Procedure : 2017/2699(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0455/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 04/07/2017 - 11
CRE 04/07/2017 - 11

Votes :

PV 05/07/2017 - 8.9
CRE 05/07/2017 - 8.9
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

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to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

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

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 Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2018 (2017/2699(RSP))

João Pimenta Lopes, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Marina Albiol Guzmán, Paloma López Bermejo, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Javier Couso Permuy, Marisa Matias on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2018 (2017/2699(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

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

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

Another Europe is possible

A.  whereas after several years of economic, social and political crisis, the values proclaimed as the basis of EU integration – democracy and participation, equality and social justice, solidarity and sustainability, and respect for the rule of law and human rights – have been and continue to be undermined;

B.  whereas the neoliberal and austerity-oriented policies imposed by the EU through the economic governance framework have widened the socio-economic inequalities within and between the Member States, and increased the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion; whereas labour market deregulation and regressive tax systems have contributed to the transfer of wealth from the workers to the large capitalists and exacerbated the income and wealth gap;

C.  whereas the massively disproportionate debt burden is a consequence of the asymmetric policies and nature of the integration process, whereby some countries profit while others have been forced into serious economic depression; whereas the debt burden has been used as a pretext for imposing austerity, which in turn has deepened the recession and undermined the social function of the States as well as peoples’ and workers’ rights, and subsequently led to rising unemployment, poverty, deep wage cuts, a higher pension age and lower public spending in areas such as education, culture and health;

D.  whereas this situation resulted in citizens’ questioning the neoliberal policies applied by governments which make up the political parties of the ‘Grand Coalition’ and which were unable to respond to the pressing challenges of our societies; whereas the citizens are insisting on a profound change of polities and political structures;

E.  whereas the extremely uneven economic development and debt burden, high unemployment, declining social and labour rights, and rising socio-economic inequalities demands a break with the policies currently pursued by the EU and a shift towards policies – at both national- and EU-level – which strengthen the Member States’ efforts to create prosperity for all, a fair distribution of wealth, sustainable economic growth, full employment, employment security and social protection, the provision of quality, universal and free public services, environmental well-being residing in a healthy natural environment, investment in education and infrastructure, a life of dignity for elderly people, and affordable housing, energy and communications; whereas holistic policies to combat poverty, social exclusion and income inequalities, namely through redistributive policies, and job-creating public investment, are necessary at both Union and Member State level;

F.  whereas the economic governance framework has removed policy choices from the hands of democratically elected governments and national parliaments, preventing the peoples of Europe from exerting democratic control, and leading to institutionalised austerity; whereas the growing opposition against this kind of European integration reflects the urgent need for a different integration process, which serves social and democratic progress in the EU, fair and peaceful solutions to international challenges and worldwide cultural dialogue, and which is firmly based in cooperation between countries with equal rights;

G.  whereas the tax systems are designed to favour large capital rather than the working class and the people; whereas harsh fiscal discipline measures and 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 the 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;

H.  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;

I.  whereas the international situation at present is characterised by ongoing wars, geopolitical rivalries and violent conflicts, an escalation of policies of interference and the destabilisation of sovereign countries, and by a dangerous arms race led by the main NATO powers; whereas the citizens reject the involvement of Europe in wars and any geopolitical rivalries; whereas the commitment to multilateralism and cooperation within the framework of international law, the principles of the UN charter, as well as the peoples’ right to self-determination and respect for sovereignty are crucial;

J.  whereas the EU continues to face the largest refugee humanitarian crisis since World War II; whereas the EU and certain Member States bear a direct responsibility for the root causes of migration and/or forced displacement making people flee their homes as a consequence of wars, climate change, inequalities and undue interference in the Middle East and Northern Africa through military interventions, which fuels regional conflicts and serves the geopolitical strategic interests of the EU, US and NATO; whereas the EU is clearly failing to comply with its obligations, including under international law;

K.  whereas several EU and Member State policies have laid the groundwork for xenophobia, racism and extreme right-wing policies and ideology, as well as the development of radical xenophobic and racist parties and movements, as they entrench nationality-based discrimination in the treatment of workers, refugees and migrants; whereas human rights violations also occur within the EU, contributing to the empowerment of these forces;

L.  whereas the democratic deficit has widened as a result of the policy choices of the EU, and many citizens feel they are not represented by the institutions; whereas this constitutes an enormous problem, which can only be addressed by increased transparency and openness and the defence of the values of human rights and democracy, including stronger citizens’ participation, peace, tolerance, progress, solidarity and cooperation among peoples;

M.  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;

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

Defending and promoting labour and social rights

1.  Strongly criticises the proposal for a European Social Pillar presented by the Commission, as it is merely a social etiquette manual that will not bring about the paradigm shift that the EU urgently needs in order to reverse the human, social and economic crisis caused by neoliberalism and aggravated by the policies of austerity and deregulation; stresses that statutory universal social security and secure open-ended working contracts must be the undisputed legal model pursued in the future Europe we seek, in contrast to the flexibility scenarios laid out in the reflection paper on the Social Dimension of Europe; asserts that substantive social policies for all people living in the EU should be granted, by seeking a progressive convergence in fundamental social rights, including enforceable minimum social rights at Union level with clear precedence over other policy objectives, and without prejudice to Member States’ rights to apply higher standards; the future Europe we call for will break with the framework of austerity and competitiveness and with liberalisation and labour market deregulation, and prioritises the strongest possible social and labour rights at EU and Member State level, including the right to a poverty-proof minimum income for all, the right to strike and the right to high wages based on sectorial collective agreements for all workers; calls, as a first step in this direction, for a social progress protocol which will enforce the superiority of social rights over any internal market or fiscal rules;

