Motion for a resolution - B8-0039/2015Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2015

    12.1.2015 - (2014/2829(RSP))

    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

    Gabriele Zimmer on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

    Procedure : 2014/2829(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    Texts tabled :
    Debates :
    Texts adopted :


    European Parliament resolution on the Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2015


    The European Parliament,

    –       having regard to the Commission Communication on the Commission Work Programme for 2015 (COM (2014)0910),

    –       having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission[1], in particular Annex IV thereto,

    –       having regard to the Commission communication on An Investment Plan for Europe (COM(2014)0903),

    –       having regard to the Commission communication on the Economic governance review – Report on the application of Regulations (EU) No 1173/2011, 1174/2011, 1175/2011, 1176/2011, 1177/2011, 472/2013 and 473/20131 (COM(2014)0905);

    –       having regard to the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 18 December 2014,

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

    A.     whereas the EU continues to struggle with the deepest economic and social crisis since its foundation, with stagnating economies and the looming threat of deflation, high unemployment, declining social and labour rights, and rising socio-economic inequalities, which presents the EU with unprecedented challenges;

    B.     whereas much of the current crisis has its roots in the launch of the euro, as the currency has major architectural design flaws, which in retrospect suggests it was not fit for purpose; believes that the flaws include lack of oversight, as hundreds of billions of euros have flowed from the so-called core countries to the periphery of the EU, and lack of foresight, as there were no remedial structures in place to deal with the damage caused by this sudden massive transnational movement of currency; whereas all the Member States share a responsibility for the inherent design flaws of the euro, and whereas the debt burden that has resulted from these flaws is massively disproportionate, with some countries profiting while others have been forced into serious depression; whereas these fundamental flaws and the imbalance have yet to be addressed;

    C.     whereas the EU institutions are imposing further restrictions on national budgets; whereas this policy will result in growing unemployment, deep wage cuts, a higher pension age, and lower public spending in areas such as education and health, and will compress demand while paving the way for the introduction of a radical privatisation programme, thereby creating the conditions for further deepening the current economic and social crisis;

    D.     whereas seven years after the outbreak of the financial crisis, the financial industry remains insufficiently regulated and the risk persists of ‘zombie banks’, kept alive despite the recent stress test by the ECB, obstructing credit flows to enterprises and households;

    E.     whereas discussions about the so-called Capital Markets Union highlight that the financial markets lobby is stronger than ever as it tries to maximise its freedom of action, and profits again by reviving the market for toxic products such as asset-backed securities;

    F.     whereas the remedies adopted, such as the economic governance packages, permanently remove policy choices from sovereign and democratically elected governments of Member States and democratic control by the peoples of Europe, including by the national parliaments, and establish permanent austerity which is leading Europe towards a long-term economic depression;

    G.     whereas the tax systems are designed to favour big business rather than ordinary citizens; whereas austerity and the hard fiscal discipline measures, alongside the heavy losses of government revenue resulting from tax evasion and avoidance, put further pressure on the Member States’ budgets and undermine the interests of taxpayers and workers in the Union;

    H.     whereas an important issue of social justice is raised by the fact that, while the people of Europe are suffering irreparably from the austerity programmes and the neoliberal structural reforms, secret tax agreements, global tax evasion and transferring of profits to tax havens are perfectly legal;

    I.      pointing out that the scandal surrounding the Commission President’s role in the tax evasion schemes in Luxembourg has hampered the credibility of the Commission, in particular in relation to its stated goal of combating tax havens, tax evasion and tax fraud and in relation to promoting a fair tax system whereby all parts of society contribute;

    J.      whereas the climate crisis continues to pose a threat to the stability, health and livelihood of societies all over the world, as well as to animal welfare and biodiversity; whereas the EU’s climate policy is insufficient and the need for real change to the production system has thus far been overshadowed by the desire to advance the Union’s competiveness on the global market;

    K.     whereas policies thus far have not only failed to restore a sustainable and inclusive economy that can deliver decent jobs to the millions of unemployed or underemployed people in the European Union, as well as a high level of welfare services, while protecting the environment, but these inept policies have also created a profound distrust among citizens that the EU can deliver answers to the problems they face in their everyday lives;

