Procedure : 2008/2530(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0279/2008

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 04/06/2008 - 20
CRE 04/06/2008 - 20

Votes :

PV 05/06/2008 - 6.16
CRE 05/06/2008 - 6.16

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0277/2008
28 May 2008
to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission and the Council
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Pierre Jonckheer, Cem Özdemir, Angelika Beer and Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
on the EU-United States summit

European Parliament resolution on the EU-United States summit 

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on transatlantic relations, particularly its resolution of 25 April 2007(1),

–  having regard to the European Parliament’s resolutions on climate change, in particular those of 16 November 2005(2), 26 October 2006(3), and 14 February 2007(4),

–  having regard to the EU-US Summit to be held on 10 June 2008 in Brdo, Slovenia,

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

A.  whereas peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, international law, sustainable economies and sustainable development are shared common values which constitute the basis for the development of the Transatlantic Partnership, which is a cornerstone of the EU’s external policy,

B.  whereas, given their dominant economic role in the world, the transatlantic partners share responsibility for the state of global economic governance and for solutions to global economic challenges, particularly in relation to the ongoing crises in key financial markets, growing imbalances in currency alignments and trade relations, the ongoing or re-appearing debt crisis in some of the poorest countries, and ever more worrying wealth gaps between and within countries,

C.  whereas a strong and functioning partnership between the EU and the US is a vital tool for shaping global development in the interests of common values and on the basis of effective multilateralism and international law,

D.  whereas concerted policies of peace building, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, non‑proliferation and disarmament should be at the core of a renewed EU-US partnership,

E.  whereas, in spite of the considerable recent progress, new efforts must be made by the parties to improve the atmosphere of confidence between the two sides of the Atlantic,

F.  whereas renewed, strengthened and coordinated efforts should be made to deal with the ongoing world crises with regard, in particular, to the new window of opportunity opened in Annapolis for a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East,

G.  whereas, in the fight against international terrorism, it is necessary to stress the importance of fully respecting international law and treaties on human rights and fundamental freedoms, so that anti-terrorism legislation must at all times be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny and judicial review,

H.  whereas under the US secret detention programme hundreds of prisoners, of whom the majority are Afghans, remain detained in various prison facilities, such as Bagram military base and Guantanamo, in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law,

I.  whereas the European Parliament has repeatedly called for a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement to replace the New Transatlantic Agenda of 1995,

J.  whereas selfish US and EU trade policies have contributed decisively to the looming failure to conclude the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations and have thus weakened global support for multilateralism in the setting of fair and equitable trade rules,

K.  whereas over decades export subsidies and food aid, especially from the US and the EU, have been responsible for the destruction of subsistence production and small-scale farming in developing countries and left millions of families landless and without adequate access to food,

L.  whereas the EU and the US, as major world donors of development aid and important trade partners within bilateral and multilateral negotiations, have the necessary weight and should act responsibly to develop and use instruments which favour socially fair and environmentally sound trade rules such as the concept of qualified market access as suggested by the European Parliament,

1.  Takes the view that EU-US relations need to be further improved, provided they develop on an equal basis and the EU manages to speak with one voice; believes that strong transatlantic relations can contribute to tackling a wide range of challenges of common concern, notably in the common approach to crisis areas such as the Western Balkans, the South Caucasus region, the broader Middle East, Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism, the current food crisis, energy security and climate change, economic recession and trade imbalances and transparency and regulation of the financial markets;

2.  Takes note of the initiative to launch a New Transatlantic Economic Partnership to replace the existing New Transatlantic Agenda; reiterates the need to develop, with this economic initiative, a new framework agreement to provide an appropriate institutional and political foundation for pursuing common political and economic objectives and for trying to counter the challenges of the 21st century within a multilateral framework;

3.  Advocates participation of the US Congress and the European Parliament in this process; calls upon the EU-US Summit to support the parliamentary dimension of the partnership and to involve the legislators more closely in the dialogue between the EU and the US executives as well as civil society on both sides;

