Motion for a resolution - B7-0160/2010Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the Follow-up of the Informal European Council of 11 February


further to Question for Oral Answer B7‑0000/2010
pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure

Lena Ek on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0151/2010

Procedure : 2010/2543(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the Follow-up of the Informal European Council of 11 February

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Informal European Council of 11 February 2010,

–   having regard to the Presidency conclusions following the meetings of the European Council in March 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 and December 2009,

–   having regard to the public consultation launched by the Commission on EU 2020 and its outcome (SEC(2010)116),

–   having regard to the Lisbon Strategy evaluation by the Commission (SEC(2010)114),

–   having regard to the European Council's document 'Seven steps to deliver on the European strategy for growth and jobs',

–   having regard to the question of 23 February 2010 to the Commission on Agriculture and the future 'EU 2020' Strategy (O-0023/2010 – B7‑0000/2010),

–   having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas many European citizens believe that EU regulation is often too bureaucratic, complicated and expensive,

General observations

1.  Welcomes the Member States' willingness to recognise the Lisbon Strategy's failure to make the EU 'the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion and respect for the environment by 2010'; encourages the Member States to take this opportunity to truly rethink the strategy;

2.  Deplores the fact that the failure of the Lisbon Strategy has put the European Union in a weaker position to face the current crisis;

3.  Regrets the fall in GDP of 4% in 2009, the fall in industrial production back to the levels of the 1990s and the unemployment rate of 10%, representing more than 23 million women and men out of work; considers that a situation in which more than 80 million people are living below the poverty line represents a human and economic disaster;

4.  Deplores the fact that important European targets have not been met; welcomes the decision of the European Council to define fewer targets that are more quantifiable;

5.  Stresses its deep conviction that the institutions of the European Union and the Member States, including national and local government authorities, have the duty to adapt the regulatory and administrative framework to the changed circumstances of the world economy in the wake of the financial crisis;

6.  Expresses its strong belief that a future return to wealth-securing growth depends more than ever on the successful mobilisation of the potential of individuals in our civic society, science and the economy;

Need for better governance

7.  Takes the view that the Lisbon Strategy failed due to a lack of commitment and lack of ownership by the Member States, leading to a failure to implement agreed action plans, and the absence of efficient incentives and binding instruments at EU level;

8.  Urges the European Council to abandon the 'open method of coordination', based on the 'exchange of best practices' and 'peer pressure' in the field of economic policy, but calls on the Council to use this method in the social field and strengthen it by setting ambitious, quantifiable EU and national targets;

9.  Encourages the Commission to use all articles available in the Lisbon Treaty, such as Articles 121, 122, 136, 172, 173 and 194, to coordinate the economic reforms and action plans of the Member States;

10. Stresses that the annual Commission reports with policy recommendations and warnings on progress made by the Member States to implement the EU 2020 objectives should be the basis for European Council decisions and that, in order to guarantee transparency, these reports should be made public before the European Council discussions;

11. Takes the view that the Member States, in close cooperation with the Commission, should draft national action plans while respecting a European code of convergence with maximum and minimum values to be applied to certain macro-economic aspects of their economies, which code of convergence should be drafted by the Commission and adopted by the European Council;

12. Stresses the need for better cooperation with the European Parliament, national parliaments and civil society and observes that, as a result of involving more actors, the pressure on national administrations to deliver results will increase;

13. Urges the Commission to reduce administrative obstacles, taking the view that well-intended programmes aimed at boosting competitiveness and shaping a sustainable economy are not working properly, as SMEs, universities and multinationals are discouraged from participating in European programmes;

14. Encourages the Commission and the Member States to conduct financial audits to determine how much scope for action is left within the EU budget; urges the Commission to ensure stronger oversight in this area; considers that further decisions on the EU 2020 strategy must be based on reliable and correct financial figures;

Protecting the strength of the euro by reinforcing financial oversight

15. Stresses the need to ensure the future stability of the euro in order to guarantee our purchasing power and pensions; urges Member States to fully comply with the criteria of the European Stability and Growth Pact;

16. Considers that the EU will need to introduce fiscal coordination and boost cooperation in certain areas, while respecting national fiscal sovereignty, and that Member States will need to reduce gross government debt to restore and preserve Europe's competitiveness;

17. Stresses the need for a single European supervisor for micro- and macro-prudential supervision to ensure effective supervision and prevent future crises; stresses the need to ensure an efficient European banking system capable of financing the real economy and maintaining Europe as one of the leading financial centres and economies in the world; underlines that oversight cannot remain a purely national matter, as markets are international and financial institutions operate across borders;

18. Calls in this regard on the Member States to acknowledge the impact of the crisis on the real economy and work with the European Parliament to give the answers citizens expect in the field of financial reform;

19. Calls on the Commission to investigate the feasibility of a set of potential measures, which could include the adoption of the IMF methodology, the appointment of a representative of the Commission to the economies affected, improvement of the impact of Eurostat's assessments of economic data, the identification of potentially affected EU states to provide an early warning, better coordination of, and enhanced cooperation in relation to, economic policies in the euro zone and a European Monetary Fund; considers that it would be a good idea for the EU to attract finance on the capital market, for example by extending the existing system of EIB bonds and that at all events it is imperative that the chosen measure should not have a negative effect on the interest rates of the Member States;

