Motion for a resolution - B8-0454/2017Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the future of Europe and the strategic priorities of the Commission Work Programme 2018

30.6.2017 - (2017/2699(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

Maria João Rodrigues on behalf of the S&D Group

Procedure : 2017/2699(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


European Parliament resolution on the future of Europe and the strategic priorities of the Commission Work Programme 2018


The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2016 on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017[1],

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 October 2017 entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2017 – Delivering a Europe that protects, empowers and defends’ and the annexes thereto (COM(2016)0710),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017[2],

–  having regard to the Commission’s White Paper of 1 March 2017 on the future of Europe, and to the reflection papers on the social dimension of Europe, harnessing globalisation, deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, the future of European defence and the future of EU finances,

–  having regard to the Rome Declaration of the leaders of 27 Member States and of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission of 25 March 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2017 on a European Pillar of Social Rights[3],

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on budgetary capacity for the euro area[4],

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty[5],

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union[6],

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 April 2017 on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union[7],

–  having regard to the European Council (Article 50) guidelines of 29 April 2017 following the United Kingdom’s notification under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 22-23 June 2017,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 29 May 2017 on a future EU industrial policy strategy,

–  having regard to the Committee of the Regions resolution of 22-23 March 2017 on the priorities of the European Committee of the Regions for the 2018 Work Programme of the European Commission (RESOL-VI/021),

–  having regard to its Eurobarometer survey ‘Two years until the 2019 elections’, carried out between 18 and 27 March 2017,

–  having regard to the Conference of Committee Chairs’ Summary Report, which provides complementary input to this resolution from the point of view of parliamentary committees and which the Commission should take duly into account when drafting and adopting its Work Programme for 2018,

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

A.  whereas the European Union is experiencing a sustained economic recovery, largely thanks to low interest rates at central banks and a more flexible and growth-friendly interpretation of budgetary rules; whereas these progressive economic policies have long been promoted and defended by the centre-left against stubborn opposition from the centre-right;

B.  whereas, however, Europe’s recovery remains uneven across countries and there are still major shortages of investment; whereas far too many people are still unemployed, long-term unemployed, underemployed or not experiencing tangible improvements in their living conditions; whereas many regions need support to catch up with more prosperous ones; whereas poverty, social exclusion and inequality of opportunity remain too high in Europe; whereas many people feel left behind by socio-economic developments and poorly represented by the political system;

C.  whereas the global order is changing and nobody can wield full control unilaterally; whereas cooperation in the framework of international law, the multilateral system and international organisations is crucial for peace, security, democracy, human rights and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030;

D.  whereas Europe has recently experienced an increase in nationalistic and xenophobic attitudes, but also increasing expressions of popular support for European integration and for working together in mutual respect in order to deal successfully with shared challenges;

E.  whereas negotiations for the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union are underway and whereas the EU‑27 reaffirmed in the Rome Declaration the Union’s determination as a political and economic entity to build together a common future that offers citizens both security and new opportunities;

F.  whereas the new US administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and President Trump’s steps towards a race to the bottom in taxation and financial market regulation require the EU‑27 to lead even more by example;

G.  whereas the motto of the European Union is ‘united in diversity’; whereas European and national identities are compatible and not contradictory; whereas everyone can be an engaged patriot and a supporter of European integration at the same time;

H.  whereas the European Union is for its Member States an anchor that helps to maintain pluralism, respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, respect for human rights and solidarity;

I.  whereas the Commission has put forward a white paper and five thematic reflection papers as a basis for a wide-ranging debate on the future of European integration; whereas the first conclusions on the future of the EU are expected to be drawn by the end of 2017 and the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) is expected to be designed on this basis;

J.  whereas a large number of citizens and associations have presented different proposals and initiatives to contribute to the future of Europe, particularly during the recent celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties; whereas they are proposing to take active part in a European Citizens’ Convention through innovative models of participation;

Our choice for the future of Europe: Doing much better together on priorities people care about

1.  Considers that none of the five scenarios formulated in the Commission’s white paper presents a convincing vision for the future of Europe; points out that the scenarios of ‘carrying on’, ‘nothing but the single market’ and ‘doing less more efficiently’ are weak on the objectives of upward economic convergence, social progress, cohesion and sustainable development; warns in this context that many of those saying that Europe should ‘do less’ actually want mainly to boost company profits by dismantling standards through which Europe protects workers, consumers, public health and our living environment; finds that the scenario ‘those who want more do more’ lacks sufficient assurances that enhanced cooperation would not lead to de facto exclusion of non-participating Member States from further integration; notes finally that the scenario ‘doing much more together’ is probably well intentioned but is not clear on the priorities where deeper integration is needed in order to address citizens’ concerns better;

2.  Points out that, according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey, EU citizens on average expect the EU to intervene more than today on many issues, including security and the fight against terrorism, unemployment, health and social security, environmental protection, the fight against tax fraud, migration, and action towards the rest of the world; is aware, however, that attitudes towards the EU and support for more EU action vary considerably among Member States;

3.  Highlights that there is a better way forward for Europe than those outlined by the Commission, namely a sixth scenario that should win democratic consensus across Member States and European political parties: ‘Doing much better together on priorities people care about’; points out that this is a practical scenario, seeking to deliver effective responses to problems that worry people across the Union, in a democratic spirit and aiming to strengthen the concept of European citizenship; emphasises that what is needed is serious European action – with proper means – in areas where effective results can only be achieved by acting together, such as in tackling climate change, getting better trade agreements, improving security, reducing tax avoidance, ensuring good social and environmental standards, promoting gender equality and strengthening upward convergence in the single market and the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU);

