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Procedure : 2011/2642(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0199/2011

Texts tabled :

B7-0199/2011

Debates :

PV 06/04/2011 - 20
CRE 06/04/2011 - 20

Votes :

PV 07/04/2011 - 6.9
CRE 07/04/2011 - 6.9
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0154

Texts adopted
PDF 171kWORD 98k
Thursday, 7 April 2011 - Strasbourg Final edition
Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy – Southern Dimension
P7_TA(2011)0154B7-0199/2011

European Parliament resolution of 7 April 2011 on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Southern Dimension

The European Parliament ,

–  having regard to the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) since 2004, and in particular to the Commission's progress reports on its implementation,

–  having regard to the Action Plans adopted jointly with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority and Tunisia,

–  having regard to the Commission Communications of 11 March 2003 on Wider Europe - Neighbourhood: A New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours (COM(2003)0104), of 12 May 2004 on European Neighbourhood Policy - Strategy Paper (COM(2004)0373), of 4 December 2006 on Strengthening the ENP (COM(2006)0726), of 5 December 2007 on A Strong European Neighbourhood Policy (COM(2007)0774), and of 12 May 2010 on Taking Stock of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) (COM(2010)0207),

–  having regard to the joint communication of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on a partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean of 8 March 2011(COM(2011)0200),

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on the ENP of 26 July 2010,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions of 19 January 2006 on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)(1) , of 6 July 2006 on the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)(2) , of 15 November 2007 on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy(3) , of 19 February 2009 on the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean(4) , of 19 February 2009 on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument(5) , of 20 May 2010 on the Union for the Mediterranean(6) , and of 9 September 2010 on the situation of the Jordan River, with special regard to the Lower Jordan River area(7) ,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 3 February 2011 on the situation in Tunisia(8) , of 17 February 2011 on the situation in Egypt(9) and of 10 March 2011 on the Southern Neighbourhood, and Libya in particular, including humanitarian aspects(10) ,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the EU-Morocco Association Council of 13 October 2008, which granted advanced status to Morocco,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the EU-Jordan Association Council of 26 October 2010, which granted advanced status to Jordan,

–  having regard to the approval of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean by the Brussels European Council of 13 and 14 March 2008,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 20 May 2008 on ‘The Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)’(COM(2008)0319),

–  having regard to the final statement issued at the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Union for the Mediterranean held in Marseille on 3 and 4 November 2008,

–  having regard to the Declaration of the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, held in Paris on 13 July 2008,

–  having regard to the Barcelona Declaration establishing a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held on 27 and 28 November 1995,

–  having regard to the statements issued by the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM) at its meetings in Paris (12 July 2008), Cairo (20 November 2009), Rabat (22 January 2010), Palermo (18 June 2010) and Rome (12 November 2010),

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) adopted in Amman on 13 October 2008 and forwarded to the First Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean,

–  having regard to the recommendations adopted by the committees of the PA-UfM at its sixth plenary session, held in Amman on 13 and 14 March 2010,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the inaugural meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) held in Barcelona on 21 January 2010,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1638/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 laying down general provisions establishing a European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)(11) ,

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 13 December 2010 on the negotiations on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement ,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas respect for and the promotion of democracy and human rights, and specifically women's rights, the rule of law, the strengthening of security, democratic stability, prosperity, the fair distribution of income, wealth and chances in society and, therefore, the fight against corruption and the promotion of good governance, are founding principles and aims of the European Union and must constitute common values shared with ENP partner countries and become key objectives of the ENP,

B.  whereas the ENP review should take account of the demonstrations calling for freedom, democracy and reforms in several countries in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood, as they illustrated the strong desire among the people for genuine change and better living conditions in the region,

C.  whereas, largely motivated by the uneven distribution of wealth and economic growth and the lack of freedoms, civil unrest, stemming from the general dissatisfaction of the population with the regimes in power, has grown throughout the whole region,

