Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 16 February 2006 - Strasbourg
Services ***I
 Strategic guidelines for rural development *
 Millennium Development Goals
 Right to freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs
 Outlook for Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Belarus
 Risk and crisis management in agriculture
 EU forestry strategy
 Cultural heritage in Azerbaijan
 Guantánamo

Services ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market (COM(2004)0002 – C5-0069/2004 – 2004/0001(COD))
P6_TA(2006)0061A6-0409/2005

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2004)0002)(1),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Articles 47(2), 55, 71 and 80(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C5-0069/2004),

–   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 opinions of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Legal Affairs, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on Petitions (A6-0409/2005),

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 16 February 2006 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2006/.../EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market

P6_TC1-COD(2004)0001


(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular the first and third sentence of Article 47(2) and Articles 55, 71 and 80(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

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

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(3),

Acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251 of the Treaty(4),

Whereas:

(1)  The European Union is seeking to forge ever closer links between the States and peoples of Europe and to ensure economic and social progress. In accordance with Article 14(2) of the Treaty, the internal market comprises an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of services and the freedom of establishment are ensured. The elimination of obstacles to the development of service activities between Member States is essential in order to strengthen the integration of the peoples of Europe and to promote balanced and sustainable economic and social progress. In eliminating such barriers it is essential to ensure that the development of service activities contributes to the fulfilment of the task laid down in Article 2 of the Treaty of promoting throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, equality between men and women, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States.

(2)  A competitive market in services is essential in order to promote economic growth and create jobs in the EU. At present numerous barriers within the internal market prevent service providers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), from extending their operations beyond their national borders and taking full advantage of the internal market. This weakens the worldwide competitiveness of EU service providers. A free market which compels the Member States to eliminate restrictions on cross-border provision of services while at the same time increasing transparency and the information required, would give consumers wider choice and better services at lower prices.

(3)  The report from the Commission on "The State of the Internal Market for Services"(5) drew up an inventory of a large number of barriers which are preventing or slowing down the development of services between Member States, in particular those provided by SMEs, which are predominant in the field of services. The report concludes that a decade after the envisaged completion of the internal market, there is still a huge gap between the vision of an integrated European Union economy and the reality as experienced by European citizens and service providers. The barriers listed affect a wide variety of service activities across all stages of the service provider's activity and have a number of common features, including, in particular, the fact that they often arise from administrative burdens, the legal uncertainty associated with cross-border activity and the lack of mutual trust between Member States.

(4)  Since services constitute the engine of economic growth and account for 70% of GDP and employment in the majority of Member States, this fragmentation of the internal market has a negative impact on the entire European economy, in particular on the competitiveness of SMEs and the movement of workers, and prevents consumers from gaining access to a greater variety of competitively priced services. It is important to point out that the services sector is a key employment sector for women in particular, and that they therefore stand to benefit greatly from new opportunities offered by the completion of the internal market for services. The European Parliament and the Council have emphasised that the removal of legal barriers to the establishment of a genuine internal market is a matter of priority for achieving the goal set by the Lisbon European Council of improving employment and social cohesion and achieving sustainable economic growth so as to make the European Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based, employment-boosting economy in the world by 2010. Removing those barriers, while ensuring an advanced European social model, is thus a basic condition for overcoming the difficulties encountered in implementing the Lisbon Strategy and for reviving the European economy, particularly in terms of employment and investment. It is therefore important to achieve a single market in services, with a balance between market opening, public services and social and consumer rights.

(5)  Particularly after the accession of ten new Member States, entrepreneurs wishing to provide services in another Member State are faced with obvious barriers.

(6)  It is therefore necessary to remove barriers to the freedom of establishment for service providers in Member States and barriers to the freedom to provide services as between Member States and to guarantee recipients and providers the legal certainty necessary for the exercise in practice of those two fundamental freedoms of the Treaty. Since the barriers in the internal market for services affect operators who wish to become established in other Member States as well as those who provide a service in another Member State without being established there, it is necessary to enable service providers to develop their service activities within the internal market either by becoming established in a Member State or by making use of the freedom to provide services. Service providers should be able to choose between those two freedoms, depending on their strategy for growth in each Member State.

(7)  Those barriers cannot be removed solely by relying on direct application of Articles 43 and 49 of the Treaty, since, on the one hand, addressing them on a case-by-case basis through infringement procedures against the Member States concerned would, especially following enlargement, be extremely complicated for national and Community institutions, and, on the other hand, the lifting of many barriers requires prior coordination of national legal schemes, including the setting up of administrative cooperation. As the European Parliament and the Council have recognised, a Community legislative instrument makes it possible to achieve a genuine internal market for services.

(8)  This Directive establishes a general legal framework which benefits a wide variety of services while taking into account the distinctive features of each type of activity or profession and its system of regulation. That framework is based on a dynamic and selective approach consisting in the removal, as a matter of priority, of barriers which may be dismantled quickly and, for the others, the launching of a process of evaluation, consultation and complementary harmonisation of specific issues, which will make possible the progressive and coordinated modernisation of national regulatory systems for service activities which is vital in order to achieve a genuine internal market for services by 2010. Provision should be made for a balanced mix of measures involving targeted harmonisation, administrative cooperation, the freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive and encouragement of the development of codes of conduct on certain issues. That coordination of national legislative regimes should ensure a high degree of Community legal integration and a high level of protection of general interest objectives, especially protection of consumers, the environment, public security and public health and compliance with labour law, which is vital in order to establish mutual trust between Member States.

(9)  It is appropriate that the provisions of this Directive concerning freedom of establishment and the free movement of services should apply only to the extent that the activities in question are open to competition, so that they do not oblige Member States either to liberalise services of general economic interest or to privatise public entities which provide such services or to abolish existing monopolies for other activities or certain distribution services.

(10)  This Directive does not interfere with Member States' activities, in accordance with Community law, in relation to the protection or promotion of cultural or linguistic diversity or media pluralism, including the funding thereof.

(11)  It is equally important that this Directive fully respects Community initiatives based on Article 137 of the Treaty with a view to achieving the objectives of Article 136 of the Treaty concerning the promotion of employment and improved living and working conditions.

(12)  In view of the fact that the Treaty provides specific legal bases for matters of labour law and social security law and in order to make sure that this Directive does not affect these matters, it is necessary to exclude the field of labour law and social security law from the scope of this Directive.

(13)  This Directive does not concern requirements governing access to public funds for certain service providers. Such requirements include notably those laying down conditions under which service providers are entitled to receive public funding, including specific contractual conditions, and in particular quality standards which need to be observed as a condition to receive public funds, for example social services.

(14)  This Directive, and in particular the provisions concerning authorisation schemes and the territorial scope of an authorisation, does not interfere with the division of regional or local competences within the Member States, including regional and local self-government and the use of official languages.

(15)  It is necessary to recognise the importance of the roles of professional bodies, professional associations and the social partners in the regulation of service activities and the development of professional rules, so long as they do not hamper the development of competition between economic operators.

(16)  Social welfare services are a responsibility of the State – at national, regional and local level - in the social field. They are a manifestation of the principles of social cohesion and solidarity as reflected, inter alia, by the fact that they are designed to assist those who are in a state of need owing to insufficient family income, total or partial lack of independence or the risk of being marginalised. These services are often entirely non-profit-making, thus the benefits they confer may bear no relation to an economic consideration.

(17)  This Directive does not deal with the funding of, or the system of aids linked to, social housing. Nor does it affect the criteria or conditions set by Member States to ensure that social housing services effectively carry out a function to the benefit of the public interest and social cohesion.

(18)  Childcare and family services aimed at supporting families and young people, as well as educational and cultural services typically pursuing social welfare objectives should not be affected by the provisions of this Directive.

(19)  This Directive should be interpreted in such a way as to reconcile the exercise of fundamental rights as recognised in the Member States and by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union with the fundamental freedoms laid down in Articles 43 and 49 of the Treaty. Those fundamental rights include, inter alia, the right to take industrial action. This Directive should be interpreted in such a way as to give full effect to those fundamental rights and the fundamental freedoms.

(20)  This Directive is consistent with other current Community initiatives concerning services, particularly those relating to the competitiveness of business-related services, the safety of services(6), and work on patient mobility and the development of health care in the Community. It is also consistent with current initiatives concerning the internal market, such as the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on sales promotions in the internal market(7), and those concerning consumer protection, such as Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market ("Unfair Commercial Practices Directive")(8) and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws ("the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation")(9).

(21)  This Directive should not apply to services of general interest that are provided and defined by the Member States under their obligations to protect the public interest. These activities are not covered by the definition in Article 50 of the Treaty and do not therefore fall within the scope of this Directive. The provisions of this Directive apply only insofar as the activities in question are open to competition, and do not require the Member States to liberalise services of general interest, privatise existing public bodies or abolish existing monopolies, such as lotteries or certain distribution services. As regards services of general interest, this Directive covers only services of general economic interest, i.e. services that correspond to an economic activity and are open to competition. Equally, this Directive does not affect the funding of services of general economic interest and does not cover aids granted by Member States, in particular in the social field, in accordance with Title VI, Chapter I of the Treaty.

(22)  The exclusions from the scope of application should apply not only to questions specifically dealt with in these Directives but also to matters for which the Directives explicitly leave to Member States the possibility of adopting certain measures at national level.

(23)  Financial services should be excluded from the scope of this Directive since those activities are currently the subject of a specific action plan aimed, as is this Directive, at achieving a genuine internal market for services. This exclusion should cover all services involving banking, credit, insurance, including reinsurance, individual pensions, investment, payments or investment advice and, more generally, the activities listed in Annex I to Directive 2000/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 March 2000 relating to the taking up and pursuit of the business of credit institutions(10).

(24)  In view of the adoption in 2002 of a package of legislative instruments relating to electronic communications networks and services, as well as to associated resources and services, which has established a regulatory framework to facilitate access to those activities within the internal market, notably through the elimination of most individual authorisation schemes, it is necessary to exclude issues dealt with by those instruments from the scope of this Directive.

(25)  The specific requirements that Member States impose on the establishment of temporary work agencies mean that those services may not be included within the scope of this Directive at this stage. Therefore, it is necessary to fully harmonise the rules on establishment in this sector in order to establish the legal framework for the implementation of the internal market in this sector.

(26)  The specific requirements that Member States impose on the establishment of security services mean that those services may not be included within the scope of this Directive at this stage. Therefore, it is necessary to fully harmonise the rules on establishment in this sector in order to establish the legal framework for the implementation of the internal market in this sector.

(27)  The exclusion of healthcare covers healthcare and pharmaceutical services provided by health professionals to patients to assess, maintain or restore their state of health where those activities are reserved to a regulated profession in the Member State in which the services are provided.

(28)  This Directive does not affect the reimbursement of healthcare provided in a Member State other than that in which the recipient of the care is resident. That has been addressed by the Court of Justice on numerous occasions, and the Court has recognised patients' rights. It is important to address this issue in another Community legal instrument in order to achieve greater legal certainty and clarity.

(29)  Audiovisual services, whatever their mode of transmission, in particular television broadcasting services as defined in Council Directive 89/552/EEC of 3 October 1989 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities(11), radio services, cinema services and services of intellectual property rights collective management societies, should also be excluded from the scope of this Directive. These services play a vital role in the formation of European cultural identities and public opinion, and if cultural diversity and pluralism are to be preserved and promoted there is a need for specific measures, which must be able to take account of specific regional and national situations. Furthermore, the Community is required to take cultural aspects into account in its action under the provisions of the Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures. In accordance with the subsidiarity principle and Community law, particularly the competition rules, support given to audiovisual services must take account of considerations of a cultural and social nature which render the application of the provisions of this Directive inappropriate.

(30)  Gambling activities, including lottery and betting transactions, should be excluded from the scope of this Directive, in view of the specific nature of these activities, which entail implementation by Member States of policies relating to public order and consumer protection. The specific nature of these activities is not called into question by Community case law, which simply requires national courts to examine in depth the reasons of public interest which may justify derogations from the freedom to provide services or the freedom of establishment. In addition, given the considerable disparities in the taxation of gambling activities, which are at least partly related to differences in Member States' public order requirements, it would be totally impossible to establish fair cross-border competition between operators in the gaming industry without either first or simultaneously dealing with questions of fiscal cohesion between Member States, which are not addressed by this Directive and which are not part of its scope.

(31)  This Directive does not cover the activities of members of those professions which are permanently or temporarily directly and specifically connected with the exercise of official authority, particularly activities concerning the establishment of authentic instruments and certifications by public-office holders.

(32)  In view of the fact that the Treaty provides specific legal bases for taxation matters and of the Community instruments already adopted in that field, it is necessary to exclude the field of taxation from the scope of this Directive.

(33)  Transport services, including urban transport, port services, taxis and ambulances, should be excluded from the scope of this Directive. Cash in transit or the transport of mortal remains should be included in the scope of this Directive given that internal market problems have been identified in these fields.

(34)  Rules of criminal law should not be affected by this Directive. However, rules of criminal law should not be misused in order to circumvent the rules laid down in this Directive.

(35)  Non-profit-making amateur sporting activities are of a considerable social importance. They often pursue wholly social or recreational objectives. Thus they may not constitute economic activities within the meaning of Community law and fall outside of the scope of this Directive.

(36)  This Directive should apply only when there are no specific provisions of Community law governing specific aspects of access to and the exercise of a service activity in specific sectors or for specific professions.

(37)  As the Court of Justice has consistently held with regard to Articles 49 and following of the Treaty, the concept of service covers any economic activity normally provided for remuneration. The payment of a fee by recipients in order to make a certain contribution to the operating expenses of a system does not in itself constitute remuneration because the service is still essentially financed by public funds.

(38)  The concept of service covers any economic activity normally provided for remuneration. The characteristic of remuneration is absent in the case of activities performed, for no consideration, by the State or by a regional or local authority in the context of their duties in the social, cultural, educational and judicial fields, such as courses provided under the national education system, whether at public or private educational establishments, or the management of social security schemes which do not engage in economic activity. These activities are not covered by the definition of "service" and do not therefore fall within the scope of this Directive.

(39)  This Directive does not concern the application of Articles 28 to 30 of the Treaty relating to the free movement of goods. The restrictions prohibited pursuant to the freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive cover the requirements applicable to access to service activities or to the exercise thereof and not those applicable to goods as such.

(40)  The concept of provider covers any natural person who is a national of a Member State or any legal person who is engaged in a service activity there, in exercise either of the freedom of establishment or of the freedom to provide services. The concept of provider is thus not limited solely to cross-border service provision within the framework of the freedom to provide services but also covers cases in which an operator establishes itself in a Member State in order to develop its service activities there. On the other hand, the concept of a provider does not cover the case of branches in a Member State of companies from third countries because, under Article 48 of the Treaty, the freedom of establishment and free movement of services may benefit only companies constituted in accordance with the laws of a Member State and having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the Community.

(41)  The place at which a service provider is established should be determined in conformity with the case law of the Court of Justice according to which the concept of establishment involves the actual pursuit of an economic activity through a fixed establishment for an indefinite period; this requirement is also fulfilled where a company is constituted for a given period or where it rents the building or installation through which it pursues its activity. According to this definition which requires the actual pursuit of an economic activity at the place of establishment of the service provider, a mere letter box does not constitute an establishment. In cases where a provider has several places of establishment it is important to determine from which place of establishment the actual service concerned is provided; in cases where it is difficult to determine from which of several places of establishment a given service is provided, this is the place where the provider has the centre of his activities relating to this particular service.

(42)  Where an operator travels to another Member State to exercise a service activity there, a distinction should be made between situations covered by the freedom of establishment and those covered, due to the temporary nature of the activities concerned, by the free movement of services. The Court of Justice has consistently held that the temporary nature of the activities in question must be determined in the light not only of the duration of the provision of the service, but also of its regularity, periodical nature or continuity. In any case, the fact that the activity is temporary does not mean that the service provider may not equip himself with some forms of infrastructure in the Member State of destination, such as an office, chambers or consulting rooms, in so far as such infrastructure is necessary for the purposes of providing the service in question.

(43)  The concept of authorisation scheme covers, inter alia, the administrative procedures for granting authorisations, licences, approvals or concessions, and also the obligation, in order to be eligible to exercise the activity, to be registered as a member of a profession or entered in a register, roll or database, to be officially appointed to a body or to obtain a card attesting to membership of a particular profession. Authorisation may be granted not only by a formal decision but also by an implicit decision arising, for example, from the silence of the competent authority or from the fact that the interested party must await acknowledgement of receipt of a declaration in order to commence the activity in question or for the latter to become lawful.

(44)  The rules relating to administrative procedures do not aim at harmonising administrative procedures but at removing overly burdensome authorisation schemes, procedures and formalities that hinder the freedom of establishment and the creation of new services undertakings resulting therefrom.

(45)  One of the fundamental difficulties faced, in particular by SMEs, in accessing service activities and exercising them is the complexity, length and legal uncertainty of administrative procedures. For this reason, following the example of certain modernising and good administrative practice initiatives undertaken at Community and national level, it is necessary to establish principles of administrative simplification, inter alia through the introduction, coordinated at Community level, of a system of points of single contact and limitation of the obligation of prior authorisation to cases in which it is essential. Such modernising action, while maintaining the requirements on transparency and the updating of information relating to operators, is intended to eliminate the delays, costs and dissuasive effects which arise, for example, from unnecessary or excessively complex and burdensome procedures, the duplication of procedures, the red tape involved in submitting documents, the use of discretionary powers by the competent authorities, indeterminate or excessively long periods before a response is given, the limited duration of validity of authorisations granted and disproportionate fees and penalties. Such practices have particularly significant dissuasive effects on providers wishing to develop their activities in other Member States and require coordinated modernisation within an enlarged internal market of twenty-five Member States.

(46)  Member States should introduce, where appropriate, harmonised European forms, which will serve as an equivalent to certificates, attestations or any other document in relation to establishment.

(47)  In order to facilitate access to service activities and the exercise thereof in the internal market, it is necessary to establish an objective, common to all Member States, of administrative simplification and to lay down provisions concerning, inter alia, points of single contact, the right to information, procedures by electronic means and the establishment of a framework for authorisation schemes. Other measures adopted at national level to meet that objective may involve reduction of the number of procedures and formalities applicable to service activities and the restriction of such procedures and formalities to those which are essential in order to achieve a general interest objective and which do not duplicate each other in terms of content or purpose.

(48)  With the aim of administrative simplification, general formal requirements, such as presentation of original documents, certified copies or a certified translation, should not be imposed, except where justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest, such as the protection of workers, public health, the protection of the environment, the protection of consumers or education. It is also necessary to ensure that an authorisation normally permits access to, or exercise of, a service activity throughout the national territory, unless a new authorisation for each establishment, for example for each new hypermarket, or an authorisation that is restricted to a specific part of the national territory, is justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest.

(49)  The notion of overriding reasons relating to the public interest to which reference is made in certain provisions of this Directive has been developed progressively by the Court of Justice in its case law in relation to Articles 43 and 49 of the Treaty and may continue to evolve. The notion covers at least the following grounds: public policy, public security and public health within the meaning of Articles 46 and 55 of the Treaty, the maintenance of order in society, social policy objectives, the protection of the recipients of services, including patient safety, consumer protection, the protection of workers, including the social protection of workers, preservation of the financial balance of the social security system, maintaining a balanced medical and hospital service open to all, the prevention of fraud, cohesion of the tax system, prevention of unfair competition, maintaining the good reputation of the national financial sector, the protection of the environment and the urban environment, including town and country planning, the protection of creditors, safeguarding the sound administration of justice, road safety, the protection of intellectual property, cultural policy objectives, including safeguarding in the audio-visual sector the freedom of expression of various elements, in particular social, cultural, religious and philosophical, in society, the maintenance of press diversity and policy for the promotion of the national language, the preservation of national historical and artistic heritage and veterinary policy.

(50)  It is appropriate to provide for points of single contact in order to ensure that each provider has a single point at which he can complete all procedures and formalities. The number of points of single contact per Member State may vary according to regional or local competencies or according to the activities concerned. The creation of points of single contact does not interfere with the allocation of functions among competent authorities within each national system. Where several authorities at regional or local level are competent, one of them may assume the role of point of single contact and coordinator. Points of single contact may be set up not only by administrative authorities but also by chambers of commerce or crafts, or by the professional organisations or private bodies to which a Member State decides to entrust that function. Points of single contact have an important role to play in providing assistance to providers either as the authority directly competent to issue the documents necessary to access a service activity or as an intermediary between the provider and the authorities which are directly competent. In its Recommendation of 22 April 1997 on improving and simplifying the business environment for business start-ups(12), the Commission was already encouraging Member States to introduce points of contact to simplify formalities.

(51)  The obligation for Member States to ensure that it is possible for a service provider to complete all procedures and formalities needed for access to his service activities at points of single contact includes any procedures and formalities necessary for the supervision of compliance with Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services(13). It should not affect the role of the liaison offices or other competent national bodies which Member States designate for the purposes of the implementation of Directive 96/71/EC. However, these designated liaison offices or other competent national bodies should make the information on procedures and formalities necessary for the supervision of compliance with Directive 96/71/EC available to the points of single contact.

(52)  The obligation for Member States to ensure that relevant information is easily accessible to providers and recipients can be fulfilled by rending accessible this information through a website. The obligation for competent authorities to assist providers and recipients by no means includes the provision of legal advice in individual cases. Nevertheless, general information on the way in which requirements are usually interpreted or applied should be given.

(53)  The setting up, in the reasonably near future, of inter alia electronic means of completing procedures and formalities will be vital for administrative simplification in the field of service activities, for the benefit of providers, recipients and competent authorities. In order to meet that obligation as to results, national laws and other rules applicable to services may need to be adapted. The fact that it must be possible to complete those procedures and formalities at a distance means in particular that Member States must ensure that they may be completed across borders. The obligation as to results does not cover procedures or formalities which by their very nature are impossible to complete at a distance. Furthermore, this does not interfere with Member States' legislation on the use of languages.

(54)  Providers and recipients of services must have easy access to certain types of information. This should include in particular information on procedures and formalities, contact details of the competent authorities, conditions for access to public registers and data bases and information concerning available remedies and the contact details of associations and organisations from which providers or recipients can obtain practical assistance. This information must be easily accessible, in other words it should be available to the public easily and without obstacles. This information should be provided in a clear and unambiguous manner.

(55)  The possibility of gaining access to a service activity may be made subject to authorisation by the competent authorities only if that decision satisfies the criteria of non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality. That means, in particular, that authorisation schemes should be permissible only where an a posteriori inspection would not be effective because of the impossibility of ascertaining the defects of the services concerned a posteriori, due account being taken of the risks and dangers which could arise in the absence of a prior inspection. However, the provision to that effect made by this Directive cannot be relied upon in order to justify authorisation schemes which are prohibited by other Community instruments such as Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 13 December 1999 on a Community framework for electronic signatures(14), or Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market ('Directive on electronic commerce')(15). The results of the process of mutual evaluation will make it possible to determine, at Community level, the types of activity for which authorisation schemes should be eliminated.

(56)  The authorisation should normally enable the provider to have access to the service activity, or to exercise that activity, throughout the national territory, except if a territorial limit is justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest. For example, environmental protection justifies the requirement to obtain an individual authorisation for each installation on the national territory. This provision does not affect regional or local competences for the granting of authorisations within the Member States.

(57)  The provisions of this Directive relating to authorisation schemes should concern cases where the access to or exercise of a service activity by economic operators requires a decision by a competent authority. This concerns neither decisions by competent authorities to set up a public or private entity for the provision of a particular service nor the conclusion of contracts by competent authorities for the provision of a particular service which is governed by rules on public procurement.

