Procedure : 2016/2773(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0886/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-0886/2016

Debates :

PV 06/07/2016 - 5
CRE 06/07/2016 - 5

Votes :

PV 06/07/2016 - 6.12
CRE 06/07/2016 - 6.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


RESOLUTION
PDF 411kWORD 114k
4.7.2016
PE585.325v01-00
 
B8-0886/2016

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 Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017 (2016/2773(RSP))


João Pimenta Lopes, Tania González Peñas, Marina Albiol Guzmán, Javier Couso Permuy, Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy, Liadh Ní Riada, Nikolaos Chountis, Paloma López Bermejo, Ángela Vallina, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Rina Ronja Kari, Stelios Kouloglou, Merja Kyllönen, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Marisa Matias, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Fabio De Masi, Stefan Eck, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Miguel Urbán Crespo on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017 (2016/2773(RSP))  
B8‑0886/2016

The European Parliament,

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

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

A.  whereas the EU and its Member States continue to struggle with the deepest economic and social crisis since its foundation; whereas the neoliberal EU policies and the austerity-oriented policies imposed by the EU within the economic governance framework have widened, as expected, the socio-economic inequalities within and between Member States, with the increase of the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion (which in 2015 accounted for 24.4 % in EU-28); whereas labour market deregulation and regressive tax systems have contributed to the transfer of yield from the workers to the large capitalists and exacerbated the income and wealth gap;

B.  whereas stagnating economies, high unemployment, declining social and labour rights, and rising socio-economic inequalities demand a fundamental policy shift away from the policies currently pursued by the EU towards policies that strengthen the Member States’ efforts to create sustainable economic growth and full employment, and to combat poverty, social exclusion and income inequalities, namely through redistributive policies and job-creating public investment;

C.  whereas the debt burden that has resulted from the EMU is massively disproportionate, with some countries profiting while others have been forced into serious depression; whereas this debt has been the pretext for the imposition of unacceptable austerity programmes, which has led to an increase of the debt, through the conversion of private to public debt, compounded by the budgetary consequences of the subsequent recession, whilst pursuing the objectives of imposing structural reforms and deconstructing State social functions and workers’ rights; whereas these policies have resulted in rising unemployment, poverty, deep wage cuts, a higher pension age and lower public spending in areas such as education, culture and health; whereas these policies have imposed the execution of radical privatisation programmes and will continue to compress demand;

D.  whereas the European Commission’s response to the economic, social and democratic crisis, such as the economic governance framework, has permanently removed policy choices from sovereign and democratically elected governments and national parliaments, preventing democratic control by the peoples of Europe and establishing austerity as permanent; whereas there is growing opposition among people against this capitalist European integration process, which reflects the urgent need to have an integration process that serves social and democratic progress, fair and peaceful solution of international challenges and cultural dialog worldwide, embarking on a path of cooperation amongst countries with equal rights;

E.  whereas the tax systems are designed to favour the large capital rather than the working class; whereas austerity and harsh fiscal discipline measures, alongside heavy losses of government revenue resulting from tax evasion and avoidance, put further pressure on Member States’ budgets and undermine the interests of the peoples and workers; whereas tax policy remains a Member State competence; whereas secret tax agreements, global tax avoidance and evasion, and the transfer of profits to tax havens are still allowed or not duly dealt with in the legal framework;

F.  whereas the budgetary choices made by the EU do not reflect the priorities needed to stimulate sustainable, qualitative and socially balanced growth, nor do they take account of the need for solidarity and economic and social cohesion between Member States;

G.  whereas the EU is facing today the largest refugee humanitarian crisis since World War II; whereas the EU and certain Member States have direct responsibilities in the root causes of this exodus, that makes people flee their homes as a consequence of wars, climate change, inequalities and the interference and aggression policy imposed in the Middle East and Northern Africa, namely through military interventions and the fuelling of regional conflicts, in full coordination with the geopolitical strategic interests of the USA and NATO; whereas the way this humanitarian crisis is being dealt with is clear evidence of the class nature of this EU failing to comply with its obligations, including under international law;

H.  whereas the EU has several policies that prepare the ground for xenophobia and racism, and the development of radical xenophobic and racist parties and movements, as they enforce discrimination towards the treatment of workers, refugees and migrants, based on nationality;

I.  whereas the proposal for a new settlement for the United Kingdom within the EU, which would have been enforced had the British referendum outcome been otherwise, would bolster the deregulation and competitiveness agenda, and undermine freedom of movement and the principle of non-discrimination; whereas this was a demonstration of the double-standard approach to Member states within the EU; whereas the unilateral interests of the larger Member States should not override the interests of the smallest ones;