4.  Reaffirms the message of the Rome Declaration that our Union is undivided and indivisible, and that working together as Europeans is our best chance to shape global developments; underlines that building a future together is the best way for Europeans to achieve broadly-shared prosperity with high living standards, security and a clean environment; considers that European unity is also the best way to contribute to peace, prosperity and improved living standards elsewhere in the world;

5.  Underlines that all European citizens are equal under the Union’s legal order and that any enhanced cooperation in some areas of European integration must happen in an inclusive way, with the EU‑27 always being the default option; highlights that in the Rome Declaration it is stated that ‘we will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction, as we have done in the past, in line with the Treaties and keeping the door open to those who want to join later’; stresses that there must not be any moving targets or additional criteria for those who want to join initiatives at a later stage;

6.  Emphasises the need for stronger direct connections between the EU and citizens; considers that ‘Doing much better together on priorities people care about’ is a democratic approach that can improve the Union’s legitimacy and assure citizens that their voices and votes count;

7.  Outlines in this resolution the main strategic priorities which the EU should address in building a common long-term future, as well as the main concrete initiatives which the Commission should present in 2018; points to the summary report adopted by the Conference of Committee Chairs for a detailed overview of committees’ messages regarding the implementation of the Commission Work Programme for 2017 and their expectations for 2018;

The Europe we want: main priorities

A European Union that protects and improves people’s living and working conditions

8.  Strongly emphasises that the social dimension of European integration cannot be reduced to matters related to freedom of movement; highlights, on the contrary, that ‘Doing much better together on priorities people care about’ means stronger common action to improve working conditions, reduce poverty and social and gender inequalities, provide high-quality education and training to all, accelerate the process of upward convergence in economic performance and income levels between countries, and strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion within the EU; points to its resolution on the European Pillar of Social Rights for detailed proposals on how a more social Europe should be achieved by the EU‑27 together, and what specific additional instruments are needed for the euro area in this regard; welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a joint proclamation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and confirms its readiness to work with the Commission and the Council towards finalising the joint proclamation by the end of 2017; underlines that the pillar’s principles should apply to all people in the EU; appeals therefore to all EU‑27 Member States to support the joint proclamation at the level of the heads of state or government;

9.  Calls on the Commission to table legislative proposals for concrete European initiatives to improve living and working conditions, in particular:

•  in case social partners are not ready to progress to negotiations on the revision of the Written Statement Directive (91/533/EEC)[8], the Commission should table a legislative proposal for a framework directive on decent working conditions, guaranteeing every worker access to a core set of labour and social rights, including in the digital economy;

•  an initiative on access to social protection, following up on the consultations of the social partners with concrete proposals to ensure that all people in all forms of work build up social security entitlements, including for adequate pensions;

•  a European social security card in order to facilitate information exchange and to provide people with a record of their current and past entitlements and to prevent abuse;

•  a European labour inspectorate to ensure the enforcement of labour and social legislation in the single market;

•  a directive establishing a Child Guarantee in order to mitigate the damaging effects of child poverty by ensuring that every child at risk of poverty will have access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition;

•  a framework directive for European minimum income schemes to cover basic living costs, while respecting national practices;

•  the third batch of substances under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (2004/37/EC)[9] should be specified without delay and the directive extended to cover reprotoxic substances;

•  at the next revision of the Treaties, the Commission should propose a Social Protocol in order to strengthen fundamental social rights in relation to economic freedoms;

10.  Underlines that the Commission should provide all necessary support to Member States to fully implement the Youth Guarantee, the Skills Guarantee and other vital investments in people, including quality, affordable and accessible early childhood education and childcare, as well as elderly and dependent care services; calls on the Commission to secure adequate funding for the Youth Employment Initiative until 2020 and to do its utmost to help Member States to use the full resources available from European Structural and Investment Funds; calls on the Commission to safeguard the Erasmus+ scheme and to substantially increase its funding; welcomes the Commission’s proposal on the European Solidarity Corps aiming to recognise and promote recognition of youth volunteering and solidarity across borders throughout the Union; highlights, however, the need to revise the proposed legislation to make sure that the European Solidarity Corps initiative does not negatively impact other existing programmes, such as Erasmus+, and that volunteering will not systematically be used to replace paid work;

11.  Welcomes the Commission’s steps to strengthen the role and visibility of social indicators in the European Semester and calls, in particular, for the existing scoreboard of key employment and social indicators and the forthcoming initiative on access to social protection to be taken into account in formulating country-specific recommendations and the euro-area recommendation; calls on the Commission to follow up with an integrated anti-poverty strategy in order to finally achieve the Europe 2020 target on reducing poverty and social exclusion and to increase women’s employment; reiterates its call on the Commission to promote adequate minimum income schemes to cover basic living costs, in all Member States in line with national law and practice, while providing opportunities to prevent long-term dependency on minimum income; reiterates its call for a green paper on inequalities and their damaging effects on the economic recovery and longer-term growth potential;

