Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Recommendation to the Council on the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly
 Long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks - 1 ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Request for the waiver of parliamentary immunity of Jacek Olgierd Kurski
 Request for the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Malgorzata Handzlik
 Request for waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Alexander Alvaro
 A new agenda for European consumer policy
 Legal aid in cross-border civil and commercial disputes
 Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights ***II
 Food intended for infants and young children and food for special medical purposes ***II
  Resolution
  Annex
 Health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks - 2 ***I
  Resolution
  Consolidated text
 Organised crime, corruption and money laundering
 Social housing in the European Union
 Educational and occupational mobility of women
 Electronic toll service and vignette system on light private vehicles

Recommendation to the Council on the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly
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European Parliament recommendation to the Council of 11 June 2013 on the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2013/2034(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0234 A7-0202/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Articles 21 and 34 thereof,

–   having regard to the proposal for a recommendation to the Council on the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, on behalf of the ALDE Group (B7-0083/2013 ),

–   having regard to Council Decision 2011/168/CFSP of 21 March 2011 on the International Criminal Court and repealing Common Position 2003/444/CFSP,

–   having regard to the EU’s priorities for the 67th Session of the UNGA, as adopted by the Council on 23 July 2012(1) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 10 September 2003 entitled ‘The European Union and the United Nations: the choice of multilateralism’ (COM(2003)0526 ),

–   having regard to the 67th Session of the UNGA, in particular that body’s resolutions on ‘The Arms Trade Treaty’(2) , ’Quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system’(3) , ‘Freedom of religion or belief’(4) , ’Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order’(5) , ‘Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights’(6) , ’The rule of law at the national and international levels’(7) , and ‘Women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control’(8) ,

–   having regard to the UNGA resolution of 3 May 2011 on the participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations(9) ,

–   having regard to the UNGA resolution of 31 October 2003 which adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption(10) ,

–   having regard to the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, adopted on 31 October 2000,

–   having regard to the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council of 5 July 2012 entitled ‘The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet’, which recognises the importance of human rights protection and the free flow of information online,

–   having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 13 June 2012 on the 67th Session of the UNGA(11) ,

–   having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 18 April 2013 on the UN principle of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P)(12) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 May 2011 on the EU as a global actor: its role in multilateral organisations(13) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2011 on EU external policies in favour of democratisation(14) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2013 on the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council(15) ,

–   having regard to the report of the joint delegation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Human Rights to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, dated 28-29 October 2012,

–   having regard to Rules 121(3) and 97 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A7-0202/2013 ),

A.   whereas in view of the growing globalisation and interconnectedness of states and societies there is a growing need and opportunity for common rules and decision-making mechanisms in order to address emerging global challenges jointly;

B.   whereas the fragmentation of global policy-making, combined with a proliferation of international and transnational forums, is creating new complexities in international relations;

C.   whereas the EU is committed to effective multilateralism with a strong UN system at its core; whereas the UN is at the centre of global governance;

D.   whereas a solid and stable EU-UN partnership underpins and contributes to the work of the UN under all three pillars – peace and security, human rights and development – and whereas, in this way, the EU must meet its responsibility to play a part in devising joint approaches to global challenges;

E.   whereas respect for, and the promotion and safeguarding of, the universality and indivisibility of human rights are cornerstones of EU action on the international scene; whereas democracy and the rule of law are pillars of sustainable peace, guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms;

1.  Addresses the following recommendations to the Council:

The EU as a global actor


   (a) to ensure continuously the coherence and visibility of the EU as a global actor at the UN; to strengthen the ability of the EU to act in a coordinated, swift and comprehensive manner in the global arena and to deliver in a consistent and timely fashion; to ensure the full implementation of the UNGA resolution of 3 May 2011 on the EU’s participation in the work of the United Nations;
   (b) to advance effective multilateralism by enhancing the representativeness, transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of the UN, with the aim of improving its delivery on the ground; to recall the need to strike a new institutional balance between the emerging role of the G-20, the UN and its agencies as well as the international financial institutions;
   (c) to engage more actively with strategic and other bilateral and multilateral partners in order to promote effective solutions to problems and, whenever possible, reach towards collective efforts striving for better results;
The EU and global governance
   (d) to enhance cooperation with partners in making the UN a more effective and cohesive organisation for the 21st century;
   (e) to promote a comprehensive and consensual reform of the UNSC; to present a concrete proposal on how to achieve, as a central, long-term goal of the EU, a common EU seat in an enlarged UNSC; to take the initiative to develop a common position of the EU Member States to that end; to further promote transparency and better coordination of policies and positions amongst EU members of the UNSC; to ensure that those Member States holding a permanent seat at the UNSC shall promote the Union’s views and positions as the means for the EU to act in a coordinated fashion in the UNSC;
   (f) to pursue coordinated efforts to strengthen the role and authority of the UNGA and to increase its effectiveness and efficiency, including through the improvement of its working methods;
   (g) to foster a more institutionalised involvement of other stakeholders (civil society representatives, academia) in the work of the UNGA; to strengthen the UN system by broadening and deepening the pool of civilian expertise;
   (h) to promote the implementation of mandatory country-by-country disclosure of payments of transnational companies, namely in the banking and extractive sector, registered or listed on financial markets in partners’ national jurisdictions;
Peace and security
   (i) to promote the incorporation of a peace-building perspective into peacekeeping operations and to enhance closer coordination between peacekeeping operations and UN Country Teams and development actors;
   (j) to cooperate in strengthening the role and capacity of regional organisations in peacekeeping, conflict prevention, civilian and military crisis management, and conflict resolution; to foster joint assessment missions and to strengthen cooperation between the EU and its partners (including the African Union and sub-regional organisations, NATO, OSCE, ASEAN, CELAC, Arab League, etc.) in preventing conflicts and in post-conflict countries;
   (k) upon request, to provide the United Nations with support from the EU battlegroups for peace enforcement missions and to ensure the full cooperation of the Member States in their use for missions which have been authorised by the UNSC or the UNGA;
   (l) to assure that the mandates of peacekeeping missions reflect the need to support electoral processes, including election observation missions;
   (m) to work towards establishing the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a new norm of international law, within the scope agreed to by UN member states in the 2005 World Summit;
   (n) to ensure full consistency and compliance with international humanitarian law of possible further developments and applications of the R2P principle, while working towards its universality as a tool for preventive diplomacy and a driver for human development;
   (o) to follow-up on proposals presented by Parliament in its recommendation to the Council on the UN principle of the R2P(16) , and to work with partners to ensure that the concept of R2P focuses on prevention, protection and post-conflict reconstruction, involving situations of concern of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes or crimes against humanity, but is never used as a pretext to advance particular or national interests, or those of international coalitions based on geostrategic or economic considerations with the aim of regime change; to assist states in building capacities to this effect;
   (p) to develop criteria to be followed when acting to implement R2P, in particular the third pillar, including military interventions, such as proportionality, ex-ante clarity about the policy objectives and the use of in-depth impact assessments;
   (q) to strengthen the EU’s role as a global political actor by playing an active role in preventive diplomacy;
   (r) to demand of all parties, whether state and non-state actors directly or indirectly involved in armed conflict, that they fully respect their obligations under international law, including securing humanitarian space and ensuring unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for those in need, with a particular focus on the protection of civilians, and that they advocate a peaceful and diplomatic solution to any kind of conflict;
   (s) to support UNSC Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security; to emphasise and ensure the participation of women in peace processes; to recognise the need to mainstream gender perspectives in conflict prevention, peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction;
   (t) to cooperate with the UN to tackle global security threats such as nuclear weapons proliferation, organised crime and terrorism; to step up efforts to conclude the negotiations on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism;
   (u) to cooperate with multilateral and bilateral partners towards adding more robust and effective pressure in order to put an immediate end to the violation of human rights and violence in Syria; to explore with partners, especially the US, Turkey and the League of Arab States, all options with regard to the implementation of the principle of the R2P in order to assist the Syrian people and to halt the bloodshed; to put pressure on the Syrian government and all those involved in the crisis to fully respect international humanitarian law and to allow the swift provision of cross-border humanitarian assistance, basic public services as well as full access for humanitarian organisations; to call on international partners to meet their financial commitments as regards providing help to Syrian refugees, thereby allowing the UNHCR and other organisations to provide the necessary assistance; to explore with partners ways how to minimise the impact of the Syrian crisis on neighbouring countries;
   (v) to promote, in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions, the efforts of the region and the international community to find a political solution to the conflict in Mali and foster a democratic transition by consolidating the institutions of transition, promoting – inter alia through mediation – inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation, as well as free, fair and transparent elections; to support as well the initiatives for the territorial integrity of Mali and the security of the country’s population; to emphasise the importance of maintaining stability in the Sahel region and of preventing a negative impact on the stability of Mali’s neighbouring countries; to closely coordinate its actions with regional and international partners, including the African Union and ECOWAS; to provide support for, and to encourage EU Member States to participate in, a UN-led peace-keeping mission and a task to provide military training to Malian armed forces within EUTM Mali; to continue to provide assistance to MISMA (Mission Internationale de Soutien au Mali);
   (w) to welcome the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) adopted by the UNGA on 2 April 2013, which will apply to a wide range of arms, including ammunition; to actively promote the rapid signing, swift ratification and effective and universal implementation of the ATT by all UN member states, including the world’s major arms producing countries; to lead efforts aimed at setting the highest common standards, also with regard to the situation of human rights in recipient countries, for the regulation of the international trade in arms and the combating of illicit trafficking, thus preventing conflict, reducing human suffering and corruption, and contributing to international peace and security;
   (x) to increase its efforts for multilateral commitments to reduce the number of nuclear weapons;
Human rights, democracy and the rule of law
   (y) to strengthen international efforts aimed at ensuring that all human rights agreed under UN conventions are considered universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and that their respect is being enforced; to oppose attempts to undermine humanitarian law in the fight against terrorism; to promote the mainstreaming of human rights, including digital freedoms, and basic freedoms in all aspects of the UN’s work;
   (z) to seek to strengthen the process of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by embedding recommendations in bilateral and multilateral dialogues with UN member states, particularly in its human rights dialogues; to facilitate an environment enabling NGOs to provide their input into the various stages of the UPR process;
   (aa) to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation, discrimination and incitement to violence; to recognise with deep concern the rising violence against members of religious and other communities in various parts of the world;
   (ab) to address restrictions on freedom of the press and media worldwide; to combat violence against journalists and bloggers; to safeguard and promote freedom of expression, both online and offline;
   (ac) to advance universal support for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and work towards a strengthening of the working capacities of the ICC in order to reduce impunity for crimes against humanity;
   (ad) to promote commitment to an international order based on the rule of law as being essential for the peaceful coexistence of states and for the building of more resilient states and sustainable peace; to recall in this regard that democracy support and respect for the rule of law are interlinked and should be promoted as such as an EU foreign policy objective;
   (ae) to strengthen support to states, upon their request, in the domestic implementation of their respective international obligations by means of enhanced technical assistance as well as institution- and capacity-building;
   (af) to follow up the recommendations of the political declaration adopted at the High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law in September 2012; to support the establishment of the joint global focal point for the rule of law; to fully support the role of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group in overall coordination and coherence, also in order to avoid fragmentation between services (Department for Political Affairs, UN Development Programme, etc.);
   (ag) to recall that corruption is a violation of human rights and that the European Union has claimed an exclusive competence for the signature of the UN Convention against Corruption; to request the VP/HR to present an EU Action Plan against corruption to effectively monitor the Convention recommendations, e.g. through an obligation on the part of the Member States to publish and disseminate information on corruption; to establish channels for reporting these violations, a legal framework for the protection of witnesses and means to ensure the participation of civil society;
Sustainable development
   (ah) to contribute to enhancing policy coherence for development and to determined efforts to combat poverty, and to improving the effectiveness of development aid, since these remain key issues for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
   (ai) to incorporate into development strategies the assessment and managing of disaster risk reduction in order to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of populations;
   (aj) to improve the link between relief, rehabilitation, disaster risk reduction and development and to enhance coordination between humanitarian and development actors in order to guarantee the continuity of aid and build resilience, the need for which is highlighted by the recurring food crises in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa;
   (ak) to work towards the full implementation of the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference, inter alia by promoting sustainable development as the guiding principle for long-term global development; to honour the international undertaking of the EU and the Member States, irrespective of the impact of the financial and economic crisis on the EU27, to earmark 0.7% of GDP for development aid,;
   (al) to cooperate in making the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development operational on schedule in order to coordinate the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of progress towards the stated goals;
   (am) to promote universal access to water and affordable and sustainable energy services, as these are key drivers for poverty eradication and inclusive growth;
   (an) to work towards the post-2015 MDG Agenda in a coherent and coordinated manner; to negotiate a single set of goals for sustainable development that have a global reach and are action-oriented, measurable, time-bound and easy to communicate; to aim for goals that incorporate sustainability, equity and governance;
   (ao) to support the UNGA President’s initiative to present civil society with a post-2015 development agenda by organising a special event on the achievement of MDGs, to be held during the 68th session of UNGA in 2013, as an important point of civil society consultation, as this event could serve to unite the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and post-2015 development process into a ‘common track’;
   (ap) to call for the new post-2015 framework for cooperation to be accompanied by a predictable and realistic funding agenda, in line with the objectives agreed on;
Global cooperation between parliaments
   (aq) to promote interaction on global issues between governments and parliaments; to strengthen global governance and allow for greater public and parliamentary participation in the activities of the UN;
General considerations
   (ar) to enhance the follow up to the recommendations adopted by Parliament, including by inviting the European External Action Service to report back to it every year on the outcome of the UNGA session;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council, the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and, for information, to the Commission.

(1) Council of the European Union 9820/1/12.
(2) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/234.
(3) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/226.
(4) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/179.
(5) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/175.
(6) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/169.
(7) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/97.
(8) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/48.
(9) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/65/276.
(10) UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/4.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0240 .
(12) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0180 .
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0229 .
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0334 .
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0055 .
(16) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0180 .


Long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks - 1 ***I
PDF 135k   DOC 28k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 June 2013 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks (COM(2012)0021 – C7-0042/2012 – 2012/0013(COD) )
P7_TA(2013)0235 A7-0141/2013

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2012)0021 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0042/2012 ),

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

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A7-0141/2013 ),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 June 2013 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks

P7_TC1-COD(2012)0013


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 43(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

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

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(2) ,

Whereas:

(1)   Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks and repealing Regulation (EC) No 423/2004(3) empowers the Council to monitor and revise the maximum fishing mortality rates and the associated spawning stock biomass levels specified therein . [Am. 1]

[Am. 2]

(3)  In order to amend or supplement non-essential elements of the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the following:

   changes to the established values for the maximum fishing mortality rates and associated spawning stock biomass levels, when the target fishing mortality rate has been reached;
   the rules concerning the adjustment of the fishing effort where a group of vessels is excluded from or re-included in the effort regime;
   the rules concerning the method for calculating the fishing capacity referred to in Article 14(3) and the adjustment of the maximum capacity levels due to permanent cessation of fishing activities and capacity transfers;
   the rules concerning the calculation method for adapting the maximum allowable fishing effort in relation to quota management;
   the rules concerning the calculation method for adapting the maximum allowable fishing effort following transfer of effort across effort groups;
   changes to the composition of the geographical areas and gear groupings established in Annex I.

(4)   It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission should, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, ensure the simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and the Council.

[Am. 3]

(6)   In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission in respect of detailed rules on the procedure and format for transmitting the information required under this Regulation to the Commission, and the format of the special fishing permit and of the list of vessels holding such special permit. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(4) .

[Am. 4]

(8)   Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 should therefore be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 is amended as follows:

(-1)    In Article 8, paragraph 6 is replaced by the following: "

6.    Where the cod stock referred to in paragraph 1 has been exploited at a fishing mortality rate close to 0,4 during three successive years, the Commission shall evaluate the application of this Article. Where necessary, the Commission shall make appropriate proposals, for adoption in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, for the amendment of the long-term plan, in order to ensure exploitation at maximum sustainable yield.’. [Am. 5]

(1)   In Article 10, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:

“1.   The Commission shall adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 31a, fixing new values for the levels set out in Article 5(2), Article 6 and Article 7(2), when the target fishing mortality rate set out in Article 5(2) has been reached or where the Commission, on the basis of advice from STECF and, where appropriate, other scientific data, and after consulting fully with the relevant Regional Advisory Council, finds that that target, or the minimum and precautionary spawning biomass levels established in Article 6, or the levels of fishing mortality rates given in Article 7(2), are no longer appropriate in order to maintain a low risk of stock depletion and a maximum sustainable yield.’. [Am. 6]

(2)   Article 11 is amended as follows:

(a)   Paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:

“3.   Member States shall provide annually appropriate information to the Commission to establish that the above conditions are and remain fulfilled.

"

(b)   The following paragraphs are added:"

4.   The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 31a to lay down rules concerning the adjustment of the fishing effort where a group of vessels is excluded from or re-included in the effort regime pursuant to Article 11(2) and where a vessel no longer complies with the requirements specified in the decision on exclusion.

5.   The Commission may adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the procedure and format for the transmission of the information referred to in paragraph 11(3). Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32(2).

"

(2a)    In Article 13, paragraph 7 is replaced by the following: "

7.    The Commission shall request STECF to compare annually the reduction in cod mortality which would result from the application of point (c) of paragraph 2 with the reduction it would have expected to occur as a result of the effort adjustment referred to in Article 12(4). In light of this advice, the Commission shall, where necessary, make appropriate proposals for the adjustment to the fishing effort that may be applied for the relevant gear grouping the following year . ’. [Am. 7]

(3)   In Article 14 the following paragraph is added:

“5.   Member States shall keep the Commission informed of the basis for calculating the maximum fishing capacity referred to in paragraph 3 and of any adjustments due to permanent cessation of fishing activities and capacity transfers pursuant to Article 16(3).

"

(4)   The following article is inserted:"

Article 14a

Commission’s powers

1.   The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 31a in order to specify the rules concerning the method for calculating the fishing capacity referred to in Article 14(3) and adjusting the maximum capacity levels due to permanent cessation of fishing activities and capacity transfers pursuant to Article 16(3).

2.  The Commission may adoptimplementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the following:

   (a) the format of the special fishing permit referred to in Article 14(2) and the procedures whereby the Member States make available the list of vessels holding that special permit as referred to in Article 14(4);
   (b) the procedure and format for transmitting to the Commission the information referred to in Article 14(5).

"

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32(2).

(5)   In Article 16 the following paragraphs are inserted:"

4.   Member States shall keep the Commission informed of any adaptations of effort in accordance with this Article.

5.   The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 31a to lay down rules concerning the calculation method enabling Member States to adapt the maximum allowable fishing effort in relation to quota management.

6.   The Commission may adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the procedure and format for the transmission of the information referred to in paragraph 4. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32(2).

"

(6)   In Article 17 the following paragraphs are inserted:"

6.   Member States shall keep the Commission informed of any adaptations of effort in accordance with this Article.

7.   The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 31a to lay down rules concerning the calculation method enabling Member States to adapt the maximum allowable fishing effort following transfer of effort across effort groups.

8.   The Commission may adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the procedure and format for the transmission of the information referred to in paragraph 6. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32(2).

"

(7)   Article 30 is replaced by the following:"

Article 30

Decision-making procedure

Where this Regulation provides for decisions to be taken by the Council, the Council shall act in accordance with the Treaty.

"

(8)   In Article 31, the introductory phrase is replaced by the following:"

The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 31a, to amend Annex I to this Regulation on the basis of the following principles:

"

(9)   The following article is inserted:"

Article 31a

Exercise of the delegation

1.   The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article.

2.   The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 10(1), Article 11(4), Article 14a(1) , Article 16(5), Article 17(7) and Article 31 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of three years from … (5) . The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the three-year period. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period . [Am. 8]

3.   The delegation of power referred to in Article 10(1), Article 11(4), Article 14a(1) , Article 16(5), Article 17(7) and Article 31 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force. [Am. not concerning all languages]

4.   As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.

5.   A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 10(1), Article 11(4), Article 14a(1) , Article 16(5), Article 17(7) or Article 31 shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.’. [Am. not concerning all languages]

"

(10)   Article 32 is replaced by the following:"

“Article 32

Committee procedure

1.   The Commission shall be assisted by the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture established by Article 30 of Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002. That Committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers*.

2.   Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

"

* OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.

(11)    Article 34 is replaced by the following: "

Article 34

Review

1.    The Commission shall, on the basis of advice from STECF and after consultation of the relevant Regional Advisory Council, evaluate the impact of the management measures on the cod stocks concerned and the fisheries on those stocks, at the latest in the third year of application of this Regulation and then each third successive year of its application. Where necessary, the Commission shall make appropriate proposals, for adoption in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, for the amendment of the long-term plan.

2.    Paragraph 1 shall be without prejudice to the delegation of power in this Regulation.’. [Am. 11]

Article 2

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

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

"

Done at

For the European Parliament

The President

For the Council

The President

(1) OJ C 181, 21.6.2012, p. 204.
(2) Position of the European Parliament of 11 June 2013.
(3) OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 20.
(4) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(5)+ Date of entry into force of this Regulation.


Request for the waiver of parliamentary immunity of Jacek Olgierd Kurski
PDF 78k   DOC 21k
European Parliament decision of 11 June 2013 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Jacek Olgierd Kurski (2013/2019(IMM) )
P7_TA(2013)0236 A7-0187/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Jacek Olgierd Kurski, forwarded on 16 January 2013 by the Public Prosecutor General of the Republic of Poland, in connection with a request dated 2 January 2013 from the Head of the Prevention Office of the National Police Headquarters acting on the authority of the Chief Inspector of Police, and announced in plenary on 4 February 2013,

–   having heard Jacek Olgierd Kurski in accordance with Rule 7(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–   having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010 and 6 September 2011(1) ,

–   having regard to Article 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and Articles 7, 7b(1) and 7c, in conjunction with Article 10b, of the Polish Act of 9 May 1996 on the performance of the mandate of deputy or senator,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0187/2013 ),

A.   whereas the Public Prosecutor General of the Republic of Poland has requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of a Member of the European Parliament, Jacek Olgierd Kurski, in connection with possible legal action concerning an alleged offence;

B.   whereas, according to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members shall enjoy, in the territory of their own State, the immunities accorded to members of the Parliament of that State;

C.   whereas Article 105(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland provides that, during the parliamentary term, Members of Parliament may not be subjected to criminal accountability without prior leave granted by Parliament;

D.   whereas Jacek Olgierd Kurski is accused of committing a traffic offence under Article 92(1) of the Act of 20 May 1971 establishing a Code of Offences (Polish Journal of Laws 2010 No 46, item 275, as amended);

E.   whereas the alleged action does not have a direct, obvious connection with Jacek Olgierd Kurski’s performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament or constitute opinions expressed or votes cast in the performance of the duties of the Member of the European Parliament within the meaning of Article 8 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union;

F.   whereas the accusation manifestly bears no relation to Jacek Olgierd Kurski’s position as a Member of the European Parliament;

G.   whereas there is no reason to suspect the existence of a fumus persecutionis ;

1.   Decides to waive the immunity of Jacek Olgierd Kurski;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its competent committee immediately to the Public Prosecutor General of the Republic of Poland and to Jacek Olgierd Kurski.

(1) Judgment of 12 May 1964 in Case 101/63, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier (ECR 1964, p. 195); judgment of 10 July 1986 in Case 149/85, Wybot v Faure and others (ECR 1986, p. 2403); judgment of 15 October 2008 in Case T-345/05, Mote v Parliament (ECR 2008, p. II-2849); judgment of 21 October 2008 in Joined Cases C-200/07 and C-201/07, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente (ECR 2008, p. I-7929); judgment of 19 March 2010 in Case T-42/06, Gollnisch v Parliament (ECR 2010, p. II-1135); judgment of 6 September 2011 in Case C-163/10, Patriciello (ECR 2011, p. I-7565).


Request for the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Malgorzata Handzlik
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European Parliament decision of 11 June 2013 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Małgorzata Handzlik (2012/2238(IMM) )
P7_TA(2013)0237 A7-0195/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Małgorzata Handzlik, forwarded on 3 July 2012 by the Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic in connection with Warsaw District Prosecutor’s Office investigation VI DS 312/10 and announced in plenary on 10 September 2012,

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

–   having also heard Giovanni Kessler, Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office, and Roger Vanhaeren, Director-General for Finance of the European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–   having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010 and 6 September 2011(1) ,

–   having regard to Article 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0195/2013 ),

A.   whereas the Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic has requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of a Member of the European Parliament, Małgorzata Handzlik, in connection with an investigation and possible legal action concerning an alleged offence;

B.   whereas, under Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members shall enjoy, in the territory of their own State, the immunities accorded to members of the Parliament of that State;

C.   whereas Article 105(2) of the Constitution of the Polish Republic provides that Members of Parliament may only be prosecuted with the Parliament’s consent;

D.   whereas the request by the Public Prosecutor relates to proceedings concerning an alleged offence under the Polish Criminal Code of 6 June 1997;

E.   whereas the substantive allegation relates to the attempted infringement of Articles 270(1) and 286(1) of that code, which concern fraud and the use of forged documents respectively;

F.   whereas Małgorzata Handzlik is effectively accused of having attempted to commit fraud against the financial interests of the Union by allegedly submitting forged documents with a view to obtaining reimbursement of the costs of attending a language course which she did not in fact attend;

G.   whereas the alleged actions do not constitute opinions expressed or votes cast in the performance of the duties of the Member of the European Parliament within the meaning of Article 8 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union;

H.   whereas, however, given the circumstances in which the case against Małgorzata Handzlik was handled by the various authorities involved, and bearing in mind the small amount in question and the uncertain status and provenance of the evidence, there are serious doubts surrounding the procedure;

I.   whereas it therefore appears that this is a case where the existence of a fumus persecutionis may be assumed;

J.   whereas Ms Małgorzata Handzlik’s immunity should therefore not be waived;

1.   Decides not to waive the immunity of Małgorzata Handzlik;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its competent committee immediately to the Public Prosecutor of the Polish Republic and to Małgorzata Handzlik.

(1) Judgment of 12 May 1964 in Case 101/63, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier (ECR 1964, p. 195); judgment of 10 July 1986 in Case 149/85, Wybot v Faure and others (ECR 1986, p. 2403); judgment of 15 October 2008 in Case T-345/05, Mote v Parliament (ECR 2008, p. II-2849); judgment of 21 October 2008 in Joined Cases C-200/07 and C-201/07, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente (ECR 2008, p. I-7929); judgment of 19 March 2010 in Case T-42/06, Gollnisch v Parliament (ECR 2010, p. II-1135); judgment of 6 September 2011 in Case C-163/10, Patriciello (ECR 2011, p. I-7565).


