Texts adopted
Thursday, 8 September 2005 - Strasbourg
Natural disasters (fires and floods)
 Basic guidelines for sustainable European tourism
 European Schools
 Tourism and development
 Famine in Niger
 Breaches of human rights in China, in particular as regards freedom of religion
 Political prisoners in Syria
 Major and neglected diseases in developing countries

Natural disasters (fires and floods)
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European Parliament resolution on natural disasters (fires and floods) in Europe this summer

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 2, 6 and 174 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 5 September 2002 on floods in Europe(1), of 13 January 2005 on the outcome of the Buenos Aires Conference on climate change(2), of 14 April 2005 on the drought in Portugal(3) and of 12 May 2005 on the drought in Spain(4),

–   having regard to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 11 December 1997 and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the EC on 31 May 2002,

–   having regard to the scientific report of the Institute for Sustainability and Research of the Commission's Joint Research Centre on Climate Change and the European Water Dimension(5),

–   having regard to the 'Forest Focus' regulation(6),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 3 November 1998 on European forestry strategy (COM(1998)0649),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 29 September 2004 on the future Life+ programme (COM(2004)0621),

–   having regard to the new European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 April 2005 on the EU's response capacity in the event of disasters and crises (COM(2005)0153),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 April 2005 on improving civil protection measures (COM(2005)0137),

–   having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   having regard to the volatility of the European climate and the devastating fires and violent floods which have caused death and destruction throughout the continent of Europe in the summer of 2005, including in the EU Member States, the candidate countries and the EU's immediate neighbours; whereas Hurricane Katrina has caused unprecedented destruction in the US states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama,

B.   having regard to the deaths of dozens of people in the countries affected - firefighters, military personnel, civilians and volunteers - who lost their lives combating these particularly fierce fires and tremendous floods,

C.   having regard to the extensive damage caused by these disasters in Europe, including the destruction of hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest and mixed vegetation, of vines, olive trees, orchards, houses and agricultural infrastructure in Portugal, Spain, France and Greece,

D.   whereas some of the fires were linked to this summer's drought and high temperatures, but the abandonment of the rural world, inadequate upkeep of forests, planting of inappropriate tree varieties and a considerable percentage of criminal activity were also contributory factors,

E.   whereas the extreme and severe drought that occurred in southern Europe has contributed to diminishing the soil humidity, thus increasing the threat of forest fires and their aggressiveness; whereas the last few years have been marked by numerous cases of drought and a growing number of forest fires in the regions of southern Europe, accentuating desertification in many regions and affecting agriculture, stockbreeding and forestry resources,

F.   whereas climate change is one of the major challenges of the 21st century, having significant negative global environmental, economic and social consequences, including increases in the incidence and intensity of extreme weather events across the globe; whereas the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol are an essential condition for a global strategy on climate change, but further targets need to be set for the period after 2012,

G.   having regard to the economic and social damage caused by these fires and floods to the local economies, productive activity and tourism,

H.   whereas these fires are a shared and recurrent problem throughout southern Europe and the nature of the forests and climate of this part of Europe makes it one of the Union's most vulnerable areas,

I.   whereas for the second time in four years the countries of central, eastern and northern Europe have been hit by severe floods directly affecting thousands of families, their houses and other types of private property as well as public infrastructure and agriculture,

J.   whereas the Member States, especially the cohesion countries, as well as applicant and neighbouring countries, have difficulty in tackling such huge natural disasters unaided, and it is clear that they require solidarity and assistance,

K.   whereas the impact of the fires and the damage provoked by the flooding in many cases cross internal borders, and it is therefore essential to strengthen the joint resources for combating natural disasters and the Community civil protection mechanisms,

L.   whereas the rural development policy is insufficient for dealing with this problem; noting with surprise that under the new European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) there will no longer be financing for aid to farmers for creating firebreaks,

M.   whereas the Commission's communication on the European forestry strategy proposes no specific measures to combat fires, even though they are the main factor in the deterioration of Europe's forests,

N.   taking note of the Commission's communication on risk and crisis management in agriculture, as well as the communications on the EU's response capacity in the event of disasters and crises and on improving civil protection operations,

1.  Expresses its solidarity with and its deepest sympathy for all the families of those who lost their lives and the inhabitants of the areas affected during this tragic summer; pays tribute to the devotion of the firefighters and civilians who risked their lives putting out the fires;

2.  Considers that the consequences of these disasters are of more than purely national scope and that they call for a genuine commitment at European level;

3.  Welcomes the solidarity shown by the EU and its Member States with the affected regions, in both the Member States and the candidate countries, and the valuable assistance offered to their authorities and emergency services;

4.  Expresses its concern at the increasing number of natural disasters, attributed to a large extent by the experts to climate change, given the aggravation of extreme events;

5.  Reiterates its view that the Kyoto Protocol continues to be the central tool of the global strategy to halt climate change; calls on the Commission to take steps to ensure respect for the undertakings made at Kyoto and in its follow-up; interprets these extreme weather conditions as another sign of the need for ambitious world action to halt climate change;

6.  Agrees that the Solidarity Fund rules should be amended as a matter of urgency so as to clearly include aid to populations hit by disasters such as drought or forest fires and to oblige national authorities to inform citizens about Community financial assistance and make this assistance visible in individual projects; furthermore, insists on the need to apply such aid immediately to areas and countries affected;

7.  Recalls the Solidarity Fund in the EU budget and hopes that the Commission will quickly release the necessary funds once the relevant Member States have submitted their requests for assistance, including pre-accession aid, to help the candidate countries and third countries deal rapidly with the aftermath of the floods;

8.  Calls on the Commission to continue its collaboration with the national authorities in order to support the affected population, minimise the environmental impact of fires and floods, provide public aid to restore the productive potential in the affected areas, seek to re-launch job creation and take the appropriate measures to compensate the social costs inherent in the loss of jobs and other income sources; also urges the Commission to expedite all the relevant Community administrative procedures, namely those relating to the need to re-programme structural funds and the Cohesion Fund and to make the overly-rigid processing of these funds more flexible;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to work towards closer cooperation on civil protection measures in the event of natural disasters with a view of preventing and minimising their devastating impact by providing the services concerned with the necessary early warning, coordination and logistical tools, in particular by making available additional civil protection resources for major emergencies and creating a European Civil Protection Corps, taking special account of the vulnerabilities of border zones;

10.  Calls on the Council not to disregard the need for long-term investments for policies to prevent such disasters and/or limit the damage caused by them and therefore to abandon its strategy of limiting the future financial perspective to 1% of EU GNI;

11.  Calls on the Commission to undertake a detailed analysis of the causes, consequences and repercussions of this summer's fires, especially for Europe's forests, to submit proposals for the development of a Community policy for bringing forest fires under control, and to draw up a common firefighting protocol; calls for the reforestation of affected areas to be based on respect for their bio-climatic and environmental features, using species and varieties more resistant to fire and drought and adapted to local conditions; emphasises the need for Community support for the replanting of forests;

12.  Calls on the Commission to support measures, including measures to raise public awareness, in support of more sustainable use of water, soil and biological resources, in particular in southern Europe;

13.  Regrets the Council's decision to eliminate aid to farmers for creating firebreaks, and calls for this funding to be reinstated; stresses the need to develop policies relating to the effective prevention of forest fires, reaffirming that the Commission must encourage monitoring and prevention measures, especially in the framework of the 'Forest Focus' Regulation and of the new European Union Forest Strategy, with a view to protecting Community forests from fires and to funding, in particular, appropriate forest fire prevention measures, such as fire separators, forest paths, access points, water points and forest management programmes;

14.  Recommends the establishment of a European observatory on drought, desertification, floods and other effects of climate change in order to gather information and ensure a more effective response;

15.  Believes that the damage caused by recent events further emphasises that mitigation will be much less costly than the consequences of global warming; recognises also that many of the policies required to stop dangerous climate change will offer win-win situations in terms of reducing oil dependency, improving air quality and generating savings;

16.  Calls for forest policy at Union level to be reinforced by giving it greater weight in the multifunctional role of European agriculture, with a twofold aim: maintenance and employment of the rural population and determined, substantial expansion of forested areas;

17.  Calls on the Commission to include as an eligible expense within the appropriate financial instruments the possibility of cofinancing for technical equipment, including aircraft, to prevent and combat forest fires;

18.  Calls for more stringent penalties for criminal acts that degrade the environment, particularly those connected with starting forest fires;

19.  Calls, over and above town planning measures which prevent speculation on land burned by forest fires, for other types of measures to be adopted to make repopulation of the affected areas and proper upkeep of forests by owners compulsory;

20.  Calls on the Commission to step up research resources for flood prevention and coordinate the research already carried out in individual Member States in this area, in order to arrive as soon as possible at a coherent energy and transport policy in the area of risk prevention;

21.  Undertakes, for its part, to take all necessary steps to ensure that a medium and long-term, future-oriented, preventive strategy on forest fires is adopted at Community level;

22.  Calls on the Conference of Presidents:

   • to authorise the drawing up of an own-initiative report on fires, droughts and floods by the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on the basis of a cooperation procedure;
   • to organise a joint hearing on fires, droughts, and floods;
   • to authorise an official visit to the areas of central and southern Europe affected by natural disasters this summer;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States affected by the fires and the local authorities in the affected areas.

(1) OJ C 272 E, 13.11.2003, p. 471.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0005.
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0139.
(4) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0187.
(5) /Climate_Change_and_the_European_Water_Dimension_2005.pdf.
(6) Regulation (EC) No 2152/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 concerning monitoring of forests and environmental interactions in the Community (Forest Focus) (OJ L 324, 11.12.2003, p. 1). Regulation as amended by Regulation (EC) No 788/2004 (OJ L 138, 30.4.2004, p. 17).