A European strategy for sustainable development

12.  Underlines that ‘Doing much better together on priorities people care about’ should involve laying the foundations for broadly-shared future prosperity; considers that the EU needs to have a concrete strategy for sustainable growth, sustainable finance, competitiveness, quality jobs, achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals throughout the EU by 2030 and fulfilment of our commitments under the Paris climate agreement; points out that realising a European strategy for sustainable development means that regulatory standards need to be updated and relevant financial instruments need to be in place;

13.  Emphasises the need to maintain and upgrade the EU policy for economic, social and territorial cohesion as a key policy with a direct impact on people’s lives and as the principal long-term investment vehicle for overcoming inequalities and contributing to sustainable convergence and welfare, encompassing all Member States as a practical expression of the principle of solidarity;

14.  Supports in this context the Council’s call on the Commission to provide a holistic EU industrial policy strategy for the future; considers that this strategy should be followed by an action plan and should address key priorities, such as the transition towards an energy-efficient low-carbon economy, digital connectivity for all, realising the potential of Europe’s cultural and creative industries, making cities more sustainable and implementing the circular economy agenda;

15.  Expects the Commission to swiftly come forward with all remaining initiatives to implement the Energy Union, as outlined in the Energy Union Roadmap; urges the Commission to address energy poverty through a concrete action plan in order to eradicate energy poverty and ensure access to affordable energy for all EU citizens;

16.  Considers it crucial to reduce emissions in the transport sector; urges the Commission to complete its already delayed review of the legislation on CO2 emissions from cars and vans and to table adequately ambitious legislative proposals with a fleet-average target for 2025 and a zero-emission vehicles mandate that imposes a stepwise increasing share of zero-emission vehicles in the total fleet with the aim of phasing out new CO2-emitting cars by 2035; calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for technology-neutral EURO7 limits applicable by 2025 for all cars and vans placed on the Union market, with a view to improving air quality in the Union and to achieving the Union ambient air quality limits, as well as the WHO recommended levels;

17.  Expects Commission proposals for a common agricultural policy post-2020 to be based on corrective public intervention in the volatility of agricultural markets in order to ensure a secure and healthy food supply, to safeguard food production capacity in Europe by securing agricultural revenues, and to fix employment and strong communities in rural areas, while at the same time being fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals; calls for a substantially increased focus on contributing to environment and climate change objectives, including by giving priority to agricultural practices that make it possible to store more carbon in the soil, limit emissions of nitrous oxide and replace pesticides with alternative solutions;

18.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to put forward legislative proposals to tackle the issue of antimicrobial resistance, which is a global health concern;

19.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a legislative framework proposal in 2018 to counter unfair trading practices in the food supply chain; calls for a thorough assessment of EU commitments to counter unfair global competition, particularly regarding food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, geographical indications, animal welfare and sensitive product sectors; requests that the Commission develop options for potential support measures for EU farmers in cases of unfair competition by adapting competition policy to the specificities of agriculture in order to safeguard the economic situation of primary producers in the food supply chain;

20.  Emphasises that the EU must lead global cooperation to improve International Ocean Governance, including in areas beyond national jurisdiction, in order to deal with climate change, protect biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for fisheries; calls on the Commission to step up the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to build on the MedFish4Ever Declaration to strengthen Mediterranean fish stocks; strongly calls on the Commission to reduce delays in the transposition of measures adopted by international fishery organisations and in the transmission of proposed delegated acts regarding fisheries;

21.  Requests that the Commission conduct and complete in 2018 a study on intellectual property and access to medicines, with a view to encouraging research on neglected diseases and improving the affordability of medicines in the EU and the developing world; expects the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on a European system for health technology assessment;

22.  Requests that the Commission undertake concrete action to reduce quality differences between products within the same brand in the single market; wishes to see initial positive results of such action by mid-2018;

23.  Reiterates its long-standing call on the Commission to make a legislative proposal on collective redress, which could significantly help people to exercise their rights when they have suffered damage from companies breaking applicable rules;

24.  Stresses the need to further improve market surveillance for products in the EU and urges the Commission to take action to overcome the deadlock on the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package, notably to help reach a fair compromise on the mandatory indication of a product’s origin (‘made in’);

25.  Calls on the Commission to present as soon as possible a legislative proposal on the extension of geographical indication protection to cover non-agricultural products, which will have many positive effects for citizens, consumers, producers and the whole European economy and society;

26.  Stresses the importance of delivering fully on all measures proposed in the Digital Single Market strategy; expects the Commission to follow up on the mid-term review of the Digital Single Market strategy with concrete legislative proposals in order to provide a clear legal framework for activities intermediated through digital platforms, including as regards professional versus non-professional provision of services, liability regimes, consumers’ rights and protection of minors, workers’ rights, creators’ rights, competition and taxation;

27.  Calls on the Commission to look beyond the Digital Single Market and work towards a fully fledged Digital Union with ambitious legislative goals and the necessary financial means; wants to see the opportunities of digitalisation being translated into concrete benefits for all Europeans, including those in the remotest rural areas, including through relevant use of public procurement and greater use of e-government in public services such as education, health and administrative procedures for citizens and SMEs; underlines that the ongoing digital transformation should result in a fairer, more inclusive and dynamic society where individual rights are protected;

28.  Calls for ambitious investments in digital skills and online safety for all generations and for improvements in educational curricula; urges swift implementation of the Wifi4EU initiative; requests that the Commission present a plan to make Europe a world leader in data centres, data management and data security through a free flow of data, based on strong EU regulation that safeguards net neutrality and personal data privacy; calls on the Commission to step up efforts to promote European research, development and implementation of 5G technology;

