Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 2 February 2006 - Brussels
Social legislation relating to road transport ***III
 Recording equipment in road transport ***III
 Rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products ***I
 Common foreign and security policy - 2004
 Combating violence against women
 Equality between women and men in the EU
 Application of the Postal Directive
 Results of the elections in Palestine and situation in the Middle East, and the Council's decision not to publish the report on East Jerusalem
 Cuba
 National management declarations
 Management of Mediterranean fishery resources

Social legislation relating to road transport ***III
PDF 195kWORD 33k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on minimum conditions for the implementation of Council Regulations (EEC) Nos 3820/85 and 3821/85 concerning social legislation relating to road transport activities and repealing Council Directive 88/599/EEC (PE-CONS 3672/2/2005 – C6-0417/2005 – 2003/0255(COD))
P6_TA(2006)0034A6-0005/2006

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee and the relevant Commission statements (PE-CONS 3672/2/2005 – C6-0417/2005),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2003)0628)(2),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(3) on the Council common position(4),

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2005)0302)(5),

–   having regard to Article 251(5) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 65 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0005/2006),

1.  Approves the joint text and draws attention to the Commission statements thereon;

2.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to have it published, together with the Commission statements thereon, in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 385.
(2) Not yet published in OJ.
(3) Texts Adopted, 13.4.2005, P6_TA(2005)0121.
(4) OJ C 63 E, 15.3.2005, p. 1.
(5) Not yet published in OJ.


Recording equipment in road transport ***III
PDF 197kWORD 32k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 (PE-CONS 3671/3/2005 – C6-0416/2005 – 2001/0241(COD))
P6_TA(2006)0035A6-0006/2006

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee and the relevant Commission statement (PE-CONS 3671/3/2005 – C6-0416/2005),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2001)0573)(2),

–   having regard to the amended proposal of the Commission (COM(2003)0490)(3),

–   having regard to its position at second reading(4) on the Council common position(5),

–   having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(2005)0301)(6),

–   having regard to Article 251(5) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 65 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A6-0006/2006),

1.  Approves the joint text and draws attention to the Commission statement thereon;

2.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to have it published, together with the Commission statement thereon, in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ C 38 E, 12.2.2004, p. 152.
(2) OJ C 51 E, 26.2.2002, p. 234.
(3) Not yet published in OJ.
(4) Texts Adopted, 13.4.2005, P6_TA(2005)0122.
(5) OJ C 63 E, 15.3.2005, p. 11.
(6) Not yet published in OJ.


Rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products ***I
PDF 364kWORD 120k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products, repealing Council Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC, and amending Council Directive 76/211/EEC (COM(2004)0708 – C6-0160/2004 – 2004/0248(COD))
P6_TA(2006)0036A6-0412/2005

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2004)0708)(1),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 95 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0160/2004),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A6-0412/2005),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 2 February 2006 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2006/.../EC of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products, repealing Council Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC, and amending Council Directive 76/211/EEC

P6_TC1-COD(2004)0248


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 95 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(2),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3),

Whereas:

(1)  Council Directives 75/106/EEC of 19 December 1974 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making-up by volume of certain prepackaged liquids(4) and 80/232/EEC of 15 January 1980 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the ranges of nominal quantities and nominal capacities permitted for certain prepackaged products(5) set out nominal quantities for a number of liquid and non-liquid prepacked products, the purpose of which was to ensure the free movement of products complying with the requirements of the Directives. For most products, national nominal quantities are allowed to exist alongside the Community nominal quantities. For some products, however, Community nominal quantities are set to the exclusion of national nominal quantities.

(2)  Changes in consumer preferences and innovation in pre-packing and retailing at Community and national level have made it necessary to assess whether the existing legislation is still appropriate.

(3)  The European Court of Justice confirmed in its judgment of 12 October 2000 in Case C-3/99 Cidre-Ruwet(6) that Member States are precluded from prohibiting the marketing of a pre-package having a nominal volume not included in the Community range which is lawfully manufactured and marketed in another Member State, unless such a prohibition is designed to meet an overriding requirement relating to consumer protection, applies without distinction to national and imported products alike, is necessary in order to meet the requirement in question, is proportionate to the objective pursued and that objective cannot be achieved by measures which are less restrictive of intra-Community trade.

(4)  Consumer protection is facilitated by directives which were adopted after Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC, notably Directive 98/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers(7).

(5)  An impact assessment, including a consultation of all interested stakeholders, indicated that, in many sectors, free nominal quantities increase the freedom of producers to provide goods according to consumer tastes and enhance competition as regards quality and price on the internal market. In other sectors, however, it is more appropriate, in the interests of consumers and business, to retain mandatory nominal quantities for the time being.

(6)  Implementation of this Directive should be accompanied by an information campaign aimed at consumers and industry operators in order to ensure that the concept of unit pricing is properly understood.

(7)  A study devoted to the impact of this Directive on the most vulnerable consumers (the elderly, the visually impaired, the disabled, consumers with a low level of education and so on) has confirmed the theory that deregulation of packaging formats would entail major drawbacks for these consumers, while triggering a reduction in the number of brands offered to consumers and hence reducing choice and, consequently, competition in the market.

(8)  Nominal quantities should generally not be subject to regulation at Community or national level and it should be possible to place pre-packed goods on the market in any nominal quantity.

(9)  However, in certain sectors, free sizes previously gave rise to serious pack size proliferation and market complications. In those sectors such deregulation could result in disproportionately heavy extra costs, especially for small and medium sized enterprises, as well as consumer confusion. Furthermore, benefits from the use of environmentally-friendly lightweight glass could be jeopardised by deregulation. For those sectors, therefore, existing Community legislation should be adapted in the light of experience, in particular to ensure that Community nominal quantities are fixed for the most commonly traded sizes.

(10)  Although the maintenance of mandatory nominal quantities can be justified for certain sectors in the light of experience and in order to meet consumer needs, periodic reassessment of Community legislation will still be necessary in order to check whether it still meets the needs of consumers and producers.

(11)  In order to promote transparency, all nominal quantities for pre-packed products should be set in a single legislative text, and Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC should be repealed. The Commission should examine what initiatives could be taken or promoted to make weight and volume indications on consumer product labelling more readable. This, together with maintaining mandatory ranges for certain basic products, could be very helpful for certain categories of vulnerable consumers, such as the disabled and the elderly.

(12)  For certain liquid products, Directive 75/106/EEC sets out metrological requirements identical to those set out in Council Directive 76/211/EEC of 20 January 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making-up by weight or by volume of certain prepackaged products(8). Directive 76/211/EEC should therefore be amended to include in its scope the products currently covered by Directive 75/106/EEC.

(13)  In accordance with point 34 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making(9), Member States are encouraged to draw up, for themselves and in the interests of the Community, their own tables illustrating, as far as possible, the correlation between this Directive and the transposition measures, and to make them public.

(14)  Since the objectives of the action to be taken cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of repealing Community ranges and ensuring uniform Community nominal quantities where needed, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Chapter I

General provisions

Article 1

Subject matter and scope

This Directive lays down rules on the nominal quantities for products put up in pre-packages. It shall apply to pre-packed products and pre-packages, as defined in Article 2 of Directive 76/211/EEC. It shall not apply to pre-packed bread, spreadable fats or tea, for which national rules on nominal quantities shall continue to apply.

This Directive shall not apply to the products listed in the Annex when sold in duty-free shops for consumption outside the EU.

Article 2

Free movement of goods

Save as provided for in Articles 3 and 4, Member States may not, on grounds relating to the nominal quantities of the package, refuse, prohibit or restrict the placing on the market of pre-packed products.

Chapter II

Specific provisions

Article 3

The placing on the market and the free movement of certain products

Member States shall ensure that the products specified in point 3 of the Annex and put up in pre-packages in the intervals listed in points 1 and 2 of the Annex are placed on the market only if they are pre-packed in the nominal quantities listed in points 1 and 2 of the Annex.

Article 4

1.  Aerosol dispensers shall indicate their total nominal capacity. The indication shall be such as not to create confusion with the nominal volume of their contents.

2.  By way of derogation from Article 8(1)(e) of Council Directive 75/324/EEC of 20 May 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to aerosol dispensers(10), products which are sold in aerosol dispensers need not be marked with the nominal weight of their contents.

Article 5

1.  For the purposes of Article 3, where two or more individual pre-packages make up a multi-pack, the nominal quantities listed in the Annex shall apply to each individual pre-package.

2.  Where a pre-package is made up of two or more individual packages which are not intended to be sold individually, the nominal quantities listed in the Annex shall apply to the pre-package.

Chapter III

Repeals, amendments and final provisions

Article 6

Repeals

Directives 75/106/EEC and 80/232/EEC are repealed.

Article 7

Amendment

In Article 1 of Directive 76/211/EEC, the phrase "with the exception of those referred to in the Council Directive 75/106/EEC of 19 December 1974 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making-up by volume of certain prepackaged liquids, and" is deleted.

Article 8

Transposition

1.  Member States shall adopt and publish, by ...(11) at the latest, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

They shall apply those provisions from ...(12)*.

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or shall be accompanied by such reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

3.  Nominal quantities within the intervals covered by the Annex that are not listed in the Annex but were marketed immediately prior to the entry into force of this Directive may continue to be placed on the market until stocks are exhausted for up to 18 months after the entry into force of this Directive.

Article 9

Report

The Commission shall submit a report on the implementation and effects of this Directive to the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions by ...(13) at the latest and every ten years thereafter. Where necessary, the report shall be accompanied by a proposal for revision.

Article 10

Entry into force

This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Articles 6 and 7 shall apply with effect from ...(14)*.