J.  whereas the right of any Member State to withdraw from the EU should be acknowledged;

K.  whereas the result of the British referendum demonstrates that another Europe is necessary and must be built with the agreement of the people, who expect concrete decisions on social fields such as employment, transparency and welfare, rejecting austerity measures;

L.  whereas all decisions regarding the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, after the UK’s exit, must be the result of a democratic process and involve both the European Parliament and national parliaments; whereas all Member States have the right and duty to develop economic, political and cultural relations of their own choice with the United Kingdom ,based on the principles of mutual interests, friendship between peoples and cooperation between sovereign states;

M.  whereas the referendum in the United Kingdom demonstrated the need to advance the process of Irish reunification through a border poll, as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement; whereas the existence of an international border between the north and south would have serious negative consequences for Ireland; whereas the EU should continue proactively to support the peace process in Ireland and to provide for its continuation in any negotiations on British withdrawal;

N.  whereas there is a democratic deficit that results from the policies and options of the EU that constitutes an enormous problem, and many citizens feel that they are not represented by the institutions; whereas this may only be addressed through transparency, openness and the defence of the values of democracy, including stronger participation by citizens, peace, tolerance, progress, solidarity and cooperation among peoples;

O.  whereas the sovereign will of the peoples to decide their own development path in each Member States should be defended as an absolute right;

P.  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 commitments in the COP21, although apparently ambitious, should be carefully enhanced in the right direction;

Macroeconomic and austerity policies

1.  Urges the European Commission to present a Work Programme that addresses the major challenges that the peoples and Member States are facing today, such as stagnating economies, deflation, rising socio-economic inequalities and poverty, imbalanced investment and economic growth, high unemployment and increasing labour precariousness, declining social and labour rights, high debt burden, an increased need for international protection as well as the climate crisis; is deeply concerned at the intention pursued by the European Commission to continue the policies of fiscal consolidation, privatisations, structural reform and deregulation, against the interest of the peoples; asserts that the social, economic, climate and political challenges can only be overcome by a profound change towards progressive policies that bring people and the environment to the core of the development strategies, instead of the interests of the financial markets and the large capitalists;

2.  Deeply deplores the continued imposition by the EU institutions of austerity measures on Member States and, in particular, the EU institutions’ blackmail towards some countries that express their own choices for growth and development; insists that the European institutions should respect the national sovereignty of each Member State and the decision made by the peoples to move towards development, growth and social cohesion, and that no country should be penalised for boosting its economy, either through public investment plans or through redistributive fiscal and progressive tax policies;

3.  Calls for an immediate end to the so called memoranda of understanding and the counter-productive and socially devastating austerity and neoliberal policies they have imposed; takes the view that these memoranda have imposed unfair tax policies which violate the principle of proportional equality and progressive taxation; calls for the creation of an emergency plan to support the economy of those countries that were under the Troika’s intervention;

4.  Regrets the insufficient response in the EU to the tax scandals; defends the obligation to make both tax rulings and country-by-country reporting public in order to ensure transparency and scrutiny; defends the end to off-shores and other tax havens, the defence of cooperation for the lifting of banking secrecy for tax purposes, the promotion of cooperation measures in preventing and combating money laundering and tax fraud, and the punishing of speculative transactions through tax policy measures and ensuring that taxes are paid where the value is created; calls for an international summit under the United Nations’ framework with a view to defining a road map and a Joint Action Plan to end tax havens and tax dumping;

5.  Calls for the immediate stop to the process of establishing a Capital Markets Union; reiterates the need to separate investment banking from retail banking and to reinforce the public control of the financial sector; stresses that deregulation of the financial markets, the devastating process of privatisation experienced in the financial sector, the consequent phenomenon of merges and acquisitions that led to a great increase in the industry concentration and created the so-called too big to fail banks, as well as the financialisation of the economy, have been responsible for the turmoil of countries’ economies; rejects the Banking Union;

6.  Calls for the European Commission to ensure the effective and timely implementation of investments, which give priority to countries under financial assistance, especially targeting regions in economic crisis and recession, with high levels of unemployment and poverty, boosting growth and jobs, enforcing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and ensuring sound economic development and social cohesion;

Economic governance and the EMU

7.  Takes the view that the Fiscal Stability Treaty, the Fiscal Compact and the European Semester should be revoked, as they constitute an undemocratic and economic straightjacket that has an adverse effect on investment, growth and job creation; stresses the urgent need for Member States to regain the ability to decide on the economic policies that best address their respective needs;