Request for waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Alexander Alvaro
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European Parliament decision of 11 June 2013 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Alexander Alvaro (2013/2106(IMM) )
P7_TA(2013)0238 A7-0188/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Alexander Alvaro, forwarded on 8 May 2013 by the German Federal Ministry of Justice, in connection with a case pending before the Chief Public Prosecutor of Cologne (Germany), and announced in plenary on 23 May 2013,

–   having given Alexander Alvaro the opportunity to be heard in accordance with Rule 7(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–   having regard to Article 46 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0188/2013 ),

A.   whereas the Chief Public Prosecutor of Cologne (Germany) has requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Alexander Alvaro, Member and Vice-President of the European Parliament, in connection with the launch of investigative proceedings concerning an alleged offence;

B.   whereas the request by the Chief Public Prosecutor relates to investigations into a serious road traffic accident in which Alexander Alvaro was involved;

C.   whereas, according to Article 9 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members shall enjoy, in the territory of their own State, the immunities accorded to members of their Parliament;

D.   whereas, under Article 46(2) of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz ), a Member may not be called to account for a punishable offence without the permission of Parliament unless apprehended while committing the offence or in the course of the following day;

E.   whereas, consequently, Parliament must waive the parliamentary immunity of Alexander Alvaro if the proceedings against him are to go ahead;

F.   whereas Article 9 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union and Article 46(2) of the German Grundgesetz do not preclude the waiver of the immunity of Alexander Alvaro;

G.   whereas it is therefore advisable that parliamentary immunity be waived in the case in question;

1.   Decides to waive the immunity of Alexander Alvaro;

2.   Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its competent committee immediately to the appropriate authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany and to Alexander Alvaro.


A new agenda for European consumer policy
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European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on a new agenda for European Consumer Policy (2012/2133(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0239 A7-0163/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, as incorporated into the Treaties by Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and in particular Article 38 of the Charter, which lays down that Union policies shall ensure a high level of consumer protection,

–   having regard to Article 26 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which stipulates that ‘the internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaties’,

–   having regard to Article 3(3) TEU, which commits the Union to work for ‘a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment’,

–   having regard to Article 9 TFEU, which establishes that ‘in defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health’,

–   having regard to Article 11 TFEU, which stipulates that ‘environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the Union policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development’,

–   having regard to Article 12 TFEU, which stipulates that ‘consumer protection requirements shall be taken into account in defining and implementing other Union policies and activities’,

–   having regard to Articles 14, 114(3) and 169 TFEU and to Protocol 26 thereto, on services of general (economic) interest,

–   having regard to Article 169(1) TFEU, which stipulates that ‘in order to promote the interests of consumers and to ensure a high level of consumer protection, the Union shall contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, as well as to promoting their right to information, education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests’,

–   having regard to Council Recommendation 98/560/EC of 24 September 1998 on the development of the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and information services industry by promoting national frameworks aimed at achieving a comparable and effective level of protection of minors and human dignity(1) ,

–   having regard to the report on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation) (COM(2009)0336 ),

–   having regard to Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’)(2) ,

–   having regard to Decision No 1926/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a programme of Community action in the field of consumer policy (2007-2013)(3) ,

–   having regard to Recommendation 2006/952/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the protection of minors and human dignity and on the right of reply in relation to the competitiveness of the European audiovisual and on-line information services industry(4) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2007/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2007 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities(5) ,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee entitled ‘EU Consumer Policy Strategy 2007-2013 – Empowering consumers, enhancing their welfare, effectively protecting them’ and the resolution of Parliament of 20 May 2008 on EU consumer policy strategy 2007-2013(6) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products(7) , which aims to create a general framework of rules and principles for accreditation and market surveillance,

–   having regard to Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys (the Toy Safety Directive)(8) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 29 June 2009 on measures to improve the functioning of the single market, and to the Commission Recommendation of 12 July 2004 on the transposition into national law of Directives affecting the internal market(9) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2009 on the enforcement of the consumer acquis (COM(2009)0330 ) and to the Commission report of 2 July 2009 on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation) (COM(2009)0336 ),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission of 7 July 2009 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints and enquiries (COM(2009)0346 ) and the accompanying draft Commission recommendation (SEC (2009)0949),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Council entitled ‘Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2010 on consumer protection(10) ,

–   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(11) ),

–   having regard to the report by Professor Mario Monti to the Commission of 9 May 2010 on the revitalisation of the internal market entitled ‘A new strategy for the single market’,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on delivering a single market to consumers and citizens(12) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 September 2010 on completing the internal market for e-commerce(13) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the financial, economic and social crisis: recommendations concerning measures and initiatives to be taken (mid-term report)(14) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 22 October 2010 entitled ‘Making markets work for consumers’ (the fourth edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard) (SEC(2010)1257 ),

–   having regard to the report of 27 October 2010 entitled ‘EU Citizenship Report 2010: Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights’ (COM(2010)0603 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 4 March 2011 entitled ‘Consumers at home in the single market’ (the fifth edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard) (SEC(2011)0299 ),

–   having regard to the European Consumer Centres Network 2010 Annual Report, published by the Office for Official Publications of the European Union in 2011,

–   having regard to its position of 23 June 2011 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on consumer rights(15) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on a more efficient and fairer retail market(16) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Paper of October 2011 entitled ‘Making markets work for consumers’ (the sixth edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard) (SEC(2011)1271 ),

–   having regard to the ‘Kraków declaration’ of the first Single Market Forum, held in Kraków (Poland) on 3 and 4 October 2011,

–   having regard to the proposal of 19 October 2011 for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (COM(2011)0665 ),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 23 October 2012 on passenger rights in all transport modes(17) and 25 October 2011 on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020(18) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2012 on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air(19) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers(20) ,

–   having regard to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 November 2011 on a consumer programme 2014-2020 (COM(2011)0707 ) and related documents (SEC(2011)1320 and SEC(2011)1321 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2011 on a new strategy for consumer policy(21) ,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission of 19 December 2011 to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘A European vision for Passengers: Communication on Passenger Rights in all transport mode’ (COM (2011)0898),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 11 January 2012 entitled ‘A coherent framework for building trust in the Digital Single Market for e-commerce and online services’ (COM(2011)0942 ),

–   having regard to the proposal of 25 January 2012 for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (COM(2012)0011 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2012, ‘Towards a coherent European Approach to Collective Redress’’(22) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 April 2012 entitled ‘A strategy for e-procurement’ (COM(2012)0179 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 2 May 2012 entitled ‘European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children’ (COM(2012)0196 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2012 on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers(23) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2012 on the Internal Market Scoreboard(24) ,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission of 22 May 2012 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘A European Consumer Agenda – Boosting confidence and growth’ (COM(2012)0225 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 29 May 2012 entitled ‘Consumer Conditions Scoreboard – Consumers at home in the single market’ (the Seventh edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard (SWD(2012)0165 ),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 7 December 2012 entitled ‘making markets work for consumers’, the Eighth edition of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard (SWD(2012)0432 ),

–   having regard to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 June 2012 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (COM(2012)0238 ),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 19 July 2012 on knowledge-enhancing aspects of consumer empowerment 2012 - 2014 (SWD (2012)0235),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 October 2012 entitled ‘Single Market Act II – Together for new growth’ (COM(2012)0573 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 on completing the digital single market(25) ,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘A European Consumer Agenda – Boosting confidence and growth’ (COM(2012)0225 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A7-0163/2013 ),

A.   whereas the promotion and protection of consumers and their rights are core Union values;

B.   whereas consumers play a key role in the economy since consumption is one of the main drivers of growth in the Union;

C.   whereas EU citizens have a crucial role to play as consumers in achieving the Europe 2020 goals of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth, and the role of the consumer should accordingly be recognised as part of the EU’s economic policy;

D.   whereas the Union has the objectives of achieving a high level of consumer awareness, empowerment and protection as well as striking the right balance as regards the competitiveness of the Union’s businesses and economies, notably by protecting consumers’ health and safety and economic interests, as well as promoting their rights to information, education and organisation;

E.   whereas consumers do not form one single homogeneous group, and the resultant variables need to be addressed in the European Consumer Agenda, as there are considerable differences among consumers in terms of consumer skills, awareness of legislation, assertiveness and willingness to seek redress; whereas non-discrimination and accessibility need to be taken into consideration when implementing the European Consumer Agenda;

F.   whereas it is necessary to boost consumers’ confidence, trust in the market and knowledge of their rights, with a special focus on vulnerable consumer groups such as children, older people and other consumers in situations of vulnerability; whereas in this respect it is essential to offer consumers in the Union better protection vis-à-vis products and services which may endanger their health or safety;

G.   whereas ‘pertinent and adequate information’ means information that is easily accessible, transparent, not misleading and comparable;

H.   whereas achieving a properly functioning internal market is consistent with the Lisbon Strategy goals of boosting growth and employment in order to serve the EU’s 500 million consumers;

I.   whereas e-commerce is extremely useful for all consumers, given its huge cross-border potential, which allows consumers to benefit from the single market to the fullest; whereas e-commerce is also, as a means of inclusion, extremely useful for consumers with disabilities or reduced mobility and those living in rural areas with geographical handicaps;

J.   whereas uncertainty over consumers’ rights in regard to cross-border purchases is undermining the benefits of market integration;

K.   whereas the development of e-commerce is slowed down by the still existing digital divide among Union citizens, particularly in the case of older people; whereas most public and private websites are still inaccessible for persons with disabilities or lower digital literacy;

L.   whereas fragmentation of the digital single market jeopardises the rights of consumers; whereas some websites are not suitable for cross-border shoppers and consumers; whereas the Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) will soon enter into force and provide useful tools for consumers, in particular for cross-border transactions; whereas appropriate mechanisms for bringing effective collective actions merit further consideration;

M.   whereas the recent financial crisis has underlined the strong need for consumers to be protected and informed in the area of financial and banking services, since such products could have a direct impact on their global welfare, as well as the need for more impartial advice for consumers;

N.   whereas the European Consumer Agenda sets out Union consumer policy mainstreaming measures designed to achieve the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives;

O.   whereas the current economic crisis also seriously affects the purchasing power of consumers in the single market, in particular that of consumers in vulnerable situations resulting from their social or financial circumstances; whereas, consequently, consumer’s rights should be recognised to the necessary degree;

P.   whereas the single market provides access for Union consumers to a broad range of high- quality products and services sold at competitive prices; whereas the production of environment-friendly goods and the provision of environment-friendly services encourages responsible consumption, thus stimulating sustainable development, employment and economic growth; whereas the Commission should address and study new forms of consumption such as collaborative consumption;

Q.   whereas necessary adjustments will have to be introduced as technical and scientific knowledge advances, with regard to both food safety and safety of other basic consumer products;

R.   whereas there is a need to strengthen the role of consumer associations in all areas by adopting the necessary legal and economic measures, and to support them with capacity- building; whereas consumer associations play an unique role in guaranteeing confidence in and the development of the single market;

S.   whereas passengers are not sufficiently informed about their rights and the quality of service they are entitled to expect, and legal claims by passengers are often difficult to lodge and enforce; whereas guidelines are necessary to facilitate and improve the application of the different passenger rights regulations across all transport modes; whereas, in its upcoming revision of the Package Travel Directive, the Commission needs to fully examine the impact of e-commerce and digital markets on consumer behaviour within the European tourism industry;

T.   whereas the existing EU legislation offers basic protection of passengers in all transport modes, but for some of these passenger rights application, monitoring and enforcement are not properly ensured in all modes and in all parts of the Union, a fact which impedes free movement within the single market, since it affects the confidence of citizens when travelling and undermines fair competition among carriers;

U.   whereas passengers need to be able to clearly differentiate between non-optional operational costs included in fares and bookable optional items, in the context of computerised reservation systems governed by Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast)(26) , since this will increase price transparency for consumers booking tickets on the internet;

V.   whereas the four main objectives set out in the Commission’s communication on a European Consumer Agenda are: 1) reinforcing consumer safety; 2) enhancing knowledge; 3) stepping up enforcement and securing redress; and 4) aligning rights and key policies to changes in society and the economy; whereas the European Parliament and the national parliaments should facilitate the swift and effective transposition of consumer protection legislation;

W.   whereas the Union has set targets for reducing CO2 emissions with the aim of achieving the 2020 objectives and ensuring that the bulk of energy supply is obtained from renewable energies by 2050;

X.   whereas the proposals that are drawn up need to be consistent with the four major objectives set;

Strengthening awareness, enhancing knowledge, safety and consumer rights

1.   Welcomes the holistic approach of the European Consumer Agenda, and in particular the fact that it covers almost all important policy areas for consumers and thus sends out a strong signal on boosting the role and importance of consumers’ safety and rights in the single market and on strengthening consumer associations; stresses, however, that this must also be reflected in legislative and other proposals by the Commission;

2.   Welcomes the Commission’s willingness to cooperate with traders and intermediaries to promote corporate social responsibility initiatives which promote consumer safety; believes that the Commission should be in constant dialogue with the private sector so that initiatives are accepted and applied in reality;

3.   Calls for consumers to be able to exercise their rights easily and effectively in basic areas including food, health, energy, financial and digital services, access to broadband, data protection, transport, and telecommunications;

4.   Calls on the Commission to closely cooperate with national governments when introducing the Union-wide campaign to increase knowledge about consumer rights and interests; emphasises that it is important for the success of this campaign that not only the public sector and consumer protection organisations are included in the process, but also the private sector;

5.   Believes that it is necessary to promote e-platforms, such as the European Enterprise Support Network and the website Your Europe, which contribute to the development of the single European market and provide important information for consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises;

6.   Calls on the Commission to present a proposal on how to improve citizens’ knowledge of the financial sector, so that people have the necessary information before deciding to obtain a loan; believes that special attention should be paid to the younger generation and to educating society concerning short-term credit loans;

7.   Stresses that educating consumers reduces their risks vis-à-vis dangerous or counterfeit products, speculative financial products and misleading advertising; takes the view that education (including financial education) and empowerment of consumers need to be lifelong, and should begin at school; emphasises the need to avoid information overload, and stresses instead the need to reduce knowledge deficits and to improve consumer awareness through reliable, clear, comparable and targeted information;

8.   Stresses that for consumers to fully enjoy their rights, the role and education of enterprises must not be forgotten; believes that a good knowledge of consumer rights within enterprises is essential with a view to achieving full implementation of the existing consumer protection legislation; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures to that end, focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises;

9.   Emphasises that, according to the findings of various surveys, consumers are concerned on a long-term basis about possible differences in the quality of products with the same brand and packaging which are distributed in the single market; considers that consumers in different Member States do not enjoy access to the same level of quality when buying products with the same brand and packaging in the single market; stresses that discrimination between consumers in any form is unacceptable;

10.   Calls on the Commission to carry out a meaningful investigation into this issue that would make it possible to evaluate whether there is a need for adjustment of existing Union legislation; calls on the Commission to inform the European Parliament and consumers on the outcome of the investigation;

11.   Calls on the Commission to establish updated and standard rules that guarantee the safety and authenticity of products; hopes, at all events, that the proposal amending Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety will guarantee a high level of safety of consumer products;

12.   Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to introduce a legal framework for product safety; stresses, in this context, the importance of effective market surveillance as there are still unsafe products, including CE-labelled products, on the single European market;

13.   Calls for consumers to be able to benefit safely from advances in science and technology and to have access to information, impartial advice and the tools required for fair and effective redress;

14.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote initiatives which aim to translate the results of scientific advances, technological developments and other innovations into benefits for consumers, with due regard to consumer product safety legislation;

15.   Calls for adequate consumer protection and product safety in the markets for consumer goods produced using nanotechnology or genetically modified organisms;

16.   Stresses on the need to guarantee the independence and transparency of scientific expertise and regulatory opinion, in particular in the field of health, environment and food policies, in order to ensure the highest level of health protection and confidence among consumers;

17.   Highlights the need for better protection of the rights of vulnerable consumer groups such as children and older people or other consumers in situations of vulnerability, particularly with regard to transport, financial services, energy and ICT; stresses the need for measures at both Union and national level to provide adequate guarantees for the protection of those consumers;

18.   Emphasises the need for the Commission and the Member States to promote responsible and sustainable consumption, in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, and to make markets fully accessible to consumers from the perspective of a highly competitive social market economy, in a Union based on solidarity; considers it necessary to tackle food waste, make the lifespan of consumer products more durable, promote recycling and consumption of second-hand goods, and further improve the energy efficiency of products available in the single market;

Improving implementation, stepping up enforcement and securing redress

19.   Insists that the Commission should continue to attentively monitor how legislation that supports the development of the single market is applied; calls on the Commission to take the necessary legal action against Member States infringing or failing to implement or enforce single market legislation, in line with the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union;

20.   Welcomes further legislative initiatives aimed at creating a fully integrated single market in order to increase competition and efficiency and provide greater choice for consumers in the Union;

21.   Calls in particular on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the timely and consistent implementation of the Union consumer acquis, and in particular the Consumer Rights Directive(27) , the Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices(28) , and the Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising(29) ; calls, furthermore, on the Commission and the Member States to carry out monitoring on the effectiveness of the consumer acquis; stresses the evidence suggesting that citizens are still not aware of their rights in the single market, and accordingly calls on the Commission and the Member States to further promote the availability of clear and comprehensive information for consumers as part of the implementation process, as well as information on the available consumer redress tools;

22.   Calls on the Commission to take more active steps to evaluate the degree to which citizens in the Member States have access to a bank account; invites the Commission to report on how this problem is being addressed and to submit a report to Parliament on the matter by the end of the first quarter of 2014;

23.   Recommends that better use be made of the available information on consumer behaviour, and considers in particular that there is scope for using the results of the Consumer Scoreboard more effectively; suggests, accordingly, that the Joint Research Centre (JRC) should carry out analysis and monitoring work, in the form of a funded research project with a view to identifying the priority areas for citizens when it comes to enhancing their consumer rights in the single market, and accordingly adapting contents and format, as well as the work of the organisations disseminating information to consumers;

24.   Points out that EU policies need to promote cooperation between consumer associations and public institutions in all fields, thus securing ease of access to the financial resources required, as well as to foster exchanges of best practice and know-how among associations; believes that a register of European associations should be set up to assist the formation of such associations;

Aligning rights and key policies to economic and societal change

25.   Considers that the Commission should focus not only on the purchase of digital content in the digital environment, but also on how to promote the sale of goods and services in the digital environment and boost consumer confidence, so that consumers know how to defend their rights and can undertake dispute resolution should they have purchased a low-quality product or service;

26.   Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to consumer protection in the field of short-term loans, as it is those who are most vulnerable in times of crisis who use those financial products without being fully aware of the obligations and risks they incur as credit takers;

27.   Recalls that adequate and pertinent information to consumers must go along with empowerment measures in order to allow them to fully benefit from the opportunities existing in the internal market;

28.   Calls on the Commission to cooperate with the European Parliament and the national authorities in order to improve the information available to consumers on how to better manage household energy consumption;

29.   Believes that it is necessary to realise the cross-border energy projects included in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, since this will promote competition among suppliers of electricity and gas and will boost the autonomy of the energy sector in the Member States;

30.   Calls for Union competition policy to be strengthened and for the promotion of consumer rights to be treated as centre-stage in this process; considers this realignment to be of particular importance for the development of a robust digital single market; underlines, in this regard, the important role of price comparison websites, and stresses the need to ensure their independence;

31.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to approve the resources required for the effective implementation of the Agenda, with regard furthermore to the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020, and to conduct systematic impact assessments;

E-commerce

32.   Stresses that the increasingly rapid development of e-commerce is of major importance as far as consumers are concerned, offering a wider choice, especially to those living in less accessible, remote or outlying areas, as well as those with reduced mobility, who would otherwise not have access to a wide choice of goods;

33.   Calls on the Commission to take measures to combat the unequal treatment of consumers in the single market arising from current distance-selling restrictions applied by companies involved in cross-border distance selling;

34.   Stresses that not all consumers have the opportunity to use the internet or the necessary skills, and that consumers should therefore be offered services through multiple channels;

35.   Stresses that consumer confidence is essential for both domestic and cross-border e-commerce; emphasises the need to ensure the quality, safety, traceability and authenticity of products, avoid criminal or unfair practices, and comply with the rules on personal data protection, guaranteeing that, where appropriate, informed and explicit consent for the use of personal data has been given by the consumer;

36.   Emphasises that the protection of personal data is an essential prerequisite for the protection of consumers and for the functioning and growth of the digital single market;

37.   Stresses that consumers expect fast, reliable and competitive delivery services for e-commerce, and that well-functioning delivery services are necessary in order to ensure consumer trust;

Financial services, investment products and the economic crisis

38.   Welcomes the measures envisaged by the Commission in the area of financial services, and underlines the need for a comprehensive legal framework ensuring independent advice for consumers, especially in the field of financial services; stresses that market information must be reliable, clear and comparable, and accessible electronically and other forms; emphasises the need to take out legal action over unfair commercial practices or contract terms; highlights the need to protect consumers who are ‘trapped’ by a financial product;

39.   Takes note of the new proposal (COM(2013)0130 , 13 March 2013) for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air; calls for the list of passenger rights common to all transport modes to be circulated widely, in a concise form and in all official Union languages;

40.   Emphasises the need to facilitate the right of access to a basic payment account for all consumers and to provide them with clear and relevant information about investment products, as is envisaged inter alia in the proposal for a regulation on key information documents for investment products (COM(2012)0352 ); stresses that strict rules are required to regulate the financial markets; emphasises that the present economic and financial crisis is weakening the position of a large number of consumers, making them more and more vulnerable, and that rising job insecurity and unemployment rates and loss of purchasing power are widening inequalities; calls on the Commission to take account of these new developments when drafting policies;

Cooperation among European and national authorities and consumer organisations

41.   Highlights the need for close cooperation between European, national and local authorities and consumer associations in order to establish consultation mechanisms and implement the measures planned in the Agenda;

42.   Asks the Commission to make the RAPEX (Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products) reporting system more transparent and effective; emphasises the need to develop the European Consumer Centres (ECC) and Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) networks; takes the view that the Commission should consider setting up a RAPEX-type system for services;

Dispute resolution and redress

43.   Emphasises that redress mechanisms such as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) must be fast, accessible and effective; stresses that effective access to justice in cross-border disputes should not be hampered by the difficulties arising from the cross-border nature of a dispute, from lack of resources or from lack of information on the accessibility of legal aid; calls, therefore, for better implementation of Council Directive 2003/8/EC of 27 January 2003 and, if necessary, its revision, in order to address its shortcomings;

44.   Stresses that ADR and ODR mechanisms cannot substitute a collective redress mechanism; calls, therefore, on the Commission to explore measures that would lead to the creation of a Union-wide coherent collective redress mechanism in the field of consumer protection which would be applicable to cross-border cases; stresses that uncoordinated initiatives within the Union could lead to fragmentation; emphasises that, in order to ensure the efficiency of collective redress and avoid potential abuses, the Union approach to collective redress should include representative action only in the case of entities duly recognised at national level (public authorities such as ombudsmen, or consumer organisations); insists on the need to build the Union approach to collective redress on the opt-in principle;

45.   Emphasises the need to ensure the accessibility of goods and services in the Union, covering areas such as the built environment, transport and ICT; urges the Commission to propose a ‘Union Accessibility Act’ that will be far-reaching in its ambitions;

46.   Draws attention to the fact that the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 will have to allow the European Consumer Agenda to benefit from sufficiently ambitious funding;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 270, 7.10.1998, p. 48.
(2) OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22.
(3) OJ L 404, 30.12.2006, p. 39.
(4) OJ L 378, 27.12.2006, p. 72.
(5) OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 27.
(6) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 17.
(7) OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30.
(8) OJ L 170, 30.6.2009, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 98, 16.4.2005, p. 47.
(10) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.
(12) OJ C 161 E, 31.5.2011, p. 84.
(13) OJ C 50 E, 21.2.2012, p. 1.
(14) OJ C 70 E, 8.3.2012, p. 19.
(15) OJ C 390 E, 18.12.2012, p. 145.
(16) OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 9.
(17) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0371 .
(18) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 9.
(19) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0099 .
(20) OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18.
(21) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0491 .
(22) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0021
(23) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0209 .
(24) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0211 .
(25) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0468 .
(26) OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, p. 3.
(27) OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 64
(28) OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22
(29) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 21


Legal aid in cross-border civil and commercial disputes
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European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on improving access to justice: legal aid in cross-border civil and commercial disputes (2012/2101(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0240 A7-0161/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2003/8/EC of 27 January 2003 to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes(1) ,

–   having regard to the Report of 23 February 2012 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on the application of Directive 2003/8/EC to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes (COM(2012)0071 ),

–   having regard to Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on International Access to Justice,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A7-0161/2013 ),

A.   whereas Article 47(3) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides that ‘[l]egal aid shall be made available to those who lack sufficient resources in so far as such aid is necessary to ensure effective access to justice’;

B.   whereas Council Directive 2003/8/EC contains provisions ensuring that citizens involved in cross-border disputes have access to justice;

C.   whereas the main provision of that directive ensures that legal aid may not be refused on the sole grounds that a dispute is cross-border in nature, and each Member State thus keeps its own legal aid system, but must open it to persons from other Member States;

D.   whereas the directive goes on to lay down conditions for the granting of cross-border legal aid, relating in particular to financial resources, the substance of the dispute, and the cross-border nature of the dispute;

E.   whereas legal aid must be granted only to persons whose financial resources do not allow them to access justice without such aid;

F.   whereas those resources are assessed on the basis of the guidelines in force in the Member State in which the court is sitting, and fixed thresholds are in place in several Member States;

G.   whereas those thresholds differ considerably from Member State to Member State, and a citizen who is considered in need of legal aid in one Member State may not be considered in need of legal aid in another, and whereas Article 5(4) of the directive goes some way towards recognising this problem;

H.   whereas, in order to address these discrepancies, it should be considered whether a citizen should also be allowed to apply for legal aid in his or her Member State of residence and have the application decided upon by the authorities of that Member State;

I.   whereas, in order to facilitate matters both for the citizen and for the authorities which apply the directive, citizens should be given the choice, in the case of cross-border requests for legal aid, to have the request decided upon either in their Member State of residence or in the Member State in which the court is sitting or the decision is to be enforced;