    L.     whereas greater transparency, openness and democratisation of the EU, including stronger participation by citizens in shaping the future of the Union, are imperative for restoring citizens’ trust in the EU and hence the long-term survival of the Union;

    M.    pointing out that there is a need for a fundamental policy shift away from the policies currently pursued by the Commission, towards policies that strengthen the EU and the Member States’ efforts to create sustainable economic growth, full employment and to combat poverty, social exclusion and income inequalities;

    PART 1

    1.      Expresses its deep dissatisfaction that the Commission’s Work Programme for 2015 does not include legislative proposals worked out and discussed in the previous term;

    2.      Strongly condemns the Commission’s principle of political discontinuity, as it completely undermines the European Parliament’s rights as co-legislator; insists that the decision to withdraw a legislative file must be the result of the decision-making procedure; strongly opposes the proposed withdrawal of the Maternity Leave proposal, as well as the Waste Package, the Clean Air Policy Review and the Circular Economy initiative, which have been identified as crucial for sustainable growth and the wellbeing and health of EU citizens;

    3.      Deeply deplores the recent attempt by the Commission to interfere in the national election in Greece; insists that the Commission refrain from interference in the democratic process of Member States;

    4.      Regrets that despite the inherent promise in the title ‘A New Start’, the Commission’s Work Programme is essentially a continuation of the failed policies of fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and deregulation;

    5.      Believes, therefore, that the Work Programme fails to address the major challenges the EU is faced with today, such as stagnating economies, the threat of deflation, high unemployment, declining social and labour rights, rising socio-economic inequalities and high public and external debts; insists that the economic, social, climate and political crisis can only be overcome by a radical new policy that puts people, animals and the environment at the centre of all policies, instead of the interests of the financial markets;

    6.      Criticises the flagship of the Work Programme – the proposed Investment Plan – as completely insufficient for stimulating investment, as it is conceptually flawed, proposing as it does the privatisation of profits and socialisation of risks, and lacks the necessary financial resources for tackling the massive demand and investment gap in the EU; stresses further the need to replace the ‘European Fund for Strategic Investments’ by a strong and powerful ‘European Investment Programme for Sustainable Development, Employment and Social Inclusion’ in order to stimulate qualitative and socially balanced growth;

    7.      Deeply deplores the fact that the social and environmental dimension is absent from the Work Programme; equally deplore the absence of culture, youth and education policies; underlines that austerity measures have undermined public services and jeopardised the impact of education and training in the economic recovery; recalls that support for the creative professions and industries, as well as for lifelong learning, must be a high priority in order to fight unemployment, poverty and inequalities;

    8.      Underlines the fact that the level of public and external debt in the EU peripheral countries is among the highest in the world, which is proof of the asymmetric nature of the integration process; recalls that this debt originated in large measure in the bailouts of financial institutions that had previously engaged in abusive and speculative practices, thanks to the lack of appropriate regulation and democratic control of the economy; denounces the fact that public debt has been the pretext for the imposition of austerity measures, the consequences of which are increased poverty, the violation of fundamental social and human rights, and more debt; considers it imperative to face the burden of debt, renegotiating (restructuring and substantially reducing) it, bringing it to sustainable levels, as a matter of urgency and of elementary justice; calls on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal that bans property confiscations by banks that are directed at ordinary citizens who have been negatively affected by the crisis;

    9.      Insists that the Commission rethink REFIT so as to ensure that the better regulation and simplification agenda is not used as a pretext for deregulation that weakens social protection of workers, consumer protection, environmental standards, animal welfare standards and social dialogue;

    10.    Insists that the Commission and the Member States show real political determination in taxing the actual holders of wealth and that a comprehensive strategy be developed with concrete and effective legislative measures, focusing in particular on international business operations, shifting of multinational profits and intragroup transactions, banning off-shore companies and tax havens and establishing minimum corporate tax rates;

