Procedure : 2009/2219(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0312/2010

Texts tabled :

A7-0312/2010

Debates :

PV 24/11/2010 - 20
CRE 24/11/2010 - 20

Votes :

PV 25/11/2010 - 8.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0434

REPORT     
PDF 277kWORD 167k
8 November 2010
PE 445.733v02-00 A7-0312/2010

on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

(2009/2219(INI))

Committee on International Trade

Rapporteur: Tokia Saïfi

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

(2009/2219(INI))

The European Parliament,

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

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

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

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

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

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

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2001 on openness and democracy in international trade(2) calling for the WTO to respect the fundamental social standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the EU’s acceptance of the ILO’s decisions, including any calls for sanctions in connection with serious breaches of fundamental social standards,

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 April 2002 on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament on the European Union’s role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries (COM(2001)0252)(3),

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

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2005 on the social dimension of globalisation(4),

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

–    having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 June 2010 on child labour(6),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 on fair trade and development(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2007 on ‘Global Europe: external aspects of competitiveness’(8) in response to the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘Global Europe: Competing in the World. A contribution to the EU’s Growth and Jobs Strategy’ (COM(2006)0567),

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

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

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all(9), calling for the promotion of decent work through inclusion of social standards in EU trade agreements, particularly bilateral agreements,

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

–   having regard to the Brussels Convention of 1968, as consolidated by Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters(10),

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

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

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

–   having regard to its resolutions on economic partnership agreements with ACP regions and countries, and particularly those of 26 September 2002(11), 23 May 2007(12) and 12 December 2007(13),

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human rights and social and environmental standards in multilateral trade relations

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

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

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

a)  to this end calls for the ILO to be granted official observer status in the WTO and the right to speak at WTO ministerial conferences;

b)  proposes setting up a committee on trade and decent work within the WTO, on the lines of the Committee on Trade and Environment; and insists that both committees are given a clearly defined remit, and have tangible influence;

c)  proposes that relevant cases where a breach of international labour conventions is involved in a trade dispute could be referred to the ILO as well as to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

d)  proposes that, when a WTO member state considers that a decision by the dispute settlement body calls into question ILO decisions on compliance with labour conventions, there should be an appeal route to the ILO;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human rights and social and environmental standards in bilateral trade agreements

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

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

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

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

a)   a list of minimum standards that must be respected by all the EU’s trading partners; from a social viewpoint, these standards must correspond to the ILO’s eight Core Labour Standards as listed in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles (1998); in addition to these eight Core Standards, there are the four ILO Priority Conventions for the industrialised countries; with regard to the environment and respect for human rights, the minimum standard must correspond to the list of conventions on the environment and the principles of good governance as set out in the European regulation on the scheme of generalised tariff preferences;

b)    a list of other conventions that should be implemented gradually and flexibly, taking account of developments in the economic, social and environmental situation of the partner concerned; from a social viewpoint, the ultimate objective must be geared to full implementation of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda;

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

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

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

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

a)  notes the use of impact studies on sustainable development but considers that they should also be carried out before, during and after the negotiations, to ensure continuing evaluation; also points out the importance of acting in full on their results; also considers that the negotiators should take more account of the priorities and concerns that emerge from these impact studies;

b)  asks the Commission to carry out impact studies on human rights in addition to those on sustainable development, with comprehensible trade indicators based on human rights and on environmental and social standards;

c)  calls on both parties to submit regular reports on the general progress of implementation of all the commitments made under the agreement;

d)   asks the Commission to ensure that partner countries’ parliaments are involved in trade negotiations, with a view to enhancing governance and democratic scrutiny in developing countries;

e)  underlines the importance of public involvement at all stages of the negotiations and follow-up to the agreement, and to this end calls for sustainable development fora or advisory groups to be set up to allow the social partners and representatives of independent civil society to be consulted;

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

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

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

a)   a complaints procedure open to the social partners,

b)   appeals to an independent body to settle disputes relating to social and environmental problems speedily and effectively, such as panels of experts selected by both parties on the basis of their expertise in human rights, labour law and environmental law, and whose recommendations would have to form part of a well-defined process, with implementing provisions,

c)   recourse to a dispute settlement mechanism on an equal footing with the other parts of the agreement, with provision for fines to improve the situation in the sectors concerned, or at least a temporary suspension of certain trade benefits provided for under the agreement, in the event of an aggravated breach of these standards;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(1)

       OJ C 320, 28.10.1996, p. 261.

