforce and strengthen gender mainstreaming practice and make substantial and highly visible commitments with regard to staffing, financial resources and the organisational hierarchy; urges the HR/VC to form an organisational unit within the EEAS on women, peace and security within the relevant thematic department and to make sure that in each geographical department and EU delegation at least one full-time post is dedicated to women, peace and security and that these persons are part of, or closely linked to, the EU Task Force;

7.   Welcomes the series of public events such as open days implemented by at least the three CSDP missions EUPM, EULEX and EUMM in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325; welcomes the input of the EU's Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) in this respect; recalls that CSDP missions are one of the most important tools of the EU for demonstrating its commitment to the objectives of UNSC Resolutions 1820 and 1325 in crisis-affected countries and regions;

8.   Urges the HR/VC and EU Member States to include references to UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 1820 in CSDP-related Council Decisions and mission mandates and to make sure that all CSDP missions have at least one Gender Advisor and an Action Plan on how to pursue the objectives of Resolutions 1325 and 1820; urges the HR/VC, EU Member States and Heads of Mission to make cooperation and consultation with local women's organisations a standard element of each mission;

9.   Calls for the establishment of adequate public complaint procedures in the context of CSDP missions, which would particularly assist the reporting of sexual and gender-based violence; calls on the HR/VC to include a detailed report on women, peace and security in the six-monthly evaluation of CSDP missions;

10.   Recalls the mass gang rape that took place from 30 July to 4 August 2010 in the eastern Congo mining district, that at least 8 300 rapes were reported last year in eastern Congo and that at least 1 244 women reported being raped in the first quarter of 2010, which is an average of 14 rapes per day; urges both EU missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo – EUPOL RD Congo and EUSEC RD Congo – to make the fight against sexual violence and the participation of women the main priorities in the context of the effort to reform the Congolese security sector;

11.   Stresses that it is important that the EU should appoint more female police officers and soldiers to CSDP missions, in which connection the contingent of female police officers within the UN peace-keeping force in Liberia could be used as a model;

12.   Points to the need to establish a code of conduct for EU personnel serving in military and civil missions which makes it clear that sexual exploitation constitutes unjustifiable and criminal behaviour;

13.   Calls for the implementation of UNSC Resolutions 1325 and 1820 in the EU's country strategy papers and for the mobilisation of more financial support for the participation of women from conflict-affected countries in European processes; calls on the HR/VC and the Commissioners for Development, Enlargement and Humanitarian Aid to make women, peace and security aspects an integral part of the planning and programming of the external financial instruments such as EIDHR, ICI, IPA and especially DCI and IfS;

14.   Emphasises that the Commission should facilitate access for small NGOs to subsidies from the European Instrument on Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); recalls that at present many small women's organisations are unable to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles to submission of applications;

15.   Calls on the Commissioner for Development to consider it a priority to support work by women's organisations in conflict-affected areas; urges the HR/VC to use the long-term component of the Instrument for Stability (IfS) to allocate funding in support of women's participation in peace, security and reconciliation-related processes and to systematically earmark allocations for women, peace and security in all short-term measures financed under Article 3 of the Instrument for Stability;

16.   Takes the view that EU delegations should inform civil society organisations, such as local women's organisations, about their engagement in conflict regions and consult civil-society organisations in the process of policy planning;

17.   Requests a substantial increase in women's participation in every area of operations, including reconciliation work, peace negotiation, peace-building, peace enforcement, peace-keeping and conflict prevention;

18.   Calls for an immediate increase in participation by women in all the initiatives aimed at finding solutions to conflicts, including as mediators and negotiators and in the implementation of conflict resolution measures;

19.   Calls on the HR/VC to initiate an annual week in which women leaders are consulted and which could complement the UN Global Open Day for Women and Peace, followed by EU delegation reports and follow-ups;

20.   Stresses the need for national action plans, which should provide information on the time frame of the national strategy, set realistic objectives, develop supervisory mechanisms and encourage greater participation by women in monitoring, evaluation and supervisory mechanisms;

21.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Special Representative on sexual violence in armed conflicts and the newly appointed Head of the UN Gender Entity (UN Women).

(1) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 32.
(2) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 287.
(3) OJ C 314 E, 21.12.2006, p. 347.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0350 .


The situation in the beekeeping sector
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the situation in the beekeeping sector
P7_TA(2010)0440 B7-0622/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2003 on the difficulties faced by the European beekeeping sector(1) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage(2) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 April 2004 on the proposal for a Council regulation on actions in the field of beekeeping(3) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 of 22 October 2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation)(4) , which lays out special provisions for the apiculture sector in the European Union,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2008 on the situation in the beekeeping sector(5) ,

–   having regard to Commission Directive 2010/21/EU of 12 March 2010 amending Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC, as regards the specific provisions relating to clothianidin, thiamethoxam, fipronil and imidacloprid(6) ,

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2010/270/EU of 6 May 2010 amending Parts 1 and 2 of Annex E to Council Directive 92/65/EEC as regards the model health certificates for animals from holdings and for bees and bumble bees(7) ,

–   having regard to the Commission report of 28 May 2010 on the implementation of Articles 105 et seq. of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on measures improving the general conditions for the production and marketing of apiculture products (COM (2010)0267),

–   having regard to the EFSA scientific report of 11 August 2008(8) , as well as the scientific report commissioned and adopted by EFSA on 3 December 2009(9) , both of them on Bee Mortality and Bee Surveillance in Europe,

–   having regard to Oral Question (O-0119/2010 – B7-0564/2010 ) of 1 September 2010 on the situation in the beekeeping sector,

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

A.   whereas the national programmes for the European beekeeping sector, drawn up by Member States for a period of three years, have been used by all 27 EU Member States, with an average usage rate of 90%; whereas the Commission stated, in its abovementioned report of 28 May 2010, that the national beekeeping programmes have been beneficial over recent years,

B.   whereas in 2010, the European Year of Biodiversity, the beekeeping sector throughout the world is gravely threatened, registering losses 100 to 1 000 times worse than normal; whereas the sector plays a strategic role in society, providing a public service of environmental value, and whereas beekeeping is a valuable example of a ‘green occupation’ (improving and preserving biodiversity and the ecological balance and conserving plant life) and a model of sustainable production in a rural environment,

C.   whereas the current programmes come to an end in 2013; whereas the current EU support for the beekeeping sector depends on existing modalities of the CAP; whereas operators need to plan for the time after 2013; whereas the Commission intends to publish its Communication on the future CAP by November 2010,

D.   whereas agriculture has a major interest in maintaining bees as pollinators; whereas the FAO has alerted the international community to the alarming reduction in numbers of pollinating insects, including honey bees; whereas 84% of the plant species and 76% of food production in Europe are dependent on pollination by bees, the economic importance of which is much greater than the value of the honey produced,

E.   whereas bee mortality is an increasing problem in many regions owing to a synergy of factors, including bee diseases, bees' weakened immunity to pathogens and parasites, climate and, to some extent, land use change, with periods when there is a lack of food and foraging for bees, and also owing to the progressive eradication of melliferous plant species and the use of plant protection products and unsustainable farming techniques,

F.   whereas decreasing numbers of colonies in some Member States cannot with certainty be linked to the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO), as their cultivation is insignificant for the moment, and whereas a rise in the number of monocultures is leading to the disappearance of melliferous flora,

G.   whereas a global multitude of bee-diseases is constantly increasing so that Apis mellifera risks becoming an endangered species, especially because of the increasingly destructive presence of the Varroa mite, which compromises the bees' immune system, causes all kinds of related diseases and is hence a major health problem affecting the European bee population,

H.   whereas more research is needed in the interests of reversing pollinator species declines, in order to avoid situations like those in other parts of the world, where low rates of natural pollinators mean that fruit, vegetable and some arable production require human-induced pollination, at considerable additional expense to farmers,

I.   whereas 40% of the European honey market depends on imports; whereas the EU's lack of independence of honey supply leads to significant volatility in prices, resulting also from adulteration in the global market, as the past opening up of the EU market for honey from third countries has placed beekeepers across the EU at a competitive disadvantage,

J.   whereas both Member States and operators from the sector have expressed concrete needs as regards improvements to the implementing rules and continuation of support in the long term,

K.   whereas there is a need for better cooperation between all Member States and beekeepers' associations in the devising of programmes, so that each Member State is able to request information and, if relevant, to disseminate it in the context of the European organisations to which it belongs,

L.   whereas the abovementioned EFSA scientific report of 11 August 2008 highlighted the scarcity and variability of monitoring systems among Member States and the lack of harmonisation of common performance indicators,

M.   whereas, in accordance with Directive 2010/21/EU, Member States are required to ensure that, from 1 November 2010 onwards, certain labelling requirements for plant protection products are put in place, risk-mitigation measures are included in product authorisation, and monitoring programmes to verify the direct and indirect exposure of honey bees to certain active substances are carried out,

1.   Welcomes the abovementioned Commission report of 28 May 2010; notes, however, that the current programmes come to an end in 2013 and is concerned about the numerous challenges and problems still faced by the European apiculture sector, among them marketing issues, price volatility, recruiting young beekeepers to the sector, the ageing profile of beekeepers in the European Union, decreasing numbers of colonies and the general difficulties emerging from multifactoral bee mortality;

2.   Calls on the Commission to respond positively to the requests from both Member States and operators, for example by improving statistical data in relation to production forecasts, including the application of the same quality requirements for honey, and improving and harmonising monitoring and research programmes for apiculture;

3.   Calls on the Commission to consider, in the framework of the legislative proposal on agricultural quality policy, changing the rules on origin labelling of honey in order to avoid misleading information to consumers, especially in case of a blend of honeys originating from EU and non-EU countries;

4.   Stresses the need to improve sanitary conditions for the product by harmonising border controls, especially for third-country imports, since low-quality honey imports, adulteration and honey substitutes distort the market and exert constant pressure on prices and the final quality of the product on the EU's internal market; takes the view that the name of any processed product containing honey as an ingredient or any graphic or other visual element on the label or on the packaging of that processed product should be allowed to make reference to honey in the name of the product only if at least 50 per cent of the sugar content originates from honey;

5.   Calls on the Commission to consider the consultation of beekeepers by European and national authorities as obligatory during the development of beekeeping programmes and of related legislation in order to ensure the effectiveness of those programmes and their timely implementation;

6.   Calls on the Commission to ask the Member States to put in place a reliable system of annual bee-stock registration rather than basing beekeeping programmes on estimated figures;

7.   Recognises that the development of innovative and effective treatments against Varroa mites, implicated in considerable annual losses in certain regions, is of high importance; takes the view that there is a need to make effective veterinary treatments against Varroa mites and all kinds of related diseases more widely available throughout Europe; asks the Commission to introduce common guidelines regarding veterinary treatment in the sector, for which cooperation with beekeepers' organisations is vital;

8.   Calls on the Commission to adapt the scope and financing of European veterinary policy to take account of the specific nature of bees and beekeeping with a view to ensuring more effective bee-disease control and availability of effective and standardised veterinary medicine throughout the Union, in collaboration with beekeepers' organisations;

9.   Calls on the Commission to improve coordination of the various research programmes carried out in Member States with a view to establishing an action plan for tackling bee mortality; points out that this should include mainstreaming sustainable, pollinator-friendly farming practices by avoiding monocultures without rotation;

10.   Calls on the Commission to implement the recommendations of the abovementioned scientific report adopted by EFSA on 3 December 2009, notably funding ‘specific studies that build on the existing work in progress to improve the knowledge and understanding of factors that affect bee health’;

11.   Calls for independent and timely research into bee mortality, and for the Commission to ensure that data on the effects on the environment and specific species of plant protection products (such as coated seeds), genetically modified crops and the spread of toxins via pollen are made public and that any new initiatives are based on sound science and statistical evidence; calls on the Commission to launch a study on those matters and to present its results in a reasonable timeframe;

12.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that existing support for the apiculture sector and the future of this policy is maintained and strengthened in the CAP after 2013, guaranteeing the continuation and improvement of this sector; welcomes the Commission's decision of July 2010 to increase the budget for beekeeping programmes; acknowledges that this is a method of supporting the future development of European apiculture, contributing to the preservation of biodiversity; acknowledges, furthermore, the importance of bees in maintaining the level of production, in arable farming and in the horticultural sector, and considers it important to provide remuneration for the provision of this environmental public good;

13.   Calls on the Commission to ensure there is financial support for education, information campaigns and training of new and professional apiarists, with a particular focus on encouraging new apiarists to gain a foothold in the sector, including the possibility of exchanges of experience with those in other countries;

14.   Calls on the Commission to study, in agreement with Member States, and in coordination between veterinary services and beekeeping organisations, as already provided for in some Member States, the opportunities for the establishment of an EU veterinary guidance plan on bee health with a view to ensuring access to veterinary medicine where necessary, which would be financed under the European veterinary policy;

15.   Asks the Commission to improve coordination of, and knowledge transfer between, applied scientific research, apiculture and agriculture;

16.   Takes the view that, owing to the possible influence of plant protection products on colony development in addition to the effects on adult bees, plant protection product effects on the whole hive should be considered as well; recalls in this respect that the Commission stated in plenary, at the time of the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, that when revising the data requirements for active substances and plant protection products, as referred to in Article 8(1) (b) and (c) thereof, the Commission would pay particular attention to follow-up examinations and to study protocols, making possible risk assessment which takes into account the direct and indirect exposure of bees to these products, in particular through nectar, pollen and water, which can contain traces of pesticides originating from water collected by bees;

17.   Calls on the Commission to follow a comprehensive and sustainable approach in its future development of the implementation of Community aid schemes in the field of beekeeping, in particular rural development, climate change and biodiversity, especially by supporting measures to maintain and expand flower pastures;

18.   Calls on the Commission to support the European apiculture sector in an even wider and coherent manner by using additional instruments in the future CAP, including measures to enhance biodiversity, mitigate the effects of climate change, preserve the heritage of national traditions and cultures which provide employment for many European families, and to safeguard and improve the quality and effective functioning of the market for apiculture products;

19.   Calls on the Commission to coordinate national monitoring programmes for labelling requirements and risk mitigation measures which should be included in plant protection product authorisation, as well as exposure monitoring programmes for plant protection products;

20.   Calls on the Commission to promote the direct sale of apiculture products to consumers in the local marketplace;

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

(1) OJ C 81 E , 31.3.2004, p. 107.
(2) OJ L 143, 30.4.2004, p. 56.
(3) OJ C 104 E , 30.4.2004, p. 941.
(4) OJ L 299, 16.11.2007, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 16 E, 22.1.2010, p. 65.
(6) OJ L 65, 13.3.2010, p. 27.
(7) OJ L 118, 12.5.2010, p. 56.
(8) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/154r.pdf
(9) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/scdoc/27e.htm


A new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020
PDF 184k   DOC 115k
European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020 (2010/2108(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0441 A7-0313/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission stocktaking document entitled ‘Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020’, published on 7 May 2010,

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Council and the European Parliament of 10 January 2007 entitled ‘An Energy Policy for Europe’ (COM(2007)0001 ), which was followed by Commission Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 November 2008 entitled ‘Second Strategic Energy Review - an EU Energy Security and Solidarity Action Plan’ and accompanying documents (COM(2008)0781 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2009 on the Second Strategic Energy Review(1) ,

–   having regard to the Third Energy Package, consisting of Regulation (EC) No 713/2009 of 13 July 2009 on setting up the Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators, Regulation (EC) No 714/2009 of 13 July 2009 on the conditions of grid access for cross-border electricity trade and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1228/2003, Regulation (EC) No 715/2009 of 13 July 2009 on the conditions of access to the NG transmission grid and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005, Directive 2009/72/EC of 13 July 2009 on the community rules for the internal electricity market and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC (the ‘Electricity Directive’ or ‘ED’), as well as Directive 2009/73/EC of 13 July 2009 on the community rules for the natural gas (NG) internal market and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (the ‘NG Directive’ or ‘NGD’)(2) ,

–   having regard to the EU Energy and Climate Change Package, consisting of Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles, Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC, Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community, Directive 2009/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC, Directive 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006, as well as Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community's greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020(3) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 26 September 2007 on towards a common European foreign policy on energy(4) ,

–   having regard to the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) of 17 December 1994, which sets the legal framework for international energy cooperation, together with its draft Transit Protocol,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 663/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy (European Energy Programme for Recovery)(5) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 31 May 2010 entitled ‘Programme to aid economic recovery: Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy (amending Regulation (EC) No 663/2009)’ (COM(2010)0283 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 7 October 2009 entitled ‘Investing in the Development of Low Carbon Technologies (SET-Plan)’ (COM(2009)0519 ), and having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2010 on investing in the development of low carbon technologies (SET-Plan)(6) ,

–   having regard to the Commission report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 May 2010 on the implementation of the Trans-European energy networks in the period 2007-2009 (COM(2010)0203 ),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to safeguard security of gas supply and repealing Directive 2004/67/EC (COM(2009)0363 ) (Vidal-Quadras report),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission on an Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising the Potential (COM(2006)0545 ),

–   having regard to the Commission report to the Council and the European Parliament of 25 June 2010 on progress concerning measures to safeguard security of electricity supply and infrastructure investment (COM(2010)0330 ),

–   having regard to the draft Council conclusions of 21 May 2010 entitled ‘Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020’(7) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use efficiency and energy services and repealing Council Directive 93/76/EEC (Energy Services Directive)(8) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2004/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on the promotion of cogeneration based on a useful heat demand in the internal energy market and amending Directive 92/62/EEC (‘CHP Directive’)(9) ,

–   having regard to Article 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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 opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A7-0313/2010 ),

A.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty marks a new period for the Union which calls for the adjustment of our goals and strategies and of the EU budget in order to fully implement the Treaty,

B.   whereas the inclusion in the Lisbon Treaty of a specific chapter on energy now means that there is a firm legal basis for developing energy initiatives based on sustainability, security of supply, the interconnection of networks and solidarity,

C.   whereas the Union faces the problem of delayed or incomplete implementation of energy legislation and a lack of coordinated energy strategies, which calls for strong leadership from the Commission to bridge this gap, alongside a visible and convincing demonstration of Member State determination and support,

D.   whereas Europe continues to become more dependent on imports of foreign sources of energy, notably fossil fuels, whereas dependence on oil is particularly high and will increase in the future, and whereas the EU's energy policy must therefore have an international dimension,

E.   whereas living standards and economic competitiveness depend on the price and availability of energy,

F.   whereas the EU's energy policy should help it honour its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

G.   whereas major energy investments are needed, notably in new power plants, interconnections and grids, within the next decade, and whereas, given that these investments will shape the energy mix for an even longer period, steps should be taken to ensure that they allow for the transformation to a sustainable economy; whereas this will require a further diversification of financing instruments or, potentially, new market arrangements, especially in those regions most isolated in energy terms,

H.   whereas there are substantial biomass resources available in the EU27 to manufacture significant quantities of second-generation biofuels,

I.   whereas coal will continue to be an important primary source of energy supply for the public and the economy,

J.   whereas investments in the energy sector are very capital intensive, and there is a need to create a stable long-term regulatory framework which enables companies to take environmentally and economically sound investment decisions, and whereas this should on no account entail distortions of competition,

K.   whereas the EU's ambitious long-term emissions reduction goal should be set in the context of a global deal on climate change, in order to maximise the EU's positive contribution to the international negotiations and to minimise the risks of carbon leakage and loss of competitiveness for European industries,

L.   whereas energy network infrastructure needs to be financed first and foremost from energy tariffs; whereas, however, EU funding and support might also be needed where markets alone cannot finance such investments, in order to establish properly functioning networks and open up European energy markets, mainly in the least developed regions,

M.   whereas the economic downturn following the financial crisis has delayed investment in the energy sector; whereas, however, the crisis can also offer an opportunity for Europe to reform,

N.   whereas a sustainable and dynamic economy should strive to decouple economic growth from energy consumption, notably by increasing energy efficiency per unit of output,

O.   whereas the Commission also stated its intention to assess in 2009 the global LNG situation and identify gaps with a view to proposing an LNG action plan,

Introduction: A strategy to ensure the full implementation of the Lisbon Treaty

1.   Welcomes the Commission stocktaking document entitled ‘Towards a new Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020’ as a first step towards a comprehensive EU energy policy in the context of the EU's 2020 strategy;