J.   whereas, if such a choice were given, Member State authorities would be able to apply their own criteria, rather than having to forward the request or refer to the conditions and guidelines of other Member States;

K.   whereas citizens whose entitlement to legal aid has been recognised in their Member State of residence could be provided with a certificate to that effect, which would be honoured by the authorities of the Member State in which the court was sitting or the decision was to be enforced;

L.   whereas cross-border legal aid under the directive also covers the additional costs inherent in cross-border cases, such as interpretation, translation and travel costs;

M.   whereas information on legal aid for citizens must be provided in one of the EU’s languages so as to ensure that they have been informed of their legal aid options in a language they understand;

N.   whereas the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on International Access to Justice contains similar provisions at international level, but is only applied by 17 of the 27 Member States;

O.   whereas the remaining Member States should therefore be encouraged to sign or ratify the Convention;

Application of Directive 2003/8/EC

1.   Congratulates the Commission on the submission of its report on the application of Directive 2003/8/EC;

2.   Regrets that the Commission does not specifically address the European procedures to which the Legal Aid Directive is also applicable, such as the European Small Claims Procedure, despite the fact that application of the directive to the above-mentioned procedure during the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2010 could certainly have been examined;

3.   Notes with satisfaction that all Member States have transposed the directive; notes, however, that the interpretation of the scope of the directive on certain points differs among the Member States;

4.   Points out that, in a further report, the number and subject areas of cases should be included, broken down by country, in order to obtain a more detailed and more accurate overview of how the instrument is being used;

Increasing awareness of the right to cross-border legal aid

5.   Regrets the fact that relatively few citizens and practitioners seem to be aware of the rights conferred by the directive;

6.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take measures to increase awareness of the right to cross-border legal aid in civil and commercial matters, and thus to enhance citizens’ free movement;

7.   Recognises the good work done by the EU’s e-Justice Portal, the EU Judicial Network as well as the e-CODEX (e-Justice Communication via Online Data Exchange), in particular with the availability on the EU e-Justice Portal of the legal aid forms provided for in Council Directive 2003/8/EC; calls, however, for increased clarity and easy access to these legal aid forms and national legal aid forms on all these platforms, including clear and practical information on how best to apply for legal aid in the different Member States in cross-border civil and commercial disputes;

8.   Calls, furthermore, on the Commission and the Member States to launch an effective information campaign in order to reach a large number of potential beneficiaries as well as legal practitioners;

9.   Considers also that other European procedures, such as the European Small Claims Procedure and the European Order for Payment Procedure, are not well known and will not achieve a high profile if the current information policy continues to be pursued;

10.   Points out that new technologies and communication tools could be used to enable access to information on legal aid; recommends, therefore, that the Commission and Member States use a wide range of communication channels, including internet-based campaigns and interactive platforms such as the e-Justice Portal, as cost-effective ways to reach citizens;

11.   Points out that, in order to ensure the continuity of initiated proceedings, the temporary and permanent storability of the forms necessary for legal aid need to be improved, as do the forms for other procedures, in particular the Small Claims and European Payment procedures, ensuring, among other things, that they are equally visible in all languages, including on the website of the European Judicial Atlas in Civil Matters and on the European e-Justice Portal; calls on the Commission to take immediate measures to that effect;

Ensuring competent legal support

12.   Considers that databases of legal professionals with the sufficient linguistic and comparative law skills to act in cross-border legal aid cases should be established, thus ensuring that legal professionals are appointed who are able to act in such cases; whilst recognising existing cross-border legal databases such as the Find-a-Lawyer platform as examples of good practice in this field, calls for such tools to be developed further with a view to being integrated into a database of legal professionals on the e-Justice Portal;

13.   Suggests that special training schemes to provide legal practitioners with cross-border competency would be desirable, with a focus on language courses and comparative law; urges the Commission to cooperate with the Member States in supporting specific training for lawyers providing legal aid;

14.   Recognises that legal support and training have cost implications for Member States and that, in the current economic climate, funding for these may be limited in many Member States; calls, therefore, on the Commission to provide funding where possible for Member States, to ensure consistent, high-level legal training on cross-border legal aid in civil and commercial matters;

Facilitating the operation of the directive for citizens

15.   Stresses the importance of ensuring that application procedures are simple, so that citizens are always able to apply for legal aid without the help of a legal practitioner; advocates automatically informing citizens embarking on such procedures of the existence of the e-Justice Portal, with a view to ensuring that they are better informed;

16.   Considers it advisable to designate, in line with existing national legal aid systems, a single authority with responsibility for cross-border legal aid and with a central office in each Member State for receiving and transmitting legal aid applications;

17.   Takes the view that in order to establish the economic criteria for granting legal aid, more consideration needs to be given to the differing cost of living in the various Member States, and that the way in which these differences should be taken into account needs to be specified;

18.   Suggests that applicants should be given the choice of applying for legal aid in their Member State of residence or in the Member State where the Court is sitting or the decision is being enforced; notes that, under such arrangements, the authorities of each Member State would then be able to apply their own criteria when deciding on the application;

19.   Proposes that any decision of the authorities of the Member State of residence granting legal aid, as evidenced by a common certificate, should also have effect in the Member State where the Court is sitting or the decision is being enforced;

20.   Recommends that the costs covered by legal aid should also include the costs of, and associated with, any obligatory appearance before a judge or other authority assessing the application;

21.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to pay particular attention to the most vulnerable groups in order to ensure that their needs are taken into account;

22.   Invites the Commission to submit a proposal for amendment of the directive along the above lines, with a view to establishing common higher standards for cross-border legal aid;

Encouraging alternative forms of legal support

23.   Encourages the Member States to establish more efficient systems for cooperation between public bodies and non-governmental organisations so as to make legal aid and legal advice more accessible for citizens;

24.   Calls for national courts to be connected by an early-warning system so that, when an application for assistance is made in one Member State, the other Member States are made aware of it;

25.   Suggests also greater cooperation between the Commission, Member States and professional legal bodies and organisations such as European and national bars and law societies;

26.   Welcomes the numerous initiatives that have proved to be good examples of best practice in the field of free legal advice, including pro bono agencies and legal clinics;

27.   Encourages the Member States to ensure the availability of, and facilitate access to, pre-litigation legal aid, including advice on the use of alternative methods of dispute resolution, which often prove to be more cost-effective and less time-consuming than litigation;

International aspects of legal aid

28.   Calls on those Member States that have not yet signed and/or ratified the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on International Access to Justice to proceed to do so, as it improves citizens’ access to justice outside the European Union;

o
o   o

29.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1) OJ L 26, 31.1.2003, p. 41.


Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights ***II
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 June 2013 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 (06353/1/2013 – C7-0142/2013 – 2011/0137(COD) )
P7_TA(2013)0241 A7-0185/2013

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Council position at first reading (06353/1/2013 – C7-0142/2013 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0285 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to Rule 72 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A7-0185/2013 ),

1.   Approves the Council position at first reading;

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

3.   Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, in accordance with Article 297(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

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

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

(1) Texts adopted of 3.7.2012, P7_TA(2012)0272 .


Food intended for infants and young children and food for special medical purposes ***II
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 June 2013 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control and repealing Council Directive 92/52/EEC, Commission Directives 96/8/EC, 1999/21/EC, 2006/125/EC and 2006/141/EC, Directive 2009/39/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulations (EC) No 41/2009 and (EC) No 953/2009 (05394/1/2013 – C7-0133/2013 – 2011/0156(COD) )
P7_TA(2013)0242 A7-0191/2013

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Council position at first reading (05394/1/2013 – C7-0133/2013 ),

–   having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Italian Senate, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 26 October 2011(1) ,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament pursuant to Article 294(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union concerning the position of the Council at first reading (COM(2013)0241 ),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0353 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to Rule 72 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0191/2013 ),

1.   Approves the Council position at first reading;

2.   Takes note of the Commission statement annexed to this resolution;

3.   Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the Council position;

4.   Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, in accordance with Article 297(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

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

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

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Statement by the Commission on pesticides

In implementing Article 11(1)(b), the Commission will pay particular attention to pesticides containing active substances, safeners or synergists classified in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008(3) as mutagen category 1A or 1B, carcinogen category 1A or 1B, toxic for reproduction category 1A or 1B, or considered to have endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects in humans, or which are very toxic, or which cause critical effects such as developmental neurotoxic or immunotoxic effects, with the objective to ultimately avoid their use.

(1) OJ C 24, 28.1.2012, p. 119.
(2) Texts adopted of 14.6.2012, P7_TA(2012)0255 .
(3) Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1.


Health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 June 2013 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (XXth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (COM(2011)0348 – C7-0191/2011 – 2011/0152(COD) )
P7_TA(2013)0243 A7-0009/2013

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0348 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 153(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0191/2011 ),

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

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 7 December 2011(1) ,

–   having consulted the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 10 April 2013 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0009/2013 ),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 June 2013 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2013/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (20th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) and repealing Directive 2004/40/EC

P7_TC1-COD(2011)0152


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive 2013/35/EU.)

(1) OJ C 43, 15.2.2012, p. 47.


Long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks - 2 ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 June 2013 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks (COM(2012)0498 – C7-0290/2012 – 2012/0236(COD) )
P7_TA(2013)0244 A7-0146/2013

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2012)0498 ),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0290/2012 ),

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

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 13 December 2012(1) ,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A7-0146/2013 ),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 11 June 2013 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks

P7_TC1-COD(2012)0236


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 43(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

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

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

Whereas:

(1)   The scientific evaluation of the performance of Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks(4) carried out by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) has shown a number of problems with the application of that Regulation.

(2)   Member States have used different methodologies to calculate effort during the reference years and to calculate reported effort consumption within the plan. This has allowed a higher level of deployed effort than intended by the plan, which should therefore be rectified by standardising the methodologies used by the Member States to calculate effort . [Am. 1]

(3)   The lack of analytical assessments in some geographical areas precludes the application of the harvest control rules, resulting in an automatic 25 % annual reduction of total allowable catches (‘TAC’) and effort. Since the implementation of the plan, fishing-effort allocations for the areas concerned have been reduced significantly. The scientific evaluation carried out by the STECF suggests that in some cases it would be more appropriate to use metrics other than fishing mortality for setting the TAC, rather than automatic TAC and effort reductions.

(3a)    Maintaining fishing mortality rates at a sustainable level, based on scientific advice, should allow fish stocks to recover. Member States should give priority to the development and promotion of measures and incentives that aim to avoid unwanted catches. Financial support should be provided for the use of selective gear measures. [Am. 2]

(4)   The plan foresees scope to exclude vessels whose activities do not contribute significantly to cod mortality. To avoid that the effort associated with those activities is redirected to cod-fishing activity, the baseline effort has to be decreased. To avoid the administrative burden of constant recalculations of the baseline effort each time it is decided to exclude certain activities, it is desirable to establish clear criteria for exclusion, so that the baseline effort levels can be fixed definitively.

(5)   In order to facilitate more selective fishing activities in the fully documented fisheries where all catches are counted against quota, it is appropriate to exempt the vessels, when participating in those trials, from the fishing effort regime.

(6)   Allocations of the maximum allowable fishing effort have been significantly reduced for the main cod catching gears since the entry into force of the plan. This may have a significant economic and social impact on the fleet segments that use the same gears but which fish principally for species other than cod. To address those social and economic issues a mechanism to suspend further fishing effort adjustments should be introduced.

(7)   As a certain language version of Article 13(2)(b) reads differently from the other versions, it is necessary to amend the text of that provision in order to ensure its uniform application.

(8)   Given the high levels of cod discards that have been observed during the period of implementation of the plan, it is necessary that Member States take appropriate action to minimise and, where possible, eliminate discards, inter alia by allocating their fishing opportunities amongst vessels in such a way as to match quotas to expected catches to the greatest degree possible. [Am. 3]

(9)   The derogations from the plan provided for by Articles 11 and 13 represent a risk for the success of the plan if they are not properly implemented. An assessment of the implementation of those derogations revealed the need to strengthen the monitoring, control and full documentation requirements which justify them. Considering that the Union fisheries control framework is risk based, a specific ‘very high level’ of risk should be assigned to activities under derogations.

(10)   Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy(5) repealed a number of Articles of Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 that referred to Annexes II and III. Since there are no other references to Annexes II and III in Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008, those Annexes should be deleted.

(11)   Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 should be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 is amended as follows:

(1)   Article 4 is replaced by the following:"

Article 4

Calculation of fishing effort

1.   For the purposes of this Regulation, the fishing effort deployed by a group of vessels shall be calculated as the sum of the products of capacity-values in kW for each vessel and the number of days each vessel has been present within an area set out in Annex I. A day present within an area shall be any continuous period of 24 hours or part thereof during which a vessel either is present within the area and absent from port or, as the case may be, has its fishing gear deployed within the area . [Am. 4]

2.   Member States shall calculate days present within an area in accordance with Article 26 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy* .

* OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1. [Am. 5]

(1a)    In Article 8, the following paragraph is inserted:

Notwithstanding paragraphs 2 to 5, the Council may decide on an alternative TAC level when scientific advice indicates that that level would be more appropriate to meet the objectives of the plan.’ [Am. 6]

(2)   Article 9 is replaced by the following:

“Article 9

Special procedure for setting TACs

1.   Where there is insufficient information to set the TACs in accordance with Article 7, the TACs for cod stocks in the Kattegat, the west of Scotland and the Irish Sea shall be set at a level indicated by scientific advice. However, if the level indicated by scientific advice is more than 20 % greater than the TACs in the previous year, they shall be set at a level 20 % greater than the TACs in the previous year, or if the level indicated by scientific advice is more than 20 % less than the TACs in the previous year they shall be set at a level 20 % less than the TACs in the previous year.

2.  By way of derogation from paragraph 1, where scientific advice indicates that there should be no directed fisheries and that:

   (i) by-catch should be minimised or reduced to the level advised by STECF or ICES, and/or
   (ii) the catches of cod should be reduced to the level advised by STECF or ICES,
the Council shall decide not to apply annual adjustments to the TAC in the subsequent year on condition that the TAC set is for by-catch only. [Am. 7]

3.   Where there is insufficient information to set the TACs in accordance with Article 8, the TACs for the cod stock in the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the eastern Channel shall be set by applying mutatis mutandis paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article, unless consultations with Norway result in agreement on a different level of the TAC.

"

(3)   In Article 11, paragraphs 2 and 3 are deleted.

(4)   The following articles are inserted:"

Article 11a

Exclusion of fishing effort deployed in certain areas, depth or by certain gears

1.   Fishing effort deployed by a vessel during a trip may be excluded by the Member States for as long as one of the following conditions is met : [Am. 9]

   (a) the entire fishing activity of that trip by the vessel concerned is carried out outside cod-distribution areas as listed in accordance with paragraph 2;
or
   (b) the entire fishing activity of that trip by the vessel concerned is carried out at a depth greater than 300 m;
or
   (c) during that trip the fishing vessel concerned uses one type of regulated gear on board and that gear is listed in accordance with paragraph 2; if the vessel carries other gear on board during the fishing trip, it shall be stowed in accordance with Article 47 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 . [Am. 10]

2.   Based on the information provided by Member States pursuant to paragraph 3, and in accordance with scientific advice, the Council shall establish a list of areas outside cod-distribution areas and a list of gears the technical attributes of which result in cod catches of less than 1,5 % of the total catches measured by weight. Once a gear or area, submitted by a Member State, is approved, it shall be possible for other Member States to use it. [Am. 11]

3.   Member States shall provide appropriate information to allow the Commission to assess whether an area or a gear shall be on the list of areas and the list of gears referred to in paragraph 2.

4.   The Commission may adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the format and procedure for the transmission to the Commission of the information referred to in paragraph 3. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32.

Article 11b

Adjustment of the baseline for the calculation of the maximum allowable fishing effort

1.   Fishing effort referred to in Article 11a(1) that contributed to the establishment of the baseline referred to in Article 12(2)(a) shall be deducted from the baseline pursuant to this Article.

2.   Requests for the adjustment of the baseline referred to in paragraph 1 shall be submitted by Member States to the Commission by 31 December of each year . [Am. 12]

3.   The adjusted baseline shall be used to recalculate the maximum allowable fishing effort level for the effort group concerned by applying the annual percentage adjustments applied since the entry into force of the plan.

4.   The exclusion of fishing effort referred to in Article 11a may be applied to the relevant effort group only after the maximum allowable fishing effort has been recalculated in accordance with this Article.

5.   The Commission may adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the format and procedure for the transmission to the Commission of the requests referred to in paragraph 2. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32.

Article 11c

Exclusion of vessels participating in trials of a fully documented fishery

1.   Fishing effort deployed by a vessel when participating in trials of a fully documented fishery whereby all cod catches including discards are counted against the quota may be excluded by the Member States from the fishing effort regime.

2.   When paragraph 1 is applied, Member States shall adjust the maximum allowable fishing effort set pursuant to Article 12(1) for the effort group concerned The Commission shall adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the adjustment of the maximum allowable fishing effort referred to in the first sentence. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32. [Am. 13]

3.   Member States shall notify to the Commission any adjustment of the maximum allowable fishing effort made pursuant to paragraph 2. The notification shall include details of the vessels excluded and the amount of fishing effort deducted both at aggregated and at vessel level.

[Am. 14]

5.   The Commission may adopt implementing acts laying down detailed rules concerning the format and procedure for the notification referred to in paragraph 3. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 32.

Article 11d

Measures on exclusions previously obtained [Am. 15]

Exclusions from the fishing effort regime that were already in force prior to ... (6) shall continue to apply for as long as the conditions under which those exclusions were granted remain fulfilled. Member States shall provide annually to the Commission any relevant information enabling it to establish that those conditions remain fulfilled.’ [Am. 16]

(5)   Article 12 is amended as follows:

(a)   Paragraph 4 is replaced by the following:

“4.  For aggregated effort groups where the percentage cumulative catch calculated according to paragraph 3(d) is equal to or exceeds 20 %, annual adjustments shall apply. The maximum allowable fishing effort of the groups concerned shall be calculated as follows:

   (a) where Articles 7 or 8 apply, by applying to the baseline the same percentage adjustment as that set out in those Articles for fishing mortality;
   (b) where Article 9 applies, by applying the same percentage adjustment in fishing effort as the adjustment of the TAC compared with the previous year.

"

[Am. 17]

(b)   The following paragraph is added:"

“6.   By way of derogation from paragraph 4, the Council may, where the maximum allowable fishing effort has been reduced for four consecutive years, decide not to apply an annual adjustment to the maximum allowable fishing effort in the subsequent year or in subsequent years.

"

(5a)    The following article is inserted:

Article 12a

In order to obtain sustainable fishing mortality rates, based on scientific advice, a gradual elimination of discards shall be implemented. Selective gears and other measures for this purpose shall be introduced by Member States with financial support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Member States shall consult the relevant Regional Advisory Council as well as ICES and/or STEFC and relevant stakeholders on the measures to be adopted.’ [Ams 8 and 18]

(6)   In Article 13(2), point (b) is replaced by the following:"

   “(b) results in a catch composition, including discards, of less than 5 % cod over the management period
"

(7)   In Article 14 the following paragraphs are added:"

5.   Where the scientific data indicate that , for a particular gear , large volumes of cod are discarded throughout the management period , the Member State concerned shall take immediate measures to minimise cod discards. [Am. 19]

6.   Member States shall establish and include in their national control action programmes, as provided for in Article 46 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, systems to ensure compliance with the conditions referred to in Articles 11a, 11b, 11c and 13. Member States shall assign a “very high risk’ level to vessels operating pursuant to those Articles in their risk-based management as referred to in Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009.

"

(7a)    In Article 16(3), the words ‘in 2009’ are deleted. [Am. 20]

(7b)    In Article 17, paragraph 4 is replaced by the following:

4.    Where the cpue of the donor gear group is lower than the cpue of the receiving gear group, the Member State shall apply a correction factor to the amount of effort in the receiving gear group so that the latter's higher cpue is compensated for. The Member States shall not perform this adjustment where they can demonstrate that the transfer is made with the aim of avoiding cod catches or limiting discards in compliance with Union legislation on the use of fishing gear.’ [Am. 21]

(8)   Article 32 is replaced by the following:"

“Article 32

Committee procedure

1.   The Commission shall be assisted by the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture established by Article 30 of Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002. That Committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers*.

2.   Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

* OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.

"

(9)   Annexes II and III are deleted.

Article 2

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

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

Done at

For the European Parliament

The President

For the Council

The President

(1) OJ C 44, 15.2.2013, p. 125.
(2) OJ C 44, 15.2.2013, p. 125.
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 11 June 2013.
(4) OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 20.
(5) OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1.
(6)+ Date of entry into force of this Regulation.


Organised crime, corruption and money laundering
PDF 273k   DOC 73k
European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on organised crime, corruption, and money laundering: recommendations on action and initiatives to be taken (interim report) (2012/2117(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0245 A7-0175/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its decision of 14 March 2012 on setting up a special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, its powers, numerical composition and term of office, adopted under Rule 184 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to its decision of 11 December 2012 whereby the term of office of the Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering is to be extended until 30 September 2013,

–   having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, to Article 67 and Part Three, Title V, Chapter 4 (Articles 82-86) and Chapter 5 (Articles 87-89) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and to the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular Articles 5, 6, 8, 32, 38, and 41, Title VI (Articles 47-50), and Article 52 thereof,

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions on the creation and implementation of an EU policy cycle for organised and serious international crime, setting up a multi-annual process that aims at tackling the most important criminal threats in a coherent manner through optimum cooperation between Member States, the EU and third countries,

–   having regard to the Council conclusions on setting the EU's priorities for the fight against organised crime between 2011 and 2013,

–   having regard to the Stockholm Programme on freedom, security and justice(1) , the Commission communication 'Delivering an area of freedom, security and justice for Europe's citizens – Action Plan Implementing the Stockholm Programme' (COM(2010)0171 ) and the Commission communication 'The EU internal security strategy in action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe’ (COM(2010)0673 ),

–   having regard to the EU Drugs Strategy (2005-2012) and the EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012,

–   having regard to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, adopted by the General Assembly on 15 November 2000 (resolution 55/25) and opened for signature in Palermo on 12 December 2000, and the protocols thereto,

–   having regard to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), opened for signature in Merida on 9 December 2003,

–   having regard to the UN Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 1988 (resolution 1988/8) and opened for signature in Vienna, from 20 December 1988 to 28 February 1989, and thereafter in New York, until 20 December 1989,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe criminal and civil law conventions on corruption, opened for signature in Strasbourg on 27 January 1999 and 4 November 1999 respectively, and to resolutions (98) 7 and (99) 5, adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 5 May 1998 and 1 May 1999 respectively, establishing the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO),

–   having regard to the Council Act of 26 May 1997 drawing up, on the basis of Article K.3(2)(c) of the Treaty on European Union, the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union(2) ,

–   having regard to the OECD Convention on Combating the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, opened for signature in Paris on 17 December 1997, and to the recommendations supplementing it,

–   having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, opened for signature in Warsaw on 16 May 2005, and to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers’ Resolution CM/Res(2010)12 of 13 October 2010 on the Statute of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL),

–   having regard to the 40 recommendations and 9 special recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation,

–   having regard to the work of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS),

–   having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA of 24 October 2008 on the fight against organised crime(3) ,

–   having regard to Council Framework Decision 2001/500/JHA of 26 June 2001 on money laundering, the identification, tracing, freezing, seizing and confiscation of instrumentalities and the proceeds of crime(4) , Council Framework Decision 2003/577/JHA of 22 July 2003 on the execution in the European Union of orders freezing property or evidence(5) , Council Framework Decision 2005/212/JHA of 24 February 2005 on Confiscation of Crime-Related Proceeds, Instrumentalities and Property(6) , and Council Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA of 6 October 2006 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to confiscation orders(7) ,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2007/845/JHA of 6 December 2007 concerning cooperation between Asset Recovery Offices of the Member States in the field of tracing and identification of proceeds from, or other property related to, crime(8) and having regard to Commission report COM(2011)0176 based on Article 8 of that decision,

–   having regard to Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States(9) , and the subsequent amending acts,

–   having regard to Council Framework Decision 2002/465/JHA of 13 June 2002 on joint investigation teams(10) and to the Commission report on national measures taken to comply with that framework decision (COM(2004)0858 ),

–   having regard to Council Decision 2009/902/JHA of 30 November 2009 setting up a European crime prevention network (EUCPN)(11) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA(12) and to the Communication from the Commission ‘The EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012–2016’ (COM(2012)0286 ),

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the fact that the best interests of children involved in trafficking and migration cases, should always take primary concern,

–   having regard to Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13th December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA(13) ,

–   having regard to Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing(14) and to the Commission report to Parliament and the Council on the application of that directive (COM(2012)0168 ),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on controls of cash entering or leaving the Community(15) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 on drug precursors(16) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1781/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 on information on the payer accompanying transfers of funds(17) ,

–   having regard to Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA of 22 July 2003 on combating corruption in the private sector(18) and to the Commission report to the Council based on Article 9 of that framework decision (COM(2007)0328 ),

–   having regard to Directive 2004/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal service sectors(19) , 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, and the amendments thereto(20) ,

–   having regard to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data,

–   having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(21) ,

–   having regard to the Commission’s proposal (COM(2013)0045 ) for a directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing,

–   having regard to the Commission’s proposal (COM(2012)0085 ) for a directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime in the European Union,

–   having regard to the Commission’s proposal (COM(2010)0517 ) for a directive on attacks against information systems and repealing Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA,

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘An Action Plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion’ (COM(2012)0722 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘First Annual Report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy’ (COM(2011)0790 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘Tackling Crime in our Digital Age: Establishing a European Cybercrime Centre’ (COM(2012)0140 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling’ (COM(2012)0596 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Measuring Crime in the EU: Statistics Action Plan 2011-2015’ (COM(2011)0713 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council on concrete ways to reinforce the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion including in relation to third countries (COM(2012)0351 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Towards an EU Criminal Policy: Ensuring the effective implementation of EU policies through criminal law’ (COM(2011)0573 ),

–   having regard to the Commission report of 6 June 2011 to the Council on the modalities of European Union participation in the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) (COM(2011)0307 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Proceeds of organised crime: ensuring that ’crime does not pay‘’ (COM(2008)0766 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the prevention of and fight against organised crime in the financial sector (COM(2004)0262 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation 2007/425/EC of 13 June 2007, identifying a set of actions for the enforcement of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein,