D.   whereas the effects of the economic and financial crisis have come on top of the already existing political, economic and social challenges in the partner countries, particularly in relation to the problem of unemployment and the rising of prices, which has led to the uprisings in the region,

E.  whereas the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and other countries calling for democratic reforms require the EU to make appropriate changes to the ENP in order to support effectively the process of political, economic and social reform while unequivocally condemning the use of force in repressing peaceful demonstrations,

F.  whereas since its launch in 2004 the ENP has proven ineffective in meeting its human rights and democracy objectives and has been unable to bring about the necessary political, social and institutional reforms; whereas in its relations with the region the EU has neglected dialogue with civil societies and democratic forces on the southern shore of the Mediterranean; whereas shortcomings and challenges remain, and the focus should now be on implementation in an effort to act together with partners who are truly representative of civil society and critical institutions vital to democracy-building, with clearly defined priorities for action, clear benchmarks and differentiation based on performance and achievements,

G.  whereas there are significant economic, social and demographic asymmetries between the European States and the States from the ENP South, which call for responses in the shared interests of all the partners,

H.  whereas the EU needs to define more precisely its strategic goals and priorities in its partnership with its eastern and southern neighbours and should attach due importance to related items on its political agenda, also in its budgetary planning,

I.  whereas the ENP should include more ambitious and efficient instruments to encourage and support political, economic and social reforms in the EU's neighbourhood,

J.  whereas the Lisbon Treaty has created the conditions for the EU to improve the efficiency and coherence of its policies and functioning, particularly in the sphere of external relations through the creation of the post of Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and the European External Action Service (EEAS), and whereas the VP/HR should ensure that the EU's voice is heard on the international stage,

K.  whereas Articles 3 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union further develop the objectives of the Union's foreign policy and put the promotion of human rights, and, more specifically, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, at the centre of the Union's external action,

L.  whereas, in accordance with Article 8 of the Treaty on European Union, the Union must develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, with the aim of establishing an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation,

M.  whereas unresolved conflicts and violations of international human rights law represent an impediment to the fulfilment of the ENP, hampering economic, social and political development and regional cooperation, stability and security,

N.  whereas the quest for short-term stability has often taken precedence over the values of democracy, social justice and human rights in the EU's relations with its southern neighbours in recent years,

O.  whereas the EU should pursue a bottom-up approach, increasing its support for institution-building, civil society and the will to start democratisation processes, in particular the participation of women, and socio-economic developments, which are preconditions for long-term stabilisation,

P.  whereas respect for human rights, and in particular women's human rights, democracy and the rule of law, including the fight against torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and opposition to the death penalty, are fundamental EU principles,

Q.  whereas the UfM is currently on hold, in particular following the postponement sine die of the its Second Summit of Heads of State or Government and ministerial meetings and the resignation of its Secretary-General; whereas the regional context in which the UfM is taking shape is one which is marked by territorial conflicts, political crises and an increase in social tension and which has been overtaken by the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, all of which are hampering the operation of the UfM's institutions and the start of the major regional integration projects identified by the UfM Heads of State and Government at the Paris Summit in July 2008 and by the UfM Ministers of Foreign Affairs at their meeting in Marseille on 3 and 4 November 2008; whereas the UfM, which was supposed to enhance EU policy in the region, has proved ineffective in allaying the growing mistrust and meeting the basic needs of the peoples concerned,

R.  having regard to the opportunity offered by the establishment of the UfM to strengthen complementarity between bilateral policies, on the one hand, and regional policies, on the other, in order to achieve more effectively the goals of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation,

S.  whereas other global actors, and the BRIC countries in particular, have been further strengthening their economic presence and political influence in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood,

T.  whereas the effects of the political, economic, social and financial crisis have added to the existing political, economic and social challenges facing the ENP southern countries; whereas the cost of reforms relating to convergence with the acquis and adaptation in line with progressively closer economic and social relations is an additional challenge in the EU' southern neighbours; whereas in some countries these factors have contributed greatly to civil unrest and demands for democratisation and reforms,