Basic guidelines for sustainable European tourism
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European Parliament resolution on new prospects and new challenges for sustainable European tourism (2004/2229(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 21 November 2003 on basic orientations for the sustainability of European tourism (COM(2003)0716),

–   having regard to the Council Resolution of 21 May 2002 on the future of European tourism(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 May 2002 on working together for the future of European tourism(2),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0235/2005),

A.   whereas Europe is the world's leading tourist destination; whereas tourist and travel services contribute directly - at a rate of at least 4% - to the EU's GDP and account directly for more than seven million jobs; whereas more than two million businesses, a large majority of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are directly involved in providing tourist services,

B.   whereas the enlargement of the Union to include new Member States with high tourist potential will further contribute to bolstering the sector's economic weight and its importance to European growth; whereas the expansion of tourism in the new Member States should contribute to their growth at a rate of 3% of GDP and to the creation of three million jobs,

C.   whereas demographic trends in the EU show a gradual ageing of the population, a fact which will imply in the future a broader tourist market for senior citizens interested in seasonal long stay destinations and in low season travel, particularly in the south, which will have effects on social and health services and on the property market,

D.   whereas intra-European tourism also contributes to an awareness of European cultures and heritages and, on this basis, strengthens EU citizens" sense of sharing a common identity and a common destiny,

E.   whereas tourism does not at present constitute a Community policy and, by virtue of the principle of subsidiarity, primarily comes within the remit of the Member States,

F.   whereas tourism is nevertheless affected by many policies which do come under the Community's remit and that means that it should be given greater consideration at EU level, yet, in spite of the various actions undertaken, it does not receive attention commensurate with its importance,

G.   whereas, while tourism contributes directly to development, it can also affect the sustainability factors of interregional cohesion and balances, which means that the Union's policies must be adequately coordinated by means of coherent and integrated programmes,

H.   whereas tourism is helping to create an internal demand for quality services which could contribute to a sharp upturn in the European economy; whereas tourism at European level and the services provided by European operators should constitute a global reference in terms of quality, safety, enjoyment and consumer rights, thereby increasing the sector's competitiveness,

I.   whereas sustainable tourism is aimed at reducing the impact of tourism on resources and generating material and non-material benefits throughout the Community, as well as stimulating an ongoing process of improvement of the areas concerned and the infrastructure in which tourist development is to take place,

Competitiveness and quality of services

1.  Notes that tourism is of vital importance to growth, employment and new communication and information technologies; notes that it is therefore at the heart of the Lisbon process;

2.  Points out that tourism is one of the economic sectors with the most potential for growth and for job creation, in particular for young people and women; stresses also that it is made up of activities involving a wide range of labour-intensive types of production, providing jobs for a wide variety of occupational profiles both as regards the type of employment and the level of specialisation;

3.  Notes that, while tourism has reached excessive proportions in certain regions, placing a disproportionate strain on the local populace and environment, other regions have large underdeveloped tourist potential;

4.  Observes that, at international level, tourism is extremely competitive, the market shares held by European tourist operators are increasingly vulnerable, and Europe's position at world level is under threat;

5.  Points out that the economic growth and development of markets such as Brazil, China, India and Russia will create significant additional demand and European tourism sectors and industry need to be well positioned to meet this demand;

6.  Emphasises the importance of ensuring that European regulations on the one hand protect consumers and on the other help to create an environment conducive to the success of the European tourist sector, in particular by promoting quality services;

7.  Considers it vitally important to complete the internal market in tourist services and to achieve genuine equality of treatment between tourist operators; proposes, to this end, a Community-wide classification of tourist services, with the cooperation of the industry, to be used in particular for the classification of hotel facilities; also considers that measures should be taken in order to identify clearly and to harmonise professional profiles in the tourist industry in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and guarantee a more transparent service that does not confuse users;

8.  Calls on the Council to restart work on the proposed revision of the Council Directive amending Directive 77/388/EEC as regards the special scheme for travel agents (COM(2002)0064); reiterates its support for the objectives of simplifying this special VAT scheme and maintaining the competitive position of operators established in the European Union vis-à-vis operators from third countries; calls on the Council urgently to conclude the decision-making process on the proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 77/388/EEC as regards reduced rates of value added tax (COM(2003)0397), so as to enable all Member States to apply in a structured way reduced VAT rates for restaurants, as already exist for other tourism-related activities, such as holiday accommodation, plots on campsites, hotels and amusement parks;

9.  Undertakes to support any Commission proposal to promote craft industry SMEs, such as one regarding registered designations of origin for non-food craft products;

10.  Points out that the development of farm holidays is vitally important to achieving the objectives of the CAP reform wherever farmers wish to promote accommodation and hospitality services to improve farm incomes, ensure that farmers remain in the area, protect the countryside and maintain the cultural identity of the agricultural environment through the promotion of local traditions and regional food and wine products;

11.  Recalls the need to work with all types of partnership such as that with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) to promote employment, training and occupational skills in tourism in order to offer genuine career prospects to professional operators, reduce the adverse effects of the instability of the seasonal workforce and guarantee a quality of services in tune with new trends and the increasing expectations of consumers; recalls likewise the desirability of strengthening the presence of the tourism sector in the development of European programmes for teacher and student mobility in the field of both vocational training and university study, placing particular emphasis on supporting specific lifelong training programmes adapted to workers" circumstances;

12.  Stresses the importance of training in the tourist industry and hence the need to promote the balanced and sustainable development of tourism by means of vocational training and further training leading to qualifications for those employed in this sector, thereby further improving existing services;

13.  Calls on the Commission to assess whether it might be possible to create a specific training network for the tourist sector within Community programmes which are already operating (Erasmus) so as to be able to interact with measures to promote employment and to link up training bodies;

14.  Believes that consumer rights in the tourism sector should be defined and better protected and that this should include identifying new forms of protection such as conciliation services for tourists; calls on the Commission and the groups concerned to promote the representativeness at European level of bodies representing tourists as consumers; also calls on the Commission to consider the drafting of a "tourism package" comprising both a review of the existing directives on consumers" rights with regard to tourism(3) and new measures making it possible to improve consumer protection and quality standards in tourist services (particularly in the hotel and touring sectors) while taking account of new trends on the supply side (electronic sales);

15.  Insists on the need for better coordination between Member States on the conditions of entry of third country nationals to EU territory so as to ensure a convergent approach towards tourist flows and their movement within the EU;

Safety and security of tourism

16.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up a contact group at European level involving the Member States and tour operators in order to coordinate information on the management of health crises, natural disasters or acts of terrorism as well as problems of personal, legal and criminal insecurity (arrest, kidnapping, and so on) and on the basis of recent crisis assessments to put forward measures to ensure a rapid and coordinated response for the protection of European tourists and for the support of operators affected by such events;

17.  Calls on the Commission to evaluate the effectiveness of the Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels(4) (Report from the Commission on application of the Council Recommendation of 22 December 1986 on fire safety in existing hotels) (COM (2001)0348) and to promote at EU level voluntary standards concerning measures to improve the safety aspects of tourism services, including those relating to European camp sites and guide services for adventurous or dangerous trips or activities; calls on the Commission, if necessary, to submit a new proposal;

18.  Notes the large proportion of women employed in the tourist sector and stresses accordingly the need not only for policies to promote training, opportunities, prospects and appropriate working conditions for female employees, but also positive measures to promote business initiatives by women in this sector;

19.  Takes the view that the Commission should coordinate the establishment of a network for good practice exchange between high risk sports and leisure organisations and the provision of information on risk prevention and management, in particular for young people; calls on the Commission, in this context, investigate the desirability of requiring the maximum possible transparency and professionalism from companies managing this type of high risk leisure activity, asking that they take out compulsory care insurance;

20.  Calls on the Commission to work with the Member States to improve the operation and awareness of the European emergency number 112 for the benefit of all citizens but in particular for tourists, having regard to the linguistic, technical and rapid response aspects of providing the 112 services;

New sustainable tourism activities

21.  Welcomes the Commission's proposals on sustainable tourism in its communication on basic orientations for the sustainability of European tourism (COM(2003)0716);

22.  Considers tourism to be a means of promoting environmental resources which can highlight its conservation and protection aspects;

23.  Highlights of the dangers of mass tourism which, in terms of the uncontrolled growth of transport and reception capacities and of seasonal fluxes, represents a threat to local natural and socio-economic balances; calls on the Commission, in this context, to study and report on the effectiveness of certain formulae already being applied (such as moratoria) or of other new formulae to tackle and offset these imbalances; calls on the Commission to put initiatives which can remedy the current imbalance between destinations which have reached maximum congestion levels and others which receive little publicity and yet are of major environmental, or historical and artistic significance, situated in the same tourist region;

24.  Notes that, in regions with brief and intensive tourist seasons and slack off-seasons, employment levels in this sector fluctuate sharply, making it difficult to provide services of a consistently high quality; is of the opinion that efforts must therefore be made to provide more sustainable and consistent services; calls on the Commission to consider means of offsetting the under deployment of manpower, capital and services arising from the seasonal nature of work in this sector;

25.  Calls on the Commission therefore to endeavour to coordinate national holiday arrangements so as to even out the burden on access routes and tourist infrastructures and achieve a more efficient and sustainable deployment of human resources by reducing seasonal fluctuations in employment levels;

26.  Stresses the need for all parties in the sector to take steps to capture new demand outside the high season, to spread visits over the year and to make better use of hotel and accommodation facilities; for that purpose, points to the positive repercussions of conference and business tourism, medical and thermal tourism, commemorative tourism, cultural tourism in every shape and form, gastronomic, naturalist, sports-based, spiritual, historical and language-related tourism, religious tourism, social tourism and so on;

27.  Stresses the need to create services for management and redistribution, in terms of time and space of tourist flows, including measures aimed at tourist mobility wherever destinations are congested and near maximum capacity;

28.  Also considers that the gradual ageing of the population will lead to an increase in the number of off-season tourists; calls on the Commission to encourage the development of senior citizens" tourism within the European Union as well as cooperation between the Member States in this area, giving priority to exchanges between, and reception of, groups of senior citizens from other countries outside the peak season; considers that this action should be seen as an opportunity to establish greater North-South cooperation; call on the Commission to launch a low-season 'third-age' tourism programme, which will help to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, create jobs and generate demand and growth in the European economy; suggests that this programme might be named "Ulysses";

29.  Notes that every European citizen has a right to be a tourist and that appropriate action should therefore be taken to ensure that categories of users with special needs can exercise that right; in this connection, invites the Commission to put forward a similar initiative to make tourist and leisure establishments, facilities, services and itineraries accessible to people with reduced mobility, and to ensure that they receive sufficient publicity; stresses also the importance of taking appropriate action to train those employed in the reception of and provision of assistance to elderly and disabled tourists and the need to help to prepare and distribute tourism advertisements to which these various categories of users will have access;

30.  Recognises the contribution of itinerant tourism, such as touring caravanning, in mitigating the negative effects of mass tourism by dispersing concentrations of tourists; stresses the need to promote measures aimed at contributing to its development, in particular by remedying the lack of appropriate facilities for parking and providing multifunctional sites and storage facilities for caravans and motor caravans throughout the Community;

31.  Welcomes the initiative announced by the Commission on the implementation of an Agenda 21 for European tourism; recommends that this programme be aimed, above all, at guiding and supporting, by means of sustainable tourism indicators, the implementation of local Agenda 21s and coordinating action in Member States with a view to good practice exchange in the field of sustainable tourism;

32.  Welcomes the setting up of the public-private partnership made possible by the Sustainable Tourism Group; wishes to be involved and informed of the group's work and the progress thereof with a view to the elaboration of Agenda 21 with a view to European sustainable tourism; asserts that participation by organisations from this sector in the analysis, planning, monitoring and evaluation of policy at various levels in the tourist sector must be a fundamental and guiding principle;

33.  Stresses the fundamental role played by education in promoting responsible tourism; calls on the Commission to ensure that its programmes after 2006 focus even more on educational exchange, apprenticeship and volunteer programmes to make young people aware of the local cultures and heritage of regions in which they are to be holidaying or staying, so as to encourage civic tourism, which respects local people and their communities; recommends that the Commission also encourage the process of acquisition and transfer of knowledge and innovations between tourist undertakings;

34.  In the same context of the demand for responsible tourism, reiterates its call to the Commission and the Member States to apply dissuasive penalties to agencies and hotel chains which encourage sexual tourism and child exploitation;

35.  Considers that the tourism industry occupies a key place in the economic development of countries in the Mediterranean basin and is a vector for rapprochement in the cultural dialogue; calls for consideration to be given to the possibility of setting up a training exchange programme for people working in tourism in the Mediterranean regions, within the framework of the Barcelona process;