(58)  This Directive is without prejudice to the possibility for Member States to withdraw authorisations after they have been issued, particularly if the conditions for the granting of the authorisation are no longer fulfilled.

(59)  According to the case law of the Court of Justice, public health, consumer protection, animal health and urban environment objectives constitute overriding reasons relating to the public interest which can justify the application of authorisation schemes and other restrictions applicable to social services. However, no such authorisation scheme or restriction may discriminate in terms of the applicant's country of origin, neither may they be framed in such a way as to impede cross-border services which comply with Member States' requirements. Further, the principles of necessity and proportionality must always be respected.

(60)  In cases where the number of authorisations available for an activity is limited because of scarcity of natural resources or technical capacity, a procedure for selection from among several potential candidates must be adopted, with the aim of developing through open competition the quality and conditions for supply of services available to users. Such a procedure must provide guarantees of transparency and impartiality and the authorisation thus granted must not have an excessive duration, or be subject to automatic renewal, or confer any advantage on the successful provider. In particular, the duration of the authorisation granted must be fixed in such as way that it does not restrict or limit free competition beyond what is necessary to enable the provider to recoup the cost of investment and to make a fair return on the capital invested. This provision does not prevent Member States from limiting the number of authorisations for reasons other than scarcity of natural resources or technical capacity. Such authorisations remain in any case subject to the other provisions of this Directive relating to authorisation schemes.

(61)  In order to establish a genuine internal market for services, it is necessary to abolish any restrictions on the freedom of establishment and the free movement of services which are still enshrined in the laws of certain Member States and which are incompatible with Articles 43 and 49 of the Treaty respectively. The restrictions to be prohibited particularly affect the internal market for services and should be systematically dismantled as soon as possible.

(62)  The Court of Justice has consistently held that the freedom of establishment is predicated, in particular, upon the principle of equal treatment, which entails the prohibition not only of any discrimination on grounds of nationality but also of any indirect discrimination based on other grounds but capable of producing the same result. Thus, access to a service activity or the exercise thereof in a Member State, either as a principal or secondary activity, may not be made subject to criteria such as place of establishment, residence, domicile or principal provision of the service activity. In certain cases, however, overriding reasons relating to the public interest may justify compelling a service provider to be present during the exercise of his activity. Similarly, a Member State may not restrict the legal capacity or the right to bring legal proceedings of companies incorporated in accordance with the law of another Member State on whose territory they have their primary establishment. Moreover, a Member State may not confer any advantages on providers having a particular national or local socio-economic link; nor may it restrict, on grounds of place of establishment, the provider's freedom to acquire, exploit or dispose of rights and goods or to access different forms of credit or accommodation in so far as those choices are useful for access to his activity or for the effective exercise thereof.

(63)  The prohibition of economic tests as a prerequisite for the grant of authorisation covers economic tests as such, but not requirements which are justified by overriding reasons relating to the public interest, such as protection of the urban environment, social policy and public health objectives. That prohibition does not affect the exercise of the powers of the authorities responsible for applying competition law. The prohibition of direct or indirect involvement of competing operators in the granting of authorisations does not concern the consultation of organisations such as chambers of commerce on matters other than individual applications for authorisation.

(64)  In order to coordinate the modernisation of national rules and regulations in a manner consistent with the requirements of the internal market, it is necessary to evaluate certain non-discriminatory national requirements which, by their very nature, could severely restrict or even prevent access to an activity or the exercise thereof under the freedom of establishment. Member States must ensure, during the transposition period of this Directive, that such requirements are necessary and proportionate and, where appropriate, they must abolish or amend them. Moreover, those requirements must in any case be compatible with Community competition law.

(65)  The mutual evaluation process provided for in this Directive does not affect the freedom of Member States to fix in their legislation a high level of protection of public interests, in particular for achieving health and social policy objectives. Furthermore, the mutual evaluation process has to take fully into account the specificity of services of general economic interest and of the particular tasks assigned to them. These may justify certain restrictions on the freedom of establishment, in particular where such restrictions pursue the protection of public health and social policy objectives. For example, concerning the obligation to take a specific legal form in order to exercise certain services in the social field, the Court of Justice has already recognised that it can be justified to submit the service provider to a requirement to be non-profit making. Moreover, restrictions which aim to guarantee medical distribution in particular in sparsely populated areas should be allowed.

(66)  The restrictions to be examined include national rules which, on grounds other than those relating to professional qualifications, reserve access to activities to particular providers.

(67)  The fact that this Directive specifies a number of requirements to be abolished or evaluated by the Member States during the transposition period is without prejudice to any infringement proceedings against a Member State for failure to fulfil its obligations under Articles 43 or 49 of the Treaty.

(68)  In order to secure effective implementation of the free movement of services and to ensure that recipients and providers can benefit from and supply services throughout the Community regardless of frontiers, it is necessary to clarify to what extent service providers are subject to the legislation of the Member State where they are established and to what extent legislation of the Member State where the service is provided is applicable. It is indispensable to underline that this does not prevent the Member State where the service is provided from enforcing its specific requirements that are indispensable for reasons of public policy or public security or for the protection of health or the environment in order to prevent particular risks at the place where the service is provided.

(69)  It is necessary to provide that the rule that the law of the country of origin is to apply may be departed from only in the areas covered by derogations, general or transitional. Those derogations are necessary in order to take into account the level of integration of the internal market or certain Community instruments relating to services pursuant to which a provider is subject to the application of a law other than that of the Member State of origin. Moreover, by way of exception, measures against a given provider may also be adopted in certain individual cases and under certain strict procedural and substantive conditions. In order to ensure the legal certainty which is essential in order to encourage SMEs to provide their services in other Member States, those derogations should be limited to what is strictly necessary. In particular, derogation should be possible only for reasons related to the safety of services, exercise of a health profession or matters of public policy, such as the protection of minors, and to the extent that national provisions in this field have not been harmonised. In addition, any restriction of the freedom to provide services should be permitted, by way of exception, only if it is consistent with fundamental rights which, as the Court of Justice has consistently held, form an integral part of the general principles of law enshrined in the Community legal order.

(70)  The freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive should not apply to provisions in the Member States where the service is provided which reserve an activity to a particular profession, for example requirements which reserve legal advice to lawyers.

(71)  In cases where a provider moves temporarily to a Member State other than the Member State of origin, it is necessary to provide for mutual assistance between those two States so that the former can carry out checks, inspections and enquiries at the request of the Member State of origin or carry out such checks on its own initiative if these are merely factual checks. Moreover, it should be possible in the case of posted workers for the host country to take action against a provider established in another Member State in order to ensure compliance with the employment and working conditions applicable under Directive 96/71/EC.

(72)  This Directive should not affect terms and conditions of employment which, pursuant to Directive 96/71/EC, apply to workers posted to provide a service in the territory of another Member State. In such cases, Directive 96/71/EC stipulates that service providers have to comply with terms and conditions of employment in a listed number of areas applicable in the Member State where the service is provided. These are: maximum work periods and minimum rest periods, minimum paid annual holidays, minimum rates of pay, including overtime rates, the conditions of hiring out of workers, in particular the supply of workers by temporary employment undertakings, health, safety and hygiene at work, protective measures with regard to the terms and conditions of employment of pregnant women or women who have recently given birth and of children and young people and equality of treatment between men and women and other provisions on non-discrimination. This should not only concern terms and conditions of employment which are laid down by law but also those laid down in collective agreements or arbitration awards that are officially declared or de facto universally applicable within the meaning of Directive 96/71/EC. Moreover, this Directive should not prevent Member States from applying terms and conditions of employment on matters other than those listed in Directive 96/71/EC on the grounds of public policy provisions.

(73)  This Directive should neither affect terms and conditions of employment in cases where the worker employed for the provision of a cross-border service is recruited in the Member State where the service is provided. Finally, this Directive should include the right for the Member States where the service is provided to determine the existence of an employment relationship and the distinction between self-employed persons and employed persons, including "false self-employed persons'. In that respect, according to the case law of the Court of Justice, the essential characteristic of an employment relationship within the meaning of Article 39 of the Treaty is the fact that for a certain period of time a person provides services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration; any activity which a person performs outside a relationship of subordination must be classified as an activity pursued in a self-employed capacity for the purposes of Articles 43 and 49 of the Treaty.

(74)  It is appropriate to provide for derogation from the freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive in the case of services covered by a general prohibition in the Member State to which a provider has moved, if that prohibition is justified by reasons relating to public policy, public security or public health. That derogation should be limited to general prohibitions and should not, for example, cover national schemes which, while not prohibiting an activity in a general manner, reserve the exercise of that activity to one or several specific operators, or which prohibit the exercise of an activity without prior authorisation. The fact that a Member State permits an activity, but reserves it to certain operators, means that the activity is not subject to a general prohibition and is not regarded as inherently contrary to public policy, public security or public health. Consequently, the exclusion of such an activity from the scope of the Directive would not be justified.

(75)  The freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive should not apply to specific requirements, laid down by the Member State to which a provider has moved, the rationale for which is inextricably linked to the particular characteristics of the place where the service is provided, and which must be fulfilled in order to maintain public policy, public safety, public health or the protection of the environment. Such would be the position, for example, in the case of authorisations to occupy or use the public highway, requirements relating to the organisation of public events or requirements relating to the safety of building sites.

(76)  The exclusion from the freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive of matters relating to the registration of vehicles leased in a Member State other than that in which they are used follows from the case-law of the Court of Justice, which has accepted that a Member State may impose such an obligation, in accordance with proportionate conditions, in the case of vehicles used on its territory. That exclusion does not cover occasional or temporary rental.

(77)  Contractual relations between the service provider and the recipient as well as between employer and employee should not be subject to this Directive. The determination of the applicable contractual and non-contractual law shall be regulated by Community instruments on international private law. Furthermore, the contractual agreement prevails insofar as it contains provisions on quality standards.

(78)  It is necessary to allow Member States the possibility, exceptionally and on a case-by-case basis, of taking measures which derogate from the freedom to provide services as provided for in this Directive in respect of a provider established in another Member State, for certain reasons such as the safety of services. It should be possible to take such measures only in the absence of harmonisation at Community level. Moreover, that possibility should not permit restrictive measures to be taken in areas in which other Directives prohibit all derogation from the free movement of services, such as Directive 1999/93/EC or Directive 98/84/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 20 November 1998 on the legal protection of services based on, or consisting of, conditional access(16). Nor should that possibility permit the extension or limitation of derogations provided for in other Directives, such as Directives 89/552/EEC or 2000/31/EC.

(79)  Restrictions on the free movement of services, contrary to this Directive, may arise not only from measures applied to providers, but also from the many barriers to the use of services by recipients, especially consumers. This Directive mentions, by way of illustration, certain types of restriction applied to a recipient wishing to use a service performed by a provider established in another Member State.

(80)  In accordance with the Treaty rules on the free movement of services, as interpreted by the Court of Justice, discrimination on grounds of the recipient's nationality or national or local residence is prohibited. Such discrimination could take the form of an obligation, imposed only on nationals of another Member State, to supply original documents, certified copies, a certificate of nationality or official translations of documents in order to benefit from a service or from more advantageous terms or prices. However, the prohibition of discriminatory requirements does not preclude the reservation of advantages, especially as regards tariffs, to certain recipients, if such reservation is based on legitimate, objective criteria, such as a direct link to taxes paid by those recipients.

(81)  Whilst this Directive is not intended to harmonise artificially prices across the European Union, in particular where market conditions vary from country to country, if an internal area without frontiers is to be effectively achieved, the principle of non-discrimination imposes that Community citizens must neither be prevented from benefiting from a service which is technically accessible on the market, nor be made subject to different conditions and tariffs solely by reason of their nationality or place of residence. The persistence of such discrimination with respect to the recipients of services highlights, for the Community citizen, the absence of a genuine internal market in services and, in a more general sense, compromises the integration of the peoples of Europe. The principle of non-discrimination within the internal market means that access by a recipient, and especially by a consumer, to a service on offer to the public may not be denied or hampered by application of a criterion, included in general conditions made available to the public, relating to the recipient's nationality or place of residence. It does not follow that provision may not be made in such general conditions for variable tariffs and conditions to apply to the provision of a service, where those tariffs and conditions are directly justified for objective reasons that can vary from country to country, such as additional costs effectively incurred because of the distance involved or the technical characteristics of the provision of the service, or different market conditions, such as higher or lower demand influenced by seasonality, different vacation periods in the Member States and pricing by different competitors, or extra risks linked to rules differing from those of the Member State of origin.

(82)  It is appropriate to provide that, as one of the means by which the provider may make the information which he is obliged to supply easily accessible to the recipient, he is to supply his electronic address, including that of his website. Furthermore, the obligation to present certain information in the provider's information documents presenting his services in detail should not cover commercial communications of a general nature, such as advertising, but rather documents giving a detailed description of the services proposed, including documents on a website.

(83)  Any operator providing services involving a particular health, safety or financial risk for the recipient should be covered by appropriate professional indemnity insurance, or by another form of guarantee which is equivalent or comparable, which means, in particular, that he should have adequate insurance coverage for services provided in one or more Member States other than the Member State of origin.

(84)  This insurance or guarantee must correspond to the nature and extent of the risk, which means that service providers need cross-border coverage only if they actually provide services in other Member States. Service providers and insurance companies should maintain the necessary flexibility in negotiating insurance policies specifically geared to the nature and scale of the risk. Lastly, Member States should not be required to stipulate that insurance companies are obliged to provide insurance cover.

(85)  It is necessary to put an end to the total prohibitions of commercial communications by the regulated professions, not by removing bans on the content of a commercial communication but rather by removing those prohibitions which, in a general way and for a given profession, forbid one or more forms of commercial communication, such as a ban on all advertising in one or more given media. As regards the content and methods of commercial communication, it is necessary to encourage professionals to draw up, in accordance with Community law, codes of conduct at Community level.

(86)  In order to increase transparency and promote assessments based on comparable criteria with regard to the quality of the services offered and supplied to recipients, it is important that information on the meaning of quality labels and other distinctive marks relating to these services be easily accessible. That obligation of transparency is particularly important in areas such as tourism, especially the hotel business, in which the use of a system of classification is widespread. Moreover, it is appropriate to examine the extent to which European standardisation could facilitate compatibility and quality of services. European standards are drawn up by the European standards-setting bodies, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Where appropriate, the Commission may, in accordance with the procedures laid down in Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations and of rules on Information Society services(17), issue a mandate for the drawing up of specific European standards.

(87)  The development of a network of Member State consumer protection authorities, which is the subject of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004, complements the cooperation provided for in this Directive. The application of consumer protection legislation in cross-border cases, in particular with regard to new marketing and selling practices, as well as the need to remove certain specific obstacles to cooperation in this field, necessitates a higher degree of cooperation between Member States. In particular, it is necessary in this area to ensure that Member States require the cessation of illegal practices by operators in their territory who target consumers in another Member State.

(88)  Cooperation between Member States requires a well-functioning electronic information system in order to allow competent authorities easily to identify their relevant interlocutors in other Member States and to communicate in an efficient way.

(89)  Administrative cooperation is essential to make the internal market in services function properly. Lack of cooperation between Member States results in proliferation of rules applicable to service providers or duplication of controls for cross-border activities, and can also be used by rogue traders to avoid supervision or to circumvent applicable national rules on services. It is, therefore, essential to provide for clear, legally binding obligations for Member States to cooperate effectively.

(90)  It is necessary to provide that the Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, are to encourage interested parties to draw up codes of conduct at Community level aimed in particular at promoting the quality of services and taking into account the specific nature of each profession. Those codes of conduct should comply with Community law, especially competition law. They may not be incompatible with legally binding rules governing professional ethics and conduct in the Member States.

(91)  Member States should encourage the setting up of codes of conduct particularly by professional bodies, organisations and associations at Community level. These codes of conduct should include, as appropriate to the specific nature of each profession, rules for commercial communications relating to regulated professions, and rules of professional ethics and conduct of the regulated professions which aim in particular at ensuring independence, impartiality and professional secrecy. In addition, the conditions to which the activities of estate agents are subject should be included in such codes of conduct. Member States should take accompanying measures to encourage professional bodies, organisations and associations to implement at national level the codes of conduct adopted at Community level.

(92)  This Directive is without prejudice to any legislative or other initiatives in the field of consumer protection.

(93)  The absence of a reaction from the Commission in the context of the mutual evaluation procedure provided for by this Directive has no effect on the compatibility with Community law of national requirements which are included in reports by Member States.

(94)  Directive 98/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 1998 on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests(18) approximates the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to actions for an injunction aimed at the protection of the collective interests of consumers included in the Directives listed in the Annex to Directive 98/27/EC. In order to enable such actions to be brought in cases where the present Directive has been infringed, to the detriment of the collective interests of consumers, the Annex to Directive 98/27/EC should be amended accordingly.

(95)  Since the objectives of the action to be taken, namely the elimination of barriers to the freedom of establishment for service providers in the Member States and to the free provision of services between Member States, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale of the action, 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.

(96)  This Directive respects fundamental rights and observes the principles which are recognised notably in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and, in particular, in Articles 8, 15, 21 and 47 thereof.

(97)  The measures necessary for the implementation of this Directive should be adopted in accordance with Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(19),

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Chapter I

General provisions

Article 1

Subject-matter

1.  This Directive establishes general provisions facilitating exercise of the freedom of establishment for service providers and the free movement of services, while maintaining a high quality of services.

2.  This Directive shall not deal with the liberalisation of services of general economic interest reserved to public or private entities nor with the privatisation of public entities providing services.

This Directive does not deal with the abolition of monopolies providing services nor aids granted by the Member States which are covered by common rules on competition.

This Directive does not affect the freedom of Member States to define, in conformity with Community law, what they consider to be services of general economic interest, how those services should be organised and financed and what specific obligations they should be subject to.

3.  This Directive does not affect public healthcare services and access to public funding by health care providers.

4.  This Directive shall not affect measures taken at Community or national level to protect or promote cultural or linguistic diversity or media pluralism.

5.  This Directive does not affect the Member States' rules of criminal law.

6.  This Directive does not affect services pursuing a social welfare objective.

7.  This Directive shall not apply to or affect labour law, i.e any legal or contractual provision concerning employment conditions, working conditions, including health and safety at work, and the relationships between employers and workers. In particular it shall fully respect the right to negotiate, conclude, extend and enforce collective agreements, and the right to strike and to take industrial action according to the rules governing industrial relations in Member States. Nor shall it affect national social security legislation in the Member States.

8.  This Directive shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the exercise of fundamental rights as recognised in the Member States and by the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union, including the right to take industrial action.

Article 2

Scope

1.  This Directive shall apply to services supplied by providers established in a Member State.

2.  This Directive shall not apply to the following activities:

   a) services of general interest as defined by the Member States;
   ( b) services of a banking, credit, insurance, occupational or personal pension, investment or payment nature and, more generally, the activities listed in Annex I to Directive 2000/12/EC;
   c) electronic communications services and networks, and associated facilities and services, with respect to matters covered by or referred to in Directives 2002/19/EC(20), 2002/20/EC(21), 2002/21/EC(22), 2002/22/EC(23) and 2002/58/EC(24);
   d) transport services, including urban transport, taxis and ambulances;
   e) port services;
   f) legal services to the extent that they are governed by other Community instruments, including Council Directive 77/249/EEC of 22 March 1977 to facilitate the effective exercise by lawyers of freedom to provide services(25) and Directive 98/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 to facilitate practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in a Member State other than that in which the qualification was obtained(26);
   g) healthcare, whether or not it is provided via healthcare facilities, and regardless of the ways in which it is organised and financed at national level or whether it is public or private;
   h) social services such as social housing services, childcare and family services;
   i) audiovisual services, whatever their mode of production, distribution and transmission, including radio broadcasting and the cinema;
   j) temporary work agencies;
   k) security services;
   l) gambling activities that involve wagering a stake with pecuniary value in games of chance, including lotteries, casinos and betting transactions;
   m) professions and activities that are permanently or temporarily connected with the exercise of official authority in a Member State, particularly that of notary.

3.  This Directive does not apply to the field of taxation.

Article 3

Relationship with other provisions of Community law

1.  If the provisions of this Directive come into conflict with other Community rules governing specific aspects of access to and the exercise of a service activity in specific sectors or for specific professions, those other rules shall prevail and shall apply to the specific sectors or professions involved. These rules include, in particular:

   (a) Directive 96/71/EC;
   (b) Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and members of their families moving within the Community(27);
   (c) Directive 89/552/EEC;
   (d) Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications(28).

2.  This Directive shall be without prejudice to private international law, in particular private international law governing contractual and non-contractual obligations (Rome I and Rome II).

3.  This exclusion of contractual and non-contractual obligations means that the consumer in any case benefits from the protection granted to him by the consumer legislation in force in his Member State.

Article 4

Definitions

For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

   1) "service" means any self-employed economic activity, as referred to in Article 50 of the Treaty, normally provided for remuneration, which constitutes consideration for the service in question and is normally agreed upon by the provider and the recipient of the service;
   2) "public service obligations" means specific requirements that are imposed by public authorities on the provider of the service in order to ensure that certain public interest objectives are met;
   3) "services of general economic interest" means services which are qualified as such by the Member State and which are subject to specific public service obligations which have been assigned to the provider by the Member State concerned to meet certain public interest objectives;
   4) "provider" means any natural person who is a national of a Member State, or any legal person, formed in accordance with the law of that Member State, who offers or provides a service;
   5) "recipient" means any natural person or legal person established in a Member State who, for professional or non-professional purposes, uses, or wishes to use, a service;

(6)  "Member State of origin" means the Member State in whose territory the provider of the service concerned is established;

   7) "establishment" means the actual pursuit of an economic activity, as referred to in Article 43 of the Treaty, for an indefinite period and through a fixed establishment of the provider with an adequate infrastructure from where the business of providing services is actually carried out;
   8) "authorisation scheme" means any procedure under which a provider or recipient is in effect required to take steps in order to obtain from a competent authority a formal decision, or an implied decision, concerning access to a service activity or to the exercise thereof;
   9) "requirement" means any obligation, prohibition, condition or limit provided for in the laws, regulations or administrative provisions of the Member States or in consequence of case-law, administrative practice or the rules of professional bodies, or the collective rules of professional associations or other professional organisations, adopted in the exercise of their legal autonomy; rules laid down by collective agreements shall not be seen as requirements within the meaning of this Directive;
   10) "overriding reasons relating to the public interest" covers inter alia the following grounds: the protection of public policy, public security, public safety, public health, preserving the financial equilibrium of the social security system, including maintaining balanced medical care available to all, the protection of consumers, recipients of services and workers, fairness of trade transactions, combating fraud, the protection of the environment including the urban environment, the health of animals, intellectual property, the conservation of the national historic and artistic heritage or social policy objectives and cultural policy objectives;
   11) "competent authority" means any body or authority which has a supervisory or regulatory role in a Member State in relation to service activities, including, in particular, administrative authorities, public establishments, professional bodies, and those professional associations or other professional organisations which, in the exercise of their legal autonomy, regulate in a collective manner access to service activities or the exercise thereof;
   (12) "Member State of destination" means the Member State where a service is provided and performed cross-border, without the need for establishment, by a provider established in another Member State;
   13) "worker" means a physical person who is to be regarded as a worker under the national legislation, collective agreements and/or established practice of the Member State where the service is provided;
   14) "regulated profession" means a professional activity or a group of professional activities, as referred to in Article 3(1)(a) of Directive 2005/36/EC;
  15) "commercial communication" means any form of communication designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of an undertaking, organisation or person engaged in commercial, industrial or craft activity or practising a regulated profession. The following do not in themselves constitute commercial communications:
   a) information enabling direct access to the activity of the undertaking, organisation or person, including in particular a domain name or an electronic-mailing address;
   b) communications relating to the goods, services or image of the undertaking, organisation or person, compiled in an independent manner, particularly when provided for no financial consideration.