2.  Considers that the revised European Social Charter should be the basis for a common set of minimum social rights and standards, and expects a commitment for EU accession to the Charter, bolstering upwards social and economic convergence and cohesion between people and territories, while guaranteeing that Member States have an inalienable right to apply higher rights and standards;

3.  Urges the implementation of concrete proposals to guarantee and promote the right to collective bargaining as a key instrument to safeguard and enhance rights, as well as a commitment from the Commission to reinforce the principle of equal pay for equal work at the same place for all workers, and, in this connection, to recognise all collective agreements, including in relation to posted workers; strongly deplores any attempt to undermine collective actions, including the right to unionisation, collective bargaining and to strike;

4.  Calls on the Commission to promote the reduction and regulation of working hours and the increase of wages, and to combat social dumping with a view to ending precarious and fraudulent employment, working time deregulation, the widening of the low-wage sector, competition on low wages, discrimination, harassment and violence in the work place, and to protecting workers from self-exploitation in new forms of work, including digital work, the right to log off and crowd work;

5.  Deeply deplores the Commission’s proposals on the transport sector as they do not ensure high standards of safety and working conditions, and as they aim to water down workers’ rights, including the right to strike;

6.  Urges the Commission to reject and abandon the ‘flexicurity’ model and to promote policies that create quality and safe jobs, which ensure that all workers, including mobile and posted workers, enjoy living wages both now and in the future, in terms of savings, skills and pensions, as well as access to comprehensive social protection; reaffirms the need for universal solidarity based on social security and rejects privatisation and the decline in protection both in the form of decreasing social transfers and an increase in the retirement age;

7.  Urges the Commission to put the fight against inequality, poverty and social exclusion at the centre of its policies; reiterates its call for the Commission to commit to an economic model that focuses on the creation of jobs with rights instead of accumulating wealth for shareholders, and for a commitment to strengthen public services instead of privatisation, which transfers wealth from the public to the private sphere and weakens workers’ rights; stresses that further action is required, including two initiatives, firstly: a social investment plan to support social policies at Member State level which promotes and supports free and equal access to quality public services in the Member States, including access to justice, education, health care, and decent housing and care for children and elderly people, and secondly: a proposal for an integrated anti-poverty strategy, including the creation of a Minimum Income Scheme, at Member State level, which guarantees a percentage of the average income in the respective Member States, with the minimum reference of 60 %, as an important step towards the eradication of poverty;

8.  Defends the right to mobility, but insists that it cannot replace job creation where people live and rejects the Commission’s model that pits workers against workers; stresses this point in view of the increasing digitalisation of models of production, which should not lead to unemployment and precariousness but to a reduction in working hours while safeguarding and boosting of wages and working conditions; believes that digitalisation poses a major challenge for society, both in terms of the transition between disappearing professions and new models of production, and in terms of ensuring social and labour rights in new jobs and forms of work organisation; urges the Commission to focus not only on supporting fair mobility, but also on job creation and job transitioning in all Member States, in particular in regions with high unemployment, and to tailor its support to the specific needs of the Member States; underlines, in this regard, that all workers, both within and outside the labour market, should have access to programmes for continuous training and learning throughout their working lives and that these should be financed by employers and the Member States;

9.  Calls on the Commission, in the context of the discussions and recommendations on the national insolvency frameworks, to ensure that workers and trade unions can participate throughout all stages of the procedure and are kept informed, and to prevent the tactical use of insolvency procedures to worsen employment conditions; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to facilitate circumstances whereby workers can take over companies facing insolvency, in order to maintain economic activity and minimise job losses;

10.  Takes the view that all EU action programmes on culture and education should include a systematic social inclusion dimension, promote policies of quality public education and contribute to full access to culture and recreation for all; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to exclude education and culture-related expenditure from the public deficit calculation in the Growth and Stability Pact until the pact is repealed and replaced by a Pact for Employment and Growth;

11.  Stresses the importance of policy initiatives that promote women’s rights and gender equality; takes note of the Work-life Balance Package, which includes proposals for new or higher minimum standards for parental, paternity and carers’ leave; insists, however, that the initiatives respond to Parliament’s position on the Maternity Leave Directive by increasing the minimum-guaranteed period of maternity leave on full pay from 14 to 20 weeks, and by establishing a mandatory right to paid paternity leave; welcomes the proposal that parental leave becomes an individual right for parents; believes that specific measures need to be taken in all the Member States to improve the work-life balance for women and men, and that steps are needed to increase the duration of parental leave, which should be paid at 100 %, and to ultimately move towards a more equal system of parental leave;

12.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to put forward a proposal for a comprehensive EU strategy on violence against women and girls that addresses all the different forms of violence; welcomes the efforts that the Commission is currently making towards EU accession to the Istanbul Convention; calls for the EU to respond to the urgent need to adopt and implement a new EU anti-trafficking strategy which includes a strong gender equality perspective and which focuses in particular on reducing demand and putting in place a system of punishment for the customers/perpetrators;