    11.    Urges the Commission to ensure that all future legislation is subject to a social and fundamental rights impact assessment; in particular, the economic governance packages, the immigration policy and the EU schemes for large-scale collection, processing, transfer and storage of data should be subject to an ex-ante evaluation of their coherence with fundamental rights;

    PART 2


    A new socially balanced policy for jobs, growth and investment

    12.    Underlines the fact that the current economic and social crisis is also the result of the Commission’s neoliberal policies of promoting deregulated financial markets, of liberalised markets in products and services and of the increasing financialisation of the economy, as well as of reducing public investment and increasing labour market deregulation; calls on the Commission to reverse this policy;

    13.    Calls on the Commission to put forward a proposal for EU accession to the European Social Charter as a first step towards achieving a better balance between social and labour interests on the one hand and economic interests on the other;

    14.    Calls on the Commission to replace the ‘European Fund for Strategic Investments’ with a strong and powerful ‘European Investment Programme for Sustainable Development, Employment and Social Inclusion’ in order to stimulate qualitative and socially balanced growth;

    15.    Calls on the Commission to revise the rules on state aid in order to enable state intervention to enhance socially and environmentally beneficial projects, and to help SMEs and industries in difficulties by contributing to reconstructing their production capacities, which have been heavily hit by the crisis;

    16.    Calls on the Commission to present a proposal for the MFF midterm review which genuinely reflects the priorities needed to stimulate sustainable, qualitative and socially balanced growth;

    17.    Emphasises that regional policy is an indispensable tool for promoting economic and social cohesion, with the principal objectives of reducing regional disparities, promoting real convergence, and encouraging growth and employment; insists that cohesion policy must be pursued and strengthened and should always remain an independent policy providing for sustainable development (economic, social, environmental and territorial), and reductions in disparities between regions and in the backwardness of the poorer regions;

    18.    Rejects the Commission’s approach of subordinating cohesion policy to European economic governance, as well as the use of macroeconomic conditionality in the Stability and Growth Pact as a requirement for access to cohesion policy and regional development funds; insists that cohesion policy should not be used as an instrument of financial punishment;

    19.    Believes that the existing EU funding and current EU financial resources for cohesion policy are insufficient to meet needs in terms of achieving real convergence and tackling regional disparities, high levels of unemployment, income inequalities and poverty in the European Union; points to the need for the EU budget to be strengthened in the area of cohesion policy; expresses its deep concerns regarding the significant delay in the implementation of cohesion policy 2014-2020, as well as the payments backlog under cohesion policy for 2007-2013;

    A digital policy that protects the interests and rights of citizens

    20.    Welcomes the Commission’s goal of being at the forefront of the digital revolution; stresses, however, that the internet belongs to the public domain and that ensuring the principle of net neutrality must be at the heart of the EU policy;

    21.    Notes that citizens’ trust in the internet is pivotal to the success of the digital society and economy; believes that cyber security, particularly that of minors, is important, but that freedom from suspicion is equally important for citizens; calls on the Commission and Member States, therefore, to ensure that privacy and private data on the internet are protected from public and private bodies alike;

    22.    Takes the view, given the already increasingly precarious working conditions in the digital economy, that the Commission’s digital single market strategy needs to be complemented by safeguard measures in order to ensure decent working conditions in this sector;

    23.    Believes that a ‘fair work’ label for software products (such as games and software applications) could serve as an initial step towards this end;

    24.    Highlights the fact that the envisaged reform of intellectual property rights should not only protect the rights of owners – authors and creative workers on the one hand and collecting societies, publishing houses and the entertainment industries on the other –, but should also guarantee broad access for the public, as well as ensuring that further innovation is not halted;

    A new sustainable climate policy and a socially just energy policy

    25.    Believes the climate crisis is the result of a flawed energy-intensive production system, which is geared to the pursuit of profit, and that the solution to climate change cannot be left to the market, but demands a radical change in production methods and consumption; calls on the Commission to rethink its climate policy and to integrate climate change policy into all its policies;

    26.    Regrets the lack of ambition as regards binding targets shown to date by the Commission; believes an up-scaling of climate ambition is urgently required in order for the European Union to remain a leader in climate change negotiations, encourage green job creation and contribute to a fair share of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