Chapter II

Administrative simplification

Article 5

Simplification of procedures

1.  Member States shall authenticate and, if appropriate, simplify the procedures and formalities applicable to access to a service activity and to the exercise thereof if and to the extent that it constitutes an obstacle to market access.

2.  Member States, in conjunction with the Commission, shall introduce, where appropriate and feasible, harmonised European forms. Those forms shall be equivalent to certificates, attestations and any other documents concerning establishment which demonstrate that a requirement has been met in the Member State of destination.

3.  Where Member States require a provider or recipient to supply a certificate, attestation or any other document proving that a requirement has been satisfied, they shall accept any document from another Member State which serves an equivalent purpose or from which it is clear that the requirement in question has been satisfied. They may not require that a document from another Member State be produced in its original form, or as a certified copy or as a certified translation, save in the cases provided for in other Community instruments or where such a requirement is justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest, including public order and security. These provisions shall not affect the right of Member States to require translations of documents in their own official languages.

4.  Paragraph 3 shall not apply to the documents referred to in Article 50 of Directive 2005/36/EC, in Article 45(3) of Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, supply contracts and public service contracts(29), in Article 3(2) of Directive 98/5/EC, in Directive 2003/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2003 amending Council Directive 68/151/EEC, as regards disclosure requirements in respect of certain types of companies(30) or in Eleventh Council Directive 89/666/EEC of 21 December 1989 concerning disclosure requirements in respect of branches opened in a Member State by certain types of company governed by the law of another State(31).

Article 6

Points of single contact

1.  Member States shall ensure that, by ...(32) at the latest, it is possible for a provider to complete the following procedures and formalities in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter and Chapter III at contact points known as "points of single contact":

   a) all procedures and formalities needed for access to his service activities, in particular, all necessary declarations, notifications or applications for authorisation from the competent authorities, including applications for inclusion in a register, a roll or a database, or for registration with a professional body or association;
   b) any applications for authorisation needed to exercise his service activities.

2.  If a pro forma registration is required by a Member State, the Member State concerned shall ensure that, by ...(33) at the latest, pro forma registration with the point of single contact is available by electronic means and does not delay or in any way complicate the provision of the services in question and does not entail any additional expense for the provider.

3.  The Commission shall coordinate the points of single contact by establishing a European point of single contact.

4.  The establishment of the point of single contact shall be without prejudice to the allocation of functions and powers among the authorities within national systems.

Article 7

Right to information

1.  Member States shall ensure that the following information is easily accessible to providers and recipients through the points of single contact:

   a) requirements applicable to providers established in their territory, in particular those requirements concerning the procedures and formalities to be completed in order to access and to exercise service activities;
   b) the contact details of the competent authorities enabling the latter to be contacted directly, including the particulars of those authorities responsible for matters concerning the exercise of service activities;
   c) the means of and conditions for accessing public registers and databases on providers and services;
   d) the means of redress which are generally available in the event of dispute between the competent authorities and the provider or the recipient, or between a provider and a recipient or between providers;
   e) the contact details of the associations or organisations, other than the competent authorities, from which providers or recipients may obtain practical assistance.

2.  Member States shall ensure that it is possible for providers and recipients to receive, at their request, assistance from the competent authorities, consisting in information on the way in which requirements referred to in paragraph 1(a) are generally interpreted and applied. Where appropriate, such advice shall include a simple step-by-step guide. The information shall be provided in plain and intelligible language.

3.  Member States shall ensure that the information and assistance referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 are provided in a clear and unambiguous manner, that they are easily accessible, inter alia at a distance and by electronic means, and that they are keptup-to-date.

4.  Member States shall ensure that the points of single contact and the competent authorities respond as quickly as possible to any request for information or assistance as referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 and, in cases where the request is faulty or unfounded, inform the applicant accordingly without delay.

5.  Member States shall implement paragraphs 1 to 4 by ...(34) at the latest.

6.  Member States and the Commission shall encourage points of single contact to make the information provided for in this Article available in other Community languages as far as this is compatible with their legislation on the use of languages.

7.  The obligation for competent authorities to assist providers and recipients does not require these authorities to provide legal advice in individual cases but concerns only general information on the way in which requirements are usually interpreted or applied.

Article 8

Procedures by electronic means

1.  Member States shall ensure that, by ...(35) at the latest, all procedures and formalities relating to access to a service activity and to the exercise thereof may be easily completed, inter alia at a distance and by electronic means, at the relevant point of single contact and with the relevant competent authorities.

2.  Paragraph 1 shall not apply to the inspection of premises on which the service is provided or of equipment used by the provider, or to physical examination of the capability of the provider. Nor shall it apply to any requirement for the provision of original documentation in compliance with Article 5. Neither shall paragraph 1 apply to those procedures which, for overriding reasons relating to the public interest, require the physical presence of the applicant.

3.  The Commission shall ensure interoperability of information systems and use of procedures by electronic means between Member States. The procedure referred to in Article 39(2) shall apply.

Chapter III

Freedom of establishment for providers

Section 1

Authorisations

Article 9

Authorisation schemes

1.  Member States may make access to a service activity or the exercise thereof subject to an authorisation scheme if the following conditions are satisfied:

   a) the authorisation scheme does not discriminate against the provider in question;
   b) the need for an authorisation scheme is justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest;
   c) the objective pursued cannot be attained by means of a less restrictive measure, in particular because an a posteriori inspection would take place too late to be genuinely effective.

2.  Paragraph 1 shall not apply to authorisation schemes which are either imposed or permitted by other Community instruments.

Paragraph 1 shall not apply to aspects of authorisation schemes that are subject to harmonisation under other Community instruments.

Article 10

Conditions for the granting of authorisation

1.  Authorisation schemes shall be based on criteria which preclude the competent authorities from exercising their power of assessment in an arbitrary or discretionary manner.

2.  The criteria referred to in paragraph 1 must be:

   a) non-discriminatory;
   b) justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest;
   c) proportionate to that public interest objective;
   d) precise and unambiguous;
   e) objective;
   f) made public in advance;
   g) transparent and accessible.

3.  The conditions for granting authorisation for a new establishment shall not duplicate requirements and controls which are equivalent or essentially comparable as regards their purpose, to which the provider is already subject in another Member State or in the same Member State. The points of single contact and the provider shall assist the competent authority by providing any necessary information on those requirements. In assessing whether conditions are equivalent or essentially comparable, their effect and the effectiveness of their enforcement shall be considered, besides their objective and purpose.

4.  The authorisation shall enable the provider to have access to the service activity, or to exercise that activity, throughout the national territory, including by setting up agencies, subsidiaries, branches or offices, except where an authorisation for each individual establishment or an authorisation that is restricted to a specific part of the national territory is justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest.

5.  The authorisation shall be granted as soon as it has been established, in the light of an appropriate examination, that the conditions for authorisation have been met.

6.  Except where authorisation has been granted, any other response from the competent authorities, including the refusal or withdrawal of an authorisation, shall be fully reasoned, in particular with regard to the provisions of this Article, and shall be open to challenge before the courts.

7.  This Article shall not call into question the allocation of the competences, at local or regional level, of the Member State authorities that grant such authorisation.

Article 11

Duration of authorisation

1.  An authorisation granted to a provider shall not be for a limited period, except in cases where:

   a) the authorisation is being automatically renewed or is subject only to the continued fulfilment of requirements;
   b) the number of available authorisations is limited by an overriding reason relating to the public interest;
   c) a limited authorisation period can be justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest.

2.  Paragraph 1 shall not concern the maximum period during which the provider must actually commence his activity after receiving authorisation.

3.  Member States shall require a provider to inform the relevant point of single contact provided for in Article 6 of the following changes:

   - the creation of subsidiaries whose activities fall within the scope of the authorisation system;
   - changes in his situation which results in the conditions for authorisation no longer being met.

4.  This Article shall be without prejudice to Member States" ability to revoke authorisations, especially when the conditions for authorisation are no longer met.

Article 12

Selection from among several candidates

1.  Where the number of authorisations available for a given activity is limited because of the scarcity of available natural resources or technical capacity, Member States shall apply a selection procedure to potential candidates which provides full guarantees of impartiality and transparency, including, in particular, adequate publicity about the launch of the procedure and its completion.

2.  In the cases referred to in paragraph 1, authorisation must be granted for an appropriate limited period and may not be open to automatic renewal, nor confer any other advantage on the provider whose authorisation has just expired or on any person having any particular links with that provider.

3.  Without prejudice to Articles 9 and 10, Member States may take into account, in applying their selection procedure, considerations of public health, the health and safety of employees or self-employed persons, the protection of the environment, the preservation of the cultural heritage and the furtherance of any public policy goal which is not in conflict with the Treaty.

Article 13

Authorisation procedures

1.  Authorisation procedures and formalities shall be clear, made public in advance and such as to provide those involved with a guarantee that their application will be dealt with objectively and impartially.

2.  Authorisation procedures and formalities shall not be dissuasive and shall not unduly complicate or delay the provision of the service. They shall be easily accessible and any charges which the relevant parties may incur from their application shall be proportionate to the cost of the authorisation procedures in question and shall not exceed the authorisation cost.

3.  Authorisation procedures and formalities shall provide interested parties with a guarantee that their application will be processed as quickly as possible and, in any event, within a reasonable period which is fixed and published in advance. The period shall run only from the time when all the documentation has been submitted.

4.  Member States shall ensure that applicants receive a response within the time period set in accordance with paragraph 3.

5.  On request by the applicant, an application for authorisation shall be acknowledged as quickly as possible. The acknowledgement must specify the period for response referred to in paragraph 3.

6.  In the case of an incomplete application, the persons having an interest in the matter must be informed as quickly as possible of the need to supply any additional documentation, as well as of any possible effects on the period for response referred to in paragraph 3.

7.  When a request is rejected because it fails to comply with the required procedures or formalities, those involved must be informed of the rejection as quickly as possible.

Section 2

Requirements prohibited or subject to evaluation

Article 14

Prohibited requirements

Member States shall not make access to or the exercise of a service activity in their territory subject to compliance with any of the following:

  1) discriminatory requirements based directly or indirectly on nationality or, in the case of companies, the location of the registered office, including in particular:
   a) nationality requirements for the provider, his staff, persons holding the share capital or members of the provider's management or supervisory bodies;
   b) a requirement that the provider, his staff, persons holding the share capital or members of the provider's management or supervisory bodies be resident within the territory.
   2) a prohibition on having an establishment in more than one Member State or on being entered in the registers or enrolled with professional bodies or associations of more than one Member State;
   3) restrictions on the freedom of a provider to choose between a principal or a secondary establishment, in particular an obligation on the provider to have his principal establishment in their territory, or restrictions on the freedom to choose between establishment in the form of an agency, branch or subsidiary;
   4) conditions of reciprocity with the Member State in which the provider already has an establishment, save in the case of conditions of reciprocity provided for in Community instruments concerning energy;
   5) the case-by-case application of an economic test making the granting of authorisation subject to proof of the existence of an economic need or market demand, or an assessment of the potential or current economic effects of the activity, or an assessment of the appropriateness of the activity in relation to the economic planning objectives set by the competent authority; this prohibition does not concern planning requirements which do not pursue economic aims but serve overriding reasons relating to the public interest;
   6) the direct or indirect involvement of competing operators, including within consultative bodies, in the granting of authorisations or in the adoption of other decisions of the competent authorities, with the exception of professional bodies and associations or other organisations acting as the competent authority; this prohibition does not concern the consultation of organisations such as chambers of commerce or social partners on matters other than individual applications for authorisation;
   7) an obligation to provide or participate in a financial guarantee or to take out insurance from a service-provider or body established in their territory. This does not affect the possibility for Member States to require financial guarantees as such nor, subject always to compliance with the principles of non-prevention, non-restriction and non-distortion of competition in the internal market and of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality, does it prevent, without prejudice to Article 29(4), a requirement by a Member State that insurance be taken out through or from undertakings to which it has granted special or exclusive rights, nor does it affect requirements relating to the participation in a collective compensation fund, for instance for members of professional bodies or organisations;
   8) an obligation to have been pre-registered in the registers held in their territory or to have previously exercised the activity in their territory.

Article 15

Requirements to be evaluated

1.  Member States shall examine whether, under their legal system, any of the requirements listed in paragraph 2 are imposed and shall ensure that any such requirements are compatible with the conditions laid down in paragraph 3. Member States shall adapt their laws, regulations or administrative provisions so as to make them compatible with those conditions.

2.  Member States shall examine whether their legal system makes access to a service activity or the exercise of it subject to compliance with any of the following non-discriminatory requirements:

   a) quantitative or territorial restrictions, in particular in the form of limits fixed according to population, or of a minimum geographical distance between service-providers;
   b) an obligation on a provider to take a specific legal form;
   c) requirements which relate to the shareholding of a company;
   d) requirements, other than those concerning matters covered by Title II of Directive 2005/36/EC or provided for in other Community instruments, which reserve access to the service activity in question to particular providers by virtue of the specific nature of the activity;
   e) a ban on having more than one establishment in the territory of the same Member State;
   f) requirements fixing a minimum number of employees;
   g) fixed minimum and/or maximum tariffs with which the provider must comply;
   h) an obligation on the provider to supply other specific services jointly with his service.

3.  Member States shall verify that requirements referred to in paragraph 2 satisfy the following conditions:

   a) non-discrimination: requirements must be neither directly nor indirectly discriminatory according to nationality or, with regard to companies, according to the location of the registered office;
   b) necessity: requirements must be justified by an overriding reason relating to the public interest;
   c) proportionality: requirements must be suitable for securing the attainment of the objective pursued; they must not go beyond what is necessary to attain that objective; and it must not be possible to replace those requirements with other, less restrictive measures which attain the same result.

4.  In the mutual evaluation report provided for in Article 38, Member States shall specify the following:

   a) the requirements that they intend to maintain and the reasons why they consider that those requirements comply with the conditions set out in paragraph 3;
   b) the requirements which have been abolished or made less stringent.

5.  Paragraphs 1 to 4 do not apply to legislation in the field of services of general economic interest and social insurance schemes, including compulsory health insurance schemes.

Chapter IV

Free movement of services

Section 1

Administrative cooperation

Article 16

Effectiveness of supervision

1.  Member States shall ensure that the powers of monitoring and supervision provided for in national law in respect of the provider are also exercised where a service is provided in another Member State.

2.  Paragraph 1 does not oblige the Member State of primary establishment to carry out factual checks or monitoring in the Member State where the service is provided.

3.  The competent authorities of the Member State where the service is provided may conduct checks, inspections and investigations on the spot, provided that those checks, inspections and investigations are objectively justified and non-discriminatory.

Article 17

Mutual assistance

1.  Member States shall give each other mutual assistance and shall put in place all possible measures for effective cooperation with one another in order to ensure the supervision of providers and the services they provide.

2.  The Member State of destination is responsible for the supervision of the activity of the provider in its territory. The Member State of destination shall carry out such supervision in accordance with paragraph 3.

3.  The Member State of destination:

   - shall take all measures necessary to ensure that providers comply with its national legislation as regards the exercise of a service activity in its territory, and where the third subparagraph of Article 21(1) applies;
   - shall carry out the checks, inspections and investigations necessary to supervise the service provided;
   - shall carry out the checks, inspections and investigations requested by the Member State of primary establishment.

4.  Member States shall supply the information requested by other Member States or the Commission by electronic means and within the shortest possible period of time.

5.  Upon becoming aware of any unlawful conduct by a provider, or of specific acts that could cause serious damage in a Member State, Member States shall inform the Member State of primary establishment within the shortest possible period of time.

6.  If the Member State of destination, having carried out checks, inspections and investigations in accordance with paragraph 3, finds that a provider did not comply with his obligations, that Member State may, in accordance with its law and in conformity with Community law, oblige the provider to deposit a security, or impose interim measures on the provider. This security may be used for enforcement of decisions and judgments in administrative, civil and criminal matters.

Article 18

Mutual assistance in the event of the temporary movement of the provider

1.  The Member State of primary establishment is responsible for the supervision of the provider in its territory, in particular through supervisory measures at the place of establishment of the provider, in accordance with paragraph 2.

2.  The Member State of primary establishment:

   - shall carry out the checks, inspections and investigations requested by another Member State and shall inform the latter of the results, and, as the case may be, of the measures taken;
   - shall supply information on providers established in its territory when such information is requested by another Member State, including, in particular, confirmation that a provider is established in its territory and is exercising his activities in a lawful manner.

3.  The Member State of primary establishment cannot refuse to take supervisory or implementing measures in its territory on the grounds that the service has been provided, or caused damage, in another Member State.

Article 19

Alert mechanism

1.  A Member State becoming aware of serious specific acts or circumstances that could cause serious damage to the health or safety of persons in its territory or in other Member States shall inform the Member State of origin, the other Member States concerned and the Commission within the shortest possible period of time.

2.  The Commission shall promote and take part in the operation of a European network of Member States" authorities in order to implement paragraph 1.

3.  The Commission shall prepare and regularly update in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 39(2) guidelines concerning the management of the network referred to in paragraph 2.

Article 20

Implementing measures

In accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 39(2), the Commission shall adopt the implementing measures necessary for the implementation of Article 17 and the practical arrangements for the exchange of information by electronic means between the Member States and in particular the interoperability provisions for information systems.

Section 2

Freedom to provide services and derogations

Article 21

Freedom to provide services

1.  Member States shall respect the right of providers to provide a service in a Member State other than that in which they are established.

The Member State in which the service is provided shall ensure free access to and free exercise of a service activity within its territory.

Member States shall not make access to or exercise of a service activity in their territory subject to compliance with any requirements which do not respect the following principles:

   a) non-discrimination: the requirement may be neither directly nor indirectly discriminatory with regard to nationality or, in the case of legal persons, with regard to the Member State in which they are established;
   b) necessity: the requirement must be justified for reasons of public policy or public security or the protection of the health and the environment; and
   c) proportionality: the requirement must be suitable for securing the attainment of the objective pursued and must not go beyond what is necessary to attain that objective.

2.  Member States may not restrict the freedom to provide services in the case of a provider established in another Member State, in particular, by imposing any of the following:

   a) an obligation on the provider to have an establishment in their territory;
   b) an obligation on the provider to obtain an authorisation from, their competent authorities, including entry in a register or registration with a professional body or association in their territory, except where provided for in this Directive or other instruments of Community law;
   c) a ban on the provider setting up a certain infrastructure in their territory, including an office or chambers, which the provider needs to supply the services in question;
   d) the application of specific contractual arrangements between the provider and the recipient which prevent or restrict service provision by the self-employed;
   e) an obligation on the provider to possess an identity document issued by its competent authorities specific to the exercise of a service activity;
   f) requirements, other than those necessary for health and safety at work, which affect the use of equipment and material which are an integral part of the service provided;
   g) restrictions on the freedom to provide services referred to in Article 24.

3.  These provisions do not prevent the Member State to which the provider moves from imposing requirements with regard to the provision of a service activity, where they are justified for reasons of public policy, public security, environmental protection and public health. Nor do they prevent Member States from applying, in conformity with Community law, their rules on employment conditions, including those laid down in collective agreements.

4.  By ...(36) at the latest, the Commission shall, after consultation of the Member States and the social partners at European level, submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the application of this Article, in which it shall consider the need to propose harmonisation measures regarding service activities covered by this Directive.

Article 22

General derogations

Article 21 shall not apply to the following:

  1) services of general economic interest which are provided in another Member State, inter alia:
   a) postal services covered by Directive 97/67/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of Community postal services and the improvement of quality of service(37);
   b) electricity transmission, distribution and supply services within the meaning of Article 2 of Directive 2003/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity(38);
   c) gas transmission, distribution, supply and storage services within the meaning of Article 2 of Directive 2003/55/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2003 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas(39);
   d) water distribution and supply services and waste water services;
   e) the treatment of waste;
   2) matters covered by Directive 96/71/EC;
   3) matters covered by Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(40);
   4) the activity of judicial recovery of debts;
   5) as regards professional qualifications, the provisions of Directive 2005/36/EC, including requirements in the Member States where the service is provided which reserve an activity to a particular profession;
   6) the provisions of Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 determining the applicable legislation;
   7) as regards administrative formalities concerning the free movement of persons and their residence, the provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(41) that lay down the administrative formalities that beneficiaries must undertake before the competent authorities of the Member State of destination;
   8) as regards the shipment of waste, the authorisation regime provided for in Articles 3 and 4 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 of 1 February 1993 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community(42);
   9) copyright, neighbouring rights, rights covered by Council Directive 87/54/EEC of 16 December 1986 on the legal protection of topographies of semiconductor products(43) and by Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases(44) as well as industrial property rights;
   10) statutory audit;
   11) services which, in the Member State to which the provider moves in order to provide his service, are prohibited, when this prohibition is justified by reasons relating to public policy, public security or public health;
   12) specific requirements of the Member State to which the provider moves, that are directly linked to the particular characteristics of the place where the service is provided, to the particular risk created by the service at the place where the service is provided or to health and safety at the work place, and with which compliance is indispensable for reasons of public policy or public security or for the protection of public health or the environment;
   13) the registration of vehicles leased in another Member State;
   14) all provisions of international private law, particularly those dealing with contractual and non-contractual obligations, including the form of contracts.

Article 23

Case-by-case derogations

1.  By way of derogation from Article 21, and in exceptional circumstances only, a Member State may, in respect of a provider established in another Member State, take measures relating to any of the following:

   a) the safety of services, including aspects related to public health;
   b) the exercise of a health profession;
   c) the protection of public policy, notably aspects related to the protection of minors.

2.  The measures provided for in paragraph 1 may be taken only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

   a) the national provisions in accordance with which the measure is taken have not been subject to Community harmonisation in the fields referred to in paragraph 1;
   b) the measures provide for a higher level of protection of the recipient than would be the case in a measure taken by the Member State of origin in accordance with its national provisions;
   c) the Member State of origin has not taken any measures or has taken measures which are insufficient as compared with those referred to in Article 18(2);
   d) the measures are proportionate.

3.  Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be without prejudice to provisions, laid down in Community instruments, which guarantee the freedom to provide services or which allow derogations therefrom.

Section 3

Rights of recipients of services

Article 24

Prohibited restrictions

Member States may not impose on a recipient requirements which restrict the use of a service supplied by a provider established in another Member State, in particular the following requirements:

   a) an obligation to obtain authorisation from or to make a declaration to their competent authorities;
   b) limits on tax deductibility or on the grant of financial assistance by reason of the fact that the provider is established in another Member State or by reason of the location of the place at which the service is provided;
   c) requirements which subject the recipient to discriminatory or disproportionate taxes on the equipment necessary to receive a service at a distance from another Member State.

Article 25

Non-discrimination

1.  Member States shall ensure that the recipient is not made subject to discriminatory requirements based solely on his nationality or place of residence.

2.  Member States shall ensure that the general conditions of access to a service, which are made available to the public at large by the provider, do not contain discriminatory provisions relating solely to the nationality or place of residence of the recipient, but without precluding the possibility of providing for differences in the conditions of access where those differences are directly justified by objective criteria.

Article 26

Assistance for recipients

1.  Member States shall ensure that recipients can obtain via the points of single contact:

   a) information on the requirements applicable in other Member States relating to access to and exercise of service activities, in particular those relating to consumer protection;
   b) general information on the means of redress available in the case of a dispute between a provider and a recipient;
   c) the contact details of associations or organisations from which providers or recipients may obtain practical assistance.

Where appropriate, advice from the competent authorities shall include a simple step-by-step guide.