2.   Considers that any future strategy should seek to fulfil the Lisbon Treaty's core objectives of a single energy market, security of supply, energy efficiency and savings and the development of new and renewable forms of energy and the promotion of energy networks; furthermore, it should contribute to affordable energy prices for the benefit of all consumers, the enhancement of renewables in the framework of sustainable energy production, and the development of interconnected, integrated interoperable and smart energy networks and lead to a reduced reliance on energy imports and an increase in indigenous energy production, while maintaining competitiveness and industry growth and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;

3.   Emphasises that the proposed strategy should be carried out, above all, in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility, on the basis that no Member State can be left behind or isolated and all Member States take measures to ensure the Union's mutual security; stresses the significance of the inclusion in the Treaty of a specific chapter on energy (Article 194 TFEU), providing a firm legal basis for Union action based on the Community method;

4.   Emphasises that the Union needs a long-term vision for an efficient and sustainable energy policy to 2050, guided by its long-term emissions reduction goals and complemented by precise and comprehensive short- and medium-term action plans to help it work towards these goals;

5.   Calls for plans to be drawn up for a European Energy Community involving strong cooperation on energy networks and European funding of new energy technologies; takes the view that the European Energy Community should, without initially requiring any amendment of the Lisbon Treaty, overcome the fragmentation of European energy policy and give the Union a strong international voice in its energy relations;

Ensure the functioning of the energy market

6.   Stresses that the completion of the European internal energy market is indispensable for the fulfilment of the EU's policy objectives; believes this should be based on a clear legal framework, in which legislation is strictly enforced and the Commission is more ready to bring infringement proceedings against Member States if needed;

7.   Strongly stresses the need to fully implement current EU energy legislation and to meet the EU's energy targets; underscores the need for the rapid and correct implementation of the Third Energy Package rules and of the energy efficiency package in all the Member States;

8.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that current internal market directives are fully and properly implemented and transposed by Member States and, should Member States fail to respond, to consider as a final measure the resubmission of key provisions of current internal market directives in the form of regulations, to ensure full direct application across the single market;

9.   Stresses the need to ensure security of supply for Europe's power generation stock by, in particular, developing an industrial policy which promotes long-term investment in the means of electricity production in the EU;

10.   Believes that the role of energy market regulators and cooperation between national regulators, competition authorities and the Commission should be strengthened, especially as regards the retail and wholesale markets; in that connection, calls on the Commission to take all necessary measures to ensure that the ACER and ENTSOs can fulfil their tasks efficiently; notes that if the ACER's and ENTSO's competences prove to be insufficient to create a more integrated European energy market, it might become necessary to amend their mandates; calls on the Commission and the ACER to develop proposals on how the involvement of stakeholders can be strengthened;

11.   Stresses the need to increase the transparency and improve the functioning of wholesale energy markets for the benefit of consumers, especially as regards the financial products traded on the energy market and the establishment of efficient intra-day markets throughout Europe; welcomes, in this context, the Commission's announcement that it intends to present a proposal on the transparency and integrity of traded energy markets and calls for the development of a coherent regulatory framework in this regard;

12.   Considers that consumers can benefit from increased competition in the energy market; highlights the need to foster competition by diversifying transport routes, energy sources and market operators on European markets and the importance of encouraging the development of new business models;

13.   Recalls the Commission's 2005 sector inquiry; calls for a second energy sector inquiry to be launched in 2013;

14.   Asks the Commission to organise an annual summit with representatives of the committees of the national parliaments responsible for energy matters and Members of the European Parliament and stakeholders in EU energy-related policies and legislation and in other related issues in order to ensure better mutual understanding; supports, further, the idea of a special meeting of the European Council focusing on relevant energy policy issues, which should take into account Parliament's reports on the Energy Strategy 2011-2020 and Energy Efficiency Action Plan;

Support modern integrated grids

15.   Strongly emphasises that any delay in the development of a modern and smart EU-wide electricity and gas grid jeopardises the EU's ambition to achieve by 2020 its 20-20-20 energy and climate objectives and to meet the EU 2050 objectives as agreed by the Heads of State and Government, thereby, enhancing the EU's security of energy supply; therefore welcomes the central focus of the Energy Strategy on smart and modern infrastructure to develop modern EU-wide integrated grids;

16.   Stresses that only a pan-European energy network, which takes no account of Member State borders, will make the completion of the internal energy market possible; sees an urgent need to develop and fully implement the legislative and financial mechanisms provided for under the Treaty and secondary legislation so as to remedy without delay any failure to act regarding gaps or shortcomings in the provision of Trans-European Energy Network links; points out that ensuring that all European energy production is used in an optimal way will reduce the need for imports;

17.   Urges the Member States to provide the Commission, in good time and in full, with the information required under Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 617/2010 on the notification of investment projects in energy infrastructure, so that an overview can be drawn up of potential gaps in demand and supply as well as obstacles to investments, pending the judgment of the Court of Justice on the legality of the regulation, which should have been adopted under the codecision procedure, as required by Article 194 of the Treaty;

18.   Believes that the forthcoming Commission ‘Blueprint for a North Sea offshore grid’, together with other regional initiatives such as the ‘Mediterranean Ring’ and the ‘Baltic Interconnection Project’, should become one of the building blocks for developing a European Supergrid; calls on the Member States and the Commission to set aside the resources required for its development;

19.   Stresses that the Ten-Year Network Development Plan (to integrate the EU's electricity and gas grid networks) should be brought more closely into line with the 2020 targets and then implemented as a methodological and technological basis for new legislation in the area of energy infrastructure; notes the role of the ACER in monitoring its implementation; stresses the urgent need to integrate energy islands into the European energy grid, including through the establishment of better gas grid interconnections and LNG terminals, which should bring an end to the market isolation of some Member States and increase security of supply for those EU countries that currently depend heavily on a few non-EU countries;

20.   Stresses the need for a more comprehensive exchange of information on the part of operators regarding infrastructure grid management in order to prevent market distortions being caused by information asymmetry;

21.   Reiterates that if the market is to have the incentive to invest in the research and development of new energy technologies it needs a regulatory framework; in this regard, highlights the continued need for a common EU patent;

22.   Points out, further, that there is an urgent need to develop and modernise distribution networks, in order to integrate growing amounts of distributed generation;

23.  Believes that the current programme for the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) was inefficient, did not contribute significantly to the construction of interconnection between Member States and needs to be adjusted to meet the targets set in the climate and energy package and the third internal market package; believes, further, that the proposed energy infrastructure package and the replacement for TEN-E should therefore:

   (a) evaluate the problem of permits for energy infrastructure and benchmark the different approaches with the aim of removing red tape, shortening approval processes and addressing the public's concerns;
   (b) define and support priority projects and set criteria to identify key infrastructure investments for the development of the internal energy market, taking into account the projects' contribution to security of supply, the need to strengthen competition and meet long-term sustainable energy goals and improve social and territorial cohesion;
   (c) give clear criteria and guidelines to Member States on public and EU funding for energy infrastructure;
   (d) extend financial support, including by the European Investment Bank and other financial intermediaries, to the implementation phase of projects, to deal with market failures;
   (e) create a cross-border cost-sharing model, especially as regards coordinated development of infrastructure and renewables, inspired by successful existing models;
   (f) evaluate whether opening up infrastructure projects of EU importance to tendering could speed up investment in infrastructure;

Financing of energy policy

24.   Considers that the new multiannual financial framework should reflect the EU's political priorities as outlined in the 2020 Strategy, taking into account the findings and priorities of the Second Strategic Energy Review, which implies that a significantly higher proportion of the budget should be allocated to energy policy, including modern and smart energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, renewable-energy projects and research, development and deployment of new energy technologies;

25.   Believes that a modern EU-wide electricity grid will play a key role in achieving the 20% development target for renewables; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop an appropriate system of incentives for investment in power plants in specific regions, in order to achieve optimal economic effect and avoid inefficient investments in networks; points out, in this regard, that an overall strategy must address the energy system in its entirety, from producers to consumers;

26.   Asks the Commission to propose a strategy to increase efficiency on the heat market in order to support efficient local infrastructures, such as district heating and cooling, that foster the development of integrated solutions for heating, cooling and electricity based on combined heat and power and efficient use of renewable energy sources;

27.   Believes that innovative financial instruments (for instance risk-sharing facilities and loan schemes by public banks) could be an important tool for supporting investments in energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, renewable-energy projects and research and development of new energy technologies with the aim of supporting the transition towards a sustainable economy; calls, therefore, on the Commission increasingly to supplement or replace traditional grants by these schemes and to encourage Member States to use such innovative financial instruments; draws attention, in that connection, to the positive experience gained with other similar instruments; strongly endorses the proposal to use EU budget equity as loan guarantees to encourage private and public investments;

28.   Believes, as stressed by the Commission in the EU 2020 strategy, that the EU should shift the tax burden towards activities harmful to the environment; encourages the Commission to review the energy taxation directive in accordance herewith;

29.   Regards it as essential that future funding of energy investments should focus on projects which create the largest possible number of new jobs;

30.   Stresses that some Union support for major infrastructure investment in some Member States, including in electrical grids and supply networks, in particular to secure energy supply and achieve climate and environmental goals, may be needed if the market alone cannot provide it;

31.   Emphasises that market integration requires better use of existing functional grids, based on the harmonisation of market arrangements across borders and the development of common European schemes for management of the interconnections;

32.   Notes the ACER's responsibility to ensure that national programming of electricity grid development corresponds to the 10-year Network Development Plan;

33.   Stresses that many of the newer Member States are especially vulnerable to external energy supply disruptions and need particular Union support in ensuring stable energy security;

34.   Welcomes the establishment of a smart grids task force within the Commission and recommends that it take due account of the opinions of all stakeholders; asks the Commission to provide Parliament with regular progress reports on the task force's work; stresses that, on the basis of the task force's conclusions, the Commission should guarantee a favourable regulatory framework at EU level for smart grids which provides appropriate incentives for network operators to invest in operational efficiency and which sets EU-wide common standards for the development of smart grids, thereby aiding the transition to a sustainable economy; furthermore, supports pilot projects for innovative communication, automation and grid control technologies; recalls the provisions on smart meters in Directives 2009/72/EC and 2009/73/EC;

35.   Supports pilot projects for the roll-out of smart meters - for instance under the SET-Plan initiative ‘smart cities’ - provided that consumers and low-income users are protected and privacy is guaranteed;

36.   Asks the Commission to come forward, by the end of 2011, with an analysis on the future of the global and EU gas market, including the impact of the gas infrastructure projects already planned (such as the projects developed in the context of the Southern Corridor), new LNG terminals, the impact of shale gas on the US gas market (notably on LNG import needs) and the impact of possible shale gas developments in the EU on future security of gas supply and prices; believes the analysis should reflect, and take as a starting point, the current state of infrastructure development and the EU's 2020 CO2 targets; stresses that all relevant stakeholders should be consulted;

Exploit better the EU's energy efficiency and renewable energy potential

37.   Takes the view that energy efficiency and energy savings should be key priorities of any future strategy, as they represent a cost-effective way of reducing EU energy dependency and combating climate change, contributing to job creation and economic competitiveness and counteracting the increase in energy tariffs and bills, thus reducing energy poverty; calls on the Commission and the Member States to put energy efficiency at the top of the EU agenda, and calls for the implementation of existing legislation to be stepped up and for the timely adoption by the Commission of an ambitious Energy Efficiency Action Plan; therefore believes that it should be implemented in a way that takes into account the efforts already made in some Member States;

38.   Welcomes the review of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan; calls on the Commission to take Parliament's opinion into account;

39.   Stresses that ICT can and should play a major role in promoting responsible energy consumption in households, transport, energy generation and manufacturing; considers that smart meters, efficient lighting, cloud computing and distributed software have the potential to transform energy use patterns;

40.   Believes that energy efficiency and energy savings should also focus on the whole energy supply and demand chain, including transformation, transmission, distribution and supply, alongside industrial, household and transport consumption;

41.   Supports the development of a properly functioning market for energy services and the introduction of further market mechanisms to improve the energy efficiency as a way of stimulating the competitiveness of the EU economy;

42.   Believes, further, that more focus should be placed on the energy performance of energy-consuming products; encourages the Commission to implement the eco-design directive to the full, e.g. by including more products and applying a dynamic standard-setting model to ensure that ambitious targets are set and regularly updated;

43.   Calls on the Commission to present an evaluation of the implementation of the existing legislation; considers that, if the evaluation reveals unsatisfactory implementation of the overall energy efficiency strategy and the EU is therefore projected not to reach its 2020 energy efficiency target, the EEAP should include a commitment by the Commission to propose further EU measures for Member States, such as individual energy efficiency targets which correspond to at least 20% energy savings at EU level in line with the EU2020 headline targets and which take into account relative starting positions and national circumstances, and the approval in advance of each Member State's national energy efficiency action plan; considers that such additional measures should be shown to be necessary, fair and measurable and to have an effective and direct impact on the implementation of national energy efficiency plans; calls on the Commission and the Member States to agree on a common methodology for measuring national energy efficiency targets and monitoring progress towards achieving those targets;

44.   Supports a multi-level governance and decentralised approach to energy policy and energy efficiency, including the Covenant of Mayors and the further development of the Smart Cities initiative; underlines the need for credible funding, including for bottom-up initiatives and for the involvement of cities and regions; stresses that bringing future Cohesion Policy and the use of its funds into line with the EU2020 strategy would provide for a key delivery mechanism for smart and sustainable growth in the Member States and regions;

45.   Believes that Europe is falling behind its international partners in developing the full potential of bioenergy technology; encourages the Commission and the Member States to draft a cross-sectoral biomass policy that establishes a sustainable market for biomass from agriculture, agricultural waste and forestry whilst preventing an increase in emissions and a loss of biodiversity; recognises that sustainable second-generation technology is available now; calls on the Commission to propose a policy framework and supports further promotion of the deployment of sustainable second-generation biofuels in Europe;

46.   Calls on the Commission to analyse the respective national renewable energy action plans presented by Member States; asks the Commission to take action if needed to help certain Member States to improve their plans and to use its full powers to ensure that Member States live up to their legal obligation to meet their national target; highlights the cooperation mechanisms in the directive to help the Member States to reach their targets; calls, further, on the Commission to establish a cooperation platform between competent national bodies in order to facilitate the exchange of information and the identification of best practices for renewables;

47.   Recognises the important role of pumped storage plants as an efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly source of power for ancillary and balancing services;

48.   Believes that to ensure the effective deployment of renewable energy, the flexibility mechanisms provided for in the RES Directive should be used and grid connection conditions should be harmonised with a view to ensuring uniformly profitable terms for renewable energy (e.g. payment of grid connection costs through the grid tariff); believes that in the medium term regional renewables market groups could be created;

49.   Calls for the deployment of renewable sources of energy within the EU to be made more efficient by striving in the longer run towards a system of EU-wide incentives for renewable sources, which would make it possible for specific types of renewables to be deployed in those parts of the EU where they are most efficient, thereby lowering the cost of promoting them and guaranteeing the efficient allocation of funding; believes that in the long term renewable energy should be part of a properly-functioning and integrated internal EU energy market;

50.   Believes that a medium-term vision should be developed with a view to tackling key issues relating to the full market integration of renewable energies; emphasises in this regard that any harmonisation must be properly prepared in order to avoid disrupting existing national markets; believes that a precondition for a harmonised support scheme is a properly-functioning, undistorted internal energy market and a level playing field; believes that any future policy should build on those support mechanisms which have proven their effectiveness in meeting targets and at the same time have guaranteed broad geographical and technological diversity and safeguarded investors' confidence;

51.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to incorporate financial and fiscal instruments for energy efficiency (notably as regards improvements to buildings) in their national energy efficiency action plans and to consider energy efficiency and energy infrastructure as a priority for the future multiannual financial framework; believes that an intelligent use of funds - such as green infrastructure banks to leverage private capital and easy and targeted access to EU funds - is crucial to increase the leverage of EU funds for enhancing energy efficiency;

Ensure security of energy supply

52.   Believes that, in coordination with the EEAS, the Commission should ensure that the Union speaks with one voice on external energy policy; believes, further, that the EU should use its new powers to actively identify the scope for and strengthen cooperation with third countries in the area of climate change mitigation and environmental protection;

53.   Considers that the EU must ensure that its energy policy has a strong and coherent international dimension and must integrate energy considerations into its external policies and actions; believes that the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should give strong diplomatic support to the EU's energy policy, with the aim of enhancing energy security;

54.   Believes that in the short to medium term priority should be given to strategic energy infrastructure development and to expanding the relationship with central suppliers and transit countries; takes the view, however, that the most effective and sustainable long- term solution is achievable through the implementation of energy efficiency and energy-saving measures and the use of indigenous sustainable energy sources;

55.   Considers that all external pipelines and other energy networks entering the territory of the European Union should be governed by transparent intergovernmental agreements and subject to internal market rules, including rules on third party access, destination clauses, supervision of allocation and bottleneck management, the duration of the contracts and take or pay clauses; calls on the Commission to ensure that current and future pipelines and commercial agreements respect the European energy acquis and to take action if necessary;

56.   Believes that the EU should stick to the letter of the law and enforce compliance therewith in the spirit of energy solidarity and respect for competition and common market rules, and not give in to the vested interests of individual European countries, especially not exporters of gas to the European market;

57.   Calls for the further extension of membership of the Energy Community Treaty (ECT) to more of the EU's neighbouring countries, notably countries in the Eastern Partnership; emphasises that the Commission should ensure and enforce the timely and strict implementation of EU energy rules by Member States of the ECT, in particular by making the availability of EU funds contingent on compliance with Treaty obligations;

58.   Considers that the energy chapter covering political and technological cooperation included in each agreement with neighbouring states should be strengthened, notably by strengthening energy efficiency programmes and internal market rules; believes the Council should issue the Commission with a mandate to start negotiations on transforming current Memorandums of Understanding on energy issues into legally binding texts; points out that respect for human rights and a social dimension should be part of the energy dialogues;

59.   Calls on the Commission to step up, through trade agreements, the process of adopting EU-compatible safety and energy-efficiency rules for the generation, transmission, transit, storage and processing/refining of energy imports and exports, and to propose at WTO level global standards to boost open and fair trade in safe and renewable energy sources and new innovative energy technologies;

60.   Welcomes Russia's participation in the meetings of the Energy Charter Conference; calls on the Commission to work to extend the treaty to more countries and, in the forum of the Energy Charter Conference, to work towards a negotiated settlement leading to the full acceptance of the principles of the energy charter and its protocols by Russia; stresses, however, that any agreement should fully comply with EU internal energy market rules; stresses, further, that energy should be central to the post-PCA agreement with Russia and that this new agreement should serve as a guide and a foundation for consistency and coherence in individual Member States' relations with Russia;

61.   Asks the Commission and Council to work closely with NATO to ensure a consistency between the Union's and NATO's strategies on energy security;

62.   Asks the Commission to ensure that the Security of Gas Supply regulation is fully applied after its entry into force;

63.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States concerned to proceed further with the implementation of the EU Southern Gas Corridor, especially the Nabucco project, which could significantly enhance security of gas supply in the European Union; asks the Commission to report to Parliament and the European Council on the steps taken in this process;

64.   Calls for a special energy dialogue with the countries of the Caspian region, and welcomes the work on a Caspian Development Corporation; endorses, in this context, the dialogue on the EU Strategy for the Black Sea region and emphasises the importance of all energy issues in the dialogue between the EU and the countries of this region;

65.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote DESERTEC and TRANSGREEN in the context of the Mediterranean Solar Plan initiatives, in order to enhance security of supply and promote the development of the countries concerned by supporting solar power plants and other sustainable renewable energy technologies in the North African region and its connection to the European grid, if this proves economically viable and does not jeopardise the EU ETS system; believes that the cooperation instruments provided for in the directive on renewables imports from third countries should be exploited to the full;

66.   Recalls that it is the responsibility of Member States to decide on their specific energy mix, the aim being to lower carbon emissions and dependence on fuels vulnerable to price changes; points out that the Member States and the Commission should ensure that the highest safety standards are applied to new and current nuclear power plants, both inside and outside the Union;

67.   Considers that research into nuclear fusion as a source of energy for the future should continue, subject to compliance with budgetary principles;

68.   Believes, with regard to those Member States which have chosen nuclear energy as a part of their energy mix, that the establishment of EU minimum standards for licensing and design certification for new nuclear power plants would be useful with a view to ensuring the highest possible degree of safety of the technology; believes the best available technology should always be used in new power plant construction projects; calls also for further EU measures to encourage the introduction of standards for sustainable radioactive waste management;