8.  Stresses the fact that the level of public and external debt in the EU peripheral countries is among the largest in the world – a consequence of the asymmetric nature of the integration process; considers it imperative to reduce the debt burden, through debt renegotiation (of amounts, maturity and interest rates) and the annulment of its speculative and illegitimate component, bringing it to sustainable levels, as a matter of urgency and of elementary justice; calls for an intergovernmental conference to revoke the Fiscal Stability Treaty;

9.  Urges the Commission to allow – until the definitive repeal of the Fiscal Stability Treaty – fiscal space for manoeuvre in order to provide further liquidity for investment, for development in education, culture and health, and for a holistic social development, which will facilitate quality and safe employment, and strengthen the welfare state;

10.  Urges the creation of an emergency plan to support the economy of those countries that have suffered from the Troika’s intervention;

11.  Calls for the creation of a programme of support for those Member States which may wish to negotiate leaving the euro on the grounds that their membership has become unsustainable and unbearable; stresses that such a programme should foresee adequate compensation for the social and economic damage caused;

12.  Strongly rejects, therefore, the Five Presidents’ report, as it offers no way out of the prevailing austerity narrative, but proposes instead that existing policies be deepened, including through increased competitiveness and structural convergence, imposing strict fiscal policies and austerity;

Labour and social rights

13.  Strongly criticises austerity policies – so-called competitiveness policies, liberalisation and labour market deregulation – which have undermined basic social and labour rights in the Member States; defends the right to collective bargaining, with the direct involvement of the workers’ organisations, as a key instrument to safeguard and enhance rights to combat discrimination, social-dumping, precarious and fraudulent employment, working-time deregulation, atypical work, the widening of the low-wage sector, competition on lower wages, the phenomena of the working poor, social exclusion, poor pensioners and harassment and violence at the workplace, and to protect workers from self-exploitation in new forms of work, including digital work and crowd work, protecting the right to log off;

14.  Rejects and deplores criticism by the European Commission of policies that seek the valuation of wages and the redistribution of income and wealth in favour of workers; stresses the need for effective measures to be introduced to combat wage discrimination within a wage-policy framework that considers the concept of equal pay for equal work; stresses the need to implement development policies that promote growth and the creation of jobs, dealing with high unemployment rates, which affect women and youth the most;

15.  Urges the European Commission to stop recommending reorganisation and cuts in Member States’ government departments, and to stop supporting and promoting flexisecurity in employment and privatisation of public services, as those approaches have unquestionably served to weaken the social rights of workers and to improve the wealth transfer towards large capitalists;

16.  Reminds the European Commission of its commitment to accession to the renewed European Social Charter, and calls on the Commission to put forward without delay a proposal for accession to the Charter; further, strongly urges the Commission to present a proposal for a Social Protocol, which puts social and collective interests above the economic freedoms;

17.  Expresses concern that the Posting of Workers Directive, in its current form, does not address the main problems of workers’ mobility within the EU; urges the European Commission, in close cooperation with the Members States, to proceed with the review of this Directive, to fight against social dumping in all its expressions and to ensure access for posted workers to the same social benefits as the workers in the country of reception, including the guarantee of the principle of equal pay for equal work at the same place; states that under no situation should a worker face regressive wages or social rights; further calls for the upcoming revision of Regulation 883/2004 to strengthen the coordination of Member States’ social security systems; underlines the need to strengthen the enforcement of labour and social legislation to all sectors;

18.  Calls for a EU black list of companies, including letter box companies, responsible for repeated breaches of EU and Member States’ labour and social legislation, and for these companies to be banned from public contracts and subsidies, including EU-funding, for a certain period;

19.  Calls on the European Commission , in the context of the discussion and recommendations on the National Insolvency frameworks, to ensure the participation and information of workers and workers organisations, through all the stages in the procedure, and to prevent the tactical use of insolvency procedures in order to lower the employment conditions of workers or facilitate massive lay-offs; calls, in this context, on the European Commission to facilitate the take-over of companies facing insolvency by their workers, in order to maintain their economic activity and minimise job losses;

20.  Underlines the need for an integrated anti-poverty strategy, which focuses, inter alia, on reducing child poverty and social exclusion; calls on the evaluation and creation of Minimum Income Schemes, at Member State level, which guarantees a percentage of the average income in the respective Member States, with the minimum reference of at least 60 %, as an important step towards eradicating poverty;

21.  Stresses the need to defend and develop, in the Member States, the social functions of the state and the offer of public services, which should include, inter alia, access to justice and to universal, free and quality public education and health systems, as well as care services for children and for sick and elderly people, as well as a high level of social protection in general;

22.  Takes the view that all EU actions and programmes on culture and education should have a systematic, socially inclusive dimension, promote policies of public quality education and contribute to full access to culture and recreation for all; calls, therefore, on the European Commission and the Member States to exclude all education- and culture-related public expenditure from the calculation of public deficit within the Growth and Stability Pact;