29.  Expects the Commission to come forward with planned initiatives on cybersecurity, including with respect to the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA); stresses that such initiatives should aim at increasing cybersecurity for industry and other civilian purposes and include effective remedies;

Better instruments for investment

30.  Highlights that a credible European strategy for sustainable development requires an economic policy that ensures sufficient public and private investment at national and European level to fill existing investment gaps; underlines that people very much care about economic opportunities and increases in living standards, and they would benefit from Member States and EU institutions doing much better together through economic policies that support faster creation of quality jobs, strengthen people’s education and skills and maintain high-quality social services that enable people to be fully involved in economic and social life; calls on the Commission therefore to establish a European strategy for stronger public and private investment that goes well beyond the existing Investment Plan for Europe and is directly linked to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement; calls for legislative proposals for integrating environmental, social and governance criteria in reporting obligations and decision-making in order to incentivise investors to shift support towards sustainable and long-term projects;

31.  Reaffirms the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance as a major European priority in order to improve fairness in society and restore sufficient capacity for public investment; considers it vital that Parliament and the Council reach swift agreement on requirements for mandatory public country-by-country reporting by multinational enterprises, building on the Commission’s 2016 proposal[10]; highlights the importance of achieving progress towards a common consolidated corporate tax base, based on the Commission’s two proposals[11]; points to public registers of beneficial ownership as crucial elements that must be achieved in ongoing negotiations on the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (2015/849)[12]; calls on the Commission to set up its own independent list of high-risk jurisdictions with weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing; requests that the Commission put forward urgently an EU black list of tax havens, including strong and automatic sanctions against countries and jurisdictions listed; requests that the Commission take all relevant measures to ensure that all global and technology-based companies pay their fair share of tax in Europe;

32.  Recalls that the current EU value-added tax (VAT) regime was meant to be temporary and is now outdated; requests a proposal to upgrade it towards a definitive regime based on the destination principle; highlights the need to find a proper solution to VAT fraud and the VAT gap; believes in this regard that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office should be part of this answer and invites the Commission to favour a swift agreement within the framework of enhanced cooperation;

33.  Expects the Commission to follow up swiftly on the upcoming recommendations of Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion (PANA);

34.  Calls on the Commission to put forward ambitious proposals regarding European Supervisory Authorities in order to progress towards single EU supervision of the Capital Markets Union (CMU); points out that this requires in particular that the powers of the European Securities and Markets Authority be enhanced and that the European Systemic Risk Board have a greater role; underlines that the CMU should contribute to the development of sustainable finance, easing the financing of long-term investments with a proper taxation regime;

35.  Expects the Commission, in view of the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, to review the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 648/2012)[13], the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011/61/EU)[14] and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2014/65/EU)[15], in order to maintain and strengthen the stability of the financial markets; urges the Commission to take further action to promote a stronger contribution by the financial sector to sustainable development;

36.  Calls for swift action to complete the Banking Union with a common fiscal backstop for the Single Resolution Fund, adequately sized and benefiting from a direct credit line from the European Stability Mechanism, and with a European Deposit Insurance Scheme; calls for an evaluation of the current recovery and resolution framework; points to the need to further reduce risks and imbalances stemming mainly from a persistent lack of growth; calls on the Commission to promptly propose a European strategy on the development of a well-functioning secondary market on non-performing loans, including through the definition of a European blueprint for asset management companies and the necessary fine-tuning of the implementation of state aid provisions;

37.  Calls on the Commission to proceed towards establishing a truly European safe asset for the euro area to issue new jointly guaranteed debt, while avoiding artificial and excessively complex solutions that might negatively affect the financial stability and financing capacity of Member States;

38.  Calls strongly for the implementation of a pro-growth aggregate fiscal stance at the level of the euro area and the establishment of a euro-area fiscal capacity, together with a convergence code, in addition to the full use of the European Fund for Strategic Investments and of the European Structural and Investment Funds; reiterates that the euro-area fiscal capacity should aim to promote upward socio-economic convergence and cushion economic shocks, including through a European unemployment benefit scheme; notes that the euro-area budgetary capacity should comprise new instruments within the EU budget (above EU MFF ceilings), as well as a reformed European Stability Mechanism, incorporated into the EU’s legal framework and subject to democratic oversight; agrees with the Commission that the euro-area fiscal capacity should be open to non-euro-area countries wishing to join; is dismayed, however, by the Commission’s complacent attitude in envisaging that a euro-area fiscal capacity would only be put in place in around 2025;

39.  Calls for the introduction of a ‘golden rule for investment’ and for the incorporation of sustainable development indicators in the Stability and Growth Pact in order to ensure a healthy level of good quality investments in Europe’s future prosperity;

40.  Expects legislative proposals concerning the post-2020 cohesion policy to ensure at least the continuation of the current level of investments for upward convergence, sustainable development, quality jobs and reduced inequalities in the single market; expects also proposals for a post-2020 common agricultural policy and for a new framework programme for research, building on the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation and Parliament’s implementation report; urges that all existing multiannual programmes in the field of education, youth, sport, culture, media and citizenship (Erasmus+, Creative Europe and Europe for Citizens) be continued after 2020, with substantial budgetary increases considering the chronic underfunding of the current programmes; calls for an implementation report on the European Fund for Strategic Investments by the end of 2018, notably on improvements regarding additionality, geographical balance and governance; urges the Commission to table all legislative proposals under the post-2020 MFF early enough in 2018 for all programmes to start in good time;