(2)

       JO C 112 E, 9.5.2002, p. 326.

(3)

       OJ C 131 E, 5.6.2003. p. 147. p. 147.

(4)

       OJ C 280E, 18.11.2006, p. 65

(5)

      OJ C 157E, 6.7.2006, p.84

(6)

       Council conclusions of 14.6.2010 on child labour, 10937/1/10

(7)

       OJ C 303E, 13.12.2006, p.865

(8)

       OJ C 102E, 24.4.2008, p.128

(9)

       OJ C 102E, 24.4.2008, p.321

(10)

      OJ L 12, 16.1.2001, p. 1.

(11)

      OJ C 273E, 14.11.2003, p.305

(12)

      OJ C 102E, 24.4.2008, p.128

(13)

      OJ C 323E, 18.12.2008, p.361


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The inclusion of the human rights cause or the application of social and environmental standards in trade negotiations are complex problems which divide the international community. On the one hand, the North denounces the social and environmental dumping practised by the emerging countries, which distorts trade competition; on the other hand, the South suspects the North of wanting to impede their economic development and, through application of these standards, to exercise a form of disguised protectionism.

It is understandable, therefore, that calm discussion of the question of standards is extremely difficult within multilateral bodies, and even more so within the WTO, while the social clause is appearing more and more frequently in bilateral trade agreements.

What is currently being observed is a growing imbalance between the rules of international trade and the other standards of international law, and it is therefore necessary to open up new ways of thinking in an attempt in particular to achieve genuine coordination between the international organisations WTO and ILO.

The European Union has a key role in this quest for a new world governance and to this end must encourage consistency in the policies adopted by international institutions.

At a time when it is reviewing its trade strategy, the European Union should ask itself, in the light of this observation, what kind of trade policy it wants to adopt. If it actually wants to send a clear message against protectionism, it must also ensure that international trade is fair and its benefits are mutual.

The EU, through its policies and particularly its trade policy, must uphold its commercial interests while complying with and ensuring that others comply with its standards and values.

It is this thought that should help the various European institutions to launch and conduct a new trade policy, an ambitious policy based on firmness and dialogue.

We should not forget that European industries and businesses are bound in Europe by strict social and environmental rules. If the European Union complies with binding standards, it must also be able to require the same from its trading partners and particularly from emerging countries, and insist on quality and sustainability, particularly for food products coming into its territory, in order to preserve fair and equitable trade.

In this sense, the European single market’s tough rules on health, safety, the environment and protection of workers and consumers are a specific European model which should serve as an inspiration at international level and in multilateral fora and be reflected in the current negotiations on bilateral trade agreements. The EU would then have a more global assurance that the external policies that it applies through its trade and development policies make an effective contribution to social development in the non-member states with which it trades.

Working out a response to this issue and putting forward some proposals would thus help the public to take back ownership, in a positive way, of EU trade policy (in a context where trade negotiations are rejected or feared) and contribute to the debate on level playing field conditions for trade. As we know, openness in trade is accepted and experienced as positive by society on condition that it contributes to improving the standard of living. Similarly, the increase of trade and liberalisation are well received as long as they do not jeopardise social and environmental rights. The European Union must therefore find a balance between restrictive and liberal approaches to trade and a compromise between defending its commercial interests and requiring respect for universal values, such as the application of binding social and environmental standards.

To try to achieve this compromise, the Union must set up a dialogue with its partners and find common ground with regard to its values. Through this effort to be transparent and hold a dialogue in the light of the new powers that the Lisbon Treaty has given it, the European Parliament has a key role to play. In this way it must confer a political and moral mandate on the negotiations. It must also express the fact that the Union has to defend its commercial interests and at the same time state the need for a framework of standards. Parliament must promote open and ‘civic’ discussions. It must be the institution that affirms that respect for human life and decent work is the same everywhere and for everyone and that there is a universal aspect to the significance of environmental and social rights (trade union rights, combating child labour, etc).