    27.    Takes note of the promise to table the legislative proposals to implement the 2030 Climate and Energy package by the end of 2015; reminds President Juncker of his commitment to implementing a 30 % energy efficiency objective;

    28.    Asks the Commission to come forward with binding sustainability criteria for energy use and biomass; further asks the Commission to come forward with proposals that tackle the emission of greenhouse gases from intensive livestock farming, as these have a far greater impact on climate change than other greenhouse gases;

    29.    Notes the Commission’s intention to reform and reorganise EU energy policy into a new European Energy Union in order to secure energy supplies, reduce dependence on imports from third countries, improve participation by consumers, enhance energy efficiency and energy savings, advance a cooperative international energy architecture that includes Russia, and promote research and innovation in the energy field; in this regard insists that the EU’s energy policy must ensure access to energy for all, contribute to affordable energy prices for the benefit of all consumers, strengthen public control and regulation in this sector and contribute to a peaceful resolution of energy conflicts;

    30.    Asks the Commission also to focus closely on the issue of energy poverty when drafting its proposal for a Strategic Framework for the Energy Union;

    31.    Emphasises the importance of ambitious strategic policy measures and significant investment, led by the public sector, to strongly support the development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, and the need to support distributed energy systems in order to secure the energy supply and to avoid transportation wastage; stresses that research funding in the field of low-carbon technologies, modernisation of distribution networks and energy storage must be strengthened;

    32.    Agrees with the Commission that it is important to put an end to any isolation of Member States from European gas and electricity networks and is of the opinion that the EU should help the most vulnerable countries to diversify their sources and supply routes, as a matter of priority; calls for a sustainable energy production which at the same time allows the Member States to achieve the EU energy goals in accordance with their specific conditions;

    A socio-economically balanced internal market with a strengthened industrial base

    33.    Is extremely concerned that the Commission is advocating reviving securitisation via the ‘Capital Markets Union’; reminds the Commission that the financial industry benefited massively from the deregulation of financial markets and remains one of the main causes of the economic crisis; reiterates its demand for a radical downsizing of the financial industry, for traditional bank lending to the real economy to be revived by ending austerity that hampers investment demand, and for democratic oversight and control of the banking sector to be ensured;

    34.    Regrets the fact that the targeted review of the Posting of Workers Directive was only seen as a measure to deepen the internal market and not as a directive for protecting workers’ conditions; calls for a genuine policy to protect workers’ rights against social dumping;

    35.    Reiterates the importance of a diffused presence of industrial and manufacturing activities across the Member States, in line with the EU targets of 20% of GDP being created by industry; notes that industry produces 80 % of EU exports and is an important source of technological knowledge and highly skilled employment; points out that, as a result of the crisis, in many Member States industrial production has lost more than 20 % of its output, that several sectors have been hard hit by the crisis, and that a new industrial policy is need to construct new industrial capacities in sustainable activities;

    36.    Reiterates the fact that strategic sectors such as the steel industry, raw materials and the construction sector are suffering particularly and that the current competition rules are not creating a favourable environment for their development; recalls the Commission target of 20 % of GDP to be created by industry;

    37.    Points out that it is essential to provide greater support to micro and small and medium‑sized enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives in particular in order to boost their activities within a stable business environment, minimise the effect of dominant market positions occupied by large companies and conglomerates, and help MSMEs and cooperatives to be set up and to grow;

    38.    Calls for a regionally balanced approach to industrial policy in order to create a diversified industrial base in all Member States and regions, which is crucial to guaranteeing high levels of employment and activity across the EU;

    Democratic economic and monetary policies

    39.    Strongly believes that the architecture of economic governance and the EMU is undemocratic;

    40.    Insists on the replacement of the current Stability and Growth Pact with a real Employment and Development Pact, based on social criteria that benefit the peoples of the EU;

    41.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up a programme of support, complemented by ECB intervention, for the countries intervened in by the Troika, should they decide in a sovereign fashion that staying within the euro has become unsustainable and unbearable, providing for adequate compensation for the losses caused in the framework of a negotiated exit from the currency;

