Procedure : 2010/2087(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0378/2010

Texts tabled :

A7-0378/2010

Debates :

PV 20/01/2011 - 6
CRE 20/01/2011 - 6

Votes :

PV 20/01/2011 - 7.6
CRE 20/01/2011 - 7.6
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0025

REPORT     
PDF 285kWORD 208k
17 December 2010
PE 442.993v02-00 A7-0378/2010

on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea

(2010/2087(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rapporteur: Traian Ungureanu

ERRATA/ADDENDA
AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on International Trade
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea

(2010/2087(INI))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Black Sea Synergy – A New Regional Cooperation Initiative’ (COM(2007)0160),

–       having regard to the Council Conclusions on the Black Sea Synergy Initiative of 14 May 2007,

–       having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2008 on a Black Sea Regional Policy Approach(1),

–       having regard to the Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries of the European Union and of the wider Black Sea area, adopted in Kiev on 14 February 2008,

–       having regard to the Commission’s ‘Report on the first year of implementation of the Black Sea Synergy’, adopted on 19 June 2008 (COM(2008)0391),

–       having regard to the Joint Statement launching the Black Sea Synergy Environment Partnership (Brussels, 16 March 2010),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy (COM(2006)0726) and the Commission's intention to present the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2011,

–       having regard to the Association Partnership with Turkey,

–       having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements concluded with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, and to the ongoing negotiations on new Association Agreements, as well as to the respective ENPAction Plans,

–       having regard to the ENP Progress Reports on Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine adopted by the Commission on 12 May 2010,

–       having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded with the Russian Federation, and to the ongoing negotiations on a new EU-Russia Agreement,

–       having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 3 December 2008 entitled ‘Eastern Partnership’ (COM(2008)0823),

–       having regard to the Joint Declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit of 7 May 2009,

–       having regard to the recent progress in the visa-facilitation dialogue with countries from the region,

–       having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2007 on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy(2),

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine and the South Caucasus countries, as well as on the Integrated Maritime Policy,

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

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Regional Development (A7-0378/2010),

A.     whereas the Black Sea region is a strategic bridge connecting Europe with the Caspian Sea area, Central Asia and the Middle East and, further, with south-east Asia and China, and it is characterised by close ties and great potential, but also by diversities and rivalries; whereas the region comprises the EU Member States Bulgaria, Greece and Romania, the candidate country Turkey and the ENP partners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as the Russian Federation as a strategic partner,

Β.     whereas the Black Sea region is of strategic importance for the EU; whereas the Black Sea is partially internal to the EU and geographically mostly a European sea, which results in shared challenges and opportunities for the EU and the countries of the region, as well as in a common need to ensure that there is an area of peace, democracy, security, stability, regional cooperation and sustainable prosperity around the Black Sea; whereas a more cohesive, sustainable and strategic approach is necessary in the Black Sea region,

C.     whereas the Black Sea region is a socially, culturally and religiously rich environment where intercultural and inter-faith dialogue should play a central role,

D.     whereas the Black Sea Synergy (BSS) has had the merit of recognising the Black Sea region as strategic for the EU, together with the need for strengthened EU involvement in the area; whereas BSS results have so far been rather limited and no clear and comprehensive picture exists of the current implementation results of the BSS, exposing the EU to criticism that it lacks a strategic vision for the region and that it is applying a fragmented approach to implementation,

E.     whereas no action plan has been drawn up setting out concrete objectives and benchmarks, and reporting, monitoring, evaluation and follow-up mechanisms, as asked for in Parliament's very first resolution on the Black Sea region,

F.      whereas only one progress report has been issued, in 2008, which was not followed up with any regular reporting mechanism; whereas not many projects have been carried out and only a Partnership on the Environment has been launched to date,

G.     whereas no ministerial conference has been held since 2008, highlighting the lack of visibility of, and strategic vision and political guidance for, the BSS,

H.     whereas the efforts so far, while commendable, have been severely hampered by poor administrative organisation, a lack of institutional and political commitment, and a lack of human and dedicated financial resources,

I.      whereas many developments have taken place in the Black Sea region since 2008, and while regional cooperation seems to be advancing in some technical fields, such as environment, education, research and technology, as well as in normative approximation, a number of challenges, such as protracted conflicts in the Caucasus and Transnistria, maritime security and search and rescue operations, militarisation, displaced populations and the deterioration of democratic rule, persist and have even gained in intensity,

J.      whereas the French Presidency’s mission, together with action by the Member States, demonstrated the EU’s commitment to containing and resolving the conflict in Georgia,

K.     whereas the Black Sea region is of geo-strategic importance for the energy security of the EU, with regard, in particular, to the diversification of energy supplies,

L.      whereas other EU initiatives involving the countries of the Black Sea region should not be seen as competing with, but rather as complementary to, the BSS,

M.    whereas the Commission has been asked to develop an EU Strategy for the Danube Region, which should take into account its close interconnection with the Black Sea region,

1.      Considers that, given the strategic importance of the Black Sea region for the EU and the rather limited results of the BSS, a strategy should be launched to enhance the coherence and visibility of EU action in the region and that the EU Black Sea Strategy should be an integral part of the EU's broader foreign and security policy vision;

2.      Calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to draw up a strategy for the Black Sea region in parallel with the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, thus defining an integrated and comprehensive EU approach to address the challenges and opportunities of the region, with a detailed action plan, clear objectives, flagship initiatives and benchmarks; believes that the strategy will make for effective coordination of activities and division of tasks;

3.      Reiterates its call on the Commission and the EEAS to carry out regular reviews of the implementation of the strategy by establishing concrete monitoring, evaluation, follow-up and reporting mechanisms; urges that the relevant European Parliament committees be consulted at key stages of this process;

4.      Recommends that consistency between EU-level policy and the national strategies of the EU Member States in the Black Sea region needs to be ensured;

5.      Stresses that the EU Member States must agree on clear priorities in order that a realistic and financially sound action plan can subsequently be drawn up, together with a corresponding system for assessing its effectiveness;

6.      Stresses that adequate human resources must be devoted to the task of achieving the objectives of the new strategy, particularly by taking visible account of that strategy in the organisational structure and staffing of the EEAS;

7.      Welcomes the launch of the Joint Operational Programme for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Black Sea Basin under ENPI and believes that the large number of applications received reflects a high degree of interest in joint cooperation projects in the Black Sea region; applauds the approval of 16 new projects by the Joint Monitoring Committee in November 2010; believes, however, that the slow pace of the programme's functioning reflects the shortcomings of the current funding mechanisms; points, in particular, to the legal difficulties relating to the need to fund participants from different financial instruments, and calls on the Commission to devise solutions to eliminate such obstacles; takes the view that investment projects could also be covered by the programme;

