Procedure : 2019/2854(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0124/2019

Texts tabled :

B9-0124/2019

Debates :

Votes :

PV 24/10/2019 - 8.6
CRE 24/10/2019 - 8.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0047

<Date>{21/10/2019}21.10.2019</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0124/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 150kWORD 51k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the effects of the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Group</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2854(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Elena Kountoura, Nikolaj Villumsen, Kateřina Konečná, Marisa Matias, Stelios Kouloglou, Helmut Scholz, João Ferreira, Sandra Pereira, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Alexis Georgoulis, Emmanuel Maurel, Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Anne‑Sophie Pelletier, Leila Chaibi, Manuel Bompard, Konstantinos Arvanitis, Petros Kokkalis, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Younous Omarjee</Depute>

<Commission>{GUE/NGL}on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0118/2019

B9‑0124/2019

European Parliament resolution on effects of the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Group

(2019/2854(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to Articles 152 and 195 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and the Council of 25 November 2015 on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC[1],

 having regard to its resolution of 29 October 2015 on new challenges and concepts for the promotion of tourism in Europe[2],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2018 on the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 – Parliament’s position with a view to an agreement[3],

 having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352),

 having regard to the Commission decision of 14 October 2019 on rescue aid to Condor (SA.55394),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014-2020) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 (‘EGF Regulation’)[4],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91[5],

 having regard to Commission communication of 18 March 2013 on passenger protection in the event of airline insolvency (COM(2013)0129),

 having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 of 9 October 1997 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents[6],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community[7],

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 23 September 2019 Thomas Cook Group officially declared bankruptcy, creating one of the biggest crises ever in the tourism sector;

B.  whereas the collapse of the Thomas Cook Group left hundreds of thousands of people stranded around the world; whereas the cessation of operations by Thomas Cook required large-scale repatriation of these people from different locations to their places of origin;

C. whereas approximately 22 000 people directly employed by Thomas Cook Group face unemployment; whereas this bankruptcy has resulted in the closure of hotels and accommodation facilities, and will also lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the tourism sector and sectors reliant on tourism; whereas numerous suppliers, mostly viable SMEs, may face considerable difficulties as a result of the domino effect that the collapse of Thomas Cook has produced;

D. whereas the collapse of Thomas Cook may have a substantial negative effect on the economies of certain EU regions that were directly dependent on Thomas Cook package tours; whereas several trade unions and hoteliers’ associations across the EU have expressed their serious concerns about income loss and have called for urgent support measures;

E. whereas tourism is a key sector in the economies of Member States, which generates over 10 % of the EU’s GDP if tourism-related sectors are taken into account; whereas it is also an important driver for employment, as it directly employs 13 million workers and thus accounts for at least 12 % of jobs in the EU;

F. whereas Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination, with a market share of 52 %; whereas the tourism sector is particularly vulnerable to hazards of both natural and human origin that cannot be predicted;

G. whereas tourism constitutes a major socio-economic activity in the EU, with a wide-ranging impact on economies, employment and social development;

H. whereas several Member States have announced targeted measures to support their tourism sector in order to mitigate the negative effects of the collapse of Thomas Cook Group; whereas there was no consolidated EU response to this crisis in the tourism sector; whereas no EU support mechanism has yet been activated;

I. whereas since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon the EU has the competence to support or supplement the actions of Member States in the field of tourism; whereas there is no dedicated line for tourism in the EU budget, and actions in this field fall under various different funds, pilot projects and preparatory actions;

J. whereas the EU has created legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering the consequences of major global structural changes or of the global financial and economic crisis and to assist their reintegration into the labour market;

K. whereas on 25 September 2019 the Federal Government of Germany notified the Commission of its intention to grant a EUR 380 million rescue loan to Thomas Cook’s German airline, Condor, via the German public development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), which was approved by the Commission on 14 October 2019;

L. whereas there are considerable differences in the options available to customers for obtaining refunds for their cancelled holidays; whereas Article 17 of Directive (EU) 2015/2302 requires that all Member States ensure consumer protection in case of insolvency of an operator;

M. whereas Parliament already adopted its position on the revision of Regulation 261/2004 on 5 February 2014[8], although negotiations between Parliament and the Council have not yet started as the file has been blocked in Council;

