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REPORT     ***I
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20 April 2004
PE 326.822 A5-0279/2004
on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 975/1999 laying down the requirements for the implementation of development cooperation operations which contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms
(COM(2003) 639 – C5‑0507/2003 – 2003/0250(COD))
Committee on Development and Cooperation
Rapporteur: Fernando Fernández Martín
PROCEDURAL PAGE
 DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETS

PROCEDURAL PAGE

By letter of 28 October 2003 the Commission submitted to Parliament, pursuant to Articles 251(2), 179(1) and 181a(2) of the EC Treaty, the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 975/1999 laying down the requirements for the implementation of development cooperation operations which contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and regulation (EC) No 976/1999 laying down the requirements for the implementation of Community operations, which, within the framework of Community cooperation policy, contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in third countries (COM(2003) 639 - 2003/0250(COD)).

At the sitting of 5 November 2003 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred the proposal to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy as the committee responsible and to the Committee on Development and Cooperation and the Committee on Budgets for their opinions (C5‑0507/2003).

At the sitting of 18 December 2003 the President of Parliament announced that the Committee on Development and Cooperation would be involved in drawing up the report under Rule 162a.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence policy had appointed Edward H.C. McMillan-Scott rapporteur at its meeting of 8 July 2003.

By letters of 13 and 18 February 2004, the Council informed Parliament about its decision to separate the initial Commission proposal into two separate legislative procedures (2003/0250(COD) and 2004/0807(CNS)).

On 1 April 2004, the Conference of Presidents of the Parliament decided to refer the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) n° 975/1999 (2003/0250(COD) to the Committee on Development and Cooperation as the committee responsible and to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy and the Committee on Budgets for their opinion. The proposal for a European Parliament and Council Regulation n° 976/1999 had been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence policy (2004/0807(CNS).

The Committee on Development and Cooperation appointed Fernando Fernández Martín rapporteur at its meeting of 19 April 2004.

At its meeting of 19 April 2004 the Committee on Development and Cooperation considered the proposal and draft report.

At this meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution unanimously with one abstention.

The following were present for the vote: Margrietus J. van den Berg (acting chairman), Fernando Fernández Martín (rapporteur), John Alexander Corrie, Nirj Deva, Concepció Ferrer (for Jean-Pierre Bebear), Glenys Kinnock, Edward H.C. McMillan-Scott (for John Bowis), Emilio Menéndez del Valle (for Francisca Sauquillo Pérez del Arco), Hans Modrow, Ulla Margrethe Sandbæk, Michel-Ange Scarbonchi (for Yasmine Boudjenah), Maj Britt Theorin, Elena Valenciano Martínez-Orozco (for Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez), Anne E.M. Van Lancker (for Karin Junker) and Jürgen Zimmerling.

The opinion of the Committee on Budgets is attached. The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy decided on 5 April 2004 not to deliver an opinion.

The report was tabled on 20 April 2004.


DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 975/1999 laying down the requirements for the implementation of development cooperation operations which contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms

(COM(2003) 639 – C5‑0507/2003 – 2003/0250(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2003) 639)(1),

–   having regard to Articles 251(2), 179(1) and 181a(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C5‑0507/2003),

–   having regard to Rule 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and Cooperation and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A5‑0279/2004),

1.   Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendments by Parliament
Amendment 1
ARTICLE 1, POINT 1
Article 4, paragraph 1

1.   The partners eligible for financing under this Regulation are regional and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, national, regional and local authorities and official agencies, community-based organisations and public or private-sector institutes and operators. In duly justified cases natural persons are eligible for financing under this Regulation.

1.   The partners eligible for financing under this Regulation are regional and international organisations, non-governmental organisations, national, regional and local authorities and official agencies, community-based organisations and public or private-sector institutes and operators. In the case of EU election observation missions and "amicus curiae" proceedings natural persons are eligible for financing under this regulation.

Justification

In order to achieve greater legal clarity and in line with the new Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general Budget of the European Communities,1(2) the Council proposes to specify the cases where natural persons are eligible for financing under this regulation.

Amendment 1
ARTICLE 1, POINT 5
Article 11, paragraph 1 (Regulation (EC) No 975/1999)

1.   The Commission shall adopt the framework for the programming and identification of Community activities.

1.   The Commission shall produce an annual report setting out programming for the coming year by region and by sector, then report back on the implementation to the European Parliament.

The framework shall consist, in particular, of

The Commission shall be responsible for managing and adapting, in conformity with the regulation and according to the necessities of flexibility, the annual work programmes that were defined in the overall framework of the multiannual setting. The decisions made shall reflect the priorities and major concerns of the European Union for the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and be determined by the unique nature of the programmes. The Commission shall keep the European Parliament fully informed of the management and adaptation processes.