8.      Calls for a Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme to be drawn up for the next programming period in order fully to address and continue the efforts to achieve all the objectives stated in the ENPI CBC Strategy Paper 2007-2013; emphasises that uniform terms governing applications should be laid down, thereby giving any legal entity in any participating state in the programme area the possibility to apply as lead participant; considers that all countries in Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme should be involved and encouraged actively to participate in the next programming period;

9.      Is convinced, therefore, that the success of the strategy depends on the provision of appropriate and identifiable funding; calls for the creation of a specific budget line for the Black Sea Strategy, and for the development of efficient disbursement methods, tailored to the specific characteristics of the region, and controls on the use of the funds; encourages priority financing of small-scale development projects; calls on the Commission and regions to promote people-to-people projects in the framework of cross-border cooperation and to provide for and enhance the financing instrument of the Small Project Fund;

10.    Stresses the need for a project-based approach with a view to including local authorities, business communities, NGOs or other civil society organisations (CSOs) in designing, joint ownership and implementation of Black Sea Strategy activities; emphasises the importance of monitoring Black Sea Strategy activities through the definition of benchmarks or other appropriate indicators;

11.    Encourages the development of synergies between the various Union policies that come into play in the Strategy, particularly the Structural Funds, the Research and Development Framework Programme and the Trans-European Transport Networks, in order to ensure the sustainability of the actions financed; in that way opportunities created by one economic development initiative can be taken up by another, complementary initiative;

12.    Regards inclusiveness and regional ownership as important principles of the EU approach towards the region and sees Turkey and Russia as partners which should ideally be properly involved in Black Sea regional cooperation; believes that the dual role of Bulgaria, Romania and Greece as both riparian states and EU Member States is essential to the success of EU policy in the Black Sea region;

13.    Considers that in order to provide visibility, strategic guidance and high-level coordination, ministerial meetings between the EU and the wider Black Sea region countries should be organised on a regular basis and include all actors and countries in the region, including the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution, the EBRD and the EIB; is convinced that an institutional dialogue bringing together the EU and the BSEC could constitute a step towards creating a genuine partnership in the region; notes, however, that the BSEC seems currently to be facing structural difficulties and to be in need of rejuvenation and reform in order to become an efficient regional partner;

14.    Deplores the fact that the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership has been adversely affected by regional tensions and, as a result, has not yet been established; considers that such a Forum could play a role in generating ideas and fostering dialogue among regional actors;

15.    Believes that the Black Sea Strategy should be developed at all levels of regional cooperation; welcomes the parliamentary cooperation established between the EU and the Black Sea countries,

16.    Recognises the importance of regional and local authorities and stakeholders for the planning and implementation of the strategy, given their close links with the territory and with local people; calls, therefore, for their needs to be identified and for them to be fully involved in the strategy;

17.    Welcomes the creation of the Black Sea Civil Society Forum and encourages strengthened cooperation between local authorities, civil society and business; calls on the Commission to provide enhanced support for civil society, including CSO networks; underlines the role of the non-governmental sector in ensuring both the effective implementation of Black Sea Strategy activities and the success of confidence-building measures;

18.    Stresses the complementary nature of the BSS and the Eastern Partnership, and calls on the Commission to make positive use of the differing approaches of the two initiatives and to clarify, at all levels, how this substantial degree of complementarity is to be exploited; calls on the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to ensure that the EEAS effectively coordinates the various initiatives and instruments deployed by the EU in the wider Black Sea region;

19.    Welcomes the development of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, which is to be completed by the end of this year, and calls for it to be endorsed and for a start to be made on its implementation in the first part of 2011; emphasises the need to extend the EU Strategy for the Danube Region towards the Black Sea region; points out that the sustainable development of the Danube region will further enhance the geostrategic importance of the Black Sea region; consequently, while acknowledging the differing nature of the regions and the distinct geographical focus of the two strategies, considers that they should be complementary and mutually reinforcing;

20.    Stresses that the main objective pursued by the EU and the Member States in the EU Strategy for the Black Sea Region should be to establish an area of peace, democracy, prosperity and stability, founded on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and providing for EU energy security; considers that good governance, the rule of law, promotion of respect of human rights, migration management, energy, transport, the environment, and economic and social development should constitute priority actions;

Security and good governance

21.    Recalls that the Black Sea region needs active policies and long-lasting solutions to cope with the considerable regional and transnational challenges facing it, such as protracted conflicts, displaced populations, bilateral disputes, closed borders and strategic rivalries leading to militarisation and proliferation of arms, weak institutions and governance and the deterioration of democratic rule, cross-border crime and trafficking, border and movement management, and poor maritime security and safety;

22.    Stresses the vital importance of establishing, encouraging and developing good- neighbourly relations between the Black Sea countries as a premise for successful cooperation, and regards it as unacceptable that the region should still be facing the problem of closed borders between neighbours;

23.    Believes that the EU can and should play a more active role in shaping the Black Sea security environment; calls for enhanced EU involvement in regional strategic dialogue, and EU cooperation with its strategic partners on security issues and on conflict prevention and resolution, in accordance with international law; stresses that the full development of the Black Sea Strategy is also linked to concrete progress towards the peaceful resolution of unresolved conflicts; calls therefore, on the EU for more direct engagement and to take a leading role in the negotiations and peace-making processes, to step up confidence-building measures and assistance programmes with a view to establishing the basis for lasting, comprehensive settlements, and to alleviate the consequences of conflicts for local people; applauds the work of EUBAM and EUMM;

24.    Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to step up efforts to encourage Russia to comply with the six-point Sarkozy Plan to stabilise and resolve the conflict in Georgia;

25.    Points to the need to strengthen monitoring systems and invites the EU to develop an early-warning system as a conflict-prevention and confidence-building tool in the Black Sea region, to avoid destabilisation and conflict-escalation; calls for the focus to be on concrete cases rather than general expressions of concern; calls for consideration to be given to confidence-building measures such as public disclosure of arms sales and naval military activities; expresses particular concern at the extension of the port agreement for Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea and its possible impact on stability in the region;

26.    Calls on the EU to take steps to establish a regional legal framework and mechanisms to deal with the proliferation of arms in the Black Sea region;

27.    Calls for cross-border crime and trafficking, in particular in drugs and human beings, and illegal migration to be tackled in the Black Sea Strategy, also calls for a further strengthening of cooperation on border and movement management;

28.    Stresses the need for better management of migration in and from the Black Sea region through the enhancement of the political, economic and social integration of immigrants, on the basis of the principles of the EU's Global Approach to Migration;

29.    Notes the increase in the number of accidents at sea in recent years, involving human casualties and environmental damage, and the inability of the riparian states to carry out coordinated and successful rescue operations; in that connection, calls on the EU to use the Integrated Maritime Policy to coordinate search-and-rescue and accident-prevention activities in the Black Sea region; calls for the establishment of a Black Sea surveillance strategy;