As well as the issue discussed above, there are various ways the subject can be treated, at multilateral, bilateral or unilateral level.

I. Human rights and social and environmental standards in multilateral trade relations

As set out above, it is vital to promote consistency in the policies adopted by international institutions and to set up a new world governance coordinated by the World Trade Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and a (future?) World Environment Organisation. We know how difficult it is to include standards that do not belong to the field of trade in international trade regulations. Thus, it is perhaps more specifically by stepping up the dialogue with the ILO that certain fundamentals linked to respect for social standards can be taken into account. To this end the role of the ILO should be reinforced and it should also have a standards interpretation body. Apart from the fact that universal, mandatory compliance with the main ILO standards is recommended, the ILO should also be referred to on issues of fundamental labour rights in the context of settlement of international disputes, including trade disputes (in the form of preliminary referral by the WTO to the ILO).

Although the issue of trade taking account of social standards is still a minor one, with regard to the environment, the trade measures required by multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) to achieve environmental objectives which are considered ‘legitimate’ by multilateral consensus, and which are not just disguised restrictions on trade, now seem to be considered as part of the exceptions under Article XX of the GATT.

Finally, on the environmental question, a specific world organisation should be set up. If, like the WTO, its mandate is well-defined and clear in relation to the other international organisations, and if it allows it to act on the basis of commonly agreed principles, this organisation, known as the World Environment Organisation, could be responsible for defining and implementing environmental standards. Cases of environmental dumping could be referred to it.

On the human rights question, increased cooperation should finally be set up at multilateral level between the WTO and the main United Nations human rights institutions. The expertise of the High Commissioner’s office could for example be taken into account in WTO panels and its appeals body when serious breaches of human rights are observed.

II. Human rights and social and environmental standards in bilateral trade agreements

The question of compulsory application of these standards in bilateral trade agreements is particularly sensitive and puts the spotlight on whether the European Union does or does not have the capacity to impose application of and compliance with these standards.

In recently concluded or still ongoing bilateral negotiations, the EU is concerned to include social standards in free trade agreements, but sometimes it comes up against hostility from some countries on the grounds that they would constitute protectionist barriers. The EU is also encountering difficulties with countries which, although they are signatories to the ILO conventions, do not respect trade union rights.

Nevertheless, concrete developments have been seen within free trade agreements (FTAs) with the negotiation of chapters on sustainable development. A basic principle of some FTAs is the parties’ commitment to respect human rights and the development of a sustainable economy based on protection and promotion of workers’ and environmental rights.

However, if these chapters on sustainable development are to be respected by both sides, we must think about setting up mutual surveillance mechanisms and incentives. For example, we might envisage thinking about conditional liberalisation, such as shortening the timetable for abolishing restrictions, or access to an additional market, depending on compliance with a particular social and/or environmental standard. It should also be possible to have a moving indicator of requirements, which would vary according to countries and their economic situation, thus making it possible to include a gradual approach and flexibility in the requirement to comply with social and environmental standards.

Finally and above all there should be more arbitration panels and fora for exchanges of views and dialogue, which would allow civil society to be more involved and in the long term would have a genuine lever effect on the internal policies of partner countries. One possibility is the creation of joint bilateral ‘observatories’ to provide a forum for exchanges of views between the governments, the European Parliament, the social partners and civil society in the wider sense. In conclusion, we must ask the Commission to conduct impact studies on human rights in addition to those on sustainable development, with comprehensible trade indicators based on human rights and environmental and social standards.

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

These instruments make it possible to promote the European Union’s fundamental principles and rights. The GSP, which enables the EU to grant trade preferences unilaterally, has become very bureaucratic, and its criteria for attributing or withdrawing preferences are not very transparent. When reviewing the GSP Regulation, therefore, the EU should be able to target the recipients more precisely, by taking account, for example, of the level of development and by monitoring those countries’ undertakings on issues linked to human rights and environmental and social standards. The Commission could explore the possibility of setting up a cooperation framework between the EU and GSP countries to facilitate investigations and follow-up of disputes, as well as more accompanying measures.


