Procedure : 2017/2273(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0197/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0197/2018

Debates :

Votes :

PV 14/06/2018 - 7.13
CRE 14/06/2018 - 7.13

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0268

REPORT     
PDF 772kWORD 107k
4 June 2018
PE 617.980v02-00 A8-0197/2018

on monitoring the application of EU law 2016

(2017/2273(INI))

Committee on Legal Affairs

Rapporteur: Kostas Chrysogonos

ERRATA/ADDENDA
AMENDMENTS
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 OPINION of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
 OPINION of the Committee on Petitions
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on monitoring the application of EU law 2016

(2017/2273(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) and in particular Articles 1, 2 and 3 thereof,

–   having regard to the Commission’s 33rd Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law (2015) (COM(2016)0463),

–  having regard to the Commission’s 34th Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law (2016) (COM(2017)0370),

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘EU Pilot Evaluation Report’ (COM(2010)0070),

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘Second Evaluation Report on EU Pilot’ (COM(2011)0930),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 October 2016 entitled ‘Monitoring the application of Union law: 2014 Annual Report’(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 December 2016 entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’ (C(2016)8600),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 March 2002 on relations with the complainant in respect of infringements of Community law (COM(2002)0141),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 April 2012 on updating the handling of relations with the complainant in respect of the application of Union law (COM(2012)0154),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2014 on a new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law (COM(2014)0158),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 May 2015 entitled ‘Better regulation for better results – An EU agenda’ (COM(2015)0215),

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(2),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2001/470/EC of 28 May 2001 establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters(3),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission of 13 April 2016 on better law-making(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on the 30th and 31st annual reports on monitoring the application of EU law (2012-2013)(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2016 for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration(7) and its resolution of 15 January 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on a Law of Administrative Procedure of the European Union(8);

–  having regard to the Commission communications of 27 May 2016 on delivering the benefits of EU environmental policies through a regular Environmental Implementation Review (COM(2016)0316) and of 3 February 2017 entitled ‘The EU Environmental Implementation Review: Common challenges and how to combine efforts to deliver better results’ (COM(2017)0063),

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights,

–  having regard to Rules 52 and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0197/2018),

A.  whereas Article 17 of the TEU defines the fundamental role of the Commission as ‘guardian of the Treaties’;

B.  whereas Article 2 of the TEU stipulates that the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; and whereas proper implementation of EU law is therefore essential to achieving the EU policy goals defined in the Treaties and secondary legislation; whereas Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Union the task of eliminating inequalities and promoting equality between men and women through all its activities;

C.  whereas, according to Article 2 of the TEU and Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU), equality between women and men is one of the core values on which the EU is founded, and whereas, in all its activities, the Union shall aim to combat all forms of discrimination, eliminate inequalities and promote equal opportunities and equal treatment;

D.  whereas Article 3 of the TEU stipulates that the aims of the Union are, inter alia, to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples and to work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, and that the Union shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child,

E.  whereas, according to settled case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the Member States must supply the Commission with clear and precise information on the way in which they transpose EU directives into national law; and whereas, according to the Joint Political Declaration of 28 September 2011 between the Commission and the Member States and the Joint Political Declaration of 27 October 2011 of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, Member States may, when notifying national transposition measures to the Commission, also be required to provide documents explaining how they have transposed directives into national law;

F.  whereas pursuant to Article 4(3) of the TEU and Articles 288(3) and 291(1) of the TFEU, the Member States have the primary responsibility for transposing, applying and implementing EU law correctly and within the time limits set, and for providing sufficient remedies to ensure effective legal protection in the fields covered by EU law;

G.  whereas the correct application of EU law guarantees the benefits of Union's policies to all European citizens and a level playing field for businesses;

H.  whereas, following the adoption in December 2019 of its communication entitled 'EU law: Better results through better application', the Commission has decided to concentrate on cases where Member States fail to communicate transposition measures, where those measures incorrectly transpose directives, or where Member States fail to comply with a judgment of the CJEU (under Article 260(2) of the TFEU), seriously damage EU financial interests or encroach on EU exclusive powers;

I.  whereas according to Article 6(1) of the TEU, the CFREU has the same legal value as the Treaties, and is addressed to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union and to the Member States when they are implementing Union law (Article 51(1) of the CFREU);

J.  whereas EU Pilot procedures are intended to make for closer and more coherent cooperation between the Commission and the Member States so as to remedy breaches of EU law at an early stage through bilateral dialogue in order, wherever possible, to avert the need to resort to formal infringement proceedings;

K.  whereas it is necessary – in response to the current democratic deficit and with reference to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights – to establish a new mechanism providing a single and coherent framework and building on existing instruments and mechanisms, which should be applied in a uniform manner to all EU institutions and all Member States;

L.  whereas, however, under the new policies adopted by the Commission to ensure compliance with EU law, the aim of the EU Pilot is not to prolong the infringement procedure, which is itself a means of entering into problem-solving dialogue with a Member State;

M.  whereas, in order to ensure a more strategic and effective approach to enforcement in dealing with infringements, the Commission has decided, as indicated in its communication entitled 'Better results through better application', to launch infringement procedures without relying on the EU Pilot mechanism unless recourse to it is deemed useful in a given case;

N.  whereas in 2016, the Commission received 3 783 new complaints reporting potential breaches of EU law, with Italy (753), Spain (424) and France (325) being the Member States against which the most complaints were filed;

O.  whereas, according to Article 258(1) and (2) of the TFEU, the Commission shall deliver a reasoned opinion to a Member State when it considers that the latter has failed an obligation under the Treaties, and may bring the matter before the CJEU if the Member State in question does not comply with the opinion within a deadline set by the Commission;

P.  whereas in 2016, the Commission launched 847 new infringements procedures for late transposition of directives;

Q.  whereas in 2016, 95 infringement cases were still open, in response to which the CJEU ruled on the failure to comply on the part of the Member States involved;

R.  whereas in its resolution of 25 October 2016 on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, Parliament requested that the Commission submit by September 2017, on the basis of Article 295 of the TFEU, a proposal for the conclusion of a Union Pact for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (EU Pact for DRF) in the form of an interinstitutional agreement laying down arrangements facilitating the cooperation between the Union institutions and the Member States in the framework of Article 7 of the TEU;

S.  whereas the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission provides for sharing of information concerning all infringement procedures based on letters of formal notice, but does not cover the informal EU Pilot procedure which precedes the opening of formal infringement proceedings;

T.  whereas Article 41 of the CFREU defines the right to good administration as the right of every person to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, and whereas Article 298 of the TFEU stipulates that, in carrying out their missions, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the support of an open, efficient and independent European administration;

U.  whereas in its communication of 3 February 2017 on the EU Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), the Commission claims to have laid out a structured and comprehensive dialogue with the Member States about the implementation of EU environmental legislation, and offers, without prejudice to its enforcement powers under the EU Treaties, to facilitate the Member States' efforts through a new dedicated framework;

V.  whereas Article 157 of the TFEU allows, and its Article 19 enables, legislation to combat all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of gender;

W.  whereas the EU and its Member States have committed themselves, in Declaration No 19 annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon, ‘to combat all kinds of domestic violence […], to prevent and punish these criminal acts and to support and protect the victims’;

X.  whereas EU legislation against trafficking in human beings, in particular women and children, has been adopted on the basis of Articles 79 and 83 of the TFEU; whereas the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme finances, among other things, measures contributing to the eradication of violence against women;

Y.  whereas a number of EU directives, in particular those focused on gender equality, are not being implemented properly in a number of Member States, leaving people of different genders unprotected against discrimination in the areas of access to employment, goods and services;

Z.  whereas gender-based discrimination intersects with other types of discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity, religion, disability, health, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and/or socio-economic condition;

AA.  whereas 33 % of women in the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 55 % have been sexually harassed, 32 % in the workplace; whereas women are particularly vulnerable to sexual, physical and online violence, cyber bullying and stalking; whereas more than half of female murder victims are killed by a partner or relative; whereas violence against women is one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations, regardless of the age, nationality, religion, education or financial and social status of the victim, representing a major hindrance to equality between women and men; whereas the phenomenon of femicide is not decreasing in Member States;

AB.  whereas the EU LGBT survey found that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women face a huge risk of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity; whereas 23 % of lesbians and 35 % of transgender persons have been physically/sexually attacked or threatened with violence at home or elsewhere (in the street, on public transport, at the workplace, etc.) at least once in the last five years;

AC.  whereas the application and enforcement of EU gender equality law in the Member States has been found to entail specific problems related to the transposition and application of the relevant directives, such as substantive deficiencies in legislation and its inconsistent application by national courts;

AD.  whereas institutions and mechanisms for gender equality are often marginalised in national governmental structures, being divided between different policy areas and hampered by complex mandates as well as lacking adequate staff, training and data and sufficient resources, and experiencing insufficient support from political leaders;

AE.  whereas, according to the comparative analysis of non-discrimination law in Europe published in 2017 by the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, in the vast majority of countries serious concerns still persist around perception and awareness, as individuals are often not informed of their rights to protection against discrimination or of the existence of protection mechanisms; whereas, according to this analysis, with regard to the enforcement of the EU anti-discrimination directives, further issues of concern have arisen, such as the lack of (or too restrictive) legal standing of organisations and associations as regards engaging in proceedings on behalf, or in support of ,victims of discrimination, and restrictive application of the shift of the burden of proof, as well as a number of barriers to effective access to justice, and these are acting as obstacles that effectively hinder citizens from being able to fully enjoy and protect their rights deriving from the provisions of anti-discrimination law;