36.  Emphasises the need for a well-balanced standard of eco-labelling in the field of sustainable tourism and supports further initiatives that contribute to better inclusion of local social and economic concerns, climate protection, respect for the local natural environment, energy saving, water and waste management, sustainable intermodal mobility chains etc.;

37.  Calls on the Commission to encourage measures to ensure that the specific question of sustainability is included in training and further training courses in the tourist sector; supports the initiative "how to set up a tourism learning area" and calls for it to be further developed;

38.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to place tourism high on the agenda of employment strategies and priority measures to assist the underprivileged, given the major impetus it provides for the economy and the employment market in Europe;

Knowledge and promotion of European tourism

39.  Welcomes the action taken by the Commission to promote the implementation of reliable, harmonised macroeconomic data (tourism satellite accounts) required to strengthen the identity of Community tourism; calls on the Member States to pursue their efforts on this issue, and on the Commission to propose an amendment of Council Directive 95/57/EC of 23 November 1995 on the collection of statistical information in the field of tourism(5), to include a framework for tourism satellite accounting;

40.  Stresses the need to introduce co-ordination of the new Member States' tourism operators and public bodies into the networks and structures which exist at European level, with a particular view to fully associating them, by means of exchanges of experience and good practice, with the tourist destinations of the older Member States;

41.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess the possibility of a scheme, along the lines of the European Capital of Culture initiative, to designate outstanding European tourist destinations, to allow one or more regions or micro-regions to be selected yearly on the basis of quality indicators linked to the preservation and upgrading of cultural and natural heritage and the development of sustainable tourist services; accordingly, calls on the Commission and the Member States to study the desirability of proposing an EU tourism mark or destination, characterised by tremendous diversity and high social quality and sustainability, and to promote it both within and outside the EU through a suitable communication campaign;

42.  Points out that preserving the cultural heritage (in particular that which is designated world heritage by UNESCO) is of major importance to the sustainable development of tourism in the EU; calls upon the Commission to make more money available for preserving the cultural heritage;

43.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create the "Iron Curtain Trail", an initiative analogous to the "Boston Freedom Trail" in remembrance of the American Independence War or to the "Berliner Mauerweg" in remembrance of the construction and fall of the Berlin Wall, in order to promote European identity;

44.  Welcomes the Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) initiative which makes it possible to develop a good practice exchange network in the field of innovative regional initiatives; calls on the Commission specifically to identify tourism within the framework of the IRE network and to promote sustainable tourism pilot projects to be supported by the European Union;

45.  Invites the Commission, with a view to boosting the Community's contribution to the sustainability of European tourism, to help to promote and foster pilot projects such as the 'Green Card' scheme in the Balearic Islands, since such projects constitute good practice and show that it is possible to create new formulae to achieve a balance between the development of the tourism industry and the protection of the environment;

46.  Supports actions to promote Europe as a destination at world level by means of a European Tourism Portal accessible to European tourists and those from the main non-European tourist source countries; urges the Commission, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the project's other partners to promote the putting online of general information (the practical guide "Travelling in Europe") and data on common tourism resources and subjects (gastronomy, hill walking, island tourism, health cures, church/cultural tourism, conference and business tourism, and so on); proposes likewise that access to national portals from the European portal be facilitated by means of a harmonised thematic link page;

47.  Notes that, given the new framework for assessing tourist activities and the challenges of the enlarged Europe, it is even more necessary to achieve effective coordination and cooperation between the public and private sector not only at local or national level but also at European level, this being essential in order to achieve sustainable policies and practices, improved investment and greater competitivity between the Member States;

48.  Welcomes any kind of initiative which brings the people of Europe closer together through tourism, such as European rural, social or cultural tourism networks and itineraries, and calls for them to be made better known through the media;

Tourism and transport

49.  Recalls that transport is essential to tourism, especially in the case of island regions and the most remote regions in general, both as a contribution to the quality of the tourist services chain and in terms of the accessibility of destinations;

50.  Emphasises the need to promote combined train and bicycle travel and considers the 'Eurovelo' network to be a good basis for this; also requests that railway enterprises allow bicycles on trains, including long distance and cross-border trains, as is already the case with the French TGV;

51.  Urges national and regional authorities to stimulate inland waterway tourism by seeing to it that recreational waterway networks are provided and maintained in Europe, on the basis of internationally agreed classifications;

52.  Welcomes the Commission's initiative to establish state-aid guidelines for regional airports and low-cost companies, so as to improve legal certainty and ensure fair competition in favour of tourist accessibility and regional development; recalls nevertheless that with a view to the goal of sustainability, steps should be taken to ensure that the development of low-cost airlines is supervised, so as to avoid a proliferation of air links to specific regions or neighbouring regions, and on the contrary develop to the full the interconnection of air transport and collective land transport;

53.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal in respect of air carriers' identification and the planned extension of passenger information arrangements beyond air transport; furthermore, hopes for a specific Commission initiative laying down safety standards and monitoring procedures applicable to small carriers, minor airlines and secondary airports; considers that, in any case, the activities of the European Aviation Safety Agency must be stepped up and that coordination with the Member States' authorities must be improved;

54.  Stresses likewise the importance to making tourist services attractive of promoting integrated ticketing systems;

55.  Welcomes likewise the Commission's initiative on making air transport accessible to people with reduced mobility, whose share of tourist demand is growing; stresses the importance of making provisions for extending such measures to land passenger transport;

Structural intervention co-funded by the Community

56.  Recalls that tourism plays a real role in regional development and diversification, particularly in rural and island areas; recalls that projects should be co-funded on the basis of an integrated approach, bringing together all the resources which contribute to the quality of services to users and to the success of the destinations, with a view to the economic viability of these projects, particularly by means of quality public-private partnerships;

57.  Welcomes the way in which tourism is taken into account through the convergence objective and the action in rural areas set out in the new proposal for a European Parliament and Council Regulation on the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (COM(2004)0495); calls likewise for the proposal's regional competitiveness objective to benefit tourism SMEs; welcomes the goal of encouraging tourist activities found in the Proposal for a Council Regulation on supporting rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) (COM(2004)0490), by diversifying the rural economy;

58.  Calls on the Commission and Council, when adopting the new structural policy instruments for 2007-2013, to ensure that the strategic guidelines provide for an integrated approach to tourism, allowing the EAFRD and the ERDF actions to be coordinated in a spirit similar to that of the LEADER programme and the Interreg and Urban programmes. This approach should allow the implementation of a genuine regional strategy for sustainable tourism;

59.  Calls on the Member States to establish objectives within their national strategic frameworks and operating programmes which will enable the regions to set up and fund coherent projects for developing sustainable tourism, tailor-made to local conditions and possibilities, including partnerships between different areas and institutions so as to build up appropriate local tourist systems;

60.  Calls also on the Member States to cover the tourist issue by means of ex ante, in itinere and ex post assessments of projects financed by Community funds, piloted by national thematic groups for tourism on the basis of criteria and indicators reflecting the economic viability and sustainability of the projects planned;

61.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a mid-term global assessment report on the involvement of Community tourism-linked programmes and the total impact thereof on the quality of the tourism products on offer and the sustainable development of European destinations;

62.  Calls for the setting up of support mechanisms for the public at large and for SMEs and local authorities in particular which present and analyse the conditions for implementing and using Structural Fund programmes and other Community actions (culture, environment, and so on) that contribute to the quality of tourism;

63.  Stresses that, while tourism is a policy which falls within the competence of the Member States, cross-border initiatives which demand social cooperation, and which bind regions together (church/cultural tourism, pilgrimages, water tourism and so on) need support in the context of the INTERREG programme;

64.  Calls on the Commission to create a sufficient budget line in the light of the tourist sector's importance for the European economy;

Tourism and coordinating Community legislation

65.  Asks that any draft secondary legislation which has an impact on the tourist sector be identified at the outset of the implementation of the Commission's work programme, and be subject to an impact assessment, with the involvement of bodies representing industry, employees and consumers; asks also that there be a report on the implementation of these measures on the tourist sector; asks that these ex ante and ex post assessments be systematically forwarded to Parliament;

66.  Asks likewise that within the framework of the interservices consultations within the Commission, the interests of the sector and the goals of sustainable tourism set out in the Commission's communication be taken into account;

67.  Calls on the Commission to consider setting up a network of tourism correspondents/ coordinators in all Commission Directorates whose remit affects tourism activities (Enterprises and Industry, Regional Policy, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Energy and Transport, Internal Market and Services, and so on), which could be coordinated by the department in charge of tourism within the Enterprise and Industry DG;

Tourism in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe

68.  Welcomes the insertion of a specific section on tourism (Section 4, Article III-281) in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe; believes that this legal basis will make more consistent support action possible, and that it will be given extra weight by the full involvement of the European Parliament in the adoption of legislative measures;

69.  Calls on the Commission to work together with its main institutional partners and the sector's representative bodies on the various avenues of action to encourage the development of an environment more favourable to business competitiveness and coordination between Member States; calls on the Commission to propose, from 2007, the implementation of a multiannual action plan ("tourism package") to strengthen the consistency of Union action on tourism by bringing together the Member States and their regional local authorities, in accordance with the principles of good governance;

70.  Calls on the Commission to include tourism among the principal guidelines and priorities for cooperation with partner countries in the context of European initiatives to promote neighbourly relations, for example the Euro-Mediterranean partnership arrangements;

o   o

71.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1) OJ C 135, 6.6.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 180 E, 31.7.2003, p. 138.
(3)1 Directive 90/314/EEC on package travel (OJ L 158, 23.6.1990, p. 59) and Directive 94/47/EC on the right to use immovable properties on a timeshare basis (OJ L 280, 29.10.1994, p. 83).
(4)2 OJ L 384, 31.12.1986, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 291, 6.12.1995, p. 32.