U.  whereas the issue of water management, and particularly the fair distribution of water in keeping with the needs of all the people living in the region, is of the utmost importance for lasting peace and stability in the Middle East,

V.  whereas demographic trends show that over the next 20 years population levels in the EU Member States will be stable, but with an increasingly aged population, and the ENP southern countries will see an increase in their populations, and a particular increase in the working-age bracket; whereas economic growth and job creation in these countries might not be able to keep pace with the forecast increase in population, especially as some countries are already facing very high rates of unemployment, and even higher levels of youth unemployment,

W.  whereas corruption in the ENP southern countries remains a serious concern, involving large sections of society and state institutions,

X.  whereas the ENPI has contributed to simplifying the financing of the ENP; whereas the process of developing its successor instrument should reflect the recent developments in the region, and, especially, the legitimate democratic aspirations of the population, and the conclusions of the ENP Strategic Review and be carried out on the basis of consultations with all stakeholders, in particular local actors,

ENP Review – General

1.  Reaffirms the values, principles and commitments upon which the ENP has been built, which include democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and respect for women's rights, good governance, the market economy and sustainable development, and reiterates that the ENP has to become a valid framework for the deepening and strengthening of relations with our closest partners so as encourage and to support their political, social and economic reforms, which are designed to establish and consolidate democracy, progress and social and economic opportunities for all; emphasises the importance of maintaining the principles of shared responsibility and joint ownership in the conception and implementation of ENP programmes; considers that since its launch in 2004 the ENP, as a single policy framework and through its performance-driven differentiation and tailor-made assistance, has brought tangible benefits both for ENP partners and the EU;

2.  Recalls, in the light of current events in the southern Mediterranean, particularly in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and other countries calling for democratic reforms, the ENP's failure to promote and safeguard human rights in third countries; urges the EU to draw lessons from those events and to revise its democracy and human rights support policy so as to create an implementation mechanism for the human rights clause included in all agreements with third countries; insists that the review of the ENP must prioritise criteria relating to the independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental freedoms, pluralism and freedom of the press and the fight against corruption; calls for better coordination with the Union's other policies vis-à-vis those countries;

3.  Calls on the EU to lend strong support to the process of political and economic reform in the region, by using all existing instruments in the framework of the ENP and, wherever necessary, by adopting new ones in order to assist in the most effective way possible the process of democratic transition, with a focus on respect for fundamental freedoms, good governance, the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption, thus responding to the needs and expectations of the peoples of our southern neighbours;

4.  Emphasises the need to increase the funds allocated to the ENP in the post-2013 multiannual financial framework (MFF), giving priority, in the light of recent events, to the southern dimension of the ENP ; considers that the new MFF should take into account the specific characteristics and the needs of each country;

5.  Stresses that a concrete offer of a closer political partnership and economic integration must be made to the EU's neighbouring countries, based on the principles of openness, joint ownership and conditionality; calls for that offer to be tailored to the differing needs of specific countries and regions, so as to give the most advanced partners a faster path towards compliance with EU standards and values;

6.  Calls for an increased focus on cooperation with civil society organisations, as these have been the main driving forces behind the popular uprisings throughout the region;

7.  Emphasises the need to provide an adequate level of EU funding for cooperation with the neighbourhood, and reiterates the value of the ENPI as the main financing instrument of the ENP, one which should evolve so as to respond more flexibly to the differing needs of the neighbouring countries and regions, guarantee direct linkage between ENP policy objectives and ENPI programming, and reflect the performance-based nature of the future ENP; emphasises, however, the need to provide better-targeted assistance, particularly aimed at civil society and local communities, in keeping with the bottom-up approach; underscores the value of monitoring the management and implementation of the various ENPI programmes;

8.  Stresses that all the necessary measures, including adequate financial, human and technical resources, must be in place to guarantee that the EU can respond appropriately in the event of any mass migratory movement, in accordance with Article 80 TFEU;

