Procedure : 2014/2829(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0034/2015

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PV 15/01/2015 - 11.9
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to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 37(3) of the Rules of Procedure and the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission

on the European Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2015 (2014/2829(RSP))

Sophia in ‘t Veld, Pavel Telička, Dita Charanzová on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the European Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2015 (2014/2829(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Communication on the Commission Work Programme for 2015,

–       having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission, in particular Annex 4 thereto,

–       having regard to Rule 37(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas Europe needs to respond with a clear vision, direction, leadership, ambition and courage to the challenges we face both internally and externally, to show that it is capable of meeting the expectations of our citizens, offering them prospects and creating trust, by making the EU a truly democratic, political union, a parliamentary democracy and an arena where citizens can steer and shape their continent in the interests of preserving and consolidating their standard of living;

B.     whereas the role of the Commission is to promote the general interest of the Union, to take appropriate initiatives to that end, to ensure the application of the Treaties, to oversee the implementation and enforcement of Union law, to exercise coordinating, executive and management functions, and to initiate legislation;

C.     whereas education and citizenship play an essential role in the promotion of the core values of the EU and Europe needs to deliver results and engage in a closer and comprehensive dialogue with its citizens; whereas, therefore, it is crucial to enhance in the Commission Work Programme 2015 the role of education, culture and citizenship as a defence against the rise of populism and euro-scepticism and as an instrument to reconnect Europe with its citizens and deepen the role of European common values;

D.     whereas Europe needs a strong Commission with a well-focused and adequately ambitious Work Programme with which it would be able to tackle the real needs the EU and its citizens are confronted with;

E.     whereas the EU has endured a long economic crisis, with low growth and lack of job creation and investments, which will not be overcome without a significant further deepening of European integration wherever justified, in particular in the Economic and Monetary Union, with reinforced democratic control and accountability;

F.     whereas sustainability and economic growth are compatible and can be mutually reinforcing, and Parliament therefore expresses its concern about the lack of emphasis on sustainable growth in the Commission Work Programme and urges the Commission to make sustainability a cornerstone of its jobs and growth agenda;

G.     whereas the loss of European competitiveness in the global economy, high unemployment and in particular unacceptably high youth unemployment, demographic change and in particular an increasingly ageing population, and the consequent social hardship which results from economic decline, present the EU with unprecedented challenges;

H.     whereas the budgetary choices at EU level have to meet its political priorities, not only in terms of amount but also of flexibility and equilibrium;


1.      Welcomes the focus of the Commission on ‘Big Themes’ and its move towards better regulation, but insists that the identification of ‘Big Themes’ is subjected to a prior debate with Parliament, that withdrawal of legislative files must meet objective criteria and be supported by a corresponding impact assessment, and that scrapping legislative proposals because Member States fail to take responsibility and seek consensus should not effectively give one of the co-legislators a veto function by means of stalling; recalls that better regulation does not mean crude withdrawal but rather more regulation where needed and less where not; calls on the President and First Vice-President to make sure that the cluster structure with the College proves efficient; recalls that better legislation is not just about the outcome but also about the process, which needs to be fully democratic and transparent;

2.      Urges the Commission to use its right of initiative to its full extent in order to give a clear political leadership to the Union and to insist that the heads of government stand behind the decisions they take in the European Council, and in particular to deliver the strategic roadmap for fiscal union, economic union and political union, and external action; invites the Commission to pursue a bold reform agenda of the monetary union architecture and recalls that the Commission has the right under Article 48 of the Treaties to make proposals for modifications of the Treaties;

3.      Regrets that, despite the stated promise of engaging both the Council and Parliament in defining the priorities, the Work Programme falls short of that interinstitutional inclusiveness that could have delivered a programme better reflecting the priorities of all three institutions, by means of a transparent procedure that would allow Parliament to introduce its priorities in this process;

4.      Similarly regrets that, contrary to Article 13 of the current Framework Agreement, the Commission failed to inform Parliament in writing of the significant initiatives regarding legislative proposals as part of the Work Programme before going public;