Trade issues and the food crisis

4.  Underlines that the goal of uniform standards for trade, as discussed at the meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) in November 2007 with regard to a roadmap for reaching mutual recognition of EU-US trade partnership agreements in 2009, must not lead to a downward harmonisation of social, environmental and health standards; urges that the Transatlantic Environmental Dialogue be revitalised and integrated in the TEC in order to provide transatlantic regulatory cooperation with ‘best practices’ to take forward consumer health, safety and environmental protection, thus facilitating a more sustainable transatlantic marketplace;

5.  Takes the view that the agreement that the TEC – with input from Brazil – is trying to reach in 2008 with regard to common standards for agrofuels will remain completely inadequate as long as it does not contain the highest standards with regard to the environmental sustainability of agrofuel crop production; calls on the transatlantic partners to support a moratorium on agrofuel production from food crops, unless its impact on global food security is thoroughly assessed;

6.  Demands that basic public services, and in particular education, health, sanitation, water and energy provision, and audiovisual and cultural services, be categorically exempted from liberalisation in bilateral transatlantic relations, as well as in the multilateral framework of the WTO;

7.  Regards the comparative trade advantages accruing to the US through its refusal to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol as a form of environmental dumping which the EU must redress through corrective measures such as border tax adjustments;

8.  Calls on the US Government to refrain from any further challenge to EU legislation and EU practice with regard to the import licensing, labelling and traceability of genetically modified food and feed products;

9.  Urges the Canadian and US Governments to remove their retaliatory measures against EU imports in response to the EU’s ban on hormone-treated beef and to accept mounting scientific evidence showing that the hormones used in beef production – such as oestradiol-17 beta – are carcinogenic and genotoxic, thus presenting unacceptable risks; urges the European Commission to appeal the ruling delivered by the WTO in this case on 30 March 2008 which allows the US and Canada to force hormone-fed beef on Europe;

10.  Expresses its concern about the promise made by Commissioner Verheugen at the last TEC meeting, on 13 May 2008, to lift the ban on imports of US poultry with pathogen reduction treatments into the EU, in the absence of any new scientific advice supporting his claim of food safety;

11.  Remains unconvinced about the Joint EU-US Open Investment Agreement agreed by the TEC on 13 May 2008, which promotes unconstrained investment freedom in a time of looming financial break-down, expresses its utmost concern at the lack of transparency and accountability in a number of financial and investment products, and, in particular, takes the view that investments by Sovereign Wealth Funds must be subject to political deliberation;

12.  Urges the European G7 participants to put the problem of highly leveraged financial speculation, especially on food and commodity markets, on the agenda of the next G7 summit; regards the regulatory responses of the US financial supervision authorities to the subprime loans crisis as insufficient to restore confidence in financial markets; warns against the persistent danger coming from uncontrolled hedge and private equity funds for the world economy, national economies and individual companies, and asks for decisive action to curb their business; recalls that two thirds of hedge and private equity funds are based in off-shore centres and therefore demands that any solution must contain strong measures against tax havens;

13.  Calls for strengthened and coordinated efforts by the Commission and the US Administration at WTO level to provide poorer developing countries in particular with ways to protect their local food production, and to refrain from pressuring them into agreements compelling them to abandon export taxes or export quantity controls if these are justified by national food security concerns;

14.  Calls on the EU and the US, as well as international financial institutions, not to force developing countries to liberalise or privatise basic economic sectors and public services that are vital for the population;

15.  Welcomes the initiative of the US Administration to untie food aid, and sees this initiative as a first important step in reforming the entire food aid programme to take full account of the need proactively to support enhanced regional and local food security, which in the past was often undermined by tied US food aid;

16.  Calls on the Commission to raise the issue of the need to dedicate a major part of the EU/US development aid budget to agricultural research and training and exchange of best practice for farmers, in order to promote regional and local market-orientated production and further to develop efficient, sustainable crop systems, such as crop rotation and mixed cultivation of crops, and participatory, locally adapted, non-GMO plant and animal breeding in order to create stability in local food supply and sound farming systems with low energy input in the long term;