23.  Regrets that EU mobility programmes have not fully fulfilled their purpose and that they have imposed an unacceptable discrimination of access; asks therefore the European Commission to strengthen access to all mobility programmes by all who wish to apply, in particular disadvantaged groups, and to improve information and access to mobility programmes in vocational education and training schemes; deplores the recent trend undertaken in certain programmes to replace grant systems with loan guarantee schemes such as Erasmus+ and Creative Europe; calls, therefore, for decent grant systems that allow the entire period outside the country of origin to be covered in order to ensure universal access to these mobility programmes;

24.  Stresses that online services, e-commerce, the copyright domain (regarding not only the authors, but also the artists, performers and producers), the protection, management and storage of data, and network neutrality require a joint, community and international approach that has as guiding principle that the defence of public interests shall always take precedence over the logic of business and profit; emphasises that the internet belongs to the public domain and that ensuring the principle of net neutrality is of utmost importance;

Women’s rights and gender equality

25.  Deeply regrets that the European Commission has failed to present a new strategy on gender equality between women and men for the period 2015-2020, and calls for such a strategy to be presented;

26.  Calls on the European Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to put forward a proposal for a comprehensive EU strategy on violence against women that addresses all the different forms of violence; welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for EU accession to the Istanbul Convention and the initiative to launch an awareness-raising campaign in 2017 on combatting violence against women;

27.  Condemns the withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directive; calls on the European Commission to put forward a new proposal which respects Parliament’s position in favour of increasing the current minimum-guaranteed period of maternity leave on full pay from 14 to 20 weeks, and of a mandatory right to paid paternity leave; believes that specific measures need to be taken in all Member States to improve the work-life balance for women and men, and that steps are needed to increase the length of parental leave, paid at 100 %, moving towards a more equal system of parental leave;

28.  Calls also on the European Commission to guarantee and include universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in all related policy areas in the EU and beyond;

Democracy, human rights and liberties

29.  Strongly condemns the EU-Turkey deal as well as all other proposals aimed at externalising EU borders in order to keep people in need of protection outside the EU, in absolute disrespect of the commitments of the EU and its Members States to international law, including the principle of non-refoulement; condemns the strong focus 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, hunger and climate disasters; condemns the multiplication of repressive proposals and military responses made by the European Commission in 2015 and 2016 to this humanitarian crises, such as EUNAVFOR MED, the NATO operation in the Aegean, the proposal of strengthening the powers of Frontex through the setting up of a European border guard, the creation of refugee detention centres, the acceleration of returns, including of asylum-seekers, and the pressure of the European Commission to declare Turkey (a country with a poor human rights record) as a safe third country for all asylum seekers;

30.  Calls on the European Commission to redirect funds allocated to increased border control and the strengthening of Fortress Europe towards welcoming refugees and migrants through, in particular, resettlement and relocation programmes, proactive search and rescue activities, open and dignified reception centres and social inclusion of both refugees and migrants; calls on the European Commission to develop proposals for safe and legal ways to access the EU for all women, men and children in need of protection, as well as for migrant workers, including an immediate, ambitious and binding resettlement programme, and to support European Parliament’s proposal for humanitarian visas in the revision of the visa code, so that people will no longer be forced to risk their lives in the Mediterranean or in the deserts on their way to Europe;

31.  Welcomes the proposals of the European Commission to establish provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece; deplores the inaction of Member States to live up to their commitments in this regard;

32.  Calls for the implementation of the right to family life as enshrined in the ECHR, whether from a third country or within the EU, and the urgent need for speeding up of relocation, including fast tracking of vulnerable applicants; recalls that the country of allocation should be based on the family, language and cultural ties of the refugees; stresses the need to advance social inclusion and labour market integration of refugees and migrants, recognising and taking into account, in their favour, of their skills and qualifications, and to ensure protection against exploitation and discrimination;

33.  Deplores the failure of the Commission to propose an alternative to the Dublin regulation based on a sharing of responsibility; raises key concerns regarding the obligation for all Member States to examine whether a person’s application could be declared inadmissible based on the concepts of safe third country or first country of asylum;

34.  Calls for the immediate adoption of the horizontal anti-discrimination directive in order to advance the fight against discrimination, including attacks on minorities, migrants and asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups; takes the view that the increase in racist and xenophobic sentiments and organisations is linked to the ascent of the far right and of fascist phenomena in Europe, which cannot be seen in isolation of the policies that have been enforced in the EU and Member States in the last decades;

35.  Deplores the increasing number of acts, and instances of hate speech, directed against ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTI persons, asylum seekers and the homeless;