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS (7.10.2010)

for the Committee on International Trade

on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

(2009/2219(INI))

Rapporteur: David Martin

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Points out that economic and social rights have formed an integral part of human rights since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948; considers that it is up to the EU to help implement them in the least-developed and developing countries with which it signs international agreements, including trade agreements;

2.  Calls on the Commission to only conclude trade agreements on condition that these agreements contain clauses relating to democracy and human rights and on social, health and environmental standards; reiterates once more its call to the Commission and the Council to effectively implement clauses already incorporated into international agreements in force and, consequently, to put in place a suitable mechanism in the spirit of Articles 8, 9 and 96 of the Cotonou Agreement;

3.  Calls for all European Union trade negotiations and agreements with third countries to include a human rights clause and a prior impact assessment of the agreements envisaged, taking account of the human rights situation for all parties to these agreements; considers that this analysis must include meetings with defenders of human rights working in the countries in question;

4.  Believes that, especially in the field of human rights, the EU's domestic and external policies must be consistent and at all times respect the principles laid out in Chapter 1 of Title V TEU of democracy, the rule of law and the universality, inalienability and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms; in this regard stresses that the international credibility of the EU as a promoter of human rights is dependant on its ability to ensure EU multinationals respect human rights and social and environmental standards in their overseas activities particularly in developing countries; calls for the prompt implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights - and in turn the European Charter on Fundamental Freedoms; believes that the EU must apply the ECHR in its activities in third countries as recommended by the European Court of Human Rights;

5.  Calls on the Commission as the representative of the Union and the Member States to impress upon the WTO and its members the need to take account of human rights and social, health and environmental standards in the context of trade negotiations, and in particular the negotiation of the Doha agreement, and to see to it in practice that they are applied and promoted in the context of the implementation of trade agreements; calls on the Commission to urge the WTO and its members to admit, as a first step, the delegations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the secretariat of the International Labour Office and the secretariats of multilateral and international environmental agreements as observers;

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

7.  Calls on the Commission to implement Parliament’s resolution of 10 March 2010 on the GSP+ system; asks it, consequently, to develop a more consistent and fairer benchmarking system for all countries that are assisted under the aforementioned system in order to monitor in a clear and transparent fashion, taking account of the different parties’ views, achievements as well as setbacks in the development of social and political human rights, including social, economic, cultural and environmental rights;

8.  Takes the view, however, that one-sided insistence on the application in practice of universal human rights ignores the fact that their implementation also requires funding, which, under the existing conditions, cannot be provided by emerging economy and developing countries alone;

9.  Highlights the fact that the TRIPs agreement is intended to promote the right to health; believes that the EU should ensure that any trade agreement which incorporates ‘TRIP plus' clauses should fully respect human rights and proactively promote the right to health, especially in developing countries;

10. Considers, in this context, that in future legislation Parliament should insist on an arrangement whereby trade advantages, including those stemming from free trade agreements, can be suspended temporarily by the Commission alone if sufficient evidence of human rights or labour rights violations is found, or can be suspended by the High Representative/Vice President or the Commission at the request of a certain number of Member States and/or the European Parliament;

11. Believes that the EU must effectively monitor and enforce the human rights clauses of its trade agreements; highlights the importance of the possibility of temporary or permanent suspension of trade preferences in the event of violations of human, and in particular labour, rights; asks the Commission to provide information on the feasibility of the establishment of a legally binding arbitration body and of the international prosecution of multinationals;

12. Stresses that ways should be found to monitor allegations of serious and systematic violations of human and labour rights more closely; in this context, suggests that consideration might be given to associating EU representatives (as things stand from the Commission, or in future from the EEAS) in investigation missions carried out under UN special procedures where there are implications for EU trade agreements;

13. Draws attention to the fact that, despite the welcome introduction of social, human rights and environmental clauses in international trade agreements, these are minimum requirements and one instrument among others, and stresses that they must absolutely be prevented from being misused in a protectionist way, and therefore an approach to implementing these clauses should be taken which promotes consultation and democratic inclusion of all parties in the decision-making process;

