Procedure : 2017/2035(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0335/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0335/2017

Debates :

PV 11/12/2017 - 20
CRE 11/12/2017 - 20

Votes :

PV 12/12/2017 - 5.12

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0485

REPORT     
PDF 425kWORD 71k
26 October 2017
PE 608.083v02-00 A8-0335/2017

containing a motion for a non-legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part

(12409/2016 – C8-0469/2016 – 2016/0166(NLE) – 2017/2035(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rapporteur: Liisa Jaakonsaari

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NON-LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on International Trade
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NON-LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part

(12409/2016 – C8-0469/2016 – 2016/0166(NLE)2017/2035(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12409/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part (09452/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 31(1) and 37 of the Treaty on European Union and to Articles 91, 100(2), 207 and 209 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 218(6)(a) thereof (C8-0469/2016),

–  having regard to the signing of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) on 21 December 2015 in Astana, in the presence of the Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini,

–  having regard to the provisional application of the parts of the EPCA under the exclusive competence of the EU as of 1 May 2016,

–  having regard to the continued implementation of the EU-Kazakhstan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), signed on 23 January 1995, since its entry into force on 1 July 1999,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 containing the European Parliament recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service on the negotiations for an EU-Kazakhstan enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement(1),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Kazakhstan, including those of 10 March 2016(2), 18 April 2013(3), 15 March 2012(4), and 17 September 2009 on the case of Yevgeny Zhovtis in Kazakhstan(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2011 on the state of implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia(6), and of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy(7),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 19 January 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement continuing the International Science and Technology Center(8), established in Astana, Kazakhstan,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of ... on the proposal for a draft decision(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 June 2015 and 19 June 2017 on the EU Strategy for Central Asia,

–  having regard to the fourth progress report by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission services of 13 January 2015 on the implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia adopted in 2007,

–  having regard to annual EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogues,

–  having regard to various EU-Central Asia meetings,

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0335/2017),

A.  whereas the EPCA should lead to a perceptible deepening and strengthening of the political and economic ties between the two parties, while respecting and taking account of existing differences and the specific political, economic and social circumstances of the parties, for the benefit of the people of both Kazakhstan and the EU;

B.  whereas the EPCA (Article 1) could strengthen the framework for the fulfilment of essential elements, such as respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of a market economy, already provided for in the PCA, as long as the implementation of all of the clauses is subject to a strict and effective monitoring mechanism based on clear benchmarks and deadlines; whereas countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has been added as a new essential element (Article 11);

C.  whereas Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian country to have signed an EPCA with the EU; whereas the EPCA, once ratified by all Member States and the European Parliament, will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) of 1999, and whereas the text of the EPCA was made public on 15 July 2015;

D.  whereas the EPCA sets out a broad spectrum of new areas of cooperation, which are not only in the political and economic interest of the EU, but are also suited to supporting Kazakhstan in the next stage of modernisation to which it aspires, while at the same time securing cooperation in meeting global challenges, particularly as regards sustainable social and economic development for all citizens, the preservation of cultural diversity, conservation of the environment and management of the consequences of climate change in accordance with the requirements of the Paris Agreement, as well as peacekeeping and regional cooperation;

E.  whereas since May 2016, two-thirds of the EPCA has been applied provisionally;

F.  whereas the European Parliament is prepared, within the framework of its competences, to involve itself actively in developing and fleshing out the specific areas of cooperation with Kazakhstan, including parliamentary relations;

G.  whereas Kazakhstan joined the WTO on 1 January 2016; 

H.  whereas Kazakhstan joined the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in March 2012;

General provisions on EU-Kazakhstan relations and on the EPCA

1.  Stresses that the enhancement of political, economic and cultural relations between the EU and Kazakhstan must be based on shared commitments to universal values, in particular, to democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights and guided by mutual interests;

2.  Notes Kazakhstan’s consistent strategy of rapprochement with the EU; underlines the country’s essential contribution to the implementation of the EU-Central Asia strategy, which will undergo a substantial review in 2019;

3.  Welcomes the fact that the EPCA establishes a solid basis for the deepening of relations; notes that Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian partner country with which the EU has negotiated and signed an EPCA; considers this new-generation agreement to be a good model that could in future also be applied to other countries in the region;