30.    Believes that a security strategy for the Black Sea region should also incorporate the objectives of improving governance, democratic rule, respect for human rights and state capabilities; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to mainstream initiatives on institution-building and democratic governance, which are indispensible for any state wishing to develop successfully; emphasises that the objective of improving governance, the rule of law and state structures in the former Soviet states of the region is in itself a security strategy, since total or partial state failure and political stagnation create the conditions for external interference and transnational threats;

31.    Stresses that the EU strategy for the Black Sea region must place major emphasis on defending human rights and enhancing democracy throughout the region, which should include promoting successful cooperation among its non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders;

32.    Notes that increasing respect for human rights and democracy around the world is among the EU's priorities; points out that human rights violations are a daily occurrence in occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia; calls on the EU, and particularly the EEAS, therefore, to respond actively to all kinds of human rights violations in the Black Sea region;

33.    Emphasises the important role that the OSCE plays in the region and regards it as essential that the EU should cooperate with the OSCE in the areas of institution-building, the rule of law, election observation, media freedom and democracy and human rights;

Energy, transport and the environment

34.    Considers, on the one hand, the Black Sea region to be of strategic importance for EU energy security and the diversification of the EU's energy supply and, in that connection, reiterates the pressing importance of a coherent strategy for the Black Sea region; on the other hand, considers cooperation in the areas of energy, transport and the environment to be crucial to the harmonious and sustainable development of the region; welcomes the launch of the Environment Partnership, while eagerly awaiting the launch of the two other partnerships, on transport and energy; calls for their swift and efficient implementation; takes the view that the development of a common legal framework at regional level would be of great benefit in terms of more effective cooperation and synergies on these issues; believes that the establishment of, and support for, professional and institutional networks could enhance the capacity for cooperative and efficient decision-making;

35.    Emphasises the need to strengthen multilateral energy cooperation in the Black Sea region, for which the WTO and the Energy Charter Treaty provide the key principles; supports full market and regulatory integration on the basis of EU energy and environment legislation and encourages the participation of countries in the wider Black Sea region in the Energy Community Treaty and EU, EIB and EBRD assistance for the modernisation of energy infrastructure in the Black Sea region;

36.    Emphasises the importance of Member States taking a common approach towards the Black Sea region, with a view to achieving the EU’s long-term objective of security of energy supply and stability in its neighbourhood;

37.    Recalls the need for more vigorous action by the Commission in support of measures to diversify gas supply and for a common normative framework to promote a transparent, competitive and rules-based gas market; calls on the EU, at the same time, actively to develop cooperation with States in the Black Sea region and offer them greater opportunities to support energy projects of interest to the EU; welcomes, in that connection, the accession of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to the Energy Community;

38.    Emphasises the urgency of establishing the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, which will contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Eastern Partnership and will thus have a positive impact on issues relating to energy security;

39.    Recalls the EUs aim of diversifying routes and sources of supply, as well as the drafting of an EU common energy policy; reiterates the importance of the Southern Corridor projects, in particular the fundamental importance to Europe's energy security of the EU strategic priority project Nabucco and of its swift realisation; takes note of the South Stream project; stresses, further, the significance of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transportation to Europe, in the form of the AGRI project and the development of LNG terminals in Black Sea ports, and of the Constanta-Trieste Pan-European Oil Pipeline;

40.    Urges the Commission to conclude agreements with the potential supplier countries for the Nabucco pipeline by the end of 2011;

41.    Considers that the Energy Infrastructure Package shortly to be put forward by the Commission must place great emphasis on the proposed energy projects in the Black Sea region; draws attention to the fact that the transit routes which cut across the states in the region can significantly improve the EU’s security of supply;

42.    Emphasises the potential offered by renewable energy sources in the Black Sea region, which could make a major contribution to a secure energy future at global level and to sustainable economic growth, and calls on the Commission and the Black Sea riparian countries to unlock this potential;

43.    Calls for the EU-Black Sea region partnership to include transfer of knowledge and technology in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and technical support for grid design, and points out that energy saving is the key to increasing security of supply; supports research into alternative energy sources and, in particular, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy savings, which are essential if we are to face the challenges of climate change and contribute to the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

44.    Supports the continued development of initiatives under the TRACECA and INOGATE programmes; calls on the EU to strengthen further its support for infrastructure projects in the region, directly and through the coordination of other contributors and investors;

45.    Considers that, for the purposes of international trade and the transport of hydrocarbons in the region, it is essential to develop the EU’s Black Sea and maritime Danube ports, including oil and gas terminals and intermodal transport infrastructure; considers it necessary to modernise infrastructure in the Black Sea region and establish connections with European transport corridors; calls on the Commission and Member States to expedite the completion of priority trans-European transport projects along axes 7, 18, 21 and 22, as provided for in Annex II to Decision No 884/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 amending Decision No 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and their progressive assimilation with the TRACECA corridor, the central axis, the south-east axis and the international maritime transport routes, as defined in the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on ‘Extension of the major trans-European transport axes to the neighbouring countries – Guidelines for transport in Europe and the neighbouring regions’ (COM(2007)0032) and of Pan-European Transport Corridors 8 and 9;

46.    Calls on the Black Sea riparian states to conclude a memorandum of understanding on the development of Black Sea maritime corridors and asks the Commission to open a TEN-T budget line with funding for Black Sea maritime corridors similar to those which already exist for the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Mediterranean Sea maritime corridors;

47.    Welcomes the action taken to extend the EU Common Aviation Area to Black Sea countries; calls on the Commission to pursue the dialogue with the Republic of Moldova concerning the liberalisation of its air transport sector and swiftly to open negotiations for the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the EU Common Aviation Area;

48.    Stresses the importance of the Black Sea as a natural resource and expresses great concern at the environmental situation in the region mphasises the need for a balance to be struck between economic development and environmental protection, and the need for a common approach to this challenge, and stresses, therefore, the need for full implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution;

49.    Calls on the Commission to prioritise the requirements of energy efficiency and protection of the environment and climate when funding infrastructure projects, whichshould be based on a positive environmental assessment; recalls the challenges resulting from the effects of climate change for the Black Sea region, and therefore urges increased cooperation among the Black Sea riparian countries, especially in the field of emergency prevention;

50.    Calls on the EU to include the Black Sea region in the Integrated Maritime Policy and, in particular, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on an equal footing with the other European basins; the EU should make all the necessary diplomatic efforts to persuade the Black Sea states outside the EU to comply as closely as possible with the principles of the CFP; emphasises the importance of creating a separate common stocks management body for the Black Sea and of applying the mechanism of multiannual management plans;