Article 11

Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX

RANGE OF NOMINAL QUANTITIES OF CONTENTS OF PRE-PACKAGES

1.  PRODUCTS SOLD BY VOLUME

Still wine

On the interval from 100 ml1 500 ml only the following 8 sizes:

Ml: 100 ‐ 187‐ 250 ‐ 375 ‐ 500‐ 750 ‐ 1 000 1 500

Yellow wine

On the interval from 100 ml1 500 ml only the following size:

Ml: 620

Sparkling wine

On the interval from 125 ml1 500 ml only the following 5 sizes:

Ml: 125 ‐ 200 ‐ 375 ‐750 ‐1 500

Liqueur wine

On the interval from 100 ml – 1 500 ml only the following 7 sizes:

Ml: 100‐ 200 ‐ 375 ‐ 500 ‐ 750 ‐ 1 0001 500

Aromatized wine

On the interval from 100 ml1 500 ml only the following 7 sizes:

Ml: 100 ‐ 200 ‐ 375 ‐ 500 ‐750 ‐ 1 0001 500

Spirits

On the interval from 100 ml2 000 ml only the following 9 sizes:

Ml: 100 ‐ 200 ‐ 350 ‐ 500 ‐ 700 ‐ 1 0001 500 - 1 750 - 2 000

On the interval from 100 ml – 1 500 ml only the following 9 sizes:

Ml: 100 - 200 - 250 - 300 - 330 - 500 - 750 - 1 000 - 1 500

Drinking milk

For drinking milk sold in returnable containers, the following sizes may also apply:

Ml: 189 – 284, and multiples thereof

Where the system of imperial units of measurement is in force, on the interval from one third of a pint - 6 pints the following 8 sizes may also apply:

Pint: 1/3 - 1/2 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

2.  PRODUCTS SOLD BY WEIGHT

Soluble coffee

On the interval 50 g - 300 g only the following 4 sizes:

g: 50 ‐ 100 ‐ 200 ‐ 300

White sugar

On the interval 250 g1 500 g only the following 5 sizes:

g: 250 ‐500 ‐750 ‐1 0001 500

Brown sugar

On the interval 250 g – 1 500 g only the following 5 sizes:

g: 250 ‐ 500 ‐ 750 ‐ 1 000 ‐ 1 500

Butter

On the interval 100 g – 1 000 g only the following 6 sizes:

g: 100 ‐ 125 ‐ 200 (only for individual packages of quantities of 50 g or less not intended to be sold individually) ‐ 250 ‐ 500 ‐ 1 000

Ground or unground roasted coffee

On the interval 250 g – 1 000 g only the following 4 sizes:

g: 250 ‐ 500 ‐ 750 ‐ 1 000

Dried pasta

On the interval 125 g – 10 000 g only the following 10 sizes:

g: 125 ‐ 250 ‐ 500 ‐ 1 000 ‐ 1 500 ‐ 2 000 ‐ 3 000 ‐ 4 000 ‐ 5 000 ‐ 10 000

Rice

On the interval 125 g – 10 000 g only the following 8 sizes:

g: 125 ‐ 250 ‐ 500 ‐ 1 000 ‐ 2 000 ‐ 2 500 ‐ 5 000 ‐ 10 000

3.  PRODUCT DEFINITIONS

Still wine

Wine as defined in Article 1(2)(b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 of 17 May 1999 on the common organisation of the market in wine(15) (CCT heading: CN code ex 22.04)

Yellow wine

Wine as defined in Article 1(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 (CCT heading: CN code ex 22.04) with the designation of origin "Côtes du Jura", "Arbois", "L'Etoile" and "Château-Chalon" in bottles as defined in Annex I, point 3 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 753/2002 of 29 April 2002 laying down certain rules for applying Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 as regards the description, designation, presentation and protection of certain wine sector products(16)

Sparkling wine

Wine as defined in Article 1(2)(b) and in Annex I, points 15, 16, 17 and 18 of Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 (CCT subheading 22.04.10)

Liqueur wine

Wine as defined in Article 1(2)(b) and in Annex I, point 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 (CCT subheading 22.04.21 - 22.04.29)

Aromatized wine

Wine-based drinks as defined in Article 2(1)(a) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1601/91 of 10 June 1991 laying down general rules on the definition, description and presentation of aromatized wines, aromatized wine-based drinks and aromatized wine-product cocktails(17) (CCT subheading 22.05)

Spirits

Spirits as defined in Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89 of 29 May 1989 laying down general rules on the definition, description and presentation of spirit drinks(18) (CCT heading 22.08)

Soluble coffee

Coffee extracts as defined in point 1 of the Annex to Directive 1999/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 February 1999 relating to coffee extracts and chicory extracts(19)

White sugar

Sugar as defined in points 1, 2 and 3 of section A of the Annex to Council Directive 2001/111/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to certain sugars intended for human consumption(20)

Butter

Products as defined in Part A (milk fats) of the Annex to Council Regulation (EC) No 2991/94 of 5 December 1994 laying down standards for spreadable fats(21) and supplied directly to the final consumer

Ground or unground roasted coffee

Ground or unground roasted coffee, decaffeinated or non-decaffeinated, covered by heading 09.01 of the common customs tariff

Dried pasta

Dried pasta covered by heading 19.03 of the common customs tariff

Rice

Rice covered by heading 10.06 of the common customs tariff

Drinking milk

Products as defined in Article 3 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2597/97 of 18 December 1997 laying down additional rules on the common organization of the market in milk and milk products for drinking milk(22) and intended to be supplied directly to the final consumer

4.  RANGE OF VOLUMES FOR PRODUCTS SOLD IN AEROSOLS

The ranges below apply to all products sold in aerosols with the exception of:

   a) alcohol-based cosmetic products containing more than 3% by volume of natural or synthetic perfume oil and more than 70% by volume of pure ethyl alcohol; and
   b) medicinal products.

a.  PRODUCTS SOLD IN METAL CONTAINERS

VOLUME OF THE LIQUID PHASE IN ML

CONTAINER CAPACITIES IN ML FOR

Products propelled by liquid gas

(a) Products propelled by compressed gases alone

(b) Products propelled by nitrous oxide alone or carbon dioxide alone or by mixtures of the two when the product has a Bunsen coefficient of 1.2 or less

25

40

47

50

75

89

75

110

140

100

140

175

125

175

210

150

210

270

200

270

335

250

335

405

300

405

520

400

520

650

500

650

800

600

800

1 000

750

1 000

b.  PRODUCTS SOLD IN TRANSPARENT OR NON-TRANSPARENT

GLASS OR PLASTIC CONTAINERS

Volume of the liquid phase in ml: 25 ‐ 50 ‐ 75 ‐ 100 ‐ 125 ‐ 150

(1) Not yet published in OJ.
(2) OJ C 255, 14.10.2005, p. 36.
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 2 February 2006.
(4) OJ L 42, 15.2.1975, p. 1. Directive as last amended by the Act of Accession of 2003.
(5) OJ L 51, 25.2.1980, p. 1. Directive as last amended by Directive 87/356/EEC (OJ L 192, 11.7.1987, p. 48).
(6) [2000] ECR I-8749.
(7) OJ L 80, 18.3.1998, p. 27.
(8) OJ L 46 21.2.1976, p. 1. Directive as amended by Commission Directive 78/891/EEC (OJ L 311, 4.11.1978, p. 21).
(9) OJ C 321, 31.12.2003, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 147, 9.6.1975, p. 40. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 807/2003 (OJ L 122, 16.5.2003, p. 36).
(11)* 12 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(12)** 18 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(13)* 8 years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(14)** 18 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(15) OJ L 179, 14.7.1999, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 2165/2005 (OJ L 345, 28.12.2005, p. 1).
(16) OJ L 118, 4.5.2002, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 261/2006 (OJ L 46, 16.2.2006, p. 18).
(17) OJ L 149, 14.6.1991, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, p. 1).
(18) OJ L 160, 12.6.1989, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003.
(19) OJ L 66, 13.3.1999, p. 26. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003.
(20) OJ L 10, 12.1.2002, p. 53.
(21) OJ L 316, 9.12.1994, p. 2.
(22) OJ L 351, 23.12.1997, p. 13. Regulation as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1602/1999 (OJ L 189, 22.7.1999, p. 43).


Common foreign and security policy - 2004
PDF 150kWORD 71k
European Parliament resolution on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP, including the financial implications for the general budget of the European Union - 2004 (2005/2134(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0037A6-0389/2005

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the annual report from the Council (7961/2005 PESC 272 FIN 117 PE 70),

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, signed in Rome on 29 October 2004,

–   having regard to the European Security Strategy adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(1), and in particular paragraph 40 thereof,

–   having regard to Article 21 of the EU Treaty,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16-17 June 2005 and in particular to its declaration on ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe,

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 15-16 December 2005 on the Financial Perspective 2007-2013,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 January 2005 on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (2003)(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2005 on the European Security Strategy(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2005 on the reform of the United Nations(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2005 on the Global Call to Action: Making Poverty History(6),

–   having regard to its resolution of 26 May 2005 on EU-Russia relations(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2005 on Transatlantic relations(8) and to the eight joint declarations resulting from the last EU-US Summit in Washington DC on 20 June 2005,

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2003 on peace and dignity in the Middle East (9),

–   having regard to its resolution of 27 January 2005 on the situation in the Middle East(10),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2005 on the European Union and Iraq - A framework for engagement(11),

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2005 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2004 and the EU's policy on the matter (12),

–   having regard to Rule 112(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6-0389/2005),

A.   whereas the Council continues to maintain the a posteriori approach of merely submitting a descriptive list of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) activities carried out in the previous year, instead of consulting Parliament beforehand as provided for in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union and the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999,

B.   whereas Parliament has repeatedly asked the Council to replace this practice with a genuine consultation of Parliament in order to ensure that Parliament's views have a real impact on the choices made for the following year,

C.   whereas the period of reflection on the process of ratification of the Constitutional Treaty, as decided on by the Brussels European Council of 16-17 June 2005, should now go hand in hand with optimum implementation of the existing treaties in order to achieve a CFSP capable of facing up to the global responsibilities, threats and challenges of today's world,