5.      Welcomes the need to ensure better regulation aiming to reduce the legislative burden, and avoid gold-plating; underlines, however, that the proposed agenda for creating better regulation should not endanger key legislation in important areas at European level where a real added value will be achieved, notably environmental and social protection, amongst others; calls on the Commission to put in place a comprehensive system to scrutinise legislation at the three crucial stages of the legislative process, in its transposition, its implementation and its enforcement;

6.      Welcomes the Commission’s renewed commitment to provide the EU with a fully-fledged migration policy; reiterates that Parliament, as a branch of the budgetary authority, stands firmly behind the proposal to substantially increase the budget of Frontex;

7.      Urges the Commission to continue to improve the coherence of its legislative programme, to raise the quality of its legislative drafting, to strengthen its impact assessment of draft laws, to exploit correlation tables for the better transposition of EU law and to introduce sunset clauses to ensure that EU laws are periodically reviewed;

8.      Calls on the Commission to present a proposal addressing current gaps and loopholes in the application of Article 2 TEU and the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights on which the EU is based, including a binding instrument relying on a set of objective indicators and allowing an automatic and gradual response to breaches of the rule of law and fundamental rights at both EU and Member State level; recalls that, as a consequence, the respect for human rights will have to be effectively implemented through the compliance of all Treaty provisions, in particular the so-called ‘democratic clause’;

9.      Calls on the Commission to underline corporate social responsibility as a cornerstone for the European social model and Europe’s strategy for sustainable development;

10.    Underlines the need for a solid EU presence in the world through an efficient foreign policy, capable of responding to the new challenges we are facing today;

11.    Calls for revived impetus for a roadmap for transparency and access to documents, ensuring a political union, based on parliamentary democracy that is conducted in transparency and with accountability in the EU and the Member States, and for the appointment of a transparency officer in charge of overseeing this work; recalls in this context the demands of Parliament to introduce an administrative law for the EU;

12.    Calls on the Commission to ensure that all future legislation is subject to a fundamental rights check, and for an ex ante check of all existing legislation, in particular applicable to all EU schemes for the large scale collection, processing, transfer and storage of data;

13.    Regrets that, although President Juncker’s political guidelines foresee ‘a proposal for a more efficient external representation of our Economic and Monetary Union’ to be taken ‘during the first year of (the) mandate’, the Work Programme does not provide details on this; calls on the Commission to use its right of initiative according to Article 138(2) of the Treaty and to propose ‘appropriate measures to ensure unified representation of the eurozone within the international financial institutions and conferences’;

14.    Stresses that the creation of jobs and growth must also be facilitated by an ambitious trade agenda to open up third country markets and to diversify exports;

15.    Calls on the Commission to aim for an ambitious and coherent foreign and security policy strategy, with human rights and fundamental freedoms at its core, to strengthen the EU’s role in the world in development, peacemaking and peacebuilding, humanitarian aid and the worldwide promotion of human rights;

16.    Urges the Commission to make changes to fiscal legislation, notably following the ‘Lux Leaks’ revelations, and to take ambitious steps forward such as a common consolidated corporate tax base, rather than merely requiring transparency concerning tax rulings, and calls on President Juncker to present without delay proposals to complete economic and monetary union;

17.    Urges the Commission to abide strictly by the terms and time limits laid down in the agreement between Parliament and the Council on implementation of the plan for reducing the backlog of unpaid bills, which are, in practical terms, a hidden debt;

18.    Welcomes the thrust of the Investment Plan, while noting that it depends on a number of key conditions, especially that Member States implement structural reforms, including in labour markets, pension systems and health care, that the Stability and Growth Pact is not weakened and that there is a significant leap forward in the liberalisation, opening and unification of the markets of the future which are still under national control, such as energy markets, telecom markets, the digital market and capital markets, and that selected projects contribute to financing the right priorities; urges the crucial involvement of private partners and private investors; highlights the job creation potential in these sectors; calls at the same time for full democratic control, at EU level, of the Investment Plan; calls on the Commission to ensure that any funding diverted from Horizon 2020 results in an equal or greater amount of investment in research and innovation;