69.   Encourages and supports the construction of LNG terminals and interconnections, notably in countries most vulnerable to disruptions of gas supply, subject to a cost-benefit analysis and on condition that no distortion of competition and discrimination occurs; stresses the importance of further expansion of the European LNG fleet, thereby enhancing the EU's energy security; welcomes, in this context, the Commission's proposal to enhance cooperation on energy matters with the Gulf and Middle East countries;

70.   Believes that some rural parts of Europe have particular needs when it comes to energy supply, and, in that connection, invites the Member States to take these needs into account, for example by removing the barriers, including fiscal barriers, to local energy production, such as by means of micro-cogeneration;

71.   Considers that the strategy to restrict hard coal consumption in EU Member States should not be allowed to strengthen the gas import monopoly; restricting hard coal consumption in the energy sector must be conditional on effective diversification of gas supplies in the Member States so as to avoid reinforcing the raw materials monopoly;

Promote energy research and development and innovation

72.   Calls for the close monitoring and implementation of the SET-Plan and the identification of obstacles to the mobilisation of public and private investments; welcomes recent progress in launching the first four European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) and the Joint Research Initiatives; calls for the other initiatives to be launched as soon as possible and calls on the Council to release the required funds; asks the Commission to provide stakeholders with transparent information on the financing options for SET-Plan initiatives;

73.   Welcomes the progress made by establishing the Joint Technology Initiatives; calls on the Commission to come forward with new, complementary EIIs as part of the SET-Plan in order to exploit the great potential of other renewables technology avenues, namely geothermal and solar thermal, hydropower and ocean energy, and to include the existing renewables heating and cooling platform; stresses the need to make EU budget resources available in order to finance these initiatives;

74.   Supports the development of cost-efficient new technologies for the forecasting of variations in energy production, demand-side management, electricity transmission and electricity storage (including the use of hydrogen and other fuel cells), which would make it possible to increase total base demand and improve the flexibility of a system with high levels of renewables and electric vehicles;

75.   Stresses the importance of skilled and qualified workers in the gas and electricity sector; therefore calls on the Commission to examine, in consultation with the social partners concerned, how to address and encourage vocational education and training;

76.   Emphasises that Europe should be at the cutting edge in the development of energy-related Internet technologies and low-carbon ICT applications; considers that enhanced support for innovation must always be accompanied by a reduction in the red tape confronting applicants; calls on the Commission to eliminate red tape by re-engineering Framework Programme procedures;

77.   Calls on the Commission to promote and support environmentally sound pilot projects in the EU for the exploitation of unconventional domestic energy sources; asks the Commission to assist Member States in carrying out geological surveys to determine the level of available shale gas reserves in the Union and to analyse and assess the economic and environmental viability of domestic shale gas; asks for this information to be included in any future long-term Union strategy;

78.   Believes that some countries, such as China, have assigned a strategic role to the development of a domestic renewable energy industry dedicated to exports and are therefore supporting local companies by granting them easy access to cheap capital and infrastructure; calls on the Commission to adopt a policy framework that would enhance the competitiveness and attractiveness of the European investment environment for the renewable energy industry;

79.   Believes that in the context of the transitional phase leading to the establishment of a sustainable economy by 2050, conventional and unconventional natural gases are a necessary source of energy that offer a quick and cost-efficient way of lowering emissions; research and development funds should be targeted on making these gases cleaner;

80.   Supports further cooperation between the Member States and the Commission on ensuring that the necessary incentives are provided for the development of a sustainable market for biomass, whilst taking the relevant biodiversity and food production issues into account;

81.   Believes that research and development in the area of energy technology innovation, with a particular focus on new, clean, sustainable and efficient energy technologies, should be a central priority of the new Eighth Framework Programme for Research and Development; strongly urges the Member States and Commission to prioritise this policy area in the next budget and multiannual financial framework; emphasises that the allocation methods should reflect the differing capabilities of Member States in the R&D sphere;

82.   Calls on the Commission to integrate sustainable transport into the energy strategy in a manner that exploits the full potential of all the various technologies, including by means of an adequate regulatory framework and an action plan on green vehicles, support for technological research and development, the removal of barriers to deployment of new (fuel) technologies, the setting of common standards (for example for rail transport and electric cars), ambitious standards for fossil fuel engines, the establishment of ‘green transport corridors’ through Europe, and the integration of modes of transport; particular attention should be paid to electric cars, in order to ensure that they can be driven and recharged easily throughout Europe and that their increased use is combined with the development of ‘intelligent’ electricity grids and storage systems, high levels of renewable energy production and the use of combined heat and power;

83.   Points out that research in the field of energy should contribute not only to greenhouse gas emissions reductions and to guaranteeing security of supply, but also to improving the competitiveness of European industry; in this regard, believes that standardisation efforts involving the EU's strategic partners (such as China, Japan, India, Russia and the US) as regards new low-carbon energy technologies, including electric vehicles, are vital to ensure that European innovations are fully tradable on the international market; with a view to ensuring the efficient and fair transfer of technology, encourages the EU and its international trade partners to work towards opening up trade in sustainable technologies, the long-term aim being zero tariff barriers on green technology;

84.   Considers that an effective way of reducing energy consumption would be to undertake research into substitutes for conventional raw materials and construction materials whose production is less-energy intensive;

Putting consumers and citizens benefits at the centre of EU energy policy

85.   Underlines the importance of smart meters as a means of helping consumers to monitor more effectively their peak-rate consumption and improve energy efficiency within their homes; believes that smart metering and energy projects in general call for awareness- raising campaigns and educational programmes on energy efficiency in order to explain their benefits to the public; stresses that informing society about the benefits of smart metering is crucial to its success; points out that Parliament has called as a policy goal for 50% of homes in Europe to be fitted with smart meters by 2015 and an obligation on the part of the Member States to guarantee that at least 80% of consumers are equipped with intelligent metering systems by 2020(10) ;

86.   Considers that informed customers and members of the public can influence the market by taking conscious decisions; welcomes, therefore, initiatives such as the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF), in which a wide range of stakeholders can discuss matters of shared interest;

87.   Considers that the thermal upgrading of buildings and the material and energy recycling of urban and industrial waste could produce considerable benefits for consumers;

88.   Supports initiatives to facilitate the adaptation of human resources needs to the move towards a low-CO2 energy mix;

89.   Asks the Commission to monitor and report to Parliament on the implementation of the third internal market package as regards national measures to prevent energy poverty, and reminds the Member States of their obligations under existing legal provisions;

90.   Calls for the adoption of the highest possible safety standards for all sources of energy, inter alia through cooperation programmes between Member States, in order to address public reservations and promote greater public acceptance; calls, at the same time, for increasing public awareness of the importance of adequate electricity supplies and the need for new power-generation and transmission infrastructure; supports campaigns to enhance consumer awareness of the energy savings available to them in everyday life and existing mechanisms, such as energy advice services, in order to bring about a behavioural change;

91.   Notes that annual consumer switching rates vary among the Member States between zero and 20%; stresses that difficulties in comparing offers on the market and the lack of information constitute barriers to switching and effective retail market competition; recalls that under the third energy package it is the duty of national regulatory authorities to ensure that the consumer protection measures in the directives are effective and enforced;

92.   Reminds the energy industry of its obligations under the third energy package to introduce clear and understandable energy invoices; believes that the Commission's Citizens' Energy Forum templates for invoices contain the minimum standard information required for each energy invoice and should be used as a basis for transparent energy invoices across the Union;

93.   Encourages the Commission and the Member States, in order to make the achievement of the long-term goals easier and more cost-effective, seriously to consider moving to the 30% CO2 reduction target for 2020 so as to ensure that the ETS market will function as a catalyst for investment in cleaner production processes and cleaner energy sources;

94.   Reiterates that the new energy policy must support the long-term objective of reducing the EU's greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050;

95.   Urges the Commission, in this regard, to compile analyses of long-term activities, including in the area of supply and demand, as well as the real risks and costs of supply failure compared with storage capacity, supply diversity and the costs thereof; the analyses should also cover long-term strategic and energy policy developments in the EU and, not least, assessments of how the EU can avoid supply failure;

96.   Believes, looking ahead to the Cancun Summit, that the ΕU should be at the forefront of efforts to achieve a comprehensive, legally binding and ambitious agreement, demonstrating that it is able to speak with one voice and confirm its leading role; in this context, encourages the Commission and the Member States to rethink their earlier proposal as part of an international agreement on CO2 emissions reduction targets, in order to make the achievement of the long-term goals easier and more cost-efficient;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 16.
(2) OJ L 211, 14.8.2009.
(3) OJ L 140, 5.6.2009.
(4) OJ C 219 E, 28.8.2008, p. 206.
(5) OJ L 200 31.07.2009, p. 31.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0064 .
(7) 9744/10.
(8) OJ L 114, 27.4.2006, p. 64.
(9) OJ L 52, 21.2.2004, p. 50.
(10) Own-initiative report of 25 March 2010 on a new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu (2009/2225(INI) ) and own-initiative report of 14 April 2010 on mobilising Information and Communication Technologies to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy (2009/2228(INI) ).


Preparations for Cancun Climate Change Conference (29 November-10 December 2010)
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the climate change conference in Cancun (COP16)
P7_TA(2010)0442 B7-0616/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC,

–   having regard to the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UNFCCC and the fifth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP5) held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7 to 18 December 2009, and to the Copenhagen Accord,

–   having regard to the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the UNFCCC and the sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP6) to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010,

–   having regard to the EU climate and energy package of December 2008,

–   having regard to Commission Communication COM(2010)0265 presenting an analysis of the options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emissions reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage, and to Commission Communication COM(2010)0086 on international climate policy post-Copenhagen: Acting now to reinvigorate global action on climate change,

–   having regard to Directive 2008/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community(1) ,

–   having regard to the joint statement of 20 December 2005 by the Council and the representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: ‘The European Consensus’, and in particular points 22, 38, 75, 76 and 105 thereof(2) ,

–   having regard to the EU Council conclusions of 17 November 2009 and to its resolution of 18 May 2010 on Policy Coherence for Development and the ‘Official Development Assistance plus’ concept(3) ,

–   having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000, which set out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as objectives established jointly by the international community for the elimination of poverty,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions regarding climate change, and in particular those of 4 February 2009 on 2050: The future begins today – recommendations for the EU's future integrated policy on climate change(4) and of 10 February 2010 on the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP15)(5) ,

–   having regard to Oral Question ..... by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety tabled pursuant to Rule 115 of its Rules of Procedure, and having regard to the statements by the Council and the Commission,

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

A.   whereas the scientific evidence of climate change and its impacts is unequivocal, making fast, coordinated and ambitious action at international level an imperative in order to meet this global challenge,

B.   whereas developing countries have contributed least to climate change but are facing its most severe consequences; and whereas climate change is placing international poverty-reduction investment at risk, thus calling into question the achievement of the MDGs,

C.   whereas trust in the international negotiations on climate change needs to be restored after the disappointing outcome of the climate conference in Copenhagen,

D.   whereas developed, emerging and developed countries, which together account for over 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have made commitments/pledges to cut emissions under the Copenhagen Accord,

E.   whereas these commitments/pledges will be insufficient to meet the overall objective of limiting the overall global annual mean surface temperature increase to 2ºC (‘the 2ºC objective’),

F.   whereas these pledges have not been made under a system that incorporates any legal measures to enforce compliance or sufficient ‘measurement, reporting or verification’,

G.   whereas failing to meet the 2ºC objective will have enormous environmental and economic costs; whereas, inter alia , up to 40% of species will face extinction, millions of people will be displaced owing to rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events, crop yields will decline, food prices will increase and global economic output will be reduced by at least 3%,

H.   whereas an official report(6) cleared the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of errors that would undermine the main conclusion in the 2007 report on possible future regional impacts of climate change,

I.   whereas the IPCC estimates that 20% of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and other forms of land use change,

J.   whereas one of the key objectives of the EU should be to make it clear that a global transformation in technology and technological cooperation is necessary to speed up the pace of innovation and increase the scale of demonstration and deployment so that all countries have access to affordable sustainable technologies which would also guarantee a higher standard of living for a broader share of the world's population,

K.   taking into account the emphasis the EU's international climate partners place on energy efficiency, the difficulties in establishing international emissions targets and the economic advantages of energy efficiency targets,

Overall objective of COP16 and the EU's position

1.   Calls on Heads of State and Government worldwide to demonstrate real political leadership and willingness during the negotiations and give this issue the highest priority; deplores the fact that there has not been more progress to date in preparing for Cancun;

2.   Emphasises that substantive steps need to be agreed in Cancun to pave the way for the conclusion of a comprehensive international post-2012 agreement in South Africa in 2011, which should be in line with the latest developments in science and consistent with the 2ºC objective;

3.   Calls on the European Union to once again to take a leading role in the climate negotiations and to actively contribute to a more constructive and transparent climate conference in Cancun; accordingly, strongly urges the Commission and the Member States to resolve their differences over land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and surplus emission rights (AAUs), to speak with one voice and a high level of ambition in the COP16 negotiations and to improve their internal decision-making procedure so as to be able to react more quickly to developments during the negotiations, to act more strategically, and to be more responsive to third countries;

4.   Stresses the importance of a transparent decision-making process and the provision of information on the state of play of negotiations, especially during the final hours of the high-level segment of COP16, and urges the European Union to give its chief negotiator some flexibility to react to developments;

5.   Urges the European Union publicly and unequivocally to confirm its strong commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and to welcome and actively and constructively promote the continuation of the work under both the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA negotiation tracks, integrating the political guidelines of the Copenhagen Accord; calls, therefore, on the European Union to declare openly prior to Cancun that it is ready to continue with the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020) on the basis of its corresponding target, while recognising that comparable progress under both tracks is required to clear the way for an international post-2012 agreement that would meet the 2ºC objective;

6.   Calls on the EU and its Member States to define and implement a principle of ‘climate justice’; advocates, therefore, an equity clause in future international climate negotiations; insists that the biggest injustice would occur if the world were unable to limit climate change, because poor people in poor countries in particular would suffer;

7.   As climate change has a different impact on developing countries, suggests that climate action and financing should be targeted as a matter of priority on the countries which are most vulnerable to climate change and which do not have the capacities to cope with it;

8.   While stressing the serious urgency of the climate negotiations, emphasises the importance of taking substantive decisions in Cancun, as regards as financing (scale, sources and governance), and especially the degree of additionality in financing for adaptation, forestry, resource efficiency, technology transfer (while respecting existing principles relating to intellectual property rights), monitoring, reporting and verification, and the importance of guaranteeing full transparency on and strong political commitment to the implementation of the fast-start financing;

9.   As regards the Kyoto Protocol track, emphasises the importance of reaching agreement on the rules on LULUCF, the flexible mechanism and the coverage of new sectors and gases;

10.   Given that AAUs and LULUCF could affect the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol if these issues are not addressed properly, calls on the other Parties to explore possible options;

11.   Calls for an agreement in Cancun on robust rules on LULUCF that strengthen the level of ambition of the Annex I Parties, are designed to deliver emissions reductions from forestry and land use, require that Annex I Parties account for any increases in emissions from LULUCF and are consistent with the Parties' existing commitments to protect and enhance greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs;

12.   Considers that future EU ‘climate diplomacy’ activities should focus on strong political engagement with third countries, on policies to build effective mechanisms for international cooperation on climate change, both within and beyond the UNFCCC, and on climate cooperation with third countries to deliver practical support for low-carbon, climate-resilient development around the world;

13.   Emphasises that biodiversity conservation and the application of the ecosystem approach constitute the most efficient and cost-effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies; reaffirms its position that mitigation and adaptation responses cannot be purely technological;

Reduction commitments

14.   Reiterates that, according to the scientific evidence presented by the IPCC, the 2ºC objective requires that global greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2015 at the latest and are reduced by at least 50% as compared with 1990 by 2050 and continue to decline thereafter;

15.   Urges all international partners, including the USA and China, to come up with more ambitious commitments for emissions reductions based on the principle of a ‘common but differentiated responsibility’, in order to ensure consistency with the 2ºC objective;

16.   Reiterates the need to adopt a domestic greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the European Union of 30% by 2020 as compared with the 1990 level, in the interests of the future economic growth of the European Union;

17.   Welcomes the Commission's communication and its analyses of what is needed to achieve a 30% reduction; supports the idea expressed in the communication that, irrespective of the outcome of international negotiations, it is in the EU's interest to pursue an emissions reduction goal of more than 20% because it will promote green jobs, growth and security at the same time;

18.   Recalls that, owing to the drop in emissions as a result of the recession, the annual cost of achieving a 20% reduction by 2020 has fallen by one-third from EUR 70 billion to EUR 48 billion, and that the cost of a 30% reduction is now estimated at EUR 11 billion more than the original 20% reduction, i.e. an additional cost of less than 0.1% of the value of the EU economy;

19.   Recognises that reaching the 2ºC objective will only be possible if the developing countries as a group, in particular the more advanced among them, achieve a substantial and quantifiable deviation below the current predicted emissions growth rate of the order of 15 to 30% below business-as-usual by 2020, and that this will require financial, technical and technological capacity-building support from the developed countries; recognises that for lower temperature targets to be achievable greater levels of support will be required;

20.   Stresses that developing nations will be the worst affected by the consequences of climate change, so that it is in their vital interest to contribute to the successful conclusion of an international agreement; welcomes the very ambitious commitments made by some developing countries such as Costa Rica and the Maldives, and some emerging countries, such as Mexico and Brazil, and deplores the fact that some other emerging countries have not yet followed this example;

21.   Notes that, since urban areas produce 75% of carbon emissions, cities are at the forefront of our fight against climate change; therefore commends the undertaking given by European cities which have signed the Covenant of Mayors; welcomes the cities' commitment to combating climate change; recognises the efforts being made in many European cities with regard to transport and mobility; stresses the need to continue along the same lines in searching for more environment-friendly alternatives that will improve ordinary people's quality of life, whilst providing the requisite coordination of the efforts made at local, regional, national, European and global levels of government;

Financing

22.   Recalls that developed countries have committed themselves in the Copenhagen Accord to providing new and additional resources amounting to at least USD30 billion in the period 2010-2012 and USD100 billion per year by 2020, with a special emphasis on the vulnerable and least-developed countries; encourages the European Union to facilitate the establishment of a Green Climate Fund supplying USD100 billion per year from 2020;

23.   Recalls that the collective contribution by the EU towards developing countries' mitigation efforts and adaptation needs should be additional and not be less than EUR 30 000 million per annum by 2020, a figure that might increase as new knowledge is acquired concerning the severity of climate change and the scale of its costs;

24.   Considers the timely implementation of the fast-start financing to be a key factor in building an atmosphere of trust before and in Cancun; stresses the need for the EUR 7.2 billion, as pledged by EU and its Member States, to be new and additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA) budgets, with a balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation, and urges the European Union, coordinated by the Commission's DG Climate Action, to ensure full transparency when submitting coordinated reports on implementation in Cancun and thereafter on an annual basis;

25.   Stresses that monitoring, reporting and verification of finance must include a fair, common baseline against which contributions can be counted as new and additional; recommends that the baseline should be the longstanding commitment to provide 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) as ODA, or other corresponding national targets where these are higher;

26.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to honour their commitments and guarantee that resources for adaptation and mitigation come on top of the 0.7% ODA target and specify how much of the commitment will come from public funding; further stresses the need to mobilise both domestic as well as international resources from all possible sources to contribute to achieving this goal;

27.   Insists that in the area of financing for mitigation and adaptation through new mechanisms established principles of development policy, such as good governance and democratic participation in decision-making, should be respected and implemented; insists, further, that receiving countries should be required to prove that the money is spent on the stated, approved projects;

28.   Recalls that, in order to enhance the delivery of financial resources and investment, COP16 negotiators should take into account country ownership, effective use of resources and maximisation of impact, while also ensuring that funding is provided for the most vulnerable countries and communities;

Monitoring, reporting and verification

29.   Welcomes the provisions in the Copenhagen Accord on monitoring, reporting and verification and for international consultations and analysis, and urges the European Union to work with all Parties on guidelines implementing those provisions, to be adopted in Cancun;

30.   Recognises that measurement of the EU's apparent success to date in reducing CO2 emissions fails to take due account of the transfer of industrial production to locations outside its borders, notes that the real reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from consumption in the EU may be significantly smaller than the figure now suggested, and believes that this disparity must be taken into account both in developing future EU policy and in international negotiations;