AF.  whereas the Gender Equality Index 2017 of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shows only marginal improvements, making it clear that the EU remains far from achieving gender equality, with the overall score now being 66.2 out of 100, just four points higher than ten years ago;

AG.  whereas, as regards the sphere of decision-making, the aforementioned gender equality data show an improvement of almost ten points over the past decade, with the score now standing at 48.5, but this area still has the lowest attainment score of all; whereas this adverse figure primarily reflects the uneven representation of women and men in politics and points to a democratic deficit in EU governance;

AH.  whereas the Eurofound report on the gender employment gap estimates that this gap is costing the EU around EUR 370 billion per year, corresponding to 2.8 % of EU GDP;

AI.  whereas, according to Eurofound’s Working Conditions Survey, the composite indicator of paid and unpaid working time shows that when paid and unpaid working hours are computed, women work longer hours;

AJ.  whereas, despite the EU’s commitment to gender equality in decision-making, the management boards of the EU agencies are seriously lacking in gender balance, and show persisting patterns of gender segregation;

AK.  whereas the feminisation of poverty is a fact in the EU, and whereas the proper and full application and enforcement of EU equality and gender equality laws should go hand in hand with policies targeting the very high rates of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion among women, phenomena that are closely linked to budget cuts affecting public services in areas such as healthcare, education, social services and welfare benefits; whereas the lack of equality policies and the deficient implementation of gender and equality law further endangers women and increases the risk of poverty and social marginalisation by excluding them from the labour market;

AL.  whereas proper implementation of the existing legislation is essential for advancing equality between women and men; whereas even though the recast Directive 2006/54/EC clearly prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, and despite the fact that women attain on average a high level of education, the gender pay gap still stood at 16.3 % in 2015;

AM.  whereas the principle of gender equality needs to be an essential part in the monitoring of the application of existing EU legislation;

AN.  whereas the collection of data, if possible disaggregated by gender, is substantially important for evaluating the progress made so far in the application of EU law;

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision(9) to respond to infringements promptly, and supports its efforts to resolve implementation problems informally; calls on the Commission to improve the EU Pilot problem-solving system;

2.  Expresses its concern at the increase in the total number of infringement procedures in 2016, making the figure for such cases the highest to have been recorded in the past five years;

3.  Welcomes the Commission’s 2016 Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law, and notes that, according to this report, the four fields in which the greatest number of transposition infringement proceedings were opened against Member States in 2016 were the environment, justice and consumers, taxation, and the internal market;

4.  Recalls that the right to petition Parliament is a cornerstone of European citizenship, as enshrined in Articles 20 and 227 of the TFEU and Article 44 of the CFREU, ranking second in importance to citizens according to recent surveys; underlines the importance of petitions as a means for citizens and residents to feel involved in the activities of the Union and to express their concerns about instances of misapplication or violation of EU law and on potential lacunae, while at the same time highlighting these deficiencies in the hope of a rapid and effective solution to the problems raised; shares the view of the Commission that the work done to ensure the effective enforcement of existing EU law needs to be recognised as being of equivalent importance to the work devoted to developing new legislation; calls on the Commission to improve, in this respect, its handling of petitions addressed by providing timely and in-depth answers;

5.  Draws attention to the study commissioned by the Committee on Petitions to Policy Department C entitled ‘Monitoring the implementation of EU law: tools and challenges’, and welcomes its concrete recommendations to Parliament for action; draws attention to the recently published study commissioned to Policy Department C entitled ‘Effective Access to Justice’, following the recurrent allegations that emerged from the handling of several petitions; endorses the Commission’s proposal to foster judicial training in EU law for the different Member States in order to ensure consistency in the rulings and thus equal enforcement of rights across the Union;

6.  Welcomes the increased transparency and the provision of more statistical information in the Commission report of 2016, when compared to previous reports; regrets the fact, however, that it does not provide any precise information on the number of petitions that have led to the initiation of EU Pilot or infringement procedures, and asks the Commission to provide this specific piece of information; notes with regret that neither Parliament nor the petitioners are involved in these procedures; reiterates its call on the Commission to share with Parliament information on all EU Pilots opened and infringement procedures initiated in order to improve transparency, reduce the time frame for dispute settlement through the Committee on Petitions, build trust in the EU project and, ultimately, enhance the legitimacy of the EU Pilot procedure, especially where infringement procedures are concerned; invites the Commission to systematically communicate its decisions and the different steps taken by the College of Commissioners and to publish the agenda and the main outcomes of package meetings; acknowledges the CJEU’s ruling on cases C-39/05 P, C-52/05 P and C-562/14 P of May 2017, according to which documents within the EU Pilot procedure should not be disclosed publicly if there is a risk that such disclosure would affect the nature of the infringement procedure, alter its progress or undermine the objectives of that procedure; calls on the Commission to disclose documents exchanged with the Member States when this risk ceases to exist, namely after EU pilot procedures are closed; supports, in this regard, the suggestion of the European Ombudsman on the timeliness and transparency of EU Pilot pre-infringement cases; stresses the importance of keeping all actors concerned informed, and of bringing more transparency to the EU Pilot processes; regrets the lack of commitment shown by the Commission when responding to the concerns raised in EU Pilot procedures by MEPs and calls on the Commission to inform the Committee on Petitions of any significant new steps of the investigation and ongoing dialogue with Member States when open petitions are concerned; reiterates its call on the Commission to include in its annual report the rate of implementation of both EU regulations and directives;

7.  Considers that the large number of infringement procedures shows that ensuring the timely and correct application of EU legislation in the Member States remains a serious challenge and priority, bearing in mind the new, more strategic and effective approach to enforcement adopted by the Commission for 2016; considers that some of those infringements could be the result of the lack of resources dedicated to public administration in some Member States;

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision to respond to infringements promptly, and supports its efforts to resolve implementation problems informally; calls on the Commission to improve the EU Pilot problem-solving system;

9.  Underlines the fact that the number of new complaints is at its highest since 2011, representing a 67.5% increase over the past year, with a record number of 3 783 new complaints and a decrease in rates of resolution, that, in addition, 1 657 infringement cases remained open at the end of 2016, while 986 infringements cases were opened in 2016, among which 847 concern late transposition; notes with concern that 95 infringement cases are still open after a Court ruling because the Commission considered that the Member States concerned had not yet complied with the judgements under Article 258 of the TFEU, and that, overall, the areas of ‘employment’ and ‘justice and consumers’ are the most affected, followed by the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SME’s, taxation and customs, and the environment;

10.  Welcomes the fall in the number of new EU Pilot files opened in 2016 (790 compared with 881 in 2014) and the fact that this number has reached the lowest level since 2011, even though the Commission does not undertake any EU Pilot procedures in the event of late transposition of directives; notes, however, that the resolution rate fell slightly compared with 2015 (from 75 % to 72 %); asks the Commission to provide clarification on its priority-setting with regard to its enforcement policy, according to which it states that it will focus its enforcement action where it can make a real difference, and on its policy priorities when pursuing cases that reveal systemic weakness in a Member State’s legal system;

11.  Notes that the Commission’s commitment to be more strategic in enforcing EU law recently led to the closure of infringement cases for political reasons; calls on the Commission, therefore, to explain the considerations behind such decisions in future monitoring reports;

12.  Stresses that most EU Pilot files that have led to formal infringement procedures mainly concerned policy areas pertaining to the environment, the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, energy, and taxation and customs; notes as well that Hungary, Germany, Spain and Poland had the highest number of EU Pilot files pursued through infringement procedures;

13.  Recognises that the primary responsibility for the correct implementation and application of EU law lies with the Member States, but points out that this does not absolve the EU institutions of their duty to respect primary EU law when they produce secondary EU law, even more so in the field of the rule of law and fundamental rights with regard to the CFREU;

14.  Points out that the proper implementation and application of EU law is essential for delivering EU policy in terms of the principle of equality between women and men, as enshrined in the Treaties, and for encouraging and fostering mutual trust between public institutions, both at EU and national level, as well as between institutions and citizens, recalling also that trust and legal certainty both serve as a basis for good cooperation and the effective application of EU law;

15.  Is concerned that that there are still significant shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation in some Member States, particularly in the areas of waste management, waste water treatment infrastructure and compliance with air quality limit values;

16.  Underlines the important role that social partners, civil society organisations, European citizens and other stakeholders play in monitoring and reporting shortcomings in the transposition and application of EU law by Member States; welcomes, therefore, the greater responsiveness among citizens about the implementation of EU legislation, including the crucial role of whistle-blowers in the private and public sector; stresses that EU citizens, as of right, must be the first to be made aware in a clear, effectively accessible, transparent and timely manner whether and which national laws have been adopted in transposition of EU laws, and which national authorities are responsible for ensuring they are correctly implemented;

17.  Notes the importance attached by the Commission to the timely and correct transposition of EU law into national legislation, and the existence of clear internal framework provisions requiring Member States to accord priority to this objective, so as to avoid infringements of EU law, while ensuring that individuals and undertakings are able to benefit from the effective and efficient implementation thereof;

18.  Points out, however, that unrealistic deadlines for the implementation of legislation may make it impossible for Member States to comply, implying tacit acceptance of late implementation; urges the EU institutions to agree on a more realistic timetable for the implementation of regulations and directives, taking due account of the time needed for verification and consultation; considers that the Commission should submit reports, summaries and legislative revisions on the dates agreed on by the co-legislators and in line with the legal provisions applicable;

19.  Points out that there were 70 directives to transpose in 2016, up from 56 in 2015; expresses concern at the sharp increase in the number of new late transposition infringements from 543 to 847; regrets that, at the end of 2016, 868 late transposition infringement cases were still open, a 67.5 % increase compared to the 518 cases open at the end of 2015;

