Motion for a resolution - B7-0351/2010Motion for a resolution
B7-0351/2010

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on EU 2020

    14.6.2010

    to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
    pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Guy Verhofstadt, Lena Ek on behalf of the ALDE Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0348/2010

    Procedure : 2010/2591(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    B7-0351/2010
    Texts tabled :
    B7-0351/2010
    Texts adopted :

    B7‑0351/2010

    European Parliament resolution on EU 2020

    The European Parliament,

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

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

    –   having regard to the Commission’s evaluation of the Lisbon Strategy (SEC(2010)114),

    –   having regard to the European Council document entitled ‘Seven steps to deliver on the European strategy for growth and jobs’,

    –   having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2010 on EU 2020[1],

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

    GENERAL REMARKS

    The Europe 2020 strategy should focus on sustainable economic growth and the creation of jobs and fight poverty and social exclusion

    1.  Takes the view that Member States should increase their economic performance by introducing structural reforms in order to reduce public expenditure, decrease bureaucracy, increase the involvement of and promote the self-responsibility of citizens, encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, make legislation more SME-friendly and provide people with the opportunity to maximise their potential instead of being dependent on social welfare;

    2.  Notes that unemployment is a core issue of 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 adequate short-term unemployment benefits combined with active support for re‑employability in case of job loss;

    3.  Stresses that the current content of the Europe 2020 strategy, such as the headline targets, flagship proposals, bottlenecks and indicators are of a very general nature; urgently requests the Commission, therefore, to come forward with more detailed plans to clarify how these initiatives will be implemented successfully; these detailed plans should in turn be presented to the European Parliament for its consent;

    4.  Notes that the fight against poverty and social exclusion are key issues and deplores the situation in which more than 80 million people are living below the poverty line, which represents a human and economic disaster, and stresses the need to adopt an ambitious strategy to reduce poverty and social exclusion;

    Bolder initiatives needed to complete the Internal Market

    5.  Stresses that a well-functioning single market is the EU’s most valuable tool in a global and competitive world; the EU needs to complete it with a more flexible and mobile labour market as well as true patient mobility concerning healthcare between Member States; stresses that a digital internal market should be established;

    6.  Stresses that bolder initiatives are needed to complete the single market and to make it more accepted by citizens;

    7.  Welcomes the report drafted by Mario Monti, at the request of the President of the Commission, which contains interesting proposals in order to build a stronger single market, build consensus on a stronger single market and deliver a stronger single market;

    8.  Calls on the Commission to take a position on the proposals within the report and, consequently, to submit to the European Parliament initiatives in a similar spirit;

    9.  Believes that in order to establish an effective single market, the Commission must produce a clear set of political priorities through the adoption of a ‘Single Market Act’, which should cover both legislative and non-legislative initiatives, aimed at creating a highly competitive social market economy;

    10. Encourages the Commission to increase their application of regulations instead of directives in order to avoid gold plating and transposition problems in the Member States;

    11. Recommends that the Commission conduct an independent exercise to identify the top 20 single-market-related sources of dissatisfaction and frustration which citizens encounter every day, in particular in relation to e-commerce, cross-border medical care and mutual recognition of professional qualifications;

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

    13. Encourages the European Commission, moreover, to consider introducing ‘sunset clauses’ to ensure that all legislation is reviewed to determine if it is workable or adds benefit and, if not, is withdrawn;

    14. Takes the view that progress in the Internal Market should not be based on the lowest common denominator; encourages the Commission, therefore, 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 reaching an agreement among 27 is not achievable; other countries would be free to join these spearhead initiatives at a later stage;

    15. Considers that some of the most obvious problems encountered by consumers, especially in the service sector, which need to be acted upon as a priority in order to achieve quick results are: (1) access to safe products and quality services; (2) access to reliable, comparable and objective information, including price comparisons; (3) greater legal security and clarity in contractual relations; (4) greater payment security; (5) access to adequate, affordable and effective systems of redress, and (6) improved knowledge of, and greater confidence in, the system;

    16. Considers that a proper implementation of the Services Directive and the Professional Qualifications Directive, market surveillance in the context of the New Legislative Framework and cooperation between consumer protection authorities should be addressed as a matter of urgency;

    17. Calls on the Member States finally to accept correlation tables concerning the implementation of legislation in order to make legislation deficits more transparent;

    18. Stresses that a well-functioning procurement market is essential for the Internal Market; remains concerned, however, that there are still significant problems for public authorities in achieving their policy objectives within a complex set of rules as well as ensuring SME access to the public procurement markets;

    19. Encourages the European Commission to push forward with proposals for further liberalisation of the transport sector; the competitiveness of the EU in the world depends on a well-functioning single market underpinned by modern transport infrastructure and interconnected networks;