D.   whereas Parliament has repeatedly expressed its view that the Union's relations with each third country and region should be at an appropriate level, taking into account the interests of the Union, the closeness of each third country and region to the European model and values and the fact that the Union is becoming one of the major geopolitical actors on the world stage and therefore needs strong and reliable political and economic partners,

E.   whereas developing and consolidating democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are general objectives of the CFSP,

F.   whereas, in order to be credible, the CFSP and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) must be allocated budgets which are commensurate with their ambitions, and deploring the fact that, at present, the financial resources allocated to those two policies remain insufficient; regretting, finally, the fact that the funding of military operations by the European Union is still too frequently outside democratic control,

1.  Takes note of the exhaustive annual report submitted by the Council in mid-April 2005 on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP for 2004; as a result, considers itself to be well informed on past events in 2004; reiterates however its call to be fully involved and its right to be consulted annually 'ex ante' on forthcoming aspects and choices as provided for in the existing treaties;

2.  Therefore asks its Committee on Legal Affairs to examine the appropriateness of referring to the European Court of Justice the Council's practice of merely informing Parliament and submitting a descriptive list of CFSP activities carried out in the previous year, instead of really consulting Parliament at the beginning of each year on the main aspects and basic choices to be made for that year and subsequently reporting to Parliament whether – and, if so, how – Parliament's contribution has been taken into account as provided for in Article 21 of the EU Treaty and in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999;

3.  Strongly urges the Council to promote a much more open, transparent and accountable CFSP by undertaking to appear before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament in order to report on every General Affairs and External Relations Council and every high-level summit held with key international partners;

Impact on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP for 2006 of the period of reflection on the process of ratification of the Constitutional Treaty

4.  Recalls the steps already taken to anticipate the application of some of the provisions of the new Constitutional Treaty regarding CFSP/ESDP, such as the setting up of the European Defence Agency, the development of the "Battlegroup" concept, the establishment of a much more developed European Neighbourhood Policy and the application of the Solidarity Clause to counter terrorist threats or attacks;

5.  In the framework of the existing treaties, reiterates its call on the Council and the High Representative/Secretary-General of the Council to participate actively in an annual debate on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP for the following year as well as on the European Security Strategy with both the European Parliament and the national parliaments;

6.  Is of the view that the period of reflection on the process of ratification of the Constitutional Treaty, as decided on by the Brussels European Council of 16–17 June 2005, presents an excellent occasion to further identify and examine any existing shortcomings in the CFSP/ESDP fields and ways in which those shortcomings could be appropriately addressed, first by making the most of the existing treaties, and second, when the time comes, by applying the new constitutional provisions;

7.  Regrets, in this respect, the attitude of certain Member States which, in spite of the adoption of the Constitution by the European Council, have for domestic reasons used the right of veto in important foreign affairs matters; points out that the CFSP cannot be reduced to a mere adjunct to the foreign policies of individual Member States and calls, therefore, on all Member States to act in a constructive manner in line with the spirit of the Constitution so as to enable the EU to play an effective role on the world stage;

Specific proposals on various thematic aspects for 2006

8.  Welcomes the Council's approach of grouping the main developments in the area of CFSP and ESDP under the different thematic aspects contained in the European Union's Security Strategy adopted by the European Council on 12 December 2003;

9.  Requests that the European Union's Security Strategy be updated, maintaining its civil/military dual approach and its crucial concepts of preventive engagement and effective multilateralism, reflecting the 'responsibility to protect' as adopted at the UN Summit of September 2005; is of the view that both climate change and the spread of poverty in the world should now also be seen as major threats to the Union's security, requiring decisive action, tangible compromises and a strict timetable; takes the view, however, that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) should be regarded as the most dangerous threat to international security;

10.  Emphasises the important foreign policy dimension of energy security issues; recommends that an update of the European Security Policies should pay special attention to addressing the Union's increasing dependence on energy and other strategic supplies from countries and regions that are ever more unstable, highlighting possible future scenarios and the question of access to and the development of alternative sources; believes that the recent unilateral gas delivery suspensions by Russia call for a strategic response from the EU; asks the Commission to present a communication on the foreign and neighbourhood policy aspects of the energy policy;

11.  Therefore regards home defence as a vital part of the European Union's security strategy, since it concerns the external borders and essential infrastructure;

12.  Reiterates, in this respect, its view that security is an all-encompassing collective concept that cannot be tailored only to the interests and requirements of one country and must be pursued in a multilateral framework;

13.  Underlines the importance of NATO's role in conjunction with the European Union's foreign and security policy;

14.  Underlines the vital interest of the European Union in strengthening global governance, international institutions and the value of international law; is of the view that one of the key aims of the CFSP should be to involve China and India, as emerging powers, as well as Russia, in responsibility for the state of global governance and for solutions to global challenges; emphasises the irreplaceable role which the transatlantic partners should jointly play in this context;

15.  Strongly condemns the large-scale terrorist attacks in London on 7 July 2005; expresses its solidarity with the British people and in particular conveys its condolences to the victims of those brutal attacks and their families;

16.  Reiterates once more that the fight against terrorism must be seen as one of the priorities of the Union and a key part of its external action, while reaffirming the importance of respecting human rights and civil liberties; considers that the demarcation between internal and external security should be seen as becoming more fluid; insists that it is essential to make this internal and external priority absolutely clear in all its dealings with third countries and regions and that much more should be done to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism; calls once more on the Council to fully inform and consult the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the question of the EU List of Terrorist Organisations;

17.  Stresses the urgent need to halt the spread of poverty in the world, to fight against stigmatisation and discrimination and to combat major diseases, and reaffirms the importance of maintaining the Union's commitments to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;

18.  Recognises the decisive importance of the Union's actions in conflict prevention and peace-building efforts and reiterates its commitment to fighting against impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations, including by strengthening the role of the International Criminal Court;

19.  Insists on the need to continue to promote implementation of the EU's WMD Strategy at international level in a coherent manner, to place greater emphasis on disarmament initiatives and non-proliferation issues, to strengthen the multilateral treaties making up the non-proliferation regimes and to provide the necessary financial resources to implement the EU's WMD Strategy; expresses its regret at the inability of the leading states and governments to reach a new and comprehensive agreement within the UN on the signature of a Treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons;

20.  Believes that migration issues, including tackling the issue of illegal immigration, should form a very prominent part of the Union's external action, in its relations both with countries of origin and with countries of transit; requests that the Council and the Commission report regularly to Parliament on this subject, via the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Affairs;

21.  Considers that home defence merits greater prominence in European strategic thinking and that the protection of the external borders of the Union should be an important element; considers that joint management of the external borders should become an essential part of the European Neighbourhood Policy; is of the view that the Union should acquire common equipment for the protection of its external borders;

22.  Calls for the taking into account of certain Member States' concerns regarding their energy supplies, given that energy supplies can be treated as political instruments;

Parliament's priorities in the different geographical areas for 2006

23.  Is of the view that the successive enlargements of the Union, as decided by the European Council on 16-17 December 2004, should remain at the top of the Union's political agenda in 2006 together with the development of a genuine European Neighbourhood Policy, including a specifically designed structure such as an European Economic and Political Area for European countries;

24.  Supports the Council's view that, in many ways, the future CFSP priorities for a Union aiming to be a global actor define themselves, and that, in particular, the Mediterranean, the Transatlantic partnership and the Middle East, the Balkans, eastern Europe and conflict situations, the promotion of peace, security in all its aspects and the ongoing fight against terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction must remain at the core of CFSP for 2006;

25.  Calls upon the Presidency of the Council to keep Parliament informed on the review of the mandate and planning of the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the way in which the Battlegroups initiative develops; is of the view that cooperation with the United Nations should be dramatically enhanced and that cooperation with NATO should be more effective, building on the experience gained in the EU's recent civil and military operations; takes the view that the EU should be ready to take over the police mission in Kosovo;

26.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to play an active role in the ongoing process of constitutional reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a view to reaching an agreement among the political forces and in public opinion about going beyond the institutional framework as set out in the Dayton accords, to streamline and rationalise the present institutional architecture in order to create a more efficient and self-sustainable state, also with a view to future European integration, and in order to lay down the conditions for a representative democracy that eliminates the current ethnic divisions;

27.  Calls on the Council to play an active role in order that a constructive solution can be found on the basis of international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions to address the issue of the future status of Kosovo whilst respecting its territorial integrity, adequately upholding minority rights, not endangering the Union's entire policy towards the Balkans and helping to consolidate peace, stability and security in the area; calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to formulate a joint strategy, to participate actively in negotiations and contact groups and to cooperate closely with the UN; welcomes the progress made in relations with Serbia-Montenegro which led to the opening of the negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement;

28.  Urges the Council to make the EU perspective for the Balkans a top priority despite the current internal crisis with regard to the process of ratification of the Constitution; takes the view that the future accession of the western Balkan countries will constitute a further step towards the reunification of Europe;

29.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to step up efforts to conclude the negotiation of stabilisation and partnership agreements with the western Balkan countries and reiterates its support for the European perspective of the western Balkan countries under the 'Thessaloniki Agenda';

30.  Reiterates that the development of Africa must be a priority for the external action of the Union on the basis of the essential principle of solidarity and that to this end the Union must play a leading role in addressing the enormous needs of Africa, with the ultimate aim of promoting peace, stability, prosperity, good governance (particularly by combating corruption) and respect for human rights in the region; in this respect, calls for a strengthening of political dialogue; welcomes the Commission initiative for a joint strategy for Africa going beyond traditional development aid policies and seeking the economic and social reconstruction of the countries of the African continent; expects African governments to live up to their commitments to democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights;

31.  Acknowledges that the United Nations has asked the European Union to contribute to the security of the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo by means of a military mission; asks the Council to carefully examine the existing possibilities;

32.  Stresses that conflict prevention, management, peacekeeping, operational support and local capacity-building in accordance with the principle of 'African ownership' are indeed of the utmost importance whilst hunger and poverty, inequality in economic terms, political injustice, the escalation of conflicts through violence, forcible expulsions, epidemics, scarcity of resources and numerous ecological hazards remain the most acute problems for the African population; is deeply concerned about the fact that the international community is not able to react adequately to the massive war crimes and human rights violations which can be construed as genocide in Darfur;