European Schools
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European Parliament resolution on options for developing the European Schools system (2004/2237(INI))

The European Parliament,

-   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on options for developing the European Schools system (COM(2004)0519),

-   having regard to the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools(1),

-   having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2002 on the financing of the European Schools(2),

-   having regard to the annual report of the Secretary General of the European Schools to the Board of Governors meeting in Brussels on 1-2 February 2005(3),

-   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

-   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0200/2005),

A.   whereas the purpose of the Schools is to educate together children of the staff of the European Communities; whereas besides the children covered by the Agreements provided for in Articles 28 and 29 of the Statute of the European Schools, other children may attend the Schools within the limits set by the Board of Governors; whereas the recruitment and retention of suitably qualified officials is necessary for the smooth functioning of the European institutions, and whereas the provision of mother-tongue education for the children of such officials, the recognition of the equal value of academic years successfully completed in the Member States and at the European Schools, and the European Baccalaureate, all contribute to this,

B.   whereas the European Schools were established with this consideration in mind,

C.   whereas the European Schools system fosters the concept of European citizenship; whereas keeping the present Schools in existence on the one hand, and on the other setting up new schools and expanding the system in other ways, could accordingly help to strengthen European integration;

D.   whereas there are now thirteen European Schools, enrolling more than 19 000 pupils, and whereas one more school will probably be established by 2010,

E.   whereas pupil numbers at some Schools, especially in Brussels, have now risen beyond acceptable levels, and teaching standards are consequently declining,

F.   whereas average costs per pupil at the European Schools compare favourably with those at other schools attended by the children of officials of cognate bodies; whereas, nevertheless, costs per pupil vary widely between the individual schools and correlate strongly with school size,

G.   whereas, while the European Community contributes well over half of the running costs of the European Schools, the Commission is the only European institution represented on the Board of Governors of the European Schools; and whereas the Commission is the only member of the Board of Governors with the right to vote both on the Board of Governors and on the Administrative Board of each school,

H.   whereas the system of governance of the European Schools must combine a capacity for strategic planning and oversight together with a reasonable degree of autonomy for the individual schools,

I.   whereas the administration of the European Schools, including decisions about the admission of pupils and the waiving of fees, should be as clear, consistent and transparent as possible throughout the entire Schools system,

J.   whereas the curriculum leading to the European Baccalaureate is academically demanding and may not be suitable for academically weaker pupils; whereas the Schools at present offer no other school-leaving certificate,

K.   whereas, at present, educational provision for pupils with certified special educational needs varies from one School to another,

L.   whereas the maximum class size (32 pupils) is larger than would be permitted under the relevant legislation in a number of Member States; whereas, moreover, many classes contain pupils whose mother tongue is different from that of the language section to which they have been admitted, as well as pupils with learning difficulties or special teaching needs,

M.   whereas, with the exception of the Brussels I school, the schools in Brussels and in Luxembourg are overcrowded; and whereas, while decisions have been taken on the establishment of two more schools, the buildings will not be ready for use until 2010, with serious implications for the education provided at these schools,

N.   whereas the educational philosophy of the European Schools and the curriculum leading to the European Baccalaureate serve as models of multilingual and multicultural education which the Member States may wish to imitate,

O.   whereas the people of Europe agreed in the EC Treaty (Article 149) that Community action shall be aimed at developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member States,

The Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools and the Commission Communication

1.  Welcomes the Commission's launch, through its above-mentioned Communication, of a consultative exercise about the future development of the system of European Schools, taking into account the enlargement of the European Union, the interests of the new Member States, the creation of additional EU agencies outside Brussels and Luxembourg and the urgent need to revise and evaluate and, if necessary, to reform a system which was established 50 years ago and which originally catered for only four languages;

2.  Recalls that the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools stipulates that the role of the European Schools is to provide for the joint education of the children of the staff of the European Communities as a way of ensuring the proper operation of the Community institutions, and also stipulates that other children may attend the Schools within the limits set by the Board of Governors;

The decentralised agencies and the new Member States

3.  Believes that a solution to the question of all workplaces of decentralized agencies must be found as a matter of urgency; regrets that such solution had not been found at the time when the workplaces of these agencies were decided, with the exception of the European Food Safety Authority in Parma;

4.  Believes that Member States hosting one of the new decentralised agencies must take greater financial responsibility for the education of the children of staff, and that appropriate solutions must be found for each of the new places of work; believes that, in these cases, cooperation between the European Schools and regional or local schools able to deliver the curriculum leading to the European Baccalaureate is an option; believes that such cooperation should aim to promote high-quality education and European integration, maintain linguistic diversity and facilitate labour mobility;

5.  Insists that, where the necessary criteria are met, language sections for the languages of the new Member States be established as a matter of urgency and that all pupils should be receiving mother-tongue teaching;

6.  Calls on the Commission to examine the possibility of establishing European schools in the new Member States;

The future financing of the European Schools system, Category III pupils and the smaller schools

7.  Believes that the balancing contribution from the Communities must not develop into an open-ended commitment; considers it self-evident that the European Schools system should operate effectively in terms of budgetary planning and control and should offer demonstrable value for money; endorses the view that the annual projected budget allocation for each school should take account of the size and needs of the individual schools and of evidence of efforts to spend the budget allocation as effectively as possible;

8.  Underlines, however, that the nature of the Communities' contribution to the schools' budgets is set out clearly in Article 25.2 of the Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools; rejects, therefore, the imposition by the Commission of a ceiling on the Communities' contribution to the European Schools budget before the Board of Governors has presented its estimate of the revenue and expenditure of the Schools for the following financial year;

9.  Considers that the current arrangement, whereby Member States' contributions are directly linked to the number of teachers they second to the European Schools and to the premises they provide for the European Schools, is not equitable and that alternative systems of financing should be explored;

10.  Believes nevertheless that the present system, whereby teachers are appointed and paid their national salaries by Member States, ensures access for the European Schools to the teaching expertise of these States and is the means by which the financial contribution of the Member States is secured;

11.  Notes that the level of fees payable by the parents of Category III pupils has risen substantially in real terms since 2002 and that this has resulted in increased revenue for the Schools and a smaller increase in the contribution from the Communities' budget than would otherwise have been the case; further notes that such fees do not meet the full cost of educating these pupils; believes, however, that the parents of Category III pupils should not face excessive fee increases during the remainder of their education in the European Schools system;

12.  Calls on the Commission, through its representative on the Board of Governors, to press for the adoption and publication of clear, detailed, and publicly available criteria for the admission of Category III pupils; urges the Administrative Board of each school admitting Category III pupils to report on the application of such criteria in its annual report;

13.  Reiterates its call for the Board of Governors to revise the criteria it has adopted for establishing, maintaining and closing individual language sections in individual schools so as to rule out any discrimination against an official language of the European Union;

14.  Calls upon the Commission to publish, as soon as practicable, the external study commissioned by it into the long-term future of the four schools in Bergen, Culham, Karlsruhe and Mol);

Better governance and administration

15.  Believes that, given the growth in the number of European Schools and in the number of pupils they teach, the tasks of the Board of Governors should essentially be those of setting strategic goals, of oversight and of review; believes that detailed management questions specific to individual schools should, in the first instance, be addressed by the Administrative Boards of the individual schools, and that each school should be considered an autonomous entity as regards operational and financial matters;

16.  Believes that, given the above, the Administrative Boards of the individual schools should be given control over the financial and operational aspects of the individual schools within the strategic goals laid down by the Board of Governors;

17.  Notes that the Community currently pays a balancing contribution equivalent to some 57% of the annual cost of the European Schools system, whereas the Member States contribute 22%; believes, therefore, that the Commission, as representative of the Communities, should have voting rights on the Board of Governors more in line with the Communities' contribution to the budget, and that the Commission must report to the European Parliament following each meeting of the Board of Governors;

18.  Calls on the Commission to press the Board of Governors to draw up a Code of Good Administrative Conduct and to clarify the remit of the Complaints Board;

19.  Notes the Commission's suggestion that two new bodies might be established, one 'to administer the financial and operational aspects of all the Schools', the other to superintend the curriculum, the examination system and the assessment of teachers; believes that a single governing body, with the authority to take decisions affecting the Schools system as a whole and willing to accept responsibility for balancing sometimes conflicting financial and educational imperatives, must be maintained;

20.  Calls for adequate representation of parents and other stakeholders, for example staff and pupils, on both the Board of Governors and the Administrative Boards of individual schools;

Curriculum and educational issues
(a)Class sizes

21.  Believes that nursery, primary and secondary school classes, taught by a single qualified teacher, should not be larger than 30 pupil equivalents; believes also that from 2008 there should be a progressive introduction of a maximum class size in nursery and primary classes of no more than 25 pupil equivalents; calls on the Board of Governors to endorse this principle;

22.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the development of coefficients in respect of children with certified special educational needs and of pupils whose mother tongue is different from the language in which they receive most of their instruction (Language I), and to ensure that these coefficients are applied when class sizes are calculated;

23.  Urges the Commission, working together with the Member States concerned, to find solutions as a matter of urgency in order to deal with the excessively high pupil numbers at some Schools, which are undermining teaching standards; urges the Board of Governors to take action without delay to combat the overcrowding of the schools in Brussels and Luxembourg; points to the need for proper planning at the right time to develop the infrastructure and facilities required in order for the European Schools to operate;

   (b) Special Educational Needs provision

24.  Calls on the Commission to produce reliable statistics about the extent of the requirements for special needs provision in all the European Schools and further urges the Board of Governors to carry out a survey of provision at each of the European Schools for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), including children with physical and/or intellectual disabilities; asks the Board of Governors to draw up a set of minimum standards relating to educational provision, to undertake an accessibility audit of the European Schools so as to ensure that the fabric and design of the buildings are accessible for children with physical disabilities and to take any other steps deemed necessary in order to support all pupils with special educational needs;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Board of Governors of the European Schools to enhance the allocation of resources in terms of finance, staff and expertise with a view to providing first-class education for SEN children and to fully promote the concept of inclusive education, as is the case in other schools across Europe; further calls on the Board of Governors to examine constructive alternatives for those children who are unable to cope with integration in mainstream classes;

26.  Believes that, if SEN pupils are to benefit from their education at the European Schools, specialist multidisciplinary teams (such as educational psychologists and speech and language therapists) must be set up in Schools to provide support and advice for the teachers, pupils and parents concerned;

27.  Calls for one of the larger European Schools to launch a pilot project for an SEN resource centre, comprising qualified personnel with relevant experience and appropriate teaching materials (books, computer software), the role of which would be to provide expert advice and materials for teachers involved in the education of SEN children in the school; calls for financing to be set aside for this project in the 2006 budget;

   (c) The European Baccalaureate

28.  Calls on the Commission to do all in its power to ensure that the Board introduces, by the beginning of the school year 2007-2008, an alternative leaving certificate in parallel with the European Baccalaureate, for pupils who choose to follow a more vocational education;

29.  Reiterates its conviction that the increasing exchange of students between European universities, the globalisation of the word economy and the high intrinsic value of the European Baccalaureate justify its wider spread and its full recognition without discrimination by universities in Member States and in third countries;

30.  Therefore invites the responsible authorities in the Member States to consider the merits of making the European Baccalaureate more widely available as a school leaving certificate outside the European Schools, on the understanding, however, that the necessary guarantees would have to be in place so as to meet the quality standards on which the Baccalaureate is based;

o   o

31.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Auditors, the Court of Justice, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the Board of Governors of the European Schools and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 212, 17.08.1994, p .3.
(2) OJ C 31 E, 5.2.2004, p. 91.
(3) Document 1612-D-2004-en-1;

Tourism and development
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European Parliament resolution on tourism and development (2004/2212(INI))

The European Parliament,

-   having regard to Article 24 of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000,

-   having regard to the Fiji Declaration, adopted on 20 October 2004 at the 7th regional seminar of the ACP/EU economic and social interest groups aegis of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,

-   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on basic orientations for the sustainability of European tourism (COM(2003)0716),

-   having regard to its resolution of 14 May 2002 on the Commission communication to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on working together for the future of European tourism(1),

-   having regard to the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, 26 August - 4 September 2002,

-   having regard to the resolution on tourism and development in the context of the management and control of the European Development Fund (EDF), adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Assembly in March 2001 in Libreville(2),

-   having regard to the Statement by the Council and the Commission of 10 November 2000 on the European Community's Development Policy,

-   having regard to its resolution of 18 February 2000 on the Communication from the Commission entitled 'Enhancing tourism's potential for employment - follow-up to the conclusions and recommendations of the High-Level Group'(3),

-   having regard to the resolution on tourism and development adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Assembly on 14 October 1999 in Nassau(4),