Cooperation with developing countries and adaptation

31.   Stresses the historical responsibility borne by the developed countries for irreversible climate change and recalls the obligation to assist the developing countries and the least-developed countries in adapting to this change, including by providing financial support for National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) as important instruments for adaptation to climate change, which promote ownership;

32.   Recognises the importance of proactive adaptation to the unavoidable consequences of climate change, in particular in the regions of the world most affected by a changing climate and especially to protect the most vulnerable groups within societies, therefore calls for an agreement in Cancun which incorporates strong political and financial commitments to assist those developing countries in capacity-building;

33.   Welcomes the decision taken in Copenhagen on the establishment of a ‘Technology Mechanism’; calls on the EU and its Member States to strengthen their existing climate partnerships with developing countries, and to enter into new partnerships where they do not currently exist, providing increased financial support for technology development and transfer, agreements on intellectual property rights and institutional capacity-building;

34.   Stresses that the development perspective is of vital importance for many developing and emerging countries; acknowledges that this objective should play a more prominent role in the negotiations and reiterates the EU's commitment to supporting less developed countries on their way to a higher standard of living; stresses that it is possible to ensure a higher standard of living by opting for more sustainable solutions;

35.   Stresses that the non-Annex I parties cannot be treated as a bloc, because their capacities to invest in mitigation and adaptation of climate change, as well as their capacities to adjust to climate change, are not the same; emphasises, further, that some of these countries are already major emitters of CO2 today and have a high rate of growth of CO2 emissions;

36.   Stresses that ensuring policy coherence and mainstreaming the environment into development projects must be at the heart of an effective EU mitigation and adaptation climate change strategy; in particular, insists on the need to stimulate development pathways that favour more diversified and decentralised economies; at the same time, deeply deplores the fact that the EU has made little progress in mainstreaming the environment into its development cooperation and in other sectoral European policy areas;

37.   Recalls that both land use change and agriculture are responsible for a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions in the developing countries; calls on the EU to promote sustainable agriculture, especially in the least-developed countries (LDCs), as it contributes to both climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation by diversifying the sources of income of local communities;

38.   Calls on the EU to advocate that the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples should become a Party to the COP16 negotiations, since such peoples are particularly affected by climate change and climate change adaptation and mitigation mechanisms;

39.   Stresses that collective action on climate change must embrace strong governance structures and procedures that will give a greater voice to developing countries, and therefore calls on the EU to contribute to an institutional architecture that is inclusive, transparent, equitable and provides for a balanced representation between developed and developing countries on relevant governing bodies;

REDD and desertification

40.   Emphasises that natural greenhouse gas sinks, such as forests, are efficient means of climate change mitigation, owing to their CO2 absorption capacity, and urges the Parties to recognise the need to preserve forests and develop a forestation policy to be integrated into an international climate change agreement;

41.   Considers that significant financial support, as well as technical and administrative assistance, must be provided to halt gross tropical deforestation by 2020 at the latest, and reiterates that public funding is the most realistic tool in the light of that time frame; urges the European Union to work towards concrete decisions on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Cancun, including specific targets;

42.   Calls on the EU actively to support the REDD+ mechanism in order to better identify the drivers of deforestation and to ensure the effective involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities in monitoring and reporting; calls, further, on the EU to make sure that REDD includes safeguard mechanisms or a code of conduct guaranteeing that the rights of peoples living in the forests are not violated and that the loss of forests is efficiently halted;

43.   Supports the setting-up of a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing natural removals of greenhouse gas emissions which promote the conservation of biodiversity; supports, also, the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+);

44.   Deplores the fact that REDD funding is based on such a broad definition of forests, which includes monoculture plantations of non-native species; considers that this definition may provide a perverse incentive to divert funding from the much-needed protection of old and ancient forests to new, commercial plantations;

45.   Calls, therefore, on the Commission and Member States to work in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and in other international fora to establish a new UN definition of forests on a biome basis, reflecting the wide-ranging differences in biodiversity and carbon values of different biomes, while clearly distinguishing between native forests and those dominated by tree monocultures and non-native species;

46.   Takes the view that synergies between the three Rio Conventions on Biological Diversity (CBD), Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Desertification (UNCCD) should be enhanced; calls on the Commission and Member States actively to support the idea of holding a high-level meeting of the three Rio Conventions as part of the Rio+20 summit in 2012;

47.   Stresses that the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 28 July 2010 recognises access to drinking water as a human right and calls for special protection for water as an element particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which could lead to a decline in the quantity and quality of water available, particularly drinking water;

Transformation towards a sustainable economy and industry
48.Emphasises that many countries are moving quickly towards a new, sustainable economy, for various reasons, including climate protection, resource scarcity and efficiency, energy security, innovation or competitiveness; notes the magnitude of the economic stimulus plans dedicated to energy transition in countries such as the US and China;

49.   Calls for an agreement to ensure a level international playing field for carbon-intensive industries; stresses the importance of a binding international agreement for the competitiveness of the industry of the EU Member States; for this reason, emphasises the importance of the Bali Action Plan;

Sustainable economy and technology cooperation

50.   Believes that regardless of the progress in the international negotiations the European Union should urgently adopt the policies and instruments necessary to promote development of a more sustainable, low-carbon and resource-efficient economy, thereby mitigating climate change, improving air and environmental quality, enhancing health standards, promoting energy security, creating new jobs and ensuring that the European Union becomes the most competitive and sustainable economy in a world where investments are more and more being directed towards cleaner technologies;

51.   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;

52.   Emphasises that an agreement could provide the necessary stimulus for a ‘Sustainable New Deal’ boosting sustainable growth, promoting environmentally sustainable technologies, increasing energy-use efficiency in buildings and transport, reducing energy dependency and securing employment and social and economic cohesion in both developed and developing countries; recalls, in that connection, the commitments already made by the EU;

53.   Recalls the G20 climate policy agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and calls on the Commission to make proposals for a European strategy for its implementation, with timelines and social compensation mechanisms where appropriate;

Research and technology

54.   Is convinced that a global transformation in technology and technological cooperation is necessary to ensure that all countries have access to affordable sustainable technologies; notes that any future agreement should provide for workable mechanisms governing access to clean technologies;

55.   Considers that a new approach to technological cooperation is essential in order to speed up innovations and the application thereof, thereby enabling every country to have access to inexpensive environmental technologies;

56.   Notes that, as the fight against climate change calls for a reduction in both emissions and our overall ecological footprint, innovation is leading this necessary process of change; innovation must therefore be sustainable, ecological, social, fair and affordable;

57.   Points out that a network of Climate Innovation Centres, as part of this mechanism, would serve as a useful means of facilitating technological development, collaboration, diffusion and innovation;

58.   Stresses that the development and deployment of breakthrough technologies hold the key to fighting climate change and at the same time convincing our partners worldwide that emissions reductions are feasible without losing competitiveness and jobs; asks the Commission to assess various ways of providing incentives for climate-friendly innovation, e.g. by rewarding frontrunner businesses; calls for an international commitment to increase R&D investment in breakthrough technologies in the relevant sectors;

59.   Notes that recent scientific reviews support the fundamental view that man-made global warming must be tackled by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases; notes that more research efforts are needed in areas such as the range and timescale of temperature rises, identifying the effects of climate change at regional and local level, and the impact of land use, black carbon and of fine particles, and on corresponding adaptation measures;

60.   Believes that climate change is a highly complex issue involving many scientific disciplines and that the political decisions taken in this field must be firmly substantiated by scientific arguments; therefore calls on the Commission to keep the European Parliament constantly informed of all new significant scientific innovations or developments;

61.   Stresses that the EU budget should emphasise research, innovation and technology deployment in order to better reflect the EU's ambitions to fight climate change and shift towards a sustainable economy;

Energy, energy efficiency and resource efficiency

62.   Points out that across the globe an estimated 2 billion people continue to lack access to sustainable and affordable energy; stresses the need to address the energy-poverty issue in a manner consistent with climate policy objectives; notes that energy technologies are available, addressing both global environmental protection and local development needs;

63.   Deplores the fact that the potential for energy saving is not being adequately addressed at international level and in the EU in particular; notes that saving energy and improving energy efficiency will save resources, drive down emissions, increase energy security, create new jobs and make economies more competitive; calls on the EU to place more emphasis on energy savings in international negotiations;

64.   Calls on the EU to place more emphasis on energy savings in international negotiations; in that connection, notes and deeply deplores the fact that the EU is not on track to meet the 20% energy-saving target set by the Heads of State and Government by 2020, owing to the non-binding approach taken; calls, therefore, on the EU to lead by example and on the Commission to propose new measures to ensure that the target is met and that Europe does not lag behind in the area of global efficiency innovations;

65.   Emphasises the importance of combining the combat against climate change with a commitment to reduce our overall ecological footprint, striving to preserve natural resources, as eco-innovative technologies and alternative options for carbon-low energy depend on scarce resources;

International trade

66.   Stresses, with reference to the Preamble to the WTO Agreement and Article XX(b), (d) and (g) of the GATT, that international trade must not result in the over-exploitation of natural resources; insists, in connection with WTO negotiations and bilateral trade agreements, that the liberalisation of trade, particularly in natural raw materials, must not jeopardise sustainable resource management;

67.   Points to the scope for the EU to set a good example, by removing obstacles, such as tariffs and levies, to trade in ‘green’ technologies and environmentally sound and climate-friendly products and promoting ‘environmental goods and services’ (EGS), draws attention, in this connection, to the Bali Action Plan and the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund;

A global carbon market

68.   Calls on the EU and its partners to find, in the immediate future, the most effective way of promoting links between the EU ETS and other trading schemes aiming for a global carbon market, ensuring greater diversity of abatement options, improved market size and liquidity, transparency and, ultimately, the more efficient allocation of resources;

69.   Stresses, however, that any such effort must be informed by the lessons of the recent financial crisis, as well as the shortcomings of the EU ETS, in order to achieve transparency, prevent speculation and ensure that emissions reductions are actually achieved;

70.   Calls on the EU and its partners to propose in the immediate future restrictions on the misuse of international credits from industrial gas projects, including HFC-23 destruction in post-2012 emissions trading systems, and specifically in Clean Development Mechanism projects, as well as  in future sectoral market mechanisms; calls, therefore, on the EU and its partners to encourage the advanced developing countries to contribute to global reduction efforts through appropriate action of their own, starting with the cheapest abatement options;

71.   Stresses that, in a global context of competitive markets, the risk of carbon leakage is a serious concern in certain sectors which are important elements of the overall industrial product chain – including goods to fight climate change; requests the Commission to further analyse this risk and to propose appropriate and effective measures in order to preserve the international competitiveness of the EU economy, and, at the same time, take care that the EU's carbon footprint does not increase;

72.   Calls for a reform of the project-based mechanisms, such as CDM and JI, through the introduction of stringent project quality standards guaranteeing respect for human rights and reliable, verifiable and real additional emissions reductions that also support sustainable development in developing countries; endorses, moreover, the Commission's view that sectoral mechanisms for economically more advanced developing countries should be agreed for the period beyond 2012, while CDM should remain available to LDCs;

73.   Insists that the EU and its Member States need to fulfil their mitigation commitments primarily within the EU, and reminds all parties that the use of flexible mechanisms should be kept to a minimum;

International aviation and maritime transport

74.   Recalls that transport is the most greenhouse gas-intensive sector worldwide, accounting for 30% of emissions in the case of developed countries and 23% of global emissions; deplores the lack of progress in tackling the issue of global aviation and maritime transport and insists on the need to incorporate international aviation and maritime transport into an agreement under the UNFCCC;

75.   With a view to preventing any increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to transport by 2050, calls on the European Union to ensure that the full impact of aviation and maritime transport is taken into account in the international agreement and that the reduction targets for the aviation and maritime sectors are the same as for other industry sectors;

76.   Welcomes the commitment by airlines worldwide to sustain a fuel efficiency improvement of 1.5% per year up to 2020, to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards, and to bring about a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions over 2005 levels by 2050;

77.   Notes that half of road transport emissions are produced by private vehicles and that a substantial share of the emissions attributed to industry derive from fuel refining; in the face of the persistent increase in emissions from road transport, considers that measures should continue to be taken requiring manufacturers to improve the environmental and energy performance of vehicles;

European Parliament delegation

78.   Believes that the EU delegation plays an important role in the climate change negotiations, and therefore finds it unacceptable that the members of the European Parliament contingent in that delegation were unable to attend the EU coordination meetings at the previous Conference of the Parties; as stipulated in the Framework Agreement concluded between the Commission and the European Parliament in May 2005, and renegotiated in 2009, where the Commission represents the European Community, it must, at Parliament's request, facilitate the inclusion of Members of Parliament as observers in Community delegations negotiating multilateral agreements; recalls that, pursuant to the Lisbon Treaty (Article 218 TFEU), the European Parliament must give its consent to agreements between the Union and third countries or international organisations; expects at least the chairs of the European Parliament delegation to be allowed to attend EU coordination meetings in Cancun;

o
o   o

79.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, with the request that it be circulated to all non-EU contracting parties.

(1) OJ L 8, 13.1.2009, p. 3.
(2) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0174 .
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0042 .
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0019 .
(6) Drawn up by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.


Situation in Western Sahara
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the situation in Western Sahara
P7_TA(2010)0443 B7-0675 , 0676 , 0677 , 0678 , 0679 , 0680 and 0682/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council concerning Western Sahara,

–   having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1920 (2010), which extended the existing mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO),

–   having regard to the UN Secretary General's latest reports to the Security Council on the situation concerning Western Sahara of 14 April 2008, 13 April 2009 and 6 April 2010,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Morocco on 3 May 1979,

–   having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Union and the Member States of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, especially Article 2 of that agreement,

–   having regard to the EU statement of 7 December 2009 concerning the 8th Session of the EU-Morocco Association Council and the joint statement issued at the first EU-Morocco Summit of 7 March 2010,

–   having regard in particular to the conclusions drawn from the visits by Parliament's ad hoc delegation for Western Sahara in September 2006 and January 2009 which called for the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to be expanded, subject to the agreement of all parties concerned, so as to assign to it competence to monitor respect for human rights in Western Sahara, and which called on the Commission, also or if appropriate, by means of its Delegation in Rabat, to monitor the human rights situation in Western Sahara and regularly send missions there,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Western Sahara, in particular that of 27 October 2005(1) ,

–   having regard to the statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on Western Sahara of 10 November 2010,

–   having regard to statements by the Council and Commission of 24 November 2010 on the situation in Western Sahara,

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

A.   whereas several thousand Sahrawi left their cities and pitched tents in the outskirts of El Aaiun, setting up the Gdaim Izyk camp in peaceful protest at their social, political and economic situation and living conditions,

B.   whereas after several weeks they numbered some 15 000 persons, according to United Nations observers, and whereas dialogue was established with the authorities,

C.   whereas on Sunday, 24 October 2010, Nayem El-Garhi, a Sahrawi teenager aged 14, was killed and five others were injured by Moroccan military forces while they were trying to reach the camp in the outskirts of El Aaiun,

D.   whereas on 8 November 2010 a still unknown number of people, including police officers and security officials, were killed during Moroccan security forces' action with the aim of dismantling the protest camp of Gdaim Izyk; whereas there have also been reports of a significant number of wounded civilians as security forces used teargas and batons to clear the camp,

E.   whereas these incidents occurred on the same day on which the third cycle of informal talks on the status of Western Sahara opened in New York, with the participation of Morocco, the Polisario Front and the observer countries, Algeria and Mauritania,

F.   whereas journalists, EU national and regional parliamentarians and Members of the European Parliament were prevented from entering El Aaiun and Gdaim Izyk camp, while some were even expelled from El Aaiun,

G.   having regard to the violent death of the Spanish citizen Babi Hamday Buyema in circumstances which have not yet been established,

H.   whereas after more than 30 years the decolonisation process of Western Sahara remains unfinished,

I.   whereas the EU remains concerned about the conflict in Western Sahara and its regional consequences and implications, including the human rights situation in Western Sahara, and fully supports the efforts by the Secretary General of the United Nations and his Personal Envoy to find a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will allow the self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara as provided for in the resolutions of the United Nations,

J.   whereas several reports have shown that natural resources of Western Sahara are being exploited without any benefit to the local population,

1.   Expresses its greatest concern about the significant deterioration of the situation in Western Sahara and strongly condemns the violent incidents which occurred in Gdaim Izyk camp while it was being dismantled and in the town of Laâyoune;

2.   Calls on all parties to remain calm and refrain from any further violence;

3.   Deplores the loss of human life and expresses its solidarity with the families of the dead, the injured and the disappeared;

4.   Notes the setting-up by the Moroccan Parliament of a committee of inquiry to investigate the course of events which led to the intervention by the Moroccan authorities, but considers that the United Nations would be the most appropriate body to conduct an independent international inquiry in order to clarify the events, the deaths and the disappearances;

5.   Regrets the attacks on the freedom of press and information that many European journalists have suffered and demands that the Kingdom of Morocco permit free access to, and free movement in, Western Sahara for the press, independent observers and humanitarian organisations; deplores the ban imposed by the Moroccan authorities on entry to Western Sahara for parliamentarians, journalists, the media and independent observers;

6.   Insists on the necessity to call on UN bodies to propose the setting-up of a human rights monitoring mechanism in Western Sahara;

7.   Welcomes the resumption of informal meetings between Morocco and the Polisario Front under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General's Personal Envoy, even under such tense circumstances, and calls on the regional actors to play a constructive role;

8.   Recalls its support for the resumption of the informal talks between the parties to the conflict with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions;

9.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that the necessary humanitarian aid with increased funding be allocated to Sahrawi refugees, estimated to number between 90 000 and 165 000, living in the region of Tindouf in order to help them to meet their basic needs for food, water, housing and medical care and to improve their living conditions;

10.   Expresses its concern about the detention and allegations of harassment of Sahrawi human rights defenders in the Western Saharan territory; calls for human rights defenders held in prisons in the territory or in Morocco to be treated in accordance with international standards and to be tried swiftly and justly;

11.   Calls on the EU to demand that the Kingdom of Morocco abide by international law regarding the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara;

12.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the UN Secretary General, the Secretary-General of the African Union, the EP Delegation for Relations with the Maghreb Countries, the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Parliament and Government of Morocco, the Polisario Front, and the Parliaments and Governments of Algeria and Mauritania.

(1) OJ C 272 E, 9.11.2006, p. 582.