    Investing in growth: mobilising the EU budget and private finance

    20. Stresses the central role of cohesion policy in reaching the goals of the EU2020 whilst acknowledging that cohesion policy should remain a long-term policy which does not react to short-term changes caused by a deterioration in the economic situation;

    21. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to address the bottlenecks to mobility in Europe, especially the current fragmentation of EU funding and the need for innovative financing solutions for infrastructure projects, green corridors and more sustainable transport;

    22. With a view to reforming the future cohesion policy post-2013, in order to ensure the competitiveness of the EU in the world, takes the view that the financial support for SMEs in cohesion policy should be strengthened in terms of more local lending; use of venture funds and cooperation with the EIB should be increased; unnecessary administrative burdens should be eliminated and funding application processes significantly simplified in order to encourage SMEs’ participation in projects, and earmarking on R&D and innovations should be substantially increased in all programmes; emphasises that a strong EU territorial cohesion with an increased focus on territorial cooperation in common projects (energy, transport etc.) would improve the EU’s global position in connection with its global partners;

    23. In view of the Commission’s call for a coordinated economic policy, asks the Commission to clearly define the scope of its proposals associated with this approach and to set out the ramifications and probable impact on the EU’s future economic and budgetary management;

    24. Calls on the Commission to develop a set of key performance indicators based on sound financial management on all the EU programmes and projects and to present it to the European Parliament on a yearly basis;

    25. Points out the key role of cities and regions in achieving those goals; urges that their experience and contribution be taken into account in implementing the EU2020 priorities;

    26. Calls for a fundamental reform of the CAP with the ambition to provide an adequate budget which enables the sector to adapt to the new challenges such as providing solutions for climate change and providing public goods that should be regarded as a production result that should be paid for; stresses the need for a focus on research and development in the new strategy; calls on the cohesion funds to be more targeted towards the poorest European regions; notes that, in order to achieve this, we need more budgetary flexibility;

    27. Recalls Parliament’s request to ensure adequate financing to support clean, sustainable and efficient low-carbon energy technologies, which amounts in total to at least EUR 2 billion per annum of the EU budget being spent in addition to FP7 and CIP from 2010 onwards; calls, in this context, for the urgent establishment of a funding timetable by the Commission and the Member States of the resources they will commit to ensure that funds start flowing from 2010 for the various initiatives of the SET Plan, as well as the complementary ones;

    28. Believes that the CAP post-2013 can play a role in meeting EU 2020 Strategy objectives, by putting economic and environmental sustainability, climate change and green growth at the heart of the new policy;

    29. Urges the EU to embark on specific EU economic projects, such as a truly European energy super- and smart grid, completing the Galileo project, green technology, e-health, Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Programme and free and equitable access to ICT and broadband;

    Deploying our external policy instruments to the full

    30. Takes the view that the Commission must pursue the objectives set out the negotiating mandate namely as regards protection of geographical indications and IPR, market access for industrial goods and services and public procurement in both developed and developing countries, and minimal requirements for environmental and social standards;

    31. Takes the view that the EU’s commercial policy must promote the Union’s core values such as the promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms and the defence of the environment;

    32. Believes that the Commission must ensure coherence between European trade and development policies, so that trade contributes to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;

    33. Takes the view that the Commission must strongly intervene, together with the Member States, to defend consumers’ legitimate rights and expectations whenever there is evidence of fraudulent or misleading origin marking by importers and non-EU producers;

    34. Takes the view that Europe should also convince its trading partners to abandon protectionist measures such as export taxes and ‘buy China’ or ‘buy America’ provisions;

    FLAGSHIP PROPOSALS

    Flagship Initiative: Innovation Union

    35. Believes that successful implementation of the new flagship ‘Innovation Union’ is vital in order to boost the knowledge-based economy; calls on the Commission to increase the total financial envelope reserved for research and innovation on the Community budget;

    36. Urges the Commission to cut down administrative hurdles; urges the European Commission to improve conditions to innovate e.g. by creating the single EU patent. Well-intended programmes aimed at boosting competitiveness and shaping a sustainable economy are not working properly as SMEs, universities and multinationals are discouraged to participate in European programmes;

    Flagship Initiative: Youth on the Move

    37. Stresses that, in order to address the issue of high unemployment amongst youth, more emphasis should be placed on setting up EU programmes that promote entrepreneurship and mobility among young people at all stages of education;

    38. Believes that EU legislation banning discrimination on the grounds of age in employment and training must be implemented effectively in all Member States and that proposed legislation to ban age discrimination outside of employment should be agreed by Member States as soon as possible;

    39. Underlines the importance of improving young people’s knowledge, skills and competences, and ensuring that these are tailored to the needs of the changing labour market by developing fair, flexible and efficient systems for high-quality education and training; calls on the Commission to expand EU programmes that support education, up‑skilling and lifelong learning in order to facilitate smooth transitions to the labour market from education and training or from unemployment and inactivity;