-   having regard to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism adopted by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization in Santiago (Chile) on 1 October 1999 and endorsed by a resolution of the UN General Assembly adopted on 21 December 2001 (A/RES/56/212),

-   having regard to the resolution on the cultural dimension in development cooperation, including matters relating to heritage and tourism adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Assembly in Strasbourg on 1 April 1999(5),

-   having regard to the resolution of the Development Council held in Brussels on 30 November 1998 on sustainable tourism in developing countries,

-   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

-   having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A6-0173/2005),

A.   whereas tourism undeniably constitutes a driving force behind growth in developing countries at all levels; whereas there is therefore a need for regular impact assessments and the Committee on Development of the European Parliament, in view of its competences, is ideally qualified for this task,

Tourism as a factor in economic growth

B.   whereas tourism is one of the fundamental aspects of any consequent developing policy to be implemented in developing countries,

C.   whereas infrastructure projects in the areas of communications, energy, new communication technologies or health and hygiene are essential to boost tourism in developing countries,

D.   whereas it is fundamental that such projects should benefit both local communities and the tourist industry,

E.   whereas forms of tourism seeking to guarantee fair payment for local workers and entrepreneurs merit particular attention from the authorities, especially in the case of 'fair tourism',

F.   whereas the World Tourism Organization's project 'Eliminating Poverty through Sustainable Tourism' contributes to the Millennium Development Goal of poverty reduction, seeking to create jobs for those living on less than one dollar a day,

G.   having regard to the negotiations under way for the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) which will, as from 1 January 2008, replace the unilateral preferential trade regime for commercial relations between the ACP countries and the EU,

H.   whereas the transverse nature of the tourist industry is evident and, despite the absence of a common tourism policy, the existing tourism unit at the Commission's DG Enterprise and Industry is clearly too small,

Tourism as a factor in environmental protection and heritage conservation

I.   whereas tourism can only develop if it respects natural and cultural conditions and the traditions of the local communications where it evolves,

J.   whereas tourism must not be seen as something hostile to the environment but as, rather, the environment's ally, since its profitability is conditional on the preservation of the environment and the heritage,

K.   whereas special attention needs to be paid by the authorities to environmentally-friendly forms of tourism such as ecotourism, rural tourism and 'solidarity tourism',

L.   whereas tourism is sustained by the conservation and improvement of the local heritage, natural and cultural, material and non-material, and of historic buildings,

M.   whereas the safety of tourists and tourist facilities and sites requires special attention on the part of the authorities,

N.   whereas it is legitimate for governments, after consulting representative tourist sector organisations, to lay down strict rules for visitors to very popular sites,

O.   whereas it is necessary to reconcile energy practices with transport policies, with a view to protecting the environment and complying with the targets of the Kyoto Protocol aimed at sustainable development,

P.   whereas the concept of limiting tourist numbers in small island states, mountain areas and coastal areas affected by overwhelming numbers of tourists needs to be integrated and accepted by the national authorities concerned,

Tourism as a factor in democracy and political equilibrium

Q.   whereas the development of tourism can be a factor in the fight against totalitarianism, dictatorships and over-centralised power,

R.   whereas tourism is associated in some countries with violations of human rights such as child labour, prostitution and the sexual exploitation of children,

S.   whereas global terrorism targeted at democracy and its defenders, acting on a massive scale and indiscriminately leaving civilians the victims of cowardly and murderous attacks, has particularly been aimed at tourism and tourists,

T.   whereas tourism can be a democratic activity which enables the creation, at local, regional and national levels, of representative economic and social civil society organisations,

U.   having regard to the federative role of tourism and its contribution to territorial, social and economic cohesion,

V.   whereas tourists can currently use their freedom of movement to visit several destinations in a single trip, thus contributing to an increase in regional cooperation and to the establishment of closer relations between countries,

W.   whereas governments and, in particular, tour operators in the Member States have a major influence on the choice of tourist destination, and negative publicity regarding countries which do not respect the principles of democracy and human rights is a form of deterrent,

X.   whereas the International Fair Trade in Tourism Network was set up in 1999 as a three- year project with funding from the Commission and the UK Department for International Development to promote ethical trading practices,

Tourism as a factor in public health and education

Y.   whereas a country's public health standards are an element in its attractiveness,

Z.   whereas tourism impacts on public health standards, thanks to such necessary elements as hygiene requirements, healthcare measures, vaccination campaigns and the dissemination of information on disease prevention,

AA.   whereas HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are now global scourges,

AB.   having regard to the risk arising to both tourists and local people from the spread of highly contagious diseases such as diarrhoeic infections, respiratory infections, fevers of unknown cause and hepatitis,

AC.   whereas tourism impacts on education, allowing local communities access to language learning and the new information and communications technologies and thus enabling them to promote their cultural heritage on a basis of respect for customs and traditions while also requiring a new awareness and adaptation to the evolution of society and modern habits,

AD.   whereas it is nonetheless essential that public authorities should ensure the preservation of local traditions that respect human rights, especially the rights of women and of children,

Tourism as a factor in disturbance and abuse

AE.   whereas all job creation measures must be compliant with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards,

AF.   whereas sex tourism must be dealt with by means of a permanent and concerted campaign on the part of the European and local authorities, in coordination with non-governmental organisations,

AG.   whereas only coordinated measures, the spread of information and the introduction of penalties on the basis of respect for international law can be genuinely effective,

AH.   whereas widespread publicity regarding the penalties for sex tourism should have a deterrent effect, and crimes related to sexual tourism must be prosecuted and it must be possible to bring prosecutions both in the country of origin and in the country where they are committed,

AI.   having regard to the positive impact of the policies and measures implemented by tour operators, travel agencies and airlines, such as the distribution of brochures or screening of videos on journeys to sensitive destinations,

AJ.   having regard to the damaging impact of property speculation on local communities,

AK.   having regard to the risk that foreign investors and the governments of developing countries may have a shared interest in corrupt practices,

AL.   having regard to the child's right to protection from exploitation and to the right to recovery as provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 32, 34, 35 and 39,

Tourism as a factor in economic growth

1.  Calls for the impact of tourism and the principles of sustainable tourism and good governance to be systematically and coherently taken into account in the drawing-up of the EU's development policy;

2.  Considers that if tourism is to be sustainable it must improve the lives of local people, protect their environment and health, and support the local economy through the purchase of food and other resources locally;

3.  Asks the Commission to consider the reinforcement of the technical structure in charge of tourism at DG Enterprise, in view of tourism's transversal importance and the progressively wider set of initiatives that affect it and originate in other areas of Community policy;

4.  Calls for greater importance to be attached to the 'tourism' unit in the Commission's DG Enterprise, by making increased funds available so as to contribute to a general increase in policy proposals for the tourism sector;

5.  Calls for a debate on the appointment of tourism experts in DG Development and DG Trade;

6.  Calls for the promotion of locally controlled tourism initiatives aimed at poverty alleviation, the conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of human rights;

7.  Recommends that the Commission stresses tourism policies within the framework of its cooperation and development policies and in the context of its development guidelines and its entrepreneurial structure consolidation efforts, namely within its relationship with the ACP countries;

8.  Calls on ACP governments to examine policies designed to guarantee 'planning gain' benefits for the local communities where tourism projects take place;

9.  Insists on the need to reinvest the profits of tourism in local development; calls on tour operators to review their 'all-inclusive' packages which prevent spin-off benefits to the local communities, and encourages these operators to source materials/staff locally as far as possible, including managerial staff;

10.  Encourages governments to promote the creation and/or development of public-private partnerships and to facilitate the setting-up of enterprises in the tourism sector;

11.  Calls for an increase, where appropriate, in the proportion of sustainable tourism-oriented projects financed under the European Development Fund (EDF);

12.  Proposes that the issue of tourism, sustainable tourism and their economic impact be included in the negotiations under way on the EPAs, and that the interests of developing countries in relation to the European market be given positive consideration when tourism-related issues are raised by them in the GATS;

13.  Notes that in many developing countries the tourism sector is fundamentally a private- sector activity, and that the Community must therefore find ways to ensure that the interested parties and other social partners are fully involved in all discussions regarding development policy affecting the tourism sector;

14.  Stresses the urgent need for the Community to aid countries hit by natural disasters that affect their tourist industry;

Tourism as a factor in environmental protection and heritage conservation

15.  Calls for the adoption of a joint programme by DG Environment and DG Development in order to export European techniques of waste management and disposal, in the form initially of impact studies and subsequently of pilot projects;

16.  Calls for the establishment of sustainable tourism policies and regulations to protect and conserve natural resources, the cultural heritage and traditional land tenure systems;

17.  Encourages the optimisation of the existing technical and scientific resources with a view to preventing the degradation and/or destruction of the architectural heritage and environmental deterioration;

18.  Calls for all European investments in tourism in developing countries to be subject to the same rules applicable to granting Community funding of investments within the EU; thus, any investment which is manifestly detrimental to the environment, human rights, ILO core labour standards, the way of life of indigenous and autochthonous communities or the historical and cultural heritage of the recipient country must not be supported;

19.  Calls on the Community to provide technical support to countries which, under the impact of mass tourism, are obliged to take measures to preserve their tourist sites; calls also for an exchange of best practices in this field;

20.  Encourages local authorities which are confronted with an over-rapid tourist boom to take measure to limit numbers where necessary;

Tourism as a factor in democracy and political equilibrium

21.  Advocates that criminal activity be combated with all transparency in order to discourage activities such as money laundering, sex tourism, etc;

22.  Advocates that criminal activity be combated in such a way as not to damage countries' tourist image;

23.  Calls, in the interests of accessible, protected and secure tourism, for initiatives to tackle crime directed against tourism, including specialist training for police services;

24.  Calls on the governments of developing countries to ensure the full involvement of local communities in tourist activities and to ensure the fair sharing of the economic, social and cultural benefits generated;

25.  Deplores the recent segregationist measures taken by Cuban authorities with a view to preventing personal contact between tourists and Cuban citizens working in the tourism industry;

26.  Calls on the Commission, in its activities in support of sustainable development, to recognise the right of a country or a region to democratically define their own priorities, when financing regional cooperation projects;

27.  Calls on the Member State governments and the Commission, with the support of tour operators and experienced organisations, to act to promote ethical standards in tourism by introducing a certified European Fair Trade Tourism label;

Tourism as a factor in public health and education

28.  Calls on the Union and the Member States to make available to developing countries with tourist potential their experience and know-how with a view to the on-site training of personnel; calls on the Commission to support projects in developing countries requesting such know-how;

29.  Calls once more on the Commission to ensure financial support for the vaccination of children, targeted on urgent needs regarding vaccines combining antigens against the following diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping-cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenzae type B meningitis;

30.  Insists on the need to mobilise anti-malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS research at European level;

31.  Considers that sustainable tourism income may contribute to improving the standard of living of the population in the developing countries and to public health, as well as to communications, energy and technology infrastructures;

32.  Calls for EU financial support for the World Tourism Organization initiative ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating Poverty) and other initiatives that work towards alleviating poverty in developing countries;

Tourism as a factor in disturbance and abuse

33.  Calls for the above-mentioned Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to be incorporated by all countries into their national law;

34.  Calls on the governments of the countries concerned to circulate among themselves an annual list of visa refusals, to be confined to grounds of sex tourism offences, crimes against humanity or terrorism;