33.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to undertake together with Parliament, as soon as possible, an overall assessment of the EU Summits with India, China (September 2005), Russia (October 2005), Ukraine and Canada (November 2005), bearing in mind that the concept of "strategic partnerships" must be based on the sharing and promotion of common values and that Parliament must in any event be fully associated;

34.  Stresses that the present partnership with Russia is more pragmatic than strategic since it reflects common economic interests without achieving any progress as regards human rights and the rule of law; expects, in this respect, concrete results from the recently set up bilateral human rights consultation; is of the view that a genuine partnership should inspire a friendly and just solution to the issue of border treaties with certain neighbours, and trigger a real peace process in Chechnya involving all the democratic components of society so as to find a peaceful solution to the conflict there; stresses the importance of EU-Russia dialogue on issues relating to their common neighbourhood and hopes that Russia will take a more transparent and even-handed approach towards their common neighbours; asks for the EU-Russia Four Common Spaces Agreement to be implemented without delay; supports the work being jointly undertaken by both partners regarding crisis management;

35.  Calls for arms reduction in the Kaliningrad region;

36.  Considers that the policy on Belarus implemented by the European Union has achieved few results, and therefore proposes the development of new measures designed to strengthen links with the people of Belarus and to enable them to enjoy the benefits provided by democracy;

37.  Underlines the need to improve relations with China in such a way that progress is made not only in trade and economic fields but also on human rights and democracy issues; to that end, reiterates its demand for a binding EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports and calls on the Council not to lift the arms embargo until greater progress is made in the field of human rights and arms exports controls in China and on cross-Straits relations; supports the UK Council Presidency proposal to ensure closer EU-China cooperation on energy security and climate change; stresses the need for closer cooperation within the WTO to resolve the serious bilateral trade problems and ensure compliance by China with that organisation's international standards;

38.  Calls on the Council to renew any efforts, within the framework of the Middle East Quartet (USA, Russian Federation, EU and UN), to revive negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and considers that a comprehensive strategy should be set up for the broader region of the Middle East with the aim of reinforcing peace, security and democracy;

39.  Underlines the need to give the Barcelona Process a new impetus with the aim of enhancing balanced economic, social and democratic development of the countries concerned;

40.  Takes the view that, according to the relevant EU guidelines, human rights dialogues are an acceptable option only if there is sufficient commitment in the partner country to improve the human rights situation on the ground; therefore calls on the Council to evaluate the results of such dialogues at regular intervals in order to determine the extent to which its expectations have been met; reiterates its request to be further involved in such process;

41.  Is of the view that the Union must do its utmost to work with the Iraqi authorities, the United Nations and other relevant regional actors to contribute to Iraq's constitutional process in the wake of the general elections held on 15 December 2005; welcomes the CFSP joint action on the European Union Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq and asks for further actions to be financed under the EU's budget; supports the opening of a Commission delegation in Baghdad in the coming months;

42.  Is of the view that promotion of national solidarity, stability, peace and democratic and economic development which no longer depends on opium production must remain at the forefront of the Union's policy towards Afghanistan in the coming years; supports the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), under NATO command, in order to enhance the role of the newly elected national parliament, but stresses that the current priority is to fight terrorism and to ensure the security of borders, and with that in mind urges that this assignment be placed under a clear UN mandate; is of the opinion that the Enduring Freedom operation carried out by the US should not be merged with ISAF's reconstruction mission; considers it necessary for the European Union to give particular support for the development of strong national state institutions, the economic, social and cultural development of the country, the disarming of private militias and measures to combat drugs cultivation and trade;

43.  Recalls its longstanding support for a negotiated solution whereby Iran would become an active partner in the region, respectful of human rights; reiterates its call on Iran to take all necessary steps to restore the international community's confidence in line with Parliament's proposals in paragraph 46 of its resolution of 17 November 2005(13); strongly supports the view of the International Atomic Energy Agency that at this stage robust verification by the Agency, combined with active dialogue among all parties concerned, is the best way to move forward; underlines the need for the Union and the United States to work closely on this issue and to sustain a coherent policy towards the region as a whole, focusing both on the Iranian people and the regime as well as on the final aim of democratisation of the country; hopes that the negotiations between the EU-3 (Germany, France and the UK) and Iran can resume as soon as possible, incorporating the Russian proposal for the transfer by Iran to Russia of its uranium enrichment activities; recommends the regular updating of, and close dialogue on, these issues with other international actors such as China, Russia and developing countries;

44.  Underlines that making a real success of the IVth EU-LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) Summit to be held in Vienna in May 2006 is a decisive challenge for both partners, and indeed that the Summit represents a good occasion to give specific substance to their Strategic Association in order to get the most from its immense potential; is of the view that care should be taken to avoid sending any negative financial signal in the Summit year;

45.  Regrets that, often, its resolutions and reports concerning the different geographical areas of interest to the Union have not been taken into account by the Council and the Commission; stresses that they contain valuable contributions to the debate on the way in which the Union's policy vis-à-vis those geographical areas should evolve; calls for the human rights and democracy clause to be extended to all new agreements between the European Union and third countries and considers that there is a need for greater involvement of the European Parliament in the drawing-up of the respective negotiating mandates for such agreements;

The financing of CFSP

46.  Pending ratification of the Constitutional Treaty, is of the view that the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 should be revised as soon as possible in order to adjust it to the new political, institutional and financial situation of the Union;

47.  Proposes that the structure of the revised Interinstitutional Agreement should take into account the actions to be undertaken by the Union in accordance with the European Security Strategy and the budgetary compromises to that end contained in the Financial Perspectives;

48.  Considers that the Council's position on the financial perspective 2007-2013 does not reflect the ambitions of the EU as a global partner; deplores the proposed reductions in the levels of spending on external actions and policies, both in themselves and as a proportion of total spending; believes that this sends out the wrong signal with regard to the EU's policy priorities and its preparedness to deliver the results in the field of the CSFP;

49.  Recommends that the revised Interinstitutional Agreement should take a step forward and provide for the joint costs of military operations in the framework of the ESDP to be financed from the Community budget, thereby discontinuing the existing practice of Member States' subsidiary budgets or start-up funds;

50.  Suggests that the revised Interinstitutional Agreement should also provide that in the event of any future ESDP operations, and in opposition to existing rules such as the principle that "costs lie where they fall" or any other ad hoc arrangements such as the so-called "ATHENA mechanism", the joint costs of such operations should also be financed from the EU's budget;

o
o   o

51.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the UN, the Secretary General of NATO and the President of the Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p.1.
(2) OJ C 247 E, 6.10.2005, p. 88.
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0132.
(4) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0133.
(5) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0237.
(6) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0289.
(7) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0207.
(8) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0238.
(9) OJ C 82 E, 1.4.2004, p. 610.
(10) OJ C 253 E, 13.10.2005, p. 35.
(11) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0288.
(12) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0150.
(13) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0439.


Combating violence against women
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European Parliament resolution on the current situation in combating violence against women and any future action (2004/2220(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0038A6-0404/2005

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the provisions in the United Nations (UN) legal instruments in the field of human rights, in particular those concerning women's rights, such as the Charter of the UN, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and its Optional Protocol, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–   having regard to other UN instruments on violence against women, such as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 25 June 1993(1), the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women of 20 December 1993(2), the Resolution on the Elimination of Domestic Violence against Women of 22 December 2003(3), the Resolution Working towards the elimination of crimes against women committed in the name of honour of 30 January 2003(4), the Resolution on crime prevention and criminal justice measures to eliminate violence against women of 2 February 1998(5), the reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' Special Rapporteurs on violence against women, and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women's General Recommendation No 19(6),

–   having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995 and its resolution of 18 May 2000 on the follow-up to the Beijing Action Platform(7),

–   having regard to Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(8),

–   having regard its resolution of 16 September 1997 on the need to establish a European Union wide campaign for zero tolerance of violence against women(9),

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2005 on the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women - Platform for Action (Beijing + 10)(10),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 September 2001 on female genital mutilation(11),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0404/2005),

A.  A whereas violence against women has been defined by the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life,

B.   whereas Article 6 of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women states, "[n]othing in the present Declaration shall affect any provision that is more conducive to the elimination of violence against women that may be contained in the legislation of a State or in any international convention, treaty, or other instrument in force in a State",

C.   whereas violence occurs in many types of relationship and the definitions used in research and the cultural context vary; whereas the primary focus of this resolution is men's violence against women e.g. where the perpetrator is a man and the victim is a woman who has or has had a relationship with the perpetrator; whereas such violence represents the overwhelming majority of cases of violence in close relationships, according to three prevalence studies carried out in Finland, Sweden and Germany; whereas, although many cases of that type of violence occur in the home, the place where the violence takes place is of secondary importance,

D.   whereas men's violence against women is not only criminal but also constitutes a serious social problem; whereas men's violence against women represents a violation of human rights, notably the right to life, the right to safety, the right to dignity, and the right to physical and mental integrity; whereas men's violence against women is therefore an obstacle to the development of a democratic society,

E.   whereas men's violence against women can affect women of any age, irrespective of education, income or social position; whereas large-scale prevalence studies in Sweden, Germany and Finland have shown that at least 30-35 % of women between 16 and 67 have at one time been victims of physical or sexual violence; whereas if psychological violence is included, the proportion of women affected rises to between 45 and 50 %,

F.   whereas men's violence against women is a universal phenomenon linked to the unequal distribution of gender power, which still characterises our society; whereas inequality also contributes to the fact that men's violence against women is not sufficiently prioritised and prosecuted,

G.   whereas the kind of violence affecting women is typically perpetrated by their close relatives or by partners,

H.   whereas, in addition to taking measures to help victims of violence, there is also a need for proactive and preventive strategies aimed at the perpetrators and those at risk of becoming perpetrators of violence on the one hand and effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties on the other,

