Procedure : 2011/0260(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0207/2012

Texts tabled :

A7-0207/2012

Debates :

PV 12/09/2012 - 13
CRE 12/09/2012 - 13

Votes :

PV 13/09/2012 - 11.6
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0342

REPORT     ***I
PDF 346kWORD 219k
25.6.2012
PE 483.670v02-00 A7-0207/2012

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 as regards the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations

(COM(2011)0598 – C7‑0305/2012 – 2011/0260(COD))

Committee on International Trade

Rapporteur: David Martin

AMENDMENTS
DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 as regards the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations

(COM(2011)0598 - C7-0305/2012 - 2011/0260(COD)

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2011)0598),

–   having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7‑0305/2012),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A7-0207/2012),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment   1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5) In order to ensure that partners can swiftly be reinstated in Annex I to that Regulation as soon as they have taken the necessary steps towards ratification of their respective Agreements, and pending their entry into force, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the European Commission in respect of reinstating the countries removed from Annex I through this Regulation. It is of particular importance that the European Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The European Commission, when preparing and drawing-up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and the Council,

(5) In order to ensure that partners can swiftly be reinstated in Annex I to that Regulation as soon as they have taken the necessary steps towards ratification of their respective Agreements, and pending their entry into force, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission in respect of reinstating the countries removed from Annex I through this Regulation. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level. The Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council. The Commission should provide full information and documentation on its meetings with national experts within the framework of its work on the preparation and implementation of delegated acts. The Commission should invite Parliament's experts to attend those meetings,

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Article 1 - point 1

Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007

Article 2b - paragraph 2

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The delegation of power referred to in Article 2a shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from the entry into force of this Regulation.

2. The delegation of power referred to in Article 2a shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of five years from ...*. The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the five- year period. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period.

 

__________

 

* OJ: Please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Article 1 – point 1

Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007

Article 2b - paragraph 5

 

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

5. A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 2a shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of 2 months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by 2 months at the initiative of the European Parliament or the Council.

5. A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 2a shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by four months at the initiative of the European Parliament or the Council.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Article 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

This Regulation shall enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

It shall apply on 1 January 2014.

It shall apply on 1 January 2016.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Justification

It is necessary to give more time for further negotiations to reach an agreement on the comprehensive EPAs, in order to avoid the risk that a number of ACP countries which still have strong development needs and substantial levels of poverty would have significantly reduced market access to the EU.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Cotonou Agreement provides for the conclusion of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the EU and its Member States, and the detailed arrangements applying as from 1 January 2008 to products from the countries in question were set out in Council Regulation (EC) No. 1528/2007, the so called Market Access Regulation. This regulation governs the EU import regime for the 36 ACP countries that initialled Eonomic Partnership Agreements in 2007. It was a bridging solution for countries that were not yet in a position to apply these EPAs, awaiting ratification. The Regulation basically unilaterally anticipated the duty free access that the EU offered in these agreements.

However, several countries have neither taken the necessary steps towards ratification of an EPA nor concluded comprehensive regional negotiations. The European Commission therefore proposes that, as of 1 January 2014, those countries which have not signed or ratified their Agreements, should be removed from the list of beneficiaries of this provision.

The 17 countries which have not proceeded so far with their ratification process fall into different categories and the practical consequences under current circumstances of this proposal would depend on their status and the final agreement reached during the revision of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP):

· Burundi, Comoros, Haiti, Lesotho, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia are Least Developed countries (LDCs), which would continue to enjoy duty free-quota free access under the EU's Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, and would not therefore be affected;

· Cameroon, Fiji, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Swaziland would fall back on to the EU's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, which provides reduced tariffs compared with the most-favoured nation (MFN) rate, but not as favourable as duty free-quota free, leading to increased tariffs on most key exports;

· Botswana and Namibia, which are classified as Upper Middle Income countries would, according to the proposal for the GSP, revert to the MFN rate, as applied to most countries (including, for example the United States and Japan).

The European Commission argues that the current situation is not compatible with WTO rules, and that it is also a question of fairness, both towards countries which have fulfilled their obligations and ratified their agreements, but also towards developing countries which are not ACP partners. The amendment of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1528/2007 is part of a two-prong approach, including intensification of the ongoing EPA-negotiations, in order to conclude full-fledged regional agreements. In fact, this is probably the main reason behind the proposal: to increase the pressure and thereby the momentum of the negotiations.

Your rapporteur is however not convinced that imposing such a short unilateral deadline is the best approach to achieve the desired results. In fact, there are well founded reasons why the agreements reached in 2007 have not been implemented, as well as why the comprehensive regional agreements have not been concluded. Several of the agreements concluded in 2007, were reached with individual countries, and not with the whole regions which have continued the negotiations. However, a decision to implement the EPAs by these individual countries within a region could have a serious negative impact on the regional integration process. The objectives behind the EPAs, which the European Parliament supports, are that the agreements should contribute to deepening the regional integration process as well as foster economic growth and development for all the countries and regions concerned. Partial agreements could have the opposite effect.