20.  Expresses concern that, as in 2015, the Member States failed to deliver on all their commitments to provide explanatory documents together with the measures they had taken to transpose directives into national legislation; considers that, in view of the uneven quality of many of the explanatory documents submitted, the Commission should provide more assistance to Member States in preparing them and in drawing up correlation tables;

21.  Underlines the fact that failure to ensure timely and correct transposition of the existing EU legislation – addressing the principles of equal opportunities for and equal treatment of men and women in matters of education, employment and occupation, equal pay for equal work, and equal treatment of women and men in access to and supply of goods and services – as well as of the existing provisions to improve work-life balance and to end all forms of violence against women and girls, ultimately deprives citizens and businesses of the benefits to which they are entitled under EU law;

22.  Emphasises the fact that the EU has been set up as a Union based on the rule of law and respect for human rights (Article 2 of the TEU); notes that, in implementing EU legislation, Member States must comply fully with the fundamental rights enshrined in the Treaties and in the CFREU; reiterates that careful monitoring of the acts and omissions of Member States, and of EU institutions, is of the utmost importance;

23.  Reiterates its concern at the number of petitions to Parliament and complaints to the Commission concerning issues supposedly resolved by the Commission;

24.  Highlights the importance of safeguarding the integrity of the EU legal order, which includes primary and secondary legislation and soft law; calls, for this reason, for the timely adoption of the legislative and non-legislative initiatives required to make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality for citizens; calls on the Commission to exert the most transparency and coherence possible in its efforts to create a new framework dedicated to the proper implementation of EU legislation, such as the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR; calls on the Commission to consider creating such a framework specifically dedicated to fair and balanced development, employment, social affairs and inclusion affairs in relation to the European Pillar of Social Rights;

25.  Reiterates its call on the Commission, following its resolution of 25 October 2016, to submit a proposal for the conclusion of a Union pact for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (EU Pact for DRF), thus effectively bundling its relevant annual thematic reports with the outcome of existing monitoring mechanisms and periodic assessment tools, to be presented in due time; recalls that the Commission, as Guardian of the Treaties in full respect for the principles of good and effective administration laid down by Articles 298 of TFEU and Articles 41 and 47 of the CFREU, has a duty to monitor and assess the correct implementation of Union law, and the respect given the principles and objectives enshrined in the Treaties, by the Member States and all the Union institutions and bodies, and to respect its commitment to actively help Member States transpose and implement certain directives and regulations; recommends, therefore, that this task be taken into consideration within the aforementioned DRF policy cycle from 2018 onwards, its relevant annual thematic reports – with the outcome of existing monitoring mechanisms and periodic assessment tools –to be presented in due time;

26.  Recalls that, on several occasions, Parliament has called on the Commission to monitor, direct and support the implementation of environmental legislation and policies more proactively;

27.  Welcomes the Commission's commitment to actively help Member States transpose and implement European legislation by preparing implementation plans for certain directives and regulations;

28.  Considers that, given that it is jointly responsible for ensuring the implementation and enforcement of EU law in accordance with the Inter-Institutional Agreement and its relevant function of political control over the Commission conferred by Article 14 of the TEU, Parliament should be automatically notified about every EU Pilot opened and infringement initiated, and should be granted adequate access to documents relating to these two kinds of procedures, particularly when they arise from petitions, while respecting the necessary confidentiality provisions for the successful handling of cases;

29.  Proposes that Member State representatives be more present during discussions of petitions in the Committee on Petitions;

30.  Notes the unsatisfying level of application of EU law among Member States, as illustrated by the high number of complaints sent to the Commission and the important flow of petitions addressed to Parliament; welcomes the intention of the Commission, as expressed in its communication of December 201,6 to increase its use of preventive tools such as package meetings, implementation guidelines, experts groups AND specialised networks (including the SOLVIT network), and to support capacity-building in the Member States to enforce EU law; calls on the Commission to use the provisions of Article 197 of the TFEU to implement this renewed enforcement policy in full partnership with Member States and the European institutions; calls on the Commission to improve its handling of petitions addressed by providing timely and in-depth answers;

31.  Notes that while 95 infringement cases are still open, and while the CJEU has ruled on Member States’ failure to comply, in only three of these cases have the Commission brought the matter before the Court pursuant to Article 260 of the TFEU; considers that it is of utmost importance to ensure full and timely execution of the Court’s decisions and, when necessary, to make full use of the provisions of Article 279 of the TFEU to prevent any undermining of EU law and of the CJEU’s authority; calls on the Commission to address this situation and to report regularly to Parliament on progress made in this regard;

32.  Highlights the fact that all EU institutions are bound by the EU Treaties and the CFREU(10);

33.  Recommends that any inter-parliamentary debate on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights shall include civil society and civic participation, e.g. through petitions transmitted to Parliament and the European Citizens Initiative;

34.  Stresses that memoranda of understanding concluded between EU institutions and Member States are not considered EU acts pursuant to Article 288 TFEU;

35.  Stresses the crucial importance of efficiency, transparency and accountability in the drafting and application of EU law by the EU institutions; emphasises in particular the principle of democratic accountability – and the role that Parliament plays in ensuring it – as well as the right of EU citizens to justice and good administration, as stipulated in Articles 41 and 47 of the CFREU; points out that these rights and principles require citizens to be given adequate easy access to drafts of the legal acts that concern them; recalls that these same rights and principles should also be of paramount importance to the Member States when proposing draft acts aiming at implementing EU law; calls, therefore, for Parliament to be given basic control over major decisions affecting the EU, the Member States and its people, such as decisions on national budgets and reforms;

36.  Expresses concern that fiscal measures (including reductions in expenditure on pensions, the health system and public administration) and reforms envisaged in the structural adjustment programmes have not had the intended effects;

37.  Calls on the Commission to enhance, where possible and necessary, EU financial resources, such as the European Social Fund, dedicated to ‘enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration’ with a view to promoting social welfare and economic development, and to enhance the effectiveness of beneficial legislation; calls on the Commission to make full use of Article 197 of the TFEU to help enhance the capacity of the Member States to implement and enforce EU law;

38.  Calls on the Commission to develop instruments designed to help Member states recognise transposition problems, address them at an early stage of the infringement procedure and find joint solutions;

39.  Recalls that the legislation giving rise to the most flagrant infringement proceedings is the result of directives; recalls that regulations are directly and compulsorily applicable in all the Member States; calls, therefore, on the Commission to make use of regulations as far as possible whenever it considers issuing legislative proposals; considers that such an approach could mitigate the risk of over-regulation;

40.  Recalls that preliminary rulings help clarify the manner in which the law of the European Union is to be applied; considers that recourse to this procedure allows for a uniform interpretation and implementation of EU legislation; encourages, therefore, national courts, in the event of doubt, to refer questions to the CJEU and thereby prevent infringement proceedings;

41.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to its control over the implementation of Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 of 12 July 2016 laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market(11), and to launch infringement proceedings where necessary, particular vigilance given to incorrect or bad application;

42.  Welcomes the Commission’s continued efforts to enforce EU environmental rules in order to ensure a level playing field for all Member States and economic operators, and to address shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation, including by resorting to infringement proceedings if necessary; underlines, however, the known limitations in the effectiveness of EU environmental rules and, in particular, the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD); calls on the Commission to take note of Parliament’s resolution on the implementation of the ELD; points out that, in certain Member States, the right to a healthy environment is being undermined by shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation, particularly when it comes to the prevention of damage to air and water, waste management and wastewater treatment infrastructure; stresses that full implementation of EU environmental legislation could save the EU economy EUR 50 billion each year in, above all, health costs and direct costs to the environment;

43.  Emphasises that the EU’s acquis also comprises international agreements concluded by the EU; notes with serious concern that EU environmental rules may not be in compliance with the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (‘the Aarhus Convention’)(12) by not granting sufficient access to justice to environmental organisations and members of the public; calls, therefore, on the Commission to pay attention to the findings and recommendations of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee(13) and of the Council position of 13 July 2017(14), and to explore ways and means to comply with the Aarhus Convention in a way that is compatible with the fundamental principles of the Union legal order and with its system of judicial review;

44.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the implementation of measures adopted in the area of asylum and migration, so as to ensure that they comply with the principles enshrined in the CFREU, to work with the Member States to overcome any difficulties they may encounter in that implementation and to launch the necessary infringement proceedings where relevant; notes with concern that certain Member States are disregarding their obligations with regard to asylum and migration, in particular where relocation of asylum seekers is concerned; underlines the need to address the lack of solidarity between some Member States with regard to asylum and migration, so that all Member States meet their obligations; calls on the Member States to tackle the rise in trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation or sexual exploitation;

45.  Calls on the Commission to respond effectively to the developing migration and security situation and to enforce the European Agenda on Migration and the related implementation packages efficiently; asks the Member States to implement the Return Directive (2008/115/EC)(15) correctly and to report regularly on the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration;

46.  Calls on the Commission to check the compatibility of the zero-hour contracts with EU employment legislation, including the Part-Time Workers Directive as many petitions have been received in 2016 relate to precarious work;

47.  Welcomes the fact that the report acknowledges the role of Parliament in calling the Commission’s attention to shortcomings in the application of EU law in Member States by means of parliamentary questions and petitions; points out that closer scrutiny by national parliaments of their respective governments, when the latter are involved in the law-making process, will foster more effective application of EU law, as envisaged in the Treaties;

48.  Expresses concern that, given the incongruent translations of many directives into the EU’s official languages, it is likely that different language versions result in disparate interpretations of the respective texts and in differences in their transposition in the Member States; deplores the fact that such differences in the transposition and legal interpretation of directives may not be uncovered systematically, but only when clarified by rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union;

49.  Recalls that national parliaments have an essential role to play in both the pre-legislative scrutiny of draft EU legal acts and the post-legislative scrutiny of the correct implementation of EU law by the Member States; calls on national parliaments to pursue this role proactively;

50.  Considers that, in line with the Commission’s efforts to produce better and more effective EU legislation, the application of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles should always be taken into account.

