Procedure : 2015/3034(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0051/2016

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 21/01/2016 - 8.4
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Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0043/2016

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the implementation of Article 42(7) on the Treaty on European Union (2015/3034(RSP))

Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Knut Fleckenstein, Richard Howitt, Victor Boştinaru, Gilles Pargneaux, Vincent Peillon, Ana Gomes, Afzal Khan, Tonino Picula, Neena Gill, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Sorin Moisă, Victor Negrescu, Boris Zala on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the implementation of Article 42(7) of the Treaty on European Union (2015/3034(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in particular Article 42(7) thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 2(4) and 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on the EU’s mutual defence and solidarity clauses: political and operational dimensions(1),

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular to the provisions of Chapter VII and Article 51 thereof,

–  having regard to the statement made by the President of the French Republic before the French Congress on 16 November 2015 that France was at war,

–  having regard to the conclusions on defence and security adopted by the European Council on 19-20 December 2013 and 25-26 June 2015,

–  having regard to the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting (of Defence Ministers) on 17 November 2015,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 13 November 2015 multiple terrorist attacks took place in Paris, taking the lives of at least 130 people from more than 26 nations;

B.  whereas the French Government officially invoked the mutual defence clause under Article 42(7) of the Treaty on European Union following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015;

C.  whereas, following the invocation by France of the mutual defence clause, the Member States have towards France an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter;

D.  whereas the use of force by the EU or its Member States is only admissible if legally justified on the basis of the UN Charter; noting, in this context, the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter; emphasising that the prevention of conflicts and attacks is preferable to dealing with their consequences;

E.  whereas solidarity, aid and mutual assistance among the Member States, including through recourse to EU means, are among the founding values of the European Union; whereas the security of the Member States is indivisible, and all European citizens should have the same security guarantees and an equal level of protection against both conventional and non-conventional threats, including terrorism, and attacks from both state and non-state actors;

F.  whereas combating international terrorism is considered to be a priority for the EU, and pursuing the principle of solidarity requires action at home as well as abroad, in line with international law; whereas the internal and external dimensions of EU security are necessarily and closely linked;

G.  whereas the security and defence architecture provided for by the Treaties is not yet fully implemented; whereas the Treaty of Lisbon provides for enhanced cooperation in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), including through the assignment of specific tasks and missions to clusters of states, as well as the concept of permanent structured cooperation in military matters; whereas the Member States are responsible for achieving progress in the area of the security and defence of the Union;

H.  whereas Article 42(6) TEU on permanent structured cooperation should be activated among those Member States that wish to cooperate closely with each other;

I.  whereas the EU needs to strengthen its cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in order to make the security and defence policies established within both frameworks increasingly compatible, in particular when a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, which includes terrorist attacks;

J.  whereas the EU institutions need to be more active in security and defence policy, and to promote the implementation of all the provisions on security and defence policy enshrined in the Treaties, including those on the particular role of NATO in European and transatlantic security and defence; whereas the EU-NATO strategic partnership should be strengthened; whereas the EU institutions must support all the Member States in their endeavours to implement those provisions fully;

1.  Welcomes with great satisfaction the unanimous and full support extended to France by all the Member States; welcomes, in particular, the readiness of all the Member States to provide all necessary aid and assistance;

2  Points out that all use of force must comply with the UN Charter, international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

3.  Recalls that the mutual defence clause was invoked for the first time; considers that the current case will serve as a precedent for the future use of the mutual defence clause and should also serve to strengthen European security and defence;

4.  Notes with great satisfaction that, upon France invoking the mutual defence clause, additional contributions of resources were made available in the fight against terrorism; encourages all the Member States to sustain their contributions for as long as necessary; welcomes France’s role as a catalyst in this common endeavour; encourages the competent EU institutions to provide and sustain their support as necessary;

5.  Considers that invoking the mutual defence and solidarity clauses under the Treaties is first and foremost a political matter; underlines the fact that, when these clauses are invoked, both the European Council and the European Parliament are the place for the political debate;

6.  Recalls its invitation, in previous resolutions, to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to propose practical arrangements and guidelines for ensuring an effective response in the event that a Member State invokes the mutual defence clause, as well as an analysis of the role of the EU institutions should that clause be invoked; regrets, however, that no analysis and no guidelines were available when the mutual defence clause was activated for the first time, leading to the current situation requiring ad hoc measures, ad hoc management and ad hoc cooperation;

7.  Considers that the establishment of practical arrangements and guidelines for the future activation of the mutual defence clause remains an urgent priority; stresses that the drawing up of these guidelines should take into account the lessons learned from the first activation of Article 42(7); reiterates its view that the obligation to provide aid and assistance, expressing political solidarity among the Member States, should ensure a rapid decision in the Council in support of the Member State under attack; considers that consultations in line with the requirement of Article 32 TEU would serve this purpose, without prejudice to the right of each Member State to provide for its self‑defence in the meantime;

8.  Expresses concerns that managing aid and assistance under the mutual defence clause on a bilateral basis – as in this case – will not be possible for all Member States, and therefore calls on the European Council to add impetus to the further development of the mutual defence clause and to strengthen the role of the relevant EU institutions as facilitators;

9.  Calls for the monitoring of developments as regards the activation of Article 42(7) TEU, for example through a mechanism such as the Joint Consultation Meetings;

10.  Notes that the solidarity clause in Article 222 TFEU would make it possible to put all relevant EU means at the disposal of France and other Member States directly engaged in the fight against terrorism;

11.  Calls for better coordination between border management, police and other law‑enforcement and intelligence agencies, and asks for a more efficient and structured exchange of information between them; underlines the need for a mechanism for coordination and mutual assistance among Member States with special large-scale police operations;

12.  Calls for an EU common foreign policy on the future of Syria and the broader Middle East, in coordination with all relevant actors; considers that this policy should be an integral part of the future EU Global Strategy; notes that the coordination to date among the Member States that have been contributing to the fight against terrorism in the area should have been improved; notes that the military support provided to the coalition that is trying to counter the advance of Daesh/ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya has not achieved the potential of an integrated European approach owing to insufficient organisation and coordination;

13.  Takes the view that the current activation of Article 42(7) TEU should be the catalyst for unleashing the potential of all the security- and defence-related Treaty provisions that should follow suit; recalls in this context the importance of fully and correctly applying the Defence Package, comprising Directives 2009/81/EC on defence procurement and 2009/43/EC on intra-community transfers;

14.  Calls for the full implementation of Regulation (EU) No 258/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing Article 10 of the UN Protocol against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, which is intended to ensure effective control of transfers of firearms for civilian use; welcomes the review of the EU legislation on firearms (including on deactivation, administrative sanctions and signal weapons) and the intention to strengthen police cooperation with neighbouring countries on arms smuggling; calls, accordingly, on the Commission to enhance Europol’s capabilities in this area;

15.  Considers that the activation of the mutual defence clause, especially in the light of the threat of terrorism facing Member States and the level of conflict in the neighbourhood, also highlights the need for the EU to have a voice in the UN Security Council; is of the opinion that the EU should do its utmost in the UN Security Council to promote a renewed understanding of international humanitarian law so as to reflect the current unconventional armed threats and those posed by non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, and to ensure that these are adequately framed in applicable international law; believes that the EU should promote the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) international security and human rights norm for emergency humanitarian prevention and action, in accordance with international law;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the United States and the US Secretary of Defence.


OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 138.

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