REPORT on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy - annual report 2021

    20.12.2021 - (2021/2182(INI))

    Committee on Foreign Affairs
    Rapporteur: David McAllister


    Procedure : 2021/2182(INI)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    A9-0354/2021

    MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

    on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy - annual report 2021

    (2021/2182(INI))

    The European Parliament,

     having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Articles 21 and 36 thereof,

     having regard to the report of 16 June 2021 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) entitled ‘CFSP Report – Our priorities in 2021’ (HR(2021)0094),

     having regard to UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security,

     having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Hong Kong, including those of 8 July 2021 on Hong Kong, notably the case of Apply Daily[1], and of 19 June 2020 on the PRC national security law for Hong Kong and the need for the EU to defend Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy[2],

     having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

     having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0354/2021),

    A. whereas Parliament has a duty and responsibility to exercise its democratic oversight and scrutiny over the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the common security and defence policy and should both get the necessary information in a transparent and timely manner and have the effective means to fully and effectively fulfil this role;

    B. whereas recent international developments and multidimensional challenges and a rapidly changing geopolitical environment have accelerated existing trends affecting key aspects of the EU’s CFSP, exposed the vulnerability of the EU to external events and pressures, highlighted the need for a stronger, more ambitious, credible, strategic and unified EU action on the world stage, and accentuated the necessity for the EU to be able to autonomously set its own strategic objectives and develop the capabilities to pursue them;

    C. whereas these developments and challenges include the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic which originated in Wuhan, China, and its consequences; the evolving role of the US on the global stage, hybrid attacks against the EU Member States, such as the instrumentalisation of migrants, aimed at challenging our democratic foundations; the continuous breach of international law by Belarus; the increasing assertiveness of the Chinese Communist Party and other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes; the recent rapid collapse of the state structures of Afghanistan and subsequent takeover of the country by the Taliban; the tensions in the Indo-Pacific, especially in the South and East China Seas as well as in the Taiwan Strait; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the questioning of arms control agreements; climate change; financial crimes; the aggravation of regional conflicts that have generated population displacement; competition for natural resources; energy and water scarcity; failed states; terrorism; organised transnational crime; cyberattacks; and disinformation campaigns;

    D. whereas these existing trends are the result of shifts in the global balance of power towards a multipolar world of heightened geopolitical competition, which is making global governance and the provision of international public goods more difficult at a time when these are increasingly needed;

    E. whereas the world has entered in a new era of ‘unpeace’, a time of growing geopolitical uncertainty with multiplying regional conflicts and great power competition with significant implications for the security of the EU;

    F. whereas the detrimental impact of climate change on the security of the EU is becoming increasingly clear;

    G. whereas more than half of the world’s population growth by 2050 is expected to occur in Africa, which is expected to account for 1.3 billion of the additional 2.4 billion people on the planet; whereas the concentration of this growth in some of the poorest countries together with the effects of climate change will lead to a series of new challenges which, if not addressed immediately, will have extremely problematic effects both for the countries in question and for the EU; whereas the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s 2019 report on trade and development[3] figures an additional USD 2.5 trillion will be needed annually to reach the commitments of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

    H. whereas the EU needs to act on the global stage with one coherent voice rooted in a common strategic culture to develop its leadership role and revive and reform multilateralism guided by its values of democracy, rule of law, social justice, fundamental rights including gender equality and support for freedom globally, and its vision for a sustainable and inclusive future;

    I. whereas a broad majority of EU citizens and the comments received so far on the digital platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe support a stronger role for the EU and a common European approach in matters of foreign and security policy, and wish to see a more coherent and effective EU foreign and security policy;

    1. Highlights that in order to achieve the strategic objective of developing its global leadership role, the EU should shape its CFSP on the basis of the following five actions:

     taking the lead in strengthening multilateral partnerships on global priorities, in particular its partnership with the UN, and in protecting and promoting democracy and human rights globally,

     improving EU visibility and decision-making, and making full and more effective use of the EU’s hard and soft power instruments, including by introducing qualified majority voting for decision-making in EU foreign policy,

     achieving European sovereignty by coherently interlinking the EU’s external and internal actions, combining the ability to act autonomously if needed with the readiness to pursue strategic solidarity with like-minded partners,

     further developing regional strategies, including diplomatic and economic engagement and security cooperation,

     strengthening democratic oversight, scrutiny and accountability, and the parliamentary dimension of the EU’s CFSP;

    Taking the lead in strengthening multilateral partnerships on global priorities, in particular its partnership with the UN, and in protecting and promoting democracy and human rights globally

    2. Welcomes the EU’s growing ambition and initiatives to take the lead in promoting global partnerships on key priorities and in strengthening the rules- and value-based multilateral order through a reform of key institutions and organisations in order to improve their efficiency and increase their resilience and through better use of existing mechanisms and institutions for multilateral global governance; notes that these initiatives make it possible for the international community, governed by international law, to effectively deal with global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, the energy crisis and terrorist threats, and to fight against the influence of malign authoritarian actors; reiterates that the EU’s foreign and security policy must ensure the implementation of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

    3. Stresses the need to develop a truly strategic partnership between the EU and the UN on climate action and human rights and in the context of crisis management; calls on the Member States and on governments worldwide to attribute more competences, resources and capacity of intervention to UN bodies; regrets the fact that China and Russia prevent the UN Security Council from condemning oppressive regimes for their actions, hamper a united international response to different crises, and prevent implementation of G7 decisions at UN level; reiterates its strong support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and calls on the EU and the Member States to provide adequate financial support to enable the ICC to carry out its tasks;

    4. Highlights the need for the EU to defend and promote democracy globally by leading by example, including by ensuring strict compliance with the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law in all Member States; calls for the EU to promote an alliance of democracies worldwide; insists on the need to pool resources, exchange best practices, coordinate common actions and develop shared strategies as regards countering malign interference and disinformation by authoritarian states and their proxies, hostile non-state actors and organisations, and anti-democratic actors within democratic societies; believes that, for this to be successful, the EU and its Member States should promote, through close cooperation with NATO among others, a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach to countering hybrid threats, combined with an ambitious democracy support agenda focusing on the preservation and promotion of freedom of speech and media independence; expresses, in this regard, its full support for the Summits for Democracy hosted by the US, which are focusing on concrete actions to defend universal human rights, prevent democratic backsliding and fight corruption;

    5. Calls for the EU to develop its toolbox for countering foreign interference, propaganda and influence operations, including developing new instruments that allow costs to be imposed on perpetrators and strengthening relevant structures, specifically the European External Action Service (EEAS) strategic communication taskforces; welcomes the ongoing revision of the Commission’s Code of Practice on Disinformation; stresses the need for the EU to increase the visibility of its actions through a better, more strategic communication of its external actions towards its own citizens and beyond;

    6. Is deeply concerned by the continuous democratic backsliding and human rights setbacks in an increasing number of non-EU countries, including attacks against political rights and electoral integrity; reaffirms the importance of the EU’s continuous support for electoral processes in the world by means of election observation missions, among others, and recalls the fundamental role of Parliament in this regard; stresses the importance of ensuring the highest level of protection for domestic electoral observers; calls for the EU to further strengthen its cooperation on election observation with all relevant partners such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the endorsing organisations of the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observations and Code Of Conduct for International Election Observers;

    7. Encourages the EU to further develop its leadership role in the defence and promotion of freedom, democracy and human rights in multilateral forums, and in particular the UN; believes that the EU should ensure a transparent and effective use of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (GHRSR) (EU Magnitsky Act), including by expanding the scope of the GHRSR to include corruption-related offences; reiterates that the EU should better enforce the human rights provisions of the international agreements it has concluded; recalls the political nature of the EU GHRSR, which is part of the EU’s integrated and comprehensive policy approach;

    8. Insists on the full implementation and systematic integration of gender mainstreaming and the EU gender action plan III (GAP III) in all EU external action, at all levels of engagement and in all relevant activities and concepts, including beyond the lifetime of the GAP III; calls for the EU and the Member States to exercise leadership in the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security;

    9. Calls for the effective implementation of the 2020 EU Peace Mediation Concept to consolidate the EU’s position as an influential global actor that invests in conflict prevention and mediation, and as a leading actor in the promotion and implementation of peace at international level; recalls the EU’s comparative advantage in the area of conflict prevention and resolution vis-à-vis individual Member States; underscores the key role played by Parliament in this area through parliamentary diplomacy; recognises the role of youth organisations in building peaceful societies, and in promoting a culture of peace, tolerance and intercultural and interreligious dialogue;