    40. Stresses the importance of providing quality employment for young people by developing integrated flexicurity policies to enhance both labour market flexibility and secure employment, as well as encouraging and facilitating entrepreneurship among young people and developing this through adequate education, training, apprenticeships and mentoring programmes;

    Flagship Initiative: A Digital Agenda for Europe

    41. Stresses the immense job potential of the ICT sector; recalls that competition in the sector fosters innovation, and emphasises the need for free, competitive markets open to new actors which ease the deployment of new, innovative technologies; stresses the importance of continuing efforts towards ubiquitous and high-speed access to fixed and mobile broadband for all citizens and consumers, on fair terms and at competitive prices for all citizens, irrespective of location; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote all available policy instruments to achieve broadband for all European citizens, including national targets for broadband and high-speed coverage;

    42. Takes the view that Europe’s digital agenda will have an essential impact on the fields of culture, media and education; this requires an integrated rather than compartmentalized approach. Attention for the impact of new media, such as in the commitment to fostering e-skills, attention for online content alongside internal market, economic and technical considerations in all policy initiatives relating to the Digital Agenda are crucial. The harmonisation of European copyright will help innovation and entrepreneurship in the cultural and media sector;

    43. Takes the view that effective protection of personal data is an indispensable element of creating trust in online services; protection of privacy constitutes a core value, and all citizens should have control of their personal data. Calls, therefore, for the adaptation of the Data Protection Directive to the current digital environment;

    44. Takes the view that pluralist and independent media are a pillar of European democracy that needs to be safeguarded, and that, similarly, media on the internet also need to be safeguarded, and independent EU-journalism needs to be strengthened, as do communication policies on EU-issues;

    Flagship Initiative: Resource-efficient Europe

    45. Takes the view that the environmental aspects of the EU 2020 strategy are generally too weak and need to be strengthened; clear and measurable environmental goals should be built into the main targets of the strategy, with emphasis on halting the loss of biodiversity;

    46. Believes that the 2020 strategy should be geared towards meeting the EU’s long-term goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050, in particular by increasing energy efficiency and cutting waste to improve Europe’s competitive position and reduce costs;

    47. Takes the view that enhancing resource efficiency should be a priority throughout the EU 2020 strategy; particular attention must be paid to the effects of ever-increasing oil prices and the limited supply of precious metals that are vital to electronics generally and battery production for electric cars in particular;

    48. Takes the view that innovation must be driven forward to achieve the goals of environmental improvement, resource-use efficiency and cost reduction; believes that the setting of legal targets and introduction of regulatory measures are the most effective means of promoting such innovation;

    49. Takes the view that the rules on the distribution of EU structural funds should be adjusted to take account of the need to promote innovation that reduces costs and improves resource use;

    Flagship Initiative Clean and efficient energy

    50. Recalls that energy efficiency is not only the most cost-effective means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance energy security, but also could create one million jobs by 2020; calls therefore on the Commission and Member States to put energy efficiency at the top of the EU agenda, including that of its budget; more specifically, calls for stepping-up the implementation of the existing legislation and for a timely and ambitious proposal of the new European Efficiency Action Plan, including a revision of the Energy Services Directive and a binding energy efficiency target;

    51. Notes that substantial investments in the energy infrastructure will be needed until 2020 and beyond, to answer the climate challenge, upgrade Europe’s energy networks, including Trans European Energy Networks, to bring forward a European super-grid, to develop smart grids and to build interconnections, which are essential to stimulate the internal energy market and to integrate an increasing share of renewable sources of energy as well as to develop further major infrastructure projects in third countries, notably in the Mediterranean and Eurasian regions; recalls that renewable energy sources are the best indigenous energy resources of our continent, and therefore calls for ambitious implementation of Member States’ renewable energy obligations;

    Flagship Initiative: An industrial policy for the globalisation era

    52. Welcomes the industrial policy flagship initiative as a means to develop a targeted and coherent European industrial policy based on the principles of innovation and resource efficiency in order to ensure the EU’s competitiveness, sustainable growth and job creation;

    53. Points out that the ambition set to drive industry and SMEs towards innovation will not be achieved solely through improving access to capital in general, but there should also be an aim to diversify the sources of financing;

    54. Takes the view, in the context of reforming the future cohesion policy post-2013, that the financial support for SMEs in cohesion policy should be strengthened in terms of more local lending; use of venture funds and cooperation with the EIB should be increased; unnecessary administrative burdens should be eliminated in order to encourage SMEs’ participation in projects, and earmarking on R&D and innovation should be substantially increased in all programmes;

    Flagship Initiative: An agenda for new skills and jobs

    55. Believes that it is important to look at Europe’s diminishing competitiveness on a global scale; keeping the long-term projected labour shortages in mind, takes the view that it is important to look beyond the crisis and explore European schemes to allow for knowledge migration and the prevention of a European ‘brain drain’;