Ukraine
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on Ukraine
P7_TA(2010)0444 B7-0650 , 0671 , 0672 , 0673 , 0674 and 0681/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Ukraine,

–   having regard to the Joint Statement adopted at the EU-Ukraine Summit held in Brussels on 22 November 2010,

–   having regard to the Final Statement and Recommendations issued following the 15th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, which took place on 4-5 November 2010 in Kyiv and Odessa,

–   having regard to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee delegation which observed the local and regional elections held in Ukraine on 31 October 2010,

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Union and Ukraine, which entered into force on 1 March 1998, and to the ongoing negotiations on the association agreement designed to replace the PCA,

–   having regard to the 14th meeting of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council held in Luxembourg on 15 June 2010,

–   having regard to the Joint Declaration on the Eastern Partnership launched in Prague on 7 May 2009,

–   having regard to the Conclusions on the Eastern Partnership adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 25 October 2010,

–   having regard to Resolution 1755 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, adopted on 5 October 2010, on the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine,

–   having regard to the European Council conclusions on Ukraine of 16 September 2010,

–   having regard to the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda, which replaces the Action Plan and was endorsed by the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council in June 2009,

–   having regard to the agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on visa facilitation, which was signed on 18 June 2007 and entered into force on 1 January 2008, and to the EU-Ukraine visa dialogue launched in October 2008,

–   having regard to the Joint Report of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Working Group on Visa Policy Between the EU and Ukraine, of 4 November 2010,

–   having regard to the last-minute changes to the Ukrainian electoral law passed by the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) in June 2010, shortly before the local elections were held,

–   having regard to the National Indicative Programme 2011-2013 for Ukraine,

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

A.   whereas Ukraine is a European country of strategic importance to the EU; whereas its size, resources, population and geographical location give Ukraine a distinctive position in Europe and make it a key regional actor,

B.   whereas Ukraine's newly-elected President Viktor Yanukovych, and the Verkhovna Rada, have confirmed Ukraine's determination to join the European Union,

C.   whereas allegations have been made that democratic freedoms, such as freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, have come under pressure in recent months,

D.   whereas the Ukrainian Constitutional Court's ruling of 1 October 2010 re-establishes a presidential system of governance; whereas the establishment of a democratic, effective and durable system of checks and balances should remain a priority and the process for achieving this should be open, inclusive and accessible to all political parties and actors in Ukraine,

E.   whereas local and regional elections took place in Ukraine on 31 October 2010 in a calm atmosphere and without incident; whereas criticism has been expressed about some aspects of the organisation of these elections, in particular with regard to the electoral law, the procedures for its adoption and some specific aspects of its substance,

F.   whereas following the presidential elections held in January 2010 there are increasingly worrying signs of a lessening of respect for democracy and pluralism, as evidenced, in particular, by the treatment of some NGOs and individual complaints by journalists about pressure from their editors or the owners of their media outlets to cover or not cover certain events, as well as increased and politically motivated activity by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the misuse of administrative and judicial resources for political purposes,

G.   whereas on 13 October 2010 the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media stated that Ukraine has achieved a great level of media freedom, but that it must take urgent steps to safeguard it, and called on the Ukrainian Government to refrain from any attempt to influence or censor media content and to comply with its international media freedom standards and OSCE media freedom commitments,

H.   whereas the Eastern Partnership can offer Ukraine an additional means of integrating with the European Union, but can be successful only if it is based on practical and credible projects and is sufficiently funded,

1.   Emphasises that, pursuant to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Ukraine may apply for membership of the EU like any European state that adheres to the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law;

2.   Stresses that Ukraine has a European perspective and strong historical, cultural and economic links to the European Union and that it is one of the Union's key partners in its Eastern neighbourhood, exerting a significant influence on the security, stability and prosperity of the whole continent;

3.   Welcomes the consensus statements by the Ukrainian Government and political opposition on Ukraine's aspirations with regard to its path towards European integration and its long-term ambition to become an EU Member State; notes that this aim continues to be supported by a consensus of all actors on the Ukrainian political stage; calls on the Ukrainian authorities to establish a common forum to coordinate Ukraine's political position vis-à-vis the European Union, that forum to consist of politicians from both the ruling coalition and the opposition;

4.   Points out that the 31 October 2010 local and regional elections, although conducted technically in an orderly manner, did not set a new, positive standard; regrets the fact that Ukraine changed its electoral law a few months before holding local and regional elections, leaving too little time to improve the law and prepare to conduct elections in a sound, democratic manner;

5.   Regrets the fact that because registration requests from the opposition parties were not accepted by electoral commissions before the submission of the Party of Regions' list, the ruling party in effect gained first place on the lists in approximately 85% of the constituencies; notes that owing to the anomalies in the electoral law, which failed to provide sufficient safeguards to protect the established political parties' right to compete, some parties, such as Batkivshchyna, were unable to register their candidates in several districts and participate in the elections;

6.   Regrets the fact that election rules remain an ongoing subject of discussion; endorses the need to improve the electoral framework and is encouraged by the work done in cooperation with EU and OSCE experts in developing a draft new Electoral Code; notes that a draft for a Unified Electoral Code has now been tabled for adoption in the Verkhovna Rada; emphasises that the transparency of the electoral process is contingent on the clarity of the legal framework; calls on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that the legislation is finalised in good time, well ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2012;

7.   Is concerned at recent developments that could undermine media freedom and pluralism; calls on the authorities to take all necessary measures to protect these essential aspects of a democratic society and to refrain from any attempt to control, directly or indirectly, the content of reporting in the national media; stresses the urgent need for a reform of the laws governing the media sector and therefore welcomes a recent proposal to introduce Public Service Broadcasting in Ukraine; also welcomes the public assurances given by the Ukrainian authorities that the legal framework needed to establish a public service broadcaster will be concluded by the end of the year; deplores the fact that two independent TV stations, TVi and TV5, have been deprived of some of their broadcasting frequencies; calls on the authorities to ensure that legal proceedings do not result in the selective revocation of broadcasting frequencies and to review any decision or appointment that could lead to a conflict of interest;

8.   Calls on the Ukrainian Government to bring the legislation on media freedom into line with OSCE standards; decisive action in this regard would strengthen Ukraine's credibility as OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office for 2013;

9.   Calls on the Ukrainian authorities thoroughly to investigate the disappearance of Vasyl Klymentyev, the editor-in-chief of a newspaper that focuses on corruption in the Kharkiv region;

10.   Emphasises the need to strengthen the credibility, stability, independence and effectiveness of institutions, thereby guaranteeing democracy and the rule of law and promoting a consensual constitutional reform process based on the clear separation of powers and effective checks and balances between state institutions; stresses that cooperation with the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) is crucial to ensure that the legislative reform packages that are currently being developed are fully consistent with European standards and values; calls on all the relevant political stakeholders, including the government and opposition, to take part in this process, calls on the Ukrainian authorities to ask the Venice Commission for an opinion on the final versions of draft laws;

11.   Calls on all the parties in the Verkhovna Rada to support and promote a system of effective checks and balances in connection with the legitimate working of government;

12.   Calls on the authorities fully to investigate all reports of infringements of rights and freedoms, to remedy any violations identified and to investigate the role of the SBU with regard to interference in the democratic process;

13.   Highlights Ukraine's pivotal role in the European Union's energy security; emphasises the importance of stepping up cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the field of energy; calls on Ukraine to implement its commitments arising out of the Joint Declaration of the EU-Ukraine International Investment Conference on the Modernisation of Ukraine's Gas Transit System; calls for further agreements to be concluded between the EU and Ukraine aimed at securing energy supplies for both sides, including a reliable and diversified transit system for oil and gas; emphasises that if Ukraine is to have a modern gas transit system, it requires transparent, efficient and high-quality transit services through a modernised gas transportation network; calls on the Commission to provide the necessary technical assistance in order to improve radically the energy efficiency of Ukraine's electricity grid and to step up cooperation as regards reform of the gas sector, in order to bring it into line with EU standards;

14.   Supports the call made by the Heads of State of the EU and Ukraine, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Kiev, to mobilise all the support needed to complete the shelter for Chernobyl Unit 4 and the further decommissioning of the other three units; emphasises that transparency is crucial to the shelter construction project, in particular as regards the next steps and the current stage reached in the work;

15.   Is encouraged by the progress in the negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, in particular its deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) aspects; notes that the conclusion of the negotiations on the agreement depend on the ability and willingness of the Ukrainian side to approximate its laws and regulations with those of the European Union; calls on the Commission to negotiate the DCFTA with Ukraine in such a way that its provisions not only open up EU and Ukrainian markets for mutual beneficial trade, but also support the modernisation of the Ukrainian economy; stresses that the DCFTA should make for Ukraine's gradual integration into the EU internal market, including the extension of the four freedoms to the country; urges the Commission and Ukraine to make rapid progress in this field, on the basis of Ukraine's achievements as a member of the WTO; urges both parties to do everything needed to achieve final agreement in the first half of next year;

16.   Calls on the Ukrainian authorities to step up efforts to fight corruption; expects, in this regard, that positive political statements will be matched by decisive action in combating corruption at all levels, on the basis of political impartiality; calls for the establishment of a level playing field for business and for application of the same rules to domestic and foreign investors; in that connection, deplores the over-involvement of big business in political life;

17.   Is discouraged by the fact that the Verkhovna Rada adopted amendments to the new Law on Public Procurement, in accordance with which goods, works and services procured for the purposes of holding the 2012 European Football Championship in Ukraine are excluded from the scope of that law;

18.   Urges the Ukrainian Parliament to enact the draft law ‘on access to public information’ in keeping with European and international standards;

19.   Welcomes the Action Plan towards visa liberalisation for Ukraine as agreed at the 14th EU-Ukraine Summit on 22 November 2010; considers the Action Plan to be a practical tool to drive forward essential reforms in the relevant areas, in particular the consolidation of the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms; calls on the Commission to assist the Ukrainian authorities in their efforts to advance towards visa liberalisation;

20.   Urges the Member States to abolish fees for processing national and Schengen visa applications for Ukrainian citizens as an intermediate objective;

21.   Asks the Commission to work with the Member States and Ukraine to prepare special measures to be taken in relation to the 2012 European Football Championship, with a view to facilitating travel by ticket-holders, and to use this special occasion as a testing period for a final visa-free regime;

22.   Welcomes Ukraine's active support for the Eastern Partnership and the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly; urges the Council and Commission to further step up cooperation with Ukraine in the context of developments in the neighbourhood area, in particular the development of policies for the Black Sea region;

23.   Stresses the importance of stepping up cooperation on youth and student exchanges and the development of scholarship programmes which will enable Ukrainians to become acquainted with the European Union and its Member States; believes that the Erasmus higher-education exchange programme should be extended to students from the six Eastern Partnership countries;

24.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine and the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council Europe and the OSCE.


International Trade Policy in the context of Climate Change imperatives
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on international trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives (2010/2103(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0445 A7-0310/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the reports of the three working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2007(1) ,

–   having regard to the Climate Change Package adopted by the European Council on 17 December 2008,

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the European Council of 29-30 October 2009 relating to climate negotiations,

–   having regard to the UN climate summit held in Copenhagen (Denmark) from 7 to 18 December 2009, and the resulting Copenhagen Agreement,

–   having regard to Parliament's previous resolutions regarding climate change, and in particular those of 10 February 2010 on the outcome of the Copenhagen summit(2) , and of 29 November 2007 on trade and climate change(3) ,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 26 May 2010 on the analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage (COM(2010)0265 ),

–   having regard to the Communications from the Commission of 19 June 2010 relating to the sustainability of biofuels and bioliquids(4) ,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 4 November 2008 on the raw materials initiative ‐ meeting our critical needs for growth and jobs in Europe (COM(2008)0699 ),

–   having regard to the World Trade Organization and United Nations Environment Programme report on trade and climate change launched on 26 June 2008,

–   having regard to the final declaration by heads of State and Government at the G20 Pittsburgh Summit on 24 and 25 September 2009,

–   having regard to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development published in 2008(5) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Development (A7-0310/2010 ),

A.   whereas the Earth's temperature has already increased over the last century and will continue to increase and whereas the economic, social and ecological repercussions of global warming are assuming worrying proportions and it is vital to limit this warming to less than 2°C,

B.   whereas the agreement reached at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 is inadequate; whereas the European Union did not manage to play a leading role,

C.   whereas the agreement reached at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 is inadequate and disappointing,

D.   whereas the Cancun Summit provides a unique opportunity for a substantive dialogue, should adopt legally binding instruments and much stronger verification procedures and should be a key step towards a comprehensive and legally binding operational agreement to help keep global warming well below 2°C,

E.   whereas combating climate change is a factor in competitiveness, with Europe's priorities being energy savings and renewable energies that help improve EU energy security and offer major potential in terms of industrial development, innovation, regional development and job creation,

F.   whereas subsidised energy and unrestricted CO2 emission in certain countries create a comparative advantage,

G.   whereas trade rules are therefore crucial in combating climate change and the EU can influence these considerably as the world's largest trading power,

1.   Welcomes the European Council's goal of reducing European greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050 compared to their 1990 levels, this target being necessary for the EU to regain its leading role in international climate initiatives as other countries have made strong commitments to develop a green economy, notably through their economic recovery plans; strongly supports the objective to cut European emissions by 30% by 2020, which should stimulate other countries to enter into more ambitious commitments;

2.   Calls for the conclusion of an internationally binding agreement on climate protection and strongly supports the objective of a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions in the EU by 2020, and the long-term EU objective of reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by at least 85% by 2050;

3.   Stresses that developed countries must take the lead in reducing CO2 emissions; believes that the setting-up of standards, labelling and certification are instruments with a huge potential for reducing energy use and thereby addressing climate change; deems that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has failed to address the needs of most vulnerable countries;

4.   Advocates stepping up the promotion of renewable energies and that Member State governments follow a consistent policy and establish a binding legal framework enabling the adoption, in the long term, of a phased programme of aid contributing to market opening and to the creation of minimal infrastructures, an element which is essential at a time of crisis and business uncertainty;

5.   Recalls that the common commercial policy is an instrument in the service of the European Union's overall objectives, that, pursuant to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU's common commercial policy must be conducted ‘in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action’, and that, pursuant to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, it must contribute, in particular, ‘to the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter’;

6.   Stresses that the European Union's trade policies – whether bilateral or multilateral – are a means to an end and not an end in themselves, and that these should be consistent with its objectives to combat climate change and should anticipate the conclusion of an ambitious climate agreement;

7.   Considers that the WTO rules should be interpreted and developed in such a way as to support commitments made in multilateral environmental agreements; calls on the Commission to work on building a consensus at the WTO to give the secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements observer status at all WTO meetings concerning their area of competence and an advisory role in environmental dispute settlement procedures; stresses that new international rules should be set up in order to eliminate the comparative advantage conferred by cheap CO2 emission;

8.   Deplores the fact that none of the WTO agreements currently make direct reference to climate change, food security and the Millennium Development Goals; deplores the development of bio-piracy on climate-resilient seeds; considers that changes in WTO rules are needed to ensure coherence and consistency with the commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and multilateral environment agreements (MEAs); calls urgently for a reform of the WTO to enable products to be distinguished according to their production and processing methods (PPMs);

9.   Stresses, with reference to the Preamble to the WTO Agreement and Article XX (b), (d) and (g) of the GATT, that international trade must not result in the over-exploitation of natural resources, and calls on the Commission and Member States to do more to apply the principle of collective preference under the auspices of the WTO, particularly as regards sustainable, climate-friendly and ethically sound products;

10.   Calls on the Commission and WTO members to seek to secure an opinion from the WTO acknowledging the significance and impact of climate change and encourage the WTO to pursue the objective of ensuring that WTO rules do not undermine but promote global efforts to combat, reduce and adapt to climate change;

11.   Expresses its regret that WTO members have yet to find a way to integrate this treaty into the system of UN institutions and rules governing environmental protection including climate change, as well as social justice and respect for all human rights; insists that obligations and objectives under MEAs, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and other UN institutions (FAO, ILO, IMO) must take precedence over the narrow interpretation of trade rules;

12.   Given that it is more than 15 years since the WTO Ministerial Decision on Trade and Environment, taken at Marrakesh on 15 April 1994, calls on the Commission to present at the latest by mid-2011 to the European Parliament and the Council a report assessing the extent to which the WTO's Committee on Trade and Environment has fulfilled its remit as set out in that Decision and its conclusions as to what more needs to be done, particularly in the context of the global dialogue on Climate Change mitigation and adaptation and the WTO;

13.   Calls on the Commission and Member States, in connection with WTO negotiations and bilateral trade agreements, to insist that the liberalisation of trade, particularly in natural raw materials, does not jeopardise sustainable resource management and that objectives relating to climate protection and the conservation of species become an integral part of the agreements; calls on the Commission, to this end, to urge that a joint meeting of WTO trade and environment ministers be held before the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP) in Johannesburg in 2011; recalls that the UNFCCC is the forum for reaching an international agreement on tackling climate change;

14.   Considers it more urgent than ever to launch a public debate on the establishment of a World Environmental Organisation;

Stronger positive interaction between trade and climate protection

15.   Recognises the positive role that trade can play in the dissemination of goods and services that help protect the climate; considers that climate protection and trade liberalisation can be mutually reinforcing by facilitating trade in environmental goods and services, but a list of these goods and services needs to be drawn up in advance in accordance with strict environmental criteria and in cooperation with the WTO member states;

16.   Recognise that trade is an important tool for the transfer of technologies to developing countries; emphasises the need to reduce barriers to ‘green trade’ by, for instance, removing tariffs on ‘green goods’ at WTO level;

17.   Hopes that the EU will set a good example, by removing obstacles such as tariffs and levies to trade in ‘green’ technologies and environmentally sound and climate-friendly products and promoting ‘environmental goods and services’ (EGS), including on the basis of the Bali Action Plan and the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund;

18.   Emphasises the importance of innovation in green technologies and recognises the role that trade can play in the transfer of these technologies between countries;

19.   Calls on the EU to take the lead in the identification of the salient barriers to the dissemination of technologies in developing countries to address climate change;

20.   Recognises that stimulating innovation can involve different reward schemes and that these schemes do not all promote technology transfer in the same way; also notes that, for IPR systems to transfer technology, concerns about their protection due to weak political institutions and the absence of the rule of law have to be addressed; calls, therefore, on the Commission to study all innovation reward schemes, taking into account the risk of excluding some countries, and to use the results of this work in its climate diplomacy;

21.   Is concerned about the distorting effect that fossil energy subsidies have on world trade, their impact on the climate, and their cost to the public purse; welcomes the G20‘s commitment to phase out these subsidies;

22.   Wants the European Union to assume international leadership on this matter and calls on the Commission to come up swiftly with proposals for a timetable to phase out these subsidies in the EU, given that this process will have to involve the introduction of accompanying social and industrial measures; reiterates also Parliament's request to the Commission and Member States to inform the European Parliament about loans granted by export credit agencies and the European Investment Bank to projects that have a negative impact on the climate;

23.   Opposes subsidies for fossil fuels and calls for greater support for environmentally sound renewable energies and the identification and development of decentralised energy sources, particularly in developing countries; in this context, recalls the G20 agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and calls for the Commission to make proposals for a European strategy for its implementation with clear timelines and compensation mechanisms where appropriate;

Making international trade prices fairer and avoiding carbon leakage

24.   Notes that trade liberalisation can conflict with climate protection if certain countries seek a competitive advantage by failing to act on climate issues; suggests, therefore, a reform of the WTO anti-dumping rules to include the issue of a fair environmental price in accordance with global climate protection standards;

25.   Regrets that, by subsidising energy prices and applying no restriction or no quota on CO2 emissions, certain countries could gain a comparative advantage; owing to unrestricted and thus relatively cheap CO2 emissions, these countries have no incentive to join the multilateral climate change agreements;

26.   Notes, however, that climate negotiations are based on the principle of ‘shared but differentiated responsibility’ and that the weakness of climate policies in developing countries is generally explained by their more limited financial or technological capacities and not by any environmental dumping goals;

27.   Asks, in this context, that the European debate on industrial carbon leakage relating to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and on ways of addressing this be approached with caution;

28.   Points out that, according to the Commission's latest Communication of 26 May 2010 (COM(2010)0265 ) on this topic, few industrial sectors are particularly vulnerable to carbon leakage, and considers that identifying these requires a detailed sectoral analysis; calls on the Commission to use such an approach in the near future, rather than a few quantitative criteria that are identical for all sectors of industry;

29.   Emphasises that there is no single solution for industrial sectors that are vulnerable to carbon leakage, and that the nature of the product or the structure of the market are essential criteria for choosing between the tools available (free allocation of allowances, State aid or border adjustment measures);

30.   Considers that a multilateral climate agreement would be the best instrument for internalising negative external environmental factors relating to CO2, but that there is a risk that this will not be achieved in the near future; takes the view, therefore, that the EU should continue to look into the possibility of putting in place, for those industries that are actually exposed to carbon leakage, appropriate environmental instruments in addition to the auctioning of CO2 quotas under the EU's emissions trading scheme, in particular a ‘carbon inclusion mechanism’ that complies with WTO rules; takes the view that such a mechanism would make it possible to combat the risk of CO2 emissions being transferred to third countries;

31.   States unequivocally that border tax adjustments should not function as an instrument for protectionism but rather as a way to reduce emissions;

Promoting product differentiation according to their impact on the climate

32.   Considers that the EU, as the largest trading bloc in the world, can set worldwide standards, and supports the development and more widespread use of certification and labelling schemes which take account of social and ecological criteria; notes the successful work done by international NGOs to develop and promote such labels and certificates and expressly advocates their wider use;

33.   Points out that the WTO framework makes it possible to take trade qualification measures if these are necessary, proportionate and do not discriminate against countries in which production conditions are identical; notes, however, that urgent clarification is required so that these measures can be applied on the basis of climate criteria relating to the PPM for these products;

34.   Calls on the Commission to take steps to re-launch discussions within the WTO on PPMs and the possibility of differentiating similar products in terms of their carbon footprint, energy footprint or technological standards; considers that such an initiative might be accepted by WTO members if it were accompanied by measures facilitating technology transfer;

35.   Hopes, however, that the current lack of clarity regarding PPMs within the WTO does not incite the EU to do nothing, as it should on the contrary take advantage of this room for manoeuvre;