Progressive economic policies

13.  Calls on the Commission to end the EU’s austerity policy; takes the view that the Fiscal Stability Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the European Semester, as well as the National Competitiveness Boards and Independent Fiscal Authorities, should be revoked, as they are characterised by a democratic and social deficit, and not only constitute an economic straightjacket that has severe adverse effects on investment, growth, regional cohesion, and job creation, and have dramatically increased inequality within and between Member States, but also curtail the right of the Member States to define their budgetary and public policy objectives;

14.  Strongly rejects, therefore, the Five Presidents’ Report and the Commission white paper and reflection paper on deepening the Economic Monetary Union (EMU), as they offer no way out from the austerity narrative but instead recommend deepening existing policies, increased competitiveness and structural convergence, imposing strict fiscal policies and austerity;

15.  Stresses the need to replace these policies with a Pact for Employment and Growth encompassing a new set of economic, social and environmental policies in favour of the peoples and the workers, namely by promoting environmentally sustainable inclusive growth, quality and safe employment and social and regional cohesion; underlines the fact that under this new cooperation framework, the Member States must regain the ability to decide on the economic policies that best address their respective needs, while at EU level, the decision-making process must ensure democratic accountability and transparency that includes the European Parliament, national parliaments and full respect for the decisions taken at Member State level, which should reflect a comprehensive dialogue with all stakeholders; urges the Commission to launch a debate between the Member States and the EU institutions about how this can be achieved;

16.  Believes that, should any Member State decide to exit the euro because their membership has become unsustainable and unbearable, such a decision should be utterly respected and pave the way for a negotiated and orderly exit in a fair manner that is free from pressure, sanctions or blackmail, within a framework of a comprehensive support programme; considers that such a programme should foresee the possibility of adequate compensation determined on the basis of the social and economic damage caused;

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

18.  Stresses the fact that the level of debt in a number of EU countries remains among the highest in the world; asks the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to initiate and support a process of renegotiation of public debt (in its amounts, maturity and interest rates) and the annulment of its speculative and illegitimate elements in the most indebted countries, in order to make the debt system compatible with economic and social development; notes that without debt relief, the economic recovery of the Member States is impossible;

19.  Urges the Commission to urgently evaluate and discuss the Banking Union process, which ,undemocratic and imbalanced, has hitherto protected the interests of the banks and not of the depositors; considers that the Banking Union has further weakened Member States’ ability to control their banking system and has, moreover, served to promote and ultimately bring about several mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector of different Member States; considers, therefore, that the Banking Union has been operating as a political tool to force a process of capital centralisation and concentration; in fact, the establishment of a pan-European banking oligopoly is both a major goal and a consequences of the Banking Union, and does not tackle the ‘too-big-to-fail’ problem, but rather magnifies it, does not serve the populations’ interests and is very far from addressing depositors’ security effectively; believes, therefore, that the only way of addressing the ‘too-big-to-fail’ problem and depositors’ security, and of ensuring a banking system that exists to serve peoples’ interests and countries’ development needs, is to repeal the Banking Union and promote the public control and decentralisation of the banking and financial sector; insists on the urgent need to take initiatives and to protect the low- and medium-income depositors of the people in Europe against future system crises;

20.  Stresses that the deregulation and liberalisation of capital markets pose serious problems to Member States’ economies, namely their stability; believes that the Capital Markets Union, by deepening the level of financialisation of Member States’ economies, serves the interests of no-one but financial capitalists and greatly increases the possibility of a new financial crisis; calls for the immediate stop to the process of establishing a Capital Markets Union and reiterates the need to separate investment banking from retail banking, so as to avoid industry contamination and concentration;

21.  Insists that the Commission and the Member States show real political determination in taxing the actual holders of wealth; regrets the insufficient response in the EU to the tax scandals; defends the obligation to make public tax rulings, country-by-country reporting and beneficial ownership registries in order to ensure transparency and scrutiny; advocates the end of off-shore and other tax havens within and outside the EU, the effective regulation of the enablers and promoters of offshore schemes, 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, the punishing of speculative transactions through tax policy measures, and ensuring that profits are taxed where economic activities take place, where employees are actually working and where value is created; calls for an international summit to be held within the framework of the United Nations with a view to establishing a road map and a Joint Action Plan to end tax havens and tax dumping;

The recovery of Member States’ economies through public investment and sustainable growth

22.  Underlines the fact, that in addition to a democratic and just cooperation framework and a real pillar of social rights, the EU requires holistic and fair economic development and an investment strategy which takes into account peoples’ interests and each Member States’ needs and specificities; calls on the Commission to launch a Public Investment Plan which genuinely seeks to bring about full employment and a sustainable, energy-efficient, low-carbon economy, specifically targeting countries and regions with high levels of unemployment and poverty as well as the productive sectors that are vital to each country’s development strategies; calls for the promotion of public projects and for support to local governments, MSMEs, cooperatives and non-for-profit business, boosting their productivity, curbing the effect of dominant market positions occupied by large corporations, and ensuring sound economic development and social cohesion in the EU, as well as for Community funds to be reinforced and oriented in that direction;