–   having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2011 on ‘Tax and development - Cooperating with developing countries on promoting good governance in tax matters’(22) ,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 15 September 2011 on the EU's efforts to combat corruption(23) , of 25 October 2011 on organised crime in the European Union(24) and 22 May 2012 on an EU approach to criminal law(25) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 November 2011 on combating illegal fishing at the global level – the role of the EU(26) ,

–   having regard to the joint motion for a resolution of 14 March 2013 on match-fixing and corruption in sport(27) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on a Law of Administrative Procedure of the European Union(28) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2005 with a proposal for a recommendation to the Council on combating the financing of terrorism(29) ,

–   having regard to the Europol Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) report 2013,

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 May 2013 on the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax havens(30) ;

–   having regard to the conclusions which have emerged from the public hearings, discussions on the working documents, and exchanges of views with eminent figures, as well as from the delegation visits made by Parliament’s Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering,

–   having regard to the replies to the questionnaire sent to the national parliaments on their role and experience regarding organised crime, corruption, and money laundering,

–   having regard to the thematic papers by Inés Ayala Sender, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Emma McClarkin, and Gay Mitchell on organised crime,

–   having regard to the thematic papers by Cornelis de Jong, Mariya Gabriel, Theodoros Skylakakis, and Barbara Weiler on corruption,

–   having regard to the thematic papers by Mario Borghezio and Rui Tavares on money laundering,

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

–   having regard to the interim report of the Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (A7-0175/2013 ),

Organised crime, corruption, and money laundering

A.   whereas the Special Committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM) was mandated to investigate the extent of organised crime, corruption and money laundering supported by the best available threat assessments and to propose appropriate measures for the EU to prevent and address these threats and to counter them at the international, European and national level;

B.   whereas traditional criminal organisations have gradually extended their operating range on an international scale, exploiting the opportunities offered by the opening of the internal borders of the European Union, as well as economic globalisation and new technologies, and entering into alliances with criminal groups in other countries (examples being the South American drug cartels and Russian-speaking organised crime) in order to carve up markets and spheres of influence; whereas, increasingly, criminal groups are diversifying in their operations, with links growing between drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, facilitation of irregular immigration and weapons trafficking; whereas the link between terrorism and organised crime is becoming increasingly organic;

C.   whereas the global economic crisis not only creates a breeding-ground for enhanced illegal activities by certain individuals, but also leads to new types of organised criminal activity, such as fraud and corruption in professional sport, counterfeiting of everyday consumer goods such as foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals, illegal trade in cheap labour, and human trafficking; whereas by infiltrating the legal economy, organised crime, fraud and money laundering have a devastating effect on Member States;

D.   whereas it is very rare for an organised crime group not to have a crossborder dimension and this is the greatest invisible threat to the security and prosperity of European citizens, who have not been informed about the explosive increase in crossborder crime or the inability of national law enforcement authorities to counter it other than within their own national borders;

E.   whereas criminal organisations have been tending increasingly to rely on mutual assistance enabling them - also through their new international structures and the diversification of their activities - to transcend their differences in terms of language, ethnic origin, and commercial interests and engage in joint trafficking, thereby reducing costs and maximising profits at a time of world economic crisis;

F.   whereas Europol's SOCTA 2013 estimates that there are at least 3 600 criminal organisations currently active in the EU and acknowledges that the most widespread features of these organisations are their network style and cooperative approach, their strong presence in the international legal economy, their tendency to focus on – especially in the larger organisations – different criminal activities at the same time and the fact that as many as 70 % of existing organisations have members of different nationalities, thereby demonstrating the transnational nature of the phenomenon;

G.   whereas poverty constitutes an enabler for organised crime as poverty is exploited by criminal organisations;

H.   whereas it is essential to eliminate poverty and to improve people’s access to employment and social protection;

I.   whereas operations involving trafficking in human beings and human organs, forced prostitution , the enslavement of human beings and or the establishment of forced labour camps are often run by transnational criminal organisations; whereas it is necessary and urgent to consistently monitor international organ trafficking and its connections with criminal organisations; whereas human trafficking is a form of crime and a fast-changing phenomenon which generates profits in the region of EUR 25 billion every year and affects all Member States;

J.   whereas the total number of forced labourers in the Member States is estimated at 880 000, of whom 30% are estimated to be victims of sexual exploitation and 70 % victims of forced labour exploitation, with women constituting the majority of victims in the EU; whereas forced labour is highly profitable for organised crime, results in social dumping and damages society through lost tax revenue;

K.   whereas the victims of human trafficking originate from both within and outside the EU;

L.   whereas the victims of trafficking in human beings are recruited, transported or kept by means of force, coercion or fraud for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, including begging, slavery, servitude, criminal activities, domestic service, adoption or forced marriage, or for the removal of organs; whereas these victims are exploited and totally subjugated by their traffickers or exploiters, obliged to repay them huge debts, often deprived of their identity papers, locked in, isolated and threatened, and thus, living in fear of retaliation, with no money and with fear of the local authorities instilled into them, lose any hope of escaping or returning to normal life;

M.   whereas sealing the external borders of the EU is impossible;

N.   whereas 2000 people die every year in the Mediterranean while attempting to enter the EU;

O.   whereas, although trafficking in human beings evolves with changing socio-economic circumstances, the victims come mainly from countries or regions which are subject to economic and social hardship and the vulnerability factors have not changed for years; whereas the other causes of trafficking in human beings include a booming sex industry as well as demand for cheap labour and products, while the common factor for those who become victims of trafficking is, in general terms, the promise of a better quality of life and existence for themselves and/or their families;

P.   whereas illicit trafficking in and smuggling of organs, arms, drugs, including CBRN substances and precursors as well as prescription drugs, wildlife species and body parts, cigarettes and tobacco, works of art, and other products stem from a variety of sources, supply new criminal markets all over Europe, offers criminal organisations enormous opportunities for profit, and challenge- the EU’s and Member States’ border security, as well as the single market and the EU’s financial interests;

Q.   whereas criminal groups have widened the range of drug-trafficking routes and, moreover, started trafficking in other commodities; whereas the internet provides a tool and a new route both in the supply of precursors for drug production and in the distribution of psychotropic substances; whereas the trade in drug precursors such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and acetic anhydride is not adequately controlled in the Union and presents a serious danger;

R.   whereas the control of precursor chemicals and equipment used in synthetic drug manufacture is a key element in reducing drug supply;

S.   whereas chemicals used for licit purposes can be diverted from the licit trade by criminal organisations and be used as drug precursors; whereas in 2008, 75 % of global seizures of acetic anhydride, the main drug precursor for heroin, occurred in the EU, while the annual reports of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board continue to make reference to the insufficiently strict measures put in place by the EU to avert the diversion of this precursor chemical for illicit purposes;

T.   whereas many Union citizens are living in poverty and unemployment while crossborder crime increases year by year;

U.   whereas the number of legitimate jobs in the Union lost to illegal activity by criminal gangs cannot be calculated accurately, since criminals do not publish reports, but may be estimated in tens of millions;

V.   whereas the loss of tax revenues to national governments and the Union can, similarly, only be estimated, but is probably in the range of hundreds of billions of euro each year and is increasing;

W.   whereas illegal trafficking in cigarettes results in an annual tax loss of approximately EUR 10 billion; whereas the estimated turnover generated by global small arms trafficking ranges between USD 170 million and 320 million a year, while there are more than 10 million illegal weapons in circulation in Europe, posing a serious threat to the safety of citizens as well as to law enforcement; whereas trafficking in the above items can entail losses to state revenues and damage to manufacturing companies, and facilitates the spread of other forms of organised crime which in turn create a serious social threat, since this phenomenon could easily become a source of terrorist financing;

X.   whereas the sums generated by trafficking in wildlife species and body parts are estimated at EUR 18 to 26 billion per year, with the EU being the world’s foremost destination market;

Y.   whereas trafficking entails losses to state revenue, damages manufacturing companies and has a detrimental effect on jobs, the public and the social environment;

Z.   whereas criminal organisations have developed their infiltration capacity, since they are now operating in, for example, public works, transport, large-scale retailing, waste management, trade in wildlife and natural resources, private security, adult entertainment and many more sectors besides, most of which are subject to political control and decision-making; whereas, consequently, organised crime is increasingly resembling an economic global player with a strong business orientation, enabling it to supply different kinds of illegal – but also, to an increasing extent, legal – goods and services at the same time and impacting upon the European and global economy, at a cost to business of USD 870 billion annually;

AA.   whereas the organised and mafia-style criminal activities relating to the environment - in their various forms of illegal waste trafficking and disposal and destruction of the environmental, landscape, artistic and cultural heritage - have now taken on an international dimension that requires a joint effort on the part of all European countries for more effective joint action to prevent and combat the so-called ecomafias;

AB.   whereas the huge amounts of money generated by organised crime and mafia networks are channelled into banks and financial markets in the EU itself, thereby making them accessories to money laundering;

AC.   whereas international banks play a significant role in enabling money laundering and have directly been involved in laundering the proceeds of organised crime;

AD.   whereas the SOCTA report published by Europol in 2013 points out that commodity counterfeiting and illicit trade in goods constitute an emerging criminal market that is intensified by the economic crisis; whereas drug trafficking remains the biggest criminal market; whereas the illicit trade in waste and energy fraud are new emerging threats demanding particular attention;

AE.   whereas if organised crime in all its forms is to be combated effectively, it is essential to develop and implement measures aimed at depriving criminal organisations of their financial resources by striking at bank secrecy wherever necessary;

AF.   whereas criminal organisations can take advantage of a grey area of collusion with other parties, merging for the purpose of certain operations with white-collar perpetrators (entrepreneurs, public officials at all levels of decision-making, politicians, banks, professionals, etc), who, while not actually belonging to criminal organisations, have mutually lucrative business relations with them;

AG.   whereas in some European countries which are not EU Member States a large part of society remains in a grey area, often living off criminal activities; whereas this mainly involves young people;

AH.   whereas in addition to using violence, intimidation and terrorism, organised crime now also operates through corruption; whereas money laundering is linked not only to activities typically associated with organised crime, but also to corruption and tax crimes; whereas conflicts of interest can be a cause of corruption and fraud; whereas, therefore, organised crime, corruption, and money laundering, though distinct phenomena, are often interrelated; whereas organised crime can also use public and private sector organisations, including non-profit organisations, as cover for corruption and money-laundering purposes;

AI.   whereas investigative journalists play a vital role in revealing corruption, fraud and organised crime and consequently they are exposed to particular financial and security threats; whereas, for instance, over a period of five years within the 27 Member States a total of 233 investigative reporting have been published on cases of fraud related to the misuse of EU funds(31) ; whereas additional funding, in particular by the Commission and other international institutions, is indispensable for supporting and further enhancing investigative journalism;

AJ.   whereas money laundering, corruption and organised crime perpetrated by European actors seriously affect developing countries and represent an obstacle to their development by plundering their natural resources, by limiting their fiscal resources and by increasing their public debt;

AK.   whereas the internet makes it possible for criminal groups to act more rapidly and on a larger scale, and has thus changed the patterns of criminal activity; whereas cybercrime, especially in the forms of fraud and exploitation of children, is a growing threat, while criminal organisations are using online betting on sport as a tool for generating profits and laundering money around the globe;

AL.   whereas match-fixing is a new form of crime with high revenues, low sentences and, due to low detection rates, is a lucrative business for criminals;

In defence of citizens and of the lawful economy

AM.   whereas the protection of citizens and a lawful and competitive economy depend on political will at all levels, as well as on resolute measures to combat organised crime, trafficking in human beings, corruption, and money laundering, phenomena which are severely detrimental to society and, in particular, constitute a threat to the survival of law-abiding businesspeople, to the safety of citizens and consumers and to the fundamental democratic principles of the state;

AN.   whereas criminal groups exploit modern technology, environments and opportunities mirroring legitimate business opportunities and goals; whereas criminal groups have high levels of expertise, organisation, experience and sophistication, backed up by increased mobility, connectivity and ease of travel; whereas this has led to organised crime being less localised and more likely to exploit differing legal systems and differing national legal jurisdictions;

AO.   whereas the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the proceeds of illegal activities worldwide account for about 3,6 % of global GDP, while the flow of laundered money in the world today amounts to approximately 2,7 % of global GDP; whereas the Commission estimates that in the EU alone corruption costs roughly EUR 120 billion a year, that is to say, 1 % of EU GDP; whereas substantial resources are thus being stolen from economic and social development, public finances and citizens’ welfare;

AP.   whereas the proceeds of illegal activities and money-laundering networks have a negative impact on the EU economy by encouraging speculation and financial bubbles which are harmful to the real economy;

AQ.   whereas in some countries corruption poses a serious threat to democracy and is an obstacle to efficient and just governance; whereas it discourages investment, distorts the operation of domestic markets, impedes fair competition among businesses, and, ultimately, jeopardises economic development by misallocating resources, especially to the detriment of public services in general and social services in particular; whereas bureaucratic complexity, compounded by multiple unnecessary prior authorisation requirements, can discourage entrepreneurship, hamper legitimate economic activity and provide incentives for bribing officials or engender other forms of corruption;

AR.   whereas differences in legislation and enforcement in respect of bribery of public officials negatively affect the internal market, not only because there is no level playing field for companies but also because such bribery occurs within the EU as well, when companies based in one Member State bribe public officials of another Member State, thus disrupting the functioning of markets;

AS.   whereas corruption is perceived by 74 % of European citizens to be a major national and supranational problem,(32) while cases of corruption apparently occur within all sectors of society; whereas corruption undermines citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions and the effectiveness of elected governments in preserving the rule of law, since it creates privileges and hence social injustice; whereas distrust of politicians is heightened in times of dire economic crisis;

AT.   whereas the areas in which reported petty corruption is higher, in terms of percentage of bribe cases per contact, are on average: medical services 6,2 %, land services 5 %, customs 4,8 %, judiciary 4,2 %, police 3,8 %, registry and permit services 3,8 %, education system 2,5 %, utilities 2,5 %, tax revenue 1,9 %;

AU.   whereas in areas with high levels of crime, the resources of the local economy are unlawfully appropriated by criminal organisations and normal business ambitions, including investment from other countries, are thus discouraged; whereas in such areas credit is more difficult to obtain for ‘clean’ companies, given the higher costs and more stringent guarantees that banks require; whereas businesses in economic difficulty are sometimes forced to turn to criminal organisations in order to obtain credit for investments;

AV.   whereas localised organised criminals take advantages of gaps in the legal economy and can become major players in supplying everyday goods; whereas, in addition to extortion and intimidation, which constitute threats to local communities, this undermines the legal economy and the community as a whole, in terms of the safety of businesses and citizens; whereas cybercrime, counterfeiting of or illegal online trafficking in creative content, child pornography, pharmaceutical products, legal psychotropic substances and drug precursors, components, spare parts, and other products in common everyday use as well as issues related to the relevant rights and licences are endangering public health, safety, jobs and social stability and can inflict massive damage on businesses in the sectors concerned, to an extent that puts their continued existence at risk;

AW.   whereas the increasing number of crimes being perpetrated against the agri-food sector are not only seriously endangering the health of European citizens but also causing considerable damage to those countries that have made food excellence their major asset;

AX.   whereas the sexual exploitation of children via the internet and child pornography pose a particular threat; whereas cybercrime, and in particular profit-motivated cybercrime and unauthorised access to information systems, are often linked to financial fraud; whereas Cybercrime as a Service (CaaS) is increasing and the amount of malware is rising dramatically; whereas the European bodies concerned with these issues require further funding;

AY.   whereas money laundering is assuming increasingly more complex forms that are not easily traceable; whereas in order to launder dirty money criminal organisations are making increasing use of illegal, and sometimes legal, betting and match-fixing, especially online, as well as of banks in countries where money transfers are not monitored sufficiently to prevent money laundering and tax evasion; whereas match-fixing should be viewed as a profitable form of organised crime; whereas legal gambling, as an expression of entrepreneurial activity, should be supported on the basis of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

AZ.   whereas the forging of a company's accounting documents often serves to create unofficial liquidity, which reduces the amount of tax payable and can be used for corruption or money laundering, while impinging on fair competition and reducing the capacity of the state to perform its social function;

BA.   whereas in a time of austerity, tax fraud is estimated to cost Member States EUR 1 trillion per year; whereas tax avoidance and evasion is not limited to the black market but is found in the real economy amongst well known corporations;

Need for a common Europe-wide approach

BB.   whereas some work has already been done at European level with a view to creating a balanced regulatory and legal framework to deal with organised crime, corruption, and money laundering;

BC.   whereas, especially in the case of crossborder crime, the variety of approaches which Member States apply to crime and the differences in substantive and procedural criminal law can create loopholes and weaknesses in criminal, civil and fiscal legal systems throughout the European Union; whereas tax havens, countries pursuing loose banking policies and breakaway countries where a strong central authority is lacking have become essential to money laundering by organised crime;

BD.   whereas criminal groups often have an international network structure, therefore, this international structure requires a cross-border response, including effective and comprehensive communication and the sharing of information between equivalent national and international agencies;

BE.   whereas the protection of the EU’s financial interests and of the euro must be a priority in terms of monitoring the growing phenomenon by which criminal organisations are misappropriating European funds through what is termed ‘Community fraud’ and euro counterfeiting;

BF.   whereas programmes such as Hercule, Fiscalis, Customs and Pericles have been developed at the European level to protect the EU's financial interests and fight against transnational and cross-border criminal and illicit activities;

BG.   whereas the major enemy of the Eurozone is the divergence of productivity gains among the Member States; whereas these create, in the medium and long term, a divergence in terms of competitiveness that cannot be dealt with by monetary devaluation and leads to harsh and politically unsustainable austerity programs aimed at internal devaluation; whereas systemic corruption in the public sector, which acts as a major impediment for efficiency, foreign direct investment and innovation, is thus preventing the proper functioning of the monetary union;

BH.   whereas there are at least 20 million cases of petty corruption in the public sectors in the EU and it is obvious that the phenomenon also has a spill-over effect in the parts of the public administration of the Member States (and the corresponding political persons) which are responsible for the management of EU funds and other financial interests;

BI.   whereas there is a very substantial tax gap in Europe, an estimated EUR 1 trillion in public revenue is lost every year in the EU because of tax fraud and tax avoidance, representing a yearly cost of around EUR 2000 to every EU citizen;

BJ.   whereas in order to fight organised crime legislators in the Member States must be able to react promptly and effectively to changing structures and new forms of crime, and even more so since under the Treaty of Lisbon all Member States are obliged to facilitate a Union of freedom, security and justice;

BK.   whereas the European approach to combating organised crime, corruption, and money laundering must be based on the best available threat assessments and on closer judicial and police cooperation, extending also to non-EU countries, common definitions of criminal offences - including participation in a criminal organisation and self-laundering -, criminalisation of all forms of corruption, approximation of Member States’ legislation concerning certain procedurally relevant arrangements such as statute of limitations, effective systems for the confiscation and recovery of proceeds of organised crime and corruption, increased accountability of government, politicians, lawyers, notaries, real estate agents, insurance companies and other businesses, training of judges and police forces, and the exchange of best practices relating to proper means of prevention;

BL.   whereas mutual recognition is recognised as a fundamental principle underpinning judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters between the EU's Member States;

BM.   whereas the fight against trafficking in human beings is a priority for the EU, as from the 1990s many initiatives, measures and funding programmes and a legal framework have been developed, and whereas Article 5 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits specifically trafficking in human beings;

BN.   whereas, for the Member States to cooperate in tackling crime and making justice systems work, there needs to be mutual trust between judicial authorities in the EU; whereas the principle of mutual trust requires the establishment of minimum protection standards at the highest possible level;

BO.   whereas the criminal law and criminal proceedings systems of the Member States have evolved over centuries; whereas each Member State has its own characteristics and special features and whereas, as a consequence, key areas of criminal law must be left to the Member States;

BP.   having regard to the substantive difference between witnesses and informers; having regard to the duty of the Member States and the European Union to protect and safeguard those who have chosen to stand against organised crime and the mafia, endangering their lives and those of their loved ones;

BQ.   whereas, although tendering for Public Procurement is heavily monitored, the spending afterwards is far from transparent and there is a wide variety across Member States for declaration of interests;

In support of a coherent uniform regulatory framework

1.   Considers it necessary to prepare an appropriate political response to combat the presence of criminal organisations and mafias at EU level by means of a detailed and timely action plan that lays down legislative and non-legislative measures aimed at dismantling those organisations and identifying and recovering any form of wealth that, directly or indirectly, is connected to them;

2.   Is convinced that in order to defeat organised and Mafia-style crime and to eradicate phenomena such as corruption and money laundering which, taken together, restrict the freedom, rights and safety of EU citizens and those of future generations, it is necessary not only to react to such criminal activity but also to make major efforts to prevent it;

3.   Calls on the Commission to propose common judicial standards and models for integration and cooperation among Member States; calls on it in particular, on the basis of an evaluation report on the implementation of the Framework Decision on the fight against organised crime and building on Member States’ most advanced legislation, to submit a legislative proposal setting out a common definition of organised crime, which should include, inter alia, the offence of participation in a mafia-style organisation, emphasising the fact that criminal groups of this kind are business-oriented and wield a power of intimidation and taking into account Article 2(a) of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime; stresses that proposals for EU substantive criminal law provisions must respect fundamental rights and the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, as well as the positions of Parliament’s resolution of 22 May 2012 on an EU approach to criminal law;

4.   Calls on the Commission to draw up a common definition of corruption in order to develop a coherent global policy against corruption; recommends that, when drawing up its report on action taken by Member States against corruption, due to be published in 2013, the Commission should cover all forms of corruption, in both the public and the private sector, including non-profit organisations, highlighting the best national experiences in combating it, and should provide an accurate way of measuring the phenomenon, to include a comprehensive overview of vulnerable areas of corruption on a country-by-country basis; calls on the Commission to report regularly to Parliament as well as to the Conference of the States Parties to UNCAC on actions taken both by Member States and at EU level, and to update the existing European legislation accordingly;

5.   Maintains that an effective regulatory framework should duly take into account the interaction between anti-money laundering provisions and the fundamental right to the protection of personal data, so that money laundering is addressed without lowering established data protection standards; in this regard, welcomes the data protection system used by Europol;

6.   Calls on the Commission to provide in its proposal to harmonise criminal law on money laundering, due to be submitted in 2013, a common definition of the offence of self-laundering based on Member States’ best practices, and to consider as predicate offences those offences which are deemed serious as being likely to deliver a profit to the persons committing them.