35.  Calls on the Commission to adopt effective programmes to combat sex tourism at European level;

36.  Calls, with a view to combating child sex tourism:

   on the Commission and Council to give greater priority to the fight against child sex tourism, including restoring the budget line 'Combating child sex tourism in third countries' in order to ensure that resources are dedicated to this;
   on the Commission to recognise the link between child pornography and sex tourism and ensure that this is raised in political dialogue with third countries;
   on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that children's needs and rights are given priority in development aid, in particular the rehabilitation and reintegration needs of children affected by sex tourism;

37.  Encourages tour operators, travel agents and airlines who have already acted against sex tourism by raising their clients' awareness and informing them of the legal risks they run to pursue their actions, and calls on those who have not taken such steps to begin to do so; calls on the same operators to cooperate with the authorities in identifying potential criminal activity;

38.  Calls on the Commission to implement concrete measures against tourism-related 'dumping' in the housing sector, after consulting the representative organisations of the sector;

39.  Calls on the governments of the Member States to ensure that the rules applying to EU companies are fully implemented in cases of relocation to or execution of contracts in developing countries, giving special consideration to the rights of the workers affected;

40.  Demands that the governments of the countries concerned and EU tour operators enforce human rights standards, workers' rights in accordance with ILO core labour standards, the protection of the European tourist-consumer and the recommendations concerning tour operators;

41.  Calls on the governments of developing countries to introduce transparent and properly regulated procedures for access to national markets in accordance with the recommendations of the World Tourism Organization, as a necessary condition for all foreign investment;

o   o

42.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

(1) OJ C 180 E, 31.7.2003, p. 138.
(2) OJ C 265, 20.9.2001, p. 39.
(3) OJ C 339, 29.11.2000, p. 292.
(4) OJ C 59, 1.3.2000, p. 41.
(5) OJ C 271, 24.9.1999, p. 73.

Famine in Niger
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European Parliament resolution on famine in Niger

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the UN donor appeals for food aid for Niger, amounting to USD 80.9 million,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas Niger was the world's second poorest country even before poor rains and locust invasions devastated last year's crops, leading to an estimated third of its close to 12 million people suffering from severe food shortages, among them 800 000 children, who are facing acute malnutrition,

B.   whereas, since 1900, Niger has been afflicted by nine periods of severe drought and famine and eight plagues of locusts,

C.   whereas drought-ridden areas are also known to be conducive to the outbreak of a number of communicable diseases such as malaria, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid fever and diarrhoea,

D.   whereas Niger's food crisis is complex, and weather patterns, food production, markets, technology, sanitation, healthcare, education, child-rearing practices, Niger's large foreign debt and widespread poverty all play their roles,

E.   whereas, until June 2005, the government of Niger refused to distribute food rations free of charge,

F.   whereas this refusal was founded on a desire not to destabilise the market and on a denial of the importance of the crisis,

G.   whereas few moderately priced government-subsidised food products were available and they were too expensive for the poorest,

H.   whereas, at a time when the death rate is startlingly high, there should be no question of subordinating emergency food aid distribution to future food security,

I.   whereas repeated UN appeals, beginning in November 2004, went almost unheeded until the situation had reached crisis proportions,

J.   whereas the humanitarian aid needs are immense, ranging from food, drinking water and drugs to vaccines for children with a view to preventing epidemics,

K.   whereas the urgency of addressing the immediate situation is clear, and ending the cycle of deprivation in Niger and across the Sahel is a long-term challenge requiring massive investment and a genuine commitment to eradicating hunger,

L.   whereas desertification and soil nutrient depletion in the Sahel are the results of the unsustainable use of natural resources, including the destruction of forests and bushland and the effects of climate change,

M.   whereas, according to the UN's coordinator for emergency aid, it is eighty times more expensive to intervene in an emergency than to act preventively; whereas this also applies to the neighbouring countries threatened by famine (Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad),

1.  Urges the international community not to turn its back on the continued suffering in Niger as food distribution continues across the worst-affected parts of the country but financial support for emergency operations shows worrying signs of tailing off;

2.  Calls for the hyper-endemic nature of malnutrition in Niger to be recognised, with a view to introducing an overall system for assisting those in need, including access to care for children under five and the provision of therapeutic food products of proven value;

3.  Calls for priority to be given to prevention, by reducing dependence on rainfall owing to its irregularity, developing irrigation-based agriculture (micro-dams), increasing food productivity with the use of manure, fertiliser and tools, and boosting the capacity of local cereal reserves;

4.  Welcomes the Commission's earmarking of EUR 4.6 million in humanitarian aid to Niger, as well as the pledge to 'provide additional humanitarian funds should the situation continue to deteriorate', as announced on 1 July 2005;

5.  Deplores the insufficient and slow reaction of the government of Niger to the looming crisis; regrets the failure of the authorities to distribute free food in the early stages of the crisis;

6.  Regrets the absence of sufficient government intervention to prevent speculation and crisis, and calls on the government of Niger to create mechanisms to ensure that such practices do not recur;

7.  Questions the wisdom of the total deregulation of agricultural markets undertaken under the 'structural adjustment' policies advocated by the IMF;

8.  Warns, at the same time, against the risk of misguided food aid, and calls on the international community to end food aid as soon as it considers that the situation has improved;

9.  Deplores the late response by international donors to the UN funding appeals first made nine months ago; stresses, in this regard, the difficulty in mobilising international aid just as the rich G8 countries were claiming to make Africa their top priority;

10.  Calls for a substantial increase in the reserves available from the UN aid fund in order to ensure that enough funds are available in advance so as to enable the UN aid bodies to launch relief operations speedily;

11.  Deeply regrets the fact that African catastrophes are met with such laboured mobilisation, whereas the tsunami and its victims, among whom were Western tourists, attracted huge media attention;

12.  Welcomes the coordination of ECHO emergency aid with the longer-term food security operations administered by the Commission, as well as the clear indication of rural development and food security as a priority in the Niger Country Strategy Paper;

13.  Calls on the international donors also to focus on health-related aid, for instance in order to improve access to clean water, distribute rehydration tablets, and support and expand existing health services so as to prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases;

14.  Calls on the international donors to coordinate their aid strategies for Niger with each other, as well as with the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and other regional and local actors; stresses the importance of making this aid long-term and part of a regional strategy to escape the cycle of poverty and starvation;

15.  Expresses its concern over food availability in the neighbouring countries of Mali and Burkina Faso, and calls for close monitoring of the situation in the wider region;

16.  Calls on the Commission and Council to improve the early warning system in order to monitor sensitive regions where famine may arise, so as to allow earlier action and prevent disasters;

17.  Stresses that the core problem in Niger is chronic and widespread poverty, and that the country has no margin to build contingency stocks to meet the kinds of need created by the crisis;

18.  Calls on the Commission and Council to acknowledge the effects of global warming on sub-Saharan Africa and act in Europe to mitigate those effects by adopting stringent CO2 reduction strategies at Union level;

19.  Considers that the question of the exploitation of natural resources needs to be taken into account in trade negotiations with African countries;

20.  Calls for action to ensure that the cancellation of Niger's external debt announced at the G8 summit actually takes place;

21.  Calls on the Commission to implement, once the emergency is over, a comprehensive policy for tackling the root causes of the crisis, in order to address the underlying structural causes and improve agricultural productivity in the region;

22.  Calls on the governments of the region to implement a policy of sustainable development in the agricultural sector;

23.  Calls on the UN General Assembly to define, at its September 2005 session, international aid arrangements and instruments, with a view to eradicating poverty and hunger in the world, pursuant to the millennium goals;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the African Union, the UN Secretary-General, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and the Governments of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Breaches of human rights in China, in particular as regards freedom of religion
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European Parliament resolution on breaches of human rights in China, in particular as regards freedom of religion

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty on European Union and its provisions on human rights,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on violations of human and minority rights and religious freedom in China,

–   having regard to China's long philosophical and religious tradition,

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2005 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2004 and EU policy in this regard(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 24 February 2005 on the EU's priorities and recommendations for the 61st session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva (14 March to 22 April 2005)(2),

–   having regard to the report and recommendations of the EU-China human rights dialogue seminar of 20-21 June 2005,

–   having regard to the Joint Statement of the EU-China Summit of 5 September 2005,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   well aware that religious persecution in China is a general problem that hurts many churches and religious communities, including Christians, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims among others,

B.   whereas respect for human rights is a key priority in EU policies and one of the fundamental principles of the European Union,

C.   whereas the promotion of human rights as established in the Treaties is an objective of the Common Foreign and Security Policy,

D.   whereas the EU-China Summit of 5 September 2005 marked the 30th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic ties with agreement on a new strategic dialogue; whereas the question of human rights is one of the key issues which was placed on the agenda,

E.   whereas the EU-China human rights dialogue makes freedom of religion or belief a matter of priority,

F.   whereas, despite the fact that Article 36 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China provides for freedom of religious belief, the authorities seek in reality to restrict religious practice to government-sanctioned organisations and registered places of worship, and to control the growth and scope of the activities of religious groups,

G.   whereas China's new Regulations on Religious Affairs, which came into effect on 1 March 2005, have tightened government control on religious activity,

H.   whereas, amongst other Christian denominations, the Catholic Church has endured a long period of persecution in the People's Republic of China and is still forced to act partly underground as a consequence of these practices,

I.   whereas the Chinese authorities have intensified their control of unregistered Protestant house churches and interference in the process of appointing bishops,

J.   whereas many Christian clergy have suffered brutal repression, being prevented not only from practising public worship but also from carrying out their ministry; deeply concerned at the increase in arbitrary arrests, torture, unexplained disappearances, penal servitude, isolation and re-education camps endured by Christian clergy and lay people,

1.  Calls on the Chinese Government to put an end to religious repression and to ensure that it respects international standards of human rights as well as religious rights and guarantees democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of the media and political and religious freedom in China;

2.  Urges the Chinese Government to abolish the difference between approved and non-approved worship communities, as has been suggested by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief since 1994;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to make it clear to the Chinese authorities that a genuine partnership can only develop when shared values are fully respected and put into practice;

4.  Urges the Commission, the Council and the Member States to raise specifically the issue of the persecution of Chinese Christians, and to obtain from the Chinese Government:

   a) information about the situation of Catholic bishops Mgr James Su Zhimin (diocese of Baoding, Hebei), 72; Mgr Francis An Shuxin (auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Baoding, Hebei), 54; Mgr Han Dingxian (diocese of Yongnian/Handan, Hebei), 66; Mgr Cosma Shi Enxiang (diocese of Yixian, Hebei), 83; Mgr Philip Zhao Zhendong, (diocese of Xuanhua, Hebei), 84; Fr Paul Huo Junlong, administrator of the diocese of Baoding, 50; Mgr Shi Enxiang (diocese of Yixian Hebei province), 83; news about disappeared and arrested clergy, namely Zhang Zhenquan and Ma Wuyong (diocese of Baoding, Hebei); Fr Li Wenfeng, Fr Liu Heng, and Fr Dou Shengxia (diocese of Shijiazhuang, Hebei); Fr Chi Huitian (diocese of Baoding, Hebei); Fr Kang Fuliang, Chen Guozhen, Pang Guangzhao, Yin Ruose, and Li Shujun (diocese of Baoding, Hebei); Fr Lu Xiaozhou (diocese of Wenzhou, Zhejiang); Fr Lin Daoming (diocese of Fuzhou, Fujian); Fr Zheng Ruipin (diocese of Fuzhou, Fujian); Fr Pang Yongxing, Fr Ma Shunbao, and Fr Wang Limao (diocese of Baoding, Hebei); Fr Li Jianbo (diocese of Baoding, Hebei); and Fr Liu Deli; and demands the unconditional release of all Chinese Catholics incarcerated on account of their religious convictions and the immediate cessation of all kinds of violence towards them;
   b) information about the situation of Pastor Zhang Rongliang (53), one of the founders of the China for Christ Church, a group comprising more than 10 million Christians, who was arrested on 1 December 2004, and who is still imprisoned without any legal process; demands the unconditional release of this pastor and of all other Chinese Christians incarcerated on account of their religious convictions and the immediate cessation of all kinds of violence towards them;

5.  Urges the Chinese Government to implement Article 36 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and to ratify and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

6.  Notes that the Chinese Government has finally accepted the request made by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit China before the end of the year; invites the Chinese Government to set an early date for this visit; calls on the Chinese authorities to allow access for the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to the Panchen Lama as designated by the Dalai Lama;

7.  Welcomes the existence of an EU-China human rights structured dialogue; expresses disappointment at the lack of substantial results coming from this dialogue; invites the Council and the Commission to raise this issue of concern during the forthcoming EU-China human rights session, as part of a thorough assessment of the effectiveness of the structured dialogue;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States and the accession and candidate countries, the member countries of the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Government of the People's Republic of China.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2005)0150.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2005)0051.