Visa issues and the fight against terrorism

17.  Reiterates that all EU citizens should have the same right to travel to the US under the same conditions; welcomes, in this regard, the outcome of the JHA Council of 18 April, which gives the European Commission a clear mandate to negotiate with the US on the Visa Waiver Programme and, in particular, on the Electronic System of Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and data exchange;

18.  Takes the view that those negotiations should be transparent, based on the principle of reciprocity and respectful of EU data protection provisions; welcomes, therefore, the twelve data protection principles agreed upon, but states at the same time that those principles are not sufficient and contain too many exceptions;

19.  Consider it necessary to set up a common data protection authority with the US to promote a common framework in all EU-US agreements that include a data protection chapter; asks for the opening of genuine EU-US negotiations to that end; expresses its strong opposition, in accordance with the principle of finality, to the US requirement of having access to EU databases such as SIS and VIS;

20.  Takes the view that a common, shared framework must be defined with the US to safeguard the guarantees that are needed in the special EU-US partnership in the fight against terrorism, including a clearer definition of terrorism;

21.  Urges the Council to issue a clear and forceful declaration calling on the US Government to put an end to the practice of extraordinary arrests and renditions, and calls for the US Government to be asked for clarification regarding the existence of secret prisons outside US territory;

22.  Calls on the United States, in this regard, to put an end to its secret detention programme, to dismantle the relevant facilities, and to either try or release the remaining detainees in full compliance with international law and standards;

23.  Takes the view that the perpetrators of the documented crimes of torture, murder and forced disappearances in the context of the secret detention program should be held accountable, and calls on the US Government to compensate the victims of the crimes, as well as all illegally held detainees, for their time of imprisonment;

24.  Calls on the EU and the US Government to launch an initiative within the United Nations with a view to reforming the existing practice of sanctions lists, including the establishment of due procedures for a fair hearing, the statement of reasons, effective judicial protection and remedy;

Security issues

25.  Hopes that at this summit the US Administration will be willing to adopt a common strategy with the EU aimed at making progress on disarmament in terms of both weapons of mass destruction and conventional weaponry, reversing the United States’ present trend of multiplying its military expenditure and undertaking everything within its power to strengthen its global military technological posture and high-scale warfare capacity;

26.  Urges the Council to discuss with its US counterparts how to make a positive approach to future Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committees (NPT PrepComs) as a first opportunity to strengthen the global non-nuclear proliferation regime in the run-up to the NPT Review Conference in 2010; underlines in this context the need to discuss at the summit a number of nuclear disarmament initiatives based on the ‘13 practical steps’ agreed to unanimously at the 2000 NPT Review Conference; reiterates its view that, inter alia, such steps break the deadlock on the adoption of a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty and facilitate the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; points out that this should also include the non-modernisation of nuclear arsenals in the US, France and the UK, and the withdrawal of US nuclear warheads from European territory; urges the Council to take a leadership role in starting negotiations on the ‘nuclear weapons convention’ aimed at globally banning all nuclear weapons;

27.  Reiterates its view that the time has come for the transatlantic partners – including the USA – to take a global lead in the implementation, improvement and establishment of several international treaties which have been put high on the UN negotiation agenda on the control or banning of specific types of conventional arms; points out that such treaties include full implementation of the UN programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Global Treaty on Arms Transfers, the Norwegian multi-nation initiative for a ban on cluster-submunitions and the Global Treaty to Ban Landmines (including the extension of that treaty to cover all types of mines, both AP and AT types); reiterates its position that banning the use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium should be made an integrated part of the ‘Convention on Conventional Weapons’;

28.  Remains totally unconvinced that Europe will in the foreseeable future need a system of missiles to protect its territory against hostile long-range ballistic missiles with WMD warheads launched by rogue nations or non-state actors; is convinced that to counter new arms races (including in space), long-term terrorist threats and other threats endangering European and global security, such as climate change, there must be huge investment in conflict-prevention policies and disarmament initiatives;