7.   Calls on the Commission to make a proposal developing Article 18 of the Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) Directive which encourages Member States to criminalise the use of services of victims of all forms of exploitation of human trafficking, both concerning sexual and labour exploitation;

8.   Considers that the conditions and devastating consequences suffered by the victims of trafficking in human beings are unacceptable and constitute a criminal violation of human rights; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States, to make trafficking socially anathema through strong and sustained awareness-raising campaigns with clear and scheduled reduction targets; these campaigns should be evaluated annually in the framework of the European Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October every year, as well as after five years, between now and the European Anti-Trafficking Year;

9.   Recommends that the Member States, in cooperation with the Commission and the European Parliament and with the support of Europol, Eurojust and the Fundamental Rights Agency, devise EU-level indicators, which should be as uniform and consistent as possible, to measure, at least, the extent and costs of and social harm caused by organised crime, corruption and money laundering occurring in the EU;

10.   Calls on the Commission and the Council to consider establishing an EU list of criminal organisations, following the example of the EU list of organisations considered to be terrorist organisations;

11.   Recommends that a European network be established to bring together the various universities dealing with organised crime, corruption and money laundering in order to promote university research in these areas;

12.   Points to the need for the full implementation of the existing mutual recognition instruments and for European legislation providing for the enforceability of criminal judgments and confiscation orders in Member States other than those in which they were issued; considers that mutual legal assistance and the mutual admissibility of evidence between Member States should be improved;

13.   Believes that actions to combat trafficking in human beings and forced labour need to focus on the root causes such as global inequalities; calls, therefore, on Member States to live up to their development aid and MDG commitments;

14.   Calls on the Commission and on the EEAS to strengthen the external dimension of measures and programmes, including bilateral agreements, to fight against human trafficking by preventive actions in the countries of origin and transit with special attention to unaccompanied minors and children;

15.   Calls on the Commission to develop a reliable monitoring system across the EU, to more effectively monitor the movements of traffickers and the victims of trafficking;

16.   Calls on the Commission to develop, as a matter of urgency, a comparable and reliable EU-wide data collection system, based on agreed and solid common indicators, together with both the Member States and the international institutions involved in the fight against human trafficking; in order to raise the visibility and urgency of this data system, it could be useful to set up an Anti-Trafficking Observatory within the EU Anti-Trafficking website that is already in place, with all EU institutions and the seven agencies involved being obliged to introduce their data and NGOs and other institutions being invited to do the same;

17.   Calls on the Commission to implement the recommendations outlined in the EU strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016;

18.   Calls on the Commission to fulfil the conditions needed for completing the European helpline for victims of trafficking, to help spread awareness of their rights;

19.   Calls on the Commission to devote more resources to combating the use of social networking and cybercrime in human trafficking;

20.   Calls on the Commission to increase cross border judicial and police cooperation between EU Member States and EU Agencies, given that the criminal offence of human trafficking is not limited to one Member State;

21.   Calls for a strengthening of sanctions against banking and financial institutions which are complicit in receiving and/or laundering the proceeds of organised crime;

Combating and preventing organised crime and corruption by striking at the proceeds and assets that it generates

22.   As regards confiscation, invites Member States, on the basis of the most advanced national legislations, to consider to implement models of civil law asset forfeiture, in those cases where, on the balance of probabilities and subject to the permission of a court, it can be established that assets result from criminal activities, or are used for criminal activities; considers that preventive models of confiscation could be foreseen following to a court decision, in compliance with constitutional national guarantees and without prejudice to the right of property and the right of defence; moreover encourages Member States to promote the use of criminal assets for social purposes; suggests that actions should be undertaken and funds released to finance protective measures in order to preserve confiscated assets intact;

23.   Recommends that an economic operator should be excluded for at least five years from participation in any public contract throughout the EU if that operator has been the subject of a conviction by final judgment for participation in a criminal organisation, money laundering or terrorist financing, participation in exploitation of human trafficking or child labour, corruption or any other serious offence against the public interest wherever such offences cause a loss in tax revenue or social harm, or for any other particularly serious crime with a crossborder dimension as referred to in Article 83(1) TFEU (‘Eurocrimes’), and that the above provision should apply even when the grounds for exclusion arise in the course of the award procedure; considers that procedures for public procurement must be based on the principle of legality, and also that, in that framework, the criterion of the economically most advantageous tender should be defined in order to ensure transparency (to be achieved not least through e-procurement) and prevent frauds corruption and other serious irregularities; calls on the Commission’s services to establish a structure or cooperation schemes so as to ensure a holistic approach to fighting corruption offences related to public procurement;

24.   Notes existence of a link between legitimate and illicit business activities, since in some cases legitimate interests provide resources for illicit activities; emphasises that monitoring the flow of legitimate interests can help identify criminal assets;

25.   Considers that, in order to combat drug trafficking, as well as other offences which are expressions of organised crime, action by judicial and police authorities should be able to benefit not only from cooperation with Eurojust and Europol, but also from cooperation arrangements, without prejudice to their duties of confidentiality, with businesses in the transport and logistics sectors, the chemical industry, internet service providers, and banks and financial services, in both Member States and non-EU countries; emphasises the importance of tackling the supply of drugs through strict controls on drug precursors, and welcomes the Commission proposal amending Regulation (EC) No 273/2004, which sets out ways to improve the prevention of diversion from the internal EU trade in acetic anhydride, for example, by extending the registration requirement for this product;

26.   Expresses concern about the ineffectiveness of the investigative tools made available in different national legal systems, which do not take due account of the need for an appropriate and specific set of tools with which to combat criminal and mafia organisations; reiterates its request to the Commission, already expressed in its resolution of 25 October 2011, that a comparative study of the special investigative techniques currently used in the different Member States be developed, to provide a basis for action at EU level, with the aim of equipping the authorities responsible with the investigative tools they need, based on existing best practices;

27.   Invites the Commission, the Member States and businesses to take practical steps to improve the traceability of products (e.g. country of origin labelling for agri-food products, C.I.P. proof marks on firearms, or digital codes for the tax identification of cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and prescription drugs) in order to protect consumers’ health, enhance citizens’ safety, discourage smuggling and combat illicit trafficking more effectively; regrets that the Member States did not wish to introduce traceability in the modernisation of the Union Customs Code;

28.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their maritime cooperation with a view to stamping out trafficking in human beings and the flows of drugs and illegal or counterfeit products across the EU’s internal and external sea borders; acknowledges that border management also implies a migration dimension related to the fundamental rights of migrants, including, where appropriate, the right to asylum, as well as protection of and assistance to victims of human trafficking or forced labour, especially minors;

29.   Considers that an action plan aiming at a Europe-wide legislative framework for criminal justice and the introduction of operational tools to combat cybercrime must be developed without further delay, with a view to achieving greater international cooperation and with the support of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), in order to ensure a high level of security for citizens - especially vulnerable persons - , businesses and public authorities while not prejudicing freedom of information and data protection;

30.   Notes with concern the significant link that has been highlighted by the judicial authorities and police between organised crime and terrorism in terms of the financing of the illegal activities of terrorist groups via the proceeds of illicit trafficking at international level; calls on the Member States to strengthen their measures to combat these activities;

31.   Given that organised crime uses the cyberspace and its illegitimate tools ever more extensively, calls on the Member States to adopt their national cyber security strategies without any further delay;

32.   Calls on the Commission to develop an EU Charter for Protection and Assistance of Victims of Trafficking in order to gather all existing indicators, measures, programmes and resources in a more coherent, efficient and useful way for all stakeholders involved with the objective to strengthen the protection of the victims; calls on the Commission to set up a helpline for victims of trafficking in human beings;

33.   Reminds the Commission that special treatment should be given to children who are victims of trafficking, as well as to improve the protection of unaccompanied minors or trafficked children by their own families (cases to be taken into account when proposing return to countries of origin, identification of guardians, etc.); insists on the need to take into account not only the gender specific approach but also the role of health problems and disabilities;

34.   Calls on the Commission to increase the resources allocated to specialised NGOs, media and research in order to step up support, protection and assistance for victims so that their testimony in court becomes less necessary; calls on the Commission also to reinforce the aspects of visibility, awareness-raising and victims’ needs, with the aim of reducing the demand for and abuse of victims of trafficking in human beings and promoting a ‘zero vision’ against sexual and labour exploitation;

35.   Calls on the Commission to develop a system of more efficient and proactive financial investigation, as a key means of reducing the pressure on victims of human trafficking as the main witnesses when traffickers are brought to trial; also calls on the Commission to dedicate improved specialised training and sufficient resources to the EU agencies fighting against human trafficking, including crossborder cooperation and cooperation beyond borders; reminds the Commission that these actions require a holistic approach, promoting multidisciplinary cooperation at local, national and transnational level and encouraging Member States to set up, inter alia, dedicated national police intelligence units and to stimulate cooperation between administrative and law enforcement authorities;

Strengthening judicial and police cooperation at European and international level

36.   Stresses the importance of intensifying cooperation and enhancing transparency by developing effective communication and information sharing between judicial and law enforcement agencies among Member States, Europol, Eurojust, OLAF, and ENISA, and with the corresponding authorities in non-EU countries and especially the EU’s neighbouring countries, with a view to improving systems for gathering evidence and to enabling data and information relevant to the investigation of offences, including those against the EU’s financial interests, to be processed and exchanged effectively, without in any way infringing the subsidiarity and proportionality principles or fundamental rights in the Union; in this regard, calls on the competent authorities in the Member States to apply the adopted instruments on judicial cooperation in criminal matters, which are important tools for ensuring an effective fight against crossborder organised crime; calls on the Commission to set up a roadmap for even closer judicial and police cooperation, creating a criminal investigative body and having investigative jurisdiction over violations and crimes in the EU;

37.   Calls on the Commission to consider, in its association and trade agreements with third countries, specific cooperation clauses with regard to combating illegal trafficking by organised crime and money laundering; notes the lack of international cooperation, especially with non-EU countries of transit or origin; recognises the need for strong diplomatic action to urge those countries to contract cooperation agreements or to comply with the agreements that they have signed; stresses the importance of the mechanism of letters rogatory;

38.   Stresses that the existing network of national anti-corruption contact points should be strengthened and assisted by EUROPOL, EUROJUST and CEPOL; underlines that it should serve not only as a place for exchange of information but that these contact points should also be used for improving bilateral cooperation in concrete cases of bribery of foreign public officials; recommends that the contact points should address differences in priority-setting, resources and expertise and signal any problems stemming from these differences; stresses that the network should encourage coordinated actions if the actual bribery has occurred in one Member State at the level of a subsidiary of a parent company or holding company established in another Member State;

39.   Calls on the Member States to implement existing EU legislation swiftly and fully to enable the Union to take concerted action to combat crime;

40.   Calls upon all Member States to commit themselves to making full use of the Europol and Eurojust agencies, whose operation and results, regardless of the reforms under way and improvements that need to be made, are highly dependent on the level of participation;

41.   Stresses that, in order to fight against organised crime, it is essential to have a grass-roots approach to fighting corruption and organised crime at a European level, including the training and involvement of officers and Chiefs of Police, especially with regard to awareness of emerging and less visible types of criminal activity; notes that local crime often feeds into international crime;

42.   Calls on the Member States to develop guidelines on enforcement in respect to corruption and money laundering; recommends that these guidelines consist of best practices (e.g., the need for specialised personnel, co-operation between investigative authorities and the judiciary, methods to overcome the often difficult gathering of evidence), of an indication of a critical level of human and other resources needed for effective prosecution and of measures facilitating international cooperation;

43.   considers it vitally important to fully exploit the existing synergy between the European Judicial Network and Eurojust, in order to achieve a very high level of intra-European judicial cooperation;

44.   Stresses the importance of consultation with regional and national law enforcement bodies and civil society when developing legislative and regulatory frameworks;

45.   Notes the importance of Member States in partnership with the European Union and international actors, having a strong, long-term strategic plan in local and global issues related to organised crime, in order to identify emerging threats, market vulnerabilities and risk factors and to create an EU strategy which is based on planning and not just response;

46.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission to strengthen the role of judges, prosecutors and liaison officers and to provide judicial training in order to enable them to tackle all forms of organised crime, corruption and money laundering, including cybercrime, in particular through the use of CEPOL and the European Judicial Training Network and by making full use of financial instruments such as the Internal Security Fund for police cooperation or the Hercules III Programme; suggests promoting the teaching of foreign languages as part of the training of police forces and the judiciary, in order to facilitate transnational cooperation; calls for support for a European best practice exchange and training programme for judges, prosecutors and police forces;

47.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission to continue common efforts to finalize the negotiations on the draft directive regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters, which simplifies evidence gathering in cross-border cases and is thus an important step on the way to the single area of freedom, security and justice;

48.   Calls for enhanced cooperation with regard to false documents and fraud, and for the relevant bodies to work together to improve the reliability and authentication of source documents;

49.   Advocates the establishment, at national level, of facilities devoted to the investigation into and combating of criminal and mafia organisations, with the possibility of developing – with the support of Europol – a streamlined, informal 'anti-mafia operational network' for the purpose of exchanging information on the structural connotations of existing mafias, criminal and financial projections, the location of assets and attempted infiltration of public procurement;

50.   Believes that the globalisation of organised crime requires stronger cooperation among Member States and at EU and international level; calls, as regards fighting organised crime, corruption, and money laundering, for the EU, the UN, the OECD, and the Council of Europe to interact to a greater degree with a view to policy integration and the formulation of common operational definitions; supports the efforts made by the FATF to promote anti-money laundering policies; urges the Member States to ratify and fully implement all existing international instruments; calls on the Commission to support effectively the Member States’ efforts to combat organised crime; recommends that the EU join GRECO as a full participant;

51.   Recommends joint action to prevent and combat illegal environment-related activities connected to or resulting from organised, mafia-style criminal activities, also by strengthening European bodies, such as Europol and Eurojust, and international ones, such as Interpol and UNICRI, as well as by sharing working methods and information held by the Member States that have been the most involved in the fight against this form of crime, with a view to developing a common action plan;

52.   Calls on the Council and the Member States to ratify and fully implement the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions; stresses the negative impact that bribery of foreign officials has on the Union's fundamental rights, environment and development policies;

53.   Maintains that the European Investigation Order (EIO) should be introduced and joint investigation teams and other systems for combating transnational organised crime should be strengthened; calls for a closer cooperation with EU neighbouring countries to fight organised crime entering the EU;

54.   Calls on the Member States to develop appropriate global information-sharing strategies within their intelligence services and analyses seeking to identify emerging organised crime trends;

55.   Strengthening cooperation on EU fraud between EU services at all state levels, including regional and municipal level which play a key role for managing EU funds;

In support of an efficient and corruption-resistant Public Administration

56.   Believes that we cannot have an effective economic and fiscal union without an anti-corruption Union;

57.   Stresses that Transparency is the natural enemy of Corruption, which is how crimes start, and is convinced that holders of high offices or of great wealth with their privileges and immunities should be required to be totally transparent in their activities;

58.   Considers that, in addition to potentially marring the effectiveness of administrative action, a disorganised, non-transparent bureaucracy and complex procedures undermine the transparency of decision-making and frustrate the people concerned, and thus provide a fertile breeding ground for corruption; considers that, in the same way, impenetrable bank and business secrecy can hide the illicit profits of corruption, money laundering and organised crime;

59.   Refers to the Mérida convention against corruption (2003), and stresses that holders of high office or of great wealth with their privileges and immunities should be controlled, inter alia by the tax authorities, with such controls being reinforced in order to ensure fair and efficient services to the community and counter tax fraud; recommends, in particular, that holders of public office should submit declarations of assets, income, liabilities and interests; calls for measures to strengthen transparency and prevention through a coherent system of administrative law governing public spending and access to documents and the establishment of the necessary registers;

60.   Recommends that stronger systems be put in place to bring transparency to, and eliminate bureaucracy (‘red tape’) from government departments and other public bodies by guaranteeing the right of citizens to access documents (starting with the very sensitive area of public procurement); urges that a culture of legality and integrity be fostered in the public and the private sector alike, not least by means of an effective protection scheme for whistleblowers;

61.   Supports the actions of the Commission aimed at recognising the role of investigative journalism in the discovery and reporting of facts relating to organised crime, corruption and money laundering;

62.   Calls on the Member States to strengthen the role of officials in preventing, providing information on and tackling the risks of fraud and corruption;

63.   Calls for clear and proportionate rules, along with enforcement and monitoring mechanisms, to be specified in a code of conduct to prevent the phenomenon of ‘revolving doors’ or ’pantouflage’, under which public officials occupying a certain level of managerial or financial responsibility would be forbidden to move to the private sector until a defined time has elapsed since their departure from service if there is a risk of a conflict of interest with their preceding public function; also considers that whenever there is a risk of a conflict of interest similar restrictions should apply to people moving from the private to the public sector;

64.   Calls on the Commission to submit a proposal on the law of administrative procedure of the European Union as soon as possible, in accordance with the European Parliament’s recommendations of 15 January 2013;

65.   Believes that a lobby register is a useful transparency instrument; calls on Member States to adopt this tool where it does not already exist; further encourages governments and public administrations to make registration in a lobby register a precondition for a meeting with a business-, interest-, or lobby-organisation;

66.   Points out that self-regulation as the normal mechanism for dealing with corruption in sports and sports betting has not been effective; emphasises that governments on national, regional and local level are some of the biggest funders of sport, calls for Member States to establish transparent working relationships with the sporting community and present a full independent inquiry into corruption in sports commissioned by national governing bodies;

67.   Considers the complete transparency of all administrative acts at all levels in the public sector to be a cornerstone for combating criminal activities and protecting citizens from all forms of mismanagement of public affairs; rejects any form of resistance on the part of public authorities with regard to the full monitoring by citizens and the press of activities carried out using public money and in the interest of the community; believes that both the EU and individual Member States should make a tangible commitment to ensuring full transparency and developing forms of open government in an effective manner and on the basis of existing best practices;

68.   Stresses that bribery should not be concealed by the abuse of the term 'facilitation payments', which the OECD Convention considers acceptable under certain, specific circumstances (small payments, e.g. to get permission to unload goods in a port); calls on the Member States to agree to reject this notion, or to use it only in extreme situations, and calls on the drawing up of guidelines interpreting the notion in a uniform manner throughout the EU; underlines that neither bribes, nor facilitation payments can be tax-deductible;

69.   Supports the implementation of regular audits on adherence to integrity-related rules/codes of conduct, and the allocation of sufficient resources to the integrity-related training of civil servants;

In support of more accountable politics

70.   Points out that political parties are responsible for proposing candidates or drawing up election lists at all levels and have to gauge the calibre of candidates, not least by requiring them to comply with strict codes of ethics, including a code of conduct which should also cover clear and transparent rules on donations to political parties;

71.   Maintains that persons should be ineligible for membership of the European Parliament or service for other EU institutions and agencies if they have been convicted by final judgment of participation in organised crime, money laundering, corruption, or other serious economic or financial offences against the public interest; calls for a similar principle to be laid down, with due regard for the principle of proportionality, for the national parliaments and other elective offices;

72.   Recommends that Members States introduce and effectively apply, as an element of the sanctions system, instances of ineligibility for those convicted of corruption; considers that this penalty should apply for at least five years in order to cover all types of election; also recommends that the same period of disqualification should apply to government posts at every level, including EU level;

73.   Recommends that persons should be required to forfeit political office (governmental or the like) or management and administrative positions once they have been convicted of organised crime-related, corruption-related or money-laundering offences;

74.   Recognises that immunities enjoyed by certain categories of public office holders and elected representatives are a major obstacle to combating corruption; calls on the Commission and Member States to significantly reduce the categories of those benefitting from immunity;

75.   Calls for codes of ethics to be laid down for political parties and for greater transparency to be brought to bear on their budgets; proposes that public funding for parties be better controlled and that abuse and waste be avoided, with private funding also being better monitored and controlled, in order to ensure the accountability of political parties and their donors;

76.   Calls on the Member States to outlaw and sanction vote-buying, stipulating in particular that the benefits arising from a ‘promise to vote’ can take the form not only of money, but also of other advantages, including intangible advantages and those accorded to third parties not directly implicated in the illicit agreement;

77.   Considers the publication of MEPs' incomes and financial interests to be a good practice which should be extended to national parliamentarians and elected representatives;

In support of more credible criminal justice

78.   Recommends that the Member States establish effective, efficient, accountable and balanced criminal justice systems which can also guarantee the preservation of defence rights in accordance with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights; also recommends that a monitoring mechanism on the efficiency of criminal justice systems in fighting corruption be created at the European level, carrying out regular evaluations and publishing recommendations;

79.   Encourages the Commission and the Member States also to consider non-legislative measures that consolidate trust among the different legal systems in the Member States, enhance coherence and encourage the development of a common EU legal culture in relation to fighting crime;

80.   Invites the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal setting out the legal liability of legal persons in cases of financial crime and in particular the liability of holdings and parent companies for their subsidiaries; stresses that this proposal should clarify the liability of natural persons for crimes committed by the company, or its subsidiaries, for which they can be held partially or wholly responsible;

81.   Believes that approximation measures on corruption should address the differences in statutes of limitations among Member States, with a view to taking account of both defence needs and the need for effective and efficient prosecution and conviction, and that such statutes of limitations should be organised according to the stages of the proceedings or the instance involved, so that a crime could be barred only if the stage or step in question had not been completed within a given defined time-frame; also believes that, subject to the principle of proportionality and the rule of law, corruption cases should not be time-barred as long as criminal proceedings are effectively under way;

82.   Believes that measures to combat organised crime should be based on a combination of effective dissuasive systems for the confiscation of criminal assets, efforts to ensure that fugitives who deliberately elude inquiries will be brought to justice, and preventing imprisoned bosses of criminal groups, without prejudice to the basic principles relating to prisoners’ rights, from continuing to run their organisation and give orders to members even though they themselves are in prison;

83.   Encourages Member States to lay down dissuasive and effective penalties, both criminal sentences and fines, including large fines, for all types of serious offences that harm citizens’ health and security, and recommends the harmonisation of penalties;

84.   Points out, without prejudice to paragraph 80, the importance of the prevention of crime and organised crime, and urges the Member States to develop and to introduce effective legal instruments and punishments offering an alternative to imprisonment, such as fines or community service, in cases where this is permitted and taking account of all the circumstances, including the non-serious nature of the offence;

In support of more honest business practices

85.   Urges businesses to practise self-regulation and transparency through codes of conduct and to introduce oversight procedures, including internal or external audit and public registers of lobbyists working within the institutions, in order to avoid corruption, collusion and conflicts of interest between the public and private sectors and prevent unfair competition; also recommends transparency on areas, targets and financial information, at both national and EU level;

86.   Calls for the creation of lists of companies accredited to public authorities and lists of those that have to be excluded; believes that the latter would apply where companies have shown significant deficiencies in contractual requirements or there is a conflict of interest, whether in the Member States or at EU level;

87.   Calls on the Member States to strengthen the role of chambers of commerce by preventing, providing information on, and curbing the most frequent money- laundering risks in the business world, and to fully implement the Commission’s Action Plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion;

88.   Recalls that investigative journalism, as well as NGOs and the academia working on issues related to the operations of the public administration and of corporate undertakings, perform a key benign function in identifying instances of fraud, corruption or other mischief;

89.   Calls on businesses to: ensure the implementation of internal procurement guidelines to ensure compliance with the law and maximum transparency in bidding processes for public contracts; avoid dealing with contractors and suppliers known or reasonably suspected to be paying bribes; exercise due diligence, as appropriate, in evaluating prospective contractors and suppliers to ensure that they have effective anti-bribery programmes; make known anti-bribery policies to contractors and suppliers; monitor significant contractors and suppliers as part of their regular review of relationships with them and have a right to termination in the event that the latter pay bribes or act in a manner inconsistent with the business's programme;

In support of greater transparency in the banking system and the professions

90.   Calls for stepped-up cooperation with and greater transparency of the banking system and the professions, including the financial sector and the accounting professions, in all Member States and with non-EU countries, especially with a view to determining which IT tools and legislative and administrative measures might be used to ensure the traceability of financial flows and ascertain criminal activity and to laying down procedures for reporting such offences as might have occurred;

91.   Calls on the Commission and the other supervisory authorities to ensure provision of customer due diligence measures and related risk profiles by banks, insurance companies, and credit institutions in order to ensure that corporate or legal entities in the Member States obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their ultimate beneficial owners, including from offshore tax havens, and that business registers are regularly updated and monitored for quality; considers that transparency of information - also by means of publication of a country-by-country registry of real ownership and through crossborder cooperation - can contribute to combating phenomena such as money laundering, the financing of terrorism, tax fraud and tax avoidance;

92.   Calls on Member States to introduce the concept of Beneficial Ownership in their business registries and to work towards the inclusion of this concept globally as well as mechanisms for information exchange;

93.   Calls on the Commission to establish a common set of principles and administrative guidelines for the appropriate use of Transfer Pricing;

94.   Fully support the Commission's proposal to explicitly mention tax crimes as predicate offences to money laundering, in line with the 2012 recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force-FATF; urges the EU to enhance the transparency of beneficial ownership information and anti-money laundering (AML) customer diligence procedures; favours an EU-wide harmonisation of the money-laundering offence and calls for full implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, through effective monitoring, proportional sanctions and based on credible safeguards;

95.   Recommends the accurate assessment of the risks entailed in new banking and financial products where these allow anonymity or long-distance operations; calls, in addition, for a common definition of tax havens, since they are often used by criminal organisations for the issue of bonds by private companies or banks whose beneficial ownership is hard to ascertain;

96.   Hopes that operational solutions will be found to ensure that, without infringing the regulations on the protection of personal data, financial and credit operators will be able to establish the identity of the party requesting a transaction, bearing in mind that fraud linked to identity theft is sometimes the prelude to money laundering; therefore welcomes the establishment of a banking union;

97.   Recommends doing away with bank secrecy;

Ensuring that crime does not pay

98.   Calls on all stakeholders, public and private, to take resolute action to combat money laundering; calls for action to ensure full compliance with AML requirements by professionals, for instance in the form of systems for reporting suspicious transactions and codes of conduct for professional bodies and trade associations;

99.   Points out the essential role of financial information units in guaranteeing high international standards in fighting money laundering; recognises the importance of the European instruments for the traceability of financial flows in order to combat threats such as cybercrime, money laundering and the financing of terrorism;

100.   Recommends that measures be taken to identify and check gamblers on a systematic basis, ban the use of anonymous means of payment to settle bets placed online, and prevent anonymity in online gambling by enabling host servers to be identified and developing IT systems to ensure that any movements of money made through online and offline games will be fully traceable;

101.   Welcomes the fact that the proposed scope of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive has been widened as regards gambling; calls on the Commission to propose a legislative framework and appropriate measures to combat money laundering linked to betting, in particular sports betting, specifying new offences such as betting-related match fixing and laying down penalties of appropriate severity and supporting monitoring arrangements involving sports federations, associations, online and offline operators and, where necessary, national authorities; urges sports organisations to establish a code of conduct for all staff with a clear prohibition on manipulating matches for betting or other purposes, a ban on gambling on own matches and an obligation to report awareness of match-fixing with an adequate whistleblower protection mechanism;

102.   Notes that money laundering through organised sports betting is often the work of organised crime; calls on the Commission, therefore, to bring forward a legislative proposal setting out a common definition of corruption and fraud in sport; calls on the Member States not to authorise betting on matches without a sporting dimension, and to ban the riskiest forms of sports betting; also recommends that systems be put in place at national level for reporting suspicions of corruption in sport, along the lines of those set up for money laundering, with which operators of online and offline games and everyone working in the sports sector would be required to comply;

103.   Emphasises that cooperation and information exchange between Member States, their regulatory bodies, Europol and Eurojust should be reinforced to combat criminal activities in cross-border online gambling activities;

104.   Recognises that online gambling is an increasingly common way to launder money in which winnings are often tax free, the large volumes of transactions making dirty money very hard to detect and the numerous payment processors further complicating the system; calls for the establishment of a regulatory framework to combat money laundering through online gambling of all kinds;

105.   Urges Member States to: include a harmonised definition of match fixing in criminal law and create a legal instrument as a tool for combating it; to stipulate sanctions relating to match fixing, including fines and confiscation, and to create a specialised unit for combating match fixing within law enforcement as a hub for communication and cooperation with the main stakeholders, with a view to further investigation, and referral to prosecution;

106.   Calls for more cooperation at European level - coordinated by the Commission - to identify and prohibit online gambling operators engaged in match-fixing activities and other illegal activities;

107.   Calls on the sport governing bodies, Member States and the European Commission to invest in awareness-raising campaigns about match-fixing for athletes about the legal consequences of this criminal offence and the harmful effects on the integrity of sports competitions;

108.   Calls for the role and responsibilities of financial intelligence units in the Member States to be harmonised at a better level, for their powers to be increased and for the cooperation arrangement applying to them to be strengthened;

109.   Proposes that Member States should be coherent together in their sentencing and punishments and in prison systems and training of prison staff;

110.   Recommends that a stronger Europe-wide supervisory role in relation to money laundering be conferred on the European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the Single Supervisory Mechanism, not least with a view to establishing a genuine European banking union able to combat corruption and money laundering through effective action on the basis of harmonised rules on conflicts of interests and monitoring systems; insists that, in the meantime, supervisory capacities, expertise and incisiveness should be reinforced at the national level, with a view to closer cooperation between national authorities;

111.   Calls for minimum standards of good governance in tax-related matters to be encouraged, in particular through joint initiatives by Member States regarding their relations with territories constituting tax havens, not least in order to facilitate access to proprietary information relating to any shell companies that might be based there; insists on the importance of the abovementioned Commission communication of 6 December 2012 regarding strengthening the link between EU anti-fraud policy and development, tax and trade policies;

112.   Calls on the European Union to take effective measures in the international arena, for example at G8 and G20 meetings, to eradicate crimes linked to tax havens;

113.   Stresses that the principles of taxation should be brought in line with the OECD recommendations in the report ‘Addressing base erosion and profit shifting’, so that the general principle of taxation is that taxation should take place where the economic activities generating income took place, the ‘origin of wealth’ principle;

114.   Considers that the origin of wealth principle makes it easier for tax authorities to tax effectively and to avoid tax evasion; considers that a fair tax system is indispensable, especially in times of crisis, where the tax burden is shifted unfairly to small business and households, and that tax evasion is in part created by tax heavens inside the EU;