    10. Reiterates its call for increased support for the EU maritime security strategy, as maintaining freedom of navigation presents a growing challenge both globally and for the neighbourhood; underlines that freedom of navigation should be respected at all times; calls for the EU to put more focus on ensuring freedom of navigation and on measures focusing on de-escalation and prevention of armed conflict and military incidents at sea;

    11. Calls for an ambitious EU agenda, in cooperation with key partners, on supporting freedom of religion or belief outside the EU and raising the issue of persecution on the grounds of religion or belief; notes that supporting freedom of religion or belief contributes to fostering durable peace and therefore to addressing many of the challenges faced by the EU and its partner countries; urges the Commission to appoint, as soon as possible, a new EU Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief;

    12. Welcomes the EU’s efforts as a global frontrunner in the fight against climate change and urges the Commission and the EEAS to propose new initiatives such as the internationalisation of the European Green Deal as well as initiatives to respond to climate-related security risks, and to address the impact of climate change at local level, in particular in vulnerable populations and in heavily-affected communities; believes that the EU should support ambitious CO2 reduction targets in non-EU countries and stresses the need for climate diplomacy to play a crucial role; expects that the implementation of the European Green Deal will have significant geopolitical consequences and will influence the EU’s relations with some of its partners, such as by addressing the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuel supplies;

    13. Welcomes the EU’s approach and global lead in providing COVID-19 vaccines and addressing the social and economic consequences of the pandemic via the COVAX mechanism and the Team Europe global recovery package; calls for the EU to put forward a robust global health strategy that includes global and EU efforts to ensure better global preparedness and an effective response to upcoming crises and to secure free, fair, affordable and equitable access to vaccines around the world; reiterates the need for the EU to become more autonomous with regard to health matters and to diversify its supply chains in order to end reliance on authoritarian and totalitarian regimes; welcomes the EU-US partnership on the COVID-19 global vaccination campaign;

    14. Recognises that technology, connectivity and data flow are important dimensions of the EU’s external relations and partnership agreements and have significant geopolitical implications; urges the EU to develop global partnerships for the establishment of fair, open and values-driven norms and standards on a rules-based, ethical and human-centric use of technology that respect the privacy of individual users, in particular as regards artificial intelligence and the governance of the internet by putting cyber-diplomacy at the core of its external actions; stresses the need for the EU to ensure cooperation and coordination among democracies in this respect and to ensure respect for international and humanitarian law when addressing conflicts; stresses the specific threat that new digital technologies can pose for human rights defenders and others by controlling, restricting and undermining their activities, as illustrated recently by the Pegasus revelations; calls for the EU to take the initiative to promote a moratorium on the export of spyware technologies for repressive goals and the adoption of a robust international regulatory framework in this field; calls for the EU and the Member States to ensure due human rights diligence and proper vetting of exports of European surveillance technology and technical assistance in line with the Dual-Use Regulation[4]; calls for the EU and the Member States to engage with non-EU governments to end repressive cybersecurity and counter-terrorism legislation practices and legislation; stresses the need for the EU to preserve the rights of the individual; underlines, therefore, that systems of social scoring are not in line with the EU’s fundamental values; stresses that such policies and tools of surveillance should under no circumstances be introduced and used in the EU; underlines, therefore, that the EU must work to limit and counter the transnational reach of digital repression; notes that the export of defence technologies and arms is a competence of the Member States;

    15. Reiterates that the EU should develop and implement a global connectivity strategy as an extension of the current EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy and as a strategic response to strengthen its influence in many regions of the world such as Latin America, Africa and Asia; welcomes, therefore, the ambitious and multifaceted ‘Global Gateway’ initiative presented by the Commission on 1 December 2021, which aims to invest in, among other things, digital networks and quality infrastructure with partners around the world in a fair and sustainable way, and promises stronger partnerships without creating dependencies; stresses that the Commission should make connectivity projects with non-EU countries conditional on adherence to strict social and labour rights, transparency, human rights, due diligence, interoperability, good governance and democratic standards, and the ethical use of technology both domestically and abroad; notes, in this regard, that the Commission should develop a strategy for improving its partners’ access to reliable and safe technology; highlights that connectivity investments need to support economic resilience and a decarbonisation of the economy that is compatible with the Paris Agreement; asks for increased efforts to implement the EU’s connectivity partnerships and encourages the Commission to develop these connectivity projects in conjunction and cooperation with like-minded partners; would welcome the establishment of a connectivity partnership with the African Union (EU) at the next AU-EU Summit;

    16. Welcomes the G7 global initiative ‘Build Back Better World’ and urges the EU to play an active role in developing it further, including by identifying linkages and in a mutually reinforcing way with ‘Global Gateway’;

    Improving EU visibility and decision-making, and making full and more effective use of the EU’s hard and soft power instruments, including by introducing qualified majority voting for decision-making in EU foreign policy

    17. Reiterates that the EU needs first and foremost unity and a stronger and genuine political will of its Member States to jointly agree on and promote common EU foreign policy goals and EU security and defence cooperation aimed at implementing the objectives, values, principles and norms of Article 21 TEU; underlines the need to establish a Security and Defence Union that would serve as a starting point for implementing a common European defence policy, in line with the provision laid out in Article 42(2) TEU;

    18. Underlines that the EU’s foreign policy needs to have its own instruments on foreign affairs, human rights, and security and defence; recalls that the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) was enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon but was only established in 2017; calls on the Member States and the Council, therefore, to have the courage to make the most efficient use of all foreign policy instruments available in the Treaties;

    19. Highlights the need for the EU, in cooperation with the Member States, to strengthen its ability to act efficiently, timely, proactively and independently, and to shape the EU’s response to ongoing and upcoming challenges; stresses the urgent need for the EU to set up a mechanism of automatic exchange of information and intelligence between the Member States and the EU on foreign affairs and security issues occurring outside the EU, including on terrorism which continues to be a threat to European values and security and requires a multidimensional approach; welcomes the ongoing Strategic Compass process as the starting point for making progress towards a European Security and Defence Union and for the strategic sovereignty of the EU as regards its security and defence, as well as for the emergence of a common European strategic security and defence culture guided by our shared values and objectives and a common understanding of threats, and respect for the specific security and defence policies of the Member States; expects that the Strategic Compass will help shape a shared vision for EU security and defence of achieving strategic autonomy; stresses that the outcome should be reflected in a reformed version of the 2016 EU Global Strategy that takes into account key threats, challenges and opportunities, and offers pathways for the EU to play a more proactive global role; highlights, furthermore, that these findings should represent the basis for a revision of other documents such as the 2018 Capability Development Plan;

    20. Stresses the importance of human rights as an integral element of the EU’s toolbox on foreign affairs and underscores its complementarity; encourages the EU to coordinate with partner countries in the defence of human rights and the application of sanctions to increase their impact; points out that the consistent and uniform application of restrictive measures in all Member States is a precondition for the credibility and effectiveness of the EU’s external policy; urges the Commission, in its role as guardian of the Treaties, and the Council and the VP/HR as those responsible for the unity, consistency and effectiveness of the EU’s external policy, to ensure that national responses to infringements of restrictive measures adopted by the EU are effective, proportionate and dissuasive; urges the EU to maintain close coordination and cooperation with the US in the use of sanctions when pursuing shared foreign and security policy objectives, while avoiding any unintended consequences for the interests of both countries;

    21. Further stresses that, upon completion, the Strategic Compass must have significant added value for the EU’s CFSP and the solidarity among Member States, and should not be a mere listing of threats and challenges facing our EU and its Member States; insists that the final draft of the Strategic Compass should identify present and future capability gaps – both institutional and assets-wise – and provide a clear roadmap to fill in those gaps; reiterates Parliament’s intention to be involved in the process; expects the final draft of the Strategic Compass and the NATO Strategic Concept to be coherent with one another, reflecting a clearer division of tasks between the EU and NATO to ensure better collaboration and burden sharing, and to identify ways to reinforce EU-NATO cooperation; encourages those Member States to utilise to the full extent the capabilities afforded to them via NATO membership; compels the Member States to reach, upon completion of the Strategic Compass, an ambitious common understanding of Article 42(7) TEU and Article 222 TFEU and their relation to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty;