36.   Stresses that efforts must be made to ensure that adverse environmental effects resulting from trade are reflected in prices and that the ‘polluter pays’ principle is enforced; urges that the labelling and information systems regarding environmental standards be synchronised;

37.   Welcomes, for this reason, the introduction by the European Union of sustainability criteria for imported agrifuels and those produced in the Union; calls on the Commission to look into extending this approach to biomass and agricultural products; demands that indirect changes in land use relating to agrifuels be taken into account and expects the Commission to submit a proposal before the end of 2010, in accordance with its commitment to Parliament;

38.   Advocates that genuine, binding sustainability criteria and standards be developed for the production of biofuels and biomass which take account of the emission of climate-changing gases and small particles due to indirect land use change (ILUC) and the whole production cycle; stresses that safeguarding food supplies must take priority over the production of biofuels and that sustainability of land use policy and practice needs to be tackled urgently using a more holistic approach;

39.   Considers it crucial that there be strict standards of sustainability for the international trade in biofuels, bearing in mind their contradictory environmental and social impact;

40.   Welcomes the European agreement reached on illegal timber and looks forward to progress in the Voluntary Partnership Agreements;

Trade liberalisation must not be at the cost of ambitious climate policies

41.   Is concerned about the Commission's desire to push liberalisation of the timber trade, and in particular the abolition of export restrictions, in trade agreements, despite the increased risk of deforestation and the negative repercussions for the climate, biodiversity, development and local populations;

42.   Emphasises in particular the need for consistency between climate and biodiversity objectives and conditions of trade to ensure that efforts to tackle deforestation, for example, are effective;

43.   Is of the opinion that new international climate protection agreements must contain firm guarantees on reducing the adverse environmental impact of the international timber trade and eradicating deforestation, the extent of which is cause for concern;

Full inclusion of transport in the problem area of trade and climate issues

44.   Regrets that the current trading system produces a global division of labour and production which is based on a very high input of transport, which does not bear its own environmental costs; wants the climate cost of international transport to be internalized in its price, whether this be done through taxation or quota trading schemes that charge fees; welcomes the fact that aviation is soon to be included in the EU ETS and awaits a similar initiative from the Commission for maritime transport by 2011, entering into effect in 2013, if it proves impossible to set up a global mechanism by then; regrets that fuel consumed in overseas transportation of goods is not subject taxes; advocates that taxes be imposed on that fuel and on those products, in particular on airfreight products; expects also that the Commission take the initiative to query aid granted to the more polluting modes of transport, such as exemption from kerosene tax;

45.   Observes that CO2 emissions caused by international trade can be substantially reduced,calls for the transport and environmental costs generated to be incorporated into the prices of products (internalisation of external costs), particularly by including shipping, which accounts for 90% of the transport used in international trade, in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS);

46.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to do everything under their power to achieve a legally binding agreement on the reduction of shipping emissions in the context of the International Maritime Organisation;

47.   Considers it important that international commitments relating to reducing GHG emissions also apply to international air transport and shipping;

48.   Underlines that the rise of CO2 emissions related to transport and international trade undermines the effectiveness of the EU climate change strategy; takes the view that this makes a strong case for shifting from an export-led development strategy towards endogenous development based on diversified and local consumption and production in developing countries; recalls that such a strategy would have positive effects on employment both in the EU and in developing countries;

49.   Considers that, for as long as the climate cost does not appear in the price of transport, the promotion of sustainable local production should be encouraged, particularly through better information to consumers;

Strengthening tools that ensure consistency between trade and climate

50.   Calls for consistency between the European Union's trade and climate policies to be guaranteed by the calculation of a carbon balance for each trade policy, for this policy to be amended if necessary to improve this balance, and for the obligation that compensatory measures – in the form of political, technological and financial cooperation – be taken when this balance is negative for the climate;

51.   Urges the EU to use the comprehensive environmental provisions in bilateral and regional trade agreements as a development tool, emphasising the need for proper implementation of environmental clauses and cooperation mechanisms to promote technology transfer, technical assistance and capacity building;

52.   Calls on the Commission systematically to include environmental clauses in trade agreements concluded with non-EU countries, with particular regard to reducing CO2 emissions and the transfer of low-emission technology;

53.   Welcomes the introduction of the climate change dimension in Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIA) of trade agreements; takes note, however, of the fact that in some cases, such as the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement, the SIA shows that the agreement will have adverse climate impacts which were not addressed prior to its conclusion; considers that trade agreements should not in any way undermine multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs);

54.   Takes the view that environmental criteria must be introduced in the reform of the GSP;

55.   Takes the view that the Commission should follow a harmonised framework in its negotiating strategies in respect of trade and environmental policy, so as not to give partners any cause for concern about trade barriers, while at the same time ensuring compliance with its binding targets for combating climate change;

56.   Considers that ‘climate diplomacy’ should be pursued with greater vigour and consistency in the EU's trade relations with States which are not bound by multilateral environmental protection agreements;

EU consistency on climate and trade from the viewpoint of developing countries

57.   Recognises that efforts to make European Union trade and climate policies consistent can be used or perceived by partner countries as a roundabout way of reducing our imports and increasing our exports;

58.   Insists therefore on the importance of negotiations with these countries on all measures that the EU might take, in particular border adjustment measures, and on the need for the EU to abide by its climate aid commitments to developing countries;

59.   Is thus concerned that part of the ‘prompt start’ funding promised by European countries at the climate summit in Copenhagen comes from commitments made in the framework of official development aid and is delivered in the form of loans, contrary to Parliament's requests; asks the Commission to compile a report on this funding to assess whether the real situation matches the commitments made and Parliament's requests; calls also for the better coordination of funding in terms of its thematic and geographical use;

60.   Recalls the commitment made by industrialised countries, including the EU Member States, to reflect on innovative funding to combat climate change;

61.   Is convinced that measures to combat climate change must be based on the principle of solidarity between industrialised and developing countries and possibly in closer cooperation with UN, WTO and the other Bretton Woods institutions; calls, therefore, for an overall strategy for emission trading and the taxation of energy and greenhouse gas emissions to be devised jointly with developing countries, emerging countries and industrialised countries in order, on the one hand, to prevent an exodus by businesses (carbon leakage) and, on the other hand, to generate funding for measures to combat climate change and to reduce and adjust to its consequences;

62.   Stresses that increasing technology transfer to developing countries as a means to address carbon leakage will be a critical component of a post-2012 climate regime; deplores the fact that technology transfer makes up only a small share of official development aid; urges Member States to deliver additional technical and financial assistance for developing countries to face the consequences of climate change, to meet climate-related standards and to include upfront development impact assessments of standards, labelling and certification;

o
o   o

63.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16).

(1) Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report; edited by Rajendra K. Pachauri and Andy Reisinger, Geneva 2007, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf; and the working group reports: The Physical Science Basis, Contribution of Working Group I, edited by S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller, Jr.; Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II, edited by M. Parry, O. Canziani, J. Palutikof, P. van der Linden and C. Hanson; Mitigation of Climate Change, Contribution of Working Group III, edited by B. Metz, O. Davidson, P. Bosch, R. Dave and L. Meyer.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0019 .
(3) OJ C 297 E, 20.11.2008, p. 193.
(4) OJ C 160, 19.6.2010, p. 1 and p. 8.
(5) http://www.agassessment.org/


Corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements (2009/2201(INI) )
P7_TA(2010)0446 A7-0317/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 12, 21, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to Articles 2, 3 and 6 of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to Articles 9, 10, 48, 138, 139, 153, 156, 191, 207 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy, the codes of conduct agreed under the auspices of international organisations such as the FAO, the WHO and the World Bank, and the efforts made under the auspices of UNCTAD to regulate the activities of enterprises in developing countries,

–   having regard to the Global Compact initiative launched by the United Nations in September 2000, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General of 10 August 2005 entitled ‘Towards global partnerships – Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector’ (05-45706 (E) 020905), the announcement of the United Nations Global Compact and Global Reporting initiatives on 9 October 2006, and the principles governing responsible investment launched in January 2006 by the United Nations and coordinated by the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact,

–   having regard to the ‘Norms on the responsibility of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights’ adopted by the United Nations in December 2003(1) ,

–   having regard to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) launched in 1997(2) , the updated G3 Guidelines concerning the drafting of reports on sustainable development, published on 5 October 2006, and the G4 Guidelines currently being drawn up by the GRI,

–   having regard to the outcome of the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development held in 2002 in Johannesburg, and, in particular, the call for initiatives in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the Council conclusions of 3 December 2002 on the follow-up to the Summit(3) ,

–   having regard to the report by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and related business enterprises with regard to human rights of 15 February 2005 (E/CN.4/2005/91, 2005),

–   having regard to the report by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, entitled ‘Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development’, of 7 April 2008 (A/HRC/8/5, 2008), and the ongoing work on the next report planned for 2011,

–   having regard to the report by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises: Business and Human Rights: Further steps toward the operationalisation of the ‘protect, respect and remedy’ framework, by John Ruggie, of 9 April 2010 (A/HRC/14/27),

–   having regard to the benchmarks and certification and labelling schemes which deal with the behaviour of corporations in the areas of sustainable development, climate change and poverty reduction, such as the SA 8000 standard, which relates to the ban on child labour, and the AFNOR and ISO standards on sustainable development,

–   having regard to the Kimberley process on the monitoring of the trade in raw diamonds,

–   having regard to the initiatives taken in the various Member States to promote corporate social responsibility, in particular the establishment in Denmark of the Government CSR Centre, which coordinates governmental legislative initiatives to foster CSR and devises practical tools for undertakings(4) ,

–   having regard to the International Pact on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989),

–   having regard to the international agreements on the environment, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987), the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes (1999), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997),

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 14 March 2003 on the Green Paper entitled ‘Promoting a European framework for Corporate Social Responsibility’,

–   having regard to the final report and the recommendations of the European Plurilateral Forum on CSR of 29 June 2004, including the seventh recommendation supporting measures to establish an appropriate legal framework,

–   having regard to the 1968 Brussels Convention, as consolidated by Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters(5) , and the Commission Green Paper of 21 April 2009 on the revision of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001,

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper entitled ‘Promoting a European framework for Corporate Social Responsibility’ (COM(2001)0366 ), subsequently incorporated into the White Paper entitled ‘Communication from the Commission concerning Corporate Social Responsibility: A business contribution to Sustainable Development’ (COM(2002)0347 ),

–   having regard to the Commission recommendation 2001/453/CE of 30 May 2001 on the recognition, measurement and disclosure of environmental issues in the annual accounts and annual reports of companies(6) (notified under document No C(2001)1495),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 18 May 2004 entitled ‘The Social Dimension of Globalisation – the EU's policy contribution on extending the benefits to all’ (COM(2004)0383 ),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee of 22 March 2006 entitled ‘Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs: making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility’ (COM(2006)0136 ),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 24 May 2006 entitled ‘Promoting decent work for all – The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world’ (COM(2006)0249 ),

–   having regard to the generalised system of preferences (GSP), which has been in force since 1 January 2006 and which provides for duty-free access or reductions in duties for a wide range of products and also incorporates a new incentive scheme to assist vulnerable countries which have specific commercial, financial or development needs,

–   having regard to Chapter 13 of the free trade agreement concluded between the European Union and South Korea in October 2009, which states that ‘the Parties shall strive to facilitate and promote trade in goods that contribute to sustainable development, including goods that are the subject of schemes such as fair and ethical trade and those involving corporate social responsibility and accountability’,

–   having regard to Article 270(3) of the free trade agreement concluded between the European Union and Colombia and Peru in March 2010, which states that ‘the Parties agree to promote best business practices related to corporate social responsibility’, and to Article 270(4) of the agreement, which states that ‘the Parties recognise that flexible, voluntary and incentive-based mechanisms can contribute to coherence between trade practices and the objectives of sustainable development’,

–   having regard to the Council resolution of 3 December 2001 on the follow-up to the Green Paper on corporate social responsibility(7) ,

–   having regard to the Council resolution of 6 February 2003 on corporate social responsibility(8) ,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2005/600/EC of 12 July 2005 on Guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, which urges the Member States to encourage undertakings to develop CSR(9) ,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 June 2010 on child labour(10) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001 allowing voluntary participation by organisations in a community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS)(11) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2003/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2003 on the annual and consolidated accounts of certain types of companies, banks and other financial institutions and insurance undertakings(12) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts(13) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 January 1999 on EU standards for European Enterprises Operating in Developing Countries: Towards a European Code of Conduct(14) , which recommends the establishment of a model code of conduct backed by a European enforcement mechanism,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2001 on openness and democracy in international trade(15) , which calls on the WTO to endorse the ILO's basic labour standards and to accept ILO decisions, including calls for the imposition of sanctions, linked to serious violations of core labour standards,

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2002 on the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee entitled ‘Promoting Core Labour Standards and Improving Social Governance in the Context of Globalisation’(16) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 May 2003 on the Communication from the Commission concerning Corporate Social Responsibility: A Business Contribution to Sustainable Development(17) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2005 on the exploitation of children in developing countries, with a special focus on child labour(18) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2005 on the social dimension of globalisation(19) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 on fair trade and development(20) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2007 on corporate social responsibility: a new partnership(21) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all(22) , which calls for labour standards to be incorporated into trade agreements, in particular bilateral agreements, concluded by the EU, with a view to promoting decent work,

–   having regard to the hearing on ‘Corporate social responsibility in international trade’ held by Parliament on 23 February 2010,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7–0317/2010 ),

A.   whereas corporations and their subsidiaries are one of the major players in economic globalisation and international trade,

B.   whereas the 2000 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, as updated in 2010, are recommendations which governments address to corporations setting out voluntary standards for responsible behaviour consistent with the applicable laws, in particular in the areas of employment, relations with the social partners, human rights, the environment, consumer interests, the fight against corruption and tax evasion,

C.   whereas the ILO's tripartite declaration on multinational corporations is intended to provide guidance for governments, multinational corporations and workers in areas such as employment, training, working conditions and professional relations, a declaration which incorporates a commitment by states to abide by and promote the four core labour standards: freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced labour; the abolition of child labour; and the elimination of discrimination in the area of employment,

D.   whereas the United Nations Global Compact of 10 principles asks corporations to embrace, support, and enact, within their sphere of influence, as a set of core values in the areas of human rights, core labour standards, the environment and the fight against corruption, to which companies make a commitment and which they integrate in their business operations on a voluntary basis,

E.   whereas work is currently in progress to update the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, in particular those relating to improving the national contact points and a liability regime for supply chains,

F.   whereas international benchmarks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative, or certification and labelling schemes, such as the ISO 14 001 standard or more particularly the recent ISO 26 000 standard, designed as a set of guidelines applying to all types of organisation, help undertakings assess the economic, social and environmental impact of their activities by incorporating the concept of sustainable development, but whereas they are effective only to the extent that they are effectively applied and subject to verification,

G.   whereas the definition of CSR in the ISO 26 000 standard – as ‘the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that: contributes to sustainable development, including the health and the welfare of society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders; is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and is integrated throughout the organisation and practised in its relationships’ – is one on which a large section of civil society and the international trade union movement has agreed,

H.   whereas the Commission, in its 2006 communication, set the goal of making the European Union ‘a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility’, with CSR being presented as ‘an aspect of the European social model’ and ‘a means of safeguarding solidarity, cohesion and equal opportunities against the background of increased global competition’,

I.   whereas the report from the Commission to Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on retail market monitoring, entitled ‘Towards more efficient and fairer retail services in the internal market for 2020’(COM(2010)0355 ), and the annex thereto highlight the fact that ‘it is often difficult for consumers to know about the social responsibility of particular retailers and thus to make an informed choice about where to shop’,

J.   whereas, in accordance with the Treaties, the common commercial policy must be conducted in a manner consistent with all the European Union's objectives, including its social, environmental and development aid objectives,

K.   whereas the European Union already makes the award of certain trade preferences contingent on the ratification by its partners of the main ILO conventions, and whereas since 2006 it has been committed to promoting respect for decent work through all its external policies, including its common commercial policy,

L.   whereas the European Union's bilateral free trade agreements now incorporate a chapter dealing with sustainable development, covering environmental and social objectives and compliance with rules in those areas,

M.   whereas non-compliance with CSR principles constitutes a form of social and environmental dumping which works to the detriment, in particular, of undertakings and workers in Europe, who are required to comply with more stringent labour, environmental and fiscal standards,

N.   whereas it would be normal if European corporations which transfer their production to low-wage countries where less stringent environmental standards apply were to be held accountable, before the competent courts, for any environmental and social damage or other negative externalities felt by local communities caused by their subsidiaries in those countries,

O.   whereas the links which can exist between a parent company and its subsidiaries, on the one hand, and between an undertaking and its suppliers, on the other, are very diverse and there is a need to specify the notions of ‘sphere of influence’ and ‘due diligence’ at international level,

P.   whereas undertakings are not directly subject to international law and whereas international agreements, particularly those relating to human rights, labour law and environmental protection, are binding on the signatory states but not directly on the undertakings whose head offices are based in those states; whereas, however, it is up to those states to ensure that undertakings whose head offices are based in their territory comply with their legal obligations and duty of diligence, and that they provide for adequate and appropriate sanctions should they fail to do so,

Q.   whereas the fundamental rights to an effective remedy and to a fair trial are reaffirmed in Article 47 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and in Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

R.   whereas the Brussels Convention and Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 reaffirm the principle of judicial cooperation, and the onus is on the Commission to act on the progress made in the Green Paper, which proposes possible lines of action on the question of extra-territoriality, particularly in terms of expanding the scope of the regulation to include disputes involving respondents from third countries,

S.   whereas Chapter 13 of the free trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea and Article 270(3) of the multiparty trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru contain a reference to CSR, this does not yet, and does not entirely, take into account the importance of CSR to the European goal of protecting the environment and social and human rights, whereas even continued breaches by companies of human rights, working standards or environmental provisions, in spite of the contrary wording of objectives, do not in practice in any way affect the continuation of those agreements,

T.   whereas CSR agreements have hitherto proved insufficient, particularly in the mining sector,

U.   whereas there is existing Community legislation concerning micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, notably Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 and the ‘Small Business Act’ for Europe adopted in June 2008,

V.   whereas corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby companies voluntarily incorporate social and environmental concerns into their business strategy for the overall wellbeing of stakeholders by actively engaging with public policy as an important aspect of value-driven social change,

W.   whereas CSR represents an essential component of the European Social Model, strengthened by the entry into force of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and especially its horizontal social clause, and whereas the need to promote CSR has been recognised in the European Commission Communication on the EU2020 Strategy as an important element in ensuring long-term employee and consumer trust,

X.   whereas CSR has a considerable influence on human rights in developing countries,

Y.   whereas CSR should not replace or exempt states from their responsibility in the provision of basic public services,

Z.   whereas CSR can play a key role in improving standards of living in disadvantaged communities,

AA.   whereas trade unions have an important role in promoting CSR, given that workers are well placed to know the reality of the companies that employ them,

AB.   whereas CSR must be considered alongside, and in interaction with, corporate governance reforms,

AC.   whereas the role of SMEs in the single European market and the results of Commission-funded projects to encourage the adoption of CSR practices, including by SMEs, must be taken into consideration,

AD.   whereas CSR, on the one hand, and the social and environmental clauses incorporated in trade agreements, on the other, pursue the same objectives: those of an economy which is respectful of human needs and of the environment, and of fairer, more socially balanced, more human globalisation which is genuinely conducive to sustainable development,

AE.   whereas hitherto, trade rules and CSR have been only tenuously linked at best, but whereas there would be much to be gained from coordinating trade rules and the objectives of CSR,

1.   Notes that global challenges have been sharpened by the financial crisis and its social consequences, and have lead to worldwide discussion on the need for a new regulatory approach and governance issues in the world economy, including international trade; takes the view that the new, more efficient and better-enforced rules should contribute to the development of more sustainable policies which genuinely take into account social and environmental concerns;

2.   Notes, further, that globalisation has increased competitive pressure among countries to attract foreign investors and competition between corporations, which has sometimes led to serious abuses of human and labour rights and damage to the environment in order to attract trade and investment;

3.   Recalls that the principles underpinning CSR, which are fully recognised at international level, whether by the OECD, the ILO or the United Nations, concern the responsible behaviour expected of undertakings and presuppose, first of all, compliance with the legislation in force, in particular in the areas of employment, labour relations, human rights, the environment, consumer interests and transparency vis-à-vis consumers, the fight against corruption and taxation;