51.  Reiterates its call for the creation, within the relevant Directorates-General (DG IPOL, DG EXPO and DG EPRS), of an autonomous system for ex-post assessment of the impact of the main EU laws adopted by Parliament under codecision and in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure;

52.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to its control over the implementation of EU legislation laying down rules against corruption practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market, and to take the appropriate measures to tackle such phenomena.

53.  Reminds the Member States and the EU institutions that ensuring timely and proper application of the legislation in the Member States remains a priority for the EU; stresses the importance of upholding the principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality, pursuant to Article 5 of the TEU, as well as the principle of equality before the law, with a view to better monitoring of the application of EU law; recalls the importance of raising awareness of the provisions of the existing directives tackling various aspects of the principle of equality between women and men and of delivering on it in practice;

54.  Encourages the EU institutions to fulfil at all times their duty to respect primary EU law when establishing the provisions of secondary EU and soft law, developing policies and signing agreements or treaties with institutions outside the EU, to assist Member States by all means available in their efforts to transpose EU legislation in all areas and to respect the values and principles of the Union, especially with respect to recent developments in Member States;

55.  Agrees with the Commission's view that individual complainants play an essential role in identifying wider problems with the enforcement and application of EU law affecting the interests of citizens and businesses;

56.  Stresses that the lack of a coherent and comprehensive set of codified rules of good administration across the Union makes it difficult for citizens and businesses to easily and fully understand their rights under Union law; emphasises, therefore, that codifying rules of good administration in the form of a regulation setting out the various aspects of the administrative procedure – including notifications, binding time limits, the right to be heard and the right for every person to have access to his or her file – is tantamount to reinforcing citizens' rights and transparency; believes that this regulation would bring more accessibility, clarity and coherence to the interpretation of existing rules, for the benefit of citizens and businesses and of the administration and its officials;

57.  Recalls that in its resolutions of 15 January 2013 and 9 June 2016, Parliament called for the adoption of a regulation on an open, efficient and independent EU administration under Article 298 of the TFEU, and notes that this request has not been followed up by a Commission proposal; calls, therefore, once again on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on a European law of administrative procedure, taking into account the steps taken so far by Parliament in this field;

58.  Stresses that the inadequate integration of environmental considerations into other policy areas is one of the root causes of poor implementation of environmental legislation and policy;

59.  Underlines the need to maintain a high level of environmental protection, as well as of health and food safety;

60.  Stresses that effective enforcement of EU rules in the fields of health, food safety and the environment is important for European citizens since it influences their day-to-day lives and serves the general interest;

61.  Calls on the Commission to monitor closely environment-related infringement cases with a cross-border dimension, especially in the area of clean air legislation, including correct transposition and application of EU law in future Member States; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to inform complainants in an appropriate, transparent and timely manner of the arguments provided by the states concerned in reaction to the complaint;

62.  Notes that the number of infringement proceedings concerning the environment fell in 2016 compared with 2015, but is concerned that there was an increase in the number of procedures in the area of health and food safety, and calls on the Commission to bring particular attention to bear on this point;

63.  Highlights the fact that equality between women and men is a core principle of the EU that needs to be mainstreamed in all policies;

64.  Underlines the fundamental role of the rule of law in terms of providing legitimacy to any form of democratic governance; stresses that this is a cornerstone of the Union legal order and, as such, is consistent with the concept of a Union based on the rule of law;

65.  Recalls that the principle of equality – in terms of equal pay for equal work – has been enshrined in the European Treaties since 1957 (see Article 157 of the TFEU), and highlights the fact that Article 153 of the TFEU allows the EU to act in the wider area of equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation;

66.  Notes with appreciation that the CJEU’s broad interpretation of the concept of equal pay for equal work, as articulated in its rulings and in its extensive case law on the relevant article, has certainly broadened the possibilities of combating both direct and indirect gender discrimination as regards pay, and of narrowing the gender pay gap, but stresses that more remains to be done to eliminate the persisting gender pay gap in the EU;

67.  Is deeply saddened that the introduction of legal principles outlawing inequality in pay between men and women has not proved sufficient on its own to eradicate the persisting gender pay gap; stresses that recast Directive 2006/54/EC requires that the Member States ensure that all provisions of collective agreements, wage scales, wage agreements and individual employment contracts that are contrary to the principle of equal pay shall be or may be declared null and void, or may be amended;

68.  Stresses that both the Member States and the Commission should pay further attention to alternative instruments, beyond the existing tools for the implementation of EU law, that would enable a wider implementation of EU law, especially the provisions concerning equality in terms of payment; highlights, therefore, the importance of achieving collective agreements for securing equal pay, parental leave and other related employment rights through collective bargaining;

69.  Recalls its resolution of 15 January 2013 calling for the adoption of an EU regulation on a European law of administrative procedure under Article 298 of the TFEU; notes with disappointment that the Commission has failed to follow up on Parliament’s call on it to submit a proposal for a legislative act on a law of administrative procedure.

70.  Recognises the importance of collecting data, if possible disaggregated by gender, for evaluating the progress made in advancing women’s rights;

71.  Regrets the shortcomings of the Commission’s approach to animal welfare, ignoring as it does the serious inconsistencies reported by a large number of citizens who have exercised the right of petition; reiterates its call for the launching of a new strategy at EU level to bridge all the existing gaps and ensure full and effective protection of animal welfare through a clear and comprehensive legislative framework that fully meets the requirements of Article 13 of the TFEU;

72.  Calls on the Commission to examine thoroughly the petitions relating to the differing quality of food products from the same brand in different Member States; urges the Commission to put an end to unfair practices and to ensure that all consumers are treated equally;

73.  Points out that discrimination practised on the basis of the official language(s) of a Member State in schools and public administration hampers the free movement stipulated in Article 26(2) of the TFEU; calls on the Commission to examine this breach of the internal market;

74.  Calls on the Commission to effectively monitor the national courts’ fulfilment of their responsibility to seek preliminary rulings by the CJEU, in accordance with Article 267 of the TFEU; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider establishing a register containing all national court rulings pertaining to the interpretation of EU law where preliminary ruling by the CJEU has not been sought;

75.  Regrets the failure to adopt and implement adequate and effective EU legislation on working conditions and working hours, including work on public holidays and Sundays, and work without breaks and rest periods; points out that the lack of such an uniform law presents an obstacle to achieving a proper work-life balance, and that this affects women, and their position in the labour market, in particular;

76.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0385.

(2)

OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.

(3)

OJ L 174, 27.6.2001, p. 25.

(4)

OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.

(5)

OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 246.

(6)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0409.

(7)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0279.

(8)

OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 17.

(9)

OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10.

(10)

Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 20 September 2016 in Joined Cases C-8/15 P to C-10/15 P Ledra Advertising Ltd (C-8/15 P), Andreas Eleftheriou (C-9/15 P), Eleni Eleftheriou (C-9/15 P), Lilia Papachristofi (C-9/15 P), Christos Theophilou (C-10/15 P), Eleni Theophilou (C-10/15 P) v European Commission and European Central Bank.

(11)

OJ L 193, 19.7.2016, p. 1.

(12)

OJ L 124, 17.5.2005, p. 4.

(13)

ACCC/C/2008/32 (EU), Part II, adopted 17 March 2017

(14)

11150/17; Interinstitutional File: 2017/0151 (NLE);

(15)

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 98.


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (28.3.2018)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on monitoring the application of EU law 2016

(2017/2273(INI))

Rapporteur: Marijana Petir

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Maintains that effective application of EU law, across all areas and including by the EU institutions themselves, is essential in order to realise the benefits which EU policies bring to citizens and businesses and that uniform application of EU law in all Member States is central to the EU’s success; points out that the in some cases ineffective application of EU law creates unfair competition among Member States;

2.  Notes that, in accordance with Article 17(1) of the Treaty on European Union, responsibility for the transposition, implementation and effective enforcement of legislation rests with the Commission, while the Member States have the primary responsibility for transposing, applying and implementing EU law correctly;

3.  Recalls that full implementation of EU environmental legislation could save the EU economy EUR 50 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment;

4.  Emphasises that the simplicity, clarity and reliability of the European legal framework are fundamental to the effective and uniform application of EU law;

5.  Stresses that the inadequate integration of environmental considerations into other policy areas is one of the root causes of poor implementation of environmental legislation and policy;

6.  Recalls that on several occasions Parliament has called on the Commission more proactively to monitor, direct and support the implementation of environmental legislation and policies;

7.  Points out that the Commission has the power and the duty to oversee the application of EU law and to institute infringement proceedings against a Member State that has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties;

8.  Is concerned that that there are still significant shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation in some Member States, particularly in waste management, waste water treatment infrastructure and compliance with air quality limit values;

9.  Considers that, before introducing new legislation, the Commission should ensure the effective application of existing EU legislation throughout the EU;

10.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision(1) to respond to infringements promptly, and supports its efforts to resolve implementation problems informally; calls on the Commission to improve the EU Pilot problem-solving system;

11.  Expresses its concern at the increase in the total number of infringement procedures in 2016, making the figure for such cases the highest to have been recorded in the last five years;