    22. Recalls that the Treaties provide for the possibility to improve decision-making procedures for the CFSP; recalls Article 31(2) TEU, which allows the Council to take certain decisions on CFSP matters by qualified majority voting (QMV), and the ‘passerelle clause’ contained in Article 31(3) TEU that provides for the possibility to switch progressively to QMV for decisions in the area of the CFSP that do not have military or defence implications but enhance the EU’s solidarity and mutual assistance in case of crises; stresses that unanimity hampers the EU’s ability to act and therefore urges the Member States to use QMV for CFSP decision-making; in particular, reiterates its call for the introduction of QMV for the adoption of statements on international human rights issues and human rights-related decisions, the introduction and implementation of sanctions under the GHRSR, and for all decisions regarding civilian common security and defence policy (CSDP) missions; stresses that the use of Articles 31 and 44 TEU could improve the EU’s flexibility and capacity to act on a broad range of foreign policy issues;

    23. Reiterates its call for the establishment of new formats of cooperation, such as the European Security Council, in order to develop an integrated approach to conflict and crisis; underlines that the composition and possible remit of this cooperation should be the subject of consideration; recalls that the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe provides a relevant framework to shape innovative proposals in this respect; calls for the Conference to be more ambitious with regard to the external dimension of EU policies, including on security and defence, such as through the establishment of EU standing multinational military units and the introduction of QMV in EU foreign policy decision-making; notes, however, that new institutional frameworks alone will not solve the structural and political challenges faced by the CSDP; reiterates its call for the establishment of a Defence Ministers Council;

    24. Stresses that the EU’s own instruments should include the creation of a European Diplomatic Academy, where EU diplomats are prepared as such from the very beginning and converge on common EU values and interests, moving towards a true esprit de corps determined by a common diplomatic culture from a European perspective: calls for the full implementation of the pilot project ‘Towards the creation of a European Diplomatic Academy’, which could pave the way for setting up this academy and should include the establishment of a selection process for entry into the EEAS and the EU Delegations; underlines the importance of strengthening the EU’s diplomatic representation in non-EU countries and striving for full-fledged diplomatic representation in multilateral organisations in general and the UN in particular; stresses that stronger EU representation in non-EU countries and multilateral organisations would significantly promote the so-needed unity among EU institutions and Member States when it comes to tackling global challenges in the field of the CFSP;

    25. Stresses that a holistic approach to the CFSP requires the synergy of all available EU assets in the field of external action; in this respect, highlights the key role and comparative advantage of the European Parliament in the EU’s diplomacy, notably through interparliamentary relations and Parliament’s extensive engagement through democracy support programmes with third parties; calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to recognise Parliament as an integral part of ‘Team Europe’ and to reflect this in the operational structures; highlights that culture has become a useful diplomatic tool and a fundamental part of the EU’s soft power; underlines that culture has major potential to promote EU values;

    26. Calls on the EEAS and the Council to take steps to review the scope and mandates for the EU Special Representatives and Special Envoys and to ensure a transparent and comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness and added value of these positions, as requested by Parliament in its recommendation of 13 March 2019[5]; urges the EEAS and the Council to take all the necessary steps to comply with Parliament’s recommendation in the shortest possible timeframe;

    27. Welcomes the Commission’s efforts to boost EU foresight capacities, including as regards the CFSP as illustrated by the second annual Strategic Foresight Report on ‘The EU’s capacity and freedom to act’; proposes that interinstitutional foresight activities be undertaken at political level in order to embed foresight in policy-making and to improve the EU’s preparedness for upcoming challenges such as climate-driven crisis and conflict, and to strengthen its ability to shape regional and global developments;

    28. Emphasises that the external dimension of the EU budget must be appropriately funded and prepared to respond without delay to current, emerging and future challenges; insists that the budget for external action should focus on priority areas, both geographically and thematically, and on areas where EU action can bring the most added value;

    Achieving European sovereignty by coherently interlinking the EU’s external and internal actions, combining the ability to act autonomously if needed, with the readiness to pursue strategic solidarity with like-minded partners

    29. Calls for the EU to increase its strategic sovereignty in specific areas that are fundamental to the Union’s continued pre-eminence on the international stage, such as the promotion of EU values, fundamental rights, equitable trade, economics, security and technology, social justice, the green and digital transition, energy and its role in addressing the assertiveness of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes; stresses the need to coherently link the EU’s external actions and internal policies; reiterates its call for the creation of a European Security and Defence Union, which would serve as a starting point for implementing a common European defence, in line with the provision laid out in Article 42(2) TEU, and which would allow the EU to act autonomously to safeguard its security interests when necessary and would contribute to making the EU a more capable and credible strategic partner for its allies, including NATO and the US; calls for defence cooperation to be intensified and streamlined, for example on issues relating to defence equipment;

    30. Stresses that EU autonomy in the field of security and defence means the development, coordination and swift deployment of reliable and interoperable strategic capabilities required for effective crisis management; the protection of the EU and its citizens; the training of key partners; the efficient cooperation, decision-making and division of labour, development and production capabilities between the Member States in full solidarity and at EU level, and other international organisations such as the UN and NATO; and the ability to decide and act autonomously and independently if needed and in line with its own interests, principles and values as laid down in Article 21 TEU, notably by establishing itself as an effective global actor, and in full respect of international laws; stresses that priority should be given to building strong and reliable alliances, partnerships and multilateral arrangements and to building strategic solidarity with like-minded countries; emphasises that this approach should further reinforce cooperation with partners, in particular within the framework of NATO; notes that these enhanced European strategic capabilities and structures should be compatible and complementary with NATO; welcomes, in this regard, the Commission President’s announcement of a Summit on European Defence under the French Presidency of the Council; highlights that the EU and NATO will present a joint declaration on cooperation by the end of 2021; calls for the creation of a ‘Rapid Deployment Capacity’, as presented by the VP/HR, as a first step towards the establishment of EU standing multinational military units; stresses that such a force would need to provide added value in comparison to the EU Battlegroups, which have never been deployed; calls therefore on the Council and the Commission to assess and develop options for the establishment of EU standing multinational military units financed both from the European Peace Facility and the EU’s budget by making full use of the current possibilities offered by the EU Treaties;

    31. Recognises NATO as the continued foundation of collective European security and defence and encourages allies on both sides of the Atlantic to reaffirm their commitment to NATO as the principal institution for the defence of the Euro-Atlantic area; reiterates its call for allies to maintain and meet agreed burden-sharing requirements, including defence spending with a target of 2 % of GDP, as agreed at the NATO Summit in Newport in 2014;

    32. Calls on the Member States to align their arms export policy on the basis of the provisions of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment[6], and to adopt a strict application of all criteria; reiterates its call on the VP/HR to prioritise the area of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control, as some control regimes are challenged by malign state actors and others are largely ignored, and new technologies are being developed and deployed which have the potential to be qualified not only as disruptive, but as revolutionary in military affairs;

    33. Underlines the need for the Union to further develop and strengthen its technological, operational and digital sovereignty and expertise through the enhancement of a strong European defence industry and market, the development of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, increased joint military research and development, procurement, training, maintenance, a common approach to security of supply, and a more ambitious cooperation with democratic allies; stresses the need to pay particular attention to emerging disruptive technologies, cybersecurity measures and cyber defence, the protection and resilience of critical infrastructures, and the security of supply of key technological components such as micro-conductors; recalls the opportunities offered by existing instruments and mechanisms such as PESCO, the European Defence Fund and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence; calls on the Member States to use such instruments and mechanisms to their full extent; welcomes the first calls for proposals for the European Defence Fund which is an essential instrument for strengthening European security and defence as well as the EU’s strategic sovereignty;

    34. Is wary of the EU’s technological dependence on non-EU providers, particularly non-democratic states; is concerned about Europe being dependent on foreign tools for its cybersecurity; calls on the EU institutions to build EU-wide consensus around the need to preserve European independence in various key technological areas and to put forward a pragmatic and autonomous approach to avoid dependencies and geopolitical coercion in critical technological sectors; underlines, in particular, the strategic importance of 5G and submarine cable infrastructure;

    35 Underlines that common cyber defence policy and substantial cyber defence capabilities are core elements for the development of a deepened and enhanced European Security and Defence Union; stresses the urgent need to develop and strengthen both common and Member State military cyber defence capabilities; underlines the need for all EU institutions and Member States to cooperate on all levels to build a cybersecurity strategy; calls on the EEAS to ensure adequate levels of cybersecurity for its assets, premises and activities, including its headquarters and the EU delegations;