9.  Emphasises that the Strategic Review of the ENP should properly address the policy's shortcomings and advocate an increased political commitment on the part of all partners, at the same time strengthening the performance-based differentiation, on the basis of clearly defined benchmarks; calls for the review also to pay close attention to the urgent need to develop the multilateral dimension, in an effort to establish enhanced, continuous and substantive political dialogue with partner countries;

10.  Regards as particularly important continuous assessments not only of the results that have been achieved to date through the programmes implemented, but also of the adequacy of the resources employed within the framework of the partnership; takes the view that this procedure will provide an opportunity to correct any shortcomings and incorrect choices in the future;

11.  Calls on the Council and Commission to review the ENP for southern neighbours with the aim of providing the resources and the assistance needed for a genuine democratic transition and laying the basis for far-reaching political, social and institutional reforms; insists that the review of the neighbourhood policy must prioritise criteria relating to the independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental freedoms, including freedom of media, and the fight against corruption;

12.  Acknowledges and stresses the difference between ‘the European neighbours’ - countries which can formally join the EU after fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, and ‘the neighbours of Europe’ - states which cannot join the EU owing to their geographical position;

13.  Takes the view that it is therefore a matter of the utmost importance and urgency to rethink and overhaul the EU strategy towards the Mediterranean and that this new strategy should enhance political dialogue and support for all democratic and social forces, including civil society actors; calls on the Council, in that connection, to define a set of political criteria that ENP countries must fulfil in order to be granted ‘advanced status’;

14.  Stresses the need to acknowledge and exploit the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty, in particular the strengthened role of the VP/HR, the creation of the EEAS and Parliament's new powers, in order to lend greater coherence to the EU's foreign policy and to increase the efficiency and legitimacy of its external dimension and action; considers that only if the Council and the Commission are able to draw lessons from past and current events and carry out a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the shortcomings of the present ENP will the EU be in a position to develop a credible and effective policy towards its Mediterranean partners;

15.  Stresses the importance of a partnership between the EU and the southern neighbouring countries, and emphasises that this close cooperation is in the interests of both sides;

16.  Considers that the EU should learn from the recent events in the Southern Neighbourhood and that the ENP should be reviewed in this light, with the aim of establishing a partnership with societies, and not only with States;

Southern Dimension

17.  Highlights the importance of setting up a task force, involving Parliament, in response to the calls for monitoring of the democratic transition processes made by actors for democratic change, in particular as regards free and democratic elections and institution-building, including an independent judiciary;

18.  Strongly supports, in the light of recent developments in the region, the legitimate democratic aspirations expressed by people in several countries in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood, and calls on the authorities in those countries to bring about as quickly as possible a peaceful transition to genuine democracy; emphasises that the Strategic Review of the ENP must fully take into consideration and reflect these developments;

19.  Calls, in this context, for the EU to provide significant support for democratic transformation in its southern neighbours, in partnership with the societies concerned, by mobilising, reviewing and adapting existing instruments aimed at fostering political, economic and social reform; calls, in this respect, on the Council and the Commission to make short-term transitional financial support mechanisms, including loans, available to those countries expressing a need for them as a result of swift democratic changes and an extraordinary fall in liquidity; calls in addition on the Commission to review as quickly as possible Tunisia and Egypt's National Indicative Programmes for the period 2011-2013 in order to take into account the new, urgent needs of those partners in terms of democracy-building;

20.  Stresses the importance of stepping up political dialogue with the EU's southern neighbours; emphasises once again that the strengthening of democracy, the rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are essential elements of this dialogue; stresses, in that connection, the importance of respect for freedom of conscience, religion and thought, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and the media, freedom of association, women's rights and gender equality, the protection of minorities, and the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation;

21.  Notes that advanced status has already been granted to or is currently being negotiated with some partner countries; stresses the importance of taking a more transparent and coherent approach towards this differentiation, in order to create a substantive process that delivers, and of clear benchmarks being established in order to avoid the application of double standards regarding the criteria which must be fulfilled in order for advanced status to be granted;