23.  Stresses that in addition to the investment plan, cohesion policy should be a visible, tangible and quantifiable expression of European solidarity and fairness; underlines the urgent need for a true cohesion policy with significantly increased structural funds, which has the principal objectives of reducing disparities between regions with a special emphasis on the poorer and outermost regions, and which targets Member States that suffer from underdevelopment, high levels of unemployment, or that face a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, and includes assistance in the form of human resources and technical assistance with regard to migration and natural disasters; urges the Commission, therefore, to uphold a strong post-2020 cohesion policy based on subsidies and its core objectives of environmental, social, economic and territorial cohesion, as enshrined in the Treaties, with both an urban and rural dimension and a strong focus on European territorial cooperation, and with a strong commitment to the partnership principle, promoting real convergence and sustainable economic and employment growth; strongly rejects subordinating cohesion policy to EU economic governance, structural reforms and macro-economic conditionalities as cohesion policy should not be used as an instrument of financial punishment if a Member State or region rejects policies of deregulation and privatisation;

24.  Taking into account the latest events, and in particular the earthquakes in Italy and Greece and the fires in Portugal and Spain, which have had a dramatic and substantial impact on human life in particularly deprived regions, highlights the importance of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for responding to major natural disasters and takes note of the proposed increase in commitment and payment appropriations for the EUSF; calls on the Commission to oversee a further increase in this fund, and to adapt the rules to make its mobilisation more flexible and punctual, to cover a wider range of disasters with significant impacts and reduce the time between the disaster and the availability of funds;

25.  Asserts that the social, economic, climate-related and political challenges can only be met by a rupture with the neoliberal policies of the past and a reorientation towards social progress, economic convergence, cohesion and sustainable development; strongly calls for an end to the principle of competition and the principle of market economy, in order to pave the way for a Europe based on the principle of solidarity and mutually advantageous cooperation;

26.  Expects the EU’s economic development strategy to include an inclusive industrial strategy which strengthens and develops a diversified industrial base in all Member States and regions, taking into account the regional specificities; stresses the pivotal role of the States and of public investment in the re-industrialisation strategy that should embrace strategic sectors and make job growth and social and environmental sustainability key goals; calls on the Commission to address the problem of the relocation of industrial production within the global value chains and to propose a ban on EU funding for the relocation of production in order to keep industrial jobs in the Member States;

27.  Recalls the fundamental role of public research as a counter-balance to market-oriented trends; stresses the need to use EU research funds as tools to increase territorial cohesion in the EU, and to avoid the concentration of research funding among a few countries, universities, research centres and corporations; stresses the importance of strengthening public investment and the regulation of digital services in order to overcome the digital divide and highlights the need to avoid the concentration of digital content among a few distributors; supports open standards in the digital sector and open science so that innovations can benefit all; calls for all scientific knowledge, whether backed by direct or indirect EU funding, to be made public;

28.  Rejects the EU internal energy market and the establishment of a European Energy Union, which will lead to further liberalisation and monopolisation; calls for public control of this strategic sector as public ownership and management of energy production and distribution is the best way of ensuring environmental and social sustainability; reiterates that energy is a public good and that access to energy should be a basic social right; regrets the fact that the Commission has neglected this in all proposals including in the ‘clean energy for all Europeans’ package; expects the Commission, in this regard, to create a European Energy Poverty Observatory and prepare a concrete action plan on how to tackle energy poverty;

29.  Calls for a decentralised Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which promotes the modernisation and sustainable development of the fisheries sector, ensuring its socio-economic viability, the sustainability of resources, the preservation and creation of jobs and the improvement of fisheries’ workers living conditions; reaffirms the need for the CFP to recognise the specific characteristics of small-scale and coastal fishing and the suitability of the existing instruments for the sector’s needs; calls for measures to ensure national sovereignty over the Exclusive Economic Zones of Member States and their fisheries resources;

30.  Takes the view that 30 years of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) have taken a severe toll on the agricultural sector in the Member States and contributed to the crisis in the agriculture sector; calls for a renewed focus on one of the funding principles of the CAP, ‘to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers’, in order to combat the increased concentration of production, the reduction of small-scale farmers, and the increase in regional asymmetries and foreign external dependence on goods, which favours the biggest EU economies and large agri-businesses; regrets the fact that this phenomenon is putting at risk agricultural and rural patrimony of global importance, while large agri-businesses are expanding their margins and imposing their model of a global food system, with destructive environmental consequences; emphasises the central role of farmers in agricultural and food policy; strongly opposes market domination and unfair price- setting by large agri-food businesses at the expense of food safety, quality and sovereignty, human and animal health, animal welfare and the environment; stresses the importance of facilitating access to land to fight inequality in rural economies and facilitate generational renewal in the agricultural sector;

31.  Calls on the Commission, on the eve of upcoming CAP reform, to shift the focus of the current CAP, which is dominated by intensive farming and extractive monocultures, towards sustainable agriculture and food policy, by taking into account the various economic, social, environmental, nutritional and health issues and challenges;

32.  Calls on the Commission to put in place measures to increase the visibility and enhance the role of women in the agricultural sector; urges the Commission to give priority to the protection of and access to agricultural land; strongly condemns land-grabbing and demands swift action from the Commission and the Member States; reaffirms that water is a universal right that should be guaranteed for every human being and should not be subject to privatisation;