Economic, social and human development

51.    Believes that the economic, social and human development of the region as a whole should be promoted; attaches particular importance to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region; points out that the region has extraordinary natural resources which can encourage rapid economic growth; stresses that the proper management of these resources is vital to the facilitation of such development;

52.    Stresses that further liberalisation of trade and the intensification of intra-regional trade are essential to the economic development of the region; stresses the importance for the local populace and for the region's trading partners of establishing an area of economic opportunity and prosperity in the Black Sea region; stresses the need to combat fraud and corruption so as to make the region more attractive to investors; emphasises the importance of cooperation in the field of tourism and of port and coastline development; supports the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, whose aim is the socio-economic development of maritime regions, but views with regret the fact that its Black Sea dimension is poorly developed; welcomes the results achieved in the area of cooperation on education, research and technology; endorses once again the goal of promoting social development and a strong civil society; stresses that the EU should proceed further in its dialogue with the countries of the region on visa facilitation;

53.    Is convinced that the EU should play a greater role in the Black Sea region by offering the countries in the region more prospects for closer integration with the EU; stresses that opportunities for trade liberalisation and the creation of a free trade area in accordance with WTO principles should be carefully considered, thoroughly examined and promoted;

54.    Draws attention to the longstanding EU-Russia strategic partnership and the two countries’ common interest in enhancing bilateral trade and investment, in facilitating and liberalising trade in the global economy and in strengthening and developing competition, including in the Black Sea region;

55.    Recognises that the global financial crisis has hit the Black Sea region hard, bringing both a period of growth averaging 6% per annum and the inflow of foreign capital necessary for the further economic development of the Black Sea States to a sharp halt, and has put the region’s financial system under extreme stress; emphasises that this needs to be addressed by strengthening financial and banking regulations, improving fiscal credibility and transparency, fighting tax fraud, tax evasion and corruption, intensifying regional cooperation and enhancing coordination among regional organisations such as the BSEC;

56.    Encourages the development, in the context of the Strategy, of an integrated approach and the use of the well-established principles of the EU’s Cohesion Policy and Neighbourhood Policy, which can help deliver effective results while facilitating the capacity-building process for regions which are lagging behind; in particular, believes that cross-border cooperation between regions should be enhanced, in order to tackle common problems through coordinated action; points out that the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) offers a suitable cooperation framework for structured, multi-level governance; calls on the Commission to explore ways of better coordinating the various European instruments providing for cross-border cooperation at the Union’s external borders;

57.    Points out that the exchange of best practices between regions is of pivotal importance for all areas of cooperation, in that regions with long experience of developing and implementing projects could help other regions to improve their performance;

58.    Regards the improvement of the administrative capacity of all local and regional stakeholders in the Black Sea region as vital in order to ensure the efficient implementation and sound financial management of EU projects, greater transparency and accountability, and balanced territorial development across the region;

59.    Emphasises the importance of visa facilitation and the mobility of persons in the region and urges the Commission to consider establishing preferential visa schemes for businessmen, academics, young people, local officials and other groups with a view to enhancing contacts across the whole region, in particular as far as confidence-building is concerned; encourages the development under aegis of the EU of joint projects relating to the promotion of cultural heritage and tourism in the region;

60.    Believes that programmes promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue need sustained encouragement in order to promote cooperation in the region, that joint initiatives in the field of education and media are much needed in order to create and consolidate meaningful links between the and the opinion-formers in the region, and that initiatives such as the Black Sea Universities Network provide good examples of how academic interaction can trigger positive synergies in the region; calls for the strengthening of academic and student networks, e-infrastructures and collaborative research projects; welcomes the initiative to establish and support a College of the Black Sea to foster the emergence of a regional elite which sees cooperation as a natural method of tackling common challenges;

61.    Acknowledges the results of the Black Sea Interconnection project to establish a regional research and education network in the wider Black Sea region and its link to GEANT, and calls on the Commission to continue to support research projects in the Black Sea region, such as HP-SEE, SEE-GRID, SCENE, CAREN and BSRN;

*

*   *

62.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and all the Black Sea countries.

(1)

OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 64.

(2)

OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 443.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

I. Introduction

The strategic importance of the Black Sea region for the EU was recognized in 2007. In the context of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to the EU, the Black Sea became a partially internal sea of the EU. As developments in this region, strategically situated at the junction of Europe, Middle East and Central Asia, started having a direct impact on EU internal affairs, the EU acknowledged the need to reflect upon its stronger involvement in the area.

This resulted in the launch of a new EU policy approach towards the region, called the Black Sea Synergy. The Synergy was proposed by the European Commission in April 2007. It constitutes the current policy approach of the EU towards the Black Sea region and it was officially launched at high level and jointly by the EU and the Black Sea actors at the Kiev Ministerial Conference of the countries of the EU and the wider Black Sea area in February 2008.

According to the European Commission’s definition, the Black Sea region encompasses ten countries: 3 EU Member-States (Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania), one candidate country (Turkey), 5 Eastern-European neighbors (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) and Russia as a strategic partner.

The aim of the Black Sea Synergy is to develop regional cooperation between the EU and the region, as well as within the region. It is conceived as a flexible and complementary tool to the already existing EU bilateral relations with the countries of the region. It aims at fostering cooperation and synergies between the countries of the region with the goal of transforming the Black Sea region in a space of stability, security, democracy and prosperity. It suggests 13 fields of cooperation that would presuppose greater EU involvement in the region. The principles of inclusiveness and of regional ownership are at the core of the initiative.

The European Parliament expressed its position and support for the creation and the launch of the Black Sea Synergy in its Report of January 2008. In parallel, it called for the elaboration of a detailed Action Plan with concrete objectives and benchmarks, as well as of a monitoring and follow-up mechanism.

The last document issued by the EU on the Black Sea Synergy dates back to June 2008 and deals with the assessment of the first year of implementation of the Black Sea Synergy. After presenting the results in various fields, the EC proposes further development of the Black Sea Synergy through establishing measurable objectives, sectoral partnership to facilitate joint projects; creation of a Black Sea Civil Society Forum, strengthening of the academic and students networks, creation of an Institute for European Studies in the Black Sea region.

II. Rationale for the Report on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea

There are three main reasons, arguing for a new European Parliament report on the Black Sea region.

First of all, there is a need for an updated assessment of EU action in the Black Sea region, three years after devising the Black Sea Synergy. An analysis of the current situation indicates first of all to the lack of a clear, comprehensive and updated picture on the implementation results of the Black Sea Synergy. This is partly due to a lack of a regular reporting mechanism and of any reporting activity after 2008. It results in criticism of a fragmented approach being applied to EU’s presence in the Black Sea region with only limited action being taken in specific fields of regional cooperation. Despite the recommendation of the European Parliament resolution of 2008, no Action Plan and no monitoring, evaluation and follow-up mechanisms have yet been established for the Black Sea Synergy.