22.  Emphasises the need to adapt the Copenhagen criteria to the requirements linked to the granting of advanced status; calls on the Commission to be sure to grant third countries advanced status when they fulfil those criteria;

23.  Stresses that the fight against corruption, in particular in the judiciary and the police, should be a top priority for the EU in the development of its relations with its southern partners;

24.  Insists on being consulted at all stages of the process of granting advanced status to partner countries and of the drafting of the ENP Action Plans, in keeping with its new role under the Lisbon Treaty; calls on the Council and the EEAS to involve Parliament in the advanced-status decision-making process by developing a clear consultation mechanism to be used at all stages of the negotiations, including as regards the criteria to be fulfilled and the setting of the priorities and guidelines included in the Action Plans;

25.  Stresses that an effective partnership between the EU and its southern neighbours can only be based on synergy between the interlinked bilateral and multilateral dimensions of this cooperation process, and therefore deplores the fact that the ENP does not take sufficient account of the need to strengthen the multilateral dimension;

26.  Pays tribute to the courage of the people in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya who have made a stand in order to demand democracy and freedom, and calls on all the EU institutions to offer their fullest support to the democratic transition process in those countries;

27.  Deplores the loss of human life during the peaceful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and calls on the authorities to investigate the incidents in question properly and to bring those responsible to justice;

28.  Believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the root of political tensions in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean region as a whole;

29.  Calls on the VP/HR to engage actively in conflict resolution and confidence-building in the region, ensuring that the EU has an active role as a player and not only a payer, in particular in the central Middle East peace process and also the Western Sahara conflict; believes that conflict resolution holds the key to political, economic and social developments in the region and to the progress of the ENP regional dimension and its multilateral forms of cooperation, such as the UfM; notes that finding a comprehensive solution, in accordance with international law, to the various conflicts, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular, in the EU's southern neighbourhood is crucial to the full success of the ENP;

30.  Believes that intercultural dialogue within the Mediterranean region is crucial to enhancing mutual understanding, solidarity, tolerance and the well-being of its peoples; expects the review to give consideration to developing instruments for this purpose;

31.  Is deeply concerned at the continued postponement sine die of the second Summit of Heads and State and Government of the UfM and of UfM ministerial meetings, which is sending out a negative message to the region's peoples and institutions; considers that the resignation of its Secretary-General highlights the need to clarify the nature of the UfM's procedures and institutions; points out that political tensions and regional conflicts in the Mediterranean region should not hamper concrete progress towards sectoral and multilateral cooperation, and that it is by carrying out major integration projects and through open political dialogue that the UfM can contribute to the development of a climate of trust conducive to the achievement of the common objectives of justice and security, in a spirit of solidarity and peace;

32.  Deplores the inadequate funding allocated to the UfM and the very low degree of commitment shown by the Member States on both shores of the Mediterranean; deplores the EU's undefined approach to Mediterranean policy and calls on the EU to develop a long-term strategic vision for the development and stabilisation of the region; insists on the need to make the Euro-Mediterranean integration process a political priority on the European agenda;

33.  Is convinced that the UfM should be relaunched to take account of the new developments in the region; takes the view that this new UfM should promote sound economic, social and democratic development and create a strong and common basis for a close relationship between the EU and its southern neighbours; believes this new community would also open up new prospects for a sustainable peace in the Middle East, one embedded in the various societies in the region and not only contingent on the fragile political will of its authoritarian leaders;

34.  Notes that the review should address the UfM's failure to meet expectations and assess challenges ahead, and consider new ways of strengthening the bilateral instruments under the ENP; believes, in that connection, that more resources should be devoted to areas where tangible progress can be achieved;