4.   Recalls that promoting CSR is an objective supported by the European Union and that the Commission takes the view that the Union must ensure that the external policies it implements make a genuine contribution to the sustainable development and to the social development of the countries concerned and that the actions of European corporations, wherever they invest and operate, are in accordance with European values and internationally agreed norms;

5.   Recalls that the objectives of the common commercial policy should be fully coordinated with the European Union's overall objectives; that, pursuant to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU's common commercial policy must be conducted ‘in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action’, and that, pursuant to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, it must contribute, inter alia, ‘to the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter’;

6.   Considers that the Commission should investigate the possibility of establishing a harmonised definition of the relations between an undertaking designated the ‘parent company’ and all undertakings in a relationship of dependency with respect to that company, whether those undertakings are subsidiaries, suppliers or sub-contractors, in order to establish the legal liability of each of them;

7.   Takes the view, in the light of the key role played by corporations, their subsidiaries and their supply chains in international trade, that corporate social and environmental responsibility must become an integral part of the European Union's trade agreements;

8.   Takes the view that the social clauses in trade agreements should be complemented by the incorporation of the concept of CSR, which concerns the behaviour of corporations, whilst the concept of CSR will in turn be consolidated as a result, drawing strength in particular from the arrangements trade agreements lay down for monitoring the implementation of the principles which govern them;

9.   Calls for CSR principles and obligations to be taken into account and integrated into the future Commission communication on ‘A New Trade Policy for Europe under the EUROPE 2020 Strategy’, in the communication on CSR which it is drawing up for 2011 and in the implementation of its trade policy;

10.   Considers CSR to be an effective tool for improving competitiveness, skills and training opportunities, occupational safety and the working environment, protecting workers' rights and the rights of local and indigenous communities, promoting a sustainable environmental policy and encouraging exchanges of good practice at local, national, European and world level, although it clearly cannot supplant labour regulations or general or sectoral collective agreements;

11.   Calls for companies to be urged to apply CSR with a view to safeguarding the physical integrity and safety, physical and mental wellbeing, labour rights and human rights of both their own and other workers through the influence they exert on their wider circle of associates; emphasises the need to support and encourage the spread of such practices among SMEs, limiting the costs and red tape entailed;

12.   Points out that CSR should address new areas such as the organisation of work, equal opportunities and social inclusion, anti-discrimination measures, the development of lifelong education and training; emphasises that CSR should cover, for example, quality of work, equality of pay and career prospects and the promotion of innovative projects so as to assist the shift towards a sustainable economy;

13.   Strongly recommends that the Member States and the Union promote good CSR practices by all companies, irrespective of where they operate, and that they encourage the dissemination of good practice based on CSR initiatives, notably by making the results of such initiatives more widely known;

14.   Notes that the CSR agenda must be adapted to the specific needs of regions and of each specific country in order to contribute to improving sustainable economic and social development;

15.   Believes that the credibility of voluntary CSR initiatives depends on their incorporating internationally accepted standards and principles, such as the Global Reporting Initiative III, and on their being subject to monitoring and to transparent verification that is independent from company stakeholders;

16.   Takes the view that emphasis should be placed on the active involvement of all stakeholders in the company, on training for managers and on the development of civil society, especially with regard to consumer awareness;

17.   Considers it important to cultivate and spread the culture of CSR through training and awareness-raising in a business setting as well as in those branches of the higher and university education sector focusing primarily on the study of administration;

18.   Believes that social dialogue and European Works Councils have played a constructive role in developing best practice in terms of CSR;

19.   Firmly believes that more attention should be given to CSR in the European Employment Guidelines;

Incorporating CSR into the generalised system of preferences (GSP and GSP+)

20.   Calls for the principles underpinning CSR to be incorporated into the GSP and GSP+ regulation when it is next revised; calls on the Commission to ensure that transnational corporations, whether or not they have their registered office in the European Union, whose subsidiaries or supply chains are located in countries participating in the GSP, and in particular in GSP+, are required to comply with their national and international legal obligations in the areas of human rights, labour standards and environmental rules; urges that the European Union and the states participating in and benefiting from the GSP should be required to ensure that corporations fulfil these obligations; calls for such compliance to be made a binding requirement in the context of the GSP;

21.   Takes the view that a revised GSP+ system should also ban host-country agreements, secretive agreements concluded between certain multinational corporations and host countries which are beneficiaries of the GSP+ system in order to circumvent regulatory requirements in those countries, since such agreements are clearly at odds with the concept of CSR;

New impact assessments

22.   Calls on the Commission to improve its sustainability impact assessment model, in order to properly reflect the economic, social, human rights and environmental implications, including climate change mitigation goals, of trade negotiations; calls on the Commission to follow up on the trade agreements with the EU's partner countries, by carrying out, prior to and after the signing of a trade agreement, sustainability impact assessment studies, taking into account in particular vulnerable sectors;

23.   Underlines that, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament is to be fully informed on how the findings of Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIA) of agreements are incorporated into negotiations prior to their conclusion, and which chapters of those agreements have been changed to avoid any negative impacts identified in the SIA;

24.   Calls on the Commission to draw up impact assessments to evaluate the effects of trade agreements on European SMEs (SME test), with particular regard to CSR, in accordance with the Small Business Act;

CSR clauses in all the European Union's trade agreements

25.   Proposes, in more general terms, that future trade agreements negotiated by the Union should incorporate a chapter on sustainable development which includes a CSR clause, based, in part, on the 2010 update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises;

26.  Proposes that this ‘CSR clause’ should incorporate:

   (a) a mutual undertaking by the two parties to promote internationally-agreed CSR instruments in the context of the agreement and their trade relations;
   (b) incentives to encourage undertakings to enter into CSR commitments negotiated with all their stakeholders, including the trade unions, consumer organisations, local authorities and civil society organisations concerned;
   (c) the establishment of ‘contact points’ similar to those set up under the auspices of the OECD which would foster the provision of information about CSR and transparency and receive complaints concerning breaches of the principles underpinning CSR, in cooperation with civil society, and transferring these to the competent authorities;
   (d) a requirement – which takes into account the specific situation and capabilities of SMEs within the scope of the recommendation 2003/361/CE of 6 May 2003 and according to the ‘think small first’ principle– for corporations to publish their CSR balance sheets at least every two or three years; takes the view that this demand will reinforce transparency and reporting and encourage the visibility and credibility of CSR practices by making CSR information available to all stakeholders, including consumers, investors and the wider public in a targeted manner;
   (e) a requirement for undertakings and groups of undertakings to show due diligence, i.e. a requirement to take measures in advance with a view to identifying and preventing violations of human and environmental rights, corruption or tax evasion, including in their subsidiaries and supply chains, i.e. throughout their sphere of influence;
   (f) a requirement for companies to commit to free, open and informed prior consultation with local and independent stakeholders before a project that impacts upon a local community commences;
   (g) a particular focus on the impact of the employment of children and child labour practices;

27.  Considers that the CSR clause should be accompanied by other provisions; takes the view that:

   (a) in the event of proven breaches of CSR commitments, it should be possible for the competent authorities to carry out investigations and, in the event of a serious breach of the commitments, the parties could name and shame those responsible;
   (b) the two parties should undertake to encourage transnational judicial cooperation, to facilitate access to the courts for the victims of the actions of corporations within their sphere of influence, and, with that aim in mind, to support the development of appropriate judicial procedures and sanction infringements of the law by corporations, as well as non-judicial redress mechanisms;

28.   Suggest that, as part of bi-lateral EU agreements, provision is made from within the ‘Strengthening of Justice’ programmes for the training of judges and tribunals dealing with commercial law on human rights issues and compliance with international conventions on labour rights and the environment;

29.   Proposes the establishment of a joint parliamentary monitoring committee for each trade agreement (FTA), to act as a forum for exchanges of information and dialogue between MEPs and parliamentarians from the partner states; adds that these monitoring committees could also scrutinise the implementation of the chapter on sustainable development and the CSR clause and draw up recommendations for the FTA joint committee, in particular in the light of impact assessments and in cases where proven breaches of human rights, labour rights or environmental agreements occur;

30.   Proposes the establishment of a regular forum for comparison for signatories to the UN Global Compact to present their CSR programmes for public scrutiny and provide a means of comparison for consumers, and create a culture of high standards and peer review. Such transparency would encourage companies to voluntarily achieve higher standards of CSR or face the costs of media and public scrutiny;

Promoting CSR in multilateral trade policies

31.   Calls on the Commission to advocate the incorporation of a CSR dimension into multilateral trade policies, both in the international forums which have supported the concept of CSR, in particular the OECD and the ILO, and in the WTO in the post-Doha context;

32.   Calls to explore, within these same forums, the elaboration of an international convention to be drawn up to establish the responsibilities of ‘host countries’(23) and ‘countries of origin’(24) , as part of the fight against the violation of human rights by multinational corporations and the implementation of the principle of extra-territoriality;

33.   Calls on the Commission to support the development of new relationships between the multilateral agencies responsible for enforcing labour and environmental standards and the WTO with a view to establishing greater consistency at international level between trade policies and the objectives of sustainable development;

34.   Advocates, once again, the establishment within the WTO of a Trade and Decent Work Committee, along the lines of the Trade and Environment Committee, which would provide a forum for the discussion, in particular, of the issues of labour standards, especially as they relate to the employment of children, and CSR as they relate to international trade; proposes, once again, a revision of the dispute settlement procedure, so that in cases involving possible breaches of international environmental or labour agreements special groups (panels) or the appeal body can ask the competent international organisations to draw up opinions, which would then be published;

o
o   o

35.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the parliaments of the Member States, the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO and the International Labour Conference.

(1) UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/12/Rev.2(2003).
(2) www.globalreporting.org
(3) http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/636/94/PDF/N0263694.pdf?OpenElement
(4) http://www.csrgov.dk
(5) OJ L 12, 16.1.2001, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 156, 13.6.2001, p. 33.
(7) OJ C 86, 10.4.2002, p. 3.
(8) OJ C 39, 18.2.2003, p. 3.
(9) OJ L 205, 6.8.2005, p. 21.
(10) 10937/1/10.
(11) OJ L 114, 24.4.2001, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 178, 17.7.2003, p. 16.
(13) OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 114.
(14) OJ C 104, 14.4.1999, p. 180.
(15) OJ C 112 E, 9.5.2002, p. 326.
(16) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2003, p. 598.
(17) OJ C 67 E, 17.3.2004, p. 73.
(18) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p. 84.
(19) OJ C 280 E, 18.11.2006, p. 65.
(20) OJ C 303 E, 13.12.2006, p. 865.
(21) OJ C 301 E, 13.12.2007, p. 45.
(22) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 321.
(23) States in which all the undertakings in a relationship of dependency vis-à-vis the parent companies are based.
(24) States in which the parent companies are located.


Competition horizontal cooperation rules
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on the review of the competition horizontal cooperation rules
P7_TA(2010)0447 B7-0623/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Articles 101(1) and (3), 103(1) and 105(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter the ‘TFEU’),

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 2821/71 of the Council of 20 December 1971 on the application of Article 85(3) of the Treaty to categories of agreements, decisions and concerted practices(1) ,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 2658/2000 of 29 November 2000 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to categories of specialisation agreements(2) (the block exemption regulation on specialisation agreements, hereinafter the ‘specialisation BER’),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 2659/2000 of 29 November 2000 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty to categories of research and development agreements(3) (the block exemption regulation on research and development agreements, hereinafter the ‘R&D BER’),

–   having regard to the Draft Commission Regulation on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of specialisation agreements (the new block exemption regulation on specialisation agreements, hereinafter the ‘draft new specialisation BER’), published on 4 May 2010 for consultation on the Commission's website,

–   having regard to the Draft Commission Regulation on the application of Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to categories of research and development agreements (the new block exemption regulation on research and development agreements, hereinafter the ‘draft new R&D BER’), published on 4 May 2010 for consultation on the Commission's website,

–   having regard to the Commission notice on guidelines on the applicability of Article 81 of the EC Treaty to horizontal cooperation agreements (hereinafter the ‘horizontal guidelines’)(4) ,

–   having regard to the Draft Communication from the Commission on guidelines on the applicability of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to horizontal cooperation agreements (hereinafter the ‘draft new horizontal guidelines’), published on 4 May 2010 for consultation on the Commission's website,

–   having regard to the contributions from the different stakeholders sent to the Commission during the periods of public consultations and published on the Commission's website,

–   having regard to the debate between Commissioner Almunia and members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 6 July 2010,

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2010 on the Report on Competition Policy 2008(5) ,

–   having regard to the question of 28 September 2010 to the Commission on the review of the competition horizontal cooperation rules (O-0131/2010 – B7-0565/2010 ),

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

A.   whereas both the specialisation BER and the R&D BER will expire on 31 December 2010; whereas the Commission has launched the process of reviewing both regulations and their accompanying guidelines,

B.   whereas there have been significant legislative changes since the adoption of the two regulations and the horizontal guidelines, in particular the adoption of the modernisation package in 2003 which introduced the need for self-assessment by undertakings of the agreements entered into,

C.   whereas the Commission has gained experience in the application of these rules during recent years and there is currently a new set of rules derived from Commission and Court case law in need of codification,

D.   whereas it is good practice also to learn from the experience of the EU national competition authorities and competition authorities worldwide; whereas it is to be recommended, particularly in the context of the current economic crisis, to try to agree on convergent competition rules worldwide, given that many agreements and practices are covered by several legal competition regimes,

1.   Welcomes the fact that the Commission has opened two different public consultations in connection with the review of the competition rules applicable to horizontal cooperation agreements; stresses the importance of listening to and considering as much as possible in the decision-making process the views of the stakeholders in order to achieve a realistic and balanced regulatory framework;

2.   Calls on the Commission to specify clearly at the end of the review procedure how it has taken into account contributions from the stakeholders;

3.   Appreciates the fact that the Commission sent Parliament the draft rules at an early stage; encourages the Commission to continue to work proactively in a spirit of openness with Parliament; welcomes the availability shown by Commissioner Almunia to debate the draft rules with the Members of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee;

4.   Recalls the importance of legal certainty; appreciates the fact that the Commission drafted Frequently Asked Questions for the second public consultation to highlight the major changes proposed in the draft rules; calls on the Commission, once the final new regulatory framework has been adopted, to draft a summary note and new Frequently Asked Questions to explain the final framework in detail to market players;

5.   Highlights the importance of the two block exemption regulations in the area of horizontal cooperation for the analysis of the agreements falling within their scope;

6.   Notes that, even if an approach based on defining a safe harbour based on market shares is not perfect, it reflects an economic fact and is quite simple to understand and apply; agrees that horizontal agreements usually raise more competition concerns than vertical agreements and therefore understands that the Commission is maintaining a more restrictive approach on setting the market share threshold as regards horizontal agreements;

7.   Notes, however, that most horizontal cooperation agreements do not fall within the scope of these two block exemption regulations; asks the Commission to analyse whether stakeholders and the objective of maintaining effective competition would benefit from the establishment of new specific block exemption regulations to cover particular types of horizontal agreements other than R&D and specialisation; if the conclusion is positive, calls on the Commission to seek appropriate authorisation from the Council to adopt these new types of block exemption regulations, after consulting Parliament;

8.   Takes the view that the horizontal guidelines represent a useful analysis and self-assessment tool for companies, with a sophisticated economic approach, whether or not a horizontal cooperation agreement infringes Article 101(1) TFEU;

9.   Appreciates, therefore, that the new horizontal guidelines reflect the self-assessment need introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 and provide clear guidance for complex arrangements such as joint ventures and agreements covering more than one type of cooperation ; takes the view that such an approach should not, however, lead to a more complicated regulatory framework;

10.   Recalls, in this context, the better regulation principle of improving the quality of legislative and regulatory drafting, namely through the use of clear and precise language; favours very clear and reader-friendly guidelines, therefore, including more concrete examples where appropriate, as requested by several stakeholders;

11.   Welcomes the new chapter on information exchange in the new draft horizontal guidelines; notes that this is a sensitive issue in the relationship between competitors and that it is essential for undertakings to be able to identify which information can be shared, without creating restrictive effects on competition, particularly in the current context of self-assessment of the agreements;

12.   Welcomes the revision of the standardisation chapter in the draft new horizontal guidelines and the place given to environmental aspects in it; recalls the clear benefits of a transparent standard-setting process; appreciates, therefore, the provisions aiming at dealing with the inherent uncertainty surrounding the existence of intellectual property rights in this context and the commercial terms which would be adopted for their licensing; considers that it is of high importance to avoid disputes when standards are adopted;

13.   Highlights the importance of respecting intellectual property rights, which decisively contribute to innovation; recalls that the capacity of innovation is a key element in building a competitive economy and meeting the EU 2020 targets; supports the prevention of any abuses of intellectual property rights through competition legislation inter alia;

14.   Believes, however, that this question has to be considered in a broader substantive regulatory framework and not only in a competition policy context; stresses that this chapter of the new draft horizontal guidelines should be regarded as a piece of an integrated regulatory framework on the protection of intellectual property rights;

15.   Agrees with the Commission that all parties entering into a research and development agreement must previously disclose all their existing and pending intellectual property rights in as far as they are relevant to the use of the results of the agreement by the other parties;

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

(1) OJ L 285, 29.12.1971, p. 46.
(2) OJ L 304, 5.12.2000, p. 3.
(3) OJ L 304, 5.12.2000, p. 7.
(4) OJ C 3, 6.1.2001, p. 2.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0050 .