36.  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;

37.  Expresses its deep concern with the EU’s one-sided and repressive European Agenda on Security, which is very one-dimensionally focussed on repressive politics and on extending EU law enforcement agencies; criticises the increasing securitisation of policies, including the collection of personal data and the profiling of citizens, taking advantage of people’s legitimately inflated fears, using the fight against terrorism to attack citizens’ rights and liberties, and increase state surveillance; points out that despite more than 80 binding legal instruments concluded in the past 12 years in the field of anti-terrorism, the recent violent attacks poignantly showed the failure of the blindly repressive focus of the EU institutions and the Member States governments; condemns repressive legislation that has not only infringed massively on the human rights of all EU citizens and residents, but has also helped actively to undermine and undercut existing prevention policies like youth work, socio-economic cohesion policies and other preventive instruments aiming at supporting people at risk of social exclusion;

38.  Calls on the Commission to initiate serious efforts to protect citizens from increasing state surveillance; expresses, in this context, its deep concern over the broad powers of Europol’s new Internet Referral Unit (IRU) to monitor and police the internet without any judicial intervention; points out that the new Europol Regulation did not provide an explicit legal basis for the IRU;

39.  Finds the revision of the Counter-Terrorism Directive extremely far-reaching in criminalising certain potential preparatory acts without there having to be an explicit aim to wilfully commit a terrorist offence; underlines the fact that this contravenes a long-established principle of criminal law according to which wilful intent is a key element of any criminal definition;

40.  Calls for the ePrivacy Directive to be updated so that it can be brought in line with the recently adopted Data Protection Regulation;

41.  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;

42.  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;

43.  Is deeply disappointed with the inaction of the Commission with regard to the legislative own-initiative report on the revision of the EAW; 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;

44.  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;

45.  Urges the Commission to respond to the requests from 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;

46.  States the profoundly anti-democratic nature of this EU, as can be witnessed by how the European institutions deal with the outcomes of the citizens participation and workers’ struggle; urges, therefore, the European Commission to take citizens’ participation seriously in its different democratic expressions, to respect any further referendums on EU issues, and calls for the people’s inalienable right to debate and express their will to be upheld; rejects, in this connection, the argument of inevitability;

47.  Reminds the Commission of its commitment to present a proposal for an inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register for all EU institutions; reaffirms the need to enhance representative and participatory democracy;

48.  Calls on the European Commission to present a proposal for a revision of the European Citizen’s Initiative based on the conclusions in Parliament’s implementation report;

49.  Believes there is a need to improve the quality of EU law-making; insists, however, that the Better Regulation agenda and REFIT should not serve as a pretext for deregulation that weakens social protection, consumer protection, environmental standards, animal welfare standards and social dialogue; insists, therefore, that all impact assessments and decisions from the Regulatory Scrutiny Board be made public;

50.  Urges instead the Commission to ensure that all future legislation is subject to a social and fundamental rights impact assessment, and to include sunset clauses to ensure that EU laws are regularly reviewed;

Internal market and international trade

51.  Takes the view that the single market, in its multiple sectorial approaches, has accentuated/facilitated the dismantling of sovereign economic regulation instruments, economic domination, divergence and uneven development, and has promoted tax avoidance and tax evasion and the transfer of profits to tax havens, privatisation, deregulation of commercial relations and the concentration of capital; through the single market and in name of competitiveness, the EU has sponsored/backed and promoted attacks on workers’ rights, which has led to social inequalities, labour deregulation, wage devaluation and increasingly precarious employment, while fairer, more redistributive tax policies have been wrecked or obstructed; notes that, contrary to what is systematically stated, the single market has resulted in increased costs for the consumers and in degradation of the services provided;

52.  Deplores the Commission’s delay in notifying Parliament and the Council of the correcting acts to the Union Customs Code (UCC) delegated and transitional delegated acts; finds it unacceptable that these late notifications made it difficult for Parliament to use its scrutiny power; urges, therefore, the Commission to ensure better cooperation of its services with Parliament and an early information on the UCC finalisation and implementation;

53.  Regrets that the European Commission is further weakening the protection of whistleblowers, journalists, consumers and workers through the Trade Secrets Directive; urges the European Commission and the Member States to ensure that whistleblowers are legally and materially protected when they can reasonably be assumed to be protecting public interests; notes, however, that protection standards remains uneven across the EU and do not offer sufficient protection, as recent high-profile cases show; calls on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal for minimum protection of whistleblowers;

54.  Stresses that each country must have the right to define its commercial policies and to enter into those trade agreements that are most compliant with their interests and their economic characteristics and needs, taking into account their respective levels of complementarity with third countries;