Information and assistance shall be provided in a clear and unambiguous manner, shall be easily accessible at a distance including by electronic means, and shall be kept up-to-date.

2.  Member States may confer responsibility for the task referred to in paragraph 1 to any other body, such as Euroguichets, the contact points of the European extra-judicial network (EEJ-net), consumer associations or Euro Info Centres.

By ...(45) at the latest, Member States shall communicate to the Commission the names and contact details of the designated bodies. The Commission shall transmit them to all Member States.

3.  In order to be able to send the information referred to in paragraph 1, the relevant body approached by the recipient shall contact the relevant body for the Member State concerned. The latter shall send the information requested as soon as possible. Member States shall ensure that those bodies give each other mutual assistance and shall put in place all possible measures for effective cooperation.

4.  The Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 39(2), adopt measures for the implementation of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, specifying the technical mechanisms for the exchange of information between the bodies of the various Member States and, in particular, the interoperability of information systems.

Article 27

Assistance for providers

1.  Member States shall ensure that, by ...(46) at the latest, it is possible for a provider to complete all procedures and formalities needed, in accordance with this Directive, for the exercise of his service activities in another Member State, with the point of single contact.

2.  Articles 6 to 8 shall apply accordingly.

Chapter V

Quality of services

Article 28

Information on providers and their services

1.  The Commission and the Member States shall ensure that providers make the following information available to the recipient, to the European point of single contact and to the points of single contact in the Member States of destination:

   a) the name of the provider, his legal form if he is a legal person, the geographic address at which he is established, and the details which enable him to be contacted rapidly and communicated with directly and, as the case may be, by electronic means;
   b) where the provider is registered in a trade or other similar public register, the name of that register and the provider's registration number, or equivalent means of identification in that register;
   c) where the activity is subject to an authorisation scheme, the particulars of the relevant competent authority or the point of single contact;
   d) where the provider exercises an activity which is subject to VAT, the identification number referred to in Article 22(1) of Sixth Council Directive 77/388/EEC of 17 May 1977 on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes - Common system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment(47);
   e) in the case of the regulated professions, any professional body or similar institution with which the provider is registered, the professional title and the Member State in which that title has been granted;
   f) the general conditions and clauses, if any, used by the provider;
   g) contractual clauses concerning the law applicable to the contract and/or the competent courts;
   h) where professional liability insurance or an equivalent guarantee is compulsory, the details referred to in Article 29(1), with particular reference to details of the insurer or guarantor, of the professional and geographical coverage and proof of being up to date with payments to the insurer.

2.  Member States shall ensure that the information referred to in paragraph 1, according to the provider's preference:

   a) is supplied by the provider on his own initiative;
   b) is easily accessible to the recipient at the place where the service is provided or the contract concluded;
   c) can be easily accessed by the recipient electronically by means of an address supplied by the provider;
   d) appears in any information documents supplied to the recipient by the provider, setting out a detailed description of the service he provides.

3.  Member States shall ensure that, at the recipient's request, providers supply the following additional information:

   a) the main features of the service;
   b) the price of the service or, if an exact price cannot be given, the method for calculating the price so that the recipient can check it, or a sufficiently detailed estimate;
   c) the legal status and form of the provider;
   ( d) as regards the regulated professions, a reference to the professional rules applicable in the Member State of origin and how to access them.

4.  Member States shall ensure that the information which a provider must supply in accordance with this Chapter is made available or communicated in a clear and unambiguous manner, and in good time before conclusion of the contract or, where there is no written contract, before the service is provided.

5.  The information requirements laid down in this Chapter are in addition to requirements already provided for in Community law and do not prevent Member States from imposing additional information requirements applicable to providers established in their territory.

6.  The Commission may, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 39(2), specify the content of the information provided for in paragraphs 1 and 3 according to the specific nature of certain activities and may specify the practical means of implementing paragraph 2.

Article 29

Professional insurance and guarantees

1.  Member States may require that providers whose services present a direct and particular risk to the health or safety of the recipient or a third person, or to the financial security of the recipient, or an environmental risk, are obliged to take out professional indemnity insurance adequate to the nature and extent of the risk, or to provide some other guarantee which is equivalent or essentially comparable as regards its purpose. The professional indemnity insurance or guarantee shall also cover risks presented by such services where they are provided in other Member States.

2.  Member States may require that, where the provider first moves from one Member State to another in order to provide services, he shall inform the competent authority in the Member State of destination in advance by way of a written declaration including the details of any insurance cover or other means of personal or collective protection with regard to professional liability. Such declaration shall be renewed once a year if the provider intends to provide temporary or occasional services in that Member State during that year. The provider may supply the declaration by any means.

3.  Member States shall ensure that providers supply a recipient with information on the insurance or guarantees referred to in paragraph 1, and in particular the contact details of the insurer or guarantor and the territorial coverage.

4.   When a provider establishes himself in their territory or provides services, Member States may not require professional insurance or a financial guarantee from the provider where he is already covered by a guarantee which is equivalent, or essentially comparable as regards its purpose, in another Member State in which the provider is already established.

Where a Member State requires insurance against financial risks arising from professional liability, that Member State shall accept, from a provider established in another Member State, as sufficient evidence an attestation of such insurance issued by a bank or insurance undertaking in the Member State where the provider is established.

Where equivalence is only partial, Member States may require a supplementary guarantee to cover those aspects not already covered.

5.  Paragraphs 1 to 4 do not affect professional insurance or guarantee arrangements provided for in other Community instruments.

6.   For the implementation of paragraph 1, the Commission may, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 39(2), establish a list of services which exhibit the characteristics referred to in paragraph 1 and establish common criteria for defining, for the purposes of the insurance or guarantees referred to in that paragraph, what is adequate to the nature and extent of the risk.

Article 30

After-sales guarantees

Member States shall ensure that providers supply a recipient, at his request, with information on the existence or otherwise of an after-sales guarantee, on its content and on the essential criteria for its application, in particular, its period of validity and territorial cover.

Article 31

Commercial communications by the regulated professions

1.  Member States shall remove all total prohibitions on commercial communications by the regulated professions.

2.  Member States shall ensure that commercial communications by the regulated professions comply with professional rules, in conformity with Community law, which relate, in particular, to the independence, dignity and integrity of the profession, as well as to professional secrecy, in a manner consonant with the specific nature of each profession.

Article 32

Multidisciplinary activities

1.  Member States shall ensure that providers are not made subject to requirements which oblige them to exercise a given specific activity exclusively or which restrict the exercise jointly or in partnership of different activities.

However, the following providers may be made subject to such requirements:

   a) the regulated professions, in so far as is justified in order to guarantee compliance with the rules governing professional ethics and conduct, which vary according to the specific nature of each profession;
   b) providers of certification, accreditation, technical monitoring, test or trial services in so far as is justified in order to ensure their independence and impartiality.

2.  Where multidisciplinary activities are authorised, Member States shall ensure the following:

   a) that conflicts of interest and incompatibilities between certain activities are prevented;
   b) that the independence and impartiality required for certain activities is secured;
   c) that the rules governing professional ethics and conduct for different activities are compatible with one another, especially as regards matters of professional secrecy.

3.  Member States shall ensure that providers supply the recipient, at his request, with information on their multidisciplinary activities and partnerships and on the measures taken to avoid conflicts of interest. That information shall be included in any information document in which providers give a detailed description of their services.

Article 33

Policy on quality of services

1.  Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, take accompanying measures to encourage providers to take action on a voluntary basis in order to ensure the quality of service provision, in particular through use of one of the following methods:

   a) by having their activities certified or assessed by independent bodies;
   b) by drawing up their own quality charter or participating in quality charters or labels drawn up by professional bodies at Community level.

2.  Member States shall ensure that information on the significance of certain labels and the criteria for applying labels and other quality marks relating to services can be easily accessed by recipients and providers.

3.  Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, take accompanying measures to encourage professional bodies, as well as chambers of commerce and craft associations, within Member States to cooperate at Community level in order to promote the quality of service provision, especially by making it easier to assess a provider's competence.

4.  Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, take accompanying measures to encourage the development of independent assessments in relation to the quality and defects of service provision, and in particular the development at Community level of comparative trials or testing and the communication of the results.

5.  Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, encourage the development of voluntary European standards with the aim of facilitating compatibility between services supplied by providers in different Member States, information to the recipient and the quality of service provision.

Article 34

Settlement of disputes

1.  Member States shall take the general measures necessary to ensure that providers supply a postal address, fax number or e-mail address and a telephone number to which all recipients, including those resident in another Member State, can send a complaint or a request for information on the service provided. Providers shall supply their legal address if this is not their usual address for correspondence.

2.  Member States shall take the general measures necessary to ensure that providers respond to the complaints referred to in paragraph 1 in the shortest possible time and make best efforts to find satisfactory solutions.

3.  Member States shall take the general measures necessary to ensure that providers are obliged to demonstrate compliance with the obligations laid down in this Directive as to the provision of information and to demonstrate that the information is accurate.

4.  Where a financial guarantee is required for compliance with a judicial decision, Member States shall recognise equivalent guarantees lodged with a provider or body established in another Member State.

5.  Member States shall take the general measures necessary to ensure that providers who are subject to a code of conduct, or are members of a trade association or professional body, which provides for recourse to a non-judicial means of dispute settlement, inform the recipient accordingly, and mention that fact in any document which presents their services in detail, specifying how to access detailed information on the characteristics of and conditions for the use of such a mechanism.

Article 35

Information on the good repute of providers

1.  Member States shall, at the request of a competent authority in another Member State, supply information on criminal convictions, penalties, administrative or disciplinary measures and decisions concerning insolvency or bankruptcy involving fraud, taken by their competent authorities in respect of the provider, which are of direct relevance to his competence or professional reliability.

A request made pursuant to this paragraph must be duly substantiated, in particular as regards the reasons for the request for information.

2.  The Member State which supplies the information referred to in paragraph 1 shall at the same time specify whether a particular decision is final or whether an appeal has been lodged in respect of it, in which case the Member State in question should provide an indication of the date when the decision on appeal is expected.

Moreover, that Member State shall specify the provisions of national law pursuant to which the provider was found guilty or penalised.

3.  Implementation of paragraphs 1 and 2 must comply with provisions on the protection of personal data and the rights guaranteed to persons found guilty or penalised, including by professional associations, in the Member States concerned. Any information in question which is public shall be easily accessible to consumers.

Chapter VI

Convergence programme

Article 36

Codes of conduct at Community level

1.  Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, take accompanying measures to encourage the drawing up at Community level, particularly by professional bodies, organisations and associations, of codes of conduct aimed at facilitating the provision of services or the establishment of a provider in another Member State, in conformity with Community law.

2.  Member States shall ensure that the codes of conduct referred to in paragraph 1 are accessible at a distance, by electronic means.

3.  Member States shall ensure that providers indicate, at the recipient's request, or in any information documents which present their services in detail, any codes of conduct to which they are subject and the address at which these codes may be consulted by electronic means, specifying the language versions available.

Article 37

Additional harmonisation

1.  The Commission shall assess, by ...(48) at the latest, the possibility of presenting proposals for harmonisation instruments on the following subjects:

   a) the detailed rules for the exercise of cash-in-transit services;
   b) access to the activity of judicial recovery of debts;
   c) security services.

Article 38

Mutual evaluation

1.  By ...(49) at the latest, Member States shall present a report to the Commission on requirements to be evaluated containing the information specified in Article 15(4).

2.  The Commission shall forward the reports provided for in paragraph 1 to the Member States, which shall submit their observations on each of the reports within six months. Within the same period, the Commission shall consult interested parties on those reports.

3.  The Commission shall present the reports and the Member States" observations to the Committee referred to in Article 39(1), which may make observations.

4.  In the light of the observations provided for in paragraphs 2 and 3, the Commission shall, by ...(50)* at the latest, present a summary report to the European Parliament and to the Council, accompanied where appropriate by proposals for additional initiatives.

Article 39

Committee

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a Committee, consisting of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the Commission representative.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 3 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, in accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of that Decision.

3.  The Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.

Article 40

Review clause

Following the summary report referred to in Article 38(4), the Commission shall, every three years, present to the European Parliament and to the Council a comprehensive report on the application of this Directive, in particular of Articles 2 and 21 thereof, accompanied, where appropriate, by proposals for its amendment.

Article 41

Amendment of Directive 98/27/EC

In the Annex to Directive 98/27/EC, the following point shall be added:

"

13.  Directive 2006/.../EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of … [on services in the internal market] *

__________________

* OJ L ...

"

Chapter VII

Final provisions

Article 42

1.  Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by ...(51) at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and the provisions of this Directive.

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.

Article 43

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

Article 44

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) Not yet published in OJ.
(2) OJ C 221, 8.9.2005, p. 113.
(3) OJ C 43, 18.2.2005, p. 18.
(4) Position of the European Parliament of 16 February 2006.
(5) COM(2002)0441 final.
(6) COM(2003)0313 final.
(7) COM(2002)0585 final.
(8) OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22.
(9) OJ L 364, 9.12.2004, p. 1. Regulation as amended by Directive 2005/29/EC.
(10) OJ L 126, 26.5.2000, p. 1. Directive as last amended by Commission Directive 2004/69/EC (OJ L 125, 28.4.2004, p. 44).
(11) OJ L 298, 17.10.1989, p. 23. Directive as amended by Directive 97/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 202, 30.7.1997, p. 60).
(12) OJ L 145, 5.6.1997, p. 29.
(13) OJ L 18, 21.1.1997, p. 1.
(14) OJ L 13, 19.1.2000, p. 12.
(15) OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1.
(16) OJ L 320, 28.11.1998, p. 54.
(17) OJ L 204, 21.7.1998, p. 37. Directive as last amended by 2003 Act of Accession.
(18) OJ L 166, 11.6.1998, p. 51. Directive as last amended by Directive 2002/65/EC (OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, p. 16).
(19) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.
(20) Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 7).
(21) Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 21).
(22) Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 33).
(23) Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 51).
(24) Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) (OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37).
(25) OJ L 78, 26.3.1977, p. 17. Directive as last amended by 2003 Act of Accession.
(26) OJ L 77, 14.3.1998, p. 36. Directive as amended by 2003 Act of Accession.
(27) OJ L 149, 5.7.1971, p. 2. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 631/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 100, 6.4.2004, p. 1).
(28) OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.
(29) OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 114.
(30) OJ L 221, 4.9.2003, p. 13.
(31) OJ L 395, 30.12.1989, p. 36.
(32)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(33)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(34)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(35)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(36)* Five years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(37) OJ L 15, 21.1.1998, p. 14. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 (OJ L 284, 31.10.2003, p. 1).
(38) OJ L 176, 15.7.2003, p. 37.
(39) OJ L 176, 15.7.2003, p. 57.
(40) OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31. Directive as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003.
(41) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(42) OJ L 30, 6.2.1993, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2557/2001 (OJ L 349, 31.12.2001, p. 1).
(43) OJ L 24, 27.1.1987, p. 36.
(44) OJ L 77, 27.3.1996, p. 20.
(45)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(46)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(47) OJ L 145, 13.6.1977, p. 1. Directive as last amended by Directive 2006/18/EC (OJ L 51, 22.2.2006, p. 12).
(48)* One year after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(49)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(50)** Four years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.
(51)* Three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive.


Strategic guidelines for rural development *
PDF 406kWORD 205k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council decision on Community strategic guidelines for Rural Development (Programming period 2007- 2013) (COM(2005)0304 – C6-0349/2005 – 2005/0129(CNS))
P6_TA(2006)0062A6-0023/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2005)0304)(1),