    36. Stresses that the European space sector is a key enabler for achieving EU autonomy at global level as well as for the prosperity and security of our societies; expresses grave concern that outer space is rapidly becoming a political arena reflecting geopolitical competition on Earth and a new technological frontier, and has the potential to quickly turn into a military arena, if the right international legal instruments are not put in place; supports initiatives aimed at boosting the EU space policy, including the ambitious new EU space programme, which must seek to protect current and future European space assets; insists that the EU should match political and financial commitments to its ambitions in the space domain; calls for increased EU commitment to developing a comprehensive international space regulation, in order to prevent the weaponisation of space; supports the European Union Satellite Centre in providing decision-makers with early warnings of potential crises and global situational awareness;

    Further developing regional strategies, including diplomatic and economic engagement and security cooperation

    37. Welcomes the conclusions of the Western Balkans Summit held in Brdo pri Kranju under the Slovenian Presidency of the Council; reiterates its support for the European perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans and reiterates accordingly its call for accelerating the enlargement process and providing a clear pathway for countries seeking to join the EU; urges the Member States to finally deliver on their promises and stresses the urgency of immediately holding the first intergovernmental conferences with Albania and North Macedonia and granting visa liberalisation to Kosovo; emphasises that the enlargement process remains firmly based on the fulfilment of all relevant criteria by candidate countries as defined by the European Council with a strong focus on strengthening democracy, the rule of law, and human and minority rights, as well as fostering reconciliation and economic progress in the Western Balkans, as prerequisites for durable peace, stability and prosperity; emphasises the need for enhanced cooperation in tackling common challenges; stresses the need for a lessons-learned exercise on the enlargement policy as well as increased visibility and further investments in the region to boost public awareness and thus the EU’s credibility and engagement; calls for EU engagement with the countries in the Western Balkans to find solutions to the problems impeding further reforms, including the implementation of the 14 key priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina ensuring the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement; underlines the importance of European integration of these partner states for the stability and security of the continent as a whole; calls for the EU to support civil society in the Western Balkans in promoting and disseminating European values; commends the work of EUFOR’s Operation Althea, which contributes to peace, stabilisation and the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina; reiterates the fact that this mission continues to play a pivotal role for the security and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region; highlights, in the light of a possible future enlargement, the need for more efficient decision-making at EU level;

    38. Underlines that the newly adopted Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance 2021-2027 (IPA III) should support a long-term investment in the European future of the region and that the improved conditionality of the instrument should be used effectively to deliver concrete results; welcomes stronger conditionality related to democracy, human rights and rule of law under the modernised IPA III; welcomes the economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans and calls for its immediate implementation to facilitate the long-term recovery and economic growth of the area and its sustainable connectivity, bringing the Western Balkans closer to the EU single market;

    39. Reaffirms its unwavering support to the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, and in particular as regards their independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within their internationally recognised borders as well as the respect for the will of the people; calls for the full implementation of the Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with Armenia; underlines the need to continue negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan; urges the EaP countries, and in particular those that have chosen to pursue the path of democracy and European integration, to ensure that fundamental freedoms, human rights and rule of law are upheld and to continue implementing the necessary social, economic and political reforms; welcomes the Commission’s joint communication of 18 March 2020 entitled ‘Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020 – Reinforcing Resilience – an Eastern Partnership that delivers for all’ (JOIN(2020)0007); reiterates that the EU’s support for further integration is conditional upon concrete progress on those reforms; supports the EU’s principle of conditionality and differentiation, including incentives; stresses that the success of the EaP countries can be demonstrated and consolidated only through the EU integration process, and can also show the Russian people what kind of socioeconomic benefits European-type reforms can bring; calls on the Commission and the Council to use the upcoming EaP summit to send a strong message of support to our partners; calls on EU leaders to ensure that the five long-term goals and the 10 new targets for 2025, with funding provided under the economic and investment plan proposed in June 2021, will make a real contribution to the social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen economic ties and establish trade routes between the EU and partner countries;

    40. Condemns direct and indirect involvement by Russia and other external actors in armed conflicts as well as hybrid attacks, occupations and military build-ups inside the region or on its borders with the region; underlines that the continuous threat in our proximity requires the physical presence of both the EU and NATO in the region; supports the strengthening of cooperation between the EU and the EaP countries in the field of security and defence, in particular as regards promoting the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts, addressing hybrid threats, cyberattacks, disinformation and propaganda campaigns, stopping third-party interference in democratic processes and increasing societal resilience; acknowledges the convergence of the three associated partners with the CFSP and supports enhanced cooperation in the area of CSDP, including participation in PESCO if conditions are met;

    41. Is deeply concerned about the situation in Belarus; condemns in the strongest possible terms the acts of violence against peaceful protesters and calls for the immediate and unconditional release and dropping of all charges against all political prisoners, before and after the so-called 9 August 2020 presidential election; reiterates its non-recognition of Aliaksandr Lukashenka as president of Belarus; calls on the Council to implement without delay, and in close coordination with international partners, the strictest and broadest possible sanctions against all Belarusian perpetrators of election fraud, violence and repression in Belarus and against individuals and entities organising or contributing to activities which facilitate illegal crossings of the EU’s external borders; calls on the Council to further pursue international coordination aimed at the enhanced isolation of the dictator and his regime; strongly condemns the hybrid attacks of the Lukashenka regime against the EU, including the use of irregular migrants at external EU borders and the instrumentalisation of human beings for political purposes, in breach of international norms; urges the EU and its Member States to swiftly react to emerging threats in accordance with EU law and international obligations and to adapt its CFSP and migration and asylum policies to the new challenges; stands in solidarity with Member States facing such threats; stresses its unwavering support for democratic Belarus and highlights the importance of increased engagement with representatives of Belarusian civil society and democratic opposition; underscores the importance of Parliament’s platform in the fight against impunity in Belarus and encourages the use of all available legal means to bring Lukashenka and members of his regime to justice;

    42. Stresses the need for increased EU and Member State engagement in the South Caucasus for the region’s stability and prosperity as well as to counteract the influence and interference of regional powers; welcomes the engagement of the President of the European Council in alleviating the political crisis in Georgia; sees it as an act of EU leadership and calls for a similar approach to crisis and conflict situations in the EaP region and beyond; supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and condemns Russian occupation of Georgian territories, including Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia; reminds Russia of its international obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement mediated by the EU under the French Presidency; calls on Russia to act in a constructive manner and to allow progress in the Geneva International Discussions; calls on Russia to cease its human rights violations in the occupied territories of Georgia and reminds the Russian Federation of its legal obligation as the power exercising ‘effective control’, as noted in the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the case of Georgia v Russia (II)[7]; condemns the provocations by the occupying forces, including the kidnapping of Georgian citizens, killings, illegal detentions and the persistent borderisation; calls on the EU, its Member States and the VP/HR to actively engage in finding a lasting settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh and to prevent a further escalation of tensions in the region, notably by pressing Azerbaijan and Armenia to address post-war issues, including the demarcation of borders and the release of all remaining prisoners of war; notes that the OSCE Minsk Group remains the only internationally recognised format for the resolution of this conflict, on the basis of the principles of territorial integrity, non-use of force, self-determination and equal rights, and peaceful resolution of conflicts; calls for its swift return to its mediating role;

    43. Reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s aggressive policies vis-à-vis Ukraine, notably the continuous financial and military support for armed formations in Donbas, the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the blockade of the Azov Sea and the military build-up at the eastern border of Ukraine and on the Crimean peninsula; welcomes the establishment of the International Crimean Platform and calls for the EU institutions, Member States and all like-minded partners to actively engage in this initiative aimed at the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine; reiterates its support to the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People as the only internationally recognised representative body of the Crimean Tatars and commends the indomitable stance of the Ukrainian citizens in occupied Crimea, in particular the Crimean Tatars; calls for a revival of the Minsk Process to end the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine; supports continuous assistance to Ukraine in its security sector and military reforms, and is considering providing military training to Ukrainian officers; acknowledges the first meeting of the EU-Ukraine Cyber Dialogue; welcomes the discussion on an EU Military Advisory and Training Mission in Ukraine and expresses its support;

    44. Welcomes the joint communication of the Commission and the VP/HR of 9 February 2021 on the renewed partnership with the southern neighbourhood[8] and supports peace, stability, prosperity and democratic principles in the region; calls on the Commission to fully implement the initiatives outlined in this joint communication; regrets the fact that, 25 years after the start of the Barcelona Process, the construction of a shared area of prosperity, stability and freedom with the Mediterranean countries of the Southern Neighbourhood has not yet been completed; reiterates, however, its call for a bold review of the entire European neighbourhood policy in terms of the funding and aid made available to foreign countries neighbouring the EU to ensure that neighbourhood partners advance with the reforms and commit to close dialogue and cooperation with the EU, while guaranteeing tailor-made policies;