35.  Is concerned at the lack of progress on the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area; calls for concerted negotiations to be conducted once the requirements for deep and comprehensive free trade areas intended to form the basis of a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area have been met, taking due account of the socio-economic realities of each of the partner countries and provided that the social and environmental impact of these agreements is properly assessed in good time; deplores the fact that no real progress has been made by the various actors in creating the necessary conditions; encourages, also, the development of South-South bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation which would bring tangible benefits for the citizens of the countries involved and improve the political climate in the region;

36.  Emphasises the need to target the most important specific issues in each of the countries concerned, but reiterates that the socio-economic situation, especially of younger generations, must be a particular focus of the ENP;

37.  Believes that enhanced sub-regional cooperation among Member States and ENP countries with specific shared interests, values and concerns could create a positive dynamic for the whole Mediterranean area; encourages the Member States to explore the potential of variable geometry as a pattern of cooperation and emphasises that the future ENP should facilitate and promote this approach, in particular through its regional funding budget;

38.  Believes that in the context of policy on the Southern Neighbourhood the problem of irregular immigration has to be addressed; calls on the Council and the Commission to monitor the implementation of the agreements with all the southern neighbouring countries and of existing bilateral agreements between the EU Member States and all the regional actors as regard the issues of immigration and, particularly, readmission;

39.  Deplores the asymmetrical approach adopted by the EU towards its eastern and southern neighbours in the area of mobility and visa policy; advocates, with regard to mobility, the facilitation of visa procedures for ENP southern countries – especially for students, researchers and businessmen - and the adoption of a Euro-Mediterranean partnership for mobility; stresses the important role that some ENP countries can play in managing migration flows; emphasises that cooperation on the management of migration flows must be fully consistent with EU values and international legal obligations; insists that readmission agreements with partners countries should be envisaged only for irregular immigrants, thus excluding those who declare themselves asylum seekers, refugees or persons in need of protection, and reiterates that the principle of ‘non-refoulement’ applies to any persons who are at risk of the death penalty, inhumane treatment or torture; calls for closer cooperation to halt the trafficking of human beings and for improvements to the conditions in which migrant workers live, both in the EU and in the ENP southern countries;

40.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Commission to place at the top of the agenda for their talks with ENP southern countries the EU's political priorities of death penalty abolition, respect for human rights, including women's human rights, and respect for fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of association and the media, respect for the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the fight against torture and cruel and inhumane treatment, the fight against impunity and the ratification of a number of international legal instruments, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees;

41.  Calls, in the context of the revision of the agreements with ENP southern countries, for renewed attention to be paid to full respect for freedom of religion, in particular for all religious minorities, in the countries involved; emphasises that freedom of religion includes the freedom, either alone or in community with others, in public and in private, to manifest one's faith in worship, teaching, practice and observance and that such freedom must also include the right to change one's religion;

42.  Stresses that the EU's contractual relations with all the ENP countries incorporate arrangements for a regular forum to address human rights issues, in the form of subcommittees on human rights; calls on the EEAS to make full use of these arrangements and involve existing subcommittees in any negotiations, to press for them to be made more effective and result-oriented, and to guarantee the involvement of civil society organisations and human rights defenders; recommends that the status of the informal EU-Israel working group on human rights be upgraded to that of a normal subcommittee; calls on the EEAS also to participate in structured cooperation between the COHOMs and Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights;

43.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Commission actively to pursue the promotion and protection of freedom of communication and access to information, including on the internet;

44.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Commission to strengthen the role of civil society organisations, in particular human rights organisations and women's organisations, in policy monitoring and the programming and implementation of assistance through a dedicated capacity-building facility; in that connection, highlights the need to empower women, and calls on the EEAS and the Commission systematically to analyse the gender impact of their projects and programmes and to advocate that women rights and gender equality should be taken into account in the revision of constitutions, penal codes, family law and other civil laws and in the human rights dialogues carried on with ENP partner countries; insists that the VP/HR, the EEAS and the Commission should not strengthen relations between third countries and EU if the countries concerned do not involve civil society organisations sufficiently in their policies; notes that civil society organisations are the EU's most faithful and powerful allies in promoting democratic values, good governance and human rights in partner countries; calls for the increased involvement of regional and local authorities and of professional organisations and the social partners in EU cooperation with its southern neighbours; calls on the Council and the Commission to further strengthen and make more effective use of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights in this regard;