–   having regard to Article 37 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0349/2005),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0023/2006),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendments by Parliament
Amendment 1
Recital 1 a (new)
(1a) The Community strategic guidelines take account of the multifunctional role of agriculture and of the wide diversity between the regions of the enlarged EU, which require the Member States to be allowed the necessary flexibility during the planning and implementation of the rural development programmes.
Amendment 2
Recital 2
(2)  The strategic guidelines identify the areas important for the realisation of Community priorities, in particular in relation to the Göteborg sustainability goals and to the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs,
(2)   These strategic guidelines should identify the areas important for the realisation of Community priorities, in particular in relation to the Göteborg sustainability goals and to the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs, also taking into account the needs of the new CAP and developments arising from the EU's international negotiations.
Amendment 3
Recital 2a (new)
(2a) The integration of women into the labour market should be a horizontal priority in the implementation of the strategic guidelines set out in the Annex.
Amendment 4
Annex, point 1, paragraph 2, indent 4
- accompany the implementation of the new market oriented Common Agricultural Policy and the necessary restructuring it will entail in the old and new Member States.
- accompany the implementation of the new market oriented Common Agricultural Policy and the necessary restructuring it will entail in the old and new Member States, while also taking account of consumer expectations in terms of health, safety and quality.
Amendment 5
Annex, point 1, paragraph 2, indent 4 a (new)
- ensure continuity between current rural development programmes and the programmes starting from 2007.
Amendment 6
Annex, point 2.1, title
The CAP and Rural Development
Rural Development within the CAP
Amendment 7
Annex, point 2.1, paragraph 1
Agriculture continues to be the largest user of rural land as well as a key determinant of the quality of the countryside and the environment. The importance and relevance of the CAP and rural development have increased with the recent enlargement of the European Union.
Agriculture continues to be the largest user of rural land as well as a key determinant of the quality of the countryside and the environment. The importance and relevance of the first pillar of the CAP and rural development have increased with the recent enlargement of the European Union.
Amendment 8
Annex, point 2.1, paragraph 2
Without the two pillars of the CAP, market policy and rural development, many rural areas of Europe would face increasing economic, social and environmental problems. The European Model of Agriculture reflects the multifunctional role farming plays in the richness and diversity of landscapes, food products and cultural and natural heritage.
Without the two pillars of the CAP, market policy and rural development, many rural areas of Europe would face increasing economic, social and environmental problems. The European Model of Agriculture reflects the multifunctional role farming plays in the richness and diversity of landscapes, food products and cultural and natural heritage and is thus adaptable to new social demands, such as for quality products, food safety, green tourism, the enhancement of the natural heritage, and alternative energy sources.
Amendment 9
Annex, point 2.2
The 2003 and 2004 CAP reforms represent a major step forward to improve the competitiveness and sustainable development of farming activity in the EU and set the framework for future reforms. Successive reforms have boosted the competitiveness of European agriculture by reducing price support guarantees. The introduction of decoupled direct payments encourages farmers to respond to market signals generated by consumer demand rather than by quantity related policy incentives. The inclusion of environment, food safety, animal health and welfare standards in cross-compliance reinforces consumer confidence and increases the environmental sustainability of farming.
The 2003 and 2004 CAP reforms represent a major step forward to improve the regional and local competitiveness and sustainable development of farming activity in the EU and set the framework for future reforms. Successive reforms have boosted the competitiveness of European agriculture by reducing price support guarantees. The introduction of decoupled direct payments encourages farmers to respond to market signals generated by consumer demand and the needs of society rather than by quantity related policy incentives and the practice of intensive farming. The inclusion of environment, food safety, animal health and welfare standards in cross-compliance reinforces consumer confidence and increases the environmental sustainability of farming.
Amendment 10
Annex, point 2.3, paragraph 1
The future Rural Development policy focuses on three key areas: the agrifood economy, the environment and the broader rural economy and population. The new generation of rural development strategies and programmes will be built around a competitiveness axis for agriculture, food and forestry, a land management-environment axis and a quality of life/diversification axis in rural areas.
The future Rural Development policy focuses on three key areas: agriculture and food processing, the environment and the broader rural economy and population. The new generation of rural development strategies and programmes will be built around a competitiveness axis for agriculture, food and forestry, a land management-environment axis and a quality of life/diversification axis in rural areas.
Amendment 11
Annex, point 2.4, paragraph 1
Rural areas are characterised by a very large diversity of situations, ranging from remote rural areas suffering from depopulation and decline to peri-urban areas under increasing pressure from urban centres.
Rural areas are characterised by a very large diversity of situations, ranging from remote rural, mountainous, and disadvantaged areas suffering from depopulation and decline to peri-urban areas under increasing pressure from urban centres. Differentiated rural development strategies are thus required.
Amendments 12 and 13
Annex, point 2.4, paragraph 2
According to the OECD definition, which is based on population density6, rural regions represent in the EU-25 92% of the territory. Furthermore, 19% of the population live in predominantly rural regions and 37% live in significantly rural regions. These regions generate 45% of Gross Value Added (GVA) in the EU-25 and provide 53% of the employment, but tend to lag as regards a number of socio-economic indicators, including Structural Indicators, compared to non-rural areas. In rural areas, income per inhabitant is around a third less, activity rates for women are lower, the service sector is less developed, higher education levels are generally lower, and a lower percentage of households has access to "broadband" internet. Remoteness and peripherality are major problems in some rural regions. These disadvantages tend to be even more significant in predominantly rural regions, although the general picture at EU level can vary substantially between Member States. Lack of opportunities, contacts and training infrastructure are a particular problem for women and young people in remote rural areas.
According to the OECD definition6, which is based on population density, rural regions represent in the EU-25 92% of the territory. Furthermore, 19% of the population live in predominantly rural regions and 37% live in significantly rural regions. These regions generate 45% of Gross Value Added (GVA) in the EU-25 and provide 53% of the employment, but tend to lag behind as regards a number of socio-economic indicators, including Structural Indicators, compared to non-rural areas. In rural areas, income per inhabitant is around a third less, activity rates for women are lower, the service sector is less developed, higher education levels are generally lower, and a lower percentage of households has access to "broadband" internet. Remoteness and peripherality are major problems in some rural regions. These disadvantages tend to be even more significant in predominantly rural regions and in the outermost regions, where farms are small, isolated, exposed to severe climate conditions and limited in their range of produce. Lack of opportunities, contacts and training infrastructure are a particular problem for women and young people in remote rural areas.
_____________________
6The OECD definition is based on the share of population living in rural communes (i.e. with less than 150 inhabitants per km²) in a given NUTS III region. See Extended Impact Assessment - SEC(2004) 931. This is the only definition of rural areas internationally recognised. However, in some cases, it does not fully take into account the population living in more densely populated rural areas, particularly in peri-urban zones.
___________________
6The OECD definition is based on the share of population living in rural communes (i.e. with less than 150 inhabitants per km²) in a given NUTS III region. See Extended Impact Assessment - SEC(2004) 931. This is the only definition of rural areas internationally recognised. However, in some cases, it does not fully take into account the population living in more densely populated rural areas, particularly in peri-urban zones. In the context of these guidelines, the OECD definition is used only for statistical and descriptive purposes.
Amendment 14
Annex, point 2.4, paragraph 3
In EU-15 agriculture accounts for 2% of GDP, in the new Member States for 3% and more than 10% in Romania and Bulgaria. In the new Member states three times as many people work in agriculture (12%) compared to the old member states (4%). In Bulgaria and Romania agricultural employment levels are considerably higher.
In EU-15 agriculture accounts for 2% of GDP, in the new Member States for 3% and more than 10% in Romania and Bulgaria. In the new Member states three times as many people work in agriculture (12%) compared to the old member states (4%). In Bulgaria and Romania agricultural employment levels are considerably higher. The new Member States are characterised by the significant under funding of the agricultural sector and huge disparities in income levels in comparison with the other Member States. The cohesion principle must therefore also be implemented in rural areas.
Amendment 15
Annex, point 2.4, paragraph 7a (new)
The importance of crafts in the countryside must also be stressed. Crafts are linked to all sectors of activity: construction, food, transport, textiles, etc. They enable job creation, training of young people through apprenticeships, the transmission of traditional skills and the creation of social ties in the most remote areas.
Amendment 16
Annex, point 2.4, paragraph 8
On the occasion of the relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy, the European Council has reaffirmed that the Lisbon Strategy is to be seen in the wider context of sustainable development, that present needs must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The new programming period provides a unique opportunity to refocus support from the new rural development fund on growth, jobs and sustainability. In this respect, it is fully in line with the Declaration on the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development and the renewed Lisbon Action Programme which seeks to target resources at making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work, promoting knowledge and innovation for growth and creating more and better jobs.
On the occasion of the relaunch of the Lisbon Strategy, the European Council has reaffirmed that the Lisbon Strategy is to be seen in the wider context of sustainable development, that present needs must be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.The new programming period provides a unique opportunity to refocus support from the new rural development fund on growth, jobs and sustainability. In this respect, it is fully in line with the Declaration on the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development and the renewed Lisbon Action Programme which seeks to target resources at making Europe a more attractive place to invest and work, promoting knowledge and innovation for growth and creating more and better jobs. Rural areas are disadvantaged as they do not have access to the same level and quality of services as are available in urban areas. This deficit in the provision of services, such as road, public transport, information technology etc. makes it difficult for people wishing to live and work in rural areas to do so.
Amendment 17
Annex, point 2.4, paragraph 9
Rural development policy must help rural areas meet these objectives in the period 2007–2013. This requires a more strategic approach to competitiveness, job creation and innovation in rural areas and improved governance in the delivery of programmes. There must be an increased focus on forward-looking investments in people, know-how and capital in the farm and forestry sectors, on new ways of delivering win-win environmental services and on creating more and better jobs through diversification, particularly for women and young people. By helping the EU's rural areas to fulfil their potential as attractive places to invest, work and live, rural development policy can play its part in the sustainable development of Europe's territory.
Rural development policy must help people in rural areas to make use of their abilities in partnerships between government agencies and civil society in pursuit of these objectives in the period 2007–2013. This requires a more strategic approach by the EU and the Member States in order to attain the three objectives of cohesion, competitiveness and sustainability. This will lead to the creation of jobs and innovation and improved governance in the delivery of programmes in rural areas. There must be an increased focus on forward-looking investments in people, know-how and capital in the farm and forestry sectors, on new ways of delivering win-win environmental services and on creating more and better jobs through diversification, particularly for women and young people. By helping the EU's rural areas to fulfil their potential as attractive places to invest, work and live, rural development policy can play its part in the sustainable development of Europe's territory. Support for rural areas should involve, in particular, the provision of essential funding to the new Member States in order to reduce the gap between them and the EU15.
Amendment 18
Annex, point 3
Within the framework of the objectives established in the Rural Development regulation, these guidelines identify priorities for the Community, aimed at the integration of major policy priorities as spelled out in the conclusions of the Lisbon and Göteborg European Councils. For each set of priorities, key actions are presented. Member States shall prepare their national rural development strategies, constituting the reference framework for the preparation of rural development programmes, on the basis of these strategic guidelines.
Within the framework of the objectives established in the Rural Development regulation, the strategic guidelines set out below identify priorities for the Community pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005. The guidelines are aimed at the integration of major policy priorities as spelled out in the conclusions of the Lisbon, Göteborg and Luxembourg European Councils. For each set of priorities, key actions are presented for illustrative purposes. Member States shall prepare their national rural development strategies, constituting the reference framework for the preparation of rural development programmes, on the basis of these strategic guidelines. When drawing up rural development programmes, Member States shall have the necessary flexibility to adapt Community priorities in order to tailor them to the particular conditions prevailing on their territory. They shall also be able to make readjustments, where sufficiently justified.
Amendment 19
Annex, point 3.1, Guideline, paragraph 2
The resources devoted to axis 1 should contribute to a strong and dynamic European agrifood sector by focusing on the priorities of knowledge transfer and innovation in the food chain and priority sectors for investment in physical and human capital.
The resources devoted to axis 1 should contribute to strong and dynamic European agriculture, forestry and food sectors by focusing on the priorities of knowledge transfer, modernisation and innovation in the farming and food chain and priority sectors for investment in physical and human capital, including promoting the use of ICT and responding to the specific needs of young farmers.
Amendment 21
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, introduction
In order to meet these priorities, Member States should focus support on key actions such as:
In order to meet these priorities, Member States are encouraged to focus support on key actions. Such key actions may include the following:
Amendment 22
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 1
- facilitating innovation and access to R&D. Innovation is increasingly important for Europe's farming, agrifood and forestry sectors. While Europe's large agrifood companies are often at the cutting edge of new trends, the introduction of new products and processes could significantly contribute to the performance of smaller processors and farm businesses. In particular, new forms of cooperation could facilitate access to R&D, innovation and actions undertaken under the 7th Framework Programme;
- facilitating innovation and access to R&D. Innovation is increasingly important for Europe's farming, agrifood and forestry sectors. While Europe's large agrifood companies are often at the cutting edge of new trends, the introduction of new products and processes could significantly contribute to the performance of smaller processors and farm businesses. In particular, new forms of cooperation could facilitate access to R&D and innovation, providing, inter alia, access to external laboratories for quality assessment and improvement, and to other actions undertaken under both the 7th Framework Programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013);
Amendment 23
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 2
- improving integration in the agrifood chain. Europe's food industry is one of the world's most competitive and innovative, but it is facing increasing global competition. There is considerable scope in the rural economy to create and market new products, to retain more value in rural areas through quality schemes and to raise the profile of European products overseas. The use of advisory services and support to meet Community standards will contribute to this integration process. A market oriented agricultural sector will help further consolidate the position of Europe's agrifood sector as a major employer and source of economic growth;
- adapting supply to demand and improving integration in the agrifood chain. Europe's food industry is one of the world's most competitive and innovative, but it is facing increasing global competition. There is considerable scope in the rural economy to create and market new products, to retain more value in rural areas.This can be achieved, in particular, by means of quality control schemes, the development and application of common standards, information for consumers and making agricultural products more recognisable. Such actions will also raise the profile of European products overseas. In particular, local and regional products should be promoted. The use of advisory services and support to meet Community standards will contribute to this integration process. A market oriented agricultural sector will help further consolidate the position of Europe's agrifood sector as a major employer and source of economic growth;·
Amendment 24
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 4
- fostering dynamic entrepreneurship. The recent reforms have created a market oriented environment for European farming. This brings new opportunities for farm businesses. But the realisation of this economic potential will depend on the development of strategic and organisational skills;
- fostering dynamic entrepreneurship. The recent reform, and intensified international competition, have created a market oriented environment for European farming. This brings both new challenges and new opportunities for farm businesses. The realisation of this economic potential will depend on the development of the strategic, business and organisational skills of farmers and their families and, particularly, on the entry of young farmers into the profession;
Amendment 25
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 5
- development of new outlets for agricultural and forestry products. New outlets can offer higher value added. Support for investment and training in the field of non-food production under rural development can complement measures taken under the first pillar by creating innovative new outlets for production or helping the development of renewable energy materials, biofuels and processing capacity;
- development of new outlets for agricultural products and the forestry sector. New outlets can offer higher value added. Measures to promote information, awareness and networking will open up new opportunities and possibilities on the internal market of each country as well as for new export activities. Support for investment and training in the field of non-food production under rural development can complement measures taken under the first pillar by creating innovative new outlets for production, making use of waste, or helping the development of renewable energy materials, organic materials, biofuels and processing capacity or promoting products with special properties, including quality products and products of designated origin;
Amendment 26
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 6
– improving the environmental performance of farms and forestry. Long term sustainability will depend on the ability to produce products that consumers wish to buy, while achieving high environmental standards. Investing in increased environmental performance can also lead to efficiency gains in production, creating a win-win situation;
– improving the environmental performance of farms and forestry. Long term sustainability will depend on the ability to produce products that consumers wish to buy, while achieving high environmental standards. Investing in increased environmental performance can also lead to efficiency gains in production, creating a win-win situation. Encouragement should also be given to organic farming and production by means of traditional methods relating to regional specialities;
Amendment 27
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 7
- restructuring of the agriculture sector. Rural development is a key tool for restructuring, particularly in the New Member States. Enlargement has changed the agricultural map. Successful agricultural adjustment can be the key to improving the competitiveness and environmental sustainability of the agricultural sector and boosting jobs and growth in related areas of the economy. All Member States should promote the anticipation of change within the agricultural sector in the context of restructuring, and develop a proactive approach to training and retraining of farmers, particularly as regards transferable skills.
- restructuring and modernisation of the agriculture sector. Rural development is a key tool for restructuring and modernisation in the agricultural and forestry sectors. Investment in farms needs to be continued both in the old and in the new Member States. Enlargement and developments on the international and internal markets, together with varying consumer preferences and demands, have changed the agricultural map and the new Member States should be able to benefit from the transitional measures on semi-subsistence farming and producer groups. Successful agricultural adjustment can be the key to improving the competitiveness and environmental sustainability of the agricultural sector and boosting jobs and growth in related areas of the economy. All Member States should promote the anticipation of change within the agricultural sector, support investment in the context of restructuring and modernisation, and develop a proactive approach to training and retraining of farmers, particularly as regards transferable skills and the creation of alternative sources of income;
Amendment 28
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 7a (new)
- supporting local initiatives such as local farmers' markets and local food-quality procurement schemes;
Amendment 29
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 1, indent 7 b (new)
- improving the transfer between generations. If this activity is to be preserved lastingly in the Member States, the transfer between generations must be ensured. The EU needs to reduce to a minimum the red tape which young farmers have encountered in the past when applying for rural development aid. The transfer between generations needs to be a priority objective for all the rural development axes;
Amendment 30
Annex, point 3.1, paragraph 2
To enhance generational renewal in agriculture combinations of measures available under axis 1 tailored to the needs of young farmers should be considered.
To enhance generational renewal in agriculture combinations of measures available under axis 1 tailored to the needs of young farmers should be considered. These may include, in particular, aid for the establishment and handover of farms.
Amendment 31
Annex, point 3.2, Guideline
To protect and enhance the EU's natural resources and landscapes in rural areas, the resources devoted to axis 2 should contribute to three EU level priority areas: biodiversity and preservation of high nature value farming and forestry systems, water, and climate change. The measures available under axis 2 should be used to integrate these environmental objectives and contribute to the implementation of the agricultural and forestry Natura 2000 network, to the Göteborg commitment to reverse biodiversity decline by 2010, to the Water Framework Directive objectives and to the Kyoto Protocol targets for climate change mitigation.
To protect and enhance the EU's natural resources and landscapes in rural areas, through cooperation with farmers and other land managers to the greatest extent possible, the resources devoted to axis 2 should contribute to four EU level priority areas: biodiversity and the preservation of high nature value farming and forestry systems and traditional agricultural landscapes, the sustainable use of water resources, soil conservation and protection, and climate change. The measures available under axis 2 should be used to integrate these environmental objectives, with particular regard to less-favoured rural areas, and contribute to the implementation of the agricultural and forestry Natura 2000 network, to the Göteborg commitment to reverse biodiversity decline by 2010, to the Water Framework Directive objectives and to the Kyoto Protocol targets for climate change mitigation.
Amendment 32
Annex, point 3.2, introduction
In order to meet these priorities, Member States should focus support on key actions such as:
In order to meet these priorities, Member States are encouraged to focus support on key actions. These key actions may include the following:
Amendment 33
Annex, point 3.2, indent 1
- promoting environmental services and animal friendly farming practices. European citizens expect farmers to respect mandatory standards. But many also agree that farmers should be remunerated for signing up to commitments which go further, delivering services that the market will not provide alone, particularly when focused on specific resources such as water and soil;
- promoting environmental services and farming practices that are friendly to biodiversity and the environment. European citizens expect farmers to respect mandatory standards. But many also agree that farmers should be remunerated for signing up to commitments which go further, delivering services that the market will not provide alone, particularly when focused on specific resources such as water and soil;
Amendment 34
Annex, point 3.2, indent 2
- preserving the farmed landscape. In Europe, much of the valued rural environment is the product of agriculture. Appropriate farming systems help to preserve landscapes and habitats ranging from wetlands to dry meadows and mountain pastures. In many areas, this is an important part of cultural and natural heritage and of the overall attractiveness of rural areas as places to live and work;
- preserving the natural and farmed landscape. In Europe, much of the valued rural environment is the product of agriculture and forestry. Appropriate farming systems help to preserve landscapes and habitats ranging from wetlands to dry meadows and mountain pastures. Where farming practices are imposed or restricted and the outcome of this is to preserve or enhance landscapes and habitats, a partnership between farmers, landowners and public bodies should be put in place in order to ensure consultation, cooperation and, where appropriate, compensation. In many areas, this is an important part of cultural and natural heritage and of the overall attractiveness of rural areas as places to live, visit as a tourist and work. If the humanised landscape is to be preserved, it is necessary to promote traditional techniques of agricultural production and the entire rural culture associated with them. Special assistance should be provided to prevent disasters such as floods, droughts, scarcity and forest fires, which often occur in neglected areas, as well as to prevent desertification;
Amendment 35
Annex, point 3.2, indent 2 a (new)
- promoting the forestry sector. Forests have a specific contribution to make to environmental protection because they regulate water , store the main greenhouse gases and certain soil pollutants, preserve biomass , and prevent natural disasters such as fires and landslips;
Amendment 36
Annex, point 3.2, indent 3
- combating climate change. Agriculture and forestry are at the forefront of the development of renewable energy and material sources for bio-energy installations. The development of these energy sources must take into account reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and preservation of the carbon sink effect of forests and organic matter in soil composition;
- promoting renewable energies in order to combat climate change. Agriculture and forestry are at the forefront of the development of renewable energy and material sources for bio-energy installations. The development of these energy sources must take into account reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and the need to increase the preservation of the carbon sink effect of forests and organic matter in soil composition. In all support measures, account should be taken of the global food-supply situation and competition for land between renewable energies and food;
Amendment 37
Annex, point 3.2, indent 3 a (new)
- preventing natural and other disasters and repairing the damage they cause, by protecting the forests, combating desertification and preventing flooding;
Amendment 38
Annex, point 3.2, indent 4 a (new)
- supporting research into energy crops and the process of producing biofuels, with a view to reducing production costs and increasing profit margins in order to make biofuel production competitive compared with conventional fuels;
Amendment 39
Annex, point 3.2, indent 6
- promoting territorial balance. Rural development programmes can make a vital contribution to the attractiveness of rural areas. They can also help ensure that in a competitive, knowledge-based economy, a sustainable balance between urban and rural areas is maintained. In combination with other programme axes, land management measures can make a positive contribution to the spatial distribution of economic activity and territorial cohesion.
- promoting territorial balance. Rural development programmes can make a vital contribution to the attractiveness of rural areas. They can also help ensure that in a competitive, knowledge-based economy, a sustainable balance between urban and rural areas is maintained. In combination with other programme axes, land management measures can make a positive contribution to the spatial distribution of economic activity and territorial cohesion. To ensure balanced land use it is also necessary to grant specific support to activities located in the least-favoured areas or areas with disadvantages of a natural or permanent nature.
Amendment 40
Annex, point 3.3, title
3.3.  Improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification
3.3.  Improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of the rural economy
Amendment 41
Annex, point 3.3, Guideline
The resources devoted to the fields of diversification of the rural economy and quality of life in rural areas under axis 3 should contribute to the overarching priority of the creation of employment opportunities. The range of measures available under axis 3 should in particular be used to promote capacity building, skills acquisition and organisation for local strategy development and also help ensure that rural areas remain attractive for future generations. In promoting training, information and entrepreneurship, the particular needs of women and young people should be considered.
The resources devoted to the fields of diversification of the rural economy and quality of life in rural areas under axis 3 should contribute to the overarching priority of the creation of new employment opportunities as well as helping to consolidate current employment levels, and creating conditions for growth. The range of measures available under axis 3 should in particular be used to promote capacity building, skills acquisition and organisation for local strategy development and also help ensure that rural areas remain attractive for future generations and that villages remain the centre of rural development. In promoting training, information and entrepreneurship, particular attention should be paid to the removal of barriers for those whose access to the labour market is currently hampered because of their gender, age or disability.
Amendment 42
Annex, point 3.3, introductory part
In order to meet these priorities, Member States should focus support on key actions such as:
In order to meet these priorities, Member States are encouraged to focus support on key actions. These key actions may include the following:
Amendment 43
Annex, point 3.3, indent 1
– raising economic activity and employment rates in the wider rural economy. Diversification is necessary for growth, employment and sustainable development in rural areas, and thereby contributes to a better territorial balance, both in economic and social terms. Tourism, crafts and the provision of rural amenities are growth sectors in many regions and offer opportunities both for on-farm diversification and the development of micro-businesses in the broader rural economy;
– raising economic activity and employment rates in the wider rural economy. Diversification is necessary for growth, employment and sustainable development in rural areas, and thereby contributes to a better territorial balance and greater cohesion between rural and urban areas, both in economic and social terms. Tourism, crafts and the provision of rural amenities are growth sectors in many regions and offer opportunities both for on-farm diversification and the development of micro-businesses in the broader rural economy;
Amendment 44
Annex, point 3.3, indent 1 a (new)
- maintaining and developing services aimed at maintaining populations and welcoming new dwellers. Depending on the needs of localities, communities and socio-economic agents, this may involve neighbourhood businesses, childcare and old people's centres, subsidised housing and rented accommodation, cultural centres, transport, services of general interest (e.g. healthcare) etc.
Amendment 45
Annex, point 3.3, indent 2
- encouraging the entry of women into the labour market. Local initiatives to develop childcare facilities in rural areas can improve employment opportunities and facilitate access of women to the labour market. This can include the development of child-care infrastructure, potentially in combination with initiatives to encourage the creation of small businesses related to rural activities;
- encouraging the entry of women into the labour market. Local initiatives to develop high-quality, appropriate and affordable childcare in rural areas can improve employment opportunities and facilitate access of women to the labour market. This can include the development of childcare infrastructure, the training of workers involved in childcare, the provision of training and access to microcredit for business creation and development and the establishment of women's networks;
Amendment 46
Annex, point 3.3, indent 2 a (new)
- encouraging village renewal and development. Integrated approaches to diversification of economic activities, safeguarding of the rural cultural heritage and investing in infrastructure for local services can contribute to improving the quality of life in rural areas and, in so doing, help to counter rural depopulation;
Amendment 47
Annex, point 3.3, indent 3
- developing micro-business and crafts can build on traditional skills or bring new competencies, particularly when combined with purchase of equipment, training and coaching, helping to promote entrepreneurship and develop the economic fabric;
- developing micro-business, crafts and cottage industries can build on traditional skills or bring new competencies, particularly when combined with purchase of equipment, training and coaching, helping to promote entrepreneurship and develop the economic fabric;
Amendment 48
Annex, point 3.3, indent 4
- training young people in traditional rural skills can tap into demand for tourism, recreation, environmental services and quality products;
- prioritising traditional rural skills and quality-oriented measures such as charters or labels, and training young people in these matters. This will make it possible to tap into demand for tourism, recreation, environmental services and quality, and, in particular, traditional products. It can also provide an opportunity for the older generation to pass on their skills to the younger generation;
Amendment 49
Annex, point 3.3, indent 5
- encouraging the take-up and diffusion of ICT. Take up and diffusion of ICT is essential in rural areas for diversification, as well as for local development, the provision of local services and the promotion of e-inclusion. Economies of scale can be achieved through village ICT initiatives combining IT equipment, networking and eSkills training through community structures. Such initiatives can greatly facilitate IT take-up by local farms and rural businesses and the adoption of eBusiness and eCommerce. Full advantage needs to be taken of the possibilities afforded by the internet and broadband communications, for example supported by regional programmes under the Structural Funds, to overcome the disadvantages of location;
- encouraging the take-up and diffusion of ICT. ICT creates new opportunities for life and employment in rural areas. The possibility of teleworking and connections to global information networks make rural areas more attractive to innovative businesses. Take up and diffusion of ICT is essential in rural areas for diversification, as well as for local development, the provision of local services and the promotion of e-inclusion. Economies of scale can be achieved through village ICT initiatives combining IT equipment, networking and eSkills training through community structures. Such initiatives can greatly facilitate IT take-up by local farms and rural businesses and the adoption of eBusiness and eCommerce. Full advantage needs to be taken of the possibilities afforded by the internet and broadband communications, for example supported by regional programmes under the Structural Funds, to overcome the disadvantages of location;
Amendment 50
Annex, point 3.3, indent 6
- developing the provision and innovative use of renewable energy sources can contribute to creating new outlets for agricultural and forestry products, the provision of local services and the diversification of the rural economy;
- developing the provision and innovative use of renewable energy sources and organic materials and promoting energy efficiency systems and energy services for producers can contribute to creating new outlets for agricultural and forestry products, the provision of local services and the diversification of the rural economy;
Amendment 51
Annex, point 3.3, indent 7
- encouraging the development of Tourism. Tourism is a major growth sector in many rural areas. Increased use of ITC in tourism for bookings, promotion, marketing, service design and recreational activities can help improve visitor number and length of stays, particularly where this provides links to smaller facilities and encourages agri-tourism;
- encouraging the development of Tourism. Tourism is a major growth sector in many rural areas and should be based upon the existing natural and cultural heritage. Increased use of ITC in tourism for bookings, promotion, marketing, service design and recreational activities can help improve visitor number and length of stays, particularly where this provides links to smaller facilities and encourages agri-tourism, other forms of environmentally sustainable tourism and tourism related to sport;
Amendment 52
Annex, point 3.3, indent 7a (new)
- preserving rural culture. The culture of rural communities can provide economic added value, notably for tourism. Crafts, food and drink, agricultural specialities and the related traditional production techniques, folklore and rural architecture are among the elements that need to be protected and, in some cases, revived. These traditions, despite the added value that they offer, are in danger of extinction because of rural depopulation, the ageing of rural populations and the lack of interest of the young, especially in the most depressed regions.
Amendment 53
Annex, point 3.3, indent 8
- upgrading of local infrastructure, particularly in the New Member States. Significant investment will be undertaken in major telecommunications, transport, energy and water infrastructure over the coming years. Considerable support will be available from the Structural Funds ranging from trans-European networks to the development of connections to business or science parks. For the multiplier effect to be fully realised in terms of jobs and growth, small-scale local infrastructure supported within rural development programmes can play a vital role in connecting these major investments to local strategies for diversification and development of agricultural and food-sector potential.
- upgrading of local infrastructure, particularly in the New Member States. Significant investment will be undertaken in major telecommunications, transport, energy and water infrastructure over the coming years. Considerable support will be available from the Structural Funds ranging from trans-European networks to the development of connections to business or science parks. An equitable share of these resources should be directed towards rural areas in order to ensure a significant balance of development between rural and urban areas. For the multiplier effect to be fully realised in terms of jobs and growth, small-scale local infrastructure supported within rural development programmes can play a vital role in connecting these major investments to local strategies for diversification and development of agricultural and food-sector potential.
Amendment 54
Annex, point 3.4, Guideline
The resources devoted to axis 4 (Leader) should contribute to the priorities of axis 1 and 2 and in particular of axis 3, but also play an important role in the priority of improving governance and mobilising the endogenous development potential of rural areas.
The resources devoted to axis 4 (Leader) should contribute to the priorities of axis 1 and 2 and in particular of axis 3, but also play an important role in the priority of improving governance and encouraging people to stimulate sustainable development and mobilising the potential inherent in the local area.
Amendment 55
Annex, point 3.4, paragraph 1
Support under the Leader axis offers the possibility, in the context of a local development strategy building on local needs and strengths, to combine all three objectives – competitiveness, environment and quality of life/diversification. Integrated approaches involving farmers, foresters and other rural actors can safeguard and enhance local natural and cultural heritage, raise environmental awareness and invest in and promote specialty products, tourism and renewable resources and energy.
Support under the Leader axis offers the possibility, in the context of a local development strategy building on local needs and strengths, to combine all three objectives – competitiveness, environment and quality of life/diversification. Integrated approaches involving farmers, foresters and other rural actors can safeguard and enhance local natural and cultural heritage, raise environmental awareness and invest in and promote specialty products, tourism and renewable resources and energy. The Leader projects should be focused around priority themes and on the delivery of outcomes.
Amendment 56
Annex, point 3.4, paragraph 2, indent 1
- building local partnership capacity, animation and promoting skills acquisition can help mobilise local potential;
- building local partnership capacity, animation and promoting skills acquisition can help mobilise local potential to prevent social exclusion and combat depopulation;
Amendment 57
Annex, point 3.4, paragraph 2, indent 2
- promoting private-public partnership. In particular, Leader will continue to play and important role in encouraging innovative approaches to rural development and bringing the private and public sectors together;
- promoting private-public partnership. In particular, Leader will continue to play and important role in ensuring community participation and encouraging innovative approaches to rural development and bringing the private and public sectors together;
Amendment 58
Annex, point 3.4, paragraph 2, indent 3
- promoting cooperation and innovation. Local initiatives such as Leader and support for diversification can play an essential role in connecting people to new ideas and approaches, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and promote inclusiveness and the provision of local services. On-line communities can help in the dissemination of knowledge, the exchange of good practices and innovation in rural products and services;
- promoting cooperation and innovation. Local initiatives such as Leader and support for diversification can play an essential role in connecting people to new ideas and approaches, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and promote inclusiveness and the provision of local services. Special attention should be devoted to integrating new population groups. On-line communities can help in the dissemination of knowledge, the exchange of good practices and innovation in rural products and services;
Amendment 59
Annex, point 3.4, paragraph 2, indent 4
- improving local governance. Leader can help foster innovative approaches to linking agriculture, forestry and the local economy thereby helping to diversify the economic base and strengthen the socio-economic tissue of rural areas.
- improving local governance. Leader can help foster innovative approaches to linking agriculture, forestry and the local economy, thereby helping to diversify the economic base and strengthen the socio-economic fabric of rural areas in particular.
Amendment 60
Annex, point 3.4, paragraph 2, indent 4 a (new)
- promoting the Local Agenda 21 in the countryside and adapting to the strengths and drawbacks of each locality in the light of the diversity of the countryside, with the participation of local agents and supporting full-scale local endogenous development projects. A culture of local participation needs to be developed on the basis of strategic development plans based on the Local Agenda 21. These plans, more comprehensive than the rural development plans, should involve a discussion of a shared vision for the communities' future, strategic areas for action, methods for environmental mainstreaming in the different areas of society, and actions to improve the local quality of life.
Amendment 61
Annex, point 3.5, paragraph 1
The resources devoted to the Community rural development priorities (within the regulatory minimum funding limits for each axis) will depend on the specific situation, strengths and weaknesses of each programme area. Each of the Community priorities, and their contribution to Lisbon and Göteborg objectives, will need to be translated into the Member State context in the national strategy plan and rural development programmes. In many cases, there will be national or regional priorities for specific problems related to the agrifood sector or the environmental, climatic and geographical situation of agriculture and forestry. Rural areas may have to deal with other specific issues such as peri-urban pressure, unemployment, remoteness or low population density.
The resources devoted to the Community rural development priorities (within the regulatory minimum funding limits for each axis) will depend on the specific situation, strengths and weaknesses of each programme area and the specific characteristics of the regions, in accordance with the Treaty. Each of the Community priorities, and their contribution to Lisbon and Göteborg objectives, will need to be translated into the Member State context in the national strategy plan and rural development programmes. In many cases, there will be national or regional priorities for specific problems related to the agrifood sector or the environmental, climatic and geographical situation of agriculture and forestry. Rural areas may have to deal with other specific issues such as peri-urban pressure, unemployment, remoteness, mountainous or island characteristics, or low population density.
Amendment 62
Annex, point 3.5, Guideline
In working out their national strategies, Member States should ensure that synergies between and within the axes are maximised and potential contradictions avoided. They will also wish to reflect on how to take into account other EU level strategies such as the Action Plan for Organic Farming, the latest Commission Communication on Renewable Energy, the Commission's recent Communication on Climate Change and the need to anticipate the likely effects on farming and forestry, and the Commission's report on the EU Forestry Strategy (which can help deliver on both the growth and employment and the sustainability objectives) and the forthcoming thematic environmental strategies.
In working out their national strategies, Member States should take an integrated approach, embodying appropriate spatial planning and maximising synergies between the axes and should seek the broadest possible involvement of all appropriate bodies, under the Partnership Principle as identified by Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005. They will also wish to reflect on how to take into account other EU level strategies such as the Action Plan for Organic Farming, the Commission Communication of 12 October 2005 on More Research and Innovation - Investing for Growth and Employment: A Common Approach, the latest Commission Communication on Renewable Energy, the Commission's recent Communication on Climate Change and the need to anticipate the likely effects on farming and forestry, and the Commission's report on the EU Forestry Strategy (which can help deliver on both the growth and employment and the sustainability objectives) and the forthcoming thematic environmental strategies.
Amendment 63
Annex, point 3.5, paragraph 2
Several means are available at EU and Member State level to improve governance and policy delivery. Technical assistance can be used to build up European and national networks for rural development, as a platform for exchange of best practice and expertise on all aspects of policy design, management and implementation between stakeholders. Information and publicity to ensure early involvement of the different actors will need to be considered in the preparation of the national strategies and worked out for the later stages of implementation.
Several means are available at EU and Member State level to improve governance and policy delivery. Technical assistance must be used to build up European and national networks for rural development, as a platform for exchange of best practice and expertise on all aspects of policy design, management and implementation between stakeholders. The experience of the LEADER Observatory and the national networks as regards strengthening local partnerships and exchanges of best practices should be taken into account in establishing and supporting the networks. Information and publicity to ensure early involvement of the different actors will need to be considered in the preparation of the national strategies and worked out for the later stages of implementation. Care should be taken to ensure that the periods allowed for the involvement of the actors are sufficiently long and to seek continuity of participation.
Amendment 64
Annex, point 3.6, Guideline
The synergy between structural, employment and rural development policies needs to be encouraged. In this context, Member States should ensure complementarity and coherence between actions to be financed by the ERDF, Cohesion Fund, ESF, EFF and EAFRD on a given territory and in a given field of activity. The main guiding principles as regards the demarcation line and the coordination mechanisms between actions supported by the different Funds should be defined at the level of national strategic reference framework/national strategy plan.
The synergy between structural, employment and rural development policies needs to be encouraged as well as, consequently, cooperation between the different regional partners. In this context, Member States should ensure complementarity and coherence between actions to be financed by the 7th Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme,TEN-T, LIFE +, the ERDF, Cohesion Fund, ESF, EFF and EAFRD on a given territory and in a given field of activity. The main guiding principles as regards the demarcation line and the coordination mechanisms between actions supported by the different Funds should be defined at the level of regional or national strategic reference framework, or regional or national strategy plan, whichever is the more appropriate for the Member State concerned.
Amendment 65
Annex, point 3.6, paragraph 1a (new)
A number of different demarcation criteria may be employed, such as project size, territorial impact (at regional and local level), investment type, beneficiary type, etc.
Amendment 66
Annex, point 3.6, paragraph 2
As regards the development of human capital, support under rural development would target farmers and the economic actors involved in the diversification of the rural economy. The population of rural areas could receive support as part of an integrated, bottom-up approach. Actions in these fields should be implemented in full compliance with the objectives of the European Employment Strategy, as set out in the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs and coherent with the actions taken under the national reform programmes in the framework of the Lisbon process. The Education and Training 2010 work programme seeks to achieve the education and the training side of the Lisbon goals. Lifelong learning is at the heart of this programme and applies to all levels and types of education and training, including the agricultural, forestry and agrifood sectors.
As regards the development of human capital, support under rural development would target farmers and their families and the economic actors involved in the diversification of the rural economy. It would also be coordinated with support afforded under other structural instruments. The population of rural areas could receive support as part of an integrated, bottom-up approach. Actions in these fields should be implemented in full compliance with the objectives of the European Employment Strategy, as set out in the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs and coherent with the actions taken under the national reform programmes in the framework of the Lisbon process. The Education and Training 2010 work programme seeks to achieve the education and the training side of the Lisbon goals. Lifelong learning is at the heart of this programme and applies to all levels and types of education and training, including the agricultural, forestry and agrifood sectors.
Amendment 67
Annex, point 4, paragraph 2
The framework will provide a limited set of common indicators and a common methodology. It will be supplemented by programme-specific indicators to reflect the character of each programme area.
The framework will provide a limited set of common indicators, in particular territorial indicators as called for by Parliament in its resolution of 28 September 2005 on the role of territorial cohesion in regional development1, as well as a common methodology. It will be supplemented by programme-specific indicators to reflect the character of each programme area.
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1 Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0358.