Iraq - in particular the death penalty (including the case of Tariq Aziz) and attacks against Christian communities
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on Iraq: the death penalty (notably the case of Tariq Aziz) and attacks against Christian communities
P7_TA(2010)0448 B7-0629 , 0630 , 0631 , 0632 , 0633 and 0648/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Iraq,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the abolition of the death penalty, in particular its resolution of 26 April 2007 on the initiative for a universal moratorium on the death penalty(1) ,

–   having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 62/149 of 18 December 2007, calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 63/168 of 18 December 2008, calling for implementation of the 2007 General Assembly resolution 62/149,

–   having regard to the speech of the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, on human rights policy, delivered in the plenary of 16 June 2010 and pointing out that the abolition of the death penalty worldwide is a priority for the European Union,

–   having regard to the final declaration adopted by the 4th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, held in Geneva from 24 to 26 February 2010, which calls for universal abolition of the death penalty,

–   having regard to Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions adopted on 16 November 2009 on freedom of religion or belief, underlining the strategic importance of this freedom and of countering religious intolerance,

–   having regard to the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief,

–   having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, on Iraq, in particular that of 1 November 2010 following the attack against worshippers at Our Lady of Salvation Cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq,

–   having regard to its annual reports on the situation of human rights in the world and its previous resolutions on religious minorities in the world,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

The death penalty (including the case of Tariq Aziz)

A.   whereas, on 26 October 2010, the Iraqi Supreme Court sentenced to death former Iraqi deputy premier Tariq Aziz, aged 74, together with Sadoun Shakir, former Interior Minister, and Abed Hamoud, former Private Secretary to Saddam Hussein; whereas if the appeal against the sentence is turned down, it is likely be carried out within 30 days,

B.   whereas at an earlier trial Tariq Aziz was sentenced to 22 years in prison in solitary confinement and that sentence was in fact a life sentence because of the fragile health of Tariq Aziz, who has suffered several strokes, as well as lung problems, in prison and underwent surgery following a blood clot in the brain,

C.   whereas Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, has stated that he will not sign the execution order for Tariq Aziz; whereas, under the Iraqi constitution, the President should ratify death sentences but there are mechanisms for executions to be carried out on parliamentary authority,

D.   whereas the condemnation to death of Tariq Aziz will do little to improve the climate of violence in Iraq, and whereas Iraq is in dire need of national reconciliation,

E.   whereas the EU is strongly committed to working towards the abolition of the death penalty everywhere and is striving to achieve universal acceptance of this principle,

F.   whereas the death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, violating the right to life as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is an act of torture unacceptable to states that respect human rights,

Attacks against Christian communities

G.   whereas, on 22 November 2010, two Iraqi Christians were killed in Mosul; whereas, on 10 November 2010, a series of bomb and mortar attacks targeting Christian areas killed at least five people in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad; and whereas these attacks came after Islamist militants had seized a Syriac Catholic cathedral in Baghdad on 31 October 2010, leaving more than 50 worshippers dead,

H.   whereas the militant group Islamic State of Iraq, considered part of the international Al-Qaida movement, has claimed responsibility for the killings and has vowed to launch further attacks against Christians,

I.   whereas Article 10 of the Iraqi Constitution establishes the Government's commitment to assuring and maintaining the sanctity of holy shrines and religious sites; whereas Article 43 states that followers of all religious groups shall be free to practise their religious rites and manage their religious institutions,

J.   whereas hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled from the country in the face of repeated attacks against their communities and churches; whereas many of the remaining Iraqi Assyrians (Chaldeans, Syriacs and other Christian minorities) are now internally displaced persons, having had to flee extremist violence aimed at them,

K.   whereas the Assyrians (Chaldeans, Syriacs and other Christian minorities) constitute an ancient and indigenous people who are very vulnerable to persecution and forced emigration, and whereas there is a danger of their culture becoming extinct in Iraq,

L.   whereas human rights violations in Iraq, notably against ethnic and religious minorities, continue at a disturbingly high level; whereas the safety and rights of all minorities, including religious groups, must be respected and protected in all societies,

M.   whereas the EU has repeatedly expressed its commitment to freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion and has stressed that governments have a duty to guarantee these freedoms,

The death penalty (including the case of Tariq Aziz)

1.   Reiterates its long-standing opposition to the death penalty in all cases and under all circumstances, including for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and emphasises once again that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights;

2.   Deeply regrets, therefore, the decision of the Iraqi Supreme Court to sentence Tariq Aziz, Sadoun Shakir and Abed Hamoud to death; underlines, however, the importance of holding accountable those who violate human rights, including (former) politicians, in the framework of the rule of law and due process;

3.   Urges the Iraqi authorities to reconsider their decision and not to carry out the death sentence pronounced by the Supreme Court; welcomes the announcement by President Talabani that he would not sign the execution order;

4.   Encourages the Iraqi Government to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, and calls for an immediate moratorium on executions;

5.   Points out that the full abolition of the death penalty remains one of the main objectives of EU human rights policy;

Attacks against Christian communities

6.   Expresses its grave concerns over – and strongly condemns – the recent attacks on Christian and other religious communities in Iraq and the abuse of religion by the perpetrators of those acts;

7.   Calls on the Iraqi authorities radically to increase their efforts to protect Christian and other vulnerable minorities, to step up action against interethnic violence and to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of crimes to justice in accordance with the principles of the rule of law and international standards;

8.   Reaffirms its full support for the population of Iraq and calls on all Iraqi political entities to work together against the threat of violence and terrorism; emphasises that the right of all religious groups to gather and worship freely must be protected; deplores the deliberate targeting of locations where civilians congregate, including places of worship; strongly condemns all acts of violence against churches and all places of worship and urges the EU and the international community to step up the fight against terrorism;

9.   Expresses its solidarity with the families of the victims and expresses confidence that the Iraqi people will remain steadfast in their continued rejection of efforts by extremists to spark sectarian tension;

10.   Welcomes the statement of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 2 November 2010 calling on the specialised authorities and all security forces to stand firm against any attempts to separate Iraqi citizens on a sectarian or racial basis, and to provide protection for Iraqi citizens and safeguard religious practice;

11.   Calls on the Council and the Commission, in particular the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, in view of the preparation of the first Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Iraq, to address the problem of Christians' safety within Iraqi borders as a priority issue;

o
o   o

12.   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, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly, the governments of the UN member states and the Government and Parliament of Iraq.

(1) OJ C 74 E, 20.3.2008, p. 775.


Tibet - plans to make Chinese the main language of instruction
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on Tibet – plans to make Chinese the main language of instruction
P7_TA(2010)0449 B7-0637 , 0638 , 0640 , 0642 , 0643 and 0644/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on China and Tibet, in particular its resolution of 10 April 2008 on Tibet(1) ,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas respect for human rights and freedom of identity, culture and religion is a founding principle of the European Union and a priority of its foreign policy,

B.   whereas the People's Republic of China has expressed a desire for harmonious ethnic relations among all 56 ethnic minorities,

C.   whereas on 19 October 2010 approximately 1 000 ethnic Tibetan students marched through Tongren, also known as Rebkong, peacefully opposing a plan to establish Mandarin Chinese as the main language of instruction in schools in the region; whereas on 23 October 2010 the protest spread to Qingai province and Beijing, where 400 Tibetan students studying at Minsu university staged a demonstration,

D.   whereas the Tibetan language, as one of Asia's four oldest and most original languages, is a fundamental catalyst for Tibetan identity, culture and religion, but also, together with Tibetan culture as a whole, constitutes an irreplaceable part of the world's heritage; whereas the Tibetan language, the testimony to a historically rich civilisation, is a fundamental and irreplaceable element of Tibetan identity, culture and religion,

E.   whereas languages express the social and cultural attitudes of a community, whereas the shared language of a community is a key determinant of culture, and whereas languages convey very specific social and cultural behaviours and ways of thinking,

F.   whereas it has been established that mother-tongue bilingual education is the most effective path to successful bilingualism for Tibetans, and whereas this ‘model 1 bilingual education policy’ has consistently led to the highest college placement rates for Tibetan high school students across the Tibetan region,

G.   whereas in elementary, middle and high schools in all areas covered by the Tibet Autonomous Regional government, the Tibetan language is gradually being replaced by Chinese, and official documents are usually unavailable in Tibetan,

H.   whereas changes to education policy would limit the use of the Tibetan language in schools, since all textbooks and subjects, except for Tibetan and English language classes, would be in Mandarin Chinese,

I.   whereas the People's Republic of China, along with 142 other countries, voted to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13 September 2007, Article 14 of which states that ‘indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning’,

J.   whereas, owing to the dominance of the Chinese language, there is growing anxiety over job prospects among graduate students in Tibetan areas as, according to the petition signed by teachers and students, most Tibetan students have never been in a Chinese-language environment and therefore are not able to communicate in Chinese,

1.   Condemns the increased crackdown on the exercise of the cultural, linguistic, religious and other fundamental freedoms of Tibetans, and stresses the need to preserve and protect the distinct cultural, religious and national identity of the six million Tibetan people and to address concerns about the repression and marginalisation of the Tibetan language, which underpins Tibetan identity;

2.   Notes the concerns about the attempts to devalue the Tibetan language, and stresses the fact that if there is to be successful bilingual education, Tibetan must be the domestic language;

3.   Calls on the Chinese authorities to implement Article 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China's and Article 10 of the Law on Regional National autonomy which guarantee ‘the freedom of all nationalities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages’;

4.   Urges the Chinese authorities to support a genuine policy of bilingualism, whereby all subjects, including maths and science, are allowed to be taught in the Tibetan language, teaching of the Chinese language is strengthened, and local authorities and communities are empowered to make decisions on the language of instruction;

5.   Considers that every ethnic minority has the right to preserve its own language and writings; takes the view that a fair bilingual education system will contribute to better cooperation and understanding when Tibetan people learn Chinese, with Han people living in Tibetan areas at the same time being encouraged to learn the Tibetan language;

6.   Stresses that, with the introduction of Chinese as the primary language of instruction, the quality of education for the vast majority of middle-school Tibetan students would suffer significantly, and that school subjects should therefore, as is most appropriate, only be taught in the Tibetan mother tongue;

7.   Calls on the Chinese authorities to make every effort to lessen the linguistic and cultural disadvantages faced by Tibetans in urban employment, albeit in ways that do not undermine Tibetan language and culture;

8.   Calls on the European Commission, the HR/VP and the Member States to urge the Chinese Government to ensure, firstly, that the right of peaceful expression by students is respected and that the relevant authorities address their grievances substantively and appropriately, and, secondly, that the 2002 ‘Regulations on the Study, Use and Development of the Tibetan Language’ are properly implemented, in accordance with the Law of Regional Ethnic Autonomy;

9.   Asks the Commission to report on the use of the fund requested for the support of Tibetan civil society in China and in exile in the framework of the 2009 budget (EUR 1 million), and stresses the need to preserve Tibetan culture, particularly in exile;

10.   Calls once again on China to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, and deplores the often discriminatory treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in China;

11.   Asks the Chinese authorities to provide foreign media access to Tibet, including the Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, and to abolish the system of special permits being required;

12.   Calls on EU diplomatic representatives in Beijing to visit the region and to report back to the Council and the HR/VP on the current situation with regard to the education and language issue;

13.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the People's Republic of China, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

(1) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 5.


Burma - conduct of elections and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2010 on Burma – conduct of elections and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
P7_TA(2010)0450 B7-0635 , 0636 , 0639 , 0641 , 0645 , 0646 and 0647/2010

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Burma, the most recent adopted on 20 May 2010(1) ,

–   having regard to Articles 18- 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948,

–   having regard to Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966,

–   having regard to the EU Presidency Statement of 23 February 2010 calling for all-inclusive dialogue between the authorities and the democratic forces in Burma,

–   having regard to the statement of the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek of 11 March 2010 on Burma's new election laws,

–   having regard to the Chairman's Statement at the 16th ASEAN Summit held in Hanoi on 9 April 2010,

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions on Burma adopted at the 3009th Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg on 26 April 2010,

–   having regard to the European Council Conclusions, Declaration on Burma, of 19 June 2010,

–   having regard to the UN Secretary-General's report on the situation of human rights in Burma of 28 August 2009,

–   having regard to the statement made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Bangkok on 26 October 2010,

–   having regard to the Chair's statement at the 8th Asia-Europe meeting in October 2010,

–   having regard to the UN Special Rapporteur's report on the situation of human rights in Burma of 15 September 2010,

–   having regard to the declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 7 November 2010 on the elections in Burma,

–   having regard to the statement by the UN Secretary-General and by the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek of 8 November 2010 on the Burmese elections,

–   having regard to the statement by the UN Secretary-General of 13 November 2010 on the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,

–   having regard to the statement by the President of the European Council and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 13 November 2010 on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Council of 22 November 2010 on Burma,

–   having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas on the evening of 13 November 2010, less than a week after the disputed national elections had been held, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from the house arrest under which she had spent 15 of the last 21 years,

B.   whereas on 7 November 2010 Burma held its first national elections for over 20 years; whereas the previous elections in 1990 had been won by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD),

C.   whereas the latest elections were based on the controversial Constitution introduced in 2008, which guarantees the Burmese military a quarter of all parliamentary seats, and not surprisingly were won by the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP),

D.   whereas the Burmese authorities introduced several new laws in the run-up to the elections of 7 November, restricting free speech and criticism of the government, placing severe limitations on the political and campaign activities of political parties and cracking down on internal calls for the release of political prisoners, and whereas the elections did not meet international standards,

E.   whereas the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was able to field candidates in almost all constituencies, while pro-democracy parties such as the National Democratic Force were limited to fielding candidates in only a handful of constituencies, largely due to the fact that they had little time to raise funds for the election or to organise properly,

F.   whereas the National League for Democracy (NLD) decided to boycott the elections in the light of the conditions imposed on participation; whereas the NLD was disbanded by law on 6 May 2010, after failing to register for the elections,

G.   whereas the elections were conducted in a climate of fear, intimidation and resignation and whereas hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens, including Buddhist monks and political prisoners, were banned from voting or standing for election,

H.   whereas there were many complaints over both the basis and the conduct of the elections, with failures to protect the secrecy of the ballot, coercion of state employees, and military efforts to force ethnic Karens, for example, to vote for junta-backed parties,

I.   whereas the disputed 2008 Constitution bars Aung San Suu Kyi from public office,

J.   whereas, provided it is not rescinded, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi could be interpreted as a first step in the right direction; whereas, however, many have expressed concern about Aung San Suu Kyi's safety and note that she is being kept under surveillance by the state security services,

K.   whereas, while Aung San Suu Kyi has been released, more than 2 200 other pro-democracy activists remain in captivity, as do many of the Buddhist monks who led the anti-government protests in 2007 and the journalists who covered the protests,

L.   whereas since 2003 the government of Burma has rejected every single suggestion made to it by the United Nations and the wider international community on how to reform its seven-stage ‘roadmap to democracy’,

M.   whereas the Burmese military continues to commit atrocious human rights violations against civilians in the ethnic Karen homelands on the Thai border, acts which include extrajudicial killings, forced labour and sexual violence; and whereas thousands of Burmese refugees entered Thailand the day after the elections owing to clashes between the Burmese army and ethnic rebel groups,

N.   whereas Burma continues widespread and systematic forced recruitment of child soldiers,

O.   whereas the United Nations, the EU and its Member States, the US and many other governments across the world have said that in order to reach a long-term solution to Burma's problems, tripartite talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, representatives of Burma's ethnic minorities and the Burmese junta, are essential; and whereas the government of Burma still refuses to enter into such talks,

P.   whereas the EU has imposed restrictive measures on the Burmese regime since 1996, including a freeze on the assets of some 540 individuals and 62 entities, travel bans, a ban on the export of military equipment, and, more recently a ban on equipment for logging and mining and on the import of certain types of timber, precious stones and minerals, until such time as there is evidence of genuine change in the direction of democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law,

1.   Welcomes Aung San Suu Kyi's recent release, but deplores the fact that she was only released after the elections, making it impossible for her to actively campaign for the opposition during the elections; insists that her freshly regained freedom must be unconditional and unrestricted;

2.   Deeply regrets that the ruling Burmese military junta refused to hold free and fair elections in Burma on 7 November;

3.   Deplores the restrictions placed by the ruling military junta on the main opposition parties, as well as the restrictions placed on the press's freedom to report on and monitor the elections;

4.   Deplores the lack of transparency in the organisation of the ballot and vote counting, the refusal of the military to accept international observers and the delay in announcing results;

5.   Deplores the fact that the new constitution guarantees the Burmese military a minimum of a quarter of all seats in parliament, enough to veto any constitutional change, and also allows the military to suspend all civil liberties and parliament whenever it deems it necessary;

6.   Notes the restricted participation in the ballot of the opposition parties that had to take a difficult decision whether or not to boycott the elections, and takes the view that the participation of opposition and ethnic representatives in both national and regional assemblies, albeit at a very limited level, could constitute a beginning of normalisation and might offer an opportunity for change;

7.   Strongly condemns the ongoing violations of the fundamental freedoms and basic democratic rights of the people of Burma at the hands of the Burmese military junta;

8.   Urges the Government of Burma to release all Burma's remaining 2 200 political prisoners without delay and without any pre-conditions, as well as to fully restore all their political rights; also insists that the Burmese authorities make no further politically motivated arrests;

9.   Strongly calls upon the Burmese regime to lift restrictions on freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and freedom of expression, and calls for an end to politically motivated censorship of the press, as well as politically motivated control of the internet and mobile phone network;

10.   Strongly condemns the violence that erupted after widespread complaints of intimidation in the west of Burma, in the town of Myawaddy; the violent fire exchange between Burmese military and ethnic rebels forced thousands to cross the border with Thailand;

11.   Deeply regrets the rejection by the Burmese authorities of all offers of technical assistance and monitoring services from the UN, and condemns the restrictions imposed on foreign media trying to report from inside Burma;

12.   Condemns the fact that at least nine newspapers and magazines have seen their publication postponed by the Press Supervisory Council, which claims that rules were not followed when the publications published a photo of the release of Aung San Suu Kyi;

13.   Strongly urges the Burmese regime to enter into discussions with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, as well as with representatives of the minority peoples; in this regard, welcomes the mediation efforts made by the UN Secretary-General and his Special Rapporteur on Burma;

14.   Calls not only on the international community, including China, India and Russia as Burma's main trading partners, but also on ASEAN to stop supporting the undemocratic regime that thrives at the expense of its people and to exert more pressure for positive change in the country; further believes that the ASEAN Charter confers upon the ASEAN Member States a special responsibility and moral obligation to act in the event of systematic violations of human rights in a member country;

15.   Reiterates its support for the Council's decision of 26 April 2010 to extend the restrictive measures provided for in the current EU decision by another year; urges the Burmese authorities to take the necessary steps to enable these measures to be reconsidered;

16.   Expresses concern about the conditions in prisons and other detention facilities, and consistent reports of ill-treatment of prisoners of conscience, including torture, and about the moving of prisoners of conscience to isolated prisons far from their families, where they cannot receive food and medicine; also calls on the Burmese authorities immediately to allow medical treatment for all prisoners and to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to resume visits to all prisoners;

17.   Expresses its deep concern about the resumption of armed conflict in some areas, and calls on the Government of Burma to protect the civilian population in all parts of the country and for all concerned to respect existing ceasefire agreements;

18.   Calls on the EU and its Member States to employ their full economic and political influence in order to bring about freedom and democracy in Burma; urges the Member States and the EU to continue to provide funding for refugees on the Thai-Burmese border;

19.   Reiterates and endorses its President's invitation to Aung San Suu Kyi to attend the Sakharov prize-giving ceremony in Strasbourg in December; highlights the fact that should she be able to attend, she will be officially presented with the Sakharov Prize that she won in 1990 for all that she has done to promote democracy and freedom in Burma;

20.   Insists that Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom of expression and physical freedom, including her unhindered right to travel freely and safely throughout Burma and abroad, and to return to Burma, be guaranteed by the Burmese regime and the services under its control;

21.   Welcomes the decision taken by the President of the European Parliament to send a Parliamentary delegation to Burma to present Aung San Suu Kyi with her Sakharov Prize, should she be unable to attend the prize-giving ceremony in Strasbourg;

22.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to Aung San Suu Kyi, to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the EU Special Envoy for Burma, the Burmese State Peace and Development Council, the governments of the ASEAN and ASEM member states, the ASEM secretariat, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Burma.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0196 .


Fighting colorectal cancer in the European Union
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Declaration of the European Parliament of 25 November 2010 on fighting colorectal cancer in the European Union
P7_TA(2010)0451 P7_DCL(2010)0068

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas in the EU there are over 400 000 new cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) and 200 000 deaths from it per annum, CRC being the second most frequent cause of death from cancer,

B.   whereas CRC is associated with lifestyle factors (obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking) and tackling these factors will decrease CRC development,

C.   whereas screening in some EU countries has already lowered CRC mortality, while in others screening activities have not been initiated,

D.   whereas early detection of CRC will not only lead to a reduction in the 40% mortality rate, but will also significantly reduce treatment costs,

E.   whereas, according to the Commission, the fight against CRC should be a priority in public health, as death from CRC is preventable with the medical tools available in the EU,

1.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States:

   to support awareness campaigns in the EU on lifestyle factors which cause CRC, aimed particularly at teenagers and young adults,
   to encourage implementation of CRC screening best practice in all EU countries and to publish progress reports every two years,
   to make dissemination of CRC screening-related research and knowledge a priority in upcoming work programmes of Research Framework Programme 7 and the EU Health Programme,
   to introduce nationwide CRC screening, in accordance with EU guidelines;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories(1) , to the Council, the Commission and the parliaments of the Member States.

(1) The list of signatories is published in Annex 1 to the Minutes of 25 November 2010 (P7_PV(2010)11-25(ANN1) ).


Camp Ashraf
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Declaration of the European Parliament of 25 November 2010 on Camp Ashraf
P7_TA(2010)0452 P7_DCL(2010)0075

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on human rights in Iran,

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 April 2009 on Camp Ashraf(1) , home to 3400 Iranian dissidents in Iraq, including 1000 women, all of whom are ‘Protected Persons’ under the 4th Geneva Convention,

–   having regard to the removal of the opposition PMOI from the EU's blacklist in 2009,

–   having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas several relatives of Ashraf residents have been sentenced to death by the Iranian regime after returning from visits to their families in Ashraf,

B.   whereas the Iraqi Government has failed to respect the EP resolution and is continuing a merciless siege of the Camp,

C.   whereas the residents are still being subjected to external pressures under the pretext that the PMOI remains on the US blacklist,

D.   whereas in July 2010 the US Appeals Court in Washington ruled in favour of the PMOI and urged the State Department to review its decision to maintain them on the US terrorist blacklist,

E.   whereas US and UN forces have withdrawn from Ashraf and residents are now vulnerable to attack,

1.   Calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to urge the USA to follow the example of the EU by removing the PMOI from its blacklist and to urge the UN to provide urgent protection for Ashraf;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories(2) , to the Council, the Commission and the parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 62.
(2) The list of signatories is published in Annex 2 to the Minutes of 25 November 2010 (P7_PV(2010)11-25(ANN2) ).

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