45.  Emphasises the need to implement gender mainstreaming and to support specific actions so as to achieve an effective and systematic gender-equality approach in the ENP countries; urges governments and civil society to increase women's social inclusion, fight female illiteracy and promote women's employment so as to ensure a meaningful presence of women at all levels;

46.  Stresses the importance of structured cooperation in the field of higher education and research in order to foster mutual recognition of qualifications and education systems, with a view, in particular, to increasing mobility for students, researchers and teachers, backed up by measures to combat the ‘brain drain’; welcomes, in that connection, the assistance provided by the Tempus programme for higher education and the exchanges organised under ERASMUS Mundus Action 2, and the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI), which is established as a Euro-Mediterranean network of universities on both shores;

47.  Emphasises the important role local authorities play in the democratic development of our partner countries, and encourages the expansion of twinning programmes between local authorities in EU and partner countries;

48.  Emphasises the importance of trade unions and social dialogue as part of the democratic development of the southern partners; encourages those countries to strengthen labour and trade union rights; points out the important role social dialogue can play in addressing socio-economic challenges in the region;

49.  Insists on the importance of bringing investment, training, research and innovation closer together, with special attention being paid to training tailored to job market needs in order to address the socio-economic challenges in the region; calls for particular attention to be focused on women and disadvantaged groups, such as young people; stresses, at the same time, the vital importance of lending further support to local development projects so as to contribute to the revitalisation of the most vulnerable cities and regions;

50.  Stresses that a properly functioning, efficient, safe and secure multi-modal transport system is a precondition for economic growth and development, fostering trade and integration between the European Union and its southern Mediterranean partners; calls on the Commission to submit a mid-term assessment of the Regional Transport Action Plan (2007-2013) for the Mediterranean and to take the outcome into consideration in any future transport action plan;

51.  Believes that sustainable development should be a cross-cutting criterion in the ENP review, with the emphasis being placed on improving environmental protection, developing the region's abundant renewable energy potential, and promoting policies and projects which foster better use of scarce water resources;

52.  Reiterates its call on the Council, the Commission and the EU Member States to encourage and support a comprehensive plan to rectify the devastation of the Jordan River and to continue to provide financial and technical support for the rehabilitation of the river, and the Lower Jordan River in particular, also in the framework of the UfM;

53.  Emphasises the high potential of cooperation in the field of energy and of sources of renewable energy, such as wind, solar and wave power; supports the coordinated implementation of the Mediterranean Solar Plan and industrial initiatives, which should be aimed at meeting the primary needs of the partner countries, and the adoption of a Euro-Mediterranean energy efficiency strategy; stresses the importance of promoting trans-Euro-Mediterranean interconnections in the electricity, gas and oil sectors in order to improve energy supply security through the establishment of a smart grid linking the entire Euro-Mediterranean region;

54.  Recalls the importance of agriculture which favours local farmers, rural development, food security and food sovereignty, of adapting to climate change, and of access to water, and rational water use, and to energy; recommends that agricultural cooperation should be set as an ENP priority, in support of the Euro-Mediterranean roadmap for agriculture and as a means of stabilising food prices at national, regional and global levels;

55.  Reiterates its call for the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Civil Protection Force, given that the increase in the scale and number of natural disasters makes the allocation of appropriate resources essential and that such an initiative would strengthen solidarity among Euro-Mediterranean peoples;

56.  Underlines the importance of stronger cooperation with multilateral regional organisations from the South, most notably the Arab League, as well as the African Union, with a view to successfully addressing the challenges in the areas mentioned above; calls on the Commission to consider a new structured dialogue with these fora during the review of the ENP;