Internal security

41.  Points out that security in everyday life is something people very much care about and it must be possible for Europeans to do much better together;

42.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the efficient and coordinated implementation of the European Agenda on Security for 2015-2020, which prioritises the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime; reiterates its call for an in-depth evaluation focused on the operational effectiveness of relevant existing EU instruments and on the remaining gaps in this field, prior to the presentation of any new legislative proposals; requests that all new measures in the area of security be accompanied by impact assessments;

43.  Recalls that the proper management of EU external borders is an important issue for European citizens, in particular in order to ensure that Member States desist from carrying out internal border checks within the Schengen area; calls for the full implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/1624)[16];

44.  Calls on the Commission to put forward actionable non-legislative proposals on how to improve information sharing between law enforcement entities, between intelligence organisations, and between law enforcement and intelligence entities to effectively combat transnational organised crime and counter terrorism; recalls, in this context, the importance of increased operational cooperation between Member States, EU agencies and third countries;

45.  Underlines the need to develop effective and appropriate capabilities to counter cyber-attacks; underlines the importance of effective coordination and non-duplication between all relevant actors; stresses, in this context, the importance of cooperation with NATO and the private sector;

46.  Calls on the Commission to mobilise technical and financial expertise and resources to ensure EU-level coordination and exchange of best practices in the fight against violent extremism, terrorist propaganda, and the use of the internet for recruitment and funding purposes; believes that particular focus should be placed on prevention, integration and reintegration strategies with a clear gender perspective;

47.  Points out that violence against women is also a matter of internal security; calls on the Commission to work towards a swift conclusion of the Union’s accession to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, and to present as soon as possible a legislative act for preventing and combating gender-based violence;

Building a real European asylum and immigration policy

48.  Reiterates the need for Europeans to do much better together in order to ensure that safe and legal ways to Europe exist for those seeking international protection and that asylum seekers arriving in Europe can exercise their fundamental rights, including their right to seek international protection, and to improve cooperation with third countries in order to tackle the root causes of forced migration; underlines the need to ensure that cooperation with partner countries on migration is human-rights compliant;

49.  Calls for intensified efforts to agree on a reform of the ‘Dublin system’ in order to establish and implement a real and common European asylum policy, in compliance with Articles 78 and 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU); underlines that, in the meantime, all Member States should fulfil their obligations under the Council decisions on relocating asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, prioritising the relocation of women and of unaccompanied minors, as well as other vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities and LGBTI people; calls for further efforts to facilitate migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to have access to education and training systems, as well as to the labour market, and to recognise their skills;

50.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal on humanitarian visas as an additional safe and legal route for asylum seekers in addition to resettlement, and to protect victims of trafficking present in the EU;

51.  Calls for coordinated action on legal migration at Union level, moving beyond the current piecemeal approach; insists on strengthening partnerships with third countries with regard to legal migration aspects and developing EU-wide mobility packages with adequate safeguards, inter alia regarding working conditions;

52.  Calls on the Commission to review compliance with international law, including the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and humanitarian and human rights law, by all actors involved in guarding Europe’s external borders, management of refugee camps and reception of asylum seekers; calls for clarification of the distinction between smuggling and ordinary citizens helping people in need;

Democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights

53.  Points out that ‘Doing much better together on priorities people care about’ means that the EU needs to act to protect fundamental rights and the values and principles set out in its founding Treaties; stresses that this also means taking practical steps to simplify the administration related to cross-border aspects of people’s lives, and protecting people from abuse by closing loopholes in European or national laws;

54.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a proposal for a Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Pact in the form of an interinstitutional agreement, along the lines of the recommendation made by Parliament in its legislative resolution of 25 October 2016[17];

55.  Calls on the Commission to make proposals for stronger action on integration and de-radicalisation, building on relevant existing policies and identifying additional capacities needed;

56.  Reiterates its call on the Commission and the Council to make every effort to unblock the proposal for a horizontal anti-discrimination directive[18];

57.  Urges the Commission to take more decisive action towards eliminating the persistent gender pay gap by proposing a directive building on the 2014 Commission recommendation on pay transparency; calls on the Commission and the Council to step up efforts for a political agreement on the proposal for a directive on improving the gender balance among directors of companies listed on stock exchanges[19];

58.  Calls on the Commission to promptly present a comprehensive legislative proposal responding to Parliament’s legislative resolution of 16 February 2017 on civil law rules on robotics[20], addressing at least the aspects of human rights and ethics, the precautionary principle, and the main implications of robotics for labour markets and social security systems;

59.  Calls on the Commission to take urgent action and put forward a legislative proposal for EU-wide legislation on whistle-blower protection with a broad scope and an appropriate legal basis in order to ensure horizontal protection which encompasses all categories of whistle-blowers;

60.  Calls on the Commission to withdraw its proposal for a directive on single-member private limited liability companies; expresses deep concerns, in the light of the revelations of the Panama Papers, that this directive would create loopholes in Europe due to the absence of legal certainty;

61.  Underlines that any proposal on the online registration of companies would need to include safeguards to ensure that the system cannot be abused in order to create letterbox companies and circumvent labour, workers’ participation and taxation laws, and points out that a European company registration system, be it online or in person, should be linked to a European business register or at least to interconnected Member States’ business registers with a common set of minimum standards for the information provided;