33.  Calls on the Commission to forbid all forms of seed patenting in order to protect farmers from the pressures of competition caused by multinationals producing seeds, and to protect local varieties and our genetic and cultural heritage; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to forbid the authorisation, cultivation and marketing of GMOs and to take action against the widespread use of pesticides;

34.  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 and biodiversity for the 2016-2020 period which overcomes existing shortcomings and loopholes, so as to create a level playing field and improve animal welfare and biodiversity protection across the EU;

Environmental policies for a sustainable future – tackling climate change

35.  Highlights the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis; welcomes the recognition by COP 21 that the present climate crises are caused by an energy-intensive production system and the exploitation of fossil fuels; stresses that the solution to climate change is, for all countries concerned, to commit to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with their historical responsibilities; strongly believes that the fate of the planet cannot be left to market-based instruments, but requires a break with the capitalist growth model, as well as a radical shift in production methods, distribution and consumption; regrets the fact, therefore, that the COP 21 commitments do not guarantee a reduction in GHG emissions considered necessary to ensure that the increase in average temperature is no more than 2ºC and that the agreement strengthened the market-based mechanisms;

36.  Regrets the lack of ambition on binding targets shown by the Commission to date; deplores the fact that climate change policies insist on a market approach, which has been clearly demonstrated as ineffective and misguided (carbon market, flexibility instruments, etc.); calls for a fundamental shift away from a market approach to a normative approach, in line with the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’; calls on the Commission and the Member States to go further than the framework of the Paris Agreement; strongly believes that the EU must step up its action and put climate and environment first; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to integrate climate change policy and high environmental standards in all relevant policies; urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure the implementation of the Paris commitments and of the additional goals, despite all their shortcomings and contradictions;

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

38.  Believes that the energy transition should result in a more efficient, transparent, sustainable, decentralised and democratic energy system based on renewables, which benefits society as a whole; reiterates Parliament’s call for a binding target of a 30 % share of renewable energy consumption, which should be revised upwards to 45 % in line with the current provisions of the Paris Agreement, and 40 % in energy savings for 2030; calls on the Commission to come forward with binding sustainability criteria for energy and biomass;

39.  Calls for biodiversity to be safeguarded in marine environments, ensuring conditions that are conducive to the replenishment of fish populations through the implementation of adequate sustainable management practices; advocates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of conserving at least 10 % of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information, and primacy for small-scale and artisanal fisheries in accessing resources; advocates in this regard the creation of fisheries-free zones in areas where fish stocks and biodiversity are threatened; stresses equally the need to implement effective climate change prevention and mitigation strategies across the EU in order to protect agricultural land in the long term, including putting an end to intensive farming and overproduction;

40.  Underlines the need to decarbonise the entire transport sector; deeply regrets the fact that the Commission’s proposal for a Transport Mobility Package further liberalises the sector to the detriment of the environment and the workers; calls on the Commission to come back with a new proposal which is based on the Member States’ needs to ensure territorial cohesion, which promotes public transport, shared mobility solutions and walking and cycling in particular in urban areas, and which cuts emission from cars, vans, heavy duty vehicles, aviation and railways and sea transport;

41.  Defends an increase in the allocation of funding for environmental conservation policies; calls for a substantial increase in the LIFE programme for a minimum of 1 % of the EU budget; rejects weakening legislation on 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 for preserving its values;

42.  Calls on the Commission to consistently comply with the precautionary principle and to roll back on and refrain from proposing derogations on the use of chemical substances, harmful pesticides and endocrine disruptors, to reduce the exposure of chemical substances through water, soil, air and food which have a negative impact on humans, animals and the global environment, and to put forward legislative proposals to reduce exposure;

43.  Calls for the Community approach to disaster prevention to be reinforced, with the creation of a financial framework appropriate for prevention, which can be mobilised by action to correct situations involving risk;

Single market and international trade

44.  Takes the view that the single market, in its multiple sectorial dimensions, has accentuated the erosion 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, the deregulation of commercial relations and the concentration of capital; considers that, through the single market and in the name of competitiveness, the EU has supported 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 degradation of the services provided;

45.  Stresses that each country must have the right to define the commercial policies and celebrate the trade agreements which most correspond with their interests and their economic characteristics and needs, taking into account their respective levels of complementarities with third countries;

46.  Takes note of the revised proposal of the Audiovisual Media Service Directive; regrets, however, that it does not sufficiently address either threats to media pluralism or to vulnerable users, notably minors, in relation to dangerous commercial communications, product placement, illegal contents on video-sharing platforms and social media; calls on the Commission, to this end, to revise the e-commerce directive and to focus more on democratic and cultural changes in its current and future work on the Digital Single Market strategy; recalls that digitalisation deals substantially with education, knowledge, research, media and internet literacy, and therefore requires more political responsibility and a European digital strategy tailored to society and users’ needs;

47.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to guarantee that all EU action and programmes on culture, education and citizenship systematically include a social inclusion dimension, particularly for disadvantaged groups; calls on the Commission to facilitate full access to culture and creation for all, and to promote culture and creative enterprises, particularly small-scale cultural production;