115.   Underlines that stepping up the fight against tax fraud and evasion is a vital key to promoting sustainable growth in the EU; stresses that reduced levels of fraud and evasion would strengthen the growth potential in the economy by making public finances healthier and by making enterprises compete on an honest and level playing field;

116.   Calls on auditing firms and legal consultants to alert national tax authorities to any signs of aggressive tax planning of the audited or advised company;

117.   Welcomes the Commission's commitment to promoting the automatic exchange of information; calls once more, however, for an internationally binding multilateral automatic tax-information exchange agreement, which should also cover trusts and foundations and include sanctions for non-cooperative jurisdictions and for financial institutions that operate with tax havens; urges the EU to adopt measures similar to the US Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and to consider the possibility of withdrawing banking licences from financial institutions that operate with tax havens; calls on the Commission to propose a European black list of tax havens based on stringent criteria and to propose European sanction regimes in the event of non-compliance or enhanced cooperation, should an EU approach not be possible;

118.   Calls on Member States and the European Parliament to reach agreement quickly on the EU directives concerning openness and accounting; calls for the scope of the Directives, in future, to be widened to cover all large undertakings, irrespective of sector;

119.   Calls on the Commission to develop strong criteria concerning the substance of business to end the creation of shell companies or letterbox companies that aid the legal and illegal practises of tax avoidance and tax evasion;

120.   Calls on the Commission to conduct an evaluation of the current tax treaties being in effect between member states and third countries that could be considered tax havens; also asks the Commission to submit proposals, including the revision of any such agreements, to address this issue; calls on the Commission to report its findings and its proposals to the European Parliament by the end of 2013 at the latest;

New technologies to fight organised crime

121.   Believes that European satellite earth observation systems could help to identify the routes of vessels secretly transporting, unloading, or trans-shipping illegal goods; calls, therefore, on the judicial authorities to step up the use of new technologies, including satellite observation, in this area, since these could contribute to combating the activities of organised crime;

122.   Notes that global growth in the use of the internet has provided new opportunities for internet based crime, such as intellectual property theft, the sale and purchase of counterfeit products and identity theft, which threatens the economy, safety and health of European citizens;

123.   Notes that education, awareness and public campaigns are essential in order to tackle the growing problem of Cybercrime; stresses that a lack of public awareness and skills strengthen the ability for organised crime groups to exploit the internet and its opportunities;

124.   Welcomes the creation of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and encourages the further development of this agency, in particular in order to fight organized crime, also on a crossborder basis and in cooperation with third countries;

125.   Stresses that there is an urgent need to develop of an agreed and precise concept of the term ‘cybercrime’ that could be applied to all Member States within the EU;

126.   Encourages the promotion of research on the use of new technologies in various control systems used by Member States and facilitate their application; these could include for example the on line observation and recording of on-sight tax, customs and other kinds of controls by centralised anti-corruption units;

127.   Encourages the creation of a uniform reporting system of all the fraud and corruption cases that are being prosecuted (with adequate protection of personal data and the presumption of innocence);

Final recommendations

128.   Calls for a European Public Prosecutor’s Office to be established as provided for in Article 86 TFEU, in particular to combat, investigate, prosecute and bring to judgement crimes affecting the EU’s financial interests and serious offences of a crossborder nature; recommends that the future office should have an efficient and streamlined structure and should be given the task of coordinating and encouraging national authorities so as to make investigations more coherent through uniform procedural rules; considers it essential that the Commission should present a proposal before September 2013 clearly defining the structure of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, its accountability to the European Parliament and, in particular, its interaction with Europol, Eurojust, OLAF and the Fundamental Rights Agency, and that the EPPO should be supported by a clear procedural rights framework, with the offences over which it is to have authority being clearly defined;

129.   Believes that Eurojust could continue to deal with the offences referred to in Article 83(1) TFEU and, where necessary, the complementary offences relating to the implementation of EU policies, as provided for in Article 83(2) TFEU, whilst ensuring democratic and fundamental rights accountability in its upcoming review;

130.   Urges the Member States not to reduce the Union budget for short-term headline reasons but to provide additional funds for Europol, Eurojust, Frontex and the future EPPO, because their success has a multiplier effect on reducing losses of taxes to Member States;

131.   Wishes to see an arrangement with Liechtenstein to fight cross-border crime;

132.   Urges the Member States to transpose, as soon as possible, Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime; calls on the Commission to ensure that the transposition into national law is completed correctly; urges Member States and the Commission to complete the Roadmap on the rights of suspects and persons accused of offences, including a directive on pre-trial detention;

133.   Calls for stronger punishment for participation in organised criminal groups and for offences connected with drug trafficking and trafficking in people and human organs;

134.   Urges the Member States, as recommended by the UNCAC, to adopt legislative and other measures to establish as an offence, when committed intentionally, illicit enrichment, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income;

135.   Expresses concern over the fact that even though a whole range of so-called emerging crimes, such as illegal waste trafficking, illegal trafficking in works of art and protected species, and goods counterfeiting, are extremely profitable for criminal organisations, have a particularly negative social, economic and environmental impact and are of a highly transnational nature, they are not included among 'Euro-crimes'; takes the view that these offences should be appropriately considered in the decisions taken at EU level and thus proposes that the Council, by virtue of its powers under Article 83(1) TFEU, adopt a decision to identify other areas of crime including those mentioned above;

136.   Calls on the Commission, as soon as possible, to submit the legislative proposal on an effective European whistleblowers protection programme as far as crossborder corruption and corruption affecting the EU’s financial interests are concerned and on the protection of witnesses and informers, in particular with a view to resolving the difficult conditions under which they may have to live, ranging from risks of retaliation to the breakdown of family ties or from being uprooted from their home territory to social and professional exclusion;

137.   Takes the view that the handling of witnesses and management of protection programmes cannot be dependent on budget constraints, since it is a duty, which the national and EU authorities cannot disregard, to guarantee the security and safety of citizens, especially of those who have ruined their lives to stand by the government; calls on all Member States to take the necessary measures (legislative or otherwise) to guarantee that witnesses and their families are physically safe and have the right to carry on leading a dignified social, professional, family and economic life, with appropriate support from the institutions (including provision for the recruitment of witnesses to the civil service);

138.   Calls on the Commission to implement, as soon as possible, all measures and instruments presented in the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human beings 2012-2016’ (COM(2012)0286 final);

139.   Calls on the Commission to submit a legislative proposal on Europol, as stipulated in Article 88(2) TFUE, with a view to improving Europol's operational efficiency and effectiveness in the field of combating serious and organised crime; underlines that the future reform of the agency should not hamper the unique role of CEPOL in the EU's training activities in the field of law enforcement;

140.   Reminds all Member States to promptly transpose into their national legislation all existing EU and international legal instruments, to respond in particular to the many reminders issued by the Commission with regard to the correct transposition of the numerous existing Framework Decisions;

141.   Stresses the need to promote a culture of legality and to increase citizens' knowledge of the mafia phenomenon; recognises in this regard the fundamental role played by cultural, recreational and sports associations in raising public awareness of the fight against organised crime and the promotion of lawfulness and justice;

142.   Calls on the Commission to develop a European action plan against wildlife trafficking, highlighting clear deliverables, both internal and external to the EU, in order to reduce the illegal trade in wildlife species and body parts; calls on the Commission and Council to leverage their trade and development instruments to establish dedicated programmes, with substantial funding, to strengthen the implementation of CITES and provide resources for capacity-building against poaching and trafficking, in particular by supporting, strengthening and expanding enforcement initiatives such as ASEAN-WEN and HA-WEN, which aim to establish regional centres of expertise and provide models for cooperation against wildlife crime;

143.   Requests harmonised and severe sanctions for smuggling wild animals, and their body parts and rare plants and trees into the Union;

o
o   o

144.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments, CEPOL, Europol, Eurojust, OLAF, the Council of Europe, the OECD, Interpol, UNODC, the World Bank, and the FATF.

(1) OJ C 115, 4.5.2010, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 195, 25.6.1997, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 300, 11.11.2008, p. 42.
(4) OJ L 182, 5.7.2001, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 196, 2.8.2003, p. 45.
(6) OJ L 68, 15.3.2005, p. 49.
(7) OJ L 328, 24.11.2006, p. 59.
(8) OJ L 332, 18.12.2007, p. 103.
(9) OJ L 190, 18.7.2002, p.1
(10) OJ L 162, 20.6.2002, p.1.
(11) OJ L 321, 8.12.2009, p. 44.
(12) OJ L 101, 15.4.2011, p.1.
(13) OJ L 335, 17.12.2011, p. 1.
(14) OJ L 309, 25.11.2005, p. 15.
(15) OJ L 309, 25.11.2005, p. 9.
(16) OJ L 47, 18.2.2004, p.1.
(17) OJ L 345, 8.12.2006, p. 1.
(18) OJ L 192, 31.7.2003, p. 54.
(19) OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p.1.
(20) OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 114.
(21) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.
(22) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 37.
(23) OJ C 51 E, 22.2.2013, p. 121.
(24) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 66.
(25) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0208 .
(26) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0516 .
(27) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0098 .
(28) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0004 .
(29) OJ C 124 E, 25.5.2006, p. 254
(30) Text adopted, P7_TA(2013)0205 .
(31) European Parliament, Study on the Deterrence of fraud with EU funds through investigative journalism in EU-27, (PE 490.663) of 17 October 2012.
(32) Special Eurobarometer 374 on Corruption, February 2012.


Social housing in the European Union
PDF 198k   DOC 53k
European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on social housing in the European Union (2012/2293(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0246 A7-0155/2013

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Article 3(3) thereof, and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 9, 14, 148, 151, 153 and 160 thereof and Protocol 26 thereto, on services of general interest,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Articles 34 and 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Protocol 26 of the TFEU on services of general interest,

–   having regard to the revised European Social Charter, in particular its Articles 30 (on the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion), 31 (on the right to housing) and 16 (on the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020: a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020 ),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1173/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area(1) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies(2) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 1177/2011 of 8 November 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure(3) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1174/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area(4) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances(5) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2011/85/EU of 8 November 2011 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States(6) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 18 April 2012 entitled ‘Towards a job-rich recovery’ (COM(2012)0173 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: A European framework for social and territorial cohesion’ (COM(2010)0758 ) and to the opinions of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, as well as its resolution of 15 November 2011(7) , on the subject,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Social Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1784/1999(8) ,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999(9) ,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1783/1999(10) ,

–   having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund covered by the Common Strategic Framework and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (COM(2011)0615 ),

–   having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions concerning the European Regional Development Fund and the Investment for growth and jobs goal and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 (COM(2011)0614 ),

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

–   having regard to Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC(11) , and to its resolution of 15 December 2010 on revision of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan(12) ,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax(13) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 23 March 2011 entitled ‘Reform of the EU State Aid Rules on Services of General Economic Interest’ (COM(2011)0146 ) and to its resolution of 15 November 2011 on the subject(14) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union’ (COM(2010)0573 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020’ (COM(2011)0173 ),

–   having regard to the Commission Guidelines of 15 May 2012 on best practice to limit, mitigate or compensate soil sealing (SWD(2012)0101 ),

–   having regard to the Commission’s Employment and Social Developments in Europe Review 2012 of 8 January 2013(15) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Social Investment Package of 20 February 2013,

–   having regard to the European statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC) survey and to Eurostat’s news release of 8 February 2012(16) ,

–   having regard to the European statistics set out in the Third European Quality of Life Survey, in particular Chapter 6 thereof(17) ,

–   having regard to the Eurofound report on Household debts advisory services in the European Union(18) ,

–   having regard to the Eurofound report on Living conditions of the Roma: Substandard housing and health(19) ,

–   having regard to the Commission Decision of 20 December 2011 on the application of Article 106(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to State aid in the form of public service compensation granted to certain undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest(20) ,

–   having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 14 March 2013 in Case C-415/11 (Mohamed Aziz) protecting mortgage consumers against banks in case of abusive contracts conditions(21) ,

–   having regard to Decision No 1098/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)(22) ,

–   having regard to the Council Declaration of 6 December 2010 entitled ‘The European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion: working together to fight poverty in 2010 and beyond’(23) ,

–   having regard to the Social Protection Committee (SPC) report of 18 February 2011 entitled ‘Assessment of the social dimension of the Europe 2020 Strategy’(24) ,

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 5 February 2010 entitled ‘Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion’ (SEC(2010)0098 ),

–   having regard to the SPC report of 15 February 2010 entitled ‘Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2010’(25) ,

–   having regard to the European Economic and Social Committee opinion entitled ‘Issues with defining social housing as a service of general economic interest’(26) ,

–   having regard to the Committee of the Regions opinion entitled ‘Towards a European Agenda for Social Housing’(27) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2012 on the Social Investment Pact as a response to the crisis(28) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 June 2010 on EU 2020(29) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2010 on the contribution of the cohesion policy to the achievement of Lisbon and the EU 2020 objectives(30) ,

–   having regard to its legislative resolution of 8 September 2010 on the proposal for a Council decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States: Part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines(31) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the financial, economic and social crisis: recommendations concerning the measures and initiatives to be taken(32) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on the future of Social Services of General Interest(33) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 May 2007 on housing and regional policy(34) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2011 on an EU Homelessness Strategy(35) ,

–   having regard to its written declarations of 22 April 2008 on ending street homelessness(36) and of 16 December 2010 on an EU homelessness strategy(37) ,

–   having regard to the Eurofound Third European Quality of Life Survey – Quality of life in Europe: Impacts of the crisis(38) ,

–   having regard to the final recommendations of the European Consensus Conference on Homelessness of 9 and 10 December 2010,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0155/2013 ),

A.   whereas access to housing is a fundamental right that can be seen as a precondition to the exercise of, and to access to, other fundamental rights and to a life in conditions of human dignity; and whereas guaranteeing access to decent and adequate housing is an international obligation incumbent on the Member States, to which the Union must have regard, given that the right of access to housing and to housing assistance is recognised in Article 34 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Articles 30 and 31 of the revised European Social Charter adopted by the Council of Europe and Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, as well as in many Member States constitutions;

B.   whereas national, regional and local authorities in the Member States have a right, as well as a duty, to define their own housing policy and to take the steps required to ensure that this fundamental right is upheld on their respective housing markets, in accordance with the needs of their inhabitants, with the aim of providing universal access to decent, affordable housing;

C.   whereas affordable, adequate and secure accommodation is a suitable tool for achieving social justice and cohesion, and investment in affordable housing is a precondition for enhanced labour mobility and increased employment opportunities, while the construction and renovation of social housing is crucial for achieving the targets of meeting the housing demand, providing for affordable housing for broad levels of the population, boosting economies, keep property bubbles in check, combat energy poverty and ensuring tax income of Member States;

D.   whereas the Member States, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, have an essential role to play, and a wide discretion, in providing, commissioning and organising the provision of social housing in parallel with, and in addition to, the unplanned, market-based housing supply; whereas the provision of social housing should fulfil a high level of quality, safety and affordability, and promote equal treatment and user rights;

E.   whereas there is a shortage of social housing facilities, and an increasing need of affordable housing, in most EU Member States; whereas the social and family profiles of people using social housing has changed; whereas these new social factors should be identified so that the Member States, and their respective local and regional authorities, can define a range of housing strategies that more closely match actual circumstances;

F.   whereas social housing policy is an integral part of services of general economic interest by helping to meet housing needs, facilitate access to property, promote the quality of living space, improve existing living space and adapt housing expenditure to the family situation and resources of the occupiers, while leaving scope for effort on their part;

G.   whereas social housing should be characterised by a good relationship between quality and purchase price or rent, permit energy savings, be located in an environment which includes green spaces, and be suitable for different generations, with account taken of the specific needs of children and older persons;

H.   whereas, in order to prevent both increases in the number of homeless and future housing crises, mortgage rules must be designed to protect consumers and to spread risks fairly;

I.   whereas social housing plays a key part in the achievement of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy – in particular its poverty target, including the prevention of the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage – in that it contributes to ensuring high levels of employment, inclusion and social cohesion, to promoting job mobility and to combating both climate change and energy poverty by modernising the housing stock;

J.   whereas the conjunction of the financial and economic crisis, austerity measures, rising housing prices and falling households’ revenues have increased unemployment and social exclusion within the EU, especially among the most vulnerable groups of people, thereby increasing the burden on welfare services; takes note that, notwithstanding its significant stabilising effect, public funding for social housing has in some Member States fallen victim to recent financial austerity measures;

K.   whereas the economic and social crisis is having a direct adverse impact on activity in, and financial support for, the house-building and refurbishment sector, with social housing being hit particularly hard, owing to the bursting of housing bubbles, the contraction of credit, late payments and a fall in new public-sector orders; whereas the construction sector can be a driving force in efforts to find a sustainable, inclusive way out of the crisis and to address climate- and energy-related challenges;

L.   whereas austerity and fiscal consolidation measures must go hand-in-hand with an overall strategy of investment in sustainable, inclusive growth in pursuit of the Europe 2020 objectives, including as regards combating poverty and social exclusion;

M.   whereas housing is a basic necessity in respect of which Member States lay down, in line with their own policy choices, minimum standards of habitability and comfort, specific urban planning and construction rules and maximum income percentages, with some regulating house price increases and even establishing mechanisms for providing social assistance or tax support to help out with what is a leading item of household expenditure;

N.   whereas, in view of the severe economic, social and long-term impact of the crisis, not only on economic growth, employment rates and poverty and exclusion levels, but also on access to housing and on investment in social housing within the EU, urgent action on the part of Member States and the Union is required to guarantee access to decent and affordable housing; whereas, given that housing is the largest household expenditure item in Europe, the sharp rise in housing-related prices (land prices, purchase and rental prices and energy prices) is a cause of instability and anxiety, and must be seen as a major concern; whereas, given that unemployment has also shot up in the EU, as is illustrated by the fact that the average rate for the EU 27 rose to 10,9 % in January 2013, and given that, at the same time, Europe’s population is ageing, there is a major risk of an increasing gap between rich and poor, social exclusion and homelessness, with 80 million Europeans already at risk of poverty;

O.   whereas the Roma tend to live in highly segregated areas where access to social and health services is problematic;

P.   whereas there are clear links between sub-standard housing and poor health: mortgage indebtedness is associated with worsening mental health; overcrowding is associated with psychological problems, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, increased chances of fire and domestic accidents; living in inadequate housing negatively affects health, safety and increases the chance of domestic accidents; living in a noisy area is associated with increased hypertension and higher blood pressure; whereas a lack of housing is a source of both stress and distress adversely affecting the quality of life, health and wellbeing;

Q.   whereas women – 24,5 % of whom were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2010, in particular women with low incomes, single mothers, women in poorly paid jobs, migrant women, widows with dependent children and women who are victims of domestic violence – as well as single-female-adult-headed families with children, young families, large families, students young people at the start of their careers, young unemployed couples, people with disabilities, people with physical or psychiatric illnesses, people from marginalised communities including Roma, and the elderly, are especially affected by the lack of affordable and adapted social housing options; whereas these categories are particularly vulnerable to homelessness and often move into sub-standard private market housing units, which substantially increases the risk of health problems; whereas these categories often seek alternative solutions by moving in with family, friends or acquaintances, thereby hindering proper analysis and transparent documentation of homeless people;

R.   whereas the economic crisis and high housing market prices combine to reduce women’s ability to get divorced or end co-habitation, limiting their freedom and making them more vulnerable to gender-based domestic violence;

S.   whereas affordable rental housing is essential for young people in order to take up vocational training, university studies, internships or employment opportunities;

T.   whereas Member States also establish and organise a parallel supply of social housing to complement the supply generated by the private market; whereas this social housing is made available under specific conditions by not-for-profit agencies set up specifically for this purpose; whereas 25 million European households are in social housing, in respect of which local and regional planning requirements, access rules and prices are laid down directly by the public authorities in the Member States; whereas, owing to its stability and to the fact that prices are regulated, this parallel housing supply helps in particular to keep property market cycles and housing bubbles in check;

Promoting the social and economic role of social housing

1.   Notes that, as a result of the current economic and social crisis, on its own the market is increasingly incapable of meeting the need for affordable homes, in particular in densely populated urban areas, and that rising housing and energy costs are aggravating the risks of disease, poverty and social exclusion; notes the increase in several Member States in the number of evictions and properties seized by banks; urges that measures be taken in response to these challenges; is concerned about both the direct and the indirect impact of some austerity measures in the context of the current social and economic crisis – such as cuts in housing benefit and social services, the taxation of social housing providers, the cancellation of new housing projects and the selling off of parts of national social housing stocks – which could exacerbate a vicious circle of long-term social exclusion and segregation;

2.   Recalls that, in combating child poverty, social housing policies play an important role through the eradication of family poverty and the prevention of the intergenerational transmission of socio-economical disadvantages; notes that, in the wake of the social and demographic changes in family structure and the increase in the number of unstable and precarious jobs, there is a greater need for affordable housing also for segments of the population that are socially integrated;

3.   Urges compliance with Article 14 of and Protocol No 26 annexed to the TFEU, under which public authorities are free to determine how the social housing sector is organised and funded and what types of household are eligible, with a view to meeting the needs of the local population and to ensuring a high level of quality, safety, affordability, equal treatment and the promotion of user rights; sees the intervention of public authorities here as a response to the shortcomings of the market, with the aim of ensuring universal access to decent, affordable housing in accordance with Articles 16, 30 and 31 of the European Social Charter;

Towards a European Social Housing Policy

4.   Reminds the Commission, the Member States and local and regional authorities that spending on social and affordable housing is in keeping with fundamental rights, enables urgent social needs to be met and, as strategic social investment, helps in a sustainable way to provide local jobs that cannot be ‘off-shored’, stabilise the economy by reducing the risk of property bubbles and household over-indebtedness, promote labour mobility, counter climate change, combat energy poverty and alleviate health problems stemming from overcrowding and poor living conditions; insists, therefore, that social housing should not be considered a cost to be cut but an investment that pays off in the long term through better health and social well-being, access to the labour market and the empowerment of people, especially the aged, to live independent lives;

5.   Calls on the Commission to set out a European social housing action framework for housing policy in such a way as to ensure consistency between the various policy instruments the EU uses to address this issue (State aid, structural funding, energy policy, action to combat poverty and social exclusion, health policy);

6.   Asks the Commission – on the basis of an exchange of best practices and experience between the Member States, and taking into account the fact that social housing is conceived and managed in different ways (often due to flexibility in establishing priorities) in the Member States, regions and local communities – to clarify the definition of social housing;

7.   Points out that social housing investment forms part of broader policy efforts to organise and fund public social, health and education services with a view to ensuring that basic social rights may be enjoyed and that they respond to new social needs and cyclical economic changes;

8.   Emphasises the need to monitor social investment as part of a ‘social investment pact’ modelled on the Euro Plus Pact and designed to strengthen the Union’s economic and budgetary governance and including investment in social housing; emphasises as well the need for social investment targets for the Member States to meet with a view to attaining the social, employment and education objectives laid down under the Europe 2020 strategy; welcomes the conclusions of the December 2012 European Council meeting which stress that ’the possibilities offered by the EU’s existing fiscal framework to balance productive public investment needs with fiscal discipline objectives can be exploited in the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact’, thus bearing out the validity of this proposal; calls on the Commission to monitor social investment more closely, using a scoreboard based on indicators of investment at Member-State and EU level, which, in connection with social housing investment, takes account of changes in housing costs and in the number of people waiting to be allocated housing in the Member States; further calls on all Member States to ratify the revised European Social Charter, with special regard to Article 31;

9.   Takes the view that residents’ and tenants’ organisations should be involved in defining the housing strategies to be implemented by the Member States;

10.   Emphasises the need for social innovation to be supported both by the European platform against poverty and social exclusion and by the research Framework Programme in order to analyse new policies aiming to improve access to housing and reduce homelessness;

11.   Welcomes the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and the Council of 31 March 2011 (COM(2011)0142 ) seeking to impose restrictions on credit agreements relating to residential property and hence contain excessive household debt; calls for EU mortgage provisions to incorporate best practices which are as favourable as possible to consumers; urges the inclusion of procedures for the renegotiation and rescheduling of debt repayments for insolvent individuals and families; calls on the Member States to prevent evicted households being forced to keep up their mortgage repayments; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take action in response to the social hardship caused to those most affected by the economic crisis and by unemployment and who are being evicted and deprived of their homes; notes that this is occurring against a backdrop of major public assistance initiatives designed to put the financial system back on a sound footing; calls on the Member States to strive to offer alternatives solutions to evictions;

12.   Calls on the Commission to warn the Member States, in its country-specific recommendations, when reforms are likely to threaten investment in social or affordable housing, and not to issue recommendations regarding the size of the social housing sector in individual Member States; criticises the fact that, as part of fiscal consolidation programmes and in line with specific recommendations made by the Commission on housing market action, some Member States are squeezing capacity in the sector by taxing social housing providers; is concerned, furthermore, about the restrictive definition of social housing given by the Commission within the field of competition policy, which only targets disadvantaged groups;

13.   Calls on the Council to convene a meeting of the housing ministers of the Member States at least once a year to discuss the impact of various EU policies on housing policy and ensure that the economic, social and environmental aspects of the housing sector are mainstreamed more efficiently at EU level, with the involvement of stakeholders such as social housing bodies, associations representing occupants and associations seeking to facilitate access to housing;

14.   Notes that a definition of social housing and of the beneficiaries should be the result of a democratic discussion process in order that the different traditions of the Member States may be taken into account;

15.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to give greater importance to housing and related services under the Social Protection and Social Inclusion Strategy, including through measures to alleviate homelessness and reduce housing exclusion on the basis of joint national indicators to and encourage exchanges of good practice in effectively implementing the right to housing;

16.   Urges the Member States to redouble their efforts to include social housing investment in their medium- and long-term budgetary objectives, in their national reform programmes and in the strategic axes of the 2014-2020 Partnership Contract; calls on the European Council and the Commission to monitor more effectively the implementation and achievement of the social objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy;

17.   Notes that housing policies and programmes need to be developed in consultation with women with low incomes and from different social backgrounds in order to see which policies best reflect women’s needs;

Encouraging investment to boost local employment and the green economy

18.   Emphasises how the housing sector and, in particular the social housing sector, plays a contracyclical economic role through the reduction of energy dependency, support for the construction and renovation industries and, thereby, for sustainable local employment that cannot be ‘off-shored’, thanks notably to the labour-intensive nature of the sector, the development of green-economy segments as part of the local economy, and the knock-on effects on the rest of the economy; believes, therefore, that investment in social housing should be considered not only as an expenditure but also as a productive investment; further encourages the Member States to start a dialogue with the construction industry in order to develop a better business environment for, and better regulation of, social housing, with special regard to the establishment of residential building targets, the arrangement of infrastructural costs and supply of development land;