I.   whereas the types of violence affecting women can vary according to cultural tradition, ethnic origin, and social background; whereas female genital mutilation, so-called crimes of honour, and forced marriages are a reality in the EU,

J.   whereas men's violence against women often occurs in secret and in the home, and can do so because society does not impose adequate penalties; whereas deep-rooted historical and cultural norms often contribute to legitimising men's violence against women,

K.   whereas only a few Member States have gathered data and compiled statistics relating to the prevalence of different forms of men's violence against women, making it difficult to understand the real extent of such violence on the one hand and to draw up an efficient response at EU level on the other,

L.   whereas no detailed EU-level study has been carried out into the financial costs and social and human consequences of men's violence against women; whereas, however, it is vital to conduct such a study in order to highlight the phenomenon and combat this serious violation of human rights,

M.   whereas men's violence against women is an important factor in the lives of those women and girls who become victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, including prostitution, or other purposes; whereas surveys show that 65-90% of prostituted women have been subjected to sexual abuse in the past,

N.   whereas marginalisation and poverty are basic causes of prostitution and of increased trafficking in women,

O.   whereas men's violence against women is an obstacle to women's participation in society and the labour market and can lead to women's marginalisation and poverty,

P.   whereas there is a large number of reports showing that women are most at risk of severe violence from their partners or former partners during or shortly after separating from them,

Q.   whereas violence against mothers directly and indirectly has negative short and long-term effects on their children's emotional and mental health and can create a cycle of violence and abuse, which is perpetuated through generations,

R.   whereas, apart from the fact that women are often economically dependent on men, they frequently do not report violence against them, in particular domestic or sexual violence, because there is a lingering myth in society that they are to blame for the violence or that it is a private matter, as well as because of their desire to hold their relationship and family together; whereas women also tend not to report violence because they lack confidence in the police, the judicial system and social services,

S.   whereas the risk of men perpetrating violence against women increases in a society which does not take a sufficiently strong and clear stand against it; whereas legislation and effective enforcement are important instruments in combating violence,

T.   whereas in the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament establishing for the period 2007-2013 a framework programme on Fundamental Rights and Justice (COM(2005)0122), fighting violence against women, children and young people plays a very important role, as part of the effort to create an area of freedom, security and justice,

U.   recalling that, as stated by Commission Vice-President Franco Frattini in a speech to the European Parliament on 21 June 2005, an estimated number of at least 700-900 women die each year from intimate partner violence in the 15 old Member States and this number is likely to be underestimated,

1.  Recommends, as regards men's violence against women, the Commission and the Member States:

   a) to regard it to be a violation of human rights, reflecting unequal gender power relations and to adopt an all-encompassing policy approach to combat it, including effective methods of prevention and punishment;
   b) to regard men's violence against women as a structural phenomenon and as one of the main impediments to efforts to overcome inequality between women and men;
   c) to formulate a zero-tolerance policy as regards all forms of violence against women;
   d) to adopt a framework for cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), with a view to developing policies and practices to combat domestic violence;
   e) to establish harmonised methodology, definitions and criteria, in cooperation with Eurostat, the Fundamental Rights Agency, and the future European Gender Institute in order to gather comparable and compatible data throughout the EU concerning men's violence against women, in particular, comprehensive studies of prevalence;
   f) to appoint national rapporteurs in order to gather, exchange and process information and statistics on men's violence against women, including information on children growing up in violent environments, and to promote the exchange of best practice among Member States, accession and candidate countries;
   g) to highlight in all work relating to men's violence against women how such violence affects the children;
   h) to establish a single system of recording instances of assault by Member States' competent authorities, such as the judiciary, the police, hospitals and social services, in order to ensure that the data is recorded jointly and that greater use is made of them;
   i) to provide appropriate education and training for professionals who are responsible for recording incidents and data relating to domestic violence in order to ensure that they carry out their duties with the required consistency;
   j) to earmark funds for investigation into the costs of men's violence against women in the EU;
   k) to establish the necessary means to monitor the activity and progress of the accession and candidate countries regarding treatment of women in all areas of society, and to make the safety and treatment of women in these countries a criterion for accession;
   l) to develop programmes and surveys targeting women who are members of culturally specific communities or ethnic minority groups, with a view to obtaining an account of the specific forms of violence that these women encounter and planning appropriate methods of dealing with them;
   m) to closely monitor human trafficking across all borders;

2.  Calls on the Member States to establish partnership schemes between the law-enforcement authorities, NGOs, victims" refuges, and other appropriate authorities and to intensify cooperation to ensure the effective implementation of laws aimed at combating men's violence against women, and to raise the awareness of officials at all levels of issues relating to men's violence against women;

3.  Urges the Member States to take appropriate measures concerning men's violence against women in their national laws, in particular:

   a) to recognise sexual violence within marriage as a crime and to make rape within marriage a criminal offence;
   b) not to accept any reference to cultural practices as a mitigating factor in cases of violence against women, crimes of honour or female genital mutilation;
   c) to cooperate and exchange best practice with the authorities in countries with more experience of crimes of honour;
   d) to ensure victims' right to safe access to justice and effective enforcement, including the provision of compensation;
   e) to encourage the prosecution of accomplices to crimes of honour, such as any family members of the perpetrator who encouraged or ordered the crime of honour, in order to demonstrate firmly that such behaviour is unacceptable;
   f) to take account of the fact that children who witness their mothers being battered could be regarded as victims, and thus to consider whether they should be entitled to damages in accordance with national law;
   g) to consider the risks of joint residence orders in favour of perpetrators of violence against women and to establish effective measures that will ensure safe custody of children in cases of separation and divorce;
   h) not to accept any references to intoxication by alcohol as a mitigating factor in cases of men's violence against women;
   i) to combat the idea that working as a prostitute can be equated with doing a job;

4.  Calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures to ensure better protection and support of victims and those who are at risk of becoming victims of violence against women by:

   a) providing qualified protection and legal, medical, social and psychological services and aid, including police protection;
   b) providing proper training, in particular, psychological training, including in respect of children, to the staff of competent bodies dealing with men's violence against women, such as police officers, judicial personnel, health personnel, educators, youth and social workers and prison staff; in the event of the treatment of children in the form of talk therapy, it is particularly important that the child psychologists or therapists concerned are familiar with men's violence against women so that the father's violence against the mother and/or the child is not diminished or trivialised;
   c) adopting a proactive, preventive and penal strategy towards the perpetrators of violence against women in order to reduce recidivism, and providing advisory services for access by the perpetrators either on their own initiative or under a court order; always carrying out adequate risk assessments in order to ensure the safety of women and any children in the process;
   d) recognising the importance of providing support to victims¸ whether women or children, to help them become financially and psychologically independent from the perpetrator;
   e) providing all necessary assistance, including transitional housing, to women and their children in cases of separation or divorce;
   f) treating women who are victims of gender-based violence as a category entitled to priority access to community-housing projects;
   g) providing safe shelters including sufficient financial resources;
   h) providing a minimum income for women who have no other resources, in order to enable them to reintegrate into society in relative safety, in constant cooperation with advisory centres;
   i) conducting specific employment action programmes for the victims of gender-based violence, so as to enable them to enter the labour market and achieve financial independence;
   j) investigating the possibility of setting up 'multi-agencies' where victims can contact the appropriate authorities, such as representatives from the police, the public prosecutor and social and health services;
   k) planning services and centres for the care and support of children of women who are victims of violence;
   l) providing social and psychological support to children who have witnessed domestic violence;
   m) providing free testing for sexually transmitted diseases in rape cases;
   n) ensuring that all perpetrators of violence receive professional help and treatment;
   o) providing proper protection for immigrants, especially single mothers and their children, who often have inadequate means of defence or knowledge of available resources to counter domestic violence in Member States;

5.  Calls on Member States to make use of the Daphne II Programme(12) in order to combat honour crimes in the Member States, to build and maintain more shelters for women who are victims of violence, including honour crimes, and to train experts who specialise in dealing with honour crime victims;

6.  Calls on the EU to address the problem of honour crimes, which has become an EU-wide problem with cross-border implications, and calls on Commission Vice President Frattini to follow up on his promise to organise a European conference on the issue;

7.  Calls on the Member States to act in order to lift the secrecy still surrounding men's violence against women in society, especially domestic violence by adopting measures to raise collective and individual awareness about men's violence against women;

8.  Calls on the Member States to develop public awareness and information programmes on domestic violence and to reduce the social stereotyping of the position of women in society through the education systems and the media;

9.  Calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures to stop female genital mutilation; stresses that preventing and banning female genital mutilation and prosecuting perpetrators must become a priority in all relevant EU policies and programmes; points out that immigrants residing in the Community should be aware that female genital mutilation is a serious assault on women's health and a violation of human rights; calls on the Commission in this context to devise a comprehensive strategic approach at EU level, with the aim of putting an end to the practice of female genital mutilation in the EU;

10.  Urges Member States to define acts of female genital mutilation as an illegal act of violence against women, which constitutes a violation of their fundamental rights and a serious aggression against their physical integrity; consequently regardless of where or in which country this act occurs against EU citizens or residents, such acts will be illegal;

11.  Calls on Member States either to implement specific legal provisions on female genital mutilation or to adopt such laws and to prosecute each person who conducts female genital mutilation;

12.  Calls for doctors who conduct genital mutilation of young women and girls not only to be prosecuted but also to have their practising licence withdrawn;

13.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that parents are held legally liable when acts of female genital mutilation occur on minors;

14.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that female genital mutilation is considered a reasonable argument for an asylum claim in order to protect the asylum seeker from inhuman treatment;

15.  Asks the Commission to declare a European Year against men's violence against women, as repeatedly requested by Parliament, and to produce a work plan to enable the phenomenon to be highlighted more clearly and provide means of speaking out against the current situation;

16.  Calls on the Commission to establish a programme entitled "Fight against violence" as a separate part of its framework programme on Fundamental Rights and Justice for the period 2007-2013;

17.  Considers it of utmost importance that reliable statistics exist regarding women's reporting of brutal or inhuman treatment to the law enforcement authorities;

18.  Regrets that, as the above-mentioned reporting is usually left unrecorded when no action is taken by law enforcement authorities, the statistics remain untrustworthy and unreliable;

19.  Calls, therefore, on the Member States to ensure that all reports by women of brutal or inhuman treatment are recorded, as well as the percentage of cases in which the law enforcement authorities took action and which types of action were used;

20.  Recalls that the burden of proof is often placed on women who are already in a disadvantaged situation;

21.  Calls on the Commission to establish a mechanism on the basis of which it would be possible to identify those Member States in which the situation of violence against women appears to be comparatively worse;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, health-care professional bodies and consumer organisations.