55.  Takes the view that the British referendum outcome adds to the reasons that justify that the ratification of any trade agreements of the EU with third parties with which negotiations are underway should provisionally be suspended; opposes the trade-policy approach of liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation pushed by the European Commission with many partners worldwide, as well as the dogmatic free-trade logic that determines this trade policy view, and rejects, in particular, mega-regionals such as TTIP, CETA and TiSA, and, in a different way, the EPAs; deplores the general trade orientation of the EU, which compromises the sovereignty of the Member States and serves the geopolitical interests of the richest countries, and of multinational corporations, to control and exploit third-country assets, increasing intra- and inter-regional asymmetries, and perpetuating the dependencies of the less developed countries (within and outside the EU); states that these agreements contribute to the destruction and deregulation of work, an increase in poverty, enhanced speculation (especially on food) and the destruction of public services, and poses a threat to animal health and welfare, sustainable agriculture and the environment, and cultural diversity; calls for regulated, mutually complementary-based international trade;

56.  Calls for regulated, mutually complementary-based international trade; opposes, in particular, the inclusion of any ISDS clause in trade agreements or in the EU framework, whether in the traditional form or in the ICS form, as it considers that there is no reason to grant investors special jurisdictions that oblige states to pay huge amounts of money, and that reduce their policy space; insists that all negotiating documents must be made public, and that all national parliaments must be consulted, before the adoption of those such deals, which very much affect the daily life of the peoples;

Regional development, production and strategic sectors

57.  Rejects the European Commission’s approach of subordinating cohesion policy to EU economic governance; emphasises that regional policy is an important tool for promoting economic and social cohesion, with the principal objectives of reducing disparities between regions, in particular the poorer and outermost regions, promoting real convergence, and encouraging growth and employment; insists that cohesion policy should not be used as an instrument of financial punishment if a region or Member State rejects policies of deregulation and privatisation;

58.  Recommends the implementation of urgent measures regarding the productive sectors that are vital to each economy, and that therefore play an essential role in the potential development of each country; calls for the promotion of public projects, for support for MSMEs, cooperatives and local government, and for Community funds to be reinforced and oriented in that direction;

59.  Urges the Commission to give priority to those Member States most affected by the economic crisis and, in particular, to target regions in recession with high levels of unemployment and poverty;

60.  Believes that existing EU funding, and current EU financial resources for cohesion policy, are insufficient to meet the needs of real convergence, and to overcome regional disparities, high levels of unemployment, income inequalities and poverty in the Member States; points out the need for the EU budget to be strengthened in the area of cohesion policy; stresses the importance of ensuring that territorial management and planning remains the responsibility of individual Member States; notes that avoiding a backlog of payments in the future is crucial to ensuring successful implementation of cohesion policies;

61.  Notes the poor investment proposed in the EU budget on R&D; calls on the European Commission not to concentrate the allocation of research financing on a few universities, research centres and corporate companies;

62.  Reaffirms that water is a universal right and should be guaranteed to every human being, and should not be subject to privatisation;

63.  Calls for a decentralised Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that 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; calls for measures to ensure national sovereignty over the Exclusive Economic Zones of Member States and their fisheries resources;

64.  Calls for biodiversity to be safeguarded in marine environments, ensuring favourable conditions for fish populations to replenish through the implementation of adequate sustainable management practices; reaffirms the need for the CFP to recognise the specific characteristics of small-scale and coastal fishing, and the suitability of existing instruments to the sector’s needs;

65.  Takes the view that 30 years of Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) have taken a severe toll on the agricultural sector in the Member States, and that it has contributed to the crisis in the agriculture sector; calls for a renewed focus on one of funding principles of CAP (Article 39, point 2), ‘to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers’, in order to combat the increased concentration of production and the increased level of intensive farming, the reduction of small-scale farmers and farmers’ organisations, as well as the increase in regional asymmetries and foreign external dependence on goods, which favours the biggest European economies; regrets that this phenomenon is putting agricultural and rural patrimonies of worldwide importance at risk, while, at the same time, large agro-business companies are expanding their margins and imposing their model for a global food system that has destructive environmental effects; underlines the fact that, instead of big business, farmers must be at the centre of any agricultural and food policy, in order that sustainability, growth and jobs may truly be boosted in all regions;

66.  Regrets that present policies are leading to the decimation of traditional family farms across the EU and, subsequently, to the decline of social and economic activity in rural areas;

67.  Strongly opposes land grabbing, and the market domination and unfair price setting by large agro-food companies, which exploit farmers and enforce overproduction at the expense of food quality, the welfare of humans and animals, and the environment;