19.   Highlights the added value in terms of local employment and the considerable leverage effect on investment resulting from the direct impact of the Structural Funds in the social housing sector in the period 2007-2013;

20.   Takes the view that the amounts to be allocated to the Cohesion Funds under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 should not be less than the amounts under the current MFF, so that adequate funding is guaranteed for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in particular the investment priority ‘promoting social inclusion and combating poverty – support for physical and economic regeneration of deprived urban and rural communities’;

21.   Recognises that many Member States have already put in place effective social housing policies, and believes that the role of the EU in this context should be to facilitate the exchange of best practice across the Member States;

22.   Takes note of the Commission’s proposals for the legislative package of regulations on 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy; advocates making priority investment in energy efficiency and in the use of renewables in social and affordable housing, as well as integrated projects for sustainable urban and territorial development, equal access to housing for marginalised communities, and the promotion of social and solidarity stakeholders such as not-for-profit housing cooperatives, enterprises, eligible for Structural and Cohesion Funds support;

23.   Encourages the Member States and all the relevant bodies to give both investment in social and affordable housing and the strengthening of non-profit making housing sectors a prominent place in national reform programmes and in the shaping of strategic priorities under partnership agreements for the period 2014-2020, as well as to ensure that their respective national Roma inclusion strategies are reflected in the planned housing measures;

24.   Calls on the Member States to make greater use of private law instruments – such as long lease arrangements – to facilitate the provision of social housing, obviating the need to purchase land for building purposes, and of continued individual ownership of social housing, by encouraging lessor usufruct arrangements;

25.   Stresses that residential and commercial buildings account for 40 % of final energy consumption and total CO2 emissions in Europe, and that environmentally sustainable building leads to a reduction in building costs and time, and a drastic reduction of the environmental impact and energy consumption and, accordingly, of housing-related management costs;

26.   Supports an adequate budget for the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, identifying cohesion policy as a driver of recovery; supports the conclusions of the European Compact for Growth and Jobs regarding its call on the Member States to facilitate and speed up the reallocation of unused monies from the Structural Funds to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects during the 2007-2013 programming period; considers that the social housing sector should benefit from these reallocations;

27.   Calls on the Member States, their managing authorities and the Commission to include housing stakeholders, residents’ associations and associations for access to housing among their closest interlocutors for the drawing up, monitoring and assessment of partnership agreements and operational programmes; stresses the importance of new integrated development tools (Community-Led Local Development and Integrated Territorial Investment) for integrated housing strategies in which social housing organisations and occupants would figure prominently; believes that the Structural and Cohesion Funds must make effective use of both the partnership and the multi-level governance principles and that the Member States must be encouraged to cooperate with local and regional authorities to set priorities and determine how the funding should be used; considers that greater synergies between the Structural and Cohesion Funds could encourage the sustainable development of disadvantaged or rural areas, preventing their isolation and depopulation, thus avoiding the negative effects of social segregation and promoting heterogeneity, social cohesion and gender equality;

28.   Calls on the Member States, in order to stimulate high-standard construction and renovation of social and affordable housing, to strengthen or develop specific financing mechanisms, as well as to encourage, in a coordinated manner, recourse to Horizon 2020 grants and the use of financial instruments and technical assistance programmes offered by the Structural Funds, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Council of Europe Development Bank and the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF); calls on the Member States, furthermore, to seek ways to apply the modified ERDF regulation in order to provide housing for marginalised communities;

29.   Calls on the EIB, in close consultation with local and regional authorities, to place greater emphasis on the social and affordable housing sector when setting its investment priorities, in particular in those Member States which do not have a public housing bank, whilst relaxing the terms under which it grants loans; calls as well on the EIB to determine the scope for using project bonds as an instrument to finance social infrastructure, such as housing, taking into account the assessment of its pilot phase before extending it;

30.   Urges the Member States to support the activities of housing cooperatives, which are a valuable tool for the affordable purchase of a first home; points out that cooperatives are also an effective tool for promoting urban regeneration initiatives, creating synergies with local communities and curbing the flight from towns and cities;

31.   Asks the Commission to make other potential sources of financing available to Member States for the development and renovation of social housing stock as forms of social investment, as well as to encourage Member States and regional and local authorities to make effective use of available European funding, and to retain the reduced rates of VAT that apply to such investment, given the labour-intensive nature of the sector and its very limited impact on cross-border trade within the EU; urges that consideration be given to applying the same rates of VAT to social housing as to basic necessities; encourages Member States to mobilise private savings in order to both facilitate access to land and encourage the construction and renovation of social housing;

32.   Calls for the implementation of integrated cooperation models which bring together project managers, social housing providers and construction firms in order to promote the thermal renovation of social housing and the construction of low-energy social housing;

33.   Welcomes the Commission communication of 31 July 2012 on a strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises (COM(2012)0433 ); takes the view that, in addition to tax incentives and financial support to boost the competitiveness of and innovation in this sector, measures to improve workforce skill levels are essential if we are to meet the challenges linked to the creation of a resource-efficient Europe and a low-carbon economy, and achieve the objectives set in the directives on energy efficiency (2012/27/EU)(39) and on the energy performance of buildings (2010/31/EU)(40) ;

34.   Calls on the Commission to work more closely with the Member States and the relevant local authorities with a view to drawing up medium- and long-term forecasts of the skills needed by the labour market; calls on the relevant stakeholders to monitor employment trends with a view to making basic vocational training and lifelong learning more relevant; calls on the Member States and the relevant local authorities swiftly to adapt their education and vocational training systems, including vocational education and training, incorporating the concept of the sustainable economy, and to ensure access to skills development programmes so as to make it easier for young people to gain access to new ‘green’ jobs and ’green’ industries; points out that the promotion of green jobs can create quality and sustainable employment opportunities, tackle poverty and social exclusion, as well as ensure supportive employment services;

35.  Notes that the ‘green’ sector can provide a plurality of different employment opportunities, ranging from entry level and less skilled jobs to highly skilled knowledge sector employment; in this regard:

   notes the important role of SMEs in providing such employment in the green economy, and highlights the potential for SMEs in offering work training, apprenticeships and local outreach schemes, which can provide employment opportunities to socially disadvantaged individuals;
   calls on the Member States to assess the feasibility of transition funds to manage skills needs;
   calls on the Commission to incorporate into the framework for lifelong learning a ninth key competence relating to the environment, climate change and sustainable development;
   calls on the Member States and local and regional authorities to draw on the European Social Fund (ESF) in order to invest in skills, employment, training and vocational retraining, and in particular in ’green’ professions, such as the thermal renovation of buildings;
   calls on the Member States to support the emergence of individuals and bodies which have the skills to address both the social and technical aspects of energy saving, such as the members of the professions which provide an interface between the social and the technical, and efforts to train members of technical professions to take a more social approach to the issue of energy efficiency and vice versa;

36.   Welcomes the Social Investment Package with which the Commission offers Member States guidelines to pursue more efficient and effective social policies aimed at growth and cohesion;

37.   Notes that these investments in social housing are part of broader-based policies to organise and finance the provision of public social and health services and education services, in an effort to enable people to exercise their fundamental social rights and to meet changing social needs;

Combating poverty and promoting inclusion and social cohesion

38.   Points out that acknowledging and implementing the right to housing affect the implementation of other fundamental rights, including political and social rights; points out that it is the Member State or public authority concerned which is responsible for making this right to housing a reality by improving, through its policies and programmes, universal access to housing, in particular for disadvantaged persons, by providing sufficient adequate, decent, healthy and affordable housing;

39.   Calls on the Agency for Fundamental Rights to conduct a study assessing how effectively and under what conditions the right to housing and housing assistance is implemented in the Member States, involving relevant stakeholders in the process; calls on the agency to promote the exchange of best practices in the effective implementation of the right to housing for particularly vulnerable groups, including the homeless; calls on the Commission to follow such activities within the Social Investment Package;

40.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission to support and promote innovatory exchanges of good practices in upholding the right to housing for particularly vulnerable and marginalised groups, with special regard to combating domestic violence; notes with regret that victims of domestic violence are often more likely to remain in an abusive environment if they are financially unable to find suitable housing; invites the Member States to provide integrated social services for families victims of domestic violence;

41.   Expects the Commission to examine to what extent direct support by housing allowances, or indirect support by social housing itself, is a more effective measure to provide affordable housing for social groups who cannot cover their housing needs on the housing market;

42.   Calls on the Commission and the Eurofound Agency to carry out a study in 2014, as part of the agency’s 2014 programme of work, into the cost of failing to do anything about inadequate housing;

43.   Notes with concern the fact that many Member States, faced with budgetary imbalances, are suspending operations, programmes and actions (rent and mortgage subsidies, for example) designed to facilitate home acquisition, while, at the same time, disproportionately increasing property taxes in the midst of an acute economic crisis, leaving many sections of society prey to poverty and deprivation;

44.   Calls on the Member States to carry out social impact analyses, with an emphasis on gender-based and household-based analyses, as part of all social housing policies and programmes, with particular account taken of gender disparity in income and financial resources; stresses that all statistical data must be broken down by gender and household types, and that more research is needed in order to ascertain exactly how housing policies can support individuals and groups in a vulnerable situation, such as women (bearing in mind women’s multifaceted role as single parents and as carers for family members and for disabled persons), families, young people, people with disabilities and the elderly;

45.  Recommends that the Member States and their local and regional authorities draw up integrated policies for promoting social inclusion as well as for guaranteeing universal access to decent, healthy and affordable housing; suggests that these policies include the following measures:

   specific support for good-quality and healthy social and ‘very social’ housing, in particular by setting minimum quotas of social housing where it is relevant, such as areas with high population density where demand is highest, which would encourage diversity;
   the establishment of clear, minimum housing quality standards, particularly for social housing;
   linkages between social housing expansion programmes and policies for access to other essential public services and services of general interest, such as the construction of public social and healthcare, cultural and sport facilities (as part of a local integrated strategy), and for retaining urban sprawl in line with the Commission guidelines to achieve the objective of zero net land take by 2050;
   steps to address the difficulties commonly encountered by highly vulnerable sections of the population, such as migrants and young people, in seeking access to decent housing;
   schemes reinforcing security of tenure;
   the preparation of specific programmes for the homeless based on assessments of the local situation, taking into account the European Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion (ETHOS) model to measure the extent of housing-related social exclusion, linked to social support measures as well as adapted to women’s specific situation and needs, placing particular emphasis on housing and longer-term assistance for vulnerable persons and marginalised communities, rather than only on the provision of temporary accommodation;
   the promotion and funding of self-building programmes;

46.   Calls on the Member States to ensure that all citizens can afford housing by basing rent increases on an objective system ensuring moderate increases in property prices and by adapting tax policy to limit speculation;

47.   Calls on the Commission to implement without delay Parliament’s resolution on an EU Homelessness Strategy;

48.   Stresses that the different facets of homelessness among women must be addressed in a holistic way and should form an integral part of all EU policy frameworks; urges the Commission and the Member States to carry out systematic gender impact assessments, monitor the specific situation and needs of homeless women, promote assisted living environment projects and the construction of affordable, adapted and energy efficient housing, and include middle class families – who are often excluded from such schemes – in social housing programmes as they, like other households, can suffer from material deprivation due to the economic crisis;

49.   Calls for the implementation of integrated cooperation models which bring together social and health services, support services for disadvantaged persons and social housing providers and relevant associations as part of their efforts to help vulnerable persons who are looking for or already have accommodation;

50.   Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the relevant authorities to earmark structural funding for housing and accommodation for marginalised communities, in particular in the social housing sector, by including this as a priority in their operational programmes; urges, therefore, the Commission and the Agency for Fundamental Rights to step up exchanges of good practice between local authorities on the basis of common and transparent criteria;

51.   Recommends that the Member States and their relevant authorities invest in the construction and refurbishment of affordable social housing in order to address the issues of dilapidated housing and the attendant health risks, diverse family structures, the ageing population, dependent elderly people who choose to remain in their own homes, the specific needs of disabled persons and of young people, particularly in terms of housing and professional mobility; recommends that structural funding be used for these purposes under the next programming period (2014-2020); takes the view that social support measures as regards access to housing contribute to the creation of ‘white jobs’, which are essential if we are to meet current and future social challenges, such as the ageing population; stresses the positive role that the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds could play as regards social support and integration-through-housing projects;

52.   Calls on the Member States and their local and regional authorities to implement effective incentive measures, on the basis of forecasts of housing needs, in order to combat the phenomenon of housing remaining unoccupied in the long term, particularly in problem areas, with a view to tackling property speculation and to converting these properties into social housing;

53.   Stresses the importance of a housing health and safety rating system which provides a health-based assessment of housing-related hazards;

54.   Invites the Member States and the relevant authorities to simplify the process of applying for social housing and to make the allocation of homes more fair, transparent and impartial, according to the specific social, economic and cultural circumstances of each Member State, with a view to eliminating discrimination and to preventing any ‘avoidance effect’ for particularly vulnerable groups, a phenomenon which has the effect of aggravating residential spatial segregation and creating ghettos; draws attention, in this regard, to the pertinence of arrangements employed in some Member States, such as a list of legally defined, precise and transparent allocation criteria to encourage a social mix, anonymised applications for social housing, the advertising of vacant properties, the introduction of rating systems for housing applications, clear separation between the bodies which determine the criteria and those which allocate housing, and appropriate governance arrangements for the allocation of housing in order to promote broad based social mixing;

55.   Highlights the challenges related to the ageing of the population and the need to provide access to adequate, decent and accessible housing for the growing number of older people in the EU; notes the growing impoverishment of the elderly in all the Member States, and, accordingly, seeks the inclusion in the new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on active and healthy ageing, which coordinates research in this area, of affordable measures specifically designed to ensure that the elderly are allowed to stay in their homes as long as possible; notes, in this connection, that action to improve current housing accessibility is a relevant way of reducing social exclusion through measures to enhance their independence; calls, therefore, on the Member States to include in their national reforms a specific strand devoted to developing affordable solutions to enable older people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, taking into account that improving conditions for access to the existing housing stock is desirable, helping people to remain in their places of residence and making it easier for them to regain a social life by boosting their personal independence;

56.   Points out that social housing should be structured to avoid both gentrification and ghettoisation; calls for financial incentives, where it is relevant, that aim to develop common and mixed private and social housing space to avoid social segregation;

57.   Attaches particular importance to the European Union’s efforts to support disadvantaged social classes, particularly as regards the provision of housing, bearing in mind the existing social imbalances in Europe and notably in the countries which recently joined the EU;

58.   Recommends that the Member States and the relevant authorities take steps to improve access to affordable housing by increasing the amount and quality of social and affordable housing stock and by developing its integration with community-based care and social services, utilising ESF and other structural funds to achieve this outcome;

59.   Outlines that social housing should, when coordinated with effective community-based care and other social services, help to develop personal independent living capacity, assisting the socially vulnerable or disadvantaged to make the transition to a more independent lifestyle, with less reliance on welfare and greater personal autonomy;

60.   Calls on the relevant public and private authorities systematically to include in the training systems for engineering, architecture, urban planning and construction modules on accessibility of the built environment and on ‘Design for All’;

61.   Regrets the global trend to restrict the provision of social housing, and invites the Member States to include the often-excluded group of middle class families in social housing programmes as it may suffer as much from material deprivation as other households as a result of the economic crisis;

62.   Regards the Union’s commitment to integrated sustainable urban development, in particular to social housing, as an effective means of integrating problem areas into the surrounding urban environment and of tackling poverty and social exclusion; calls, therefore, on the Member States and the relevant authorities to make greater use of structural funds (ERDF, ESF), and of the EIB and other financial solutions, in an integrated way, and to facilitate coordination and synergies between them; takes the view that giving residents an appropriate role and greater decision-making power prior to and during the construction and renovation of social housing helps boost integration and social cohesion;

63.   Calls on the Commission to carry out a study into the effectiveness of social impact investment models in the social housing sector, focusing on the potential benefits of the structural funds when used as financing instruments, and possibly when combined with other sources of funding, in order to boost social impact investments, such as through the creation of local job in the green economy, or jobs for young people, and through social inclusion through the provision of housing for marginalised groups;

64.   Notes with regret that victims of domestic violence are often more likely to stay in an abusive environment if they are financially dependent on the abuser and thus unable to seek separate and suitable housing for themselves; calls, therefore, on the EU to promote gender-sensitive policies, programmes and funding aimed at increasing the availability of safe and affordable housing for victims of domestic violence, and calls on the Member States to find affordable solutions to alternative forms of emergency and temporary housing and to increase the number of shelters and rehabilitation centres for victims, as well as other related social services such as integrated services for families (i.e. family justice centres);

65.   Recalls that in 2009 there were seven times more single mothers than single fathers; takes the view, therefore, that single mothers – together with other vulnerable groups or individuals such as single parents, young families, large families, young people at the start of their professional careers, migrant women, people with disabilities and the elderly – should be given priority in the allocation of social housing; notes that when the economic crisis first began, it had a greater impact on men than on women, but that, as the crisis progressed, the unemployment rate of women has increased more than that of men;

Combating energy poverty

66.   Is concerned at the growing incidence of energy poverty, which affects 50-125 million Europeans, and which is caused mainly by a combination of low household incomes, poor-quality heating and insulation and disproportionately high energy costs;

67.   Calls on the Commission to adopt a Communication on Combating Energy Poverty that urges the Member States to introduce a definition of energy poverty based on common parameters but adjusted for each Member State to take into account specific national circumstances; reiterates that affordability of housing should be seen not only in terms of rent payments but also in terms of associated fuel bills; takes the view, however, that energy poverty cannot be considered simply in terms of expenditure on energy and energy prices as it also has a qualitative dimension related to people’s behaviour and patterns of consumption;

68.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make sure that the deepening of the internal energy market goes hand in hand with measures to protect vulnerable consumers;

69.  Believes that the right of access to energy is essential if people are to lead a life of dignity; calls on the Member States to refine their definition of ‘decent housing’ to include energy-efficiency standards; urges the Member States to combat energy poverty through, in particular, public sector energy regulators, and to adopt integrated measures, based on local energy audits, both in the private and public sector, including:

   the setting up of specific financial schemes regarding energy costs for the most vulnerable households (such as fair energy pricing, support on a one-off basis or as part of other social assistance, action to prevent non-payment of bills and protection against the cutting-off of supplies);
   the establishment of specific regional or national funds to reduce energy poverty, which could be funded by means of a financial contribution from energy providers which reflects their obligation to reduce consumption pursuant to Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency;
   support to incentives and instructive measures to help residents save energy consumption;
   the use of effective, long-term financial leverage to make residential buildings more energy efficient, in both urban and rural areas, while ensuring that this does not lead to a significant increase in housing costs for tenants once energy savings have been taken into account; calls on the Commission to coordinate these efforts and to examine the possibility of introducing incentive measures;

70.   Points out that the housing sector is among those that offers the greatest potential for energy savings; stresses that, in the medium and long term, provided that the costs of making housing more energy efficient do not outweigh the energy savings made, energy efficiency measures should in the first instance serve to increase the purchasing power of households and improve their quality of life; emphasises that these measures will also lead to a reduction in carbon emissions, create jobs, support the local economy and reduce healthcare expenditure;

71.   Highlights in particular the potential benefits of schemes to subsidise the installation of energy-efficient and renewable micro-energy generation solution in social housing units, permitting savings to be made in fuel bills and allowing for the profits of the energy generated to be distributed fairly between tenants and the housing association or owner, resulting in lower bills for tenants and providing owners with additional funds for further renovation and improvements in the overall housing stock;

72.   Believes that energy efficiency measures to tackle energy poverty can also help prevent health problems (such as respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, allergies, asthma, food and carbon monoxide poisoning, and impacts on mental health);

73.   Reiterates the importance of programmes aimed at improving energy performance in order to increase the affordability of social housing and housing in the private sector; emphasises the need for the Commission to clarify the State aid guidelines with regard to national and EU funds for such renovations and investments, and to allow flexibility, wherever possible, to ensure that such investments by housing associations and private owners can benefit from the most appropriate funding streams in order to achieve this dual social and environmental objective, without breaching EU competition rules;

74.   Welcomes the fact that measures to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy use in housing will be eligible under ERDF and Cohesion Funds in the 2014-2020 period; ’encourages the Member States, their regional and local authorities and all relevant partners to make use of ERDF and Cohesion Funds to finance measures to improve energy performance, giving priority to households most affected by energy poverty;

75.   Stresses that energy providers have a role to play in terms of dispute prevention and settlement, in particular by installing smart meters, establishing customer service departments and improving price transparency;

76.   Calls on the Member States to use information campaigns to make sure that households are better informed about the importance of more responsible resource consumption and about the grants for which they are eligible under relevant social support measures, and to launch training campaigns to make social service professionals in particular more aware of energy poverty issues;

77.   Asks the Member States to develop national energy poverty databases;

o
o   o

78.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the national parliaments and Governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 12.
(3) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 33.
(4) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 8.
(5) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 25.
(6) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 41.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0495 .
(8) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 12.
(9) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 25.
(10) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 1.
(12) OJ C 169 E, 15.6.2012, p. 66.
(13) OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0494 .
(15) http://ec.europa.eu/social/main/jsp?cat/d=738€largId=en€pubId=7315.
(16) http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/3-08022012-BP/EN/3-08022012-BP-EN.PDF.
(17) http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/htmlfiles/ef1264.htm.
(18) http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/pubdocs/2011/891/en/1/EF11891EN.pdf.
(19) http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/pubdocs/2012/02/en/1/EFI20EN.pdf.
(20) OJ L 7, 11.1.2012, p. 3.
(21) http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=135024&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1202581).
(22) OJ L 298, 7.11.2008, p. 20.
(23) Council of the EU, 3053rd Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 6 December 2010.
(24) Report of the Social Protection Committee to the Council, Council of the EU, 6624/11 ADD 1 SOC 135 ECOFIN 76 SAN 30, 18 February 2011.
(25) Report of the Social Protection Committee to the Council, Council of the EU, 6500/10 SOC 115 ECOFIN 101, FSTR 8 EDUC 31 SAN 31, 15 February 2010.
(26) EESC, 597/2012-TEN/484, 13 December 2012.
(27) CoR 71/2011 final, ECOS-V/014 https://toad.cor.europa.eu/CORWorkInProgress.aspx.
(28) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0419 .
(29) OJ C 236 E, 12.8.2011, p. 57.
(30) OJ C 161 E, 31.5.2011, p. 120.
(31) OJ C 308 E, 20.10.2011, p. 116.
(32) OJ C 70 E, 8.3.2012, p. 19.
(33) OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 65.
(34) OJ C 76 E, 27.3.2008, p. 124.
(35) OJ C 51 E, 22.2.2013, p. 101.
(36) OJ C 259 E, 29.10.2009, p. 19.
(37) OJ C 169 E, 15.6.2012, p. 139.
(38) http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/htmlFiles/eFI264.htm.
(39) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 1.
(40) OJ L153, 18.6.2010, p. 13.