The EPA process should provide stable and increased market access for ACP exports, but would this amendment be approved, the reality is that a number of ACP countries which still have strong development needs and substantial levels of poverty could have significantly reduced market access to the EU (and in some cases will have no alternative preference scheme to fall back on, particularly if the proposal for revision of the GSP scheme is adopted). In order to give time for adaptation and to limit possible negative effects, especially for those countries who would see their market access being reduced, it is necessary to adapt the timing, so that there will be a transitional period in between the entry into force of the new GSP scheme and the entry into force of this amended regulation.

Bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations are complex in nature and very often cannot be concluded in rigidly set timeframes. WTO is in a very good position to understand this, in view of the current stalemate of the Doha Development Round. To unilaterally exert pressure to conclude negotiations within a specified short timeframe regardless of whether or not the contentious provisions have been resolved is not a very good way to create a climate conducive to conclude negotiations where the interests and concerns of both parties are taken into account. Nevertheless, it is also important that WTO rules are respected, and the regulation in question was indeed foreseen as a temporary arrangement. It is not a sustainable situation that preferences are maintained for countries which are not fulfilling the criteria, but the proposed timeframe is not realistic and far too short to be able to successfully conclude the ongoing negotiations. To have agreements ratified by 1 January 2014, negotiations would have to be concluded by around June 2012. Given the importance and scope of the outstanding issues, this is not possible. Your rapporteur therefore proposes to extend the time, so that the change would take effect as from 1 January 2016 instead.

The proposal also includes amendments to align the decision making procedures with those of the Lisbon Treaty. It is proposed that the Commission should be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 290 of the TFEU for the purpose of amending Annex I in order to reinstate these countries that take the necessary steps towards ratification of an EPA. The amendments proposed by the rapporteur are to a large extent building on positions taken in the horizontal regulations, the so-called omnibuses.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (5.6.2012)

for the Committee on International Trade

on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 as regards the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations

(COM(2011)0598 – C7‑0305/2011 – 2011/0260(COD))

Rapporteur: Gabriele Zimmer

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Committee on Development regrets the fact that in spite of the recent progress achieved in the negotiations, which the regions concerned are pursuing in good faith, the EU has decided unilaterally to impose a deadline. The main concern of the Committee on Development is that the proposed amendment to the regulation risks putting pressure on the governments of the ACP countries concerned to sign and ratify their respective EPAs within the specified timeframe, regardless of whether or not the contentious provisions have been resolved.

The Committee on Development insists that the conclusion of the negotiations should be driven by content, which must take into account the interests and address the concerns of both parties, and not by timeframes. Therefore the EU should show the necessary flexibility in the negotiation process, respecting the different levels of development of each ACP country. As the main aim is to comply with WTO rules, the EU should not force the ACP countries into commitments that go beyond those required under the WTO agreements.

The Committee on Development would like to highlight that if the Commission's proposal goes ahead, a number of ACP countries might lose their duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market, which could damage established exporters. In addition to this, putting pressure on countries to sign a trade agreement which includes certain unacceptable provisions not only limits the space for domestic economic policy-making, but could also damage their emerging economic sectors. This also runs counter to the objective of policy coherence for development enshrined in Article 208 of the TFEU and would be to the detriment of EU relations in the countries concerned.

The decision could also have an additional impact, shifting investments from ACP countries that do not have full EU market access, to those that have, which runs counter to the current efforts toward regional integration. Therefore, the EU should maintain EC Regulation 1528.

******

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to propose rejection of the Commission proposal.

PROCEDURE

Title

Amendment to Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 as regards the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations

References

COM(2011)0598 – C7-0305/2011 – 2011/0260(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

INTA

12.10.2011

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

DEVE

12.10.2011

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Gabriele Zimmer

11.10.2011

Discussed in committee

23.4.2012

 

 

 

Date adopted

4.6.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

13

8

4

Members present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Ricardo Cortés Lastra, Corina Creţu, Véronique De Keyser, Nirj Deva, Leonidas Donskis, Charles Goerens, Eva Joly, Filip Kaczmarek, Gay Mitchell, Norbert Neuser, Birgit Schnieber-Jastram, Michèle Striffler, Alf Svensson, Keith Taylor, Ivo Vajgl, Iva Zanicchi

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Emer Costello, Enrique Guerrero Salom, Fiona Hall, Edvard Kožušník, Judith Sargentini, Horst Schnellhardt, Patrizia Toia

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

Marisa Matias


PROCEDURE ()

Title

Amendment to Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 as regards the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations

References

COM(2011)0598 – C7-0305/2011 – 2011/0260(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

30.9.2011

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

INTA

12.10.2011

 

 

 

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

DEVE

12.10.2011

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

David Martin

11.10.2011

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

25.1.2012

25.4.2012

 

 

Date adopted

21.6.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

25

2

2

Members present for the final vote

William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, John Attard-Montalto, Maria Badia i Cutchet, Daniel Caspary, María Auxiliadora Correa Zamora, Marielle de Sarnez, Yannick Jadot, Metin Kazak, Franziska Keller, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Paul Murphy, Cristiana Muscardini, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Niccolò Rinaldi, Helmut Scholz, Peter Šťastný, Gianluca Susta, Iuliu Winkler, Paweł Zalewski

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Amelia Andersdotter, George Sabin Cutaş, Albert Deß, Salvatore Iacolino, Syed Kamall, Maria Eleni Koppa, Elisabeth Köstinger, Marietje Schaake, Konrad Szymański

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

Françoise Castex, Marielle Gallo

Date tabled

25.6.2012

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