    45. Recalls the EU’s commitment regarding the Middle East Peace Process and the conclusion of an agreement between the two parties, including on final status agreement issues, looking in particular at the need to preserve the conditions on the ground for a peaceful two-state solution, on the basis of the 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, and with a secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State, living side-by-side in peace and security, on the basis of the right of self-determination and full respect for international law; calls, in this spirit, for the resumption of genuine peace efforts aimed at achieving tangible results between both sides with the support of the international community; calls for the EU to increase its engagement to revive the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, including through confidence-building measures, regional dialogue and increased transatlantic cooperation in the region as well as by making better use of its leverage towards both parties;

    46. Calls for an end to actions that could undermine the viability of the two-state solution on the ground, such as the building of Israeli settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes and infrastructure in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem; calls for a political solution to end the blockade of and ease the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, including the necessary security guarantees to prevent violence against Israel; strongly condemns terrorism; emphasises the importance of Palestinian elections for restoring the democratic legitimacy of popular support for political institutions in Palestine;

    47. Highlights the one-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords and stresses their importance for peace, stability and cooperation in the region; calls on the Commission and the Council to support the normalisation of relations between Israel and the Arab States through the implementation and extension of the Abraham Accords as an important contribution to achieving durable peace in the Middle East; acknowledges the important role the US played;

    48. Expresses grave concern about the situation in Lebanon and deeply urges the Lebanese Government to operate in a mission-driven, credible and accountable manner that is free from foreign interference; stresses the particular responsibility of Hezbollah and other factions in repressing Lebanon’s 2019 popular movement and in Lebanon’s political and economic crisis; calls on Iran to refrain from meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs and calls for Lebanon’s sovereignty and political independence to be respected; strongly condemns the firing of rockets by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon towards civilian areas in Israel; rejects any role for President Bashar al-Assad in post-conflict Syria with reference to UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015); welcomes and supports criminal inquiries that target al-Assad and his associates over the use of chemical weapons and hold them accountable for numerous war crimes; recommends that the Member States expand the list of those subject to targeted sanctions to include civilian and military officials within the Assad regime who are credibly implicated in war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations; reiterates its call to the Commission to present an EU action plan on impunity, with a specific chapter on Syria; stresses that this action plan should seek to better coordinate and harmonise Member States’ resources and efforts to prosecute war criminals in the EU;

    49. Remains deeply concerned by the Turkish Government’s increasingly assertive foreign policy, which is repeatedly putting the country at odds with the EU as a whole, its individual Member States and with countries in the neighbourhood; notes that according to the Commission’s Turkey 2021 Report of 19 October 2021[9], Turkey maintained a very low CFSP alignment rate of around 14 % in August 2021; recalls the long-deteriorating situation regarding human rights and democracy in Turkey; notes that EU funding to Turkey will be subject to rules on conditionality, including respect for the principles of the UN Charter, international law, and European values and principles; calls for the resumption of diplomatic dialogue to find sustainable solutions for the disputes in the east Mediterranean; acknowledges that Turkey will continue to be a country of key strategic interest for the EU and that engagement needs to be intensified in areas of common interest, with a special focus on certain policy areas such as climate change, anti-terrorism, migration, security and economy; welcomes, in this regard, the recent and first-ever high-level dialogue on migration and security; concludes that currently, the prospect of Turkey joining the EU is unrealistic; firmly insists, therefore, that if the current negative trend is not urgently and consistently reversed, the Commission should recommend, in line with the negotiating framework from October 2005, the formal suspension of accession negotiations with Turkey, in order for both sides to review in a realistic manner and through a structured and high-level dialogue, the appropriateness of the current framework and its ability to function and to explore possible new and alternative comprehensive models for future relations; recalls that the EU is ready to use all instruments at its disposal, including sanctions, in order to defend its interests and those of its Member States and to uphold regional stability;

    50. Underlines the importance of the full implementation of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement; stresses the importance of the Protocol for maintaining peace and stability, and for the integrity and proper functioning of the European single market; welcomes steps towards the establishment of a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly for Members of the European Parliament and Members of the UK Parliament, as provided for by the agreement; remains open to further developing and strengthening the EU-UK cooperation framework, which could lead to an agreement on foreign security and defence policy and issues of shared concern; underlines, in that regard, the importance of close cooperation between the EU and the UK in international forums, in particular the UN, bearing in mind the many values and interests shared and the geographical proximity;

    51. Underlines the need to strengthen EU-US transatlantic cooperation on the basis of a partnership of equals, based on shared values and objectives and on the principle of partnership in leadership and responsibility, while respecting the other party’s autonomy, interests and aspirations; welcomes, in this context, the statement ‘Towards a renewed Transatlantic partnership’ from the EU-US summit 2021, which provides a good basis for an ambitious transatlantic agenda; fully supports and commits to pursuing synergies and common foreign and security objectives by further deepening cooperation in the framework of the EU-US transatlantic dialogue to address many of the key global challenges such as climate change and the threat posed by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes; welcomes the launch of the Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council; recommends that EU-US summits be held on a regular basis in order to lend sustained impetus at the very highest level to vital transatlantic cooperation; reiterates its support for the establishment of a Transatlantic Political Council, led by the foreign policy chiefs of both parties; underlines that a strong transatlantic relationship also requires the EU to further develop its capacities to act; highlights the necessity for the EU to swiftly adapt to the changing role of the US on the global stage in order to safeguard its vital interests and pursue its foreign policy goals; underlines that the EU and the US must coordinate their efforts to combat terrorism and radicalisation and ensure that efforts made are supported by the necessary resources; calls for the EU and US to collaboratively address the consistent and growing threats to the protection and preservation of cultural heritage, in particular in conflict zones;

    52. Emphasises that the EU’s relations with Africa are of utmost importance in order to answer to the needs and to develop the great potential of partner countries as well as to pursue shared interests; underlines that this relationship with the EU’s neighbouring continent should reflect a common destiny and should focus on creating a credible perspective, in particular for the newest generations; welcomes the joint communication of 9 March 2020 of the Commission and the VP/HR entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa’[10], and reiterates its call to move beyond the donor-recipient relationship and favour a true partnership, with human development and the protection of natural resources at its core; insists on the need, in this regard, to call on the Commission and the VP/HR to deepen discussions with the EU’s African partners – both individual countries and regional organisations, such as the Regional Economic Mechanism and Regional Economic Communities composing the African Union (AU); stresses the importance of supporting the AU and its regional components in their efforts to set up an effective security architecture for conflict prevention and conflict management through, among other things, comprehensive support for the operationalisation of the African Standby Force and its regional components; calls for the strict implementation of the SDGs in all areas of EU-Africa relations; welcomes the conclusion of the Post-Cotonou Agreement in April 2021 and the strengthening of the EU’s links with the countries of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the increased cooperation in multilateral forums on the Sustainable Development Agenda and climate action; expresses concerns regarding the delay in moving forward with the signature of the Post-Cotonou Agreement; takes note of the readmission agreements with African countries;

    53. Is gravely concerned about the spiralling insecurity in the Sahel region that affects the security and living conditions of countless civilians and the soaring number of attacks by Islamist militants that are having a severe stability impact on the region, in particular for Mali and Burkina Faso; calls for the EU and the G5 Sahel to step in to avert a collapse in security in the wider region; welcomes, in this regard, the renewed partnership between NATO and Mauritania, which is the EU’s main regional ally and whose forces are on the front line countering terrorism in the region; condemns the presence in Africa of private military and security companies, in particular the Wagner Group which has committed widespread human rights violations while acting in support of the interests of non-democratic states; insists on the need to update the EU-Africa strategy through an integrated approach that can ensure security and development in order to achieve stability in the worrying situation in the Sahel, taking into account the developments observed in 2021 and given the increasing instability there and the major impact that events in the region have not only for Africa, but also for the EU and its Member States; emphasises, in the light of this, the need to collaborate on a strategy in the areas of defence, development and peace building to counter the jihadist rise in the Sahel region and in other parts of Africa;