Freeing the potential of the European citizen

20. Regrets that Europeans still encounter too many barriers in moving around Europe; stresses the need to facilitate the free movement of citizens in all senses: workers, professionals, business people, researchers, students and retired people; urges the Commission and the Member States to abolish all legal, formal and financial barriers so as to implement free movement of citizens and workers inside the EU;

21. Notes that unemployment is a core issue in the current discussion in the context of the crisis; stresses the need to create inclusive and competitive labour markets through flexicurity systems, providing greater flexibility for employers while at the same time ensuring high short-term unemployment benefits combined with active support for re-employability in case of job loss; stresses the need to focus in particular on youth unemployment as well as on the ageing of the workforce inside the EU, which will be a serious challenge to competiveness and to medium- and long-term economic growth in the EU;

22. Stresses the need to look beyond the crisis and explore European schemes to allow knowledge migration, prevent a European 'brain drain' and promote excellence, as well as a network of leading universities at international level;

23. Urges the Commission and the Member States to implement the EU's ambitious social agenda, including the promotion of longer and healthier lives, combating poverty and social exclusion, enabling workers to combine employment with care responsibilities, fighting discrimination and promoting gender mainstreaming and gender equality;

Freeing the potential of the European internal market

24. Notes that the European common market caters for the needs of citizens and therefore contributes greatly to European prosperity, that it has created a market with almost 500 million consumers and that increased trade has increased prosperity in the EU by 10% of national income, that is to say around € 8 000 per household annually;

25. Welcomes in this regard the mission given to Mario Monti to propose new ideas to relaunch the European common market, striking a balance between markets, taxation and social and environmental imperatives;

26. Deplores the tendency of some European governments to practise economic protectionism, threatening to unravel the work of 50 years of economic integration and solidarity and thereby harming both consumers and producers; stresses the need to ensure that the single market does not become a barrier in itself to imports from and exports to third countries;

27. Stresses the need to complete the single market, taking into account the need for high-quality services of general interest;

28. Resolves to apply rigorously its powers of scrutiny and, as appropriate, revoke implementing and delegated acts; encourages, moreover, the Commission to consider introducing 'sunset clauses' to ensure that all legislation is reviewed to determine whether it is workable or confers benefits and if not, to withdraw it;

29. Takes the view that progress in the Internal Market should not be based on the lowest common denominator; therefore encourages the Commission to take the lead and come forward with bold proposals; encourages the Member States to use the method of enhanced cooperation in areas where the process of seeking agreement has reached a deadlock, such as:

-    the free market in services (including health, transport and postal services);

-    the European digital market;

-    the introduction of a common patent;

-    European copyright;

-    a common consolidated corporate tax base;

-    a common Statute for a European Private Company;

-    optional instruments for consumer contract law in the consumer and insurance fields;

-    the adoption of green, smart technology;

     Stresses that other countries would be free to join these spearhead initiatives at a later stage;

30. Encourages the Commission to come forward with a proposal to introduce a 'sunrise clause', ensuring that EU internal market laws automatically enter into force at a given time if Member States do not transpose them in time;

A budget reflecting smart, inclusive and sustainable growth as the priorities of the 21st century

31. Takes the view that the current budget does not sufficiently reflect the financial needs to tackle the challenges of the 21st century; deplores the fact that only six out of every 100 euros are invested in R&D and takes the view that the future budget will have to increase the focus on investment in a sustainable, research-driven and knowledge-based economy;

32. Regrets that no mention was made of the agricultural sector in the original proposals for the EU 2020 strategy, despite agriculture's potential to actively contribute to its main priorities;

33. Urges the Commission to come forward with an ambitious budget proposal reflecting the priorities described in the EU 2020 strategy, including green growth, energy efficiency, increased Research & Development, lifelong learning and the challenges presented by climate change;

34. Considers that the EU should embark on specific EU economic projects, such as a truly European energy grid, completion of the Galileo project, wide application of green technology, including systematic renovation of the EU's building stock, e-health and improving and updating ICT infrastructure;

Freeing the potential of the Member States to comply with the EU 2020 strategy

35. Deplores the fact that the implementation of the EU budget by the Commission and Member States has received a negative opinion from the European Court of Auditors for the 15th time; stresses that Member States themselves are responsible for managing 80% of the European budget; encourages the Commission to put more pressure on Member States to take political responsibility for the correct spending of European money in the form of National Management Declarations and consider financial penalties if Member States refuse to cooperate; encourages the Court of Auditors to make proposals for a better auditing methodology and the reduction of bureaucratic obstacles for SMEs;

36. Stresses that EU funding should be conditional on a results-oriented approach and compatibility with the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy; stresses that the EU Structural Funds should focus on innovation and R&D to increase the EU's competiveness, while the main focus of cohesion policy should be on territorial cohesion and collaboration between Member States;

37. Takes the view that in these Management Declarations Member States should include a statement indicating how they have used European funds to attain the various EU 2020 objectives;

38. Believes that Member States that deliver credible action plans and results should be eligible for additional funding from the Structural Funds, while Member States that do not submit National Management Declarations indicating the correct spending of European money on the 'EU 2020' goals should receive less European money, without excluding alternative methods of support to increase their ability to act;

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