19.    Strongly supports the adoption of the announced Digital Single Market Strategy; asks for this package to pave the way for a rapid development of the digital economy; is convinced that Europe has a clear added value in acting in this key sector; recalls that any legislative action in this sector needs to be forward looking and be aimed at creating new opportunities for European citizens, businesses and consumers, on the basis of an open internet; underlines that progress in this domain will have a direct impact on citizens;

20.    Calls for these reforms to be complemented by the implementation of the Connecting Europe Facility strategy, with better infrastructures and projects with European added value in transport, energy and telecommunications as essential for the functioning of the single market;

21.    Disagrees strongly with the proposed withdrawal of the Transparency Directive on the pricing and reimbursement of medicines, on which Parliament adopted its position in 2013, and of the legislative proposals on the waste policy review and on air pollution, since Union action in these fields is timely, necessary and expected by EU citizens; insists that these proposals are not withdrawn in order for Parliament and the Council to continue their work on the current proposals;

22.    Reiterates that the 7th Environmental Action Programme is a legally binding act, which obliges the Commission to take appropriate action in order to deliver its agreed priority objectives, namely protecting and enhancing Europe’s natural capital, turning the Union into a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy, and safeguarding citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and well-being; expects the Commission to fully reflect these objectives in its priorities and not to delay any action necessary to achieve them;

23.    Calls on the Commission to take due note of the sector-specific positions of Parliament as set out in Part 2 of this resolution;


A new boost for jobs, growth and investment

24.    Calls for a strong European industrial policy which contributes not only to growth and jobs, but is a prerequisite for state of the art European R&D&I to turn economic, social and environmental problems into competitive advantages;

25.    Welcomes the introduction of a package of measures targeted at getting young unemployed people and the long-term unemployed into work; calls on the Commission to ensure that Member States will be able to frontload and spend the funds in 2015 foreseen to boost youth employment;

26.    Calls for the implementation of the cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020, and of the Horizon 2020 Programme;

27.    Calls for a presentation of the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy;

28.    Calls for proposals to develop the potential of the cultural and creative sector;

29.    Calls for green investment and a long-term and stable policy framework to promote a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy, strengthening our objectives of reducing CO2 emissions, increasing the share of renewables and energy efficiency, which entails investment in a pan-European electricity grid and building more on renewable energy sources;

30.    Stresses that jobs and growth can be stimulated through trade, opening up foreign markets and diversifying our exports;

A connected Digital Single Market

31.    Believes that consumer protection and fundamental rights protection are both vital in order for Europeans to have trust in the Digital Single Market as part of the digitisation of their daily lives;

32.    Believes that the digital single market strategy needs to be aimed at creating opportunities for citizens, consumers, businesses and public authorities, as well as innovation;

33.    Calls for further harmonisation of copyright law and improved management of copyright in order to facilitate cross-border access to creative content;

34.    Stresses the need to ensure a level playing field for companies operating in the digital single market in order for them to be able to compete; highlights the importance of affording companies and consumers the same protection online as they benefit from in their traditional markets;

35.    Considers that key issues which need to be answered in the forthcoming strategy relate to:

•     cloud computing, notably the lack of liability of cloud computing service providers and the inconsistency of transnational laws and regulations,

•     discrimination against consumers online, notably discriminatory practices based on the nationality or the place of residence which arise in many different areas of EU law,

•     cyber security, as European public institutions and businesses are increasingly exposed to cybercrime and lack a unified approach to this pressing issue,

•     restrictions and barriers regarding e-payments and e-authentification, in particular in mobile payments, notably the lack of standards in copyright rules in e-commerce,

•     parcel delivery,

•     internet of things, including privacy by design;

36.    Calls for fair access to internet platforms and electronic communications;

37.    Calls for a European strategy to boost the EU ICT industry, ensuring its free and fair competition and allowing European companies to exploit the EU privacy competitive advantage, a European strategy for the democratic governance of internet and net neutrality enshrined in EU law;

A resilient energy union with a forward-looking climate change policy

38.    Calls for the presentation of a review of the Ecodesign and Ecolabelling Directives, reaping the full benefits of this policy and extending the scope of ecodesign to resource efficiency;