    54. Is gravely concerned by the developments in Russia and reiterates the EU’s interest in maintaining freedom, stability and peace on the European continent and beyond; believes that the EU should cooperate and coordinate closely with NATO and other partners to deter Russia from carrying out destabilising and subversive actions in Europe, notably in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, including through electoral interference, disinformation campaigns and support for the far-right parties; highlights the need to raise the cost for the Russian authorities of the repression of its own citizens; regrets that Russian military forces continue to occupy parts of Ukraine and Georgia in violation of international law, that they are still present in the Republic of Moldova, and that Russia continues to destabilise peace and security in the region and actively uses hybrid measures against democracies in Europe; is alarmed by the Russian interference in the Western Balkan region, which is conducted through hybrid tactics that include disinformation campaigns intended to undermine the EU’s role and commitment to the European future of the individual countries; stresses the need to speak with one voice on the EU’s policy in that context, including on the enforcement of sanctions; calls therefore on the Commission to more closely coordinate its Russia strategy with the Member States so that the EU presents a united front in the face of Russian threats; underlines that Parliament has recommended that the EU review, together with the Member States, the EU’s policy vis-à-vis Russia, and develop a comprehensive EU strategy towards it; urges the EU to develop a strategy on future EU relations with a democratic Russia, which would demonstrate clearly for the people of Russia the benefits such relations could bring; underlines that there can be no substantial change in relations with Russia as long as it pursues aggressive policies towards the EU and its neighbours; reiterates that the EU has to make it clear that if Russia continues its current policy on Belarus, the EU will have to introduce additional containment and deterrence measures on Russia; expresses concern about the repeated Russian violations of the arms control agreements and standards, leading to the collapse of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, and about Russia’s violations of the chemical weapons convention by its use of military grade nerve agents, both domestically and inside EU territory; underlines the need to put pressure on the Russian Federation to comply with international law and treaties; deplores Russia’s use of energy resources as a geopolitical tool of pressure, in particular its supply of gas to the Member States via Ukraine, and calls for energy dependence on Russia to be minimised by encouraging the diversification of energy sources and routes; urges the Commission and Member States to strengthen European energy security, especially in the light of the current spike in gas and electricity prices; urges the EU to engage more closely with the people of Russia, including by developing a clearly defined ‘engagement’ objective, which should focus not only on traditional selective engagement with the Kremlin, but also on ‘strategic’ and more dynamic engagement with Russian opposition and civil society;

    55. Stresses that the Arctic is of strategic and geopolitical importance to the EU and underlines the EU’s commitment to be a responsible actor, seeking the long-term sustainable and peaceful development of the region; emphasises the unique complexity of the challenges the Arctic region is facing, which require more EU engagement and solutions, also taking into account the knowledge and will of Arctic inhabitants, including indigenous peoples; welcomes, in this respect, the joint communication of 13 October 2021 of the Commission and the VP/HR on a stronger EU engagement for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic[11]; calls on all stakeholders to respond to the very alarming effects and consequences of climate change in the Arctic; highlights that the prospect of Arctic militarisation carries substantial security risks in and beyond the region and is concerned about the potential spillover of global security issues into the Arctic and about the progressive and substantial Russian military build-up in the Arctic as well as the impact of far-reaching Chinese development and infrastructure initiatives and ambitions in the region; notes that the Arctic plays a crucial role in the security of Europe as whole; stresses that the EU must have a clear vision of its role in security matters in the Arctic along with good cooperation with NATO; highlights the importance of respecting international laws and agreements to keep the Arctic a low-tension area; calls for closer attention to be paid to the first Arctic fibre cable, as a part of the nerve system of the internet, which has increasingly been the subject of international intelligence operations; encourages members of the Arctic Council to address the increased militarisation and to seek platforms to address this adequately both with members and non-members of the Arctic Council; advocates for the EU’s increased efforts to achieve observer status at the Arctic Council for a stronger geopolitical influence;

    56. Highlights that China is a cooperation and negotiating partner for the EU, but is also a competitor in an increasing number of areas, and a systemic rival; reiterates, as underlined in its resolution of 16 September 2021 on a new EU-China strategy[12], its call for the EU to develop a more assertive, comprehensive and coherent EU-China strategy that unites all Member States and shapes relations with an increasingly assertive and interventionist China in the interest of the EU as a whole; emphasises that this strategy should promote a rules-based multilateral order, have the defence of EU values and interests at its core and should be based on the three principles of cooperating where possible, competing where needed, and confronting where necessary; calls for greater cooperation between democratic countries to address the growing assertiveness and repressiveness of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP);

    57. Strongly advocates for Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer in meetings, mechanisms and activities of international organisations and for deeper EU-Taiwan cooperation, including a bilateral investment agreement (BIA); calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to urgently begin an impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise on a BIA with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen bilateral economic ties; notes with serious concern the recent display of force and escalating tensions in regional hotspots such as the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait; expresses grave concern over China’s continued military manoeuvers in the Taiwan Strait, including those aimed at Taiwan or taking place in Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone; calls on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to stop this military sabre-rattling which pose serious threats to the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region; reiterates that the relationship between China and Taiwan should be developed constructively through dialogue; stresses its opposition to any unilateral action that may undermine the status quo of the Taiwan Strait; stresses that any change to cross-strait relations must not be made against the will of Taiwan’s citizens; urges the EU and its Member States to take a proactive role in working with like-minded international partners to pursue peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and to establish partnerships with the democratic Government of Taiwan;

    58. Strongly condemns the ongoing human rights violations in China, notably against ethnic and religious minorities, mostly targeting Muslim Uygurs, Christians and Tibetans, but also condemns the crackdown on democracy and freedoms in Macao and Hong Kong, including through the imposition of the draconian National Security Law in 2020; condemns China’s aggressive behaviour in the South and East China Seas impacting the freedom of navigation, as well as China’s revisionist stance in East Asia, which has resulted in a number of border clashes with its neighbours;

    59. Reiterates its strong condemnation of the baseless and arbitrary sanctions imposed by the Chinese authorities on several European individuals and entities, including five MEPs; repeats its call on the Chinese Government to lift these wholly unjustified restrictive measures;

    60. Condemns the actions of the PRC in Hong Kong and underlines that the ongoing undermining of Hong Kong’s autonomy does not only go against China’s bilateral treaties obligations and international law, but also puts into question Beijing’s role as a credible partner; reinforces its commitment to the targeted sanctions under the EU Human Rights Global Sanction Regime against the Chinese officials involved in human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and further urges the Council to adopt targeted sanctions, including the implementation of travel bans and asset freezes, against individuals and entities in Hong Kong and the PRC for the serious violations of human rights and international law in Hong Kong; calls on the Member States that still have extradition treaties with China and Hong Kong to suspend individual extraditions wherever the extradition of an individual puts them at risk of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, where that individual would face charges for politically motivated reasons, in other situations where ethnic minorities, representatives of the pro-democratic opposition in Hong Kong and dissidents in general would be targeted, and wherever this would be in breach of the EU’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights;

    61. Underlines the importance of the EU joining its transatlantic partners in pursuing an independent external investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus that originated in Wuhan, China, in order to seek much needed answers and insights into the possible prevention of future global disasters that directly impact foreign and security policy;

    62. Denounces the CCP’s coercion of Lithuania and other EU Member States and partners, and calls for greater solidarity with countries coerced by the CCP, including by collaborating with our democratic allies in opening our markets to economies suffering under the CCP’s economic coercion;

    63. Welcomes the Commission President’s announcement of plans to present a new joint communication on a partnership with the Gulf region; calls for the EU to present a coherent strategy for balanced EU engagement in the region, with the promotion of regional security and cooperation as a key strategic objective; notes that such engagement should strive to build synergies with regional players, such as through the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership and through increased EU support for Track II dialogue initiatives involving academics, civil society, religious leaders and other actors; is encouraged by the de-escalation of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and calls on both countries to swiftly conclude the process of re-establishing full diplomatic relations; reiterates that the EU’s priority is to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a matter of security for Europe and the region; recalls that the JCPOA remains the only way to stop Iran’s worrying nuclear activities; commends the role of the VP/HR and the EEAS in mediating between the US and Iran in efforts to revive the JCPOA; calls on the US and Iran to pursue meaningful negotiations with a view to returning to compliance with the JCPOA; insists that the path towards the revival of the JCPOA combine Iran’s full return to its obligations under the JCPOA with the lifting of all JCPOA-related US sanctions; notes the need to address and counter Iran’s wider malign and destabilising activities across the Middle East and beyond, including on the territory of the Member States; stresses that any agreement with Iran needs to include sufficient safeguards so that Iran will not be able to acquire nuclear weapons; expresses grave concern about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) reported lack of access to its monitoring and surveillance equipment at nuclear facilities and locations in Iran, which greatly hampers the IAEA’s ability to verify and monitor Iran’s nuclear activities, and about the fact that safeguard issues remain unresolved over the last two years; condemns Iran’s human rights violations against its own people, the ballistic missile programme and the terror activities in the region;