(1) Adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, 14-25 June 1993.
(2) UN General Assembly resolution 48/104.
(3) UN General Assembly resolution 58/147.
(4) UN General Assembly resolution 57/179.
(5) UN General Assembly resolution 52/86.
(6) Adopted at the CEDAW's 11th session, 1992.
(7) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 258.
(8) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 304, 6.10.1997, p. 55.
(10) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 247.
(11) OJ C 77 E, 28.3.2002, p. 126.
(12) OJ L 143, 30.4.2004, p. 1.


Equality between women and men in the EU
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European Parliament resolution on equality between women and men in the European Union (2004/2159(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0039A6-0401/2005

The European Parliament

–   having regard to the report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on equality between women and men - 2005 (COM(2005)0044),

–   having regard to the Community strategy on equality between women and men (2001-2005) (COM(2000)0335) and the Commission's annual reports for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 (COM(2001)0179, COM(2002)0258, COM(2003)0098 and COM(2004)0115),

–   having regard to Articles 2, 3(2) and 141 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(1),

–   having regard to Articles I-2 and I-3 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe(2),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0401/2005),

A.   whereas equality between women and men must be guaranteed in all policy areas, as stated by Article 3(2) of the EC Treaty and Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

B.   whereas equality between women and men calls for a multidimensional approach using a complete range of measures in all areas, including education, employment and careers, the entrepreneurial spirit, equal pay for equal work or work of equal value, a better balance between work and family life and a balanced participation by women and men in political and economic decision-making processes,

C.   whereas it is questionable whether it is compatible with Article 141 of the EC Treaty to allow for higher contributions or lower benefits on the basis of sex in occupational social security schemes,

D.   whereas women are under-represented in political decision-making bodies throughout the Union; and whereas, in particular, in some of the Member States and accession and candidate countries the percentage of women parliamentarians is below the worldwide average of 15.6%,

E.   whereas adequate access to services for the care of children, the elderly and other dependants is essential in order to enable men and women to participate fully and equally in the labour market,

F.   whereas the Lisbon European Council of March 2000 emphasised the need to create not only more jobs (by increasing the percentage of women in work from 51% to 60%), but also better-quality jobs, for women by 2010,

G.   whereas the European Council of March 2004 recognised that policies of equality between women and men are instruments of both social cohesion and economic growth,

H.   whereas the risks of poverty and social exclusion, factors which inhibit economic development and social cohesion within the European Union, are higher among elderly women, women immigrants and women bringing up their children alone,

I.   whereas, in parallel to efforts undertaken within the equality pillar of the European employment strategy aimed at reconciling work and family life, action should also be taken to narrow the pay gap between the sexes, as well as with regard to health protection and the prevention and diagnosis of diseases typically affecting women,

J.   whereas the divide between women and men, both in terms of promotion prospects and when they are employed at the same level, continues to be such that women are far less represented at decision-making level and far more so in low-paid jobs,

K.   having regard to the need to encourage equality between women and men more vigorously within the three other pillars of the European employment strategy, i.e. employability, the entrepreneurial spirit and adaptability,

L.   whereas the structural funds and the other financial instruments constitute an important catalyst for Community and national policies geared towards equality between women and men and whereas the incorporation of the dimension of equality between women and men is aimed at surmounting structural inequalities in the organisation of work and family life, which restrict participation by many women in the labour market, vocational training, and lifelong learning and public life,

M.   whereas there is a need – within the framework of the implementation of the European employment strategy and with a view to establishing a policy of full employment and high-quality employment – to support the entrepreneurial spirit among women through specific measures, providing among other things for targeted training and promotion of access to credit, including micro-credit,

N.   whereas the second annual report on equality between women and men, called for by the Heads of State and Government at the European Council of March 2003, is the first to cover the enlarged Union of 25 Member States, but does not cover the accession or candidate countries, namely Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia,

O.   whereas the Commission's report is descriptive in nature and deals with significant developments in the law in the Member States, but avoids mentioning shortcomings in transposition and the violations of Community law committed by the Member States and includes no analysis or evaluation of the current situation,

P.   whereas the Commission report shows that the disparities between women and men have decreased in employment and education within the European Union, but that the pay gap between the two sexes has remained virtually the same, and clearly demonstrates that there has been no real progress in the implementation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, which was introduced thirty years ago by Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women(3); whereas in the Union of 15 the gap remained stable at about 16%, whilst the estimated figure for the Union of 25, which takes account of pay differences in the new Member States, is, at 15%, slightly lower,

Q.   whereas even though women's educational attainments are higher than those of men, they still find work later, and the employment rate for women aged between 15 and 24 years has not increased,

R.   having regard to the increased importance for organisations working in the field of gender equality firstly of ensuring adequate visibility for the Union's policies promoting equality between women and men and disseminating them to the public in all Member States in a more effective way, e.g. with the help of the NGOs, and secondly of measures facilitating access to related Community programmes,

S.   whereas the setting-up of the European Institute for Gender Equality will facilitate the collection and compilation of data, the development of methodological tools and the dissemination and exchange of best practices with a view to enhanced promotion of the principle of gender equality,

T.   whereas the Commission has decided to designate 2007 the "European Year of Equal Opportunities for All",

1.  Welcomes the fact that the European Council in spring 2004 recognised that gender equality policies are instruments of social cohesion and economic growth;

2.  Welcomes the recognition that it is important to close the gender pay gap and to facilitate reconciliation of work and family life for both women and men;

3.  Considers it vital for the Commission to inform Parliament of the progress made in these fields in the various Member States, with particular regard to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, including with respect to reproductive and sexual health, and to publish regular statistics covering each of the Member States;

4.  Stresses that gender equality and an effective integrated approach to gender equality ('gender mainstreaming') call for political commitment at the highest level;

5.  Calls on political parties, at national as well as European level, to review their party structures and procedures so as to remove all barriers that directly or indirectly discriminate against the participation of women, and to adopt adequate strategies to achieve a better balance of women and men in elected assemblies;

6.  Recalls Article 3(2) of the EC Treaty, according to which the Community must seek to eliminate inequalities and promote equality between women and men in all its activities;

7.  Takes the view that legislation on equal treatment between women and men should cover social protection, including health care, and education;

8.  Welcomes the creation of the European Institute for Gender Equality and hopes that it will be given the necessary autonomy and resources to carry out its tasks;

9.  Urges the Commission to use the structural funds to promote equality between women and men, by ensuring that that aspect is included in operational programmes;

10.  Expresses its concern at trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation and at the rise in domestic violence and urges the Commission to take steps aimed at reducing these scourges;

11.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to make sure that pension schemes are not discriminatory against women and that they do not reinforce existing patterns that already place women at a disadvantage in terms of benefits and contributions;

12.  Calls on the Member States and the accession and candidate countries to provide statistics on the gender pay gap in all areas of work and to pursue more vigorous and extensive measures to implement Community legislation aimed at reducing the pay gap, and to eliminate the gender divide on the labour market in order to increase the percentage of women working in senior posts commensurate with their qualifications;

13.  Stresses the importance of avoiding gender segregation in the labour market and calls on the Member States, in their educational systems, to encourage young women to pursue studies in non-traditional fields;

14.  Urges the Member States to take appropriate measures to support the reconciliation of work and private life for working women, e.g. by providing facilities for the care of children, the elderly and dependants and devising more flexible working conditions;

15.  Stresses once more how important it is that the Commission monitor compliance by the Member States with the acquis communautaire in the area of equality between women and men in all Union policies, particularly employment but also access to and provision of goods and services; calls therefore on the Commission to carry out a study into how Member States implement Community legislation and to take appropriate action in the event of non-transposition or violation in view of Member States' actual implementation of the acquis in the area of equality;

16.  Stresses the fact that European policy on equality between women and men must remain transparent and visible in order to encourage the participation of all concerned, including the social partners;

17.  Considers that Member States should promote measures to combat poverty effectively, particularly among women, in order gradually to ensure their economic survival and place in society;

18.  Recalls that, in the context of the "European Year of Equal Opportunities for All" in 2007, European policy on equality between women and men must, as a priority, be reaffirmed as a cross-cutting policy with multidimensional relevance and that special attention should be given to disadvantaged groups;

19.  Reminds the Member States of their commitments, agreed at the Barcelona European Council in 2002, to eliminate obstacles to the equal participation of women and men in the labour market and to introduce by 2010 childcare for 90% of children between three years old and the mandatory school age, and for at least 33% of children under three years old; calls on the Member States to put forward similar targets for facilities for care for the elderly and sick relatives;

20.  Encourages the Member States to set up accessible and affordable care structures for children and dependants;

21.  Stresses the need to support the social integration of immigrant women, who are often the victims of two-fold discrimination because of their gender and national or religious origin, by facilitating their access to education, supporting their business activities and incorporating them into European Social Fund programmes and the Equal programme aimed at improving the social position of migrants;

22.  Encourages the Commission to work out statistics on the establishment of childcare structures and care for elderly people and dependants and on access to those structures; calls for the necessary evaluation of how the tools already in existence that contribute to the real establishment of equality between men and women in all areas of daily life are used and how they work;

23.  Recommends better coordination between the mainstreaming policy and the Lisbon strategy in order to take better account of the gender perspective in fulfilling the ambitious objectives set out in Lisbon;

24.  Stresses the importance of cooperation with the social partners in efforts to enhance the role of women at the workplace, and the particular role of women's organisations in boosting the participation of women in social and political life;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen the representation of women on decision-making bodies, which is an essential condition for the effective integration of the principle of gender equality into all policies;

26.  Asks the Commission to include facts and statistics from acceding and candidate countries in future annual reports on equality between women and men;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States and the accession and candidate countries.