(a)   multiannual indicative programmes and annual updates of these programmes,

 

(b)   annual work programmes.

 

In particular situations, specific measures not covered by an annual work programme may be approved.

 
Or.   es

(1)Not yet published in OJ.
(2)   OJ L 248 of 16.9.2002.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Our committee has been asked to draw up a report on the regulation which underpins the EU’s human rights activities and action within the framework of development cooperation. The issue is development cooperation operations which contribute to the general of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The report forms part of the co-decision procedure; the current regulation is to be extended (in order to take account of the financial perspective, which runs to 2006) and adapted, in technical terms, to the new Financial Regulation.

The Committee on Development and Cooperation considers that the multi-annual indicative programmes and the general establishment of priorities should be agreed in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251 of the Treaty. The Commission will be responsible for administering and adapting (in accordance with the flexibility requirements) the annual work programmes which have been drawn up as part of the multi-annual indicative programmes. The decisions adopted will reflect the EU's foreign-policy and security priorities and will be determined in accordance with the special nature of the programmes. The Commission will keep Parliament fully informed regarding the administration and adaptation processes.

Provisions shall be made, subject to a feasibility study by independent experts, for the creation by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of specific institutional mechanisms to allow greater involvement of civil society and NGOs, whose primary purpose would be the promotion of democracy and of human rights.

Operations undertaken within the framework of this Regulation, which is also known as the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, are politically highly sensitive, particularly in view of the fact that this is the sole programme for which the agreement of the national authorities of the countries in which these operations are being carried out is not necessary.

The instrument is ill-adapted to the realities with which it deals and is leading to a considerable inflation in project costs without any noticeable commensurate improvement in quality. Commission's officials themselves recognise impeding themselves from entering into serious negotiations with potential beneficiaries by the "take it or leave it" nature of these calls. While transparency is of course to be welcomed, the present procedure has led to task managers becoming mere instruments in following a frustrating, time-consuming and inefficient selection procedure without being able to monitor the projects selected."

The point has been reached where the average size of the projects financed renders it very difficult for an average (or even way above average) NGO in an African country to become a beneficiary. The criteria on financial stability are certainly necessary but we should be aware that this will rule out many potential beneficiaries. The micro-projects facility is intended to remedy this but still leaves a "no man's land" between € 50,000 and € 300,000."

It therefore strikes us as inconceivable that Parliament should not be associated either with establishing the priorities, or with choosing the countries targeted, or the general programming, whether pluri-annual or multiannual.


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON BUDGETS

21 January 2004

for the Committee on Development and Cooperation

on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation on amending Regulation (EC) No 975/1999 laying down the requirements for the implementation of development cooperation operations which contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms

(COM(2003) 639 – C5-0507/03 – 2003/0250(COD))

Draftsman: Gianfranco Dell'Alba

PROCEDURE

The Committee on Budgets appointed Gianfranco Dell'Alba draftsman at its meeting of 26 November 2003.

It considered the draft opinion at its meeting of 21 January 2004.

At the last meeting it adopted the following amendments unanimously.

The following were present for the vote: Terence Wynn (chairman), Reimer Böge (vice-chairman), Anne Elisabet Jensen (vice-chairwoman), Franz Turchi (vice-chairman), Gianfranco Dell'Alba (draftsman), Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg, Joan Colom i Naval, Gianfranco Dell'Alba (for Wolfgang Ilgenfritz), Den Dover, Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop, Catherine Guy-Quint, Wilfried Kuckelkorn, Edward H.C. McMillan-Scott, Juan Andrés Naranjo Escobar, Joaquim Piscarreta, Guido Podestà, Kyösti Tapio Virrankoski and Ralf Walter.

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Context

The Commission has presented a proposal to extend the validity of the two regulations for specific actions in the field democracy and human rights (often referred to as "the European Initiative for Human Rights and Democracy" or "EIHRD".

These are Council regulations 975/1999 (concerning "developing countries") and 976/1999 (concerning "third countries").

These two regulations are valid until 31 December 2004. The proposal for an amending regulation would extend the validity until 31 December 2006, in line with the current financial perspectives.

Although the two base regulations were originally adopted under different procedures, and are covered by different Treaty articles, it should be noted that the Commission has chosen to present one single proposal (for reasons of coherence) for the amending regulation now considered, which is presented under the co-decision procedure.

Budgetary aspects

Both of the base regulations contain "financial reference amounts", for their original duration as follows:

Regulation 975/1999: € 260 million for 1999-2004 (43,3 million/year)

Regulation 976/1999: € 150 million for 1999-2004 (25 million/year).

However, it should be noted that, as these programmes were not adopted in co-decision, these reference amounts have not been binding in the sense of article 33 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999.