4.  Welcomes the ambition expressed in the EPCA to enhance cooperation and to significantly boost economic ties between the EU and Kazakhstan in various areas of concern and common interest, such as democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, sustainable development, foreign and security policy, trade, justice, freedom and security and in 29 other key sectoral policy areas, such as economic and financial cooperation, energy, transport, environment and climate change, employment and social affairs, culture, education and research; encourages both sides to actively fulfil their commitments;

5.  Expects that the EPCA will promote a strengthening of the rule of law and democratic participation by all citizens, a more diverse political landscape, a better functioning, independent and impartial judiciary, increased transparency and accountability of the government, improvements to the labour laws in line with ILO requirements, more business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, sustainable development of the environment, water management, and of other resources, such as an efficient use of energy and the development of renewable energy sources;

6.  Underlines the importance and continued validity of Parliament’s recommendations on the negotiations for an EU-Kazakhstan EPCA of 22 November 2012;

7.  Recalls that Parliament emphasised that progress in the negotiation of the EPCA must be linked to progress of political reform and real progress on respect for human rights, the rule of law, good governance and democratisation, where implementation of the Venice Commission recommendations could play a beneficial role; expresses serious concerns that rights to the freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and association remain restricted; urges the country to implement fully the recommendations made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the outcome report concerning his mission to Kazakhstan in January 2015;

8.  Stresses that further steps need to be based on the application of the ‘more for more’ principle;

9.  Welcomes the fact that the EPCA introduced the possibility of negotiating a visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Kazakhstan in parallel with the possible negotiation of an agreement regulating the specific obligations in relation to readmissions; points out the importance of stepping up exchanges, in particular at youth and academic level, and calls, in this respect, for a substantial expansion of the Erasmus + programme for Kazakhstan;

10.  Reiterates its call on the Council, Commission and the VP/HR:

–  to ensure that both sides abide by the essential elements of the EPCA, because failure to observe them would lead to either a dispute settlement (Article 278) or even suspension in the event of serious violations (Article 279),

–  develop benchmarks and deadlines for implementation of the EPCA,

–  provide for a comprehensive monitoring mechanism between Parliament and the EEAS once the EPCA fully enters into force, including the elements as specified in its resolution of 22 November 2012;

11.  Recalls that Article 218(10) TFEU and relevant ECJ rulings with regard to immediate and full access by Parliament to all negotiating documents and related information are still only partially upheld by the VP/HR, Council and the Commission;

12.  Asks the EU-Kazakhstan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) to update its Rules of Procedure in order to provide for democratic scrutiny of the provisional application in those fields that have entered into force already and to use its prerogatives to adopt recommendations, and to prepare for scrutiny of the whole EPCA once it enters into force fully;

Political dialogue and cooperation, democracy, the rule of law, good governance and fundamental freedoms

13.  Calls on the EU to consistently prioritise in its political dialogue with Kazakhstan, the issues of the rule of law and democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights;

14.  Calls on Kazakhstan, in the light of social protests, some of them violent, to take proactive and concrete steps, when implementing the ‘Kazakhstan 2050’ programme, on political, democratic and social reforms, including a clear separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, and introducing further checks and balances within the constitutional system, in line with the country’s international commitments under various UN, OSCE and Council of Europe instruments; reiterates its conviction that the transition which Kazakhstan seeks, towards a new type of growth with an intensive scientific focus, would not appear to be possible without high-quality education, access for much of the population to essential modern services, an inclusive social policy and a system of regulated social relationships, particularly in the economy; welcomes the ‘100-step programme’ as an attempt to address the need for urgent reforms in the country;

15.  Welcomes some recent positive developments in the field of constitutional and administrative reforms as well as the establishment of a civil society consultative platform; is, however, gravely concerned about the restrictive effects of the Criminal and Administrative Codes that entered into force in 2015 on civil society organisations and their activities;

16.  Calls on Kazakhstan to fully implement the recommendations from the OSCE/ODIHR international observation mission to the 20 March 2016 elections according to which the country still has a considerable way to go in meeting its OSCE commitments for democratic elections; urges the Kazakh authorities to avoid restricting the activity of independent candidates; urges, furthermore, that citizens’ electoral rights be respected;

17.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s cooperation with the Venice Commission and calls for full implementation of the relevant recommendations made by it in the area of democratic and judicial reforms in particular;