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


Millennium Development Goals
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European Parliament resolution on new financial instruments for development in connection with the Millennium Goals
P6_TA(2006)0063RC-B6-0119/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the forthcoming International Conference on Innovative Sources of Financing for Development to be held from 28 February to 1 March 2006 in Paris,

–   having regard to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the UN World Summit, reviewing progress towards the MDGs, held on 14 to 16 September 2005,

–   having regard to the Landau Report on "New International Financial Contributions for Development", commissioned in November 2003 by President Chirac,

–   having regard to the New York Declaration on the Action Against Hunger and Poverty, signed by over 120 countries during the 2004 United Nations General Assembly,

–   having regard to the proposal for an International Finance Facility (IFF), which could double the amount of development aid, put forward by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown,

–   having regard to the solidarity contribution on French plane tickets, which will enter into force on 1 July 2006,

–   having regard to the Commission staff working paper on an analysis of a possible contribution based on airline tickets as a new source of financing for development (SEC(2005)0733),

–   having regard to the Declaration on Innovative Sources of Financing for Development, signed by 79 governments prior to the UN World Summit in September 2005,

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

A.   whereas sound development policies, sustained by substantial and effective development aid, are crucial to breaking the spiral of poverty and giving developing countries the means to release their economic potential,

B.   whereas no amount of development aid will ever break the cycle of poverty in developing countries until they have sufficient capacity to absorb the aid, implement good governance and fight corruption,

C.   whereas the Millennium Development Goals Report 2005 provides clear evidence that the objective of helping poor countries achieve the MDGs by the target year of 2015 cannot be achieved unless additional political and financial commitments are made in terms of quantity as well as quality of aid,

D.   whereas the New York Declaration on the Action Against Hunger and Poverty calls upon the governments of developed countries to make concrete commitments as regards the financing of the MDGs,

E.   whereas any innovative mechanisms must add to current levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA), in order for them to bring real added value to the financing of development; whereas the Member States must stay firm on their commitment to devote 0,7% of their GNI to ODA and must adopt a time plan to achieve this target by 2015,

F.   whereas the World Bank estimates that at least USD 50 billion extra per year in ODA will be required to meet the MDGs by 2015,

G.   whereas contributions to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria raised less than 15% of the money needed,

H.   whereas the lack of stability and predictability in aid and financing for developing countries has been a major impediment in the fight against poverty; whereas secure funding is essential, particularly for the funding of key public services, such as health and education,

I.   whereas the IFF for Immunisation (IFFIm) proposed by the UK has been internationally endorsed, supporting underused vaccines in over 70 countries as well as strengthening immunisation delivery systems,

1.  Welcomes the conference to be held in Paris from 28 February to 1 March 2006, which seeks to make progress on the agreement of international levies, with a particular focus on a possible levy on airline tickets;

2.  Insists that any alternative methods of financing for development must bring new, additional funds for development and must not replace ODA;

3.  Warmly welcomes the Council agreement reached in June 2005 to double EU aid to developing countries and for Member States to increase their ODA in order to achieve 0,56 % of GNI by 2010 and 0,7 % of GNI by 2015;

4.  Welcomes the renewed commitments by the international community at the UN World Summit to achieving the MDGs and to promoting sustainable development; regrets the lack of a precise timetable committing all developed countries to the pursuit of the intermediate and final MDG targets;

5.  Calls on developed countries to fulfil their obligations and meet their commitment to increase national aid budgets to 0,7% of GDP, and considers that the search for innovative forms of financing should not replace this real priority;

6.  Stresses that an increase in quantity must go hand in hand with an increase in quality, i.e. the effectiveness of aid must be improved by application of the "3 Cs" – coordination, complementarity and coherence – as well as by reducing the transaction costs of aid, improving the predictability and sustainability of aid mechanisms, increasing the speed of delivery of aid, further untying aid, finding solutions to unsustainable debt burdens, promoting good governance, combating corruption and increasing the absorption capacity of aid recipients;

7.  Welcomes the idea of a pilot project for a solidarity contribution on air tickets to finance the fight against HIV/AIDS and other pandemics and to help achieve the MDGs; welcomes also the prospect of making development finance more stable and predictable;

8.  Calls on the Member States to participate actively in the forthcoming conference in Paris and seriously to consider taking up this initiative; recognises, however, that matters of taxation not subject to EU harmonisation policy remain under the exclusive competence of the Member States;

9.  Welcomes the participation of the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, who have together pledged in excess of USD 4 billion to the IFFIm, which will be used to support and increase the work of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation; urges other Member States to contribute to the IFFIm;

10.  Welcomes, in the context of innovative financing, the newly announced launching of a Commission-European Investment Bank Trust Fund to finance African infrastructure; calls for an increase in the lending activities of the EIB in developing countries;

11.  Asks the EU institutions and governments to examine thoroughly the feasibility of a world lottery to fund actions to combat hunger, as proposed by the World Food Programme in the form of the Food Project;

12.  Underlines that the full support of European citizens, in the context of an extremely tense budgetary situation, is required and that any new initiative must be managed cautiously so as not to prejudice the acceptance by European opinion of development policy objectives;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, the World Bank and the OECD Secretariat.


Right to freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs
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European Parliament resolution on the right to freedom of expression and respect for religious beliefs
P6_TA(2006)0064RC-B6-0136/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Articles 10 and 11 of the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union and Articles 6 and 11 of the Treaty on European Union,

–   having regard to Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,

–   having regard to the reactions of the High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana, the President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, and the Austrian Presidency of the Council, and to the joint statement by the Secretaries-General of the UN and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference,

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

A.   whereas freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion is enshrined in Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,

B.   whereas these freedoms form a fundamental part of the development of European democracies, as does the clear separation between state and religion,

C.   whereas the violent protests in various parts of the world are directed towards individual Member States and the so-called Western world as a whole, and whereas the protests were triggered by the private publication of cartoons which were not communications of any state,

D.   whereas this has led to protests and consumer and trade boycotts as well as violent unrest around the world, particularly in Islamic countries, some of it orchestrated,

E.   whereas the overwhelming majority of peoples in the EU, as well as countries affected by these unfortunate events, hope for dialogue and a peaceful relationship based on mutual respect and understanding, and whereas only groups opposed thereto profit from recent developments,

F.   whereas the cartoons that triggered the protests do not further the dialogue that the EU has initiated to build intercultural and interreligious ties, and whereas the European Union remains fully committed to further developing and strengthening ties with the affected countries in a spirit of mutual cooperation and a common vision of strengthened relations,

G.   whereas a free and independent media is an essential requirement for the full respect of the right of freedom of expression and reinforces the principle of democracy on which the Union is founded,

1.  Defends freedom of expression as a fundamental value of the EU; believes that freedom of expression must be exercised within the limits of the law and should coexist with personal responsibility and be based on respect for others' rights and sensibilities; acknowledges that balancing these concerns necessitates ongoing debate in a democracy;

2.  Calls on all those who enjoy freedom of expression to commit themselves to supporting the fundamental values of the EU - democracy, pluralism and tolerance - and not to abuse that freedom by incitement to religious hatred or the dissemination of xenophobic or racist attitudes aimed at excluding any persons, whatever their origin or religious beliefs;

3.  Recalls that freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights;

4.  Believes that freedom of expression should always be exercised within the limits of the law and should coexist with responsibility and with respect for human rights, religious feelings and beliefs, whether they be connected with the Islamic, Christian, Jewish or any other religion;

5.  Considers that freedom of expression and the independence of the press as universal rights cannot be undermined by any individual or group that feels offended by what is being said or written; expresses, at the same time, its respect for those who have felt offended by the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, but points out that redress for any possible offence may be sought through the courts in accordance with existing national and European legislation;

6.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the burning down of embassies of Member States, as well as the threats against individuals; deplores the failure of some governments to prevent violence and the toleration by other governments of violent attacks; calls on the countries where these incidents took place to show clearly and in practice that such incidents will not be accepted in the future; calls on all states to honour their obligations under the Vienna Convention;

7.  Points out that many of the countries where the violence and demonstrations over the cartoons took place are countries where freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are regularly violated;

8.  Welcomes the statements and efforts of those leaders of European Muslim communities and in the Arab world who have expressed their firm condemnation of the violent attacks on embassies and the burning of flags;

9.  Expresses its solidarity with journalists in Jordan, Egypt and Algeria who have courageously reprinted and pointedly commented on the cartoons; strongly condemns their arrest and urges the respective governments to drop all charges against them;

10.  Underlines that a boycott against one Member State is incompatible with the fact that trade agreements are always concluded with the EU as a whole;

11.  Expresses its full support for and solidarity with Denmark and the countries and people that have been affected under these unprecedented and difficult circumstances; recalls the solidarity clause contained in Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union;

12.  Supports all democratic forces - politicians, media and civil society - that are confronted with and struggling against authoritarian or oppressive religious regimes;

13.  Condemns the assassination of Father Santoro by a religious fanatic in Turkey, and also the deaths of all the other victims of the recent violence;

14.  Welcomes the initiative of Turkey to join diplomatic forces and act as a mediator in this conflict,

15.  Strongly regrets that there seem to be organised extremist groups both in Europe and in the Muslim world which see an advantage in escalating the present tensions and using the cartoons as a pretext for incitement to violence and discrimination; notes that the population at large in all the countries concerned takes a different view and strives for peace, stability and economic and cultural exchange;

16.  Regrets the renewed and increased anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda in some Arab countries and in Iran; points out that in these countries degrading and humiliating cartoons of Jews are regularly printed, thus showing that those countries obviously do not apply the same standards to all religious communities;

17.  Calls for a return to a climate of constructive and peaceful dialogue, and calls on local political and religious leaders to take active steps to end the violence;

18.  Considers that the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue and the advancement of mutual understanding and respect are an ongoing challenge for the globalised world;

19.  Firmly believes that development in this regard will make full use of the framework of cooperation and dialogue with the Mediterranean and Asian partner countries;

20.  Recalls that the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly is the appropriate forum for working together with the EU's partners on the southern bank of the Mediterranean for a democratic, pluralist and tolerant society based on the values of human rights; calls for this problem to be dealt with as a priority issue by the March session;

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Council of Europe, the governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League.


Outlook for Bosnia and Herzegovina
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European Parliament resolution on the outlook for Bosnia and Herzegovina
P6_TA(2006)0065RC-B6-0095/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Bosnia and Herzegovina, in particular that of 14 April 2005 on the state of regional integration in the western Balkans(1), that of 17 November 2004 on the European Union military operation 'Althea' in Bosnia and Herzegovina(2) and that of 7 July 2005 on Srebrenica(3),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council on the progress achieved by Bosnia and Herzegovina in implementing the priorities identified in the 'Feasibility study on the preparedness of Bosnia and Herzegovina to negotiate a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union (COM(2003)0692)' (COM(2005)0529),

‐   having regard to the Council Decision on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina (15267/2005), namely the short- and medium-term priorities identified as regards political requirements,

‐   having regard to the Commission's 2005 enlargement strategy paper (COM(2005)0561),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled 'The Western Balkans on the road to the EU: consolidating stability and raising prosperity' (COM 2006)0027),

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

A.   whereas the Thessaloniki agenda sets a clear perspective for European integration and states unequivocally that the future of the western Balkans lies in the European Union, once they meet the established criteria, and whereas the Stabilisation and Association Process is the initial phase of the European integration process,

B.   whereas on 25 January 2006 the EU started negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and whereas the European Union continues to present itself as a reliable partner for its neighbours, committed to promoting stable democracies and prosperous economies with a view to integration into the EU, especially for the western Balkans,

C.   whereas the start of the negotiations adds further pressure for institutional reform and for creating fully efficient, transparent and stable state institutions which can take the necessary decisions for adopting and implementing EU standards and values in the legislation,

D.   having regard to the urgent need to develop an efficient state administration and judiciary, establish modern, non-segregational education systems and promote social and economic inclusion measures for returnees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, in general, to the need for further vigorous reform efforts in order to make the economy more competitive,

E.   whereas, despite huge progress in many fields, the country is still deeply divided along ethnic lines and the reconciliation process is not complete,

F.   whereas talks have started between the main Bosnian political forces with a view to amending the constitution following the Brussels talks of 12-14 November 2005 and the Washington Declaration of 21 November 2005 in consultation with the United States Institute for Peace; whereas these talks, due to end by March 2006, must lead to a constitutional and institutional model that gradually moves away from ethnic divisions and recognises individual rights instead of collective rights,

G.   whereas Bosnia and Herzegovina would not be able to achieve the necessary incorporation of the EU acquis and integration into the EU with its present institutional framework, although significant progress has been made, including the establishment of new institutions at state level,

H.   whereas the newly appointed EU Special Representative/High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, who has inside knowledge of the country, has declared that preparing Bosnia and Herzegovina for European integration and focusing on economic development are now crucial,

I.   whereas NATO successfully concluded the mission of the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) and the European Union took over responsibility on 2 December 2004, launching the European Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) Operation Althea,

J.   whereas the Austrian Presidency has made the western Balkans region one of its priorities and is planning to hold a substantial discussion on the western Balkans during the informal meeting of foreign ministers to be held on 10 and 11 March 2006 in Salzburg,

1.  Welcomes the opening of negotiations on an SAA and stresses that the pace of negotiations will depend on the ability of the country's three main communities – Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats – to agree on the schedule of reforms, and on the country's ability to implement them,

2.  Notes the breakdown, in mid-January 2006, of the talks between the Serb, Croat and Bosniak political party leaders initiated by an American non-governmental organisation on the revision of certain constitutional mechanisms, although they partially reached agreement on the strengthening of the Prime Minister's powers and the expansion of the central government;

3.  Asks the government, the parliament and all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue actively to engage in discussions, building on what has already been agreed regarding possible institutional reforms, which should be aimed at inclusion of the values of democracy, human rights and equality among citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the simplification of State structures and at consolidation of the State's self-sustainability, overcoming ethnic division in a spirit of local ownership;

4.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to involve themselves more actively in the joint reflection on institutional reforms by supporting the country's political forces and citizens in their search for a consensus;

5.  Welcomes the decision of the Council to appoint Christian Schwarz-Schilling as the EU Special Representative/High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and calls on him and the Commission to find ways to provide the necessary political, technical and legal assistance to the Bosnian leaders in their efforts to reform the existing institutional framework;

6.  Underlines that the pace of reforms and their implementation will be determined by the ability of domestic political actors to assume responsibility and increased ownership of the political process in the country; calls on the new EU Special Representative/High Representative to use his powers with restraint so as to encourage the development of genuinely strong and democratic domestic institutions;

7.  Recalls the importance for Bosnia and Herzegovina of a resolute transition from peace-building to state-building, of which the constitutional evolution forms part; recalls that the speed of SAA negotiations will depend, in particular, on progress in developing a proper legal framework and efficient public administration;

8.  Calls on the country's competent authorities and institutions that they must, in particular, honour their commitments to implement and complete the public broadcasting, police, defence and intelligence reforms, in accordance with the agreed contents and schedule, and adopt and implement all the necessary laws;

9.  Reconfirms that full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is a precondition for closer relations with the EU and a basic element for full reconciliation between all the different components of Bosnian society with a view to healing the wounds of the recent tragic past;

10.  Asks the government authorities to redouble their efforts to complete the process of return of refugees and displaced persons, especially from the point of view of implementation of the conditions to make return sustainable (safety of individuals, access to reconstruction assistance, employment, health care, pensions, utilities and education); expresses concern about the situation of the Posavina region in this respect and asks that appropriate help be provided to those wishing to return;

11.  Stresses that constitutional reform is not a precondition per se and cannot be imposed, but that the completion of SAA negotiations will require significant progress in implementing the conditions set out in the European partnership document;

12.  Supports the initiative to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission aimed at coming to terms with the recent past and dealing with the problems of justice and compensation, with a view to achieving reconciliation between all the components of Bosnian society;

13.  Stresses that the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2006 will be crucial for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and progress on its path towards European integration, and calls on all political leaders, parties and authorities to prepare and adopt the necessary reforms and take all measures to guarantee free, fair and democratic elections once again;

14.  Welcomes the police, defence, value-added tax (VAT) and public broadcasting reforms; emphasises the need for a comprehensive action plan for public administration reform that is able to increase the capacity for the implementation of reforms; calls for the preparation and implementation of an adequate anti-corruption action plan, and the rapid implementation of VAT law and police reform;

15.  Points out that the functional review of policing financed by the EU has confirmed that the level of classic crimes is very low in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the percentage of solved crimes is quite high;

16.  Asks the government to pay more attention to the special needs of rural areas and to work with the Commission on implementation of the reforms identified as being necessary for an effective agriculture and rural development policy;

17.  Welcomes the new Commission communication on the western Balkans, which aims at fostering trade, economic development, movement of persons, education and research, regional cooperation and civil society dialogue as a further step forward towards the integration of the countries of the region into the European structures;

18.  Reiterates its calls for strengthened cooperation with the countries in the region on border control, as part of a wider EU justice and home affairs strategy for the region, and looks forward to the progressive easing of visa requirements which this process entails;

19.  Welcomes the recently signed agreement between Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia-Montenegro on the return of refugees and property reparations as an important step towards tackling the legacy of about three million refugees and internally displaced persons; urges the Commission and the Member States not to further decrease their contributions to housing reconstruction and economic sustainability projects and, where possible, to make donations, loans and investments conditional upon employment opportunities for returnees;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the governments of its entities, and the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

(1) OJ C 33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 565.
(2) OJ C 201 E, 18.8.2005, p. 77.
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0296.