62.  Calls on the Commission to finally present a proposal on the 14th company law directive with rules on the transfer of a company’s seat which ensures that taxes are paid where profits are generated and which protects workers’ rights, in particular with regard to board-level representation, as well as participation and information;

63.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a proposal for a regulation on the recognition of the content of public documents following the adoption of the regulation promoting the free movement of citizens and businesses by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents; insists on the need to include registered partnerships in the scope of the future regulation;

64.  Calls on the Commission to put forward an initiative for protecting media freedom and pluralism, promoting digital skills, tackling disinformation, hate speech, sexism and cyberbullying, and cultivating a fact-based democratic discourse even in the age of social media;

65.  Calls again on the Commission to put forward a proposal on European administrative law;

Europe as a leading global actor

66.  Emphasises that the EU is most powerful and influential in its relations with partners across the world when it is united and speaks with one voice; wants the EU to be an active global player, promoting human rights, democracy, rule of law and support for democracy in order to achieve peaceful and cooperative international order within a multilateral system, achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and full implementation of the Paris climate agreement; considers that the EU should also strengthen its profile as a standard setter for global financial markets, including through common representation in international financial organisations; is of the view that the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) should combine ‘soft power’ with a capacity to use ‘hard power’ when needed, taking into account that there can be no development without security and no security without development; calls for the implementation of an effective EU strategy for international cultural relations;

67.  Considers that the common security and defence policy (CSDP) should be strengthened, including by establishing permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), while further developing the strategic partnership with NATO; believes that European defence can and should be advanced by enhanced efficiency in Member States’ defence spending, through common capabilities development and positive incentives from the European Defence Fund supporting a competitive European defence industry, and through civil-military synergies in the conduct of CSDP missions and operations; recalls the important role the EU continues to play in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building around the world, including as regards promoting women’s involvement in peace processes; calls for full democratic oversight of the CSDP;

68.  Calls on the Commission to shore up the enlargement and accession process and reassess whether the enlargement strategy – supported by the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance – delivers the expected results; emphasises that the increasingly volatile situation in the Western Balkans region necessitates stronger EU engagement; considers that increased attention should be given to enhancing good neighbourly relations and regional security, backed by strategic communication, and aimed at increasing the EU’s credibility as the biggest donor in the Western Balkans region; regrets to say that the enlargement process with Turkey needs to be suspended in light of the events since the attempted coup of July 2016 and the referendum of 16 April 2017;

69.  Calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to provide maximum possible support to the reform agenda pursued by partner countries in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy, especially as regards the fight against corruption, modernisation of public institutions, upholding human rights, empowering women, protecting minorities and strengthening the rule of law; welcomes the partnership priorities that the EU has already established with a number of countries in the framework of the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), while noting that EU policies have to be adapted to each national context; considers that the EU should intensify its cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries in order to strengthen their democratic institutions, resilience and independence; calls for stronger cooperation and a more active role on the part of the EU in relations with the Southern Neighbourhood countries in order to improve political dialogue and security, step up the fight against terrorism, prevent radicalisation and manage migration in a way that protects human rights;

70.  Remains concerned about the situation in Libya, and in particular about acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of the country and that undermine the successful completion of Libya’s political transition; calls for increased EU support aimed at accompanying Libya’s transition towards an inclusive democracy and for all possible measures to be taken to ensure respect for human rights and the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance;

71.  Calls for full implementation of the EU Strategy for Syria and its related actions, as set out in Parliament’s resolution of 18 May 2017[21]; supports the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria in their diplomatic efforts to reach out to relevant regional actors and foster a political transition; underlines that the EU should be ready to provide concrete support for political reconciliation and reconstruction in Syria;

72.  Calls for a comprehensive EU response to the ongoing war in Yemen by combining an increased humanitarian effort with active peace-building initiatives and targeted support for recovery and reconstruction;

73.  Emphasises that the EU and its Member States are together the world’s largest aid donor, and that the primary aim of EU development assistance is eradication of poverty; highlights that the EU needs to develop a robust plan to maintain its global leadership role in the coming years, including a roadmap on reaching the EU’s collective commitment of 0.7 % of gross national income (GNI) for official development assistance (ODA); calls in this regard for the Commission and the Council to regularly report to Parliament on the Union’s progress; recalls that development aid should be primarily aimed at poverty eradication and the promotion of sustainable development; underlines the need to ensure that development aid is not diverted, reduced or instrumentalised, and that geographical allocation of development aid continues in accordance with the needs of recipient countries; opposes making EU development aid conditional on the management of migratory flows and readmission agreements;

74.  Calls on the EEAS to promote new initiatives aimed at effectively promoting EU compliance with international humanitarian law, as provided for in the relevant EU guidelines; reiterates, in particular, the need for strict application by the EU of the rules set out in Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 on arms exports[22];

75.  Is strongly concerned about the growing tensions and risks of further destabilisation in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region, exacerbated by the unilateral actions of regional and international actors; calls on the VP/HR and the EEAS to use the full range of diplomatic tools at their disposal to step up the EU’s engagement with all regional actors aimed at de-escalating tensions, the demilitarisation of existing conflicts and paving the way for an inclusive regional security architecture;