18.  Welcomes the current administrative reforms and recommends further reforms guaranteeing a genuinely independent and impartial judiciary and more efficient efforts in fighting corruption at all levels; appeals, however, for enhanced governance and reform, with a truly independent judiciary free from corruption and guaranteeing the right to a fair trial and defence rights, and for greater, more efficient efforts in fighting corruption, organised crime and drug trafficking; calls for the improvement and modernisation of and investments in core social sectors; stresses that further attention for economic and social development in peripheral regions and outside the main cities will be important for the country’s long-term stability;

19.  Notes the existence of civil society dialogue platforms; reiterates its concern about the legislation on NGOs, undermining their independence and ability to operate; recalls the importance of an active and independent civil society for the sustainable future of Kazakhstan; urges the Kazakh authorities to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights activists and NGOs in Kazakhstan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions and thus contribute to the sustainable development of society and the strengthening of democracy; takes the view that the EPCA also implies enhanced support for the development of a genuine civil society, and calls on the Kazakh authorities to act accordingly, and on the Commission to step up programmes aimed at strengthening and consolidating the action of independent NGOs;

20.  Asks for an end to be put to the judicial persecution, harassment and imprisonment of independent journalists, civil society activists, trade union leaders, human rights defenders, opposition political figures and other outspoken individuals in retaliation for their exercise of the freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms, a phenomenon that has intensified over the last couple of years; calls for the full rehabilitation and immediate release of all activists and political prisoners currently in jail, as well as for the lifting of restrictions placed on the movements on others; requests an end to abuse of its Interpol’s extradition procedures and a stop to the harassment of political opposition abroad;

21.  Welcomes the release on parole from prison of the prominent Kazakh activist and Alga! opposition party leader Vladimir Kozlov in August 2016;

22.  Expresses its concerns about the curtailment of freedom of the media, freedom of expression, and freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of religion, including by means of restrictive legislation, pressure, censorship and criminal prosecution of activists; points out that freedom of speech for the independent media, bloggers and individual citizens is a universal value that must be upheld; recommends Kazakhstan to apply the standards of the Council of Europe in its legal system; takes note of the efforts of Kazakhstan to improve the country’s international image as shown by the recent opening of EXPO-2017 in Astana; points out, nevertheless, that these efforts are contradicted by the crackdown on dissenting voices and pressure on civil society over the last few months;

23.  Is concerned that some of the provisions of the recently reformed Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedural Code restrict the freedom of expression; encourages Kazakhstan to revisit those in particular with regard to the criminalisation of defamation;

24.  Underlines that freedom of media and freedom of expression are essential in establishing and consolidating democracy, the rule of law and human rights; regrets that the environment for independent media outlets has become ever more hostile; expresses concern about the draft media legislation aimed at implementing rules for journalists involving them verifying their information with state authorities; urges the Kazakh authorities to withdraw such amendments from their draft legislation and to ensure full independence of investigation and reporting for journalists; calls, furthermore, on the Kazakh authorities to refrain from restricting access to state-critical online and offline media in the country and from abroad; regrets that defamation also remains criminalised in Kazakhstan, and underlines that this has become problematic in the light of freedom of expression in the country; is concerned by the large number of defamation lawsuits, including cases against a few news broadcasters and other websites that report unfavourably on government policies and which are also routinely blocked, initiated by public officials and other public figures who enjoy special protection and demand large amounts in moral compensation as a result of articles containing allegations of corruption, misconduct or other issues that do not please them;

25.  Urges the reversal of the negative trends in terms of freedom of the media, freedom of expression, and freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of religion; recommends that Kazakhstan apply the standards of the Council of Europe in its laws; takes note, in this context, that, as of 2016, all Kazakh NGOs have been required by law to register with the authorities and to provide annual information on their activities for inclusion in a government database on NGOs; underlines that this step might be directed towards enhancing transparency in the sector; is concerned, however, that the new requirements add to the already extensive reporting obligations for the non-governmental sector to the state, while the transparency policy is disproportionally applied towards the non-profit, non-governmental sectors, as it does not apply to any other legal entities; is concerned that involvement in unregistered associations is criminalised and that failing to provide information for the new database or providing ‘incorrect’ information may result in penalties for organisations; regrets that the activities of registered public associations may be suspended or terminated by courts for any violation of national law, no matter how minor;

26.  Notes with concern that the adoption of recent anti-terrorism laws, including a bill proposing the withdrawal of citizenship for terrorist suspects could lead to the suppression of peaceful and legitimate political opposition; urges the Kazakh authorities to avoid using this legislation due to the possible effects of restricting freedom of speech, freedom of religion or belief, the independence of the judiciary or banning opposition activity;