14. Urges the Commission to swiftly table a proposal for a regulation banning the import into the EU of goods produced using modern forms of slavery, forced labour, especially forced labour of particular vulnerable groups, in violation of basic human rights standards; believes that this regulation should refer to the rights outlined in both the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1998 International Labour Organization declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; emphasises that such a regulation would have to enable the EU to investigate specific claims when there seems to be sufficient evidence of a violation of these international standards; in the intervening period before such a regulation comes into force calls on the Commission to reinforce checks on imports and monitor the ethical standards in the supply chain in countries who export to the EU;

15. Calls upon all Member States to implement the Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005(1) of 27 June 2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to make its provisions binding in all international trade agreements;

16. Takes the view that social rights are universal rights, which, however, must not only be proclaimed, but the implementation of which in practice must also be promoted; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to show solidarity and support in particular the poorest countries in the world in implementing these rights;

17. Calls on the Commission to review EU export regulations in the light of the scope for the transfer of technologies built according to European standards, including mobile phones, communication networks and software for Internet scanning and censorship, dual use, data collection and data mining, including data of a personal nature, to repressive regimes; asks the Commission to table a proposal for a regulation on a new licensing system if this review suggests that legislative action is needed;

18. Calls for regular evaluations of human rights commitments provided for in international trade agreements;

19. Calls on the Commission to review the EU export regulations in the field of sale, supply, transfer or export of arms and related materiel of all types, including ammunition, equipment and spare parts, to countries or regimes that are likely to use them for internal repression of civil society and violations of human rights;

20. Calls, in parallel with a commitment to human rights, development aid and international trade agreements, for the regional development process to be strengthened in a sustainable way in accordance with the UN Millennium Development Goals;

21. Encourages EU representatives (as things stand from the Commission, or in the future from the EEAS) to share knowledge on human rights situations with the business community.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

5.10.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

50

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Gabriele Albertini, Bastiaan Belder, Frieda Brepoels, Elmar Brok, Michael Gahler, Marietta Giannakou, Ana Gomes, Andrzej Grzyb, Heidi Hautala, Richard Howitt, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Ioannis Kasoulides, Tunne Kelam, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Andrey Kovatchev, Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler, Vytautas Landsbergis, Krzysztof Lisek, Sabine Lösing, Barry Madlener, Mario Mauro, Kyriakos Mavronikolas, Willy Meyer, Francisco José Millán Mon, Alexander Mirsky, María Muñiz De Urquiza, Norica Nicolai, Raimon Obiols, Kristiina Ojuland, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Alojz Peterle, Libor Rouček, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Nikolaos Salavrakos, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Adrian Severin, Marek Siwiec, Ernst Strasser, Zoran Thaler, Inese Vaidere, Graham Watson, Boris Zala

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Reinhard Bütikofer, Carlo Casini, Nikolaos Chountis, Monica Luisa Macovei, Marietje Schaake, György Schöpflin, Dominique Vlasto

Substitutes under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Marie-Christine Vergiat

(1)

OJ L 200, 30.7.2005, p. 1.


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENT (25.10.2010)

for the Committee on International Trade

on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

(2009/2219(INI))

Rapporteur: Filip Kaczmarek

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Notes that Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU states that ‘The Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries’; points out that, as a result, prior to signing up to any trade agreements, the EU is bound to consider seriously the full range of development impacts, and primarily the eradication of poverty;

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

3.  Regrets that a holistic approach to the way corporations abide by human rights obligations globally is still lacking, which allow certain States and companies to circumvent them; calls on the Commission to take initiatives at the OECD level to rationalise and benchmark private initiatives in the field of corporate social responsibility, notably by establishing a single reference document on the appropriate rules and practices that a socially responsible corporation should follow;

4.  Welcomes free-trade agreements and all efforts to encourage trade with and between developing countries as a reliable route towards solid, sustainable development; particularly encourages regional free-trade areas as a means to promote, through tariff reductions, trade between developing countries, whilst respecting WTO rules;