The fragmentation phenomenon is also reflected in the financial field. The Black Sea Synergy is currently financed from various EU financial instruments (ENPI, IPA, ERDF) with little visibility of the available sources and management difficulties related to the need to coordinate various financial frameworks. It results in a lack of awareness on the means to access EU funds for regional cooperation in the Black Sea space. This spring even witnessed a decision by the EC to reallocate 1,5 million Euros from a pilot project on environment and development of the Black Sea region (out of a total of 2 million Euros or 75%) in EU 2010 Budget to another EU pilot project on the banana sector in ACP countries.

A second reason results from analysis of the concrete achievements that can be identified within the Black Sea Synergy, and which seem to be limited. One may recognize that the main merits of the Black Sea Synergy consisted in the upgrading of the Black Sea region as strategically important for the EU and in recognizing the need for greater involvement of the EU in this space. In the period 2007-2008, it also ensured the high-level attention to the issue at EU level, as well as political impetus for the launch and realization of this EU initiative in the Black Sea region.

A sectoral examination of the results leads to the conclusion that progress has been achieved in normative approximation and in rather technical fields such as environment, research or education. The most palpable result is probably the launch of the Environment Partnership in March 2010.

However, much less was achieved in the field of implementation, while sectors as stability, democracy and good governance seem to have witnessed less progress in a context of deterioration of the democratic rule in several Black Sea states and of the Russia-Georgia war in 2008. One may even conclude that challenges in these fields do not only persist, but have gained in intensity. Nevertheless, a Black Sea Civil Society Forum was created and seems to take place every year, while the EU demonstrated its ability to play an efficient role in conflict management during its mediation of the Russia-Georgia war.

Overall, this picture of fragmentation, absence of monitoring and limited results leads to the conclusion that the Black Sea Synergy has currently lost in visibility. This aspect is also intensified by the absence of any Ministerial Meeting after 2008, dedicated to this EU policy.

This leads your Rapporteur to the third reason that asks for a strategic vision, integrated approach and visibility of future EU action in the Black Sea region. Your Rapporteur is of the opinion that proposing the launch of an EU Strategy for the Black Sea is the best means to address the above-mentioned elements. Such a position also takes into account the current context of shaping EU Strategies for macro-regions, such as the one for Danube and one for the Baltic Sea.

III. Main recommendations

While building upon the merits of the Black Sea Synergy, the EU Strategy for the Black Sea should put in place a stronger policy framework and boost EU involvement in the Black Sea region.

From the point of view of the policy framework, the Strategy shall ensure an integrated EU approach towards the Black Sea region. It shall also provide for the elaboration of an Action Plan with clear objectives, priority actions, benchmarks and flagship initiatives. In order to achieve efficient implementation, it is necessary to devise mechanisms for regular reporting, monitoring, evaluation and follow-up.

Your Rapporteur believes that attention shall also be focused on ensuring appropriate financial and human resources for the success of the Strategy. The need for dedicated and coagulated funding clearly results from the current analysis of the situation. Therefore, your Rapporteur suggests the creation of a separate EU budget line for the Black Sea Strategy. In the field of human resources, the future EEAS shall ensure sufficient staffing for an efficient development and management of the Strategy.

In order to ensure strategic guidance and high-level coordination, there is also a clear need to hold regular Ministerial Meetings between the EU and the countries of the Black Sea region. Such meetings shall involve all actors in the region and possibly follow the model of the Kiev Ministerial Conference in February 2008. Your Rapporteur is of the opinion that Turkey and Russia are crucial partners within this initiative, while Bulgaria, Romania and Greece shall take a leading role in their double role of EU Member-States and Black Sea littoral countries.

Finally, the dialogue and practical realization of the EU Strategy for the Black Sea shall be developed at all levels of regional cooperation. The parliamentary dimension and the local level of cooperation (among local authorities, civil society and business) are important in this sense.

Your Rapporteur believes that the main objectives of a Black Sea Strategy shall consist in building a space of peace, stability and prosperity in the Black Sea region, as well as in ensuring EU energy security. As a consequence, security, good governance, energy, transport, environment, socio-economic and human development shall be considered as priority actions.

In the security field, the Black Sea region still faces numerous transnational challenges that cannot be ignored and need to be tackled at regional level. Protracted conflicts, bilateral disputes and closed borders, trends towards militarization and proliferation of arms, maritime surveillance, illicit trafficking and cross-border crime are among the main ones. They shall be better tackled by a robust, direct involvement of the EU.

A security dimension of the Black Sea shall also definitely include resolute actions for strengthening democratic rule, good governance and State capacity-building.

Regarding the fields of Energy, Transport and Environment, support of infrastructure projects and creation of common rules and frameworks shall constitute a priority. Your Rapporteur welcomes the launch of the Environment Partnership in March 2010 and the projects to establish two other Partnerships on Transport and Energy in the Black Sea region. It stresses however the need for their swift and efficient implementation.

Your Rapporteur attaches particular importance to the cooperation in the field of Energy in the Black Sea region. He is of the opinion that the aim of diversification of routes and sources of supply shall be further mainstreamed in the future Strategy. While stressing the importance of the Nabucco gas pipeline, he believes that Liquefied Gas Transportation is an important option for future development in the energy sector, in particular in the context of the economic crisis and of strained financial resources. Therefore, he underlines in the report the particular significance of the AGRI project and of development of LNG terminals in Black Sea ports. Last, but not least, further strengthening the framework of common norms and transparent rules on energy in the Black Sea region, on the basis of the Energy Community and the Energy Charter, is also essential.

Finally, economic, social and human development within the Black Sea region is an important premise for transforming the Black Sea in a stable and prosperous space. Though badly hit by the economic crisis, the Black Sea region has great economic growth and trade potential. Your Rapporteur believes that the Strategy shall focus on liberalizing trade and boosting intra-regional trade, proper diversification of economies and addressing economic discrepancies among regions. In the social affairs field, while recognizing the results obtained in education and research cooperation in the Black Sea region, your Rapporteur is of the opinion that further efforts shall be pursued, in particular in the fields of lifelong learning and adjustment of education to labour market requirements, as well as in increasing the scope of international exchanges and developing further networks among civil society.

Your Rapporteur also shares the opinion that EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy could greatly benefit to an integrated development of the Black Sea region, and therefore insists on the proper development of the Black Sea dimension within the Integrated Maritime Policy of the EU.


OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (10.11.2010)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea

(2010/2087(INI))

Rapporteur: Metin Kazak

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Recognises that the global financial crisis has hit the Black Sea region hard, sharply halting a period of growth averaging 6% per annum as well as the inflow of foreign capital necessary for the further economic development of Black Sea States, and has put the region’s financial system under extreme stress; emphasises that this needs to be addressed by strengthening financial and banking regulations, improving fiscal credibility and transparency, fighting tax fraud, tax evasion and corruption, intensifying regional cooperation and enhancing coordination among regional organisations such as the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC);

2.  Considers that the Black Sea Synergy (BSS) initiative, presented in 2007, did provide new impetus to regional cooperation in the Black Sea region, but deplores the fact that the administrative and fiscal resources allocated for its implementation have been insufficient; considers therefore that a future strategy for the Black Sea Region should be given higher priority, at the same level as the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, and all financial support to the region should be better coordinated, providing increased accountability, and oriented to the critical sectors, which will thus be given a sound financial outlook for the future;

3.  Points out that the Black Sea Strategy should build upon the experiences of the Baltic, Balkan and Danube regions, avoiding shortcomings encountered in these regions; considers that the future strategy for the Black Sea has to be complementary to the European Neighbourhood Policy and that the strategy for the Black Sea should not be overshadowed by similar regional initiatives; recommends that all partners in the Black Sea region should be included in a future Black Sea Strategy; underlines the urgent need to tackle the protracted conflicts in the region;

4.  Emphasises that the BSEC needs to be reformed in order to meet new challenges efficiently, and considers that the 20th anniversary in 2012 would be a good occasion for proposals to that end, including for revision of the BSEC Economic Agenda, dating back to 2001, organisational reform and increased operational efficiency, as well as an upgrade of related bodies, such as the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) and the BSEC Business Council; considers that the resources of these bodies could be harnessed to augment the BSEC budget;

5.  Welcomes the project-based approach under the BSS, notably the Environment Partnership, and considers that the planned partnerships to develop transport and energy infrastructure are crucial for sustainable development in the region, which should be encouraged to become more integrated into the new European internal energy market; underlines the importance of Nabucco and other energy projects for trade in the region; encourages all BSEC member countries to accede to the Energy Community Treaty, which provides for the implementation of the Community acquis in the electricity and gas sectors; stresses that green development and energy efficiency projects, which can drive market incentives and long-term investment, should be further prioritised and that renewable energy sources have the potential to make a large contribution to future global energy security;

6.  Takes the view that the Black Sea Ring Highway and the Motorways of the Sea would considerably increase the opportunities for trade and development in the region; underlines, however, the need for thorough environmental impact assessments and maritime surveillance cooperation in order to ensure the safety of maritime transport and environmental protection; emphasises that investments should be directed to the development and capacity enlargement of major Black Sea ports, such as Constanţa and Varna;

7.  Emphasises that the increased number of WTO member states in the region, where all but two states are now members, positively contributes to the establishment of a predictable and stable trade regime and recommends that relevant BSEC member countries step up their efforts to acquire membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and that all Black Sea countries continue the adjustment of national legislation to WTO rules and multilateral trade principles, including EU trade-related acquis; invites them to step up the gradual elimination of trade barriers with the aim of further trade liberalisation, including simplification of customs procedures and tax regimes; considers that enhanced cooperation at parliamentary level, both bilaterally and with the Parliamentary Assembly of the BSEC, PABSEC and the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, would further benefit the process; considers, in this context, that the European Union should become a full member of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

9.11.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

1

0

Members present for the final vote

William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Kader Arif, Daniel Caspary, Christofer Fjellner, Joe Higgins, Yannick Jadot, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Vital Moreira, Niccolò Rinaldi, Helmut Scholz, Robert Sturdy, Keith Taylor, Jan Zahradil, Pablo Zalba Bidegain

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

George Sabin Cutaş, Béla Glattfelder, Małgorzata Handzlik, Maria Eleni Koppa, Elisabeth Köstinger, Michael Theurer, Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa

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

Anna Záborská


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (11.11.2010)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea

(2010/2087(INI))

Rapporteur: Silvia-Adriana Ţicău

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recognises that the Black Sea Region (BSR) is of geostrategic importance, in particular for energy security and the diversification of EU energy sources and of energy supply routes, given its proximity to the Caspian Sea, the Middle East and Central Asia, and that, following the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, the EU should become an important player in interactional relations in this region, but acknowledges that more needs to be done;

2.  Calls on the Commission to integrate the environmental dimension into its strategy for the BSR and in particular to contribute to the restoration of the environment following the toxic waste pollution in the rivers which flow into the Black Sea, such as the recent incident in the Danube basin;

3.  Considers that the Energy Infrastructure Package shortly to be introduced by the Commission must place great emphasis on the proposed energy projects in the BSR; draws attention to the fact that the transit routes which cut across the states in the region can significantly improve the EU’s security of supply;

4.  Emphasises the importance of Member States taking a common approach towards the BSR, with a view to achieving the EU’s long-term objective of security of energy supply and stability in its neighbourhood;

5.  Emphasises the importance of clearly defining the operational methods and means for the implementation of a Black Sea Strategy, including processes, projects, monitoring system and funding, especially with a view to clarifying how it will be coordinated with the Eastern Partnership;

6.  Draws attention to the longstanding EU-Russia strategic partnership and the two countries’ common interest in enhancing bilateral trade and investment, in facilitating and liberalising trade in the global economy and in strengthening and developing competition, including in the BSR;

7.  Bearing in mind the construction of new gas pipelines and their interconnections, of new electricity grids and their interconnections, of new LNG terminals and infrastructures and of new power plants (fossil fuel generation, renewable energies and nuclear projects), emphasises that transparent and fair market rules and conditions governing energy transit and trade which guarantee long-term predictability for investments should be established; stresses that these rules and conditions should encourage a high level of environmental protection, democratic participation, human health and safety;

8.  Calls for the EU-BSR partnership to include transfer of knowledge and technology in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and technical support for grid design, and points out that energy saving is the key to increasing security of supply; supports research into alternative energy sources and, in particular, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy savings, which are essential if we are to face the challenges of climate change and contribute to the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

9.  Reaffirms that EU energy security policy is based on diversification of sources and routes; stresses the European added value and the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor as a means of enhancing the EU’s security of supply; considers that projects such as the Nabucco pipeline, a key priority project for the EU, along with smaller projects, such as the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP), the Turkey-Greece-Italy Interconnector (ITGI) or the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI) emphasise both the vital importance of EU involvement in the BSR, and the further need to step up cooperation among the countries surrounding the Black Sea; asks the Commission and Member States, together with their partners, to support and speed up implementation of these projects;

10. Urges the Commission to conclude the agreements with the potential supplier countries for the Nabucco pipeline by the end of 2011;

11. Emphasises the potential of renewable energy sources in the BSR, which could make a major contribution to a secure energy future at global level and to sustainable economic growth, and calls on the Commission and the Black Sea riparian countries to unlock this potential;