27.  Takes note that, in its concluding observations on Kazakhstan adopted in summer 2016, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about the broadly formulated provisions of the Criminal Code’s Article 174, which bans ‘inciting’ social, national or other discord, and Article 274, which prohibits ‘spreading information that is known to be false’, and the use of these articles to unduly restrict freedom of expression and other rights protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); regrets that a number of civil society activists and journalists have been charged and imprisoned on the basis of the above-mentioned articles of the Criminal Code; notes that the list includes Maks Bokayev and Talgat Ayan, who are serving five-year prison terms for their role in peaceful land reform protests, which took place in Kazakhstan in the spring of 2016; urges the Kazakh Government to release them all and to drop the charges against them;

28.  Calls on Kazakhstan to revise its Trade Union Law of 2014 and the Labour Code of 2015 to bring them in line with ILO standards; reminds Kazakhstan of its obligations to comply fully with the conclusions adopted by the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (in 2017, 2016, and 2015);

29.  Condemns the closure of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (CITUK) by a court order in January 2017 for allegedly failing to confirm its status under the country’s restrictive 2014 Law on Trade Unions; reminds the Kazakh authorities of the need to guarantee an independent and impartial judiciary and to enable real social dialogue also by fostering the existence and functioning of independent trade unions, such as CITUK and its affiliates; refers to the Conclusions of the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards on the situation in Kazakhstan in June 2017; regrets that Larisa Kharkova, President of CITUK, was found guilty by a court on 25 July 2017 of charges of embezzlement and fraud related to the use of trade union funds, which are believed to be politically motivated charges; deplores the fact that she has been arbitrarily sentenced to four years of court-imposed restrictions on her freedom of movement, in addition to 100 hours of community work and a ban on holding leading positions in public associations for five years; calls on Kazakhstan to quash the conviction and drop the charges against her;

30.  Regrets that, in April and May 2017, two other trade union leaders, Nurbek Kushakbayev and Amin Yeleusinov, were sentenced to two and half and two years in prison, respectively, on criminal charges also considered to be politically motivated; notes that the sentences against the three trade union leaders are a blow to independent trade union activity in the country;

31.  Notes the multi-ethnic and multi-religious character of Kazakhstan and stresses the need for a protection of minorities and their rights, in particular with regard to the use of languages, freedom of religion or belief, non-discrimination and equal opportunities; welcomes the peaceful co-existence of different communities in Kazakhstan;

32.  Calls for a substantial review of the annual EU-Kazakhstan Human Rights Dialogue, in order to make it more effective and result-oriented; calls on the Kazakh authorities to fully engage in it, as well as in all other forums, in order to achieve tangible progress on the human rights situation in the country while paying particular attention to individual cases; recalls that the involvement of civil society in these dialogues and consultations must be guaranteed;

33.  Underlines the necessity for continual engagement within the cycle of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in particular with regard to effective implementation of its recommendations;

34.  Insists that Kazakhstan comply with the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture and the 2009 recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture;

35.  Regrets that Kazakhstan has so far refused an independent international investigation into the Zhanaozen events of 2011, despite calls by the UNHRC;

36.  Welcomes the country’s application to join several Council of Europe conventions;

37.  Regrets that Kazakhstan is neither a party to, nor a signatory state of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and calls on Kazakhstan to sign and accede to it;

International relations, regional cooperation, and global challenges

38.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s constructive cooperation in international relations as an important contributor to peace and stability at both regional and global levels, for example, through its facilitation of the talks on the Iranian nuclear deal, the negotiations between the parties in Astana for a comprehensive solution to end the war in Syria, its diplomatic efforts with regard to the conflict in Ukraine and its initiative on the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia; encourages Kazakhstan to continue to engage in and play a constructive role on the international stage; welcomes, in this regard, its call for the gradual eradication of armed conflict through nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and its initiation of the Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World; welcomes, in particular, the decision of Kazakhstan not to join the Russian ban on EU agricultural products, and considers this as a concrete and encouraging sign of the willingness of this country to step up its dialogue and cooperation with the EU;

39.  Notes Kazakhstan’s geostrategic importance and acknowledges the country’s multi-vector foreign policy, with its aim of fostering friendly and predictable relations, including, as a priority, building and balancing good neighbourly relations with Russia, China, the Central Asian states with which it shares borders, and other partners, including the US and the EU;