68.  Calls on the European Commission to forbid all forms of seed patenting, in order to protect farmers against the pressure and power of multinationals producing seeds, and to protect local varieties as well as our genetic and cultural heritage; calls on the European Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to forbid the authorisation, cultivation and marketing of GMOs, and to take action to curb the widespread use of pesticides;

69.  Urges the Commission to implement, without delay, the points outstanding from the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015; calls on the Commission to draw up a new and ambitious strategy for the protection and welfare of animals for the 2016-2020 period, with a view to overcoming present shortcomings and loopholes, to create a level playing field and to improve animal welfare across the EU;

70.  Takes the view that EU funding for agriculture should aim at developing Member States’ agricultural systems in a way to shorten their external dependency on supplies, and to safeguard agricultural and rural patrimonies;

71.  Calls on the European Commission to study the need for the creation of public instruments to regulate production and markets in the milk sector, as well as in others sectors, ensuring fair prices to production, taking into account both the cost of inputs and of consumer prices, in order to ensure a fair distribution of the added value along the value added chain of the sector, while avoiding the concentration and intensification of production, and ensuring the right of each Member State to plant and produce, and to safeguard its food sovereignty;

72.   Stresses the need to strengthen and develop a diversified industrial base in all Member States and regions, taking in to account the regional specificities, as this is essential to guaranteeing high levels of employment, economic activity and development;

73.  Calls on the European Commission to assess the problem of relocation of industrial production within the global value chains and to propose a ban on EU funding for relocation of production to third countries, in order to preserve industrial jobs in the Member States;

74.  Rejects the European Energy Union, a project for the major European monopolies in the sector; calls for public control of this strategic sector, as improving energy efficiency, and ensuring diversification of sources, progression of renewable energy, the sustainable use of endogenous potential of each country and security of supply, among other things, requires planning, and public and democratic control, over the energy sector; stresses the need to come forward with binding sustainability criteria for energy and biomass;

75.  Reiterates that energy is a public good and that equal access to energy at affordable energy prices should be ensured for the benefit of the consumers; highlights that the EU should focus closely on the issue of energy poverty, as energy poverty affects nearly 11 % of the EU population; urges, in this regard, the Commission to prioritise measures to alleviate energy poverty in upcoming legislative proposals and to present an action plan by mid-2017;

76.  Believes that the energy transition should result in a more efficient, transparent, sustainable, decentralised and democratic energy system, based on renewables, that benefits society as a whole, while at the same time protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring that the benefits of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy are made available to them;

77.  Reiterates Parliament’s call for binding target of a 30 % share of renewable energy consumption and a 40 % share in energy savings for 2030; asks, therefore, the Commission to reflect this in the upcoming reviews of the RES and Energy Efficiency directives, and to promote these binding targets during the negotiations of the directives; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to come forward with binding sustainability criteria for energy and biomass;

78.  Calls on the European Commission specifically to propose sustainability criteria for industrial products and to fully integrate the ‘circular economy’ in all relevant policies, with consideration of the whole lifecycle of products; further stresses the need to fully implement the actions identified in the Roadmap to Resource-Efficient Europe, including the phasing out of subsidies that have a negative impact on the environment; takes the view that the market approach to the circular economy has hazardous consequences to the public interest, and that strong accountability of the Member States and of public policies is necessary;

79.  Rejects the liberalisation models imposed on the Member States in the transport sector; calls, on the contrary, for their immediate revocation, in accordance with the need to safeguard Public Service Obligations, taking into due account the promotion of transport policies that respects the Member State’s sovereignty and their own strategic approach to territorial cohesion and national development; asks that social dialogue be promoted among all workers concerned, along with cooperation to enable better integration between, and interoperability of, national transport networks; stresses the need to promote public transport, shared mobility solutions, and walking and cycling, in particular in urban areas;

80.  Urges the Commission to assess EU transport regulations and to adapt them, where appropriate, to the digital age; asks the Commission to re-set the regulatory framework of different transport modes in order to promote new innovations and services for mobility and logistics, while ensuring high standards regarding safety, working conditions and consumer protection, as well as fair taxation and the prevention of harmful environmental effects;

81.  Calls on the Commission to take the measures needed to decarbonise the transport sector;

82.  Calls for an ambitious plan for the reduction of road fatalities, which includes clear reductions targets;

Environment

83.  Believes that the climate crisis, as recognised in the IPCC AR5 report that was accepted and endorsed by last the COP 21, is caused by harmful human activity, the abuse of an energy-intensive production system, and the use and exploitation of fossil fuels;