12. Emphasises the need to strengthen multilateral energy cooperation in the BSR, for which the WTO and the Energy Charter Treaty provide the key principles; supports full market and regulatory integration on the basis of EU energy and environment legislation and encourages the participation of countries in the wider BSR in the Energy Community Treaty and EU, EIB and EBRD assistance for the modernisation of energy infrastructure in the BSR;

13. Stresses that, in the context of international trade and the transport of hydrocarbons in the region, it is essential to take account of the environmental sensitivity of the Black Sea and the Turkish straits, which is increasing the degree of danger posed by accidents and oil spills at these busy and dangerous chokepoints;

14. Welcomes the accession of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the Energy Community Treaty, which will have an important role in achieving the EU’s energy security objectives and will contribute to the security of these countries;

15. Emphasises the urgency of establishing the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, which will contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Eastern Partnership and will thus have a positive impact on issues relating to energy security;

16. Stresses the need to involve regional partners in the early stages of project design in order to generate interest and to foster joint ownership; considers that the Baltic Sea Strategy could constitute an example of a macro-regional strategy that relies on cooperation between local authorities, business communities and civil society organisations;

17. Deplores the fact that the Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership has been adversely affected by regional tensions and, as a result, has not yet been established; considers that such a Forum could play a role in generating ideas and fostering dialogue among regional actors;

18. Welcomes the establishment of sectoral partnerships in the three key areas, environment, transport and energy, which clears the way for the consideration and coordination concrete, long-term projects;

19. Welcomes the action taken to extend the EU Common Aviation Area to Black Sea countries; calls on the Commission to pursue the dialogue with the Republic of Moldova concerning the liberalisation of its air transport and swiftly to open negotiations for the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the EU Common Aviation Area;

20.  Considers that, for the purposes of international trade and the transport of hydrocarbons in the region, it is essential to develop the EU’s Black Sea ports, including oil and gas terminals and intermodal transport arrangements; emphasises that such infrastructure should be built in strict compliance with the highest EU and international standards for the environmental protection of costal regions, human health and security and after performing all relevant environmental impact assessments;

21. Calls on the Black Sea riparian states to conclude a memorandum of understanding for the development of Black Sea maritime corridors and asks the Commission to open a TEN-T budget line with funding for Black Sea maritime corridors similar to those existing for the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Mediterranean Sea maritime corridors;

22. Considers that, for the purposes of international trade and the transport of hydrocarbons in the region, it is essential to develop the EU’s Black Sea and maritime Danube port infrastructure and intermodal transport infrastructure, and calls on the Commission and Member States to expedite completion of priority trans-European transport projects along axes 7, 18, 21 and 22, as provided for in Annex II to Decision No 884/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 amending Decision No 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and their progressive assimilation with the TRACECA corridor, the central axis, the south-east axis and the international maritime transport routes, as defined in the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on ‘Extension of the major trans-European transport axes to the neighbouring countries – Guidelines for transport in Europe and the neighbouring regions’ (COM(2007)0032);

23. Considers it necessary to modernise road infrastructures in the BSR and ensure connections with European transport corridors; stresses the need to implement the Black Sea Motorway Project launched by the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in 2006, which crosses all the BSEC countries, and calls on the Commission and Black Sea riparian states to include this among the TEN-T priority projects when the mid-term TEN-T policy review is carried out;

24. Acknowledges the results of the BSI(1) project to establish a regional research and education network in the wider BSR and its link to GEANT, and calls on the Commission to continue to support research projects in the BSR, such as HP-SEE, SEE-GRID, SCENE, CAREN and BSRN;

25. Recognises the importance of the BSEC and acknowledges the role of the Black Sea Synergy, but stresses – given the geopolitical importance of the BSR and the lack of any notable successes so far from the Black Sea Synergy – the urgent need to develop a uniform EU strategy for the BSR, since only through such a strategy can the objective of enhanced and sustainable cooperation with the BSR be achieved;

26. Points out that the Black Sea Joint Operational Programme 2007-2013 funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) is the first EU-funded Black Sea cross-border cooperation programme, and calls on the Black Sea riparian states to sign the Financial Agreement with the Commission under which ENPI funding may be accessed, so as to make this programme a central instrument for implementation of the EU’s Black Sea Strategy;

27. Calls, therefore, on the Commission to make the BSR a more urgent priority and to develop an EU Black Sea Strategy accompanied by an Action Plan incorporating flagship projects with the widest possible involvement of relevant operators and regional partners, particularly in the following cooperation areas: sustainable economic development, research and technological innovation, improving connectivity and communication, environmental protection, including nature conservation, security, migration, support for and development of civil society, education and cultural exchanges, using all available financial instruments (CF, ERDF, NIF, NPI);

28. Emphasises the need to link the macroregional strategy for the Danube Region with the BSR, since the Danube and the Black Sea constitute the largest non-oceanic body of water in Europe and a properly coordinated EU strategy can bring many benefits for the whole region.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

9.11.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

4

1

Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Ivo Belet, Bendt Bendtsen, Jan Březina, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Lena Ek, Ioan Enciu, Gaston Franco, Adam Gierek, Fiona Hall, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, Philippe Lamberts, Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Marisa Matias, Judith A. Merkies, Angelika Niebler, Jaroslav Paška, Aldo Patriciello, Miloslav Ransdorf, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Michèle Rivasi, Paul Rübig, Amalia Sartori, Francisco Sosa Wagner, Konrad Szymański, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Ioannis A. Tsoukalas, Claude Turmes, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Henri Weber

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

António Fernando Correia De Campos, Andrzej Grzyb, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Yannick Jadot, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Ivari Padar, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Markus Pieper, Peter Skinner, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Catherine Trautmann

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

Marek Henryk Migalski

(1)

Black Sea Interconnection.


OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (2.12.2010)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea

(2010/2087(INI))

Draftsman: Victor Boştinaru

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Considers the Black Sea region to be a strategically crucial area and believes that an EU Strategy for the Black Sea will contribute to realising the aims of European integration; deems the Strategy essential to the region’s sustainable and coordinated development, as well as to the stability and security of the region and of the EU as a whole;

2.  Believes that in order to launch an effective Strategy for the Black Sea, it is vital to involve fully and in a constructive way all the countries concerned, both EU and non-EU ones; calls for cooperation between all the relevant regions, and stresses the importance of participation by bodies at all levels of governance in order to ensure the success of an integrated approach, through the involvement of existing organisations, such as the BSEC, the PABSEC and the Commission on the Black Sea, but also consenting to the creation of new ones where necessary, in order to jointly identify common challenges and available resources, as well as areas where coordinated action can bring significant added value; regards it as essential, nevertheless, to define their respective spheres of responsibility in order to avoid any overlapping of competences between different levels of government and to ensure speedy implementation;