    42.    Calls for an intergovernmental conference with the aim of repealing the Fiscal Compact (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) and advocates its immediate suspension until the realization of this conference;

    43.    Calls on the Commission finally to acknowledge that the economic governance measures have completely failed to restore economic and socially balanced growth, and therefore reiterates its demand to fundamentally revise the six-pack and the two-pack and to replace them with far-reaching and socially balanced fiscal stimulus measures;

    44.    Considers that the Banking Union legislation serves only the interests of the big financial capital in the EU and infringes basic democratic principles; defends the repeal of the Banking Union legislation and the need to ensure democratic public control over the banking system;

    45.    Defends a deep change in the ECB mandate and statute, putting an end to its false autonomy, assuring its political and democratic control by the Member States on an equal footing, and giving back to Member States the power of decision on crucial economic options, including the control of their monetary policy; further defends opening the way for transformation of the ECB into a lender of last resort, which will act as a normal central bank that stimulates the economies in times of deflation and recession; in this context, insists that the ECB and the EIB should directly finance public investment to support the real economy rather than new asset price bubbles;

    46.    Demands from the Commission a thorough and transparent evaluation of the various economic governance measures, including the macro-economic adjustment programmes prescribed by the Troika, and that it reflect on the criticism that is not only expressed by critical economists but also by Troika members themselves; reiterates its call for the ‘Troika’ system to be immediately dissolved;

    47.    Deplores, and calls for an immediate end to, the unfair tax policies, including unjust and regressive water taxes, which are being imposed in Member States under fiscal adjustment programmes, and especially under the supervision of the Troika, and which violate the principle of proportional equality and progressiveness of taxation, as low‑income households in particular are affected disproportionally by the measures;

    48.    Regrets the short-term reasoning and half-measures approach pursued by the Commission in dealing with youth unemployment: calls on the Commission to intervene on the long-term drivers of youth employment, with a strong emphasis on creating sustainable quality jobs for young people, including through a strong rights‑based approach;

    A new fair trade policy

    49.    Expresses deep concerns regarding the general orientation given by the Commission to the EU international trade policy, in particular its lack of coherence with the key goals of creating jobs, tackling poverty, ensuring a sustainable economy, controlling speculation, especially speculation on food, protecting public health, animal welfare, sustainable agriculture and the environment, and ensuring cultural diversity;

    50.    Rejects the very wide mandates granted by the Council to the Commission for the negotiation of comprehensive free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which pose a serious threat to food security and sovereignty, jobs, the environment, public health and public services, inter alia, and which is allowing the inclusion of Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), with all the negative consequences of such a mechanism; asks the Commission to stop these international trade negotiations in 2015, and to reorient the international trade agreements of the EU;

    51.    Recalls that the impact studies commissioned by the Commission, in particular those concerning TTIP, TISA and CETA, promising jobs and wealth for all, present serious failures and lack of credibility because the economic models used are obsolete; calls on the Commission to use more credible economic models, and to verify the results of the FTAs that have already entered into force, and to compare them with the studies of the impact assessments;

    52.    Underlines the fact that any FTA must be conditional on the safeguarding of current levels of regulation of labour, environmental and social rights protection and safeguards on public procurement and the provision of services of public interest, including the right of states to adopt higher standards in the futures in these regards; insists that any form of ISDS be excluded from FTA negotiations, in order to maintain democratic control over said regulations;

    53.    Rejects secrecy in international trade deals, and calls on the Commission to make public all negotiating documents to parliamentarians and to all interested citizens; calls for a public and democratic debate with all relevant stakeholders, in particular trade unions and civil society representatives, to ensure adequate monitoring of the implications of the Commission’s free trade agenda;

    54.    Considers that the accelerated launching of new free trade agreements is aimed at avoiding real approaches to solving the crisis, such as the reduction of economic inequalities inside the EU, the limitation of abuses by corporate companies and investors, the audit and reduction of public debts, and the necessary fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion;