12.  Underlines the need to maintain a high level of environmental protection, as well as of health and food safety;

13.  Stresses that effective enforcement of EU rules in the field of health, food safety and the environment is important for European citizens, since it influences their day-to-day lives and serves the general interest;

14.  Notes the increase in the number of complaints over the period 2012-2016; stresses that the general public, businesses and civil society make a decisive contribution to monitoring the way in which EU legislation is transposed and implemented, through the information forwarded to the Commission on the difficulties that arise in Member States’ application of EU legislation; points out that an increase in the number of complaints concerning the ineffective application of EU law does not necessarily indicate worse implementation of EU law in the Member States, but that it may also be a sign that citizens and businesses are better informed regarding their rights deriving from EU law; underlines therefore that access to environmental information, as required by the Aarhus Convention, is necessary to allow the public and civil society to bring complaints against Member States effectively;

15.  Calls on the Commission to monitor closely environment-related infringement cases with a cross-border dimension, especially in the area of clean air legislation, including correct transposition and application of EU law in future Member States; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to inform complainants in an appropriate, transparent and timely manner of the arguments provided by the states concerned in reaction to the complaint;

16.  Notes that the number of infringement proceedings concerning the environment fell in 2016 compared with 2015, but is concerned that there was an increase in the number of procedures in the area of health and food safety, and calls on the Commission to bring particular attention to bear on that point;

17.  Highlights the important role played by Parliament, through petitions and questions, in drawing attention to shortcomings in the application of EU law by the Member States;

18.  Calls on the Commission, when drafting and assessing legislation, to take greater account of the need to reduce the administrative burden for SMEs; stresses, that when it comes to the transposition of EU rules on public procurement and concessions, SMEs should be able to bid in an easier and cheaper way for public contracts, in full respect of the EU’s principles of transparency and competition;

19.  Welcomes the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) as a tool to help deliver the benefits of EU environmental law and policies for businesses and citizens through better implementation;

20.  Considers that, in line with the Commission’s efforts to produce better and more effective EU legislation(2), the application of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles should always be taken into account.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

27.3.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

50

10

0

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Pilar Ayuso, Zoltán Balczó, Catherine Bearder, Ivo Belet, Biljana Borzan, Paul Brannen, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Nessa Childers, Alberto Cirio, Miriam Dalli, Seb Dance, Angélique Delahaye, Mark Demesmaeker, Stefan Eck, Bas Eickhout, Francesc Gambús, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Arne Gericke, Jens Gieseke, Julie Girling, Sylvie Goddyn, Françoise Grossetête, Andrzej Grzyb, György Hölvényi, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Jean-François Jalkh, Benedek Jávor, Kateřina Konečná, Urszula Krupa, Giovanni La Via, Peter Liese, Lukas Mandl, Valentinas Mazuronis, Bolesław G. Piecha, Pavel Poc, John Procter, Julia Reid, Frédérique Ries, Michèle Rivasi, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Davor Škrlec, Ivica Tolić, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Damiano Zoffoli

Substitutes present for the final vote

Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Nicola Caputo, Albert Deß, Eleonora Evi, Christofer Fjellner, Elena Gentile, Norbert Lins, Gabriele Preuß, Christel Schaldemose, Dubravka Šuica, Keith Taylor, Carlos Zorrinho

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

50

+

ALDE

Catherine Bearder, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Valentinas Mazuronis, Frédérique Ries

ECR

Mark Demesmaeker, Arne Gericke, Urszula Krupa, Bolesław G. Piecha, John Procter, Jadwiga Wiśniewska

EFDD

Eleonora Evi

GUE/NGL

Stefan Eck, Kateřina Konečná

PPE

Pilar Ayuso, Ivo Belet, Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Alberto Cirio, Angélique Delahaye, Albert Deß, Christofer Fjellner, Francesc Gambús, Elisabetta Gardini, Jens Gieseke, Julie Girling, Françoise Grossetête, Andrzej Grzyb, György Hölvényi, Giovanni La Via, Peter Liese, Norbert Lins, Lukas Mandl, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Dubravka Šuica, Ivica Tolić, Adina-Ioana Vălean

S&D

Biljana Borzan, Paul Brannen, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Nicola Caputo, Nessa Childers, Miriam Dalli, Seb Dance, Elena Gentile, Pavel Poc, Gabriele Preuß, Christel Schaldemose, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Damiano Zoffoli, Carlos Zorrinho

10

-

EFDD

Julia Reid

ENF

Sylvie Goddyn, Jean-François Jalkh

NI

Zoltán Balczó

VERTS/ALE

Marco Affronte, Bas Eickhout, Benedek Jávor, Michèle Rivasi, Davor Škrlec, Keith Taylor

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10.

(2)

COM(2017)0651, 24 October 2017.


OPINION of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (21.3.2018)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on monitoring the application of EU law 2016

(2017/2273(INI))

Rapporteur for opinion: Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Emphasises that the EU was set up as a Union based on the rule of law and respect for human rights (Article 2 of the TEU); highlights that careful monitoring of Member States’ and EU institutions’ actions and omissions is of the utmost importance;

2.  Stresses that effective implementation of EU law is essential in order to enhance citizens’ trust in EU policies and institutions; recalls that Article 197 of the TFEU states, in this respect, that ‘effective implementation of Union law by the Member States, which is essential for the proper functioning of the Union, shall be regarded as a matter of common interest’; maintains that the citizens of the Union will feel confident about Union law when it is implemented in the Member States in an effective manner;

3.  Recognises that the primary responsibility for the proper implementation and application of EU law lies with the Member States; notes, however, that this does not absolve the EU institutions of their duty to respect primary EU law, in particular when they produce secondary EU law;

4.  Welcomes this first report on the monitoring of the application of EU law following the entry into force of the Better Regulation Agenda in 2015; recalls that the principles of better law-making encompass the requirement to demonstrate the need to legislate at EU level, in a way that is strictly proportionate to the aims of the legislative action, and to ensure that the legislation is correctly implemented at the right level; stresses, therefore, the importance of upholding the principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality pursuant to Article 5 of the TEU, as well as legal certainty and equality before the law in view of better monitoring of the application of EU law;

5.  Regrets that timely and correct application of EU legislation in the Member States remains a matter of serious concern, as shown by the large number of infringement procedures; deplores the high number of negative trends revealed in the current report, notably the substantial increase in the opening of infringement cases, representing a 67.5 % increase over the past year and a five-year peak, together with a recorded increase in complaints and a decrease in rates of resolution; notes that according to the breakdown of the infringement cases open at the end of 2016, the four policy areas in which the greatest number of transposition infringement proceedings were opened against Member States were the internal market, environment, financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, and mobility and transport;

6.  Notes that the Commission’s commitment to be more strategic in enforcing EU law recently led to the closure of infringement cases for political reasons; calls on the Commission, therefore, to explain the considerations behind such decisions in future monitoring reports;

7.  Welcomes the decrease in the total number of new EU Pilot files, reaching its lowest level since 2011; notes the Commission’s aim, in line with its communication entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’(1), to make use of the EU Pilot mechanism only where it provides effective added value in the infringement resolution process; points out, however, that EU Pilot is a working tool that has no legal status and that gives a discretionary power to the Commission that does not comply with the proper standards of transparency and accountability; considers that these shortcomings could be addressed through the adoption of a regulation that should clarify the legal rights and obligations of individual complainants and the Commission;

8.  Welcomes the fact that the report acknowledges the role of Parliament in calling the Commission’s attention to shortcomings in the application of EU law in Member States by means of parliamentary questions and petitions; points out that closer scrutiny by national parliaments of their respective governments when the latter are involved in the law-making process will foster a more effective application of EU law as envisaged in the Treaties;

9.  Stresses the crucial importance, besides efficiency, of transparency and accountability in the drafting and application of EU law by the EU institutions, meaning that EU legislation has to be clear, understandable, consistent, precise and immediately available to citizens, while also taking into consideration the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which insists on the need for foreseeability and predictability in EU rules of law(2);

10.  Underlines that EU citizens, as of right, must be the first to be made aware in a clear, effectively accessible, transparent and timely manner whether and which national laws have been adopted in transposition of EU laws, and which national authorities are responsible for ensuring they are correctly implemented; recognises the essential role that social partners and civil society organisations play in monitoring and enhancing effective redress of EU law;

11.  Reiterates the provision in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making that calls on Member States when transposing EU directives into national law, where they choose to add elements that are in no way related to that Union legislation, to make these additions identifiable either through the transposing act or through associated documents;

12.  Expresses concern that given the incongruent translations of many directives into the EU’s official languages, it is likely that different language versions cause differing interpretations of the respective texts and differences in their transposition in the Member States; deplores, therefore, that such differing transposition and legal interpretations of directives may not be uncovered systematically, but only when clarified by rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union;

13.  Recalls that national parliaments have an essential role to play in both pre-legislative scrutiny of draft EU legal acts and post-legislative scrutiny of the correct implementation of EU law by the Member States; calls on national parliaments to pursue this role proactively;

14.  Calls on the Commission to effectively monitor the fulfilment of national courts’ responsibility to seek preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, as stated in Article 267 of the TFEU; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider establishing a register containing all national court rulings pertaining to the interpretation of EU law where preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has not been sought;

15.  Emphasises the principle of transparency as enshrined in the EU Treaties, as well as the right of EU citizens to justice and good administration, as stipulated in Articles 41 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; points out that those rights and principles require citizens to be given adequate and easy access to drafts of the legal acts that concern them; recalls that those rights and principles should also be of paramount importance to the Member States when proposing draft acts aiming at implementing EU law;