3.  Considers coordination with other strategies developed at EU level to be vital; welcomes, in this context, the forthcoming publication of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region and invites all the states concerned to develop Black Sea-related projects, since the two regions are territorially and economically interconnected;

4.  Encourages the development, in the context of the Strategy, of an integrated approach and the use of the well-established principles of the EU’s Cohesion Policy and Neighbourhood Policy, which can help deliver effective results while facilitating the capacity-building process for regions which are lagging behind; in particular, believes that cross-border cooperation between regions should be enhanced, in order to tackle common problems through coordinated action; points out that the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) offers a suitable cooperation framework for structured, multi-level governance; calls on the Commission to explore ways of better coordinating the various European instruments providing for cross-border cooperation at the Union’s external borders;

5.  Is in favour of the continuation of programmes supported under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and recommends that a sufficient budget be provided for the Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme for the next programming period, in order to fully address and continue efforts to achieve all the objectives stated in the ENPI CBC Strategy Paper 2007-2013; emphasises that uniform rules should be drawn up to govern applications, so that any legal entity in any state participating in the programme area can apply as lead applicant; considers that all the countries in the Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme should be involved and encouraged to participate actively in the next programming period;

6.  Encourages the development of synergies between the various Union policies that come into play in the Strategy, particularly the Structural Funds, the Research and Development Framework Programme and the Trans-European Transport Networks, in order to ensure the sustainability of the actions financed; in that way opportunities created by one economic development initiative can be taken up by another complementary initiative;

7.  Recognises the importance of regional and local authorities and stakeholders for the planning and implementation of the strategy, considering their close link with the territory and with local people; calls, therefore, for their needs to be identified and for them to be fully involved in the strategy;

8.  Points out that the exchange of best practices between regions is of pivotal importance for all areas of cooperation, in that regions with long experience of developing and implementing projects could help other regions to improve their performance;

9.  Regards the improvement of the administrative capacity of all local and regional stakeholders in the Black Sea region as vital in order to ensure the efficient implementation and sound financial management of EU projects, greater transparency and accountability, and balanced territorial development across the area;

10. Takes the view that all infrastructure projects, whether in the area of transport or energy, should be negotiated between all the Black Sea countries concerned, and that coordination should be ensured especially with regard to TEN-T projects and to projects relating to the development of harbours; stresses the importance of better intermodal freight operations, through the integration of short-sea shipping into transport logistics, improved port operations and more efficient hinterland connections; considers that the EU must continue cooperating with its regional partners on improving infrastructure safety, modernising existing infrastructure and creating new infrastructure; calls for effective coordination of search-and-rescue operations in the Black Sea Basin and for the establishment of a Black Sea surveillance strategy;

11. Emphasises the importance of the projects in the Southern Corridor, bearing in mind the EU’s basic aim of diversifying energy supply channels;

12. Having regard to the importance of the Black Sea region for Europe’s energy supply, considers a thorough evaluation of the benefits and environmental implications of currently planned and future energy projects essential; in this regard, considers it crucial that, in order to be effectively prepared for all potential environmental disasters and technical accidents, all the countries and regions concerned agree well in advance on how to deal with these events from an environmental, economic and technical point of view;

13. Given that the Black Sea is highly polluted, and that pollution knows no frontiers, calls for a joint solution to be found to the problem through the use of all existing instruments and on the basis of EU standards for all the Black Sea countries, with the aim of tackling and reducing pollution, as well as further safeguarding the environment and the climate by means of preventive measures;

14. Given the overfishing in the Black Sea, calls for agreed measures under the Strategy to protect natural resources (fish stocks, biodiversity, etc.) and for the sustainable development of fishing areas; supports moves to promote cultural heritage (accumulated vocational experience and skills, new specialisations), and an improvement in quality of life in those areas; encourages local and regional partnerships, and considers that the Black Sea Strategy should contribute towards the modernisation of existing seaports and the updating of port services, with due regard for environmental safety and protection standards;

15. Considers that the projects agreed by Black Sea countries can contribute to social and economic development, with the emphasis on diversification of economic activities, the stepping-up of cooperation in the fields of education and research and the protection of natural resources, and also to improved cooperation on strengthening security by combating cross-border crime;

16. Points out that the impact of climate change on the Black Sea region, its people and economy poses considerable challenges to new development potentials, so that increased cooperation among the countries bordering on the Black Sea should be further supported and encouraged, particularly in the field of developing adaptation and mitigation measures in anticipation of emergencies;

17. Considers the rich legacy of cultural landscapes and heritage habitats found across the Black Sea region as perhaps one of the clearest illustrations of the idea of strength in diversity; believes that sensitive integrated use and conservation of these assets can contribute to the aim of the new strategy by ensuring that common regional marketing and branding exploit the full range of qualities that the region has to offer.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

30.11.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

39

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Charalampos Angourakis, Sophie Auconie, Jean-Paul Besset, Victor Boştinaru, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Alain Cadec, Francesco De Angelis, Tamás Deutsch, Danuta Maria Hübner, Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova, Juozas Imbrasas, María Irigoyen Pérez, Seán Kelly, Evgeni Kirilov, Constanze Angela Krehl, Petru Constantin Luhan, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Riikka Manner, Iosif Matula, Erminia Mazzoni, Wojciech Michał Olejniczak, Markus Pieper, Monika Smolková, Georgios Stavrakakis, Csanád Szegedi, Nuno Teixeira, Michail Tremopoulos, Viktor Uspaskich, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Hermann Winkler, Joachim Zeller, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă, Jens Geier, Andrey Kovatchev, Elisabeth Schroedter, Dimitar Stoyanov, László Surján, Evžen Tošenovský, Sabine Verheyen

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

Andrea Češková

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

9.12.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

44

0

6

Members present for the final vote

Gabriele Albertini, Arnaud Danjean, Michael Gahler, Marietta Giannakou, Ana Gomes, Andrzej Grzyb, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Richard Howitt, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Ioannis Kasoulides, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Maria Eleni Koppa, Andrey Kovatchev, Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler, Eduard Kukan, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Vytautas Landsbergis, Krzysztof Lisek, Sabine Lösing, Ulrike Lunacek, Mario Mauro, Kyriakos Mavronikolas, Alexander Mirsky, María Muñiz De Urquiza, Norica Nicolai, Raimon Obiols, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Vincent Peillon, Alojz Peterle, Bernd Posselt, Hans-Gert Pöttering, Cristian Dan Preda, Fiorello Provera, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Werner Schulz, Charles Tannock, Inese Vaidere, Graham Watson

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Elena Băsescu, Hélène Flautre, Lorenzo Fontana, Kinga Gál, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Elisabeth Jeggle, Metin Kazak, Konrad Szymański, Traian Ungureanu, Janusz Władysław Zemke

Last updated: 6 January 2011Legal notice