    55.    Recalls, that following the Member States’ and Parliament’s position, the Commission agreed on the principle of the ‘cultural exception’, according to which culture should be treated differently from other commercial products and cultural goods and services should be left out of the negotiations; takes the view that this should include the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS), public subsidies, financing obligations for broadcasters, taxes on film tickets, co-production agreements, language policy measures, the functioning of channels invested with a public-service remit, the existence of stockholding caps in channels and networks, intellectual property rights and specific social-security systems;

    A real justice and fundamental rights policy

    56.    Calls on the Commission to play an active role in pushing for the adoption of the horizontal anti-discrimination directive in line with Parliament’s position, and in the fight against discrimination, including attacks on Roma, migrants and asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups;

    57.    Asks the Commission to evaluate the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) and the Council recommendation on measures of effective integration of the Roma in the Member States, and to propose additional measures if necessary for the effective inclusion of the Roma;

    58.    Asks the Commission to implement Parliament’s resolutions on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, including the Michel, Benova, Gal and Tavares reports; calls on the Commission to quickly propose an action plan regarding the Copenhagen dilemma;

    59.    Calls on the Commission to come up with an action plan for Member States to enhance detention conditions, especially given the widespread use of pre-trial detention, including in European Arrest Warrant (EAW) cases; calls on the Commission to take full account of European Court of Human Rights case-law on prison conditions;

    60.    Is deeply disappointed with the inaction of the Commission with regard to the legislative own-initiative report on the revision of the European Arrest Warrant; calls on the Commission to come up with a new proposal, taking into account Parliament’s report on this matter, especially the issue of proportionality tests;

    61.    Regrets the fact that the Commission has not included in its new initiatives a renewed up-to-date proposal for public access to documents, mirroring the first reading agreement reached by the Parliament in 2011;

    62.    Is concerned by the Commission’s announcement that it will table a European Agenda on Security; calls on the Commission to perform an in-depth evaluation of the necessity, proportionality and effectiveness of existing instruments in the area of internal security and the fight against terrorism and organised crime before proposing new measures in that field (for instance passenger name records (PNR) and Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP));

    63.    Urges the Commission to respond to the requests from the European Parliament in its resolutions on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA, in particular after the report of the US Senate on torture committed by the CIA;

    64.    Welcomes the renewed commitment to access to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR); considers, however, the opinion of the Court of the Justice of the European Union (ECJ) on the European Union’s accession to the ECHR as a major setback for human rights;

    65.    Welcomes the commitment to access to the Renewed Social Charter;

    66.    Calls on the Commission to take full account of the ruling of the ECJ in Joined Cases C 293/12 and C 594/12 of 8 April 2014; urges the Commission in this context to refrain from proposing any further measures based on blanket data retention;

    67.    Considers that the ECJ ruling on data retention is relevant to the collection of passenger name record data for law enforcement purposes; calls on the Commission, therefore, to withdraw the proposal on EU PNR;

    68.    Calls on the Commission to initiate serious efforts to protect citizens from increasing state surveillance;

    A human-rights-based policy on migration

    69.    Calls for the forthcoming communication on the European agenda on migration to take a genuinely holistic approach to EU migration by making proposals to develop safe and legal ways to access protection in Europe for all women, men and children in need of protection, so that people will no longer be forced to risk their lives in the Mediterranean or in the deserts on their way to Europe;

    70.    Calls for the forthcoming communication on the European agenda on migration to develop new ways to legal migration beyond highly skilled workers, so that people will no longer be taking up irregular employment;

    71.    Condemns the current approach to a common European migration policy, which is centred on the prevention and repression of irregular migration, including through detention, without any regard to the growing number of asylum seekers fleeing from wars, persecution and climatic disasters;

    72.    Expresses serious concerns about the willingness of the Commission to intensify cooperation with third countries to improve the management of migration; is concerned about the proliferation and deepening of these agreements, including their extension to third countries where the human rights of individuals are not respected, as is case in the Khartoum process and the forthcoming EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative;

    73.    Points out that the cooperation of the EU with third countries on migration may conflict with the effective right of men, women and children to leave their country; believes that this contributes to the increase in violations of the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers at all stages of the migration process;