5.  Notes that in many developing countries fisheries, particularly small-scale fishing, and related industries play a vital role in ensuring food security, creating jobs, generating government revenues and exports and maintaining local communities; considers it essential that the interests of the local population and their sovereign rights over natural resources are taken into account; is concerned that illegal fishing can contribute to migration and seriously undermine sustainable development; emphasises therefore the fact that EU fisheries agreements with developing countries help foster domestic fishing industries, (focusing in particular on small and medium-sized fishing operators and firms), monitor fish stocks, combat overfishing and illegal fishing, protect biodiversity and support and foster improvements in hygiene and health standards;

6.  Calls on the EU actively to promote corporate social responsibility through its trade agreements, with a view to a more ethical global trading environment in social and environmental terms;

7.  Urges the Commission to insist on respect for ILO core labour standards as a precondition for entering into trade agreements and to encourage widespread adherence to schemes which protect workers’ rights and the environment, such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative or the Kimberly process in the diamond industry; welcomes in this context the adoption of the new US ‘Conflict Minerals’ Law and requests the Commission and the Council to examine a legislative initiative on this line;

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

9.  Notes that, whilst the effects of climate change are felt primarily in developing countries, industrialised nations should bear the main brunt of the responsibility for this phenomenon; considers therefore that the EU’s trading relationships must not only avoid causing environmental damage but should actively contribute to sustainable development worldwide;

10. Highlights the vast disparities between developed economies and the poorest nations in terms of capacity and potential; calls therefore for the Commission to better reflect the needs of the ACP countries in its approach to negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements, and ensuring that countries preferring not to sign EPAs are not penalised as a result;

11. Calls on the Commission to make better use of the conditionality mechanisms present in instruments like GSP and the Cotonou Agreement to enforce human rights; urges the Commission to upgrade its support in third countries regarding the development of judicial institutions capable of holding corporations accountable for human rights violations;

12. Asks the Commission to ensure that partner countries’ parliaments are involved in trade negotiations, with a view to enhancing governance and democratic scrutiny in developing countries.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

25.10.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

15

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Michael Cashman, Nirj Deva, Leonidas Donskis, Catherine Grèze, Eva Joly, Filip Kaczmarek, Franziska Keller, Gay Mitchell, Bill Newton Dunn, Birgit Schnieber-Jastram

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Eduard Kukan, Judith Sargentini, Horst Schnellhardt, Patrizia Toia

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Paul Rübig


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (3.5.2010)

for the Committee on International Trade

on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

(2009/2219(INI))

Rapporteur: Richard Howitt

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Calls on the European Union to uphold the principles of managed and fair trade, which have characterised the development of its own countries and of successful developing countries, including the Asian tigers, rejecting protectionism or any attempt to undermine the legitimate comparative advantages of developing countries that do not undermine human, labour and trade union rights, but applying a different interpretation of WTO Article XXIV than at present to allow for the exemption of vulnerable manufacturing and other sectors from trade agreements where this is justified;

2.  Confirms that all trade agreements must require all parties to have ratified, implemented and effectively applied the core conventions of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles, and that the Sustainable Development chapter has the same binding status as the market access provisions and is subject to the same dispute-settlement mechanism;

3.  Insists that, whilst working effectively with the ILO and other treaty bodies, the Commission should continue to meet its responsibility to evaluate the impact of trade negotiations on social, environmental and human rights, paying particular attention to the promotion of decent work for all, and to consult trade unions as recognised social partners, and environmental and social NGOs from the EU and third countries in a transparent manner at all stages throughout the process of negotiating and implementing trade agreements, guaranteeing them a clear right to raise concerns or objections for consideration and action by the Commission itself;

4.  Calls for future trade agreements and the GSP+ regulation revision to overcome existing weaknesses in consistency, transparency and procedural fairness by applying transparent criteria and benchmarks concerning labour, environmental and human rights compliance in partner countries, including any specific recommendations for improvements, where necessary;

5.  Welcomes the use of Sustainability Impact Assessments, but deplores failures to act fully on their findings, as in west Africa, the Mediterranean countries and Colombia and the wider American regions; calls for greater emphasis on using the EU’s leverage to pursue concrete improvements in respect for human rights, labour standards, sustainable development and good governance, in advance of the finalisation of trade agreements, as well as during their subsequent implementation;

