Procedure : 2009/2718(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0122/2009

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 20/10/2009 - 13
CRE 20/10/2009 - 13

Votes :

PV 22/10/2009 - 8.7

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0118/2009

further to Question for Oral Answer B7‑0213/2009

pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure

on democracy building in external relations

Ivo Vajgl on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on democracy building in external relations  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in particular Article 21 thereof, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,


–    having regard to Articles 3, 6, 11 and 19 of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 177, 300 and 310 of the EC Treaty,


–    having regard to all agreements between the EU and third countries and the human rights and democracy clauses contained in those agreements,


–    having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union proclaimed in Strasbourg on 12 December 2007,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution ‘UN Millennium Declaration’, 8 September 2000, A/RES/55/2,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution ‘Promoting and consolidating democracy’, 4 December 2000, A/RES/55/96,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution on the ‘2005 World Summit Outcome', 15 September 2005, A/RES/60/1,


–    having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution 'Enhancing the role of regional, subregional and other organizations and arrangements in promoting and consolidating democracy', 23 March 2005, A/RES/59/201,


–    having regard to the Commission Communication on EU election assistance and observation (COM(2001) 191),


–    having regard to its Resolution of 15 March 2001 on the Commission Communication on EU election assistance and observation,


–    having regard to the Commission Communication on the EU's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries (COM (2001) 252),


–    having regard to its Resolution of 25 April 2002 on the Commission Communication on the EU's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries,


–    having regard to the European Security Strategy, 12 December 2003,


–    having regard to the Commission Communication on governance and development (COM (2003) 615),


–    having regard to its report, A5-0219/2004, on the Commission Communication (COM (2003) 615),


–    having regard to the European Union Consensus on Development, 2005,


–    having regard to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, 2005, and the Accra Agenda for Action, 2008,


–    having regard to the Commission Communication on 'Governance in the European Consensus on Development - towards a harmonised approach within the European Union' (COM (2006) 421),


–    having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide (EIDHR),


–    having regard to the decision of its Bureau of 18 June 2007 establishing the Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy,


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


–    having regard to the May 2009 Council conclusions on Support to Democratic Governance: towards an enhanced EU framework,


–    having regard to the question of 30 September 2009 to the Commission on democracy building in external relations (O-0093/2009 - B7‑0213/2009),


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


A.  whereas democracy and human rights are fundamental values of the European Union and its Member States and have been integral to the process of European integration from the outset,


B.  whereas the basic treaties of the European Union underline a firm commitment to democracy and human rights and the Copenhagen political criteria of 'stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities' have been a key feature of the enlargement process,


C.  whereas the broad understanding of democracy has successfully furthered the integration of political, social and economic rights within the EU and has been of crucial importance in creating stability and prosperity in a manner unprecedented in world history,


D.  whereas Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that one of the key objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy is ‘to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms’,


E.  whereas democratic systems may vary in form and shape, as is the case within the EU, but democracy is a universal value and its essential principles or elements are enshrined in numerous international declarations and conventions. These elements, as defined by two UN General Assembly resolutions in 2000 and 2005 (A/RES/55/96 & A/RES/59/201), include:


· respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms - inter alia, freedom of association     and peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of opinion

· the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen       representatives, to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic free elections by universal   and equal suffrage and by secret ballot guaranteeing the free expression of the will of   the people

· a pluralistic system of political parties and organisations

· respect for the rule of law

· the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary

· transparency and accountability in public administration

· free, independent and pluralistic media,


F.  whereas, as stated in the Millennium Declaration, democratic and participatory governance based on the will of the people can best assure the right of men and women to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice,


G.  whereas the ability of men and women to participate on equal terms in political life and in decision making is a prerequisite of genuine democracy,


H.  whereas democracy, development and respect for all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, are interdependent and mutually reinforcing,


I.  whereas democracy is also clearly linked to security, as recognised by the European Security Strategy, which states that 'spreading good governance, supporting social and political reform, dealing with corruption and abuse of power, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights are the best means of strengthening the international order',


J.  whereas the European Union has at its disposal a wide range of instruments and tools, from political dialogue and diplomatic initiatives to specific instruments of financial and technical cooperation, to support democracy worldwide,


K.  whereas the European Union external financial instruments, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and the Instrument for Stability (IfS), all provide significant possibilities for democratic governance and institutional and capacity-building support,


L.  whereas the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a key financial-assistance instrument in the field of human rights and democracy, being global in scope and capable of working without host-country consent in direct support of civil-society organisations, and whereas EU election observation missions, financed by the EIDHR, are an essential part of the EU contribution to democratic institution building,