This is also clearly reflected in the fact that the budgetary authority has adopted considerably higher amounts in the annual budgetary procedure. For the budget lines covered by the proposal (both regulations combined), the situation for the last two years is as follows:

€ million

Budget 2003

Budget 2004

19 04 03 ( B7-7010)

Development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law-Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

94

110,5

19 01 04 11 (B7-7010A)

as above- administrative management

5

7

19 04 04 (B7-702)

International Criminal Court

7

7

Total

106

124,5

It can be seen that, although the existing reference amounts only indicate a funding of € 68,3 million /year, the actual allocations granted through the budget are far greater. This is of course even more so following the big increase agreed for this area in the 2004 procedure.

The Commission has now proposed to put in new financial reference amounts as follows:

Regulation 975/1999: € 134 million for 2005-2006 (67 million/year)

Regulation 976/1999: € 78 million for 2005-2006 (39 million/year)

These amounts are thus exactly the same as the level of the 2003 budget and the draftsman therefore considers that they are compatible with the existing financial ceiling (Am. 1).

If the financial amounts are changed during the legislative procedure, the Budgets Committee should be re-consulted before the report goes to plenary (Rule 63a of EP Rules of Procedure).

Because the level of the 2004 budget is presently higher than the legislative amounts being proposed, the draftsman believes that an important aspect is to make sure that the final text adopted by Parliament does not contradict or make impossible the current budgetary levels.

The situation may seem rather complicated as one of the areas covered by these regulations (developing countries) is now covered by co-decision under the Treaty, whereas the other one (third countries) is still not.

Nevertheless, since the Commission has presented one single amending regulation, in co-decision, it could arguably be assumed that any amounts agreed would now be binding on the budgetary authority within the meaning of article 33 of the IIA. However, the Commission seems to be of the opinion that the financial reference for the "third countries" regulation would be agreed within the meaning of article 34 of the IIA (not binding).

In any case, irrespective of the rather complicated legal situation due to the "hybrid" nature of the single proposal, these amounts would certainly be politically binding in their current form.

The draftsman feels, therefore, that the paragraph on the financial reference amount for "third countries" should not be adopted as worded by the Commission, as this would risk locking in the Human Rights Initiative at a level which does not correspond to the budgetary possibilities.

But, at the same time, considering the volatile situation in the external field (and the reduction of the ceiling due to the annual technical adjustment for 2005), the draftsman is not in a position to endorse the legislation of considerably higher amounts either. This could risk having a negative knock-on effect on other policies under heading 4.

The draftsman strongly believes in the importance of the European Initiative for Human Rights and, as a solution, he therefore recommends that the legislative paragraph on the financial reference amount for "third countries" is modified to make sure that the level indicated for this part of the EU's programme (not currently covered by co-decision under the Treaty) is considered as a minimum rather than being binding (Am. 2).

In this way, Parliament can grant additional allocations in the budgetary procedure as and when circumstances allow. This is exactly what happened in the 2004 procedure when an overall increase of € 18 million was agreed.

For the part concerning "developing countries" (an area now covered by co-decision) the draftsman assumes that there is no ambiguity and that the amount would be binding within the meaning of article 33 of the IIA.

The draftsman also asks the Commission to clarify from where funding for budget line

19 04 02 (ex. B5-813) "Support for the victims of human rights abuses" will be taken. This line under heading 3 of the budget (internal actions) has € 7 million in 2004 and has, as far as the draftsman is aware, the same legal base. Why is not this line mentioned in the financial statement of the amending regulation? Does it mean that it will now be financed in another way? Is it or is it not included in the amounts proposed?

In line with the traditional view of the Budgets Committee as concerns comitology, the draftsman has introduced amendments (3 and 4) for the advisory procedure in order to cut down on bureaucracy and red tape.

Finally, two identical amendments (5 and 6), one for each regulation, are introduced to reflect an additional element, which was already included by the Parliament in the budgetary remarks to this chapter for 2004.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Development and Cooperation, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

AMENDMENT TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Amendment 1
[The European Parliament]
Considers that the financial statement of the Commission proposal is compatible with the ceiling of heading 4 of the Financial Perspective without restricting other policies

Text proposed by the Commission(1)

Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 3
ARTICLE 1, POINT 6
Article 13, paragraph 2 (Regulation (EC) 975/1999)

"2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 4 and 7 of Council Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

"2. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 3 and 7 of Council Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.

The period laid down in Article 4 (3) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be set at 30 days.”

 
Amendment 5
ARTICLE 1, POINT 1 a (new)
Article 2, paragraph 2 h (new) (Regulation (EC) 975/1999)
 

The following sentence is added after paragraph 2 (g)

 

"(h) support for efforts to foster the establishment of groupings of democratic countries within United Nations bodies, specialised agencies and regional organisations.

(1)

Last updated: 22 April 2004Legal notice