Educational and occupational mobility of women
PDF 130k   DOC 34k
European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on educational and occupational mobility of women in the EU (2013/2009(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0247 A7-0164/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Articles 2 and 3 thereof,

–   having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Articles 8, 45, 165 and 166 thereof,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Articles 21, 23 and 25 thereof,

–   having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–   having regard to Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications(1) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 21 September 2010 entitled ‘Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015’ (COM(2010)0491 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 23 November 2010 entitled ‘An Agenda for new skills and jobs: A European contribution towards full employment’ (COM(2010)0682 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 9 June 2010 entitled ‘A new impetus for European cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to support the Europe 2020 strategy’ (COM(2010)0296 ),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on promoting workers’ mobility within the European Union,(2)

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0164/2013 ),

A.   whereas the right to live and work in another country of the European Union is one of the Union’s fundamental freedoms guaranteed to European Union citizens by the Treaty on European Union and whereas mobility is a multifaceted phenomenon having economic, social and family dimensions;

B.   whereas workers’ mobility and educational mobility help to deepen people’s attachment to their European citizenship; and at the same time constitute a European principle for achieving cohesion and solidarity across the EU;

C.   whereas the Erasmus Programme, which since 1987 has made it possible for more than 2,2 million European Union citizens to study abroad can also make an especially positive contribution to cross-border worker mobility after the study period, and whereas the growth in education and vocational training for women is increasing their mobility;

D.   whereas the economic and financial crisis has negatively affected the EU labour market, especially as regards employment rates and the possibility of moving freely and choosing employment according to one’s educational and professional qualifications, with women being one of the worst-affected groups;

E.   whereas, according to the most recent available data, the female unemployment rate in the European Union is 10,7 % (or 22,7 % in the case of women under the age of 25);

F.   whereas occupational mobility is a strategic objective of the European Union, as it increases the efficiency of the single market and helps to improve professional skills and employment levels, which are key factors of economic and social progress;

G.   whereas there are significant gender differences as regards workers’ mobility within the EU – men move for jobs or job transfers far more often than women do (44 % compared with 27 %), while women are more often obliged to take a career break in connection with a long-distance move in order to follow their partner;

H.   whereas gender segregation on the labour market, lack of adequate working conditions, the gender pay gap, inadequate measures to balance family and work life, persistent stereotypes and the risk of gender-based discrimination, are the major obstacles to women’s occupational mobility; whereas factors related to family, the considerable differences between family benefits available in the various Member States, social networks, care facilities for children and other dependants – particularly the absence or inadequacy of public networks of day nurseries, crèches and public provision of free-time activities for children – housing and local conditions, and other obstacles (language, lack of awareness of rights) are additional barriers preventing women from exercising the right of free movement, residence and work throughout Europe;

I.   whereas women are exposed to social risks more often in their lifetime than men, the result of which is the growing feminisation of poverty; whereas the most recent estimates suggest that in the EU women’s salaries are on average 16,4 % lower than men’s, and that there are major differences between Member States, with the wage gap varying between 1,9  % and 27,6  %(3) ;

J.   whereas multidimensional policy solutions incorporating lifelong learning, the reconciliation of professional, family and personal life (particularly for single mothers), combating precarious work and promoting jobs including full rights entitlements, a public healthcare network, a public social security network and differentiated work organisation practices at women’s request are needed in order to improve the integration of women into the labour market;

K.   whereas a high-quality education provides women with better employment prospects, improved skills and key competences in a given field; whereas it also facilitates their participation in society and cultural activities and ensures better pay on the labour market;

L.   whereas educational mobility helps to foster occupational mobility and increase labour market opportunities and must be available to all, including women with a low level of qualifications;

1.   Emphasises the need to increase awareness of the situation of women of all age groups in the context of the EU’s policies on education, social integration, means to balance family and working life, migration and employment, poverty, health care and in its social protection policies, to protect the rights of women, to promote equality and equal employment opportunities for men and women, to ensure safe working conditions, equal access and career opportunities including the application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment, to concentrate more on the situation of women in the decision-making process and to combat all forms of discrimination in the labour market, such as occupation segregation or wage discrimination, in particular by promoting lifelong learning, combating precarious employment and promoting work with rights, working hours that are compatible with a work-life balance, a public healthcare network and social security system, and differentiated practices for the organisation of working time, at the woman’s request;

2.   Emphasises that educational and occupational mobility has been recognised as offering added value to the EU; stresses that the economic crisis is making it increasingly necessary to adapt one’s choice of occupation to what is available on the labour market, and that it is increasingly vital for women to be more adaptable to the demands of new career opportunities when changing occupations;

3.   Considers that fostering the educational and occupational mobility of women can contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 headline target of raising the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 to 75 %, through, for example, the greater participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers and the better integration of migrants;

4.   Calls on the Member States to include provisions to ensure transparency and awareness in the area of women’s rights and the rights of their family members in respect of mobility when designing their national strategies and reform programmes;

5.   Considers that professional mobility must not be unfavourable to women where social rights are concerned and that it is therefore necessary to guarantee the continuation and transfer of pension rights under the public social security system between countries, while recognising the diversity of pension regimes throughout the EU;

6.   Calls on the Member States to collect and analyse data on the difficulties, scale and structure of women’s mobility, to draw attention to and promote the benefits of employment mobility on their national markets and the benefits of educational and employment mobility in foreign countries; calls on the Commission and Member States to monitor the situation of agencies and organisations offering jobs to workers from other Member States and to detect potential illegal or undeclared employment, or agencies or organisations providing fictitious jobs;

7.   Calls on the Member States to report on gender data in relation to occupational mobility and to include provisions to advance gender equality in terms of occupational mobility when designing their national policies and their National Reform Programmes (NRPs), with specific attention to the programming and implementation of national or regional level operational programmes funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) for the 2014-2020 programming period and beyond; recalls its resolution of 23 October 2012 endorsing the Commission’s proposal to earmark 25 % of the total cohesion policy allocation to the ESF(4) ;

8.   Stresses that, if this issue is a specific objective within these programmes, or appears as a special horizontal priority, good practices will start to show up and measures will yield results at regional and/or local level;

9.   Points out that, in order to boost employment, greater attention must be paid to cross-border cooperation, the exchange of best practices between educational institutions and professional bodies in the Member States, and that school systems must become more equal and inclusive;

10.   Calls on the Member States to step up efforts and cooperation with special emphasis on access to information and advice to combat the human trafficking carried out by international networks that recruit workers, especially women, by falsely promising them jobs that do not actually exist and result in situations involving sexual exploitation and forced labour or services (begging, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, the exploitation of criminal activities, or the removal of organs);

11.   Points out that mobility should be based on gender equality and combating discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, origins, religious beliefs, age and state of health;

12.   Points out that women moving abroad for jobs in domestic service and involving care for children or disabled or elderly people are often employed without a contract or work illegally, and consequently have no rights or entitlement to social security, healthcare, an adequate pension or other benefits in relation to pension contributions;

13.   Calls on the social partners, Member States and the Commission to support the improvement of gender equality elements in collective agreements, amongst others, by promoting the right to flexible working hours, childcare facilities, mentoring of women workers, measures to increase women’s representation in collective bargaining negotiations and by assessing the impact of collective agreements on women;

14.   Calls on the Member States to: monitor the situation of workers who care for children and other dependants; provide enough information to women moving abroad to take on such jobs, including information on access to declared work and training in the relevant area, on social rights, on healthcare, etc.; provide these women with advice on declared jobs and warn them of the possible dangers of the illegal labour market;

15.   Emphasises that European policies must also take into account the living and working conditions of women moving away for seasonal jobs in agriculture, especially as regards the need for adequate accommodation, social protection, medical insurance and healthcare, a balance between family and working life, and a decent wage; stresses the need to combat the exploitative situations that many of these women experience;

16.   Points out that women moving abroad for employment are often offered the lowest-ranked jobs on the labour market in terms of skills, pay and prestige, and that women’s labour migration is often concentrated in a few female-dominated occupations associated with traditional gender roles; calls on the Member States, therefore, to endeavour to encourage adequate contractual arrangements and discourage excessive reliance on non-standard employment contracts;

17.   Calls on the Member States to work together to find solutions to prevent or compensate for the effects that occupational mobility has on some Member States in certain areas (such as the mobility of medical personnel, who are predominantly women) and which may affect human rights in the Member States of origin;

18.   Considers that enabling women moving abroad to enjoy portable social security rights is essential to ensuring that they effectively benefit from the prerogatives they have acquired;

19.   Draws attention to the considerable differences between Member States in terms of family benefits and social rights, and points out that these variations can present a real obstacle to the occupational mobility of men and women with dependent families;

20.   Calls on Member States to ensure reciprocal recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications and to facilitate the simplification of recognition procedures;

21.   Points out that in cases where it is not recognition itself that is the main problem but rather the protracted nature of the procedure necessary for recognition, this may give rise to a faulty start in the new host environment in the EU;

22.   Expresses its concern at the high level of ‘brain-waste’ among women, i.e. under-use of the qualifications possessed by women moving abroad, which is particularly apparent in the highly feminised sectors of nursing and domestic work;

23.   Stresses the need to ensure clear rules are in place to facilitate women’s access to senior management positions and notes that increasing the number of women on management boards increases competitiveness and productivity; welcomes, therefore, the Commission proposal to reserve for women, by 2020, a minimum quota of 40 % of non-executive positions on the boards of European publicly listed companies with 250 or more employees and an annual total turnover of more than EUR 50 million;

24.   Calls on the Commission and on the Member States to improve the detection and elimination of the violations of women’s rights in the labour market and effectively punish these violations, so as to provide women living abroad for work purposes with all the necessary information, including with regard to access to jobs and training in this field and to social rights and healthcare, and to provide counselling in relation to employment opportunities and social housing programmes at no extra cost;

25.   Calls on the Commission to monitor and report regularly on how EU funds focusing on education and training, occupational and educational mobility and on labour market participation are being taken up by women and men; calls on the Member States and the Commission to react rapidly in cases of unbalanced take-up;

26.   Calls on the Member States to take action to eliminate the barriers to professional and social advancement which women face in the countries to which they have transferred their centre of interests but which are not their country of origin;

27.   Notes that women, including migrant workers, are much more likely than men to be subject to involuntary part-time working (with 32,1 % of women working part-time in the European Union in 2011 compared to 9 % of men); calls on the Member States to take the necessary measures to discourage employers from recruiting employees on a part-time basis (by requiring justification, abolishing certain tax advantages, etc) and strengthen the rights of women who have no alternative but to work part-time (by means of priority recruitment, job insecurity payments in the event of dismissal, etc);

28.   Urges the Member States and the Commission to strengthen the EU’s policy on fighting direct and indirect discrimination against EU migrant workers and women in particular, hosted by another Member State and the abuse of their rights as a result of their insufficient knowledge of languages and of the laws applicable to their employment in the host Member State;

29.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States, with the support of local stakeholders, the social partners and training bodies, to make women more aware of the opportunities offered by occupational mobility, with particular reference to personal development, career planning and their rights when moving from one Member State to another for professional reasons;

30.   Calls on the Member States to set up contact points for mobile domestic and care workers with individual employment relationships, so as to provide them with the means to establish a network enabling them to be informed of their rights, and to support non-governmental players active in this field;

31.  Encourages the Member States to facilitate procedures for local and regional authorities:

   to design and put into practice specific programmes to integrate women and men into local communities and to foster intercultural exchange;
   to offer women who follow their spouses or partners to another Member State appropriate services such as courses to facilitate their integration into their new social and cultural environment, for example language courses and vocational courses, with special regard to vulnerable women;
   to devote greater attention to integrating women into the labour market, particularly to their acquisition of qualifications and the updating thereof, the acquisition of skills and the implementation of the lifelong education and training programme;
   to address highly mobile women at risk, such as domestic workers, care workers, cleaners and women working in the hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) sector;
   to support social awareness campaigns by non-profit organisations focusing on women in international communities, such as expatriate spouses and partners;
   to develop integration coaching programmes, psychological counselling and integration projects; stresses that concrete measures are of practical help in understanding and solving problems;

32.   Stresses the damage to the economy and the individual stemming from the gender pay gap; stresses that the gender pay gap partially arises from the fact that sectors where women are over-represented often have lower salaries;

33.   Urges the Member States to make pay trends more transparent, particularly by promoting collective bargaining, so as to avert continuing or widening pay gaps, including their implications for the accumulation of pensions in the Member State of origin and the host Member State and to take the necessary steps to bridge the wage gap; calls on the Commission to propose new measures to penalise and effectively reduce the pay gap between men and women and to monitor the correct application and effectiveness of Directive 2006/54/EC on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation(5) , as well as to revise the existing gender pay gap legislation (Directive 2006/54/EC) as demanded by Parliament in its resolution of 13 March 2012; strongly urges the Commission and Member States to develop policies, in cooperation with social partners to eradicate the gender pay gap, that focus on the integration of women in the labour market and promote equal opportunities for mobility;

34.   Stresses that the upbringing of children requires a sharing of responsibility between men and women and society as a whole and calls on the Member States to provide workers who move with a spouse or partner and/or children regardless of their level of pay or qualifications with information about the family benefits available in the host Member State, public care facilities for children and other dependants, pre-schools, schools and medical services, along with free access to public employment services in accordance with the applicable national legislation in order to help spouses or partners moving to another Member State to find a job; reasserts the need to guarantee the right to family reunification;

35.   Calls on Member States to set up infrastructural measures to support mobile workers with families, addressing access to education and childcare, social security and community services; calls on both sending and receiving Member States to develop mechanisms for integration and reintegration of highly mobile workers with families; underlines that the value of intercultural skills acquired by women moving abroad should be better recognised by employers;

36.   Encourages Member States to combat poverty and the social exclusion of women of all age groups; calls on the Commission and Member States to take measures to prevent the feminisation of poverty by promoting employment and the spirit of enterprise among women, combating wage disparities and facilitating the reconciliation of professional and family duties by developing child care facilities;

37.   Calls on the Member States and the Commission to pay special attention to the problem of poverty among older women caused by the fact that they receive smaller pensions, also as a consequence of periods of unemployment which they undergo in order to take care of their children and other dependant family members;

38.   Calls on the Member States to encourage employers to grant flexible working times for women, and especially those whose children have remained in the Member State of origin, so as to enable them to maintain a tangible physical link with their children;

39.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the use of teleworking in both private and public sector organisations, on the basis of fair pay and fair social conditions, to avoid the need for women to take career breaks in connection with their partners’ occupational mobility;

40.   Calls on the Member States to actively participate in removing obstacles to workers’ mobility by offering family members and partners services such as courses to facilitate their long-term integration into their new social and cultural environment, for example language and vocational courses, in order to ensure their independence and dignity;

41.   Stresses the need to attract women to education and training in the MINT professions (mathematics, informatics, new technologies), in order to overcome occupation segregation and wage discrimination; urges the Member States to promote vocations and professions requiring scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical skills among women from an early age, for better employability and to assist the transition between education, professional training and employment; thus, calls on the Member States to provide or further develop quality vocational orientation and career guidance services to assist women in this regard;

42.   Stresses the positive impact of attracting women from an early stage into professions in key industries with a high job potential, in particular the green economy, the health and social care sector and the digital economy;

43.   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take action to address gender segregation by sectors by both motivating individuals from early on to go into relevant sectors and by addressing the conditions that make such sectors less attractive for women or men, such as on the one hand working conditions incompatible with care responsibilities and on the other hand pay;

44.   Reiterates its call on the Member States to promote learning and employment mobility by: (a) increasing awareness and making information easily accessible to all; (b) highlighting the added value of mobility in the early stages of education; (c) ensuring that learning outcomes from mobility experiences between Member States are validated; (d) reducing administrative burdens and stimulating cooperation between the relevant authorities across the Member States and (e) recognising periods spent abroad for the purpose of calculating cumulative pension entitlement in the Member State of origin;

45.   Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to all aspects of educational and vocational training, higher education and adult education, with a view to improving the quality of education and enhancing employment prospects in the future;

46.   Notes that since its inception in 1987 the Erasmus programme alone has enabled more than 2.2 million students to be mobile within the EU, and has made a significant contribution to mobility in European higher education; hopes, therefore, that the future multiannual financial framework will make adequate financial provision for all programmes designed to support mobility and education; calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue their active support for European and international education and study programmes, and programmes such as Grundtvig, Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci, Jean Monet and Erasmus so as to facilitate educational and occupational mobility for women in the EU and also to enable teachers to spend part of their working lives in another EU Member State, thereby helping to foster a sense of European citizenship and identity; stresses the importance of the new multiannual programme for education, vocational training, youth and sport, which builds on the positive experiences of all existing European programmes in the areas of mobility and education;

47.   Stresses the importance of gender-sensitive educational systems, as they give children a diversity of choice in discovering their talents; stresses that research indicates that strong gender stereotyping in education adds to gender segregation in the labour market, both in relation to sectors and occupations; calls on the Commission and Member States to combat these stereotypes;

48.   Stresses the need to introduce youth guarantees in the Member States in order to increase labour market access for young people, including female graduates, and to facilitate their transition from studying to the labour market; underlines that early career mobility patterns play a crucial role in shaping subsequent employment changes; recalls its two resolutions of 24 May 2012 on the Youth Opportunities Initiative and of 16 January 2013 on a Youth Guarantee; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to implement swiftly the youth employment package, particularly with regard to ‘Your first EURES job’ and the Youth Guarantee, with a view to fostering early educational and occupational mobility of young women;

49.   Calls on the Commission, likewise, to find a means of integrating the education acquired through youth mobility with jobs matching that education, in order to increase the efficiency of the mobility process in both its educational phase and its occupational phase;

50.   Stresses that, in order to boost employment and combat long-term unemployment, it is necessary to consider increasing mobility not only for students and workers, but also for their teachers; considers that such an approach would ensure quality teaching;

51.   Emphasises the importance of an enhanced social dimension and of increasing access to educational mobility programmes for women from disadvantaged backgrounds, women with low incomes, women on maternity leave and single mothers;

52.   Calls on the Member States to clarify the financial support options that exist for women’s educational and employment mobility, and to make it easier to access this information;

53.   Emphasises that disabled women, women with few or no educational qualifications and single mothers must be given sufficient information and additional support to gain access to existing training, learning and educational mobility programmes;

54.   Draws particular attention to women with disabilities and stresses the need for measures and actions to combat double discrimination and promote completely equal rights and opportunities;

55.   Considers that special attention should be given to respect for the cultural background and/or traditions of women from minority communities;

56.   Calls on Member States to encourage national, regional and local projects to improve the labour participation rate of women; calls on Member States to encourage higher participation of men and women in volunteering and charity activities for the community;

57.   Emphasises that special attention must be awarded to supporting the mobility of women aged over 45, who are more willing than other women to accept insecure employment;

58.   Stresses the need to increase the level of participation in lifelong learning programmes by women who have moved abroad, including programmes relating to skills development, and points out that programmes to strengthen social integration should also be introduced;

59.   Points out that unemployment and problems getting into the workforce affect women from a wide range of age groups, and that women have to react quickly to the labour market’s requirements and welcomes the measures proposed by the Commission to tackle the current, unacceptable levels of youth unemployment and social exclusion and offer young people jobs, education, and training; supports the initiatives adopted by the Commission, such as the ‘WOmen Mobility ENhancement’ mechanism, and calls on the Commission to broaden and enhance the scope of projects designed to increase the professional mobility of women;

60.   Stresses the conclusions of the Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations; points out the need to support voluntary activities and the exchange of knowledge and experiences between women from different age groups;

61.   Calls on the Commission to support the reallocation of adequate financial resources to programmes that promote women’s employment and better education for disadvantaged groups;

62.   Recommends the establishment of a European Counselling Service Network to help local communities deal with this problem by providing information, know-how and guidance regarding the integration of women; recommends the promotion and use of instruments and networks and continued funding for existing European networks, as well as instruments facilitating mobility such as EURES, Your Europe and Europe Direct, which also make it easier for women to find information about their rights and opportunities in the various Member States;

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

(1) OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.
(2) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 35.
(3) Eurostat 2010, except EE, EL (2008). AT, BE, ES, IE, FR, IT, CY: provisional source.
(4) European Parliament resolution of 23 October 2012 in the interests of achieving a positive outcome of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 approval procedure (texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0360 ).
(5) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.


Electronic toll service and vignette system on light private vehicles
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European Parliament resolution of 11 June 2013 on a strategy for an electronic toll service and a vignette system on light private vehicles in Europe (2012/2296(INI) )
P7_TA(2013)0248 A7-0142/2013

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘The application of national road infrastructure charges levied on light private vehicles’ (COM(2012)0199 ),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Implementation of the European Electronic Toll Service’ (COM(2012)0474 ),

–   having regard to the White Paper on Transport entitled ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a Competitive and Resource-Efficient Transport System’ (COM(2011)0144 ),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0142/2013 ),

A.   whereas the current European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) system introduced by the Commission has not been working and needs to be overhauled; whereas certain stakeholders in the market at present see no monetary benefit to adapting to a common interoperable EETS system;

B.   whereas the revenues received by Member States from tax and excise duty in the future will most likely diminish as a result of the move away from oil-based fuels;

C.   whereas the ‘user pays / polluter pays’ principle must continue to be a key priority for European transport;

D.   whereas road charging is going to become a reality in more and more Member States in the very near future;

E.   whereas certain problems with non-residents have repeatedly arisen in cross-border areas when new electronic toll systems have been implemented, resulting in protests and complaints about financial losses and discrimination;

F.   whereas the EU has a responsibility to ensure that this new development does not have a negative impact on cross-border travel, on the daily lives of people living in border regions or on trade;

G.   whereas the EU must encourage road charging which does not discriminate against road users who are not resident in the country charging the toll;

H.   whereas in future – in addition to the building of new roads – more funding will be required primarily for the preservation and maintenance of existing transport infrastructure;

I.   whereas Member States should be allowed to introduce either distance- or time-based charging systems, although steps should be taken to ensure that distance-based systems are favoured whenever possible, since these are fairer and less discriminatory than time-based systems;

J.   whereas the technologies already exist for road charging systems to be interoperable;

K.   whereas the single biggest problem facing the EETS is a lack of political will to implement such a scheme, rather than market-related or technical issues;

General framework

1.   Notes the Commission’s statement that the two main stakeholders concerned are toll chargers and EETS providers, but points out that road users, especially transport companies, are a third key stakeholder; points out that users of private vehicles are potential end users who could help to speed up the development of the EETS;

2.   Calls on the Commission to consider how these stakeholders could be involved to the most useful effect in the next stages of its action;

3.   Stresses that while the protection of an individual’s personal data, and data protection in general, is of paramount importance and any new measures taken should be subject to EU data protection legislation and in particular to Directive 95/46/EC, this should be no obstacle to the interoperability of systems;

4.   Recognises the rights of road owners to be paid an appropriate amount for the use of their infrastructure and the services connected to it;

The EETS: a failure to date and in need of a new direction

5.   Agrees with the Commission that the current EETS Directive (2004/52/EC) has not led to the expected development of an interoperable European electronic road toll service between Member States; considers that it has been a failure, and emphasises that drastic action is needed in order to achieve the aforementioned aim;

6.   Believes that the Commission should consider appropriate legislative measures in the area of interoperability as soon as possible, so as to oblige all stakeholders to advance the EETS project;

7.   Considers it regrettable that Member States have, on the whole, shown little interest in developing the EETS, and that the Commission is not taking more measures to pursue the enforcement of EU legislation; urges the Commission, therefore, to devise and propose an incentive scheme to encourage operators and Member States to shorten the timeframes for implementing the system;

8.   Agrees with the Commission that demand exists for an interoperable solution in the area of electronic road charging, but believes that appropriate legislative measures are needed to make stakeholders implement such a system, since the remuneration derived solely from an interoperable system is not sufficiently attractive for certain manufacturers of road charging equipment or certain road operators;

9.   Considers that the market-driven approach favoured by the Commission has failed to bear fruit and that political action is therefore needed in order to speed up the implementation of the EETS and translate it into reality in the immediate future;

10.   Believes that the Commission’s plans to proceed with regionalisation are not satisfactory, as they may lead to additional delays which could be detrimental to the EU-wide development of the service;

11.   Believes that, in any case, the EU-wide development of the service should remain the EU’s ultimate goal; stresses that, if implemented, regionalisation should be a transitional stage only;

12.   Considers that more wide-ranging measures are needed and urges the Commission, firstly, to take firm action against those Member States which are not correctly implementing the EU legislation, and, secondly, to undertake without delay a review of all available studies on the subject so as to provide a clear basis for different options for action in both the medium and the long term, including charging for road use via technologies such as GPS/GNSS, in order to prevent and reduce traffic congestion caused by physical barriers, and urges it to present this overview by the end of 2013;

13.   Believes that the Commission should undertake a study on the financial aspects and conditions which would make the EETS a working reality;

14.   Believes that the Interoperability Directive (2004/52/EC) provides an adequate regulatory framework for individual charging systems to coexist, allowing Member States to choose among different technologies according to the characteristics of their road network;

15.   Believes that, whatever the system chosen, the Commission should take great care to ensure that consumers are made aware at all times of the cost of the toll being levied via an electronic device or toll tag;

16.   Requests that the specific needs of professionals and other drivers travelling through many countries, and in particular to or from outlying Member States, always be taken into account when developing the service;

17.   Calls on the Commission, in its work programmes on the trans-European transport networks, to provide for the possibility of financing projects that might afford a means of speeding up the implementation of the EETS;

18.   Considers that the market-demand-based approach has failed to produce the desired results and that it is necessary to look into the shortcomings which have led to this situation;

19.   Believes that there is no will for an EETS on the part of industry stakeholders, namely toll service providers, road concessions and manufacturers of electronic ‘tags’ and associated equipment, and that a regulation may be needed to force stakeholders to come together; considers that supporting measures should be introduced by the Commission in order to create an efficient road-charging experience for the end user, particularly in the context of more widespread use of road charging in the future;

20.   Calls on the Commission to carry out a detailed assessment in the light of current projects relating to technical and contractual interoperability between Member States and, where appropriate, to propose new measures based on best practice;

21.   Agrees with the Commission that the technology for interoperable systems already exists;

22.   Points out that several Member States intend to implement charging systems within the next few years or to extend existing concessions; calls on the Commission to ensure that those systems meet the interoperability requirements and to guarantee that the implementation of charging systems will not, under any circumstances, discriminate against non-residents by creating obstacles to the principle of free movement;

23.   Calls on the Member States and toll-road operators to work in close cooperation with neighbouring countries and to offer all the necessary support for the setting-up of charging systems and payment and collection facilities and the provision of information to users about prices, terms and conditions of use and so on;

24.   Calls for infringement proceedings to be instituted in the event of non-compliance;

Charging for road use: vignettes, tolling, interoperability and data protection

25.   Emphasises that it is for Member States to decide whether or not to introduce road charges, and to set the amount charged for road use, and that Member States should have the final say in spending revenues collected from road charging;

26.   Calls upon the Member States to continue to upgrade their transport networks in order to make them as sustainable, efficient, environmentally friendly and safe as possible by ring-fencing revenues from road charges for such purposes;

27.   Recognises that Member States are currently developing plans to charge for new categories of vehicles, including light private vehicles, which adds to the urgency of the Commission introducing a coordinated interoperable charging system;

28.   Notes that applying toll payments more equally to all forms of vehicle on the basis of the user pays principle is a step in the right direction;

29.   Calls on the Member States to take into account the special position of residents of border regions when establishing national toll systems; stresses that national toll systems must not have any discriminatory impact whatsoever;

30.   Urges the Commission and the Member States to take into account the specific position of border regions when developing plans for road-charging systems, so as to minimise the impact on people living in border regions;

31.   Believes that, while the power to raise revenue rests with the Member States, the EU should favour a system of distance-based tolling over vignette-type systems, since the former is a much fairer, non-discriminatory type of system, whereas the latter has caused problems in the past in terms of efficiency and discrimination and should be avoided whenever possible;

32.   Believes that the Commission must make it mandatory for time-based systems to offer road users custom-made vignettes based on various pro-rata charging structures, such as daily, weekly, monthly and yearly options, with the possibility of purchasing a vignette up to 30 days in advance of the road use, and to state clearly the amount being charged in administrative fees, and that it should favour the more widespread introduction of distance- rather than time-based systems;

33.   Believes that the introduction of any new charging system which involves the sharing of operating systems and data on clients and their movements must be strictly subject to EU data protection regulations, and that the data should be de-personalised in order to protect individual privacy; takes a pragmatic approach to the issue of data protection and believes that once the necessary safeguards have been put in place, data protection concerns should be no hindrance to interoperability;

34.   Urges the Commission to oblige those Member States with vignette systems substantially to simplify the sale of vignettes and access to information, and to operate an online payment service that allows customers to pre-pay their charges via an interface accessible to all, in accordance with the requirements of universal design;

35.   Urges the Commission to make payment by mobile phone a possibility for toll and vignette systems;

36.   Stresses the need for adequate and visible advance signage informing motorists about how much they will have to pay; stresses also that information about fines and other penalties should be clearly indicated and easily available;

37.   Recognises the needs of haulage companies and SMEs, and the benefits that an EETS would offer these groups in terms of bringing goods to the market at the most competitive price possible;

38.   Notes the importance of these companies and SMEs in bringing economic growth and jobs to Europe, and consequently considers it essential not to impose any unnecessary extra charges on them, but instead to apply the user pays principle across the board to all vehicle categories;

39.   Recommends that the Commission take firm action against those who fail to cooperate with the current Interoperability Directive, while assessing the necessity of the Commission publishing a proposal for new legislation on the EETS and road charging interoperability;

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

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