76.  Commends the VP/HR and the EEAS for their resolute commitment to upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, which is an important achievement in EU diplomacy and effective multilateralism, as well as an opportunity to gradually engage with Iran in areas of common interest; calls on the VP/HR and the EEAS to continue dialogue with the US on the full implementation of the JCPOA, particularly regarding legitimate economic activity in Iran, but also to be ready to effectively protect the interests of European economic agents by resisting the extra-territorial application of the US sanctions;

77.  Calls for an action plan to implement the new European Consensus on Development; reiterates its call for Policy Coherence for Development in order to use all European internal and external policies to support poverty alleviation and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, including a transparent and robust monitoring and review framework;

78.  Calls for a new action plan to implement the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid; considers that the commitments made by the EU at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 should be taken into account;

79.  Calls on the Commission to present an initiative to improve food security in developing countries including through support for environmentally sensitive agricultural practices, in the context of better linking humanitarian aid and development cooperation, and through drawing lessons from the current severe climate change-related malnutrition crises and looming famines in some African countries;

80.  Deplores the announcement by the President of the United States that the US would not honour its commitments under the Paris climate agreement; reiterates its resolute support for the implementation of this historic agreement, which is crucial for limiting environmental disasters and preventing irreversible damage to the earth’s climate; strongly appreciates that partners across the world have also reconfirmed their ongoing commitment to the Paris climate agreement;

81.  Highlights the need for further steps to align EU trade policies with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement and to promote global trade that is fair and regulated in the interest of all people on the planet; calls in particular for:

•  a legislative proposal on mandatory due diligence on global value chains, in order to counter unfair trading practices, provide transparency and traceability and uphold human rights, labour rights and environmental rights;

•  a successful and speedy conclusion to the negotiations on the modernisation of EU trade defence instruments against trade practices and subsidies used by third countries that distort competition;

•  action by the Commission to reduce global steel overcapacity in the context of a rules-based multilateral trade system, including through relevant anti-dumping and anti-subsidies legislation;

•  further steps towards the establishment of a multilateral investment court system to replace private arbitration in investor-state dispute settlement;

•  proposals from the Commission to reform the way in which ‘trade and sustainable development’ chapters in trade agreements are enforced; sanctions for non-compliance with sustainable development provisions should be possible as a last resort when all other mechanisms of cooperation and mediation have been exhausted;

•  specific proposals from the Commission, building on the reflection paper on harnessing globalisation, for creating viable new opportunities for Europeans who have been let down by global economic competition; these proposals should form part of the EU’s investment strategy for sustainable development and involve updating and strengthening instruments such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund;

•  continued pressure by the Commission on the Council to publish the negotiating mandates of trade negotiations, and considers that these should be made public as a general rule, including previously adopted ones; urges the Commission to intensify its efforts to ensure transparency to the wider public, beyond parliamentarians, who must be fully informed at all stages of the lifecycle of agreements, and to emphasise the need for regular civil society dialogues in order to rebuild trust in the EU’s trade policy;

82.  Encourages the Commission to continue negotiating balanced and fair trade agreements, taking duly into account agricultural sensitivities, including robust commitments on labour standards and tax transparency, multilateral environmental agreements, sustainable development, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards and other norms in agricultural and food products; warns that Parliament will only be able to give consent to new trade agreements if the above concerns are properly taken into account;

83.  Welcomes the recent publication of the Joint Communication for a renewed impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to take the partnership forward with open and transparent dialogue, involving civil society and social partners in Africa and Europe, in order to enhance our strategic relationship, with particular emphasis on building more secure and resilient states and societies, investment in education and the creation of more and better jobs, particularly for young people, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, in order to address the root causes of irregular migration;

84.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a draft mandate for the post-Cotonou agreement negotiations that aims to strengthen strategic relations between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, including dedicated proposals on supporting women and young people;

Financial solutions for a common European future

85.  Highlights that choices to be made regarding the future of European integration and priorities for common action will have direct implications for the design of the EU’s post-2020 MFF; emphasises that Europe cannot do much better together on priorities people care about unless adequate budgetary, financial and administrative resources are available to ensure that common policies are implemented;

86.  Reiterates that the 2014-2020 MFF has proved to be too small and insufficiently flexible to ensure that the European Union is able to respond to the shared challenges it faces;

87.  Points out that the added value of spending at European level does not arise only from efficiency gains in transborder investments or from greater possibilities for specialisation, but also from the development of a large internal market and an EMU characterised by upward economic convergence and from common implementation of common policies such as on security, climate change, environment-friendly agriculture and fisheries, and economic, social and territorial cohesion; highlights that, in all these respects, the EU budget is a win-win arrangement without which European integration would not be possible;

88.  Emphasises the importance of robust control systems to defend financial justice and fight actively against fraud and irregularities, in order to ensure the protection of EU citizens’ financial interests and proper own resources; underlines the need for an accountable EU budget in order to guarantee the efficiency of control systems and transparency;

89.  Draws attention to the fact that, in many areas which people strongly care about, the EU is achieving limited results because insufficient financial allocations make it very difficult to plan and implement stronger action, such as in the case of the Youth Guarantee, which has clearly proven itself as a policy, but which has been able to reach only around 40 % of its target population on account of its modest financial allocations;

90.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to refrain from formulating arbitrary ceilings with respect to the post-2020 MFF and to base its design instead on consideration of the EU’s common needs, common choices and the added value of acting on a large scale; underlines that the current low ceiling on payment appropriations has been a continuous drag on the Union’s credibility and capacity to act; highlights the need for greater flexibility in the post-2020 MFF;