    74.    Condemns the increasing externalisation of EU borders under cover of development cooperation; recalls that development aid should not be tied to the conclusion of readmission agreements, the development and use of border surveillance technologies and detention of migrants;

    75.    Calls for the Commission to start assessing possible amendments to the current Common European Asylum System, taking into consideration the relevant recent case law from both the CJUE and ECtHR and the need for a uniform status of asylum, valid throughout the Union (as enshrined in Article 78, paragraph 1, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union);

    A peaceful global actor

    76.    Calls on the Commission and the Council to develop a balanced foreign policy that enhances the EU’s relationship with strategic partners in relevant areas, including the Mediterranean, Russia, China and new emerging global and regional actors;

    77.    Disagrees with the lines along which the CFSP and CSDP are being developed, that is to say in full alignment with NATO and the transatlantic relationship, further militarising international relations, advocating interventions and actively supporting the military‑industrial complex; calls for respect for international law and a return to political-diplomatic means of solving conflicts;

    A Union of democratic change

    78.    Welcomes the commitment to tabling proposals for an interinstitutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register for all EU institutions, but reaffirms the need to enhance representative and participatory democracy by implementing Articles 9 to 12 of the Treaty of Lisbon;

    Other policy priorities

    Fisheries policy

    79.    Calls for a decentralised Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which promotes the modernisation and sustainable development of the fisheries sector, ensuring its socio‑economic viability, the sustainability of resources, the maintenance and creation of jobs and the improvement of living conditions of fisheries workers;

    80.    Calls for measures to improve the price of the first sale of fish and the income of fisheries workers, on subsidy or compensation mechanisms for fisheries workers affected by the economic and social repercussions of the recovery plans, multiannual management and measures for the protection of ecosystems;

    81.    Calls for measures to ensure national sovereignty over the Exclusive Economic Zones of Member States and their fisheries resources, allowing proximity management; takes the view that twelve miles should be maintained as a zone of exclusive access for the national fleet of each Member State, and proposes that the possibility be considered of its extension to adjacent areas, conforming to the continental shelves;

    82.    Calls for biodiversity to be safeguarded in marine environments, ensuring favourable conditions for fish populations to replenish; advocates in this regard the creation of fisheries-free zones in areas where fish stocks and biodiversity are threatened;

    83.    Reaffirms the need for the CFP to recognise the specific characteristics of small-scale and coastal fishing and to analyse to what extent the existing instruments are suited to the sector’s needs, adapting them accordingly;

    84.    Calls on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to support small-scale fisheries, to fully address the specific problems of this sector and to favour proximity management, sustainable fisheries and the development of coastal communities;

    85.    Regrets that the approved CFP and the common market organisation (CMO) lag well behind the real needs of the fisheries sector, and calls for a review of these two regulations as soon as possible;

    86.    Criticises what overly zealous drastic cuts in total allowable catch (TAC) allowances can do to the sector, to livelihoods and to rural communities, and asks the Commission to do its utmost to prevent this from happening in the future;

    Agricultural policies

    87.    Believes that European agriculture is one of the sectors that can maintain a certain value creation despite the effects of the crisis; however, the sector is missing many farmers and there is a serious lack of replacement with young farmers; regrets that this phenomenon is putting at risk our important agricultural and rural patrimonies of the world, at the same time that large agro-business companies are expanding their margins and imposing their model of a global food system that entails destructive environmental effects; underlines, therefore, that farmers, and not big business, must be at the centre of European agricultural and foods policies in order truly to boost growth and jobs in all the regions of the EU; notes that the present trend is leading to the decimation of traditional family farms across Europe and the associated decline of social and economic activity in rural areas;

    88.    Strongly opposes market domination and unfair price setting by large agro-food companies, which exploit farmers and enforce overproduction at the expense of food quality, human and animal health, animal welfare and the environment;

    89.    Stresses that the EU needs reliable, clear, democratic policy instruments to help farmers sell their products at adequate prices, boosting quality production in the farming sector, which is one of the best-known characteristics of European agriculture all over the world; against this background, it is crucial to revise, in the coming years, the CAP towards an equitable distribution of resources which helps farmers rather than large companies or landowners;