40.  Recognises Kazakhstan as an important player in foreign and security policy not least due to the consistent role it plays in global nuclear disarmament and security, and its non-permanent membership on the UN Security Council in 2017-2018;

41.  Recognises the security challenge posed to Kazakhstan by Daesh and other UN Security Council-designated terrorist organisations; notes the high number of Kazakh citizens among the foreign fighters in the Middle East; recognises the potential for further destabilisation of Kazakhstan resulting from the on-going conflict in Afghanistan, including by means of religious extremism, drug trafficking and terrorism; calls for closer cooperation on countering violent extremism and fighting against terrorism, and points out that the priority should be to address the root causes of radicalisation; notes that Article 13 of the EPCA focuses on counter-terrorism measures and plays a crucial role, especially in the current international environment;

42.  Notes that Kazakhstan belongs to all of the main regional organisations; regards the international profile which Kazakhstan has very recently achieved, through chairing international organisations as diverse as the OSCE, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, as a good starting point for joint activities endeavouring to stabilise the security situation in the Central Asia region and to find multilateral solutions to global challenges; welcomes, in this context, Kazakhstan’s clear statements to the effect that its membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will not affect the strengthening of relations with the EU;

43.  Recommends that the EU continue its support for regional cooperation in Central Asia, in particular the rule of law, confidence-building measures, water and resource management, border management, stability and security; supports, in this regard, Kazakhstan’s efforts in promoting good neighbourly relations and becoming a guarantor of stability in the region; calls for a sustainable Central Asian settlement on water management, energy and security issues that responds to all interests;

44.  Recognises that Kazakhstan is a leading power in the Central Asian region; urges Kazakhstan to use this position as a basis for positive engagement with its regional neighbours and to take steps to move forward in regional cooperation;

Sustainable development, energy and environment

45.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s third modernisation strategy, announced in January 2017, with the goal of becoming one the 30 most developed countries in the world;

46.  Welcomes the enhanced chapter on raw materials and energy cooperation, which holds great potential for contributing to EU energy security; recalls that Kazakhstan plays an important role as an energy supplier to the EU; calls for the EU to engage in more active energy cooperation and to bolster its dialogue with Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries to strengthen EU energy security;

47.  Welcomes the inclusion in the EPCA of the chapter on cooperation in the area of climate change; calls for the EU to continue to cooperate with the Government of Kazakhstan, assisting it in identifying and developing innovative and sustainable environmental and ecological policies; recalls that Kazakhstan is heavily affected by the consequences of two of the most devastating man-made environmental disasters in the world, namely the drying up of the Aral sea and the Soviet-era nuclear testing at the site of Semey/Semipalatinsk; calls on the Commission to step up its assistance to the Kazakh authorities, both on a technical and a financial level, in order to improve substantially water management and water conservation in the Aral sea basin in the framework of the action programme of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, and to develop an effective action plan for the cleaning-up of the former nuclear ‘Polygon’ area; welcomes Kazakhstan's participation in the voluntary Partnership Programme ‘Green Bridge’; believes this will provide a stable and long-term basis for green investment, the transfer of new technologies and innovations, and moving towards a carbon-energy-free society;

48.  Underlines the need to apply the principles of environmentally sustainable development in Kazakhstan with regard to extraction and the processing of its vast natural resources; welcomes, in this context, the fact that the country complies with the standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI);

Trade and economy

49.  Recalls that the EU is the country’s first trade and investment partner and that Kazakhstan is the EU’s main trade partner in Central Asia; hopes that these relations will be further strengthened; notes that 80 % of Kazakhstan’s exports to the EU consist of oil and gas; reiterates the importance of greater diversification of its trade with the EU; highlights that trade and human rights can positively reinforce each other when operating in a rule of law environment; recalls that the business community has an important role to play in offering positive incentives in terms of promoting human rights, democracy, and corporate responsibility; points out that global value chains contribute to enhancing international core labour, environmental, social and human rights standards, including the establishment and enforcement of occupational health and safety measures, educational opportunities, impartial institutions, and the reduction of corruption;

50.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO on 1 January 2016, which fostered the economic and administrative modernisation of the country; notes that Kazakhstan’s economy is largely based on the exploitation and export of raw materials and hydrocarbons; hopes that the ambitious programme for diversifying the economy, in which the EU could play an important role, and for reforming the country, which includes, inter alia, the professionalisation of the public administration and the introduction of anti-corruption measures, is fully executed in practice; calls, in particular, on the Commission to assist Kazakhstan so as to make its economy environmentally friendly and sustainable;