16.  Calls for all EU institutions engaged in the legislative process to commit to enhancing the drafting quality of legislative texts, in line with the commitment undertaken in the Better Law-Making Agenda; recalls that the 1998 Interinstitutional Agreement on common guidelines for the quality of drafting of Community legislation needs to be adapted in order to deliver on that objective;

17.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to actively helping Member States transpose and implement legislation by preparing implementation plans for certain directives and regulations; calls on the Commission to provide enhanced guidance and assistance to Member States via concrete tools, in order to achieve a better record of the implementation of EU law; encourages the Commission to assist Member States that might face a priori implementation and transposition challenges and address these accordingly by enhancing the institutional capacity of public authorities at a technical level;

18.  Underlines the importance of the role of the social partners, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in creating legislation and in monitoring and reporting shortcomings in the transposition and application of EU law by Member States; suggests that this role be encouraged by national authorities and European institutions;

19.  Recalls the need for Parliament to also be able to monitor the Commission’s enforcement of regulations in the same way that it does with directives; therefore urges the EU institutions to cooperate more effectively and efficiently, in line with Article 13(2) of the TEU; reiterates its request to the Commission to ensure that the data on the implementation of regulations is clearly provided in its future annual reports on the monitoring of the application of EU law; reminds Member States of the obligation to submit national legislation transposing or implementing regulations to the Commission in accordance with the principle of sincere cooperation enshrined in Article 4(3) of the TEU;

20.  Reiterates its call for the creation, within the relevant Directorates-General (DG IPOL, DG EXPO and DG EPRS), of an autonomous system for ex-post assessment of the impact of the main EU laws adopted by Parliament under codecision and in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure;

21.  Reiterates that all EU institutions, even if they act as members of groups of international lenders, are bound by the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU;

22.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to its control over the implementation of EU legislation laying down rules against corruption practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market, and to take the appropriate measures to tackle such phenomena.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

21.3.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Gerolf Annemans, Michał Boni, Mercedes Bresso, Elmar Brok, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Pascal Durand, Esteban González Pons, Danuta Maria Hübner, Alain Lamassoure, Jo Leinen, Morten Messerschmidt, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Markus Pieper, Paulo Rangel, Helmut Scholz, György Schöpflin, Pedro Silva Pereira, Barbara Spinelli, Claudia Țapardel, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

Substitutes present for the final vote

Max Andersson, Pervenche Berès, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Cristian Dan Preda, Jasenko Selimovic, Rainer Wieland

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

23

+

ALDE

Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jasenko Selimovic

ECR

Morten Messerschmidt, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

EFDD

Fabio Massimo Castaldo

GUE/NGL

Helmut Scholz, Barbara Spinelli

PPE

Michał Boni, Elmar Brok, Esteban González Pons, Danuta Maria Hübner, Alain Lamassoure, Markus Pieper, Paulo Rangel, György Schöpflin

S&D

Pervenche Berès, Mercedes Bresso, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Jo Leinen, Pedro Silva Pereira, Claudia Țapardel

VERTS/ALE

Max Andersson, Pascal Durand

1

-

ENF

Gerolf Annemans

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

C(2016)8600, OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10.

(2)

Judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 September 2009, Plantanol GmbH & Co. KG v Hauptzollamt Darmstadt, C-201/08, ECLI:EU:C:2009:539, paragraph 46.


OPINION of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (12.4.2018)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on monitoring the application of EU law 2016

(2017/2273(INI))

Rapporteur: Marijana Petir

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

-  having regard to Directive 79/7/EEC of 19 December 1978 obliging Member States to progressively implement the principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security,

-  having regard to Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 introducing measures to improve the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding,

-  having regard to Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between women and men in the access to and supply of goods and services,

-  having regard to Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC,

-  having regard to Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC,

-  having regard to Directive 2011/36/EU of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims,

-  having regard to Directive 2011/99/EU of 13 December 2011 establishing the European Protection Order with the aim of protecting a person ‘against a criminal act by another person which may endanger [his or her] life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity’ and enabling a competent authority in another Member State to continue the protection of the person in the territory of that other Member State; this directive is reinforced by Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 of 12 June 2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters, which ensures that civil protection measures are recognised everywhere in the EU,

-  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA,

A.  whereas according to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; whereas values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail; whereas Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Union the task of eliminating inequalities and promoting equality between men and women through all its activities;

B.  whereas, according to Article 2 of the TEU and Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, equality between women and men is one of the core values on which the EU is founded, and whereas, in all its activities, the Union shall aim to combat all forms of discrimination, eliminate inequalities and promote equal opportunities and equal treatment;

C.  whereas Article 157 of the TFEU allows, and its Article 19 enables, legislation to combat all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of gender;

D.  whereas the EU and its Member States have committed themselves, in Declaration No 19 annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon, ‘to combat all kinds of domestic violence …, to prevent and punish these criminal acts and to support and protect the victims’;

E.  whereas EU legislation against trafficking in human beings, in particular women and children, has been adopted on the basis of Articles 79 and 83 of the TFEU; whereas the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme finances, among other things, measures contributing to the eradication of violence against women;

F.  whereas the EU directives focused on gender equality in particular are not being implemented properly in a number of Member States, leaving people of different genders unprotected against discrimination in the areas of access to employment and to goods and services;

G.  whereas gender-based discrimination intersects with other types of discrimination, including discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity, religion, disability, health, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and/or socio-economic condition;

H.  whereas 33 % of women in the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 55 % have been sexually harassed, 32 % in the workplace; whereas women are particularly vulnerable to sexual, physical and online violence, cyber bullying and stalking; whereas more than half of female murder victims are killed by a partner or relative; whereas violence against women is one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations, regardless of age, nationality, religion, education or financial and social status, representing a major hindrance to equality between women and men; whereas the phenomenon of femicide is not decreasing in Member States;

I.  whereas the EU LGBT survey found that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women face a huge risk of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity; whereas 23 % of lesbians and 35 % of transgender persons have been physically/sexually attacked or threatened with violence at home or elsewhere (in the street, on public transport, at the workplace, etc.) at least once in the last five years;

J.  whereas the application and enforcement of EU gender equality law in the Member States has been found to entail specific problems related to the transposition and application of the relevant directives, such as substantive deficiencies in legislation and its inconsistent application by national courts;

K.  whereas institutions and mechanisms for gender equality are often marginalised in national governmental structures, being divided between different policy areas and hampered by complex mandates as well as lacking adequate staff, training and data and sufficient resources, and experiencing insufficient support from political leaders;

L.  whereas according to the comparative analysis of non-discrimination law in Europe published in 2017 by the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, in the vast majority of countries serious concerns still persist around perception and awareness, as individuals are often not informed of their rights to protection against discrimination or of the existence of protection mechanisms; whereas, according to this analysis, with regard to the enforcement of the EU anti-discrimination directives further issues of concern have arisen, such as the lack of (or too restrictive) legal standing of organisations and associations as regards engaging in proceedings on behalf or in support of victims of discrimination and restrictive application of the shift of the burden of proof, as well as a number of barriers to effective access to justice, and these are acting as obstacles to citizens being able to fully enjoy and protect their rights deriving from the provisions of anti-discrimination law;

M.  whereas the Gender Equality Index 2017 of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shows only marginal improvements, making it clear that the EU remains far from achieving gender equality, with the overall score now being 66.2 out of 100, just four points higher than ten years ago;

N.  whereas as regards the sphere of decision-making the above-mentioned gender equality data show an improvement of almost 10 points over the past decade, with the score now standing at 48.5, but this area still has the lowest attainment score of all; whereas this adverse figure primarily reflects the uneven representation of women and men in politics and points to a democratic deficit in EU governance;

O.  whereas the Eurofound report on the gender employment gap estimates that this gap is costing the EU around EUR 370 billion per year, corresponding to 2.8 % of EU GDP;

P.  whereas according to Eurofound’s Working Conditions Survey, the composite indicator of paid and unpaid working time shows that when paid and unpaid working hours are computed women work longer hours;

Q.  whereas, despite the EU’s commitment to gender equality in decision-making, the management boards of the EU agencies are seriously lacking in gender balance, and show persisting patterns of gender segregation;

R.  whereas the feminisation of poverty is a fact in the EU, and whereas the proper and full application and enforcement of EU equality and gender equality laws should go hand in hand with policies targeting the very high rates of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion among women, phenomena that are closely linked to budget cuts affecting public services in areas such as healthcare, education, social services and welfare benefits; whereas the lack of equality policies and of implementation of gender and equality law further endangers women and increases the risk of poverty and social marginalisation by excluding them from the labour market;

S.  whereas proper implementation of the existing legislation is essential for advancing equality between women and men; whereas even though the Recast Directive 2006/54/EC clearly prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, and despite the fact that women attain on average a high level of education, the gender pay gap still stood at 16.3 % in 2015;

T.  whereas the principle of gender equality needs to be an essential part in the monitoring of the application of existing EU legislation;

U.  whereas the collection of data, if possible disaggregated by gender, is substantially important for evaluating the progress made so far in the application of EU law;

1.  Highlights that equality between women and men is a core principle of the EU which needs to be mainstreamed in all policies;

2.  Underlines the fundamental role the rule of law has in terms of the legitimacy of any form of democratic governance; highlights that this is a cornerstone of the Union legal order and as such is consistent with the concept of a Union based on the rule of law;

3.  Recalls that the principle of equality - in terms of equal pay for equal work - has been enshrined in the European Treaties since 1957 (see Article 157 of the TFEU), and highlights that Article 153 of the TFEU allows the EU to act in the wider area of equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation;