6.  Recognises that current and future trade agreements are being negotiated in the context of an economic depression which is projected to increase the number of people unemployed in OECD countries by eight million in two years; that off-shoring accounts for a high proportion of job losses, for example in Ireland and Portugal (one in four), Denmark (one in six) and Estonia and Slovenia (one in seven); and that EU trade policy should seek to prevent a disproportionate or over-rapid decline in EU market share and employment levels in any given sector and, where appropriate, ensure greater market access for EU exporters; calls for trade agreements to be concluded in the light of the scope for the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund to provide adequate levels of assistance towards consequential restructuring;

7.  Calls on the EU’s trade negotiations to promote obligations as well as rights for investors and businesses, as laid down in the ‘Heiligendamm Process’, initiated by the former German Presidency with the ILO, OECD and UN; points out that, in keeping with the new rules on responsible investment based on the relevant provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, the Sustainable Development chapter must incorporate all rules on investments laid down in FTAs; takes the view that all trade agreements must require compliance with the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, the UN Global Compact and the Recommendations of the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights;

8.  Calls for complaints about social problems to be the subject of genuinely independent expert decisions involving representative workers’ and community organisations; at least one of the experts involved should come from the ILO; their recommendations must be part of a defined process which makes for suitably rapid treatment of the issues raised, such that the experts’ deliberations are not limited to the issuing of reports and recommendations, but result in ongoing follow-up and review provisions, particularly in order to maintain pressure on any governments that allow violations of workers’ rights on their territories;

9.  Insists that any inclusion in trade agreements of ‘Mode IV’ on temporary movement of labour should be made subject to compliance with core labour standards, including rules concerning period of stay, minimum wages and collective wage agreements, national labour standards, and collective agreements in partner countries;

10. Calls for the EU to support the extension of the WTO trade policy review mechanism to cover the trade-related aspects of sustainable development, including compliance with core labour standards, and the amendment of the ‘Definition of a Subsidy’ in the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures with a view to ensuring compliance with core labour standards and respect for human rights in export-processing zones; calls also for the EU’s Geneva Delegation to revive and maintain the ‘friends of labour’ informal grouping it established to promote labour standards in the WTO;

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

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

28.4.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

21

3

Members present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Edit Bauer, Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Pervenche Berès, Mara Bizzotto, Martin Callanan, David Casa, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Philip Claeys, Derek Roland Clark, Sergio Gaetano Cofferati, Marije Cornelissen, Tadeusz Cymański, Frédéric Daerden, Proinsias De Rossa, Sari Essayah, João Ferreira, Pascale Gruny, Thomas Händel, Marian Harkin, Roger Helmer, Stephen Hughes, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Ádám Kósa, Jean Lambert, Veronica Lope Fontagné, Olle Ludvigsson, Elizabeth Lynne, Thomas Mann, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Csaba Őry, Siiri Oviir, Rovana Plumb, Konstantinos Poupakis, Sylvana Rapti, Licia Ronzulli, Elisabeth Schroedter, Jutta Steinruck, Traian Ungureanu

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Raffaele Baldassarre, Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova, Véronique Mathieu, Gesine Meissner, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Evelyn Regner, Csaba Sógor, Emilie Turunen, Gabriele Zimmer


OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY (28.4.2010)

for the Committee on International Trade

on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements

(2009/2219(INI))

Rapporteur: Thomas Ulmer

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Takes the view that measures concerning compliance with important environment and human health standards, and with standards on some aspects of veterinary health, should be taken in the context of international trade agreements;

2.  Recognises that international trade agreements can encourage improvements in environmental and human rights standards through binding commitments, provided that such commitments are properly implemented, monitored and enforced;

3.  Urges the Commission to work towards the contractual definition of environmental, human rights and health standards in bilateral trade agreements including those it is currently negotiating with South Korea, Peru, Colombia, India, the ACP countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and a range of countries participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), with specific attention to workers’ rights and the protection of children and women and as well as to climate change standards, product safety and consumer information;