Climate change and transport policy

29.  Strongly encourages the two partners to agree on a joint approach to limiting climate change to a maximum temperature increase of 2°C over pre-industrialised levels through fair contributions to the reduction efforts of greenhouse-gas emissions by developed and developing countries, in accordance with their different responsibilities and respective capabilities;

30.  Insists in this connection on the specific responsibility of developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions; urges the US to take vigorous domestic measures leading to absolute emissions reductions and to play a constructive role in the ongoing international negotiations with a view to participating in the future climate change regime;

31.  Welcomes the commitments expressed by the main presidential candidates to addressing greenhouse-gas emissions in the US and to finding international agreement by 2009 in order to avert dangerous climate change; is encouraged by recent developments in the US such as regional cap-and-trade initiatives and activities at the state, local and company level leading to reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions;

32.  Recalls that, in order to have a reasonable chance of maintaining warming at 2°C, an overall 30% reduction from 1990 levels is needed for all industrialised countries by 2020, with a further reduction in the order of 80% by 2050; considers that temporary border adjustment measures on trade should be applied to offset any distortions of competition or risk of carbon leakage until there is a comprehensive international climate agreement;

33.  Regrets the detrimental approach of the current US Administration to EU policy on tackling the climate impact of aviation, which contradicts the cap-and-trade bills discussed in the US Congress, which also seek to address emissions from the aviation sector;

Foreign Affairs

34.  Welcomes the recent initiative by the UN Security Council member countries and Germany (the P5+1) to present a new package of incentives to Iran in an effort to convince that country to halt its uranium enrichment programme; calls on the United States, in the interests of finding a solution, fully to endorse negotiations with Iran within the limits of the rules and obligations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;

35.  Finds it regrettable that the optimistic rhetoric of the declarations made last year in Annapolis at the relaunching of the peace process does not match with the expectations and prospects of reality on the ground; expresses its deep concern at the lack of any substantial progress as regards the ongoing negotiations between the parties; urges the EU and the US to devise a new initiative within the Quartet to overcome the present humanitarian crisis in Gaza and deal with the core issues of the negotiations with a view to reaching a comprehensive two-state solution by the end of this year, as foreseen in Annapolis;

36.  Calls on the US Government to present a clear plan for its future engagement in Iraq, including the goals to be achieved, an exit strategy and a time frame for the withdrawal of its troops;

37.  Appeals to the US Administration considerably to step up financial support for Iraqi refugees and to increase the number of entry visas to the United States granted to displaced Iraqis;

38.  Stresses the urgent need for the US, the EU and NATO to analyse together with the UN what strategic and conceptual misjudgements have contributed to the prevailing instability in Afghanistan; believes that the focus on military solutions has to be replaced by reinforced civil reconstruction efforts and enhanced support for a local security and justice system; calls on the US Government to end ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ activities in Afghanistan and to support an initiative for an international Council led by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, comprising the main donors, military contributors and UN organisations in order to integrate the various reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan into one joint concept and decision-making structure;

39.  Believes that the lessons learnt from the Iraq invasion should be incorporated into the notion of the ‘responsibility to protect’ as endorsed by the 2005 UN World Summit, and particularly into the responsibility to ‘prevent’ and ‘rebuild’;

40.  Calls on the Council to raise once again with the US the question of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a fundamental pillar of international law; expects from the future US Government a more constructive attitude to ratifying the Statutes of the International Criminal Court and to engaging actively in the achievement of an agreement on the still outstanding definition of the crime of aggression, as provided for in Article 5.2 of the Rome Statutes, in preparation for the ICC review conference in 2009;

41.  Stresses its commitment to continuing to contribute to the strength and stability of the Transatlantic Partnership through its involvement in the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue; supports the effort to establish a legislative early-warning system between the European Parliament and the US Congress;

42.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States and the President and Congress of the United States of America.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0155.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2005)0433.
(3) Texts adopted , P6_TA(2006)0460.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0038.

Last updated: 29 May 2008Legal notice