    90.    Emphasises that Europe must develop public instruments that adapt supply and demand in order to maintain farmer’s income and food production levels in order to protect farmers against price volatility;

    91.    Asks the Commission to keep the quota system and to work towards a fair redistribution of the right to grow among EU producers;

    92.    Calls on the European Union to forbid the authorisation, cultivation and marketing of GMOs and to make a strong commitment to the European organic farming sector, the only one that has been growing in recent decades;

    93.    Stresses that Europe must give priority to the protection of its agricultural land, bearing in mind that 2015 is the international year of soils, and address the issue of land grabbing, a crucial matter of global importance in defending farmers, soils and the environment;

    94.    Stresses, with a view to protecting agricultural land in the long term, the need for effective climate change prevention and mitigation strategies to come into play across Europe in order to decarbonise the agricultural sector while aiming to protect the productivity of European farms;

    95.    Requests the review and stimulus of the horticultural sector across the Member States in order to ensure minimal food miles for nutritious food;

    96.    Calls for the European Union to forbid all forms of seed patenting in order to protect farmers against unfair competition and unnecessary bureaucracy;

    97.    Regrets the current lack of compliance with animal welfare standards in European livestock farming and implores the Commission to ensure that existing legislation is adequately enforced in all Member States;

    98.    Advocates a shift away from intensive livestock farming towards a fair, sustainable and plant-based form of protein production in agriculture in the EU;

    99.    Calls on the Commission to publish its report ‘Building a Sustainable European Food System’, which has already been approved by three former Commissioners, and to come forward with an action plan that takes account of the conclusions of this report;

    100.  Calls on the Commission to improve animal welfare rules in current EU legislation on organic farming and to remove any exceptions to animal welfare rules, such as the use of inappropriate breeds, tethering of livestock and unnecessary castration;

    101.  Asks the Commission to withdraw its cloning proposals and to present new ones that reflect the position of the European Parliament, allowing also for the application of the ordinary legislative procedure; objects to the choice of the consent procedure for the directive on the placing on the market of food from animal clones, as this would deprive Parliament of its right to amend the proposal;

    102.  Strongly criticises the continued existence of agricultural export refunds of any kind; calls for their immediate abolition;

    103.  Welcomes the recent initiative by the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark to limit the maximum transport time for live animals to eight hours; calls on the Commission to revise as a matter of urgency Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations, and thus to shorten the maximum transport times for live animals;

    104.  Calls for a mid-term review which is robust and effective in finding sustainable solutions to the issues inherent within the CAP;

    105.  Requests the opening of the debate to develop a new EU agricultural and food policy that responds to the interest of the whole of society;

    Womens rights and gender equality

    106.  Calls for an independent heading on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality that:

    –       calls on the Commission and the Council to put forward a proposal for a comprehensive EU strategy on violence against women, including legislation on minimum standards against violence against women; takes the view that there should be no separate action plan around, for example, female genital mutilation, domestic violence or sexual violence, but that all the different forms of violence against women should be framed within an overarching and effective strategy based on a gender equality perspective, including pursuing EU accession to the Istanbul Convention, signed in 2011 to prevent and fight violence against women and domestic violence;

    –       emphasises the urgent need to realise an EU strategy on equality between women and men, based on the Beijing Declaration and Platform For Action and addressing its twelve critical areas of concern; the main objective should be to implement all the necessary steps to achieve equality between women and men, starting with an architecture/framework for women’s rights at European level; without this structure, and without the strategy, women and girls in Europe will not see their rights respected or be equal (with men, and among themselves); the strategy should be understood and supported as the strategic political answer by the European institutions to the challenges that women face 20 years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action; this is about the EU’s credibility when it comes to human rights in general, both in Europe and on the international scene;

    –       calls on the Council of the European Union and the Member States to engage and move forward in negotiating with Parliament, to make their official position known, and to support a robust Maternity Leave Directive to ensure that all women in Europe have equal rights;



    107.  Calls on the Commission to revise its Work Programme in line with Parliament’s resolution, including the sector-specific positions set out in Part 2 of this resolution;

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