4.  Notes that climate change measures and policies increasingly intersect with international trade, and calls on the World Trade Organization to further include the issue of climate change as part of its work programme and to define specific rules and standards in this regard;

5.  Takes the view that the World Trade Organisation should monitor the implementation of compliance with obligations in this area, and insists that the Commission, as the representative of the European Union at the World Trade Organization, should be closely involved in this monitoring;

6.  Calls for the harmonisation of environmental standards and health requirements as an ultimate goal to be achieved at global level and insists on the necessity to develop and improve such standards at regional level when implementing international trade agreements;

7.  Considers that respect for environmental, social and health standards should be a precondition for international trade negotiations;

8.  Calls for the introduction of an arbitration body with binding powers;

9.  Advocates the granting of preferences to threshold countries provided that they demonstrate a determination to comply with European social environmental and health standards; defines ‘threshold countries’ as countries which no longer display all the typical characteristics of developing countries and for which it can be assumed that the dynamism of economic activity will enable these countries to overcome the typical structural characteristics of a developing country in the foreseeable future;

10. Insists that the Commission call on the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in the event of disputes, not to act solely on the basis of trade policy considerations; considers that the admissibility of cross-border environmental and health protection measures should not depend on whether the WTO considers that such intervention would lead to distortions of free trade;

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

12. Recognises that high standards of environmental protection and labour rights in the EU can create a competitive disadvantage for European companies competing with products and services from third countries with lower standards in this area; considers that improvement and enforcement of these standards in third countries through conditions attached to international trade agreements would create fairer competition for European companies, whilst also improving environmental protection and human, social and labour rights in those third countries;

13. Takes the view that the World Trade Organization and its member states should agree on the creation of an open global market in environmental goods, services and technologies as a way to strengthen international trade and to allow green technologies and investments to move freely throughout the global economy;

14. Calls on the Commission to insist on the adoption of an Environmental Goods and Services Agreement as part of the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization Trade Talks, aiming to liberalise trade in key climate-friendly technologies;

15. Calls on the Commission to carry out regular evaluations of trade agreements, and keep the Parliament regularly updated and informed on these evaluations, also ensuring that cooperation with both domestic and international regulatory bodies and with trade unions and NGOs takes place in order to guarantee compliance with environmental, health and social standards;

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

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

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

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

27.4.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

52

0

0

Members present for the final vote

János Áder, Elena Oana Antonescu, Kriton Arsenis, Pilar Ayuso, Paolo Bartolozzi, Sandrine Bélier, Sergio Berlato, Martin Callanan, Nessa Childers, Chris Davies, Esther de Lange, Anne Delvaux, Edite Estrela, Elisabetta Gardini, Françoise Grossetête, Satu Hassi, Dan Jørgensen, Karin Kadenbach, Christa Klaß, Holger Krahmer, Jo Leinen, Corinne Lepage, Peter Liese, Linda McAvan, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Miroslav Ouzký, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Gilles Pargneaux, Antonyia Parvanova, Andres Perello Rodriguez, Mario Pirillo, Frédérique Ries, Anna Rosbach, Oreste Rossi, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Carl Schlyter, Richard Seeber, Theodoros Skylakakis, Catherine Soullie, Anja Weisgerber, Glenis Willmott, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Matthias Groote, Marisa Matias, Michèle Rivasi, Michail Tremopoulos, Thomas Ulmer, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Barbara Matera, Søren Bo Søndergaard


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

26.10.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

2

4

Members present for the final vote

William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Kader Arif, David Campbell Bannerman, Daniel Caspary, Marielle De Sarnez, Harlem Désir, Christofer Fjellner, Joe Higgins, Yannick Jadot, Bernd Lange, Vital Moreira, Tokia Saïfi, Helmut Scholz, Gianluca Susta, Keith Taylor, Jan Zahradil, Pablo Zalba Bidegain

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Catherine Bearder, George Sabin Cutaş, Béla Glattfelder, Małgorzata Handzlik, Salvatore Iacolino, Elisabeth Köstinger, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Ricardo Cortés Lastra, Jelko Kacin, Vytautas Landsbergis, Evžen Tošenovský

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