48.  States that any legislative proposal that somehow interferes with the rights and remuneration of culture and creative industry participants must ensure a fair and decent pay for authors, performers, producers and technicians; asks the Member States, furthermore, to work jointly with the unions of those working in the cultural and creative industries, and with funded entities and public bodies in order to develop and implement concrete measures to eradicate labour precariousness in this industry;

49.  Stresses, in addition, the importance of increasing funding and removing barriers, including economic barriers, for applicants for educational programmes such as Erasmus+ and Creative Europe, in particular for students with a lower income, people with disabilities, learners from remote regions and participants affected by Brexit; deplores the replacement of grant systems by the Student Loan Guarantee Facility and calls on the Commission to revoke this proposal;

50.  Opposes the trade-policy approach of liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation pushed by the Commission with many partners worldwide, which compromises the sovereignty of the Member States and serves the geopolitical interests of the richest countries and multinational corporations by enabling them 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); insists on trade relations with states or partners that respect workers’ rights, the environment and regional characteristics and that, at the same time, do not challenge the geopolitical interests of small countries, SMEs or national assets or public services;

51.  Urges the Commission to withdraw from the negotiations on TTIP, EU-Japan and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), among others; believes trade agreements should focus on promoting decent jobs, a sustainable economic model, but first and foremost, on a fair distribution of wealth, a heterogeneous array of economic activities, and a firmly rooted approach to the right to regulate in order to progress towards social justice, to develop quality public services, to protect environment and cultural diversity, and to be allowed to strictly respect the precautionary principle;

52.  Calls for regulated, mutually complementary-based international trade; insists that all negotiating documents must be made public, and that all national parliaments must be consulted, before the adoption of such deals, which have a dramatic impact on people’s daily lives; deplores the negotiation process of CETA and calls for its immediate repeal;

53.  Calls on the Commission to fully support the UN Treaty on business and human rights, including its necessary binding provisions, and urges the Commission and Member States to include in all current and future trade deals signed by the EU provisions enabling real control of tax fraud, money laundering and speculation on food, water, and on other basic needs of human beings and of nature;

Respecting human rights – the path to democracy

54.  Insists on a democratic, fair and progressive alternative for Europe – with countries equal in rights – based on solidarity, cooperation and social justice; insists that the respect for human rights and the rule of law, together with respect for the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, must be the core of any policies at EU and Member State level; states that another Europe must be built with a stronger role for and greater involvement of the peoples, while respecting their rights and their will;

55.  Believes that, as regards the EU institutions, this calls for a stronger role and involvement of citizens and civil society through, inter alia, a revised and strengthened European Citizens’ Initiative; calls for improved access to documents and greater transparency of corporate lobbyism, including through expert groups, and greater respect for initiatives such as the European Citizens’ Initiative;

56.  Calls for greater transparency and accountability insists that the EU institutions need to become truly open, transparent and accountable to the citizens, both in terms of the decision-making process and in terms of the interests they serve; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to promptly and adequately follow up on Parliament’s resolution on Commissioners’ declarations of interests and to come forward with a proposal for effective protection of whistle-blowers encompassing all categories of whistle-blowers, taking into account the principles of the Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7;

57.  Expresses deep concern at the growing democratic deficit and the anti-democratic actions of the EU; strongly rejects EU policies, which removed policy choices from the hands of sovereign and democratically elected governments and national parliaments, diminished democratic control of the EU and established austerity permanently; strongly rejects any actions of the EU institutions seeking to impose policies and measures against the will of the peoples, blackmailing sovereign governments, ignoring and attacking the outcome of citizens’ participation in political decision-making processes and workers’ struggle and rights; urges the Commission to respect the will of the citizens and to respect any future referenda on EU issues; insists on the peoples’ inalienable right to debate and express their will; rejects the narrative of inevitability often projected by the EU institutions, as in a democracy there are always alternative pathways in line with the will of the peoples;

58.  Abhors the blatant disregard for human rights and the obligations of international law demonstrated in the EU’s response to the humanitarian crisis, as exemplified by the increasing militarisation of the EU’s external borders; calls on the Commission to redirect funds allocated to heightened border control and the strengthening of Fortress Europe towards welcoming and integrating refugees and migrants; urgently calls on the Commission to strengthen proactive search and rescue activities, especially in the Central Mediterranean, 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 based on genuine links of the refugees with the respective countries, and to support Parliament’s call for the creation of humanitarian visas by presenting a relevant proposal, so that people will no longer be forced to risk their lives in the Mediterranean or in the deserts on their way to Europe; condemns the increasing use of so-called soft instruments to pressure third countries into informal readmission agreements; strongly condemns, in this regard, the deal between the EU and Turkey, the deal between the EU and Afghanistan: the so called ‘Joint Way forward for Afghanistan’, and ongoing talks with third countries under the Migration Partnership Frameworks; condemns the EU border management policy and the externalisation of border control to third countries, notably through the use of the EU Trust Fund for Africa;

59.  Calls for a fair allocation of refugees in dignified accommodation and for the closure of detention centres, and to advance the social inclusion and labour market integration of both refugees and migrants, taking into account their preferences, skills and qualifications, and to ensure protection against exploitation and discrimination; calls for the protection and support of people with special needs, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors; calls for the implementation of the right to family life as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), whether from a third country or within the EU, and stresses the urgent need to fully respect the right to family life and reunification, both from within and outside the EU, including the fast-tracking of vulnerable applicants; calls on the Commission to evaluate the implementation of the Directive on the Right to Family Reunification, including the use of the Commission communication on guidance for application of Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification and to initiate infringement procedures where necessary;