Belarus
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Belarus prior to the presidential elections on 19 March 2006
P6_TA(2006)0066RC-B6-0109/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Belarus, in particular its resolutions of 10 March 2005 on Belarus(1), of 7 July 2005 on the political situation and independence of the media in Belarus(2) and of 29 September 2005 on Belarus(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2001 on Belarus(4), adopted prior to the 2001 presidential elections, to the reports of the Parliamentary Troika, composed of members of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of 16 October 2000 on the political situation in Belarus in the light of the parliamentary elections of October 15th, and of 4 October 2001 on the 2001 presidential election, and to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution of 26 January 2006 on the situation in Belarus on the eve of the presidential election,

–   having regard to the award of its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Belarusian Association of Journalists in December 2004,

–   having regard to the conclusions on Belarus issued by the Council following its meeting of 30 January 2006 and to the declaration by the European Union and the United States of 3 February 2006 on their relations with Belarus,

–   having regard to the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Needs Assessment Mission Report of 31 January 2006,

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

A.   whereas presidential elections will take place in Belarus on 19 March 2006,

B.   whereas the presidential and parliamentary elections in Belarus in 2000, 2001 and 2004 did not meet international standards, according to the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE,

C.   whereas the Belarus authorities are creating obstacles to the campaigning of the independent candidates, such as extremely short campaign durations, very low financial allowances for candidates, very restricted access to the public and private media, and dependency on the local authorities for choosing venues for meetings with voters, while the incumbent president has practically unlimited access to media,

D.   whereas opposition representatives are almost entirely excluded from participation in the election commissions,

E.   whereas a number of leading members of the opposition have been detained following trials based on questionable charges, thus distorting the electoral process and confirming the abuse of the judicial system for political purposes and the lack of independence of the judiciary in Belarus,

F.   whereas the Belarusian authorities have adopted new regulations imposing restrictions on Belarusians' freedom to travel abroad and foreigners' freedom to visit Belarus,

G.   whereas the Belarusian authorities have launched a campaign accusing some democratic countries that support the opposition of destabilising the political situation in Belarus and of recruiting spies,

H.   extremely concerned at the decision of the Belarusian Supreme Economic Court of 20 December 2005 to reverse its previous decision and to reinstate harsh penalties against the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC), including crippling fines and back taxes and renewed threats of criminal prosecution against the BHC Chairwoman and Chief Accountant,

I.   stressing the increasing political isolation of Belarus, the only European country not yet linked to the EU by at least a partnership and cooperation agreement,

J.   whereas the independence of the media and freedom of expression in Belarus have further deteriorated, as a result of which Belarusians cannot receive the information they require to form political opinions freely and to make a democratic choice in the forthcoming elections,

K.   whereas a new project has been launched by the Commission aiming at supporting democracy and freedom of information in Belarus, including setting up radio stations in Belarusian and Russian,

L.   whereas the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has called for a joint strategy on Belarus with the European Parliament and the OSCE,

M.   whereas no improvement has been noted with regard to investigations into 'disappearances', freedom of speech, freedom of assembly or the rights of minorities,

N.   whereas several international institutions of which Belarus is a fully accepted member, including the OSCE's ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, have been invited to observe the presidential election, but whereas neither the European Parliament nor the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have received such an invitation and both have been informed that no such invitation will be issued, in contrast with the case of the presidential elections of 2001,

1.  Deplores the continuing deterioration of the political situation and the continuing violations of the civil and human rights of the Belarusian people; strongly denounces indiscriminate attacks on the media, journalists, members of the opposition, human rights activists and minorities; condemns the decision of the Supreme Court of Belarus to dissolve the Belarusian Union of Youth and Children's Public Association;

2.  Is deeply concerned about the fact that, according to the most recent reports assessing the conditions for the presidential elections, preparations for these elections are taking place against a background of increased constraints on citizens, on the independence of the media, and on opposition political parties, which, following the 2004 parliamentary elections, have no representation in the Belarusian parliament;

3.  Expresses its solidarity with, and support for, all Belarusians who strive for an independent, open and democratic Belarus based on the rule of law;

4.  Calls on the Belarusian authorities to adhere strictly to international standards in the preparations for the presidential elections in March 2006, in the registration and verification of candidates, during the campaign and during the election itself;

5.  Condemns the recently adopted 'anti-revolution law', which, amongst other things, allows the Belarusian authorities to imprison anyone suspected of providing or financing training for people to take part in street protests or anyone suspected of misinterpreting or providing information about the situation in Belarus in any foreign country or international organisation; urges the competent authorities in Belarus to reconsider their decision and to reject the anti-revolution bill;

6.  Stresses that the following criteria must be fulfilled if the presidential elections are to be recognised as free and democratic:

   full transparency of the electoral process in all its aspects, in particular as regards the process of registering candidates, the composition of the electoral commissions and the counting of the votes,
   equal conditions for all election candidates, in particular as regards access to the media, especially the electronic media, and other forms of electioneering,
   the refraining by State and government bodies from any act that may be considered as harassment of candidates, their relatives or their supporters,
   the guarantee that all those engaged in observing the presidential elections, especially those not connected to particular candidates, and those involved in recruitment and training for these activities, will be completely free to carry out their work, where relevant in cooperation with international institutions, which constitutes an essential element in the transparency and verifiability of the electoral process;

7.  Welcomes the Belarusian authorities' invitation to the OSCE's ODIHR election observation mission, but urges the responsible Belarusian authorities to allow that mission to operate unimpeded in Belarus and to grant all participants in the mission full and unrestricted access to all areas of Belarus and to all aspects of the election process;

8.  Deeply deplores the fact that, in contrast with the 2001 presidential elections, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe have received no invitation to observe the presidential elections and calls on the Belarusian authorities to extend a corresponding invitation to both institutions as soon as possible;

9.  Expresses its hope that opportunities will be created to increase the number of short-term international observers, by inviting representatives of other international organisations to observe the election in Belarus;

10.  Calls on the Belarusian authorities to allow independent exit polls to be conducted on the day of the election;

11.  Encourages the people of Belarus to participate in the forthcoming presidential election; recognises the great importance of these elections, whose outcome may decisively influence the future of Belarus and its reintegration into the international democratic community;

12.  Emphasises, once again, that the further development of the EU's relations with Belarus will continue to depend on the progress made towards democratisation and reform in the country, and in particular on transparent and fair presidential elections;

13.  Considers that should the Belarusian authorities fail to ensure free and fair presidential elections, the Commission, the Council and the Parliament should consider further initiatives, including expanding the visa-ban list, particularly for those responsible for any falsifications during the forthcoming elections, as well as freezing the assets of representatives of the Belarusian authorities;

14.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to monitor closely the situation in Belarus in the run-up to and during the elections; calls on the Council and the High Representative to consider appointing a Special Representative for Belarus should respect for democratic principles further deteriorate; welcomes the Commission's recent decisions concerning the launch and extension of the broadcasting of independent news and information to the citizens of Belarus; invites the Commission to consider drawing up a new strategy for Belarus if the proceedings during and after the elections do not meet international democratic standards;

15.  Expects such a strategy to include concrete proposals for a more flexible use of EU technical assistance and financial support for civil society, as well as other measures aimed at the restoration of democracy in the country;

16.  Is encouraged by the Commission's transfer of EUR 2 million from TACIS to the European Human Rights and Democracy Initiative, thus allowing for greater flexibility and effectiveness in relations with Belarusian civil society;

17.  Calls on the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and the United States Congress, to work jointly with the European Parliament on Belarus;

18.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to raise the issue of Belarus with the Russian authorities so as to define a common responsibility for bringing about concrete democratic changes in Belarus;

19.  Reiterates its call on the Belarus authorities for the immediate release of Mikhail Marynich and Mikalai Statkevich, and other political prisoners, and calls on the Council and the Commission to insist on the release of these prisoners, as well as on a transparent investigation into the 'disappearance' of opposition leaders;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the Government of Belarus, the United States Congress and the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

(1) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 276.
(2) Text Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0295.
(3) Text Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0363.
(4) OJ C 65 E, 14.3.2002, p. 373.


Risk and crisis management in agriculture
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European Parliament resolution on risk and crisis management in the agricultural sector (2005/2053(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0067A6-0014/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council on risk and crisis management in agriculture (COM(2005)0074),

–   having regard to the Commission memorandum of 6 September 2005 (MEMO/05/302) establishing a "Five-point plan to react to the surge in oil prices",

–   having regard to the study commissioned by the European Parliament on "Risk and crisis management in agriculture",

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A6-0014/2006),

A.   whereas the risks associated with agricultural production occur at different levels, and it is accordingly necessary to differentiate in assessing and dealing with them:

   - on the one hand, there are the risks at the level of individual holdings, that is to say individual risks relating to investment and financing, use of certain production methods, trends in producer prices and marketing,
   - and, on the other hand, there are the risks associated with external natural and economic conditions, for example climate change and changes in precipitation, the increasing occurrence of natural disasters, or the effects of liberalisation of agricultural trade as well as market disturbances resulting from trade,

B.   whereas, in keeping with the objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the priority of risk management in agriculture should be to serve the general interest, guaranteeing the supply of healthy foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials to the population and safeguarding the environment against damage,

C.   whereas, since the most recent reform of the CAP in June 2003, the instruments of market and price stabilisation have increasingly been dismantled and replaced by decoupled direct payments to farmers, which, on the one hand, has the effect of making farmers become more market-oriented, but, on the other hand, may increase the production risks for individual holdings,

D.   whereas "cross-compliance", which places demands on farmers in relation to environmental protection and protection of animals, was also introduced in the context of this reform,

E.   whereas - given that an environment is gradually taking shape which entails greater risks than in the recent past, since the variety, intensity and frequency of risks associated with agriculture are expected to change for the worse for farmers - the changes in the risks associated with agriculture are expected to relate to the intensity and frequency of natural phenomena, the economic environment and its associated risks, technological risks, social perceptions of the environment, food safety and consumer behaviour,

F.   whereas the risks which climate change, soil degradation, water shortages, erosion of genetic resources and other factors pose for agricultural production will increase,

G.   whereas new technologies, such as the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, which is associated with unknown future effects on living organisms and the environment, present particular risks, which must be dealt with on the basis of the precautionary principle and the "polluter pays" principle,

H.   whereas, in the face of oil price fluctuations and scarce oil supplies, the heavy dependence of EU agriculture on fossil energy for use of fertilisers and pesticides and operation of machinery poses risks, which should be headed off by achieving savings and by making greater use of renewable energy sources,

I.   whereas agricultural insurance is included in the State aid which is accepted by the World Trade Organization (WTO); whereas, in particular, trading partners such as the USA and Canada systematically use internal aid for mechanisms to secure agricultural incomes as compensation for the effects of natural disasters as well as exceptional emergency payments to compensate for damage and loss of income owing to a change in market prices (paragraphs 7 and 8 of Annex 2 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture), thereby creating a "safety net" income policy for farmers, which the EU cannot ignore,

J.   whereas the three risk and crisis management options being considered by the Commission (insurance against natural disasters, mutual funds and basic income guarantees) are not, in fact, preventive measures for reducing risks or damage, but financing models for providing compensation in the event of damage,

K.   whereas the Commission is proposing that the said measures be financed from 1 % of funds from modulation, or more precisely from national rural development programmes, which, according to expert opinion, will probably cover nowhere near the resources required for the measures proposed,

L.   whereas young farmers are especially vulnerable to crises and disasters, as they are often deeply in debt as a result of buying their farm,

M.   whereas the new Member States are excluded from the modulation mechanism until 2013, and direct payments in these countries are subject to a gradual increase to the full amount (phasing-in), and it should therefore be ensured that they have access to other CAP funding,

Commission proposals
General

1.  Welcomes the Commission's efforts to put forward various risk and crisis management options for discussion, but questions the one-sided approach, based on compensation and indemnification, underpinning the proposals; calls on the Commission to pay greater attention to preventive measures to reduce risks and avert crises such as the use of vaccination and better surveillance for illegal imports;

2.  Considers that, if risk and crisis management policy is to be developed into a more cohesive policy, it should have the following aims:

   - the insurance companies, public or private, and the mutual insurance cooperatives should carry out direct insurance business for the insurance of insurable risks either independently or after joining an agricultural insurance scheme;
   - States should be restricted to covering uninsurable disaster risks and State funding for such activities should be allowed under certain conditions;
   - State subsidies for insurance premiums and State funding for reinsurance of insurance companies should be allowed, provided they are compatible with the EU framework;
   - the participation of the insurers and the farmers insured should be voluntary;

3.  Considers, as regards Community funding, that, should a common framework policy be adopted on agricultural insurance and compensation, the following developments are likely:

   - there will be Community funding to cover part of the cost of setting up and operating schemes to safeguard agricultural income,
   - both national and Community funding will be consistent with the current or future provisions of WTO agreements,
   - funding will be provided only for those schemes which satisfy the minimum standards required by the common policy or which adhere to a timetable for making the relevant adjustments;

4.  Refers in this connection to the increasing damage caused by climate change and natural disasters such as flooding, drought and fires, and the damage caused by animal diseases, which are being spread more rapidly at the international level through the transport of animals and illegal imports;

5.  Considers that the Commission's proposals do not take sufficient account of the risks and the possibility of crises which the liberalisation of agricultural markets within the framework of WTO negotiations entails; calls on the Commission, therefore, to carry out a more detailed assessment of instruments and measures that could prevent or deal effectively with collapses in prices, market crises, farmers" income losses and all obstacles standing in the way of their continuing to farm, and also to examine the role of cost-price-increasing measures in the animal welfare and environment field;

6.  Considers that the Commission proposal should take into account the market crises, which greatly affect Community producers, resulting from the restrictions on exports of agricultural products from the Community introduced by third countries; calls on the Commission to extend the definition of a crisis to cover the above issue;

7.  Is emphatically against surrendering Community preference; considers that there is an urgent need for a more detailed examination of the instruments and measures used by the Union and its Member States for preventing risks and dealing with crises; refers above all, in this connection, to possibilities for managing supply in order to prevent overproduction and collapses in prices, and to the new rural development programmes; considers that in particularly vulnerable areas, such as fruit and vegetable production, measures under common market organisations (COMs) continue to be justified and considers it necessary to maintain them in the forthcoming revision of the COM in fruit and vegetables;

8.  Calls on the Commission to introduce safety net provisions in the event of a crisis not only in the COM in beef and veal but also for other sectors, such as fruit and vegetables, wine, pigmeat and poultry;

9.  Calls on the Commission to examine the effectiveness of certain specific measures, such as:

   - aid for storage in the event of a sharp fall in prices,
   - aid for processing in order to decongest the market in cases where that solution is feasible,
   - measures to mitigate the possible negative impact on public opinion and minimisation of its effects (as, for example, in the case of the consumption of beef after the BSE crisis),
   - aid for voluntary production cutbacks if the prospects indicate difficulties in finding market outlets;

10.  In the face of the far-reaching removal of duties on agricultural products agreed within the framework of the WTO, is in favour of defining the conditions for market access, as a preventive measure, to prevent economic, ecological and social dumping; considers that levies on agricultural imports remain justified where products are produced under conditions which breach human rights and international agreements and European legislation on protection of the environment and protection of animals; proposes that the proceeds of such levies be channelled into improving food security and averting crises in developing countries affected;

11.  Considers that the Commission should introduce possible sources of funding for the proposed measures in the new Member States; believes that the use of funding for this purpose should not lead to a reduction in support received by the new Member States in terms of direct payments and rural development support;

12.  Considers co-financing by the Commission, the Member States, the farming industry and farm holdings of measures for preventing risks and dealing with crises to be acceptable, provided that it can be made mandatory and does not lead to inequalities between Member States and groups of farmers;

13.  In view of the importance of rural development measures and their role in preventing risks, is opposed to the Commission's proposal to finance risk and crisis management solely from 1% of funds from modulation; given the challenges faced, believes, rather, that it is necessary to increase funds for crisis prevention, including reserves; proposes, in this connection, exemption from the principle of budget annuality, in order to cope with fluctuations in demand in crisis situations;

14.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the fact that the volume of resources from modulation fluctuates at different levels for each Member State, to examine alternative sources of funding for these measures, which will be at the discretion of the Member States, for example a percentage determined on the basis of the gross value of their agricultural production;

15.  Calls on the Commission to produce a quantitative analysis in order to provide a reliable assessment of the impact of the emerging problem of scarce oil supplies and possible scenarios for dealing with it, providing for the possibility of granting aid for the purchase of fuel in times of exceptional fuel price rises; considers, at the same time, that the production of energy crops should be made more attractive to producers through a substantial increase in the aid granted per area of production under Council Regulation (ΕC) No 1782/2003(1);

16.  Calls on the Commission to explore how, within a context of direct payments and rural development programmes, farmers can be encouraged to use economic and other methods that reduce risks;

17.  Calls on the Commission to devote special attention to the position of young farmers in all its actions concerning risk and crisis management;

18.  Considers that the policy of insuring against crises in agriculture should be based on flexibility and a pluralist approach since opting for a single model of dealing with crises is not feasible owing to the complexity of the insurance schemes and national differences;

Option 1: Financial contribution towards premium payments for private insurance against natural disasters

19.  Considers that, with regard to the range of insurance tools available, the role of insurance is important because:

   a) it is the most tried and tested tool on the market, institutionally the most integrated and the most well-known and applied,
   b) for that reason it is more suitable than other tools for an international market in agricultural produce,
   c) insurance premium subsidy is clearly an accepted form of aid within the WTO,
   d) the insurance market has vast experience in such matters, has already dealt with difficult situations, and it can use innovative insurance tools;

20.  Welcomes the Commission's deliberations on the co-financing of premiums paid by farmers for insurance against natural disasters, or reinsurance schemes; considers that this option requires substantially greater funding from the Community and national budgets than the intended one percentage point of modulation; considers that conditions for access should be very clearly defined and that the possibility of providing funding for this solution out of national budgets should also be looked at;

21.  Notes that the system has been operating satisfactorily in several Member States and calls on the Commission to present a more detailed analysis, based on selected uniform risks (e.g. hail, drought, storms) and with reference to the same crops (e.g. corn, maize, rape), of benefits provided, costs and competition among private insurers in respect of insurance against natural disasters and animal diseases, and to compare these with the costs currently incurred and compensation provided by national and European public authorities;

22.  Calls on the Commission to set up a public insurance scheme financed by the European Union for individual production areas and production methods, with a view to creating a better policy framework for risk management and crisis prevention;

23.  Calls on the Commission to set up a consistent and affordable reinsurance scheme for all Member States under the common agricultural policy;

Option 2: Mutual funds

24.  Welcomes the Commission's suggestion that support could be provided for mutual funds for sharing producer risk; points, in this connection, to the major importance of producer organisations, which, through risk spreading and pooling of interests vis-à-vis capital markets and the private insurance sector, are able to provide more effective insurance cover;

25.  Points to the advantages of collective responsibility on the part of sector-specific or cross-sector funds, which, thanks to the sharing of infrastructure, use of State aid and producer reserves, could mean more action being taken in terms of preventive measures;

26.  Calls on the Commission to explore the possibilities for protecting farmers against the risk of collapses in prices by means of commodity futures transactions and hedging and against the risk of volume losses by means of private insurance;

27.  Considers that accompanying national and EU measures in the area of tax relief and credit facilities, designed to encourage private investment and contributions, are needed in order to make it easier for producers to contribute to the proposed mutual funds; points, in particular, to the example of the European Parliament's demands and proposals set out in its position of 15 November 2000(2) on the common organisation of the market in pigmeat;

28.  Calls on the Commission to examine options 1 and 2 with regard to making a possible distinction between social and private risk management and, if necessary, to differentiate support, taking account of the size of holding and of any crisis prevention measures taken;

Option 3: Providing basic coverage against income crises

29.  Notes the Commission's proposals on providing general coverage against income crises and considers that this question should be discussed in the context of the future revision of the CAP;

30.  Refers to the difficulties, already being experienced at national level, in determining, and recognising claims for, damage and income losses; considers that the administrative demands of such a system would be enormous and would lead to high costs;

31.  Calls on the Commission not to develop coverage provided by the state against crises in competition with private insurance models, but rather to ensure that private insurance schemes are reliable and efficient thanks to proper accountability and monitoring systems;

32.  Stresses that it should be one of the Commission's basic concerns to set up a rapid and flexible crisis intervention system, cutting to the minimum time-consuming bureaucratic procedures which reduce the effectiveness of the measures;

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

(1) OJ L 270, 21.10.2003, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 223, 8.8.2001, p. 176.