51.  Takes note of Kazakhstan’s commitment to fully liberalising the movement of capital in the form of direct investment, and regrets that the Trade and Business title of the EPCA does not contain anti-corruption provisions; takes the view that particular attention should be paid to the issues of corporate governance and corruption in monitoring the implementation of the agreement, in order to avoid increasing the risk of money laundering;

52.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s determination, as shown during the first year of the EPCA’s application, to honour and fulfil its EPCA and WTO commitments; calls on Kazakhstan to fulfil its commitments under the EPCA regarding intellectual property rights (IPRs), on the basis of a regional exhaustion regime;

53.  Calls on Kazakhstan to fully align its import tariffs with its WTO and EPCA commitments, irrespective of its participation in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), in order to avoid costly compensation payments to WTO trading partners;

54.  Calls on Kazakhstan to join the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) in order to enable effective sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls, and to use the bilateral EU-Kazakhstan SPS certificates;

55.  Takes note of the general five-year transition period for public procurement and the eight-year transition period for construction laid down in the EPCA, and looks forward to increased trade once these periods have drawn to a close; notes that public procurement constitutes a significant public policy instrument for Kazakhstan;

°

°  °

56.  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, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the government and the parliament of Kazakhstan.

(1)

OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 159.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0083.

(3)

OJ C 45, 5.2.2016, p. 85.

(4)

OJ C 251 E, 31.8.2013, p. 93.

(5)

OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 30.

(6)

OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 91.

(7)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0121.

(8)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0007.

(9)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(0000)0000.


OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (27.9.2017)

for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

on a motion for a non-legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the other part

(2017/2035(INI))

Rapporteur: David Borrelli

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Supports Parliament’s conclusion of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) with Kazakhstan, since it upgrades trade provisions and builds on WTO membership obligations and disciplines; stresses the high importance of enhancing the EU’s political, economic and trade relations with Kazakhstan, on the basis of shared commitments to international values, including WTO obligations; underlines the EU’s importance to Kazakhstan and that the EU plays a significant role in supporting the development and diversification of the Kazakh economy; notes that this gives the EU significant leverage with regard to improving the human rights situation, in particular in relation to labour standards; reserves the right, therefore, to call on the Commission and the Council to suspend the agreement in the case of flagrant breaches of human rights;

2.  Notes that the EU is Kazakhstan’s main trade and investment partner; believes that economic diversification, liberalisation, investment in research, education and vocational training and sustainable development, tackling corruption, and opening up to productive, real and sustainable foreign direct investment (FDI) could be important means to further develop and strengthen trade and economic relations within the wider framework of the general principles of the EPCA; calls on the Kazakh authorities to comply with international standards, notably those relating to combating money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion; calls on the Commission to continue its efforts to assist the Kazakh authorities in implementing the EPCA effectively in these fields, by developing benchmarks for implementation and by providing for an effective and comprehensive monitoring mechanism between Parliament, the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) for the whole EPCA; notes that regulatory approximation plays a key role in facilitating the development of bilateral trade relations;

3.  Notes that Kazakhstan’s economy is largely based on the exploitation and export of raw materials and hydrocarbons; takes the view that the EPCA should help Kazakhstan diversify its economy in an environment-friendly and sustainable manner;

4.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s economic and administrative modernisation, stemming from its accession to the WTO on 1 January 2016 and its chairing of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment;

5.  Takes note of Kazakhstan’s commitment to fully liberalising the movement of capital in the form of direct investment, and regrets that the Trade and Business title of the EPCA does not contain anti-corruption provisions; takes the view that particular attention should be paid to the issues of corporate governance and corruption in monitoring the implementation of the agreement, in order to avoid increasing the risk of money laundering;

6.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s determination, as shown during the first year of the EPCA’s application, to honour and fulfil its EPCA and WTO commitments; calls on Kazakhstan to fulfil its commitments under the EPCA regarding intellectual property rights (IPRs), on the basis of a regional exhaustion regime;

7.  Calls on Kazakhstan to fully align its import tariffs with its WTO and EPCA commitments, irrespective of its participation in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), in order to avoid costly compensation payments to WTO trading partners;

8.  Calls on Kazakhstan to join the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) in order to enable effective sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls, and to use the bilateral EU-Kazakhstan SPS certificates;