84.  Stresses, therefore, that the solution to tackle climate change is mainly to be pursued by commitments to reduce the GHG emissions of all countries concerned in accordance with their historical responsibilities, and, as this should not be left to market-based instruments, demands a rupture with the capitalist development policies, without which measure it is not possible to change production methods or distribution and consumption modes;

85.  Regrets the fact that the COP 21 commitments, on the one hand, do not guarantee the reduction of GHG emissions – and, therefore, do not ensure a decrease in the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere to a level considered compatible with an increase in average temperatures of no more than 2 ºC – and, on the other hand, kept and strengthened market mechanisms that translate into a form of private appropriation of nature and its resources;

86.  Defends the increase in allocated funding to environmental conservation policies; calls for a substantial increase in the LIFE programme amounting, at least, to 1 % of the EU budget; rejects the weakening of the legislation relative to the protection of habitats and endangered wild species; calls for the creation of a specific financial instrument dedicated to the funding of the Natura 2000 network and the adoption of coherent measures of preservation of the values it represents;

87.  Calls on the European Commission to integrate climate policy and climate change policy into all its policies; regrets the lack of ambition as regards binding targets shown to date by the Commission;

88.  Calls on the European Commission to be consistent, and to comply with the precautionary principle, in its mandate not to propose further derogations in the use of chemical substances, harmful pesticides and endocrines disruptors on human health and the environment, to reduce the exposure of chemical substances through water, soil, air and food that have a negative impact on human health and the global environment, and to put forward legislative proposals to reduce exposure;

For peace against militarism and NATO

89.  Condemns the increased steps towards the militarisation of the EU; rejects the European Security Strategy and its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); demands an end to EU-NATO cooperation and rejects the current expansion policy of NATO; insists on the dissolution of all foreign military bases in Europe;

90.  Insists that any foreign activity of the EU must follow the principles of a strictly civil foreign policy that is in line with international law and applied in a non-discriminatory way, by taking a leading role in the diplomatic and peaceful resolution of conflicts, including through mediation initiatives and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes in line with the United Nations Charter; stresses the importance of efforts to strengthen the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), to improve the EU arms export control regime, to support the NPT regime and nuclear disarmament, and to support measures on poverty eradication, humanitarian aid, sustainable economic and social development, and the Sustainable Development Goals, that favour balanced economic relations, fair trade and the fair distribution of resources and wealth in the EU’s neighbourhood and in the world;

91.  Calls on the European Commission to meet its commitment to engage with the ENP partners in implementing the UN Development Goals; stresses that job creation is a decisive issue for the future of most neighbourhood countries; supports the specific focus on youth employability, promoting small and medium-sized enterprises; emphasises that this requires a multilevel approach, from national to regional and local level as well as regional, sub-regional and cross-border cooperation capable of mobilising the EU Member States, the partner countries and their local and regional authorities; calls for realistic approaches and programmes which have concrete benefits for the people; calls on the Commission to present the strategy for cooperation with the neighbours of the neighbours that was announced in the context of the review of the neighbourhood policy;

92.  Rejects any use of the EU budget for military or civil-military purposes; rejects the implementation of a pilot project on CSDP research undertaken jointly by the Commission and the EDA, covering, inter alia, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS); is strongly opposed to any use of Horizon 2020 funds, or of the EU budget in general, to finance military, civil-military or security research in general, and for the development of RPAS in particular; calls on the Commission to ensure that the Union’s commitments to poverty eradication, sustainable development, SDGs, arms control, NPT-regime and nuclear disarmament are upheld;

93.  Calls on the European Commission to improve the transparency of expenses in the area of international activities, starting in all phases, from programming to ex-ante assessment; reiterates its strong criticism of the continued lack of parliamentary control in the area of foreign and security policies;

94.  Affirms that external affairs is the sovereign competence of each Member States, and rejects a one-voice foreign policy for the EU; recalls that the foreign policies of the Member States, individually or in cooperation, must follow the principles of a strictly civil foreign policy, in line with international law and applied in a non-discriminatory way, and that the role in diplomatic and peaceful resolution of conflicts should be held under the auspices of the United Nations Organisation, conducted in a spirit of mutual partnership and solidarity, and respecting the sovereignty of third countries;

95.  Strongly rejects the promotion and support of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), and the increase and deepening of defence cooperation; rejects any use of the EU budget for military or civil-military purposes; calls for real peace, solidarity and equality policies that aim for arms control, complete disarmament, in particular nuclear, and demilitarisation of the EU;

96.  Is highly concerned that many governments are not even respecting the national, EU and international commitments they have made with regard to the export of weapons; calls for an end to the EU arms trade, and to the export of arms and military equipment to conflict zones;

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97.  Calls on the Commission to revise its Work Programme in line with the Parliament’s resolution;

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

(1)

OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.

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