(1) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 310, 16.12.2004, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 45, 19.2.1975, p. 19.


Application of the Postal Directive
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European Parliament resolution on the application of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC, as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC) (2005/2086(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0040A6-0390/2005

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission report on the application of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC) (COM(2005)0102) and to the accompanying Working Paper (SEC(2005)0388),

–   having regard to the first Commission report on the application of the Postal Directive (COM(2002)0632),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0390/2005),

A.   whereas postal services are of major economic importance and generated income in 2002 of some EUR 88 billion, or around 0,9% of the GDP of the EU; whereas it is estimated that more than 5 million jobs are directly dependent on or linked to the postal sector,

B.   whereas competitive and efficient postal services are of great significance for economic and social activity in the EU as part of the distribution and communications market, both influencing and being closely interlinked with many economic sectors; whereas postal services therefore also have an important role to play in the context of the Lisbon Strategy,

C.   whereas reforms and economic and technical developments in the postal sector in the EU have led to modernised operations and a greater degree of automation, and whereas reform measures so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation,

D.   whereas postal networks have irreplaceable territorial and social dimensions which make universal access to essential local services possible,

E.   whereas the Commission report seeks to assess to what extent the objectives of the Postal Directive have been achieved, taking account in particular of the economic, social and technological aspects, and to make observations about employment issues and quality of service,

F.   whereas it wishes now to draw attention to questions and aspects which the Commission should take into account in its forthcoming work,

1.  Notes that the transposition of the Postal Directive into national law has made good progress overall; welcomes the fact that the harmonisation framework put in place has enabled Member States to pursue new approaches and go down different routes which may serve as models for other Member States in subsequent measures; notes, however, that the effects of the reforms on quality, efficiency and customer-orientation in the postal sector have yet to be analysed in detail and that the opening up of postal services to competition has not always resulted in increased or maintained employment levels in the postal sector;

2.  Is pleased to note that, judging by the data available, the development of the market so far has led to positive changes; points out in this connection that the development of competition cannot be gauged solely by the degree of market openness or by market shares;

3.  Notes, nevertheless, that the implementation of the Postal Directive is seriously late in a number of Member States, particularly as regards opening up of the market, entailing a risk of imbalance in the European postal market and the potential disadvantaging of market entrants; calls on the Commission, in its report, to state what action it proposes to take in consequence;

4.  Recalls that postal markets are undergoing a fundamental transformation resulting not only from increased competition but also from developments in the neighbouring markets of communications, advertising and the transport/logistics sector, as well as from altered communications behaviour; submits that future postal policy should therefore take sufficient account of these issues;

5.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the sometimes perceptibly divergent developments in universal service obligations in the Member States, to concentrate in particular, when drawing up its prospective study, on the quality of provision of the universal service and on its future funding and to propose, in the context of this study, a definition, the scope and appropriate financing of the universal service;

6.  Calls on the Commission to determine whether it is possible to keep to the 2009 deadline for completion of the internal market in postal services or whether other stages should be defined in the light of the conclusions of the study;

7.  Is of the opinion, considering the fundamental transformation postal markets are undergoing, that the definition of 'universal service' must be reassessed in the light of altered communications behaviour; notes, however, that universal services are qualitatively high-value, labour-intensive services focussing on the protection of consumers' interests, and calls on the Commission to take account of this fact in the research framework for its prospective study; calls on the Commission in this regard to explore how best to guarantee the involvement of and input from postal customers and to consult the social partners affected (chambers of commerce and industry, trade unions, etc.), businesses active in the market and local interest organisations;

8.  Acknowledges the achievements of CEN (the Comité Européen de Normalisation) in the field of standardisation in the postal sector and calls on the Commission to continue to take appropriate account of standardisation in the interests of consumer protection and with a view to the completion of the internal market;

9.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention in future studies to the impact on geographic coverage and development of networks resulting from future stages in the opening-up of postal services to competition, particularly as regards conditions of access for the EU's most disadvantaged or isolated populations;

10.  Notes that the Member States are called on to exercise greater price control, carry out separate cost accounting and check for cross-subsidies; points out, however, that in a market geared to competition, such regulatory intervention requires sufficient justification where it goes beyond the bounds of general competition law;

11.  Believes that the adoption and implementation of service standards developed by CEN is essential to guaranteeing transparency, reliability and quality in the postal market; therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to give priority to progress in this area;

12.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission wishes to continue monitoring the regulation of downstream access; points out, however, that regulation in this area in particular would represent a significant intervention in the market and calls, therefore, for a detailed prior investigation of whether and to what extent such intervention can be economically and legally justified, taking account of the fact that a number of business models already exist in various postal markets where competitors have successfully entered the market without the need for regulated network access; calls on the Commission to evaluate the impact of these models and to assess the appropriateness of a European framework for network access conditions in order to ensure equality of access;

13.  Notes that the funding models for universal service used so far in the Member States have not been very successful and that the tried and tested funding instrument for universal services in the past has been the reserved sector; calls therefore on the Commission to look in detail, in its prospective study, at whether the development of the universal service, the retention of which remains relevant in economic and social terms, and greater flexibility in the regulatory framework can have a positive influence on resolving the problem of funding universal services;

14.  Welcomes the fact that, after some initial difficulties, some Member States have made perceptible progress in creating independent regulatory authorities; stresses that, with greater openness to the market, the accent should be placed on competition law rather than on increased regulation; calls on the Commission, as announced in its report, to promote dialogue with and among the regulatory authorities and the Member States and encourage benchmarking in this respect, so that the task of the authorities can be confined to checking the transposition of the regulations;

15.  Urges, given the varying experiences with the existing licensing systems in the Member States, and in the light of the subsidiarity principle, that authorisation procedures should be one of the issues addressed in the Commission's prospective study, with particular reference to clarifying the operational scope, the approval process and the mandatory conditions governing authorisation permitted by the Postal Directive and urges that such requirements should not mean the erection of new barriers to market access nor lead to price distortions or cherry-picking practices;

16.  Points out that job rationalisation cannot be entirely laid at the door of postal reforms, and recalls that new business models, new products and business methods also have effects on the number of jobs in the traditional postal sector;

17.  Calls on the Commission in its prospective study to investigate the question of how the pension liabilities of the public postal operators are being dealt with in order to avoid a disturbance of the market in a liberalised environment;

18.  Is concerned at the differences in VAT treatment on the postal market, and calls on the Commission, referring to its resolution of 11 March 2004(1) on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 77/388/EEC as regards value added tax on services provided in the postal sector, to submit proposals on how to achieve the necessary legal certainty and non-discrimination among operators;

19.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that penalties under administrative law for breaches of national postal laws are not disproportionately severe and do not jeopardise the operation of the postal market; calls therefore on the Commission, in drafting its prospective study, to collect data on current or planned national penalties in all Member States;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, and the Member States.

(1) OJ C 102 E, 28.4.2004, p. 814.


Results of the elections in Palestine and situation in the Middle East, and the Council's decision not to publish the report on East Jerusalem
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European Parliament resolution on the result of the Palestinian elections and the situation in East Jerusalem
P6_TA(2006)0041RC-B6-0086/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the Middle-East and in particular that of 27 January 2005(1),

–   having regard to the results of the Palestinian legislative elections of 25 January 2006,

–   having regard to the statement of the European Union Election Observation Mission and the statement of the Parliament's observers' delegation,

–   having regard to the statement of the Middle East Quartet (comprising the United Nations, the Russian Federation, the United States of America and the European Union) issued on 30 January 2006,

–   having regard to the Council's conclusions on the Middle East peace process of 30 January 2006,

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

A.   whereas the Palestinian legislative elections were held in a very satisfactory manner, with a large turnout and respect for the rules provided for by the Palestinian electoral law, and under the aegis of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC),

B.   whereas there was full commitment from the international community, the Quartet and the European Union to hold the elections,

C.   whereas these elections, according to the European Union Election Observation Mission, 'marked another important milestone in the building of democratic institutions' under the efficient, professional and independent administration of the CEC,

D.   whereas the conduct of the elections has provided a model for the region and has clearly demonstrated the commitment of the Palestinian people to democracy,

E.   whereas support from the EU and other international donors is essential to satisfy the basic needs of the Palestinian people,

F.   whereas it is important to strongly encourage all parties concerned by the post-election situation to refrain from any action that could lead to increasing tension,

G.   whereas the Council decided not to publish the report on East Jerusalem drafted by the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah,

1.  Welcomes the smooth and peaceful running of the election process and notably the high turnout of voters; considers that this high level of participation in the elections is proof of the will of the Palestinian people to shape their own future by democratic means;

2.  Considers that the electoral campaign and the election day operations respected international standards and welcomes the monitoring work of the European Union Election Observation Mission;

3.  Respects the results of the elections and takes note of the commitment of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to act to form a new government which respects international rules and rejects violence; calls on the new Palestinian Legislative Council and the future government to clearly recognise the state of Israel's right to exist, to renounce all forms of terrorism, to commit themselves to the principle of peaceful negotiation aiming at a two-state solution and to work in cooperation with the Quartet;

4.  Calls on the new Palestinian Parliament and future government and the Israeli Parliament and government to assume their responsibilities in this situation;

5.  Asks for a strong and urgent initiative by the Quartet in order to promote a dialogue and negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis; considers that the 'Roadmap for Peace' remains a constructive base, but stresses the need to achieve positive and concrete results;

6.  Points out that the results of the elections, which have provoked a profound change and radicalisation of the political arena in Palestine, are primarily an expression of the Palestinian people's desire for thorough reform, and also are a consequence of their difficult living conditions under occupation and strongly reflect criticism and grievances against the past administration;

7.  Considers that, in order to prevent further radicalisation, the international community should focus on the many unsolved issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

8.  Reaffirms that its commitment to remain the biggest aid donor to the Palestinian Authority and to continue assisting Palestinian economic development and Palestine's democratic process will be dependent on the new government's clarification on denouncing violence and recognising Israel; reaffirms also its determination to work for peace and to cooperate with any government which is ready to work by peaceful means;

9.  Expresses its support to the present ESDP mission in Gaza to implement the Agreement on Movement and Accession, signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the aim of which is to secure and manage in an orderly fashion the border with Egypt, and decides closely to monitor this border mission;

10.  Notes the conclusions of the report on East Jerusalem drafted by the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah, which describes the situation in East Jerusalem, in particular the consequences of the building of the wall, and brings forward concrete recommendations for confronting the present problems; regrets that Parliament was not informed about its content;

11.  Reaffirms that the dispute over East Jerusalem is part of the conflict as a whole and remains an issue for negotiations, especially as between the two sides; calls for a stop to the discriminatory treatment of Palestinian residents and for the re-opening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the President of the Palestinian Authority and the newly elected Palestinian Legislative Council, the Prime Minister of Israel and the Knesset, the US government, the government of the Russian Federation and the UN Secretary-General.