39.    Stresses that competitiveness, energy security and sustainability in a fully integrated energy market constitute the main pillars for the creation of a resilient energy union, which can be achieved by connecting networks, pooling resources, by a rapid removal of remaining barriers in the internal energy market and by ensuring unified negotiating positions of the EU vis-à-vis third countries;

40.    Calls for Europeanisation of the EU energy infrastructure, also as regards standards, research and innovation, and calls for a specific investment programme, based on public and private funds, for a smart energy grid;

41.    Considers that priority is to be given to market-based solutions to common challenges, such as increasing energy efficiency by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing a truly sustainable agriculture and forestry sector through investment in research and development, and by increasing the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES), making the EU the world leader;

42.    Stresses the important role that sustainable agriculture and forestry sectors can play;

A deeper and fairer single market with strengthened labour mobility

43.    Considers that the Commission’s Single Market Strategy for goods and services should make the single market a reality for those who have the most difficulties using it, i.e. SMEs and the self-employed; considers that, when directives and regulations prove unsuitable for small companies, or when the ‘SME test’ was not performed at the time of their adoption, they may need to be reviewed;

44.    Welcomes the introduction of a labour mobility package including a proposal for amending Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 on the coordination of social policy systems;

45.    Asks the Commission to continue its work towards the simplification of the payment of taxes on cross-border transitions for both consumers and businesses, through the greater use of standardised European forms on VAT and other fees and through greater digitisation of filing requirements;

A deeper and fairer economic and monetary union

46.    Calls for a proposal for the single external representation of the euro area in international institutions and fora;

47.    Calls for the establishment of a European debt redemption fund based on conditionality;

A reasonable and balanced free trade agreement with the USA

48.    Urges the Commission to continue, in parallel, its work towards new and revised free trade agreements with other third countries and towards wider global free trade in general, especially within the framework of the WTO;

An area of justice and fundamental rights based on mutual trust

49.    Calls for renewed efforts to complete a comprehensive EU-US data protection agreement, and to ensure that the review of the Safe Harbour agreement is combined with the successful conclusion of an ambitious EU data protection package;

50.    Calls on the Commission to make every effort to unblock the Horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive and to develop a comprehensive European response to the fundamental rights problems of LGBTI persons, in the shape of an EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;

51.    Calls on the Commission to continue and step up its efforts to improve procedures for identifying cyber predators and protecting children against them;

Towards a new policy on migration

52.    Calls for a holistic plan for migration to make the EU an attractive destination for both skilled and non-skilled foreign migrants, and to establish safe and legal routes to the EU for asylum seekers and a coherent approach to tackling the root causes of irregular migration;

A strategy on demographic change

53.    Calls for a structured, long-term EU strategy to address the challenges posed by demographic change, as all Member States are today facing an increasingly ageing population;

A stronger global actor

54.    Calls on the Commission to take a proactive approach to promoting peace and to resolving the increasing number of crises and violent conflicts around the world; welcomes the Commission’s intention to review the neighbourhood policy in order to strengthen the ability of the EU to deal with the serious geopolitical challenges we face; underlines that trade, economic links, mobility, migration and energy security are only a few of the many cross-sector issues that a new and reinforced neighbourhood policy must entail and that the promotion and respect of human rights, international law and fundamental freedoms must be a common denominator throughout; points equally to the need for a continuation of the Eastern Partnership initiative and vigorous engagement with the countries of the Western Balkans so that the accession–driven reform process remains in focus; stresses the need to give further technical support to the Member States and those neighbourhood countries with DCFTAs in order to ensure their full and rapid implementation and respect by all parties;

55.    Stresses that to be a credible player on the world stage, the EU must back up its considerable soft power with hard power and that, therefore, an ambitious agenda is needed to increase the integration and compatibility of European militaries, especially as this can also substantially decrease costs;

A Union of democratic change

56.    Urges the Commission to intensify and reinforce its efforts to protect the financial interests of the Union, to make a proposal on the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office and to complete the delayed reform of the European Anti-Fraud Office;

Better communication

57.    Calls on the Commission to conduct an in-depth review of its communication policy with a view to ensuring that, in future, the public is provided with information directly rather than being expected to look for it itself through specialised European information channels;


58.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

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