60.  Deplores the fact that the Commission proposed an alternative to the Dublin Regulation which does not address the existing regulation’s serious deficiencies, as the proposal is not based on the principle of solidarity and the equal sharing of responsibility; raises key concerns about the obligation for all Member States to examine whether a person’s application could be declared inadmissible based on the concepts of a safe third country or first country of asylum;

61.  Expresses its deep disappointment at Member States’ unfulfilled promises to relocate asylum seekers from Italy and Greece; urges the Member States to fulfil their commitments deriving from the Council Decisions and to systematically relocate asylum seekers from Greece and Italy; calls on the Commission to propose extending relocation measures for as long the situation requires;

62.  Expresses deep concern at the European Agenda on Security, which focuses on repressive policies and extending EU law enforcement agencies; criticises the increasing securitisation of policies, including the collection of personal data and profiling of citizens and third country nationals, taking advantage of the legitimate inflated fears of the peoples, using the fight against terrorism to attack citizens’ rights and liberties and increase state surveillance; strongly objects to this violation of human rights and to the fact that these repressive policies have undermined the necessary prevention policies; calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen prevention policies, including youth work, socio-economic cohesion policies and other preventive instruments aimed at supporting people at risk of social exclusion; recalls at this point the necessity for the EU and its Member States to stop all external military engagements and to play an international role for peace;

63.  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; asks the Commission to evaluate the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies and the Council recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States, and to propose additional measures, if necessary, for the effective inclusion of the Roma; deplores the increase in hate crime and instances of hate speech directed against ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTI persons, asylum seekers and the homeless; takes the view that the increase in racist and xenophobic sentiment and organisations is linked to the ascent of the far right and fascist tendencies in Europe, which cannot be viewed in isolation with the austerity and neoliberal policies that have been enforced in the EU and Member States in the past decades, or with the growing democratic deficit and disregard and disrespect for the will of the peoples;

Peace and international solidarity

64.  Rejects the European Security Strategy and its Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Security and Defence Policy; demands an end to EU-NATO cooperation and strategic priorities and rejects the current expansionist policy of NATO; further demands the removal of all foreign military bases in Europe and the dissolution of NATO; rejects a European Defence Union, which is a dangerous venture leading straight to war; opposes, therefore, increasing Member State budgets for security and defence; strongly opposes 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 remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in particular; insists that the EU and its Member States should work for peace, for diplomatic and peaceful conflict resolution, including through mediation initiatives, and for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes in line with the United Nations Charter; supports the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime and nuclear disarmament;

65.  Firmly rejects the Commission’s Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence, including its recommendations on a European defence fund and a single market for defence, which requests an increase in financing for defence and security through EU budgetary funds;

66.  Denounces and deeply deplores the unprecedented speed with which the EU is being militarised;

67.  Urges disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, the demobilisation of troops, and an end to external military interventions, civil research and investigation for the benefit of the people and their development; urges the dissolution of NATO; recalls that the best way of promoting peace is by supporting measures on poverty eradication, humanitarian aid, and sustainable and fair economic and social development;

68.  States that external cooperation should be based on the internationalist solidarity principle and on complete respect for each country’s desire for and pace of development;

69.  Deeply deplores the fact that the EU is promoting the same failed policies towards the accession countries; is concerned about recent developments in the Western Balkans region concerning the increasing democratic deficit and growing authoritarianism, the rise of nationalistic and irredentist rhetoric, and economic stagnation blighted by very high unemployment, all of which could lead to regional instability, with many of these problems having resulted from the war of aggression imposed on many of these countries; insists that the EU takes the responsibility incumbent upon it for the failures of its policies in the Western Balkans and calls on the Commission to re-assess and radically reformulate its enlargement policy and assistance to the candidate and potential candidate countries provided by the Pre-accession Assistance Instrument, by focusing on the promotion of democracy and civil society, the rule of law, human, civil and employment rights, social cohesion and social justice and sustainable economic development; believes that the decision to join the EU should be based on a sovereign decision by the people;

70.  Calls, in the light of events that have taken place since July 2016 and the referendum of 16 April 2017, for the temporary suspension of accession negotiations with Turkey if the constitutional package is implemented unchanged and if the rule of law is not immediately restored; insists that the process of modernising the Customs Union with Turkey be linked to a robust conditionality on human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good neighbourly relations; insists on the position that the Customs Union cannot be upgraded if Turkey does not fully implement the current Customs Union and additional protocol vis-à-vis all Member States;

71.  Underlines the need to tackle the socio-economic root causes of the current security and migration challenges as a matter of priority and rejects any military security cooperation; calls on the Commission to meet its commitment to engage with the European Neighbourhood Policy 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 and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises; emphasises that this requires a multi-level approach, including national, regional and local levels, as well as regional and sub-regional levels and cross-border cooperation that serves to mobilise 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 a strategy on the cooperation with the EU’s neighbours which was announced as part of the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy;