4.  Points out that the proper implementation and application of EU law is essential for delivering EU policy in terms of the principle of equality between women and men as enshrined in the treaties and for encouraging and fostering mutual trust between public institutions both at EU and national level as well as between institutions and citizens, recalling also that trust and legal certainty both serve as a basis for good cooperation and the effective application of EU law;

5.  Reiterates the Commission’s role as ‘guardian of the Treaties’ and its duty to monitor the application of EU law, and underlines that the Member States have the primary responsibility of ensuring its implementation and enforcement; points out that non-implementation, incorrect application and lack of enforcement of the existing EU legislation in the area of equality between women and men affect the efficiency and credibility of the Union;

6.  Reminds the Member States and the EU institutions that ensuring timely and proper application of the legislation in the Member States remains a priority for the EU; stresses the importance of upholding the principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality, pursuant to Article 5 of the TEU, as well as equality before the law with a view to better monitoring of the application of EU law; recalls the importance of raising awareness of the provisions of the existing directives tackling various aspects of the principle of equality between women and men and of delivering on it in practice;

7.  Calls on the Member States to increase their efforts for the timely transposition and implementation of the law, thus implementing equality between women and men in practice;

8.  Underlines that failure to ensure timely and correct transposition of the existing EU legislation addressing the principles of equal opportunities for and equal treatment of men and women in matters of education, employment and occupation, equal pay for equal work, and equal treatment of women and men in access to and supply of goods and services, as well as the existing provisions to improve work-life balance and to end all forms of violence against women and girls, ultimately deprives citizens and businesses of the benefits to which they are entitled under EU law;

9.  Underlines the impact that the effective application of EU law has on strengthening the credibility of the European institutions; considers, therefore, that the annual report published by the Commission, the right to petition and the European Citizens’ Initiative are important tools enabling the EU legislators to identify possible loopholes;

10.  Recognises the importance of collecting data, if possible disaggregated by gender, for evaluating the progress made in advancing women’s rights;

11.  Stresses that infringement procedures are a valuable tool for ensuring the correct implementation of EU law;

12.  Reiterates that with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union has become a binding set of EU fundamental rights and that the Charter prohibits discrimination on any ground, without limiting this prohibition to any specific fields, and is addressed to the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and to the Member States when they are implementing Union law;

13.  Calls on the Member States to tackle the rise in trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation, and in trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which is still the most widespread form of human trafficking;

14.  Notes with appreciation with regard to the Court of Justice of the European Union that its broad interpretation of the concept of equal pay for equal work as articulated by the Court and its extensive case law on the relevant article have certainly broadened the possibilities of combating both direct and indirect gender discrimination as regards pay and narrowing the gender pay gap, but stresses that more remains to be done to eliminate the persisting gender pay gap in the EU;

15.  Regrets the failure to adopt and implement EU legislation which would properly tackle working conditions and working hours, including work on public holidays and Sundays and work without breaks and rest periods; points out that this lack of uniform law is an obstacle to achieving a proper work-life balance and that this particularly affects women and their position in the labour market;

16.  Is deeply saddened that the introduction of legal principles outlawing inequality in pay between men and women has not proved sufficient on its own to eradicate the persisting gender pay gap; stresses that the Recast Directive requires that the Member States ensure that all provisions of collective agreements, wage scales, wage agreements and individual employment contracts which are contrary to the principle of equal pay shall be or may be declared null and void or may be amended;

17.  Underlines that, going beyond the existing tools for the implementation of EU law, further attention should be paid by both the Member States and the Commission to alternative instruments that would enable the wider implementation of EU law, especially the provisions concerning equality in terms of payment; highlights, therefore, the importance of achieving collective agreements for securing equal pay, parental leave and other related employment rights through collective bargaining;

18.  Recalls its resolution of 15 January 2013 calling for the adoption of an EU regulation on a European law of administrative procedure under Article 298 of the TFEU(1); notes with disappointment that the Commission has failed to follow up Parliament’s call for it to submit a proposal for a legislative act in respect of the law of administrative procedure.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

12.4.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

1

5

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Florent Marcellesi, Angelika Mlinar, Marijana Petir, João Pimenta Lopes, Ángela Vallina, Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi, Jadwiga Wiśniewska

Substitutes present for the final vote

Lívia Járóka, Urszula Krupa, Kostadinka Kuneva, Nosheena Mobarik, Jordi Solé, Marc Tarabella, Mylène Troszczynski, Julie Ward

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

Margrete Auken

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

17

+

ALDE

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Angelika Mlinar

ECR

Nosheena Mobarik

EFDD

Daniela Aiuto

GUE/NGL

Kostadinka Kuneva, Ángela Vallina

PPE

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Marijana Petir, Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi

S&D

Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Iratxe García Pérez, Anna Hedh, Julie Ward, Marc Tarabella

VERTS/ALE

Margrete Auken, Florent Marcellesi, Jordi Solé

1

-

ENF

Mylène Troszczynski

5

0

ECR

Urszula Krupa, Jadwiga Wiśniewska

GUE/NGL

João Pimenta Lopes

PPE

Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Lívia Járóka

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 17.


OPINION of the Committee on Petitions (23.3.2018)

for the Committee on Legal Affairs

on monitoring the application of EU law 2016

(2017/2273(INI))

Rapporteur: Cecilia Wikström

SUGGESTIONS

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

1.  Recalls that the right to petition the European Parliament is a cornerstone of European citizenship, as enshrined in Articles 20 and 227 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 44 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, ranking second in importance to citizens according to recent surveys; underlines the importance of petitions as a means for citizens and residents to feel involved in the activities of the Union and to express their concerns about instances of misapplication or violation of EU law and on potential lacunae, while at the same time highlighting these deficiencies in the hope of a rapid and effective solution to the problems raised; shares the view of the Commission that the work done to ensure the effective enforcement of existing EU law needs to be recognised as being of equivalent importance to the work devoted to developing new legislation; calls on the Commission to improve, in this respect, its handling of petitions addressed by providing timely and in-depth answers;

2.  Draws attention to the study commissioned by the Committee on Petitions to Policy Department C entitled ‘Monitoring the implementation of EU law: tools and challenges’(1), and welcomes its concrete recommendations to Parliament for action; draws attention to the recently published study commissioned to Policy Department C entitled ‘Effective Access to Justice’(2), following the recurrent allegations that emerged from the handling of several petitions; endorses the Commission’s proposal to foster judicial training in EU law for the different Member States in order to ensure consistency in the rulings and thus equal enforcement of rights across the Union;

3.  Notes that petitioners very frequently refer to violations of EU law, and points out that in 2016 many petitions were registered in the fields of the internal market, justice, fundamental rights and the environment;

4.  Stresses that proper implementation of EU law is essential to achieving the EU policy goals defined in the Treaties and secondary legislation, such as the rule of law as enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU); emphasises that a lack of enforcement not only undermines the efficiency of the internal market and has costly repercussions, such as irreversible damage to the environment, but also has a direct impact on individual rights and consequently affects the credibility and image of the Union; underlines, in this regard, that implementation and enforcement are founded on the distribution of powers conferred by the Treaties, and that the Member States and the Commission therefore have a shared responsibility to implement and enforce European law, with the Commission as the ultimate guardian of the treaties; points out, at the same time, that all EU institutions share the responsibility of ensuring implementation and enforcement of EU law, as provided for in the 2016 Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making;

5.  Welcomes the increased transparency and the provision of more statistical information in the Commission report of 2016, when compared to previous reports; regrets the fact, however, that it does not provide any precise information on the number of petitions that have led to the initiation of EU Pilot or infringement procedures and asks the Commission to provide this specific piece of information; notes with regret that neither Parliament nor the petitioners are involved in these procedures; reiterates its call on the Commission to share with Parliament information on all EU Pilots opened and infringement procedures initiated in order to improve transparency, reduce the time frame for dispute settlement through the Committee on Petitions, build trust in the EU project and, ultimately, enhance the legitimacy of the EU Pilot procedure, especially where infringement procedures are concerned; invites the Commission to systematically communicate its decisions and the different steps taken by the College of Commissioners and to publish the agenda and the main outcomes of package meetings; acknowledges the Court of Justice’s (CJEU) ruling on cases C-39/05 P, C-52/05 P and C-562/14 P of May 2017, according to which documents within the EU Pilot procedure should not be disclosed publicly if there is a risk that such disclosure would affect the nature of the infringement procedure, alter its progress or undermine the objectives of that procedure; calls on the Commission to disclose documents exchanged with the Member States when this risk ceases to exist, namely after EU pilot procedures are closed; supports, in this regard, the suggestion of the European Ombudsman on the timeliness and transparency of EU Pilot pre-infringement cases; stresses the importance of keeping all actors concerned informed, and of bringing more transparency to the EU Pilot processes; regrets the lack of commitment shown by the Commission when responding to the concerns raised in EU Pilot procedures by MEPs and calls on the Commission to inform the Committee on Petitions of any significant new steps of the investigation and ongoing dialogue with Member States when open petitions are concerned; reiterates its call on the Commission to include in its annual report the rate of implementation of both EU regulations and directives;

6.  Considers that, given that it is jointly responsible for ensuring the implementation and enforcement of EU law in accordance with the Inter-Institutional Agreement and its relevant function of political control over the Commission conferred by Article 14 TEU, Parliament should be automatically notified about every EU Pilot opened and infringement initiated, and should be granted adequate access to documents relating to these two kinds of procedures, particularly when they arise from petitions, while respecting the necessary confidentiality provisions for the successful handling of cases;