9.  Welcomes Kazakhstan’s participation in the voluntary Green Bridge Partnership Programme; believes it will provide a stable and long-term basis for green investment and the transfer of new technologies and innovations, with a view to achieving a carbon-free society;

10.  Takes note of the general five-year transition period for public procurement and the eight-year transition period for construction laid down in the EPCA, and looks forward to increased trade once these periods have drawn to a close; notes that public procurement constitutes a significant public policy instrument for Kazakhstan;

11.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to use all possible EU leverage to continue to encourage and assist the Kazakh authorities in their efforts to implement the core ILO conventions effectively and to ensure respect for human rights, good governance, the rule of law and freedom of association, including with regard to trade unions, their role and membership and the right to strike; recalls that human rights, including labour rights, are an essential element of the EPCA; urges the Commission to activate the dispute settlement mechanism provided for in the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter without delay.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

25.9.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

28

1

1

Members present for the final vote

William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Tiziana Beghin, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Eleonora Forenza, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Heidi Hautala, France Jamet, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emma McClarkin, Anne-Marie Mineur, Sorin Moisă, Alessia Maria Mosca, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Viviane Reding, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Tokia Saïfi, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Hannu Takkula, Iuliu Winkler, Jan Zahradil

Substitutes present for the final vote

Edouard Ferrand, Agnes Jongerius, Sajjad Karim, Sander Loones

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Massimiliano Salini, Bogdan Brunon Wenta

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

28

+

ALDE

Hannu Takkula, Marietje Schaake

ECR

Emma McClarkin, Jan Zahradil, Sajjad Karim, Sander Loones

EFDD

Tiziana Beghin, William (The Earl of) Dartmouth

GUE/NGL

Anne-Marie Mineur, Eleonora Forenza, Helmut Scholz

PPE

Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Iuliu Winkler, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Massimiliano Salini, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Tokia Saïfi, Viviane Reding

S&D

Agnes Jongerius, Alessia Maria Mosca, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Sorin Moisă

Verts/ALE

Heidi Hautala

1

-

ENF

France Jamet

1

0

ENF

Edouard Ferrand

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

10.10.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

47

3

6

Members present for the final vote

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Francisco Assis, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Mario Borghezio, Elmar Brok, Klaus Buchner, James Carver, Lorenzo Cesa, Andi Cristea, Georgios Epitideios, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Michael Gahler, Sandra Kalniete, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Tunne Kelam, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, Eduard Kukan, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Barbara Lochbihler, Sabine Lösing, Alex Mayer, David McAllister, Francisco José Millán Mon, Clare Moody, Javier Nart, Demetris Papadakis, Alojz Peterle, Tonino Picula, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, Jozo Radoš, Sofia Sakorafa, Jaromír Štětina, Charles Tannock, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Ivo Vajgl, Geoffrey Van Orden, Hilde Vautmans, Anders Primdahl Vistisen, Boris Zala

Substitutes present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Raffaele Fitto, Ana Gomes, Rebecca Harms, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Urmas Paet, Miroslav Poche, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Helmut Scholz, Traian Ungureanu

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Heidi Hautala, Răzvan Popa, Gabriele Preuß


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

47

+

ALDE

Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Jozo Radoš, Ivo Vajgl, Hilde Vautmans

ECR

Raffaele Fitto, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Charles Tannock, Geoffrey Van Orden, Anders Primdahl Vistisen

PPE

Lars Adaktusson, Michèle Alliot-Marie, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Elmar Brok, Lorenzo Cesa, Michael Gahler, Sandra Kalniete, Manolis Kefalogiannis, Tunne Kelam, Eduard Kukan, David McAllister, Francisco José Millán Mon, Alojz Peterle, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Traian Ungureanu, Jaromír Štětina

S&D

Francisco Assis, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Andi Cristea, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Ana Gomes, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Alex Mayer, Clare Moody, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Miroslav Poche, Răzvan Popa, Gabriele Preuß, Boris Zala

Verts/ALE

Rebecca Harms, Heidi Hautala, Barbara Lochbihler

3

-

EFDD

James Carver

NI

Georgios Epitideios, Janusz Korwin-Mikke

6

0

ENF

Mario Borghezio

GUE/NGL

Sabine Lösing, Sofia Sakorafa, Helmut Scholz, Miguel Urbán Crespo

Verts/ALE

Klaus Buchner

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 31 October 2017Legal notice