72.  Reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with the State of Israel and the Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security, on the basis of the right of self-determination and full respect for international law; calls on the Commission to devote special attention in its cooperation and assistance programmes to people living under occupation and blockade; calls on the Commission to fully implement Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement in response to longstanding serious violations of human rights by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the discriminatory treatment by Israel of its own citizens of Arab origin and its disregard for the UN resolution on the issue; insists on the comprehensive application of the guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards in all the Member States; calls on the Commission to review the funding of scientific cooperation programmes with a view to preventing any kind of financing of Israel’s military industry; reiterates its call on the Commission to assess the costs of the demolitions of houses and infrastructure financed by the EU and to insist on compensation;

73.  Reiterates its support for the self-determination of Western Sahara, to be achieved through a referendum, in line with international law and the relevant UN resolutions; calls on the Commission to fully implement Article 2 of the EU-Morocco Association Agreement in response to longstanding and serious human rights violations by Morocco in the Occupied Territories of Western Sahara, including economic repression and the political imprisonment of peaceful Sahrawi activists for advocating self-determination; calls on the Commission to implement the European Court of Justice judgment of 21 December 2016, which rules that EU-Morocco agreements applying to Western Sahara are illegal under international law; stresses that any future EU agreement on Western Sahara must be negotiated with Frente Polisario, as the international representative of the Sahrawi people; highlights the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Tindouf refugee camps as a result of falling international aid and calls on the Commission to raise current levels of aid to at least its historical levels;

74.  Calls on the Commission to maintain the commitments and important steps taken in the negotiations of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union, its Member States and the Republic of Cuba; underlines the importance of maintaining a constructive approach in the negotiations that respects the will of the Cuban people and avoids any external interference or constraints in Cuba’s internal affairs; calls on the Commission to contribute to the end of the blockade;

75.  Recalls the principle of effective development cooperation: the ownership of development priorities by developing countries; opposes any attempt to link development aid with border control, the management of migratory flows or readmission agreements; rejects any attempt to impose conditionality between development assistance and cooperation from beneficiary countries, on, inter alia, structural reforms and migration issues; underlines the fact that payments from the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and the European Development Fund (EDF) cannot be used for military programmes, policy cooperation and army reforms; insists on the need for an accountability mechanism on the monitoring and implementation of the SDGs and the 0.7% ODA/GNI target, which Member States had already agreed to reach by 2015;

76.  Calls on the Commission, furthermore, to include and promote universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in all related policy areas in the EU and beyond; calls on the EU and the Member States to counter the impact of the gag rule by significantly increasing financing for sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular funding explicitly designed to ensure access to birth control and safe and legal abortion, using both national and EU development funding;

77.  Calls for a human needs-based approach on debt sustainability through a binding set of standards to define responsible lending and borrowing and calls for developing countries’ foreign debt to be cancelled;

78.  Calls on the Commission to support, by means of a communication, the elaboration of a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations under the auspices of the UN and to provide for the establishment of effective remedies for victims in cases where domestic jurisdiction clearly proves to be unable to prosecute multinationals effectively;

Financing the EU

79.  Recalls that the EU budget is an instrument for achieving the goals outlined above; believes this should be done through policies and programmes that address the specific needs of Member States so that the EU budget complements Member States’ efforts rather than imposes priorities or a one-size-fits-all model; further believes that the budget should facilitate experiments with the good practices of other countries;

80.  Reiterates the importance of cohesion policies and the need to increase funding in this area, in particular the European Social Fund; underlines the fact that these policies must not be weakened under any circumstances, including Brexit, and that budgetary allocations should be maintained at at least the same level as the current period for all categories of regions; calls on the Commission to present the proposals for the post-2020 cohesion policy and the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) by early 2018 in order to allow for a smooth decision-making process as well as sufficient time for Member States and regions to set priorities and adapt and implement policy changes;

81.  Insists, in the context of the Commission’s proposal for a post-2020 MFF, that the budget be made simpler and more transparent, fair and democratically accountable, and that it be based on solidarity; insists, moreover, on the unity of the EU budget and therefore, on the integration of the various financial instruments, funds and trust funds currently outside the budget;

82.  Calls for the 2018 Budget to include specific support measures for the regions that will be impacted the most by Brexit, including funding that will consolidate and advance the peace process in the North of Ireland;



83.  Acknowledges the right of any Member State to withdraw from the EU; highlights the fact that nothing in the Treaties should be used to create unwarranted obstacles to the implementation of the decision of a Member State to leave;

84.  Rejects any kind of pressure or blackmail during the negotiation process; urges the Commission to find a fair agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK in the interests of all those living in the different jurisdictions; believes, moreover, that the future relationship between the EU and the UK should be built on the principles of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

85.  Believes that it is of paramount importance to swiftly and unconditionally provide legal certainty to nationals of EU Member States living in Britain and British people living in other Member States; calls for particular attention to be paid, in this regard, to the mobility of workers (mobile workers, cross-border workers and frontier workers, students), with a particular focus on and understanding of the unique situations in Ireland and Gibraltar;

86.  Insists that the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements be fully upheld in the withdrawal agreement; calls for the North of Ireland to be designated with a special status within the EU which ensures it maintains access to EU membership, the Customs Union, the Single Market and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; calls, furthermore, for the freedom of movement of goods, people and services on the island of Ireland;

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


o  o

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


OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.

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