57.  Reiterates the value of the ENPI as the financing instrument for the ENP; emphasises, however, the need to provide more flexibility and ensure that assistance is targeted more effectively, particularly at civil society and local communities, in keeping with the bottom-up approach; calls, further, for a comprehensive efficiency analysis of the ENPI with the aim of making better use of the available financial instruments and funds in the context of the EU's relations with its southern neighbours and ensuring that development aid and assistance is used properly in beneficiary countries; regards the transparency of funding and the inclusion of anti-corruption mechanisms in the financing instruments as vital; underscores the value of monitoring the management and implementation of the various ENPI programmes; stresses the importance of strengthening cross-border projects, stepping up people-to-people programmes and developing incentives for regional cooperation; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to consult Parliament and civil society stakeholders at an early stage in the forthcoming preparation of the successor instrument;

58.  Calls on the Council to adopt the legislative proposal to amend Article 23 of the ENPI regulation presented by the Commission in May 2008 and adopted by Parliament on 8 July 2008, which would make it possible to re-invest funds returned following past operations and thus provide the EU with a much-needed tool to alleviate the impact of the current financial crisis on the real economy and the impact of the substantial increases in food prices on the neighbourhood region, in particular the Southern Neighbourhood;

59.  Stresses that the ENPI is not the only instrument available to finance programmes and actions under the ENP, and insists, therefore, on the need for a coherent approach based on using all financial instruments; calls, therefore, on the EEAS and the Commission to provide a clear overview of the money allocated per beneficiary country, including a breakdown per instrument;

60.  Emphasises the need to increase the funds allocated to the southern dimension of the ENP in the EU's forthcoming MFF for the period from 2014 to 2020 in order to ensure that funding matches political ambitions and to implement the provisions on advanced status without affecting the other priorities of the ENP; insists on the need to comply with the agreement reached following the statement made by the Commission to COREPER in 2006, which earmarks two-thirds of ENPI funding for the southern countries and one-third to the eastern countries, in accordance with demographic weighting;

61.  Emphasises, however, that any increase in the funds allocated should be based on an accurate assessment of needs and consistent with an increase in the effectiveness of the programmes implemented, tailored and prioritised according to the requirements of each beneficiary country;

62.  Welcomes the work carried out by the EIB's Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) and emphasises the need for more synergies with other international financial institutions also active in the region, and proposes once again the setting-up of a Euro-Mediterranean co-development financial institution, of which the EIB would remain the main shareholder; supports the raising of the EIB guarantee ceiling in order to enable the EIB to maintain the intensity of its operations in the region in coming years; invites the EBRD to change its statutes in order also to participate in this financial assistance process;

Role of the European Parliament

63.  Stresses the key role of the European Parliament in ensuring that Europe's stability and prosperity are closely linked to democratic governance and economic and social progress in its ENP southern neighbours and in promoting political debate, fully-fledged freedoms, democratic reforms and the rule of law in its neighbouring partner countries, especially through the inter-parliamentary delegations and the PA-UfM;

64.  Reiterates its commitment to continue exercising the right of parliamentary scrutiny over the implementation of the ENP, also by holding regular debates with the Commission on the application of the ENPI; welcomes the broad consultation by the Commission and the EEAS on the ENP review, and hopes that the Commission and the EEAS will also guarantee that Parliament is fully and systematically consulted on the preparation of relevant documents, such as ENP Action Plans; furthermore, calls for Parliament to be granted access to the negotiating mandates for all international agreements in the process of being concluded with the ENP partner countries, in accordance with Article 218(10) TFEU, which states that Parliament must be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure;

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65.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the ENP countries and the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean.

(1) OJ C 287 E, 24.11.2006, p. 312.
(2) OJ C 303 E, 13.12.2006, p. 760.
(3) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 443.
(4) OJ C 76 E, 25.3.2010, p. 76.
(5) OJ C 76 E, 25.3.2010, p. 83.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0192.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0314.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0038.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0064.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0095.
(11) OJ L 310, 9.11.2006, p. 1.

Last updated: 20 August 2012Legal notice