    64. Underlines that the situation in Afghanistan is a wakeup call for the EU to reassess the international approach to nation-building abroad and strategically reshape an integrated approach of its external policies, to increase its share of responsibility in global security and to seek greater sovereignty in its foreign and security policy; is concerned by the dramatic humanitarian, political, economic and security situation in Afghanistan, particularly as one in three Afghans face severe hunger; calls on the Commission and EEAS to step up humanitarian aid and to use all tools available in order to ensure that Afghans at risk have access to protection; stresses the need for the Taliban regime to bear responsibility and accountability for the protection of human life and property and for the restoration of security, civil order and public services; reiterates that Afghan women and girls, people in professions linked with Afghan civil society, human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, academics, artists, religious and ethnic minorities and other groups at risk, like all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity and to have full access to education and public life, and welcomes the broad international support for their rights and freedoms; calls for the further evacuation of Afghans at risk, notably women judges, human rights defenders, journalists, local staff and other persons at risk due to their activities in promoting democracy and fundamental freedoms; calls for the EU to preserve the achievements of the last 20 years and to ensure that Afghanistan does not become once more a safe haven for terrorist groups; calls for the EU to conduct a thorough scrutiny of and draw lessons from the 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and for a comprehensive lessons-based EU strategy for Afghanistan and the surrounding countries to immediately be developed; emphasises the importance of cooperating with neighbouring and regional countries to ensure global security and regional stability, while bearing in mind that not all of Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional powers shared the same goals as the US-led coalition; highlights, in this regard, the important role that certain countries have played in repatriating Europeans and evacuating Afghans in distress, in particular by exerting significant diplomatic pressure on the Taliban forces;

    65. Welcomes the EU’s renewed commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and the recognition of its growing importance for EU interests as raised in the joint communication of 16 September 2021 by the VP/HR and the Commission on the EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific[13] as well as the Council conclusions of 19 April on the same subject; advocates for stronger cooperation with countries in the region, in particular Japan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, New Zealand, and Korea; acknowledges the intense geopolitical competition and territorial disputes in the region, spurred largely by China’s growing assertiveness with its neighbours; calls on all parties to adhere to the principles of international law, most notably the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; underlines the need for a strategic long-term engagement in the Indo-Pacific region and for establishing comprehensive and strategic bilateral and multilateral dialogue mechanisms with Indo-Pacific countries and their societies, in particular with like-minded countries such as, among others, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand; underlines the importance of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific for prosperity and security in the EU; notes new emerging partnerships in the region such as the establishment of the trilateral military alliance between Australia, the UK and US (AUKUS) and expresses its regret about the fact that this partnership was created with a poor level of coordination;

    66. Highlights India’s rising regional and geopolitical influence; underlines that increased political engagement is required to reinforce the EU-India partnership and unleash the full potential of the bilateral relations; reiterates the need for a deeper partnership which should be based on shared values and full respect for human rights; acknowledges that India is a key partner for the EU given its position and its leading role in fundamental areas;

    67. Calls for stepping up and enhancing cooperation with our partners in Latin America; believes that a strengthened relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is highly important to the EU’s geopolitical strategy in the world; stresses the need for the Union to strengthen the ties that unite the EU with LAC countries, particularly in defending the rules-based multilateral order; calls for the EU to use all available tools to deepen its cooperation with LAC partners; urges the EU to recover its position as the preferred partner of Latin American countries in view of other geopolitical actors occupying increasing space in the region, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine diplomacy; calls on the EU and the Member States to implement more assertive policies towards authoritarian regimes that have benefited from their relations with the EU and have dismantled, violated or directly suppressed the rights and freedoms of their citizens;

    Strengthening democratic oversight, scrutiny and accountability, and the parliamentary dimension of the EU’s CFSP

    68. Highlights the specific contribution of the European Parliament to the EU’s foreign and security policy through its parliamentary diplomacy assets, for example through its reports and resolutions, its dense network of standing interparliamentary bodies, its political dialogue with office-holders across the world and its democracy support, mediation and election observation activities; affirms that Parliament should make full use of its oversight and budgetary powers in the decisions of the Union in the international arena; highlights the importance of Parliament’s democracy support programmes which have strong potential to strengthen the EU’s role around the world by engaging key political stakeholders and facilitating sustainable democratic governance in non-EU countries;

    69. Underlines that political and technical dialogue between parliaments is crucial and must be well coordinated with the executive’s actions; accordingly, stresses the importance of a smooth exchange of all pertinent information between institutions in the area of the CFSP, including the exchange of relevant confidential information, in the interest of the effectiveness of EU external action as a whole and for a more accountable CFSP;

    70. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to enable and strengthen parliamentary oversight of EU external action, including by continuing regular consultations with the VP/HR and the Commission; underlines that such oversight plays an important role in ensuring the proper functioning of European democracy and public trust; stresses that such oversight can serve as the starting point towards a stronger institutional role for Parliament in the CFSP; calls for the swift conclusion of negotiations to replace the 2002 Interinstitutional Agreement on Parliament’s access to sensitive information of the Council in the field of security and defence policy[14]; calls for the coordination of Member States’ security and information services;

    71. Underlines the importance of the Parliamentary Assemblies as spaces for cooperation and institutional dialogue and their valuable contribution to European foreign action in matters of security as well as the need to promote their activity and guarantee their correct functioning and development; calls for the strengthening of Parliament’s oversight of the EU Delegations’ work in representing EU values and principles abroad and seeking the fulfilment of EU interests without disregarding the human rights approach; highlights the need for EU Delegations to have all the necessary and appropriate resources and capabilities to act effectively in these tasks;

    72. Calls for the full use of the increased involvement of the European Parliament in the programming of Global Europe and IPA III; welcomes the introduction of a biannual High-Level Geopolitical Dialogue for external financing instruments as a critical tool to not only scrutinise, but to also actively shape the EU’s foreign policy priorities; underlines that these geopolitical dialogues aim to allow Parliament to provide orientations, strategic steering and guidance for programming and implementation across thematic and geographic priorities of Global Europe and IPA III; insists, however, that Parliament should receive relevant preparatory documents sufficiently on time and with an adequate level of detail in order to carry out a meaningful scrutiny; calls for improved transparency in the implementation of the financing instruments through the creation of a single common transparent public database of projects and actions;

    73. Reminds the Council of Parliament’s right to be informed about all the stages of the procedures connected to negotiations and conclusions of the international agreements and its prerogative to grant or to withhold consent to such agreements; is determined to use these powers, as defined in the Treaties, in order to ensure transparency and democratic oversight over the international agreements negotiated on behalf of the EU, as well as the implementation of the European Peace Facility, as pointed out in its recommendation of 28 March 2019[15], including as regards its complementarity with other EU instruments in the field of external action;

    74. Reiterates its view that it is high time to revise the 2010 declaration of political accountability in order to improve this basis for relations between Parliament and the VP/HR;

    °

    ° °

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


     

     

     

    OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (11.11.2021)

    for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

    on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report 2021

    (2021/2182(INI))

    Rapporteur for opinion: Gerolf Annemans 

     


    SUGGESTIONS

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

    1. Notes that the geopolitical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a quickly deteriorating security environment are posing unprecedented challenges to the Union’s common foreign and security policy; emphasises that, in the face of these challenges, the Union needs to increase its resilience and fundamentally evaluate and improve the effectiveness and speed of its responses to the fast-changing global environment;

    2. Calls on all responsible EU decision-makers to significantly increase the EU’s geopolitical footprint; calls on the Commission and the Member States, in the meantime, to leverage all existing legal and policy instruments to bolster the EU’s role in the world; recalls that the fight for human rights and democracy should remain at the core of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP); recalls the Treaty provisions conferring on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) competence for the conduct of the Union’s CFSP; calls on the Member States to recognise the role of the VP/HR in international negotiations; observes, in this regard, that provision is often not made for the involvement of the VP/HR in international negotiations; underlines that a strong perception of the role of the VP/HR could translate into the CSDP having an increased geopolitical impact;