M.  whereas civil society can play an important role in the Union's external democracy-building efforts, as shown by the contribution of volunteers to peace and democracy-building programmes;


N.  whereas there is a need for a better overview of the democracy support currently provided by the EU, of how effectively the EU's large arsenal of tools and instruments for supporting democracy worldwide delivers in partner countries, and of how the different instruments and actors operate and connect,


O.  whereas the 2004 EP report on the Commission's Communication on Governance and Development stressed ‘the importance of pursuing electoral and parliamentary reforms, beyond the establishment of multi-party electoral systems, to ensure more extensive and effective political activity among the population’(1),


1. Shares the view that a more coherent and uniform framework is needed to make EU support for democracy building, and above all the promotion of democratic values and respect for human rights, more effective throughout the world;


2. Welcomes the efforts by former and current EU Presidencies regarding a cross-pillar initiative on democracy building in EU external actions, with the aim of refining the relevant policy and reinforcing its implementation and the coordination of effort, and underlines the need for sustained action in this field, to be reflected in the Council conclusions to be adopted in November 2009;


3. Recommends that the Council conclusions include concrete and practical suggestions for improving coordination of democracy support in the EU foreign, human rights and development policy instruments;


4. Reiterates that democratisation and good governance are not only ends in themselves, but also vital for poverty reduction, sustainable development, peace and stability. Democracy, as demonstrated by the EU internal integration progress, helps to deliver not only political and civil rights but also economic, cultural and social rights, including solidarity;


5. Considers that the embedding of democracy and democratic processes in third countries offers the best prospects for developing effective policies on global issues which are also of concern to EU citizens and points out that democratic systems can, for instance, more effectively combat transnational crime, illegal immigration and trafficking, protect the environment, maintain an open global trading system and secure sustainable and competitive energy supplies;


6. Recommends that, in order to strengthen concerted worldwide action to promote democracy, the EU should publicly endorse the 2005 UN General Assembly’s democracy definition as the reference point for its own democratisation work;


7. Stresses that democracy cannot be exported or imposed from the outside and underlines the EU's continued commitment to the principles of ownership of development strategies and programmes by partner countries, while recognising that these processes can be supported by the full range of EU instruments, adapted to the specific situation of each country;


8. Proposes that the Council and the Commission proceed with a comprehensive and detailed analysis of all EU democracy support in a sample of partner countries, thus enabling practical recommendations to be brought forward;


9. Recommends that the Council and the Commission implement the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action on Aid Effectiveness in their democracy-support work and suggests, in particular, that joint EU democracy assessments and joint EU programming and burden sharing be introduced in order to increase the impact and visibility of EU democracy-support work;


10. Suggests that the Commission should systematically include a state-of-democracy section in Country Strategy Papers and, wherever appropriate, should mainstream democracy support in cooperation programmes with partner countries;


11. Underlines the need for better coordination of the activities carried out under the various external financial instruments and a full exploration of complementarity between geographical and thematic instruments;


12. Urges the Council and Commission to carry out broad-based, comprehensive consultation with all EU and third-country stakeholders, including institutional and regional and local actors, before launching new democracy-building initiatives;


13. Encourages the Commission to engage democratic institutions, and particularly parliaments, more systematically in the preparation and implementation of country-specific instruments such as agreements between the EU and the country concerned and Country Strategy Papers;


14. Requests that the Commission consider the establishment of a volunteer European Peace Corps, while taking into account the positive experience of the European Voluntary Service (EVS);


15. Underlines the need for EU democracy support to be comprehensive, addressing all issues covered by the UN General Assembly's 2005 resolution, and to take a long-term approach in its delivery;


16. Welcomes the positive contribution made by EU election observation missions in strengthening democratic processes, enhancing respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, good governance and the rule of law, and, in particular, in reinforcing electoral processes around the world, but stresses the need to ensure a coherent post-electoral policy, whereby development support is consistent with democratic principles and democratic governance values;


17. Stresses that EU democracy-building efforts should more systematically include a special focus on the roles of elected representatives, political parties and independent media;


18. Recommends the introduction of a specific strategy to support newly and democratically elected parliaments with a view to permanently entrenching democracy, the rule of law and good governance;


19. Confirms its own determination to contribute to the reinforcement of democratic processes by enhancing its involvement in election observation, follow-up to EU election observation missions and parliamentary capacity building through its Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD);


20. Encourages Commission delegations to partner with the OPPD when considering or initiating parliamentary support programmes;


21. Stresses that, in setting up the future European Service for External Action and the strategy for its work, the importance of the promotion of democratic values and respect for human rights outside the EU should be observed;


22. Recommends that an action plan should form part of the November Council conclusions and that a review of progress should be scheduled by the end of 2010;


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



Last updated: 18 May 2010Legal notice