91.  Underlines that cohesion policy is an essential and vitally important investment policy of the EU that should be complemented but cannot be replaced by instruments operated by the European Investment Bank; recalls that innovative financial instruments are appropriate only for some types of projects and that grant financing remains essential for maintaining and developing many public goods; urges the Commission to make available the right tools in the right places when designing the post-2020 MFF;

92.  Points out that uncertainty about the UK’s contribution to EU policies in the context of a future UK-EU relationship represents a challenge for the post-2020 MFF but also an opportunity to streamline the revenue side of the EU budget and put it on a more solid footing through substantial strengthening of own resources;

93.  Calls on the Commission to follow up on the reflection paper on the future of EU finances with ambitious proposals building on the report of the High-Level Group on Own Resources;

94.  Considers that part of corporate taxation collected in the EU should represent an own resource of the EU budget, reflecting the advantages of being able to do business in the Union’s large internal market;

95.  Considers that the post-2020 EU budget should make a strong contribution to the implementation of the Paris climate agreement, both through the revenue side and the expenditure side; believes, in particular, that a reformed system of taxation on sources of greenhouse gases should provide revenue for the EU budget, while stronger EU investment should be undertaken to support the transition towards a greener economy;

96.  Considers that, to the extent that national contributions to the EU budget will still be needed after strengthening the EU’s own resources, they should be excluded from deficit calculations under the Stability and Growth Pact because the EU budget predominantly finances investments in future prosperity;

How should Europe work better together?

97.  Is convinced that a practical approach, focused on finding effective solutions to priorities people care about, can take the EU a long way towards stronger public support for European integration; believes that concrete achievements in improving living and working conditions, stepping up investment, creating opportunities for all who feel left behind, reducing tax avoidance and bringing globalisation under control will make the EU less vulnerable to the temptations of nationalism;

98.  Finds that the Commission’s white paper was useful in starting an open-ended debate based on several scenarios for the future of Europe; expects the State of the Union speech, however, to set out a clear vision for how the EU can do much better together on priorities people care about;

99.  Finds, likewise, that while the Commission’s papers on the social dimension of Europe, harnessing globalisation, deepening the EMU, the future of European defence and the future of EU finances were useful for preliminary reflection, the Commission Work Programme for 2018 must outline concrete actions to make progress on these matters and on other topics covered by this resolution;

100.  Urges the EU‑27 Member States to work with each other and with the EU institutions in good faith, in order to achieve joint progress; insists that the best way to get things done is to rely on democratic, majority-based decisions within the framework of the Treaties; conversely, the best way to paralysis and failure is to be held hostage by veto-wielding players;

101.  Emphasises that doing much better together in a European democracy requires understanding each other better; calls therefore for reinforcing programmes that promote intercultural dialogue and cultural exchanges among European citizens; supports initiatives that make European cultural heritage more widely known, inter alia by using all the opportunities provided by the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018; finds that dialogue between European institutions and citizens needs to be stepped up further; considers to this end that citizens’ petitions to Parliament and the ensuing cooperation with the Commission and the Member States could be made more visible and dynamic; also considers it vital that the European Citizens’ Initiative instrument be made more accessible and user friendly to encourage people to engage in EU policy-making; considers that information about EU policies and politics needs to be made better accessible and understandable to citizens across the Union; calls for relevant educational and media initiatives aimed at helping citizens to make informed choices in the 2019 European elections;

102.  Reiterates that the functioning of the EU can be significantly improved on the basis of the Lisbon Treaty, notably through full use of the ordinary legislative procedure and qualified majority voting in the Council; recalls that the mechanism of enhanced cooperation can also be used, notably for deepening the EMU, for doing more in the field of common foreign and security policy and for achieving stronger cooperation in the area of justice and home affairs;

103.  Highlights that the enhanced cooperation mechanism, with the involvement of Parliament, the Commission and the Court of Justice, is strongly preferable to intergovernmental solutions outside the Union’s legal framework; reiterates that any deepening of integration must be undertaken in an inclusive way, with genuine openness to other Member States to join later;

104.  Reiterates that the euro-area fiscal capacity, operating through a reformed ESM and/or through instruments embedded in the EU budget on top of instruments serving the EU‑27, must be subject to the full democratic control of the European Parliament; calls, ahead of any Treaty revision, for the negotiation of an interinstitutional agreement on the economic governance of the euro area;

105.  Reiterates that public trust in EU-level decision-making would be improved through greater transparency on the deliberations of the Council and its preparatory bodies; calls again for significantly increased public access to Council documents; calls for the creation of a bicameral legislative system which is easier to understand for citizens;

106.  Considers that the post-2020 MFF should have a duration of 5+5 years, linked to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and reflecting the need for long-term programming of investments, but also taking into account that European elections take place every five years; is of the view that the European elections in 2019 should provide a mandate for final decisions on the priorities for revenue and expenditure of the post-2020 MFF and that the 2024 European elections should give a mandate for its mid-term revision;

107.  Calls for measures enabling strong visibility of European political parties and their leading candidates in all Member States in the run-up to the 2019 European elections;

108.  Invites the Commission, together with Parliament, to support and bring together European movements and citizens’ initiatives reflecting on the future of Europe;

109.  Invites the Commission and the Council to engage in thorough interinstitutional dialogue in preparation for the Joint Declaration on 2018 priorities and the December European Council;


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