N. whereas many consumers are not aware of the financial risks they face in case of bankruptcy of a tour operator;

O. whereas consumers who book a flight ticket directly are not sufficiently protected in the event of airline insolvency, as the current EU legal framework does not establish any direct insolvency protection requirement for flight-only ticket holders;

P. whereas according to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 Member States are required to take action if they are not satisfied with the capital adequacy of an air carrier they license, and can consider suspending or revoking the carrier’s operating licence;

Q. whereas Thomas Cook executives have received almost EUR 22 million in bonuses in the last five years;

1. Expresses its serious concern about the financial and psychological inconvenience that hundreds of thousands of consumers and thousands of workers and stakeholders in the tourism sector, mostly local SMEs, have suffered and continue to suffer as a consequence of the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Group;

2. Calls on the UK authorities to ensure that wages already earned are paid in full to Thomas Cook workers who have been made redundant;

3. Calls on the Commission to consider legislation on the protection of workers in the event of insolvency with a view to affording them the same repatriation rights as available to travellers under EU legislation;

4. Stresses that the sudden cessation of operations by Thomas Cook and its resulting negative effects for the sector have seriously affected the image and reputation of Europe as the world’s top tourist destination;

5. Deeply regrets that the workers made redundant were not properly informed or consulted; stresses its strong belief in social dialogue at all levels, based on mutual trust and shared responsibility, as the best instrument with which to seek consensual solutions and agreed approaches when predicting, preventing and managing restructuring processes; emphasises in this regard the importance of strengthening European Works Councils;

6. Calls on all Member States affected by this insolvency to make full use of all available instruments, such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the European Social Fund, to assist with the reskilling of workers who have been made redundant and to support their return to the job market; reminds the Commission that financial assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and should be made available as quickly and efficiently as possible;

7. Underlines the need to create a budget heading for sustainable tourism, as requested by Parliament in its resolution of 14 November 2018 on the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, given the importance of the sector for Member States’ economies and with a view to addressing common challenges, such as the impact of climate change and other crises of human origin in general, through a mechanism for managing crises at the place of destination and by enhancing the competitiveness of the sector by, among other measures, promoting Europe as a tourist destination;

8. Welcomes the contingency plans adopted by some Member States to facilitate the repatriation of affected travellers, and to mitigate the negative effects for local businesses and economies; deplores, however, the lack of a framework for a coordinated European response to similar situations;

9. Welcomes the decision to provide a EUR 380 million rescue loan to Thomas Cook’s German airline, Condor, which has allowed the subsidiary to avoid redundancies and continue flight operations as usual; expects the German government to ensure that the loan will be fully repaid within six months, and that existing terms and conditions for Condor’s employees are not downgraded;

10. Calls upon national authorities to set up a national compensation fund to ensure refunds for consumers who have been victims of this bankruptcy during their holiday or whose scheduled travel or accommodation has been cancelled, if they have not received any compensation from insolvency insurance for travellers who have booked a package holiday;

11. Notes that compensation systems for consumers in this case vary greatly, and therefore calls for upward minimum harmonisation to ensure the highest standards in consumer rights in the transport and tourism sector;

12. Calls on the Commission to establish a legal obligation for airline carriers to create a guarantee fund for consumers in case of insolvency:

13. Calls on the Commission to establish a legal framework for a direct insolvency protection requirement for flight-only ticket holders, including an obligation for air carriers to take out insolvency insurance when applying for an operating licence;

14. Encourages national authorities, tour operators and consumer organisations in the Member States to properly and actively inform consumers of their rights in case of bankruptcy before flights, accommodation or travel packages are booked;

15. Calls on the Council to commit to delivering a general approach regarding the Commission proposal on Regulation (EC) No 2027/97, as a revision of this regulation is much needed in order to improve consumer rights and provide greater legal certainty for consumers;

16. Requests the Commission and the affected Member States’ competent authorities to conduct a thorough analysis of the reasons for the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook, in order to anticipate future crises and formulate policies that would minimise the risk of similar events occurring;

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

 

[1] OJ L 326, 11.12.2015, p. 1.

[2] OJ C 355, 20.10.2017, p. 71.

[3] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0449.

[4] OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.

[5] OJ L 46, 17.2.2004, p. 1.

[6] OJ L 285, 17.10.1997, p. 1.

[7] OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, p. 3.

[8] Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0092.

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