Political prisoners in Syria
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European Parliament resolution on Syria

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–   having regard to Article 11(1) of the Treaty of the European Union and Article 177 of the EC Treaty, which establish the promotion of human rights as an objective of the common foreign and security policy,

–   having regard to the Barcelona declaration of 28 November 1995,

–   having regard to the resolution adopted by the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly on 15 March 2005 in Cairo,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria,

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the accession to power of the current President, Bachar Al Assad, gave rise to some hope in Syria and went some way towards opening up the Syrian political system, which had been dominated by the Baath party for many years,

B.   whereas the European Parliament and its President have already intervened several times in favour of the release of the two parliamentarians Riad Seif and Mamun al-Humsi, who are in an alarming condition and have already served three quarters of their prison sentence,

C.   whereas civil activists Hasan Zeino, Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad Ali al-Abdullah will appear before military courts in Homs and Damascus charged with "possession of publications of a prohibited organisation", "the establishment a secret society", "the defamation of the public administration", etc.,

D.   whereas Haytham al-Hamwi, Yassin al-Hamwi's son, was arrested in 2003, ill-treated and sentenced after an allegedly unfair trial (according to authoritative sources) to four years" imprisonment,

E.   whereas Riad al-Hamood, a Kurdish civil society activist, Arab language teacher and active member of the Committees for Revival of Civil Society, who was arrested on 4 June 2005 after a speech at the funeral of an Islamic scholar who had died in custody under mysterious circumstances whilst in solitary confinement, is at serious risk of ill-treatment,

F.   whereas in July 2005 the UN Human Rights Committee expressed its concern "at the obstacles imposed on the registration and free operation of non-governmental human rights organisations" in Syria and "intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders",

G.   whereas respect for human rights is an essential element in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership,

1.  Urges the Syrian authorities to release Riad Seif and Mamun al-Humsi immediately;

2.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to drop immediately all charges against Hasan Zeino, Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad Ali al-Abdullah, who are facing trial before military courts;

3.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to:

   a) ensure that the detainees are well treated and not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment;
   b) ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
   c) ensure that detained or imprisoned persons are given prompt, regular and unrestricted access to their lawyers, doctors and families;

4.  Points out that respect for human rights constitutes a vital component in any future EU-Syria Association Agreement;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the Council and the individual Member States to make clear to the Syrian authorities that the agreement which is currently under negotiation includes human rights clauses which are a fundamental element of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, and expects concrete improvements in this field on the part of the Syrian authorities;

6.  Calls for the setting up of a subcommittee on human rights with Syria in the framework of the Association Agreement, as has been done with Jordan and Morocco, so as to develop a structured dialogue on human rights and democracy; believes that such a subcommittee would constitute a key element in the Action Plan; emphasises the importance of civil society being consulted on and involved in the work of this subcommittee in order better to monitor the human rights situation; stresses also the necessity for the European Parliament to be closely associated in the work and follow-up of this subcommittee;

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government and Parliament of Syria.

Major and neglected diseases in developing countries
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European Parliament resolution on Major and Neglected Diseases in Developing Countries (2005/2047(INI))

The European Parliament,

-   having regard to the hearing organised on 27 April 2004 by its competent committee on Neglected Diseases,

-   having regard to the Commission communication of 27 April 2005 entitled "A European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis through External Action (2007-2011)" (COM(2005)0179),

-   having regard to the Commission communication of 26 October 2004 entitled "A Coherent European Policy Framework for External Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis" (COM(2004)0726),

-   having regard to its resolutions on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, in particular that of 4 October 2001 on accelerated action targeted at major communicable diseases within the context of poverty reduction(1),

-   having regard to its resolution of 30 January 2003 on the proposal for a regulation on aid for poverty diseases (HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis) in developing countries(2),

-   having regard to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Commission's High-Level Round Table on Tobacco Control and Development Policy held on 3-4 February 2003,

-   having regard to its resolution of 4 September 2003 on health and poverty reduction in developing countries(3),

-   having regard to the resolution adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on 19 February 2004 on poverty-related diseases and reproductive health (ACP-EU 3640/04),

-   having regard to the New York Call to Commitment: Linking HIV/AIDS and Sexual and Reproductive Health(4),

-   having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2005 on science and technology – Guidelines for future European Union policy to support research(5),

-   having regard to the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance), International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), European Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EMVI), Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)/The Vaccine Fund, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) and others who are working to research and develop drugs for neglected diseases,

-   having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2005 on the role of the European Union in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)(6),

-   having regard to the report of the UN Millennium Project Task Force on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB, and Access to Essential Medicines, "Prescription for Healthy Development: Increasing Access to Medicines", 2005,

-   having regard to the WHO Paper on A Needs-Based Pharmaceutical R&D Agenda for Neglected Diseases, October 2004, and the WHO paper on the Intensified Control of Tropical Diseases presented at the WHO Strategic and Technical Meeting in Berlin, 18-20 April 2005,

-   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

-   having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A6-0215/2005),

A.   whereas the interconnection of the world, global warming and emerging health threats such as avian flu, Ebola and Marburg, the resurgence of old infectious diseases such as TB, the increased prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases in developed countries and the growing problem of multi-drug resistance all show the need for a comprehensive approach to be taken to all diseases,

B.   whereas as there is a lack of sense of urgency in the European Union (EU), as migration and the increase in travel represent a growing risk of spreading these diseases,

C.   whereas the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria aims to reduce the burden of disease and poverty, and coordination between projects and players is crucial, including the procurement, distribution and evaluation of medicines and coherence with national protocols,

D.   whereas HIV/AIDS cases continue to grow globally, with women and children particularly affected, and with more new infections in 2004 than in any previous year; and whereas antiretroviral (ARV) prices are an "increasingly serious public health hazard"(7) with second-line medicines up to twelve times more expensive than the most affordable first-line generics,

E.   whereas both HIV/AIDS and maternal and reproductive ill-health are driven by many common root causes, including gender inequality, poverty and social marginalisation, and whereas the presence of sexually transmitted diseases dramatically increases vulnerability to HIV infection, yet separate donor policy translates into divided programme delivery,

F.   whereas prevention is the most effective way to fight sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS, and there is a clear link between sexual and reproductive health and the fight against HIV/AIDS,

G.   whereas access to maternal and reproductive health information and services plays an important role in poverty reduction and should be integral to the fight against HIV/AIDS,

H.   whereas the prevention of malaria requires the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (especially by young children, pregnant women and those living with HIV/AIDS), anti-malarial drugs for pregnant women and indoor residual spraying,

I.   whereas TB affects one-third of the world's people, and in 2002 caused some two million deaths, many linked to HIV/AIDS, and new diagnostic tests and drugs could tackle this enormous global scourge,

J.   whereas schistosomiasis can be treated by the drug praziquantel, but the associated cost of chemotherapy is an additional burden on health systems and there are concerns about the emergence of drug-resistant parasites, so there is a need to develop other effective remedies,

K.   whereas severe visceral leishmaniasis and AIDS reinforce one another but the treatment pentavalent antimony has serious side effects, requires a lengthy treatment and is losing efficacy due to parasite resistance,

L.   whereas the diagnosis and treatment of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness is difficult,

M.   whereas the acute phase of Chagas' disease can be treated by only two drugs, nifurtimox and benznidazole, while for the chronic phase there is no treatment,

N.   whereas dengue is a global health concern and Aedes albopictus, a secondary dengue vector in Asia, is now established in Europe and other regions, due to the international used tyre trade; and there is no specific treatment but progress is being made in integrated vector management while the development of vaccines is slow,

O.   whereas Buruli ulcer is an emerging health threat and can only be treated by surgery to remove the lesion, causing loss of tissue or permanent disability,

P.   whereas the burden of mental illnesses and epilepsy is growing and neglected,

Q.   whereas there is a grave shortage of health workers in many parts of the developing world, with migration both from and within poorer regions,

R.   whereas re-used medical devices led to an estimated 260,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS, 2 million hepatitis C infections and 21 million hepatitis B infections in 2000,

S.   whereas 5 million deaths worldwide are caused annually by tobacco use and this could double by 2020, with the majority occurring in developing countries,

T.   whereas there is a chronic lack of investment in international and regional research in drugs for poverty-related diseases,

U.   whereas it is estimated that less than 10% of the world's biomedical research funds are dedicated to addressing problems that are responsible for 90% of the world's burden of disease and that, of all drugs in development for all neglected diseases in 1999-2000, 18 R&D projects were in clinical development, compared with 2,100 compounds for all other diseases, and the mean time for clinical development for neglected diseases is about three and a half years more than for other conditions,

V.   whereas scientific advances have been made, including the genome sequencing of parasites causing malaria, leishmaniasis and HAT, but these are not being translated into new products,

W.   whereas the WHO Prequalification Project is an important network for assessing and procuring new essential medicines,

X.   whereas yearly an estimated one and a half million children under five die from vaccine-preventable diseases,

Y.   whereas only one pharmaceutical company has registered medicines available at reduced prices under Council Regulation (EC) No 953/2003 of 26 May 2003 to avoid trade diversion into the EU of certain key medicines(8); whereas new medicines necessary today, but available only at high prices, are not included in this list,

Z.   whereas all World Trade Organization (WTO) Member States should have integrated the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement into their national legislation, particularly States which produce generic medicines,

1.  Welcomes the Commission's above-mentioned communications, but calls for its approach to be broadened to include other neglected diseases; highlights the fact that the Commission's actions can all be applied to other diseases beyond HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB;

2.  Urges the Commission to translate the policy proposals of the new Programme for Action to confront HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria into concrete action by ensuring appropriate programming decisions and sufficient budget allocations;