7.  Recalls that the European Union is founded on the rule of law and that the implementation and the enforcement of EU law is at the heart of this principle; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to take stronger action against late transposition to ensure a correct and timely transposition of directives and full respect for EU law; commits, in this respect, to fostering closer cooperation and strengthening the links with the national parliaments in the law-making process, particularly by assisting in the adoption of legislation correctly transposing EU law; underlines, moreover, the importance of petition-based fact-finding missions to Member States so as to improve the investigation of petitioners’ claims, as an essential tool for Parliament not only to gather evidence on whether EU law has been fully respected in a concrete situation, but also as a unique means of getting closer to citizens and demonstrating that their concerns are taken seriously; urges the Commission, therefore, to take due consideration of Parliament’s fact-finding visit reports and resolutions based on petitions; highlights the need for follow-up actions to remedy these specific cases of shortcomings in the application and implementation of the EU law in the Member States;

8.  Proposes that Member State representatives be more present during discussions of petitions in the Committee on Petitions;

9.  Welcomes the presentation in the report of the revised Commission strategy for monitoring the application of EU law, as this policy is outlined in the 2016 Communication ‘Better results through better application’, and takes note of its content; is concerned about the Commission’s intention to direct petitioners to seek redress at national level when complaints do not concern issues of wider principle, do not raise systemic issues and can satisfactorily be dealt with by other mechanisms at EU or national level; expresses concern that the aforementioned rationale for the Commission’s enforcement policy might disappoint citizens who look up to the EU for the protection of their rights and to the Commission, in particular, as guardian of the Treaties under Article 17 TEU; asks the Commission to provide further clarification about its priorities for this policy and about the notion of ‘issues of wider principle’; calls for the above enforcement policy to be reconsidered, so as to ensure that it by no means jeopardises the handling of certain cases whose effective resolution might be better achieved at EU level; notes the Commission’s intent to launch an EU Pilot procedure only where it could prove to be useful in a case, and to proceed with infringement procedures without relying on EU Pilots in order to expedite investigations of breaches of EU law; is concerned, however, that this approach may lead to ineffective investigation of complaints through petitions in cases where action at EU level could prove more appropriate on account of specific national circumstances or the interests involved; notes the distinctively decreasing trend in the number of EU Pilots launched in the same year;

10.  Notes the persistent and deteriorating situation of overdue transposition of directives, with 847 new infringement cases registered in 2016 for late transposition, which represented an increase of more than 60 % on the previous year and led to a total of 868 late transposition cases being open at the end of 2016; expresses its concern as regards the respect for CJEU rulings; notes that 95 infringement cases are still open, despite the fact that the CJEU has ruled on Member States’ failure to comply, and only three of these cases have been referred by the Commission to the CJEU on the basis of Article 260 TFEU; strongly regrets the insignificant number of cases referred by the Commission to the CJEU on the basis of Article 260; requests a full and rigorous application of the procedure laid down in Article 260(3) for non-communication cases so as to ensure a timely and effective redress mechanism; deems it of the utmost importance to ensure full and timely execution of the CJEU’s decisions, including the use of Article 279 TFEU, when necessary; calls on the Commission to report regularly on the progress made in compliance with CJEU rulings by Member States;

11.  Notes the increasing number of complaints addressed to the Commission (3 783) and the launch of 986 new infringement procedures in 2016, as well as the 1 657 open infringement procedures; deplores the current worrying trends in Member States’ transposition performances and the growing number of situations where EU law is incorrectly or not applied, which indicate that the timely and correct implementation of EU legislation remains a challenge; regrets the lack of publicly available information about how the 3 783 complaints submitted to the Commission in 2016 were handled and about the length of infringement procedures at different stages, and in different Member States and policy fields; calls for a more transparent implementation of the enforcement policy; encourages the Commission to take a more active approach when collecting information and responding to citizens’ concerns;

12.  Notes that the number of complaints received by the Commission reached an all-time high in 2016, surpassing the 2014 figure, having fallen remarkably in 2015; regrets the sharp increase in infringement cases due to late transposition by Member States (more than 50 %); underlines the fact that environment remains one of the main policy areas when it comes to open infringement cases, with water quality, waste management, air quality and biodiversity being the main issues;

13.  Notes the unsatisfying level of application of EU law among Member States, as illustrated by the high number of complaints sent to the Commission and the considerable flow of petitions addressed to Parliament; welcomes the Commission’s intention, as expressed in its communication of December 2016, to increase its use of preventive tools such as package meetings, implementation guidelines, experts groups and specialised networks, such as the SOLVIT network, and to support capacity-building in Member States in order to enforce EU law; calls on the Commission to use such tools with the utmost respect for the principle of good and effective administration, as provided for by Article 298 TFEU and Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU; invites the Commission to use the provisions of Article 197 TFEU for implementing this renewed enforcement policy in full partnership with Member States and the European institutions; invites the Commission and the Council to fully implement the 2016 Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making(3) and the 2011 Joint Political Declaration on explanatory documents(4);

14.  Recommends that shorter fast-track procedures be established for cases of possible breaches of EU legislation which are deemed of urgency and on which the Commission might need to act quickly;

15.  Highlights the importance of safeguarding the integrity of the EU legal order, which includes primary and secondary legislation and soft law; calls, for this reason, for the timely adoption of the legislative and non-legislative initiatives required to make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality for citizens; emphasises that the timely adoption of legislative and non-legislative initiatives is a necessity, as both the Commission and Parliament acknowledge;

16.  Notes that, according to Standard Eurobarometer 86, the free movement of EU citizens – whereby they can live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU – is the EU’s most positive achievement, and a majority of EU citizens favours a common EU policy in areas such as defence, migration and terrorism; recalls that, in order for such policies to be successful, it is paramount that they are implemented in a timely and uniform manner in all Member States; notes with concern that certain Member States are disregarding their obligations with regard to asylum and migration, in particular where relocation of asylum seekers and immigrants is concerned; underlines the need to address the lack of solidarity between some Member States with regard to asylum and migration, so that all Member States meet their obligations;

17.  Notes the proactive work of the Commission on the application of EU law under the Better Regulation Package, and the support offered to Member States through implementation plans for new directives; points out, however, that Member States should live up to their responsibility to enforce the rules they have jointly adopted and should avoid the practice of gold-plating when implementing EU law, lest citizens be confused about the distinction between EU and national law and harbour the impression that the EU overlegislates;

18.  Regrets the shortcomings of the Commission’s approach to animal welfare, ignoring as it does the serious inconsistencies reported by a large number of citizens who have exercised the right of petition; reiterates its call for the launching of a new strategy at EU level to bridge all the existing gaps and ensure full and effective protection of animal welfare through a clear and comprehensive legislative framework that fully meets the requirements of Article 13 TFEU;

19.  Calls on the Commission to examine thoroughly the petitions relating to the differing quality of food products from the same brand in different Member States; urges the Commission to put an end to unfair practices and to ensure that all consumers are treated equally;

20.  Deplores the fact that, in certain Member States, the right to health is being undermined by major shortcomings that are continuing to beset the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation, particularly when it comes to compliance with air quality limit values, waste management and wastewater treatment infrastructure;

21.  Points out that discrimination practised on the basis of the official language(s) of a Member State in schools and public administration hampers free movement – stipulated in Article 26(2) TFEU; calls on the Commission to examine this breach of the internal market.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

21.3.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

1

4

Members present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Eleonora Evi, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Peter Jahr, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Lukas Mandl, Notis Marias, Ana Miranda, Marlene Mizzi, Cristian Dan Preda, Gabriele Preuß, Sofia Sakorafa, Yana Toom, Jarosław Wałęsa, Cecilia Wikström

Substitutes present for the final vote

Michela Giuffrida, Carlos Iturgaiz, Peter Kouroumbashev, Kostadinka Kuneva, Julia Pitera, László Tőkés

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

Emil Radev

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

19

+

ALDE

ECR

EFDD

GUE/NGL

PPE

 

S&D

 

VERTS/ALE

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Yana Toom, Cecilia Wikström

 

 

 

Carlos Iturgaiz, Peter Jahr, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Lukas Mandl, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, Emil Radev, László Tőkés, Jarosław Wałęsa

Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Michela Giuffrida, Peter Kouroumbashev, Marlene Mizzi, Gabriele Preuß

Margrete Auken, Ana Miranda

1

-

ECR

Notis Marias

4

0

EFDD

GUE/NGL

Eleonora Evi

Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Kostadinka Kuneva, Sofia Sakorafa

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/596799/IPOL_STU(2017)596799_EN.pdf

(2)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/596818/IPOL_STU(2017)596818_EN.pdf

(3)

OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.

(4)

OJ C 369, 17.12.2011, p. 14.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

15.5.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

2

0

Members present for the final vote

Max Andersson, Joëlle Bergeron, Marie-Christine Boutonnet, Jean-Marie Cavada, Kostas Chrysogonos, Mady Delvaux, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Enrico Gasbarra, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Heidi Hautala, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, António Marinho e Pinto, Emil Radev, Pavel Svoboda, Axel Voss, Francis Zammit Dimech

Substitutes present for the final vote

Geoffroy Didier, Pascal Durand, Jytte Guteland, Virginie Rozière

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

Dominique Bilde


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

19

+

ALDE

Jean-Marie Cavada, António Marinho e Pinto

EFDD

Joëlle Bergeron

GUE/NGL

Kostas Chrysogonos

PPE

Geoffroy Didier, Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, Emil Radev, Pavel Svoboda, Axel Voss, Francis Zammit Dimech

S&D

Mady Delvaux, Enrico Gasbarra, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Jytte Guteland, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Virginie Rozière

VERTS/ALE

Max Andersson, Pascal Durand, Heidi Hautala

2

-

ENF

Dominique Bilde, Marie-Christine Boutonnet

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 4 June 2018Legal notice