    56. Stresses the need to develop policies and services to address skills needs and labour market mismatches – including better information on skills needs in the EU in the medium and long term –, as well as regularly updating projections of future macroeconomic, demographic and labour market trends at all levels including an analysis of skills needs by sector taking into account business needs;

    57. Stresses the need to create inclusive, flexible and competitive labour markets that create employment opportunities and reflect the needs of both individuals and businesses. Member States should integrate the flexicurity principles endorsed by the European Council into their labour market policies and apply them. Member States and the EU institutions should do more to recognise the important role played by small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) and independent professionals and do more to reduce barriers to job creation such as administrative burdens and unnecessary red tape;

    58. Takes the view that tackling youth unemployment and fostering an effective matching of skills and market needs should be focal points. Public-private partnerships in education need to be developed. Cross border mobility for students and researchers in exchanges, internships should add to boosting the importance of enhancing the international attractiveness of Europe’s higher education institutions. Retaining the target of spending 3% of GDP on R&D boosts innovation through research and higher education. Europe’s commitment to education should take concrete shape in the EU2020 strategy. Welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to include figure targets on education in the EU2020 strategy;

    59. Believes that demographic change and the EU’s ageing population represent a huge challenge which requires fresh thinking and innovative approaches if the European Union is to remain competitive. Lifelong learning schemes should be expanded and age discrimination legislation implemented, and Member States should consider measures to end compulsory retirement ages, so that if people want to continue working beyond a fixed age they have that choice;

    60. Believes it is vital that measures are taken to increase the participation of older people and disabled people in the labour market and to effectively tackle discrimination in the labour market on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation and religion or belief, in line with existing EU legislation;

    61. Notes that the huge levels of undeclared work and illegal work in some Member States must be tackled as a matter of urgency as this often leads to abuse and exploitation, dangerous working conditions and negative economic effects;

    Flagship Initiative: European Platform against Poverty

    62. Deplores the fact that the failure of the Lisbon Strategy contributed to having more than 80 million poor people in the EU, amounting to almost the population of Germany; insists that this human and social as well as economic waste must be tackled by the EU 2020 strategy; insists that the EU 2020 strategy includes a target of reducing poverty in the EU by half. A majority of Europeans currently living in poverty or are at risk of poverty are women, in particular older women, migrant women, disabled people, older people, migrants, single parents and carers. Moreover, a life course perspective should be introduced as the poverty of parents has a direct impact on child’s life, development and future;

    63. Notes that although employment remains the best way out of poverty, it is vital that safeguards are put in place and/or maintained by Member States to ensure that a minimum level of income is guaranteed for every EU citizen. Notes the increase in ‘in work’ poverty and with this in mind believes we should aspire to the development, via the exchange of best practice, of adequate minimum wages in all EU Member States;

    64. Urges the Commission and the Member States to implement an ambitious social agenda, through a reinforced open method of coordination, utilising European funds where appropriate, that aims to reduce poverty and social exclusion and to protect the most vulnerable in our societies. Notes the links between increases in poverty and social exclusion, mental health problems, and drug and substance abuse;

    65. Calls for the promotion of longer and healthier lives and for measures to ensure older people can be independent and productive for as long as possible; measures to ensure people can combine employment with care responsibilities and a renewed commitment to fighting discrimination on all grounds in the workplace and in access to goods, facilities and services;

    66. Emphasises the need for an agreement on an EU-wide target to end street homelessness by 2015 and for all Member States to develop integrated homelessness strategies with a view to ending homelessness;

    67. Calls on the Commission to propose a European Disability Pact to Member States which can ensure coordination of disability policy and underpin relevant targets in Europe 2020 with initiatives aimed at increasing labour market participation and social inclusion of people with disabilities;

    68. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to achieve a 75% employment rate for men and a 75% employment rate for women by 2020, through reduction of a labour market segmentation and stepping up efforts for reconciliation of work, caring responsibilities and family life;

    69. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to fully apply the principle of equal pay for equal work through reducing the gender pay gap to 0-5% by 2020, come forward with a legislative proposal revising existing legislation and initiating infringement procedures for non-compliant Member States. Emphasises the importance of ensuring greater participation of women, youth, older people, persons with disabilities and the low-skilled, as well as better integration of migrants and ethnic minorities in the work force;

    70. Considers that in order to enable better benchmarking and political visibility a separate chapter on gender equality with specific targets should be included in the EU 2020 Strategy;

    71. Calls on the Commission to propose an EU directive on paternity, filial and adoption leave in order to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life;

    72. Believes however, that the Open Method of Coordination in the employment and social affairs field is a useful tool that must be reformed and strengthened, in particular in the development of quantifiable EU and national targets;

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