(1) OJ C 253 E, 13.10.2005, p. 35.


Cuba
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European Parliament resolution on the EU's policy towards the Cuban Government
P6_TA(2006)0042RC-B6-0075/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its earlier resolutions on the situation in Cuba and, in particular, that of 17 November 2004(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2005 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2004 and the EU's policy on the matter(2),

–   having regard to the Council Presidency Declaration of 14 December 2005 on the Damas de Blanco and the earlier Presidency Declarations of 26 March 2003 and 5 June 2003 on the situation in Cuba,

–   having regard to Council Common Position 96/697/CFSP(3) on Cuba, which was adopted on 2 December 1996 and has been periodically updated,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas protecting the universality and the indivisibility of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, remains one of the European Union's main objectives,

B.   whereas dozens of independent journalists, peaceful dissidents and defenders of human rights (members of the democratic opposition and in most cases linked to the Varela project) are still being held in jail in subhuman conditions, and whereas some of them are seriously ill and many are close relatives of the Damas de Blanco,

C.   whereas Parliament awarded the 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Damas de Blanco, to Hauwa Ibrahim and to the international organisation Reporters Without Borders,

D.   whereas the refusal of the Cuban authorities to allow the Damas de Blanco to travel to the seat of the European Parliament to receive their award violates one of the basic human rights, namely the right freely to leave and return to one's own country, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

E.   whereas the Cuban authorities ignored the requests and approaches made by the President of the European Parliament and by other European Union bodies, despite all the necessary arrangements having been made for the Damas de Blanco to receive their prize in person,

F.   whereas, furthermore, the winner of the European Parliament's 2002 Sakharov Prize, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, has been systematically denied the freedom to leave Cuba and to accept the invitations issued by this Parliament and by other European Union bodies,

G.   whereas in 2005 no prisoners of conscience held in Cuba were released and whereas, far from decreasing, the number of political prisoners significantly increased,

1.  Regrets the absence of any significant signs on the part of the Cuban authorities in reponse to the European Union's calls for full respect for fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of expression and political association; condemns the worsening repression and the increase in the number of prisoners of conscience;

2.  Considers it inconceivable that people continue to be imprisoned in Cuba for their ideals and peaceful political activity, and calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners of conscience;

3.  Condemns the travel ban on the Damas de Blanco, the worsening repression against the peaceful opposition and the fresh wave of imprisonments; considers that these developments run counter to the aspirations for a better relationship between the European Union and Cuba, which was the main objective of the changes introduced by the Council on 31 January 2005 to the measures complementary to the above-mentioned Common Position, and calls on the Council to act accordingly;

4.  Urges the Council and the Commission to continue to take whatever action is necessary in order to require the release of political prisoners and to ensure that an immediate stop is put to the harassment of political opponents and human rights defenders;

5.  Stresses that the human rights issue should be raised in particular by every high-level EU visitor;

6.  Urges the Cuban authorities immediately to allow the Damas de Blanco to leave the island so that they can accept the invitation of the European Parliament, and instructs its President to take all possible steps to ensure that the prize winners can indeed receive the Sakharov Prize in person;

7.  Renews its invitation to the Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and demands that the Cuban authorities permit him to travel to Europe to appear before the Community institutions;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, to Cuba's Government and National Assembly of People's Power and to the Damas de Blanco and Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, winners of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize.

(1) OJ C 201 E, 18.8.2005, p. 83.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0150.
(3) OJ L 322, 12.12.1996, p.1.


National management declarations
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European Parliament resolution on national management declarations
P6_TA(2006)0043B6-0074/2006

The European Parliament,

   having regard to Article 274 of the EC Treaty,

   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas, in its resolution of 12 April 2005 containing the comments which are an integral part of the decision on the discharge for implementing the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2003, Section III - Commission(1), adopted by an overwhelming majority, Parliament proposed that each Member State should provide an ex-ante disclosure statement and an annual ex-post statement of assurance as regards its use of EU funding,

B.   whereas the Commission welcomed the initiative and included it in its Communication to the European Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors of 15 June 2005 on a roadmap to an integrated internal control framework (COM(2005)0252),

C.   whereas the Court of Auditors' findings clearly show that the main problems as regards the legality and regularity of underlying transactions are located first and foremost at Member State level,

D.   whereas, on 8 November 2005, the ECOFIN Council did not accept Parliament's proposal regarding national declarations,

1.  Welcomes the Commission's support for the proposed new instruments and recognises that the Commission has made the issue of unqualified assurance one of its strategic priorities for the period up to 2009;

2.  Is strongly convinced that what is needed is not more controls but better controls, and that assurance has to come primarily from the Member States and not via more Commission on-the-spot controls;

3.  Believes that, without strong progress towards effective implementation by the Member States of supervisory and control systems, and without a firm commitment to address identified weaknesses in these systems, the Commission will not be able to obtain adequate information about the legality and the regularity of transactions;

4.  Expresses its deep disappointment at the fact that the Council was not represented at Parliament's debate with the Court of Auditors on the Annual Report 2004 and the implication that the Council has little interest in the discharge procedure;

5.  Calls on the Presidency-in-Office of the Council and the representatives of the Member States to give the discharge procedure higher priority in future;

6.  Considers national declarations an important and simple instrument for improving the implementation of supervisory and control systems, and believes them to be essential to increasing Member States' accountability;

7.  Considers also that such declarations are in full conformity with the second sentence of the first paragraph of Article 274 of the Treaty, whereby "Member States shall cooperate with the Commission to ensure that the appropriations are used in accordance with the principles of sound financial management";

8.  Recognises that in some case these national declarations may need to comprise in practice several declarations within a national framework, rather than one alone, in order to acknowledge the federal and decentralised political systems in existence in some Member States;

9.  Emphasises that the overriding principle advocated by Parliament is that the relevant political authorities within the Member States take full responsibility for the funds placed at their disposal;

10.  Draws attention to the fact that effectively implemented supervisory and control systems are of utmost importance, particularly in the EU context where a large proportion of the budget consists of expenditure which, because it depends on information supplied by beneficiaries, is high-risk;

11.  Considers an unqualified statement of assurance as impossible to achieve without significant improvements in Member States' implementation of supervisory and control systems, and regrets that criticism of the EU budget and the way money is used by "Brussels" will continue under the present circumstances;

12.  Recalls that, in its resolution of 8 June 2005 on Policy Challenges and Budgetary Means of the enlarged Union 2007-2013(2), Parliament stated that in the absence of the requested national declarations it would be difficult for it to accept a new interinstitutional agreement on the new financial perspective for the period 2007-2013;

13.  Calls on the Council to review its conclusions from the meeting of 8 November 2005 in order to pave the way for a constructive dialogue with Parliament on the new financial perspective and in order to establish and implement effective supervisory and control systems on EU expenditure in the Member States, which is what European taxpayers expect;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the European Investment Bank and Member States' national and regional audit institutions.

(1) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0092.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0224.


Management of Mediterranean fishery resources
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European Parliament resolution on the adoption of management measures for Mediterranean fishery resources
P6_TA(2006)0044B6-0083/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council regulation concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea (COM(2003)0589),

–   having regard to its position of 9 June 2005(1) on that subject,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the adoption of its abovementioned position was the outcome of close collaboration between the Commission and Parliament, resulting in a compromise between the two institutions,

B.   whereas the only management measures now applicable to fishing in the Mediterranean date from 1994 and whereas those measures, which at the time were already considered obsolete, do not concern the other seas of the European Union, the measures for which allow responsible fishing,

C.   whereas the absence of a regulation on fisheries management in this region of the EU has created obvious discrimination among European fishermen, which is becoming steadily worse,

D.   whereas certain stocks of great commercial value are in a serious state of decline,

1.  Expresses its concern at the inactivity of the Council, which can only be interpreted as a lack of interest in the Mediterranean Sea, which is, however, from the point of view of fishing activities, acknowledged to be one of the most diverse and complex regions, not only biologically, but also in environmental, social and economic terms;

2.  Expresses its concern, knowing as it does that this inactivity, by preventing the adoption of more responsible rules that are better adapted to the general framework of the common fisheries policy, is incompatible with the objective of sustainable development;

3.  Is worried by the fact that if a decision is not taken quickly, international obligations regarding management of fisheries in the European Union, particularly in the context of regional fisheries organisations covering the Mediterranean (the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), are in danger of not being met;

4.  Calls therefore on the Council to ensure that the management measures applicable to fish stocks in the Mediterranean are adopted without delay;

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

(1) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0234.

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