3.  Stresses the critical importance of securing increased and adequate financial resources from Member States and in the funding of the EU's External Actions and development aid given that the resource gap for HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB alone is projected to reach EUR 11 500 million by 2007;

4.  Calls on the Commission to address HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other diseases as cross-cutting issues in the external assistance instruments of the next financial perspectives;

5.  Supports the establishment of the European Union Solidarity Fund (COM(2005)0108) in order to provide a common response to emergency situations of different origin in an efficient and coordinated way;

6.  Recalls that health services in the ACP countries suffered greatly in the 1990s, particularly as a result of the emphasis placed on macro-economic reforms which led to drastic budget cuts in social sectors such as health;

7.  Recalls also that repayment and servicing of the debt accounts for almost 40% of GDP per annum in the least developed countries, while education and health budgets are still derisory;

8.  Urges ACP countries to meet Parliament's target of allocating 20% to health;

9.  Believes that Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers must ensure that the poverty analysis that informs them influence the focus of work in the health sector and provide the opportunity to reorientate health plans and strategies to those health actions most likely to impact on poverty;

10.  Stresses that access to drinking water and food is an essential condition for healthy populations; insists therefore on the cross dimension of health and the improvement of living conditions which contributes to increasing life expectancy;

11.  Calls on developing countries to restore their public and basic health care systems and services and for the EU to support this process through aid for the emergence and reinforcement of human and institutional capacities and infrastructures;

12.  Believes that investment in water supply, sanitation and infrastructure as well as raising awareness of the links between health, clean water, sanitation and hygiene are critical to combating waterborne diseases (including pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria) and to the delivery of healthcare systems;

13.  Calls for the policy document on human resources provided for in the Commission's Programme for Action also to include proposals for urgent action to reverse the loss of health workers from developing countries, such as better training, career opportunities, remuneration, retention incentives, safe working conditions, cooperation with disease-specific initiatives, twinning arrangements, voluntary support and the spread of best practice and technical support;

14.  Stresses the need for coordination within the EU and between the EU and other global and local donors, to pool expertise and share technical assistance in order to improve outcomes;

15.  Welcomes the Commission's commitment to strengthening the capacity of developing countries to conduct research, but calls for this to extend beyond clinical trials to a broader concept of research that includes operational and health systems research so important in developing more effective, efficient and sustainable implementation of interventions;

16.  Emphasises that best practice in scientific research and implementation are needed to ensure effective interventions, projects and programmes;

17.  Notes that care should be taken in the way that medicines are dispensed and used in order to limit resistance;

18.  Notes that, as a result of the Asian tsunami, the interruption of malaria, TB or ARV treatment there could cause many deaths;

19.  Welcomes the Eurobarometer results showing that the EU public believes that EU aid can be most effective in the fight against AIDS and other diseases(9);

20.  Stresses the urgency of access to medicines and for pharmaceutical producers to make drugs available and affordable in low income countries;

21.  Stresses the importance of country leadership and accountability and calls on the Commission to ensure that affected communities and civil society are meaningfully involved in this process to ensure that Action Frameworks reflect the concerns and experiences of marginalised communities;

22.  Calls on the Commission to assess the real impact of the measures implemented under Regulation (EC) No 953/2003 and on the pharmaceutical industry to make products available to the people of developing countries at tiered prices for improving access to essential medicines, and to propose complementary measures to enable access specifically to essential medicines if shortages exist;

23.  Calls on the Commission to use the EC Stakeholder Forum as a systematic and regular mechanism of consultation with civil society, people affected by HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB and representatives of community-based organisations from developing countries;

24.  Reminds the Commission of the importance of women in primary health care and that women, children and people with disabilities need to be mainstreamed into health policies and related statistics and research;

25.  Welcomes the Commission's support in its Programme for Action for comprehensive and evidence-based prevention programmes, and urges the Commission to support HIV/AIDS prevention programmes which include political leadership, education to support behavioural change, harm reduction programmes, commodity distribution, voluntary counselling and testing, secure blood supply, vulnerability reduction measures for groups at higher risk of infection as well as social and behavioural research;

26.  Stresses the need for increased investment in R&D into new technologies for HIV prevention such as vaccines and microbicides and calls for the development of adapted and affordable paediatric formulations of ARV for the 2.2 million children living with HIV, alongside diagnostic and monitoring tools suited to their needs and to developing country settings;

27.  Urges the Commission to acknowledge that distinct HIV epidemics require distinct approaches, whether this be for countries with generalised or with concentrated epidemics; and that greater attention must be given to understanding transmission patterns in each different context and acting in accordance with this evidence;

28.  Calls for older people, orphans and other vulnerable children to be taken into account in policies for poverty reduction and support for families affected by HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and for their involvement and participation in the design and implementation of programmes;

29.  Calls for a stronger linkage between sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programmes, and adequate, accessible and affordable HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health related supplies, including male and female condoms and STD diagnostics and drugs;

30.  Is very concerned at reports that some African governments are charging a sales or import tax on ARV and other drugs, which then make the drugs unaffordable to poor communities; urges the Commission to investigate this and to encourage governments to abolish such taxes;

31.  Calls for countries affected by malaria to commit to and accelerate the introduction of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), recognised as the most effective treatment, calls on donors to finance ACT and support the purchase, prequalification and manufacture of artemisinin-based drugs;

32.  Calls for industry to manufacture insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), especially long lasting insecticidal nets, calls for programmes to rapidly scale up coverage of ITNs, to provide training in malaria symptoms, to remove sources of stagnant water and to equip primary health services with drugs and reliable rapid diagnostic tests, and to strengthen country-led partnerships to coordinate the scale up and to eliminate implementation bottlenecks;

33.  Considers that simple effective diagnostic tests are needed for leishmaniasis, suited to conditions in resource-poor countries; notes that R&D of new treatments is under-funded and that alternative drugs exist but are expensive and difficult to administer; calls for the speedy registration of promising drugs such as paromomycin and miltefosine;

34.  Notes the work of DNDi and TDR on a treatment for HAT, and stresses the urgent need to assess the safety and efficacy of nifurtimox, and to develop new, easy-to-use and accurate diagnostic tests;

35.  Calls for increased efforts in the prevention of Chagas' disease by involving target populations in transmission control, by separating living accommodation of animals and people and by combating vectors with insecticide;

36.  Welcomes the WHO Global Programme to identify districts where lymphatic filariasis is endemic and treat the at-risk population with a yearly single-dose treatment, for at least five years;

37.  Believes that there are great benefits from delivering safe and effective drugs; that controlling or eliminating infections by annual or biannual administration of donated drug interventions costs approximately EUR 0.20 per person treated;

38.  Calls for the implementation of the "Quick Wins" identified in the report of the UN Millennium Project 2005 including regular annual deworming;

39.  Calls on the EU to take concrete steps to counter poverty and ensure consistency between its policies in the fields of trade, development cooperation and agriculture, with a view to preventing any direct or indirect negative impact on the economies of developing countries;

40.  Calls for a new emphasis on support for mental and neurological diseases and disorders, especially unipolar depression and epilepsy;

41.  Believes that health services able to diagnose, manage and treat conditions such as diabetes would save many lives and reduce disability and amputations; in particular access to insulin and Type 2 drugs needs to be expanded and made affordable;

42.  Calls on the Commission to support programmes to prevent and cure obstetric fistula and care for the women and girls affected;

43.  Calls for initiatives to provide accelerated local access to appropriate diagnostics and safe blood collection methods, with associated training and infrastructure, to monitor key health parameters, and stresses the importance of ensuring that all immunisation programmes mandate the use of medical technology that prevents re-use;

44.  Invites the Commission to provide support for strengthening national and international tobacco control programmes;

45.  Believes that public-private partnerships such as the RBM Partnership, TB Alliance, IAVI, IPM, GAVI/The Vaccine Fund, MMV, DNDi and the Institute for One World Health together with TDR are key to innovation and capacity-building;

46.  Regrets the lack of R&D into diseases which almost exclusively affect poor people in developing countries, due to a lack of viable markets, and stresses that this must be corrected by international efforts;

47.  Calls for the Seventh Framework Programme to include specific reference to and funding for research on illnesses that affect citizens of developing countries;

48.  Encourages the Commission to examine as of now ways of implementing the concrete steps to be taken with regard to the flexibility of current and planned thematic budget lines and also to simplify procedures in order to improve the synergy and consistency of Community policies, services and programmes in the fight against the three diseases;

49.  Calls on the Commission to work with WHO, including through the TDR and the Initiative for Vaccine Research, to draw up an essential R&D agenda to define needs and priorities for the developing world;

50.  Believes that the review and registration of drugs should be relevant to the priorities of disease-endemic countries with specific procedures for better assessment of the risk-benefit ratio of drugs for neglected diseases;

51.  Calls for the improvement of working conditions for medical staff practising in developing countries, the provision of suitable medical equipment and transfer of technology; calls for an increase in exchange programmes of doctors from Europe to developing countries and vice versa;

52.  Calls on the Commission to support integrated research projects involving the complete process of identification of chemicals through to the most effective being put on the market;

53.  Calls for the activities of the EDCTP to be broadened to include other neglected diseases and other phases of clinical development (Phase I and IV);

54.  Demands that international standards for ethical research, such as those set out in the Declaration of Helsinki, be applied in all countries;

55.  Calls for collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry on poverty diseases, with a new framework proposal for R&D in such diseases, to provide incentives for investment, including protocol assistance, fee waivers, tax credits, subsidies, innovation prizes, assistance for prequalification, advance purchase commitments and partial transfer of patent rights to drugs; and calls also for a "needs based approach";

56.  Stresses that education and family planning are as important as the provision of effective drugs;

57.  Calls for an obligation on or incentive to the pharmaceutical industry to reinvest a percentage of profits into neglected disease R&D, either directly or through public programmes;

58.  Urges, in the context of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Health, a new global medical R&D treaty, including minimum obligations to support R&D, priority setting mechanisms and consideration of a system of tradeable credits for investments in particular projects;

59.  Believes that building of local R&D and production capacity through technology transfer and sharing should be promoted through development policies;

60.  Welcomes the Commission's support for the WHO Prequalification Project in its Programme for Action and calls on the Commission to work with WHO to strengthen and expand its capacity to fulfil the Project's functions;

61.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to give active support to the implementation of the Doha Declaration and to oppose any action taken by WTO Member States that undermines the unanimous commitments made in the declaration on intellectual property and public health, in particular through the negotiation of 'TRIPS plus' clauses in the framework of regional free trade agreements;

62.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the World Health Organization and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) OJ C 87 E, 11.04.2002, p. 244.
(2) OJ C 39 E, 13.2.2004, p. 58.
(3) OJ C 76 E, 25.03.2004, p. 441.
(4) Call to Commitment published at high level meeting organized by UNFPA, UNAIDS and Family Care International, New York 7 June 2004
(5) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0077.
(6) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0115.
(7) WHO and UNAIDS "3 by 5" progress report, December 2004.
(8) OJ L 135, 3.6.2003, p. 5. Regulation as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1876/2004 (OJ L 326, 29.10.2004, p. 22).
(9) Special Eurobarometer 222, Attitudes towards Development Aid, February 2005.

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