    3. Recalls Article 31(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which allows the Council to take certain decisions on CFSP matters by qualified majority voting (QMV), and the ‘passerelle clause’ contained in Article 31(3) TEU, which provides for the progressive switch to QMV for decisions in the area of the CFSP that do not have military or defence implications but enhance the EU’s solidarity and mutual assistance in times of crisis; underlines the need for the EU to respond to a rapidly changing global environment, recalling that it rarely sends strong signals to third countries, in particular those with aggressive foreign policies run by autocrats;

    4. Remains strongly committed to the Union’s partnership with NATO, which remains fundamental to the EU’s security policy; underlines the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership between the EU and NATO; welcomes, in this regard, the ongoing preparations for the new EU-NATO Joint Declaration, which will be presented before the end of the year; calls on the VP/HR and the Member States to seize the occasion to deepen multilateral security cooperation with trusted partners and ensure consistency with internal policies; points out that the EU must meanwhile assume responsibility and bolster its security policy through the relevant internal policy frameworks;

    5. Regrets that there is no structured EU-UK cooperation in the area of foreign, security and defence policy; calls for the full and effective implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the Withdrawal Agreement, in particular the provisions related to cooperation on global issues in multilateral forums, the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, climate change, sanctions regimes, non-proliferation and disarmament, the fight against terrorism, and cybersecurity; welcomes the setting up of the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly and calls for its swift constitution and start of work;

    6. Recalls that on 16 June 2020, the EU defence ministers decided to develop a Strategic Compass for security and defence; notes that a legal-political agreement is expected to be issued at the beginning of 2022[16]; observes the potential of the Strategic Compass, which could form the core of the new European defence strategy and improve the current tools; notes, furthermore, that the Strategic Compass aims to foster a common European ‘strategic culture’, pushing Member States towards a common understanding of the key threats to Europe and how the EU can be a security provider;

    7. Calls on all EU decision-makers to ramp up efforts to fight foreign third-party interference, manipulative disinformation, information manipulation and other hybrid threats that undermine the Union’s ability to cope with new challenges, and develop and implement effectively its internal and foreign policies; notes the increase in disinformation campaigns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative role that certain actors played in advancing these campaigns; calls for better and deeper coordination to identify in a timely manner and efficiently deter cyberattacks that risk jeopardising the EU’s internal stability and hybrid threats that weaponise migration and energy supplies, thereby endangering the EU’s internal and energy security; calls on all EU institutions and the Member States to modernise their responses to these threats, through, inter alia, a new EU hybrid toolbox, which should include consistent collective countermeasures against foreign aggressors;

    8. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to enable and strengthen parliamentary oversight of EU external action, including by continuing its regular consultations with the VP/HR and the Commission; underlines that such oversight plays an important role in ensuring the proper functioning of European democracy and public trust; stresses that such oversight can serve as the starting point towards a stronger institutional role for Parliament in the CFSP; calls for the swift conclusion of negotiations to replace the 2002 Interinstitutional Agreement on Parliament’s access to sensitive information of the Council in the field of security and defence policy; calls for the coordination of Member States’ security and information services to be implemented;

    9. Calls for the active involvement of Parliament’s instruments in the CFSP; underlines the importance and unique nature of Parliament’s set of democratisation programmes, such as the ‘Jean Monnet Dialogue’, aimed at fostering and strengthening the work of parliaments; recalls that all EU institutions should participate and work together in activities that aim to counteract the global backsliding of democracy, including through election observation, mediation and dialogue activities, conflict prevention, the Sakharov Prize award and network, and parliamentary diplomacy, with Parliament keeping a prominent role;

    10. Recalls that, in its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Parliament’s position on the Conference on the Future of Europe[17], Parliament listed ‘Security and the role of EU in the world’ as one of the policy priorities; welcomes the fact that this was, inter alia, translated into tangible action, in the form of the plenary working group on ‘EU in the world’; notes that a considerable number of contributions on the Conference platform propose strengthening the EU’s role in the world; recalls that the Conference on the Future of Europe can serve as an opportunity to discuss the institutional status quo and give a new impetus to EU democracy; calls on the participants of the Conference to consider all possible avenues to achieve that goal.

     

     


     

    INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

    Date adopted

    9.11.2021

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    17

    2

    5

    Members present for the final vote

    Gerolf Annemans, Damian Boeselager, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Pascal Durand, Daniel Freund, Esteban González Pons, Giuliano Pisapia, Antonio Maria Rinaldi, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Helmut Scholz, Pedro Silva Pereira, Sven Simon, Antonio Tajani, Guy Verhofstadt, Loránt Vincze, Rainer Wieland

    Substitutes present for the final vote

    Gunnar Beck, Angel Dzhambazki, Alin Mituța

    Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

    Stelios Kympouropoulos, Ljudmila Novak


     

    FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

    17

    +

    ID

    Gerolf Annemans, Antonio Maria Rinaldi

    NI

    Fabio Massimo Castaldo

    PPE

    Esteban González Pons, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Ljudmila Novak, Sven Simon, Antonio Tajani, Loránt Vincze, Rainer Wieland

    S&D

    Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Giuliano Pisapia, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Pedro Silva Pereira

    VERTS/ALE

    Damian Boeselager, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Daniel Freund

     

    2

    -

    ID

    Gunnar Beck

    THE LEFT

    Helmut Scholz

     

    5

    0

    ECR

    Angel Dzhambazki, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski

    RENEW

    Pascal Durand, Alin Mituța, Guy Verhofstadt

     

    Key to symbols:

    + : in favour

    - : against

    0 : abstention

     

     


    INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

    Date adopted

    10.12.2021

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    46

    9

    11

    Members present for the final vote

    Alviina Alametsä, Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Maria Arena, Petras Auštrevičius, Traian Băsescu, Anna Bonfrisco, Reinhard Bütikofer, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Susanna Ceccardi, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Katalin Cseh, Tanja Fajon, Anna Fotyga, Michael Gahler, Sunčana Glavak, Raphaël Glucksmann, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Márton Gyöngyösi, Sandra Kalniete, Maximilian Krah, Andrius Kubilius, David Lega, Miriam Lexmann, Nathalie Loiseau, Antonio López-Istúriz White, Lukas Mandl, Thierry Mariani, David McAllister, Vangelis Meimarakis, Francisco José Millán Mon, Gheorghe-Vlad Nistor, Urmas Paet, Demetris Papadakis, Kostas Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Manu Pineda, Giuliano Pisapia, Thijs Reuten, Jérôme Rivière, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Isabel Santos, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Andreas Schieder, Radosław Sikorski, Jordi Solé, Sergei Stanishev, Tineke Strik, Hermann Tertsch, Hilde Vautmans, Harald Vilimsky, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Charlie Weimers, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Salima Yenbou, Željana Zovko

    Substitutes present for the final vote

    Özlem Demirel, Assita Kanko, Michal Šimečka, Mick Wallace

    Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

    Deirdre Clune, Charles Goerens, Maria Noichl, Bettina Vollath

     


    FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

    46

    +

    NI

    Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Márton Gyöngyösi

    PPE

    Alexander Alexandrov Yordanov, Traian Băsescu, Michael Gahler, Sunčana Glavak, Sandra Kalniete, Andrius Kubilius, David Lega, Miriam Lexmann, Antonio López-Istúriz White, David McAllister, Lukas Mandl, Vangelis Meimarakis, Francisco José Millán Mon, Gheorghe-Vlad Nistor, Radosław Sikorski, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Željana Zovko

    Renew

    Petras Auštrevičius, Katalin Cseh, Charles Goerens, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Nathalie Loiseau, Urmas Paet, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Hilde Vautmans

    S&D

    Maria Arena, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Tanja Fajon, Raphaël Glucksmann, Demetris Papadakis, Tonino Picula, Giuliano Pisapia, Thijs Reuten, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Isabel Santos, Andreas Schieder, Bettina Vollath

    Verts/ALE

    Alviina Alametsä, Reinhard Bütikofer, Mounir Satouri, Jordi Solé, Tineke Strik, Salima Yenbou

     

    9

    -

    ID

    Maximilian Krah, Thierry Mariani, Jérôme Rivière, Harald Vilimsky

    NI

    Kostas Papadakis

    The Left

    Özlem Demirel, Manu Pineda, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Mick Wallace

     

    11

    0

    ECR

    Anna Fotyga, Assita Kanko, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Hermann Tertsch, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Charlie Weimers

    ID

    Anna Bonfrisco, Susanna Ceccardi

    PPE

    Deirdre Clune

    S&D

    Maria Noichl, Sergei Stanishev

     

    Key to symbols:

    + : in favour

    - : against

    0 : abstention

     

     

    Last updated: 29 April 2022
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