EU forestry strategy
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European Parliament resolution on the implementation of a European Union forestry strategy (2005/2054(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0068A6-0015/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolution of 30 January 1997 on the European Union's forestry strategy(1),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 18 November 1998 on a forestry strategy for the European Union (COM(1998)0649),

–   having regard to the Council resolution of 15 December 1998 on a forestry strategy for the European Union(2),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' Special Report No 14/2000 on greening the CAP(3),

–   having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament, entitled 'Reporting on the implementation of the EU forestry strategy' (COM(2005)0084) and the attached staff working document on actions and activities implemented in the context of the EU forestry strategy in the period 1999-2004,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' Special Report No 9/2004 on forestry measures within rural development policy(4),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 30 May 2005 on the EU forest action plan,

–   having regard to the study of 21 June 2005, called for by its committee responsible and drawn up by the Office National des Forêts (ONF, France), entitled 'European Forestry Strategy: outlook',

–   having regard to the draft opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 12 September 2005 entitled 'Report on the implementation of the EU forestry strategy',

–   having regard to the preliminary draft opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 4 August 2005 on the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament - Reporting on the implementation of the EU forestry strategy,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0015/2006),

Fundamental aspects

A.   whereas the fundamental principles of the EU forestry strategy, i.e. sustainable forest management and preserving and strengthening the multifunctional role played by forests and by the wildlife that lives there, including their contribution to biodiversity, on the basis of the subsidiarity principle, are not being called into question by the drafting of the 'EU Action Plan for Sustainable Forest Management' proposed by the Commission; whereas EU forestry strategy is a dynamic process open to the integration of fresh elements; whereas the EU action plan should be seen as a complementary instrument which will help ensure better coordination between the objectives and measures in the various fields of action,

B.   whereas, when it combines economic growth with important environmental values, such as sustaining the protective functions and biodiversity of forests, and rural development, forestry makes a particularly clear contribution to the attainment of several of the Lisbon and Göteborg objectives,

C.   whereas, even though neither the Treaty establishing the European Community nor the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe provide a legal basis for a common forestry policy, the influence of a wide range of Community policies over forests has consistently grown,

D.   whereas in some cases the Member States use widely differing definitions of forests, which means that it is only partially possible to assess Community measures relevant to forests,

E.   whereas the basic perspective for all decision-making affecting European forests must be that European forests differ substantially from each other and face different environmental challenges,

Strategy element 1: Active participation in international processes relevant to forestry

F.   whereas the Member States have responded to the Council's call for a European forestry strategy by actively participating in all international processes related to the forest sector,

G.   stressing the importance of intact forest ecosystems for the preservation of biodiversity in accordance with commitments under international agreements; noting that examples of such commitments include the Biodiversity Convention (Rio, 1992) and the goal of halting the decline in the number of species by 2010 (EU meetings in Göteborg, 2001; Johannesburg 2002); being convinced that, in order to successfully fulfil these commitments, it is of the greatest importance to earmark sufficient areas as nature reserves and to gear sylvicultural methods, in conjunction with landscape planning, more fully to biological preconditions.

Strategy element 2: Implementation of national forestry programmes in order to comply with international commitments entered into

H.   whereas national and subnational forest programmes (NFPs) represent the key instrument for implementing the objectives of the EU forestry strategy and are designed to ensure coordination and coherence between national political guidelines and international commitments,

Strategy element 3: Improving coordination, communication and cooperation in all fields of policy of relevance to forestry

I.   whereas nothing has changed with regard to the fundamental need, already highlighted in 1998, for better coordination, communication and cooperation in all Community policy sectors which are relevant to the forestry sector (agricultural, environmental, energy, research, industrial, internal market, trade and development policy) within the Commission, between the Commission and the Member States and among the Member States,

Strategy element 4: Promoting sustainable forest management as part of policy on conserving and developing rural areas

J.   whereas rural development policy is the main instrument for implementing the forestry strategy at Community level, which can also be seen from the fact that EUR 4.8 billion was made available for forestry measures in the context of rural development policy between 2000 and 2006, half of which was used for the afforestation of farmland and half for other forest-management measures,

Strategy element 5: Protecting Europe's forests

K.   whereas forest management must be economically, ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable and whereas protecting forests, monitoring forest health, restoring damaged forests and safeguarding the environmental benefits, in particular regulation of the water cycle, are key elements of sustainable forest management; whereas a key aim with regard to forests is preserving forest health and vitality by protecting them against forest fires and atmospheric pollution, as well as against soil and water pollution and other damage caused by disease, pests and erosion,

L.   in the hope that biodiversity in forest areas can be guaranteed and calling for the regulation and sustainable use of the wildlife which naturally colonises such habitats to be such as to secure the long-term presence of those species, with due regard for the balance between forests and game,

M.   whereas, the fire-prevention measures provided for in rural development policy are proving insufficient to tackle the phenomenon of forest fires, which is the main cause of forest deterioration in the European Union and one of the reasons for the accelerated desertification affecting many European regions; also regretting the lack of coordination between programmes implemented at regional or national level, coordination of which should be stepped up by drawing up a set of strategic Community guidelines with a view to dovetailing the preventive measures taken by different national and/or local government authorities; whereas the Commission should recommend to each region that it draw up a comprehensive strategy to combat forest fires and that they work together with the Member States; whereas such a preventive strategy must address the relationship between agriculture and the forest environment, the risks in the area and the preventive measures to address these risks,

N.   drawing attention to the regions repeatedly affected by large-scale forest fires and expressing its solidarity with those regions; whereas it is important, however, to note that there are considerable differences between the Member States in relation to problems with forest fires and the conditions under which they can be fought; whereas experience shows that local involvement and local engagement is crucial to successfully preventing and fighting forest fires and changing forestry practices away from fire-prone monocultures, especially of eucalyptus,

O.   whereas the new financial instrument for the environment (LIFE+) is vital in order to protect all Europe's forests through measures to monitor and avert the contributory factors involved in their deterioration, including fires,

Strategy element 6: Protecting tropical forests

P.   whereas illegal logging of tropical timber causes serious ecological, economic and social damage not only in the countries of origin but also in countries in temperate zones, since it gives rise to significant distortions on the market for wood products,

Q.   welcoming the Commission's FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) action plan which was set up to combat the problems associated with illegal logging; whereas illegal logging creates serious environmental and social problems as well as an imbalance of trade in timber and financial losses for the forest industry; whereas, in order to make progress in combating trade in illegally logged timber, it is of crucial importance that the factors underlying the problem, such as lack of clarity about ownership, corruption and poverty, are eliminated and furthermore, that there should be serious sanctions and punishments for people and businesses that deal in illegally logged timber,

R.   whereas much of the wood imported into the European Union comes in the form of processed products, some of which are derived from wood which has been sourced illegally; whereas the Commission, in order to facilitate prohibition of such illegally-sourced imports, should consider modifying the Community Customs Code and non-preferential rules of origin applying to timber to the effect that the last country in which the processing of products made out of extractive natural resources takes places should be obliged to prove the origin and the legality of the raw materials,

Strategy element 7: Mitigating climate change and contributing to sustainable energy supplies

S.   whereas, since carbon is stored in biomass and soil, forests fulfil an important function as carbon sink in the carbon cycle of the earth; whereas the guarantee of their regeneration, the preservation of their productivity and the intensified use of carbon-neutral forest products ensure and extend the carbon cycle; whereas forests provide renewable and carbon-neutral energy and contribute to the sustainable energy-mix of the EU and forests and their products thus contribute towards slowing down global warming and the greenhouse effect and fulfilling the EU's environmental objectives (e.g. the Kyoto Protocol),

T.   whereas strengthening the use of renewable energies based on forestry products will also help to offset the European Union's energy deficit and boost the production of energy crops as a substitute or alternative for areas producing surpluses or affected by specific Common Organisation of the Market (COM) reforms,

Strategy element 8: Promoting competitiveness, employment and income in the forest- based sector

U.   whereas the forestry sector and wood industry has not been given a sufficiently high profile in Community economic development policy up to now and is still seen as a subsidiary area, even though this sector creates a large number of jobs, achieves a significant turnover and has an extremely positive impact on the viability of rural areas,

V.   whereas forests not only provide environmental benefits of prime importance for the quality of life, but also agri-forestry products which are of major economic importance,

W.   whereas the Commission recognises the multifunctional role of forests, but whereas in the majority of cases that role, measured against the potential it offers, is not reflected in the economy of the areas concerned or in the income of their inhabitants,

X.   whereas, therefore, good conditions for forestry and strong awareness of the various simultaneous goals of forest management are important if the Union is to achieve several of its environmental objectives,

Strategy element 9: Promoting forest-related research and development

Y.   whereas the forestry sector can meet the challenges facing it in terms of competitiveness and sustainable development only if it succeeds in developing new and innovative concepts and technologies for its activities, and only if it is protected from the imposition of conditions, more onerous than the general obligations attaching to ownership, hindering its economic effectiveness,

Z.   stressing the importance of diverse research in the wood sector for the attainment of the European Union's objectives regarding competitiveness and the environment; observing that, as a raw material, wood has many properties, such as its chemical content, which have previously remained unexploited and that adequate resources should be invested in research into and in the development of market applications for such properties; whereas increasing the use of wood, for example in the construction, paper, packaging and energy sectors, can contribute to replacing the use of non-renewable natural resources,

AA.   whereas new ways of preventing and extinguishing fires using satellites and other state-of-the-art technology should be developed and researched and used not only in forests, but also to provide civil protection for the general public,

Strategy element 10: Promoting sustainable forest management by means of training and further training programmes

AB.   whereas to date the forest-based sector has hardly been taken into account in European training and further training programmes,

Strategy element 11: Promoting sustainable forest management by means of information and communication strategies

AC.   whereas, hitherto, the EU's forestry strategy has taken far too little advantage of the European Union's potential for supporting sustainable forest management by means of information and communication strategies,

Fundamental aspects

1.  Endorses the Commission's view that the further development of Community policies due to the decisions taken at the Lisbon (2000) and Göteborg (2001) European Councils, the 6th Environment Action Programme (2002), the CAP reform (2003) and enlargement (2004) suggests that the European Forestry Strategy should be more integrated into European policies as a whole and that Member States should cooperate in this field; supports therefore the Commission's proposal to draw up an 'EU Action Plan for Sustainable Forest Management', which should operate for a five-year period; stresses that the drafting of the action plan should be closely coordinated with Member States and regions and carried out in consultation with the relevant stakeholder organisations; considers that the European Forestry Strategy has created the reference framework for forestry-related policies, initiatives and measures and influences the way in which forestry issues are now discussed and that the changes described in the policy context make a more coherent, active approach to managing the Community's forestry resources necessary;

2.  Considers that, in view of the many effects of the Community's sectoral policies on forests and in view of the Lisbon and Göteborg Strategies, the Commission and Council should have an objective report drawn up to examine the scope for creating a separate legal basis for forests in the EC Treaty or in a future draft Constitution; calls for the subsidiarity principle to be taken into account to a special degree in all legal acts affecting forests, as long as the European Union lacks a separate legal basis for forests;

3.  Calls on the Member States and Commission to seek to arrive at a mutual understanding and uniform interpretation of the concept 'forest' so as to make it easier than hitherto to assess Community forestry measures;

Strategy element 1: Active participation in international processes relevant to forestry

4.  Welcomes the fact that, thanks to a dynamic dialogue within the framework of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), the Member States and the Commission have arrived at a common vision of sustainable forest management, and proposes that this should be taken into account more fully in the political decision-making process;

5.  Welcomes the Member States' active involvement in all international processes with a bearing on the forestry sector and points out that at the Johannesburg World Development Summit in 2002 it was stressed that sustainable forestry is one tool for turning the other millennium goals into reality; furthermore stresses the fact that the governments of the participating countries committed themselves to a binding action plan with many forestry-related elements;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in connection with the Sixth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in February 2006, to implement the Council conclusions of 26 April 2005, from which it follows that a legally binding instrument is the best means of ensuring sustainable forest management in its environmental and social dimensions;

7.  Stresses that the European Union should take a coordinated and congruent approach in international and Community environmental policy, in which the multifunctional role of forests is taken into account and respected; considers, in this connection, that those concerned should be fully involved and an open information policy should be followed;

Strategy element 2: Implementation of national forestry programmes in order to comply with international commitments

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to apply the approach developed at the MCPFE as a uniform instrument for national forestry programmes and to adopt assessment criteria in order to facilitate an evaluation of the attainment of objectives;

Strategy element 3: Improving coordination, communication and cooperation in all fields of policy of relevance to forestry

9.  Considers that, despite the progress made by setting up an inter-departmental working party at the Commission (the Inter-Service Group on Forestry), it is essential for the coordination between the various Directorates-General concerned with forestry issues to be further improved; proposes that, in addition to the existing horizontal integration of the Commission departments responsible for forestry issues, consideration should be given to vertical integration over all levels of work of Commission departments, with a basis in the Secretariat; suggests that a structural unit within the Commission Secretariat be designated to coordinate forestry-related policies;

10.  Proposes that the Standing Forestry Committee be strengthened by extending its remit and giving it a practical dimension, for instance in the context of the establishment and evaluation of the action plans and the evaluation of the national forestry programmes;

Strategy element 4: Promoting sustainable forest management as part of policy on conserving and developing rural areas

11.  Considers, furthermore, that effective monitoring systems should be established for forestry measures to be implemented by Member States with cofinancing from the European Union pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 of 17 May 1999(5) on support for rural development, in which connection the recommendations of the Court of Auditors concerning the implementation of the Forestry Strategy should be acted upon;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take increased account of the objectives and measures of the EU forestry strategy and the EU action plan for sustainable forest management when drawing up their corresponding rural development programmes;

Strategy element 5: Protecting Europe's forests

13.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to include in the EU action plan for sustainable forest management effective measures to avert dangers and cope with serious disasters (fires, storms, insect infestations and drought); reminds the Member States to implement the measures to prevent forest fires provided for in rural development programmes;

14.  Stresses that the EU action plan for sustainable forest management, in terms of the multifunctional role of forests, must pay more attention to protecting the soil, water and air and also biodiversity and typical forest landscapes;

15.  Considers that in mountain areas endeavours should be made to encourage the separation between forests and grazing land and to introduce the requirement to use paths (not least for safety reasons in general), because a lack of separation between forests and grazing land and too much pedestrian traffic causes substantial erosion damage;

16.  Calls for a recommendation to be drawn up addressed to the Member States and aimed at suggesting an integrated approach to protecting forests against fires, with measures such as the harvesting and utilisation of residual forest biomass, a temporary ban on changes in the use of burnt land to prevent speculation following fires, and the creation of special prosecution services for environmental offences;

17.  Calls, with a view to the next financial programming period, for the Member States and European regions to revise their fire-fighting and fire-prevention measures so as to update and revitalise the measures in force, whose application is proving inadequate in many cases;

18.  Stresses that reafforestation is a vital instrument in combating desertification; points out that reafforestation with native species helps to maintain biodiversity, reduces the risk of fire and may help to protect and link up areas bordering sites listed in the Natura 2000 network, thereby enabling the spread of biodiversity;

Strategy element 6: Protecting tropical forests

19.  Supports the current FLEGT initiatives to combat illegal logging and enforce international agreements;

Strategy element 7: Mitigating climate change and contributing to sustainable energy supplies

20.  Considers it vital that the importance of forests and forestry products in mitigating climate change should be recognised and that the European Union should promote research, activities to promote the image of wood and exchanges of information in this field; calls on the Commission and the Member States, as part of the EU's forest strategy, to explore concepts which will optimise the contribution of the forestry sector to combating climate change, against the backdrop of its competitiveness;

21.  Urges the European Union to promote the use of wood as a renewable resource and the use of forest industry products as environmentally friendly;

22.  Calls for biomass, particularly from wood, to be fully included in political measures to develop renewable energy sources (cooling, heating and power (CHP), biofuels); asks the Member States to assess the possibilities of tax concessions for wood-based heating;

Strategy element 8: Promoting competitiveness, employment and income in the forest- based sector

23.  Stresses the conclusions of the Commission's analysis of the competitiveness of forestry in the European Union, according to which it is desirable to promote the coordination of policy on forestry and the rest of the wood/paper production chain; welcomes the fact that incentives to encourage voluntary mergers between smaller forestry businesses have been provided at national and Community level; also points out that if private forestry organisations were strengthened, this would help private forest owners, in particular, in developing their own sustainable forest management;

24.  Calls on the Commission to support the Member States' efforts to mobilise wood resources in forests and to overcome the structural disadvantages of smaller forestry undertakings in relation to the utilisation and marketing of their forestry products, in order to ensure the Community's long-term self-supply with regard to wood and wood products; considers, in particular, that certain obstacles to the use of wood should be removed and consideration should be given to the rules and standards governing research and development in relation to innovative uses of wood and measures to boost the skills profile; emphasises the sources of income, only partly used hitherto, offered by non-wood forest products such as cork, mushrooms and berries and the provision of services such as nature tourism and hunting, whereby game management plays a role which should not be neglected in the context of income diversification in some of the Member States within the meaning of Article 33, indents 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999;

25.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to include in the EU action plan for sustainable forest management effective measures to avert dangers and cope with serious disasters (fires, storms, insect infestations); reminds the Member States to implement the measures to prevent forest fires provided for in rural development programmes and considers it vital that the EU action plan for sustainable forest management should cover the whole value chain from forests to wood and forest industry products;

26.  Calls on the Commission to take account of the economic potential for afforestation of each region's native species, as well as the potential of natural forests and all the environmental products and benefits they provide for rural areas; considers that, to this end, a study should be made of the necessary measures to support producers;

27.  Calls on the Commission to draw up the necessary studies on the fiscal measures which may be taken by the individual Member States with a view to applying positive differentiation with regard to taxation for producers who have fewer negative impacts on the environment; takes the view that the implementation of measures aimed at the prevention of fires and desertification, afforestation with native species, the promotion of biodiversity, the sustainable management of natural forests and the fostering of environmental benefits such as protection for water systems and the combating of erosion represent positive externalities which such producers provide to society and for which they should be duly compensated;

28.  Considers that the provision of support, particularly to promote environmental conservation measures and rural areas, should not be made dependent on the form of ownership of the forests concerned, and that all forests should be treated equally;

Strategy element 9: Promoting forest-related research and development

29.  Calls for an increase in promotion of forest-related research and development work and more recognition of the multifunctional role played by forests, particularly with regard to the sustainable development of biodiversity, by including key forestry research projects in the 7th Framework Programme or in the corresponding programmes in the Member States, and by supporting the forests/wood/paper technology platform which has already been launched;

Strategy element 10: Promoting sustainable forest management by means of training and further training programmes

30.  Calls on the Member States, in particular, to ensure that European training and further training programmes (Leonardo, Erasmus, etc.) provided by the European Union are put to more use than hitherto in the forest-based sector;

31.  Underlines that the support of forest owners in terms of education, capacity building, information activity and advisory services will be a prerequisite for the sustainable use of forests in the context of rural development;

Strategy element 11: Promoting sustainable forest management by means of information and communication strategies

32.  Welcomes the efforts of European forestry undertakings to give consumers assurances concerning sustainable forest management which takes account of the multifunctional role of forests, notably by means of certified wood products; considers the FSC and PEFC certification systems to be equally suitable for this purpose; calls for mutual recognition of the two certification initiatives to be promoted;

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

(1) OJ C 55, 24.2.1997, p. 22.
(2) OJ C 56, 26.2.1999, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 353, 8.12.2000, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 67, 18.3.2005, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999, p. 80.


Cultural heritage in Azerbaijan
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European Parliament resolution on cultural heritage in Azerbaijan
P6_TA(2006)0069RC-B6-0111/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 9 June 2005(1) and 27 October 2005(2) on Azerbaijan,

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2006 on the European Neighbourhood Policy(3),

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the South Caucasus and, in particular, its resolution of 11 March 1999 on support for the peace process in the Caucasus(4) and its recommendation to the Council of 26 February 2004 on EU policy towards the South Caucasus(5),

–   having regard to the Council decision of 14 June 2004 to include both Armenia and Azerbaijan in the European Neighbourhood Policy, in particular for the purpose of fostering good neighbourly relations, especially through respect for minorities,

–   having regard to the obligations of Armenia and Azerbaijan within the framework of the Council of Europe, especially through the European Cultural Convention, the revised European Convention for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage, and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which they have ratified and undertaken to respect,

–   having regard to the UNESCO 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its 1954 Protocol, as applicable to occupied territories, to which both Armenia and Azerbaijan are party,

–   having regard to the 2003 UNESCO Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage, by which the international community recognises the importance of the protection of cultural heritage and reaffirms its commitment to combat its intentional destruction in any form so that such cultural heritage may be transmitted to the succeeding generations,

–   having regard to the report of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)(6) and the UN Committee for Human Rights' intermediary report on freedom of worship and religion(7),

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

A.   whereas allegations have been made by Armenia that campaigns to destroy the Armenian cemetery at Djulfa in the region of Nakhichevan were carried out by Azerbaijani forces in November 1998 and December 2002; whereas the most recent destruction took place in December 2005, as evidenced by video footage taken by the Armenian authorities,

B.   whereas there were numerous reactions by the international community to these actions; whereas Azerbaijan has not provided answers to inquiries by Mr Abdelfattah Amor, the former special rapporteur of the United Nations, concerning the events of November 1998 and December 2002,

C.   whereas serious allegations have been raised about the involvement of the Azerbaijani authorities in the destruction of these monuments,

D.   underlining the exceptional nature of the Djulfa cemetery, which still had 6 000 khatchkars (crosses carved in stone typical of Armenian religious art) remaining and which testifies to the ethnic and cultural diversity of the region,

E.   whereas the destruction or desecration of any monuments or objects of cultural, religious or national heritage infringes the principles of the European Union,

F.   whereas such destruction is taking place in the context of the suspended conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh,

G.   whereas there might soon be a favourable outcome to the negotiations on Nagorno-Karabakh and agreement might be reached on the principles for settling the conflict despite the unproductive meeting in Rambouillet on 10 and 11 February 2006 between the presidents of Armenia and of Azerbaijan,

H.   recalling that the European Neighbourhood Policy aims to establish a privileged partnership with Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of common values, including the respect for minorities and their cultural heritage,

1.  Condemns strongly the destruction of the Djulfa cemetery as well as the destruction of all sites of historical importance that has taken place on Armenian or Azerbaijani territory, and condemns any such action that seeks to destroy cultural heritage;

2.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to make clear to the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan that all efforts must be made to stop the practice of ethnic cleansing, which has led to such destruction, and to find ways in which to facilitate the gradual return of refugees and displaced people;

3.  Demands that the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan respect their international commitments, notably as regards cultural heritage, and, in particular, those deriving from the two countries' accession to the Council of Europe and their inclusion in the European Neighbourhood Policy;

4.  Stresses that respect for minority rights, including historical, religious and cultural heritage is conditional on the genuine and effective development of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which must also lead to the establishment of good neighbourly relations between all the countries concerned;

5.  Demands that Azerbaijan allow missions, such as experts working with ICOMOS who are dedicated to surveying and protecting archaeological heritage, in particular Armenian heritage, onto its territory, and that it also allow a European Parliament delegation to visit the archaeological site at Djulfa;

6.  Calls on the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to comply with their international commitments, in particular as regards culture and the safeguarding of cultural heritage, entered into within international bodies such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, and calls on both countries to do their utmost to protect archaeological, historical and cultural heritage on their territories in order to prevent the destruction of other endangered sites;

7.  Invites the Commission and the Council to incorporate a clause on protecting both territories' invaluable archaeological or historical sites into the action plans currently being discussed in a European Neighbourhood Policy context;

8.  Invites the Commission and the Council to make the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy action plans conditional upon the respect by Armenia and Azerbaijan for universally accepted principles, in particular their obligations as members of the Council of Europe regarding human and minority rights, and calls on the Commission and the Council to incorporate into these action plans specific provisions for the protection of the cultural heritage of minorities;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Parliaments and Governments of the Member States, the Government and the President of Armenia, the Government and the President of Azerbaijan, as well as the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Director-General of UNESCO, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) Text Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0243.
(2) Text Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0411.
(3) Text Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0028.
(4) OJ C 175, 21.6.1999, p. 251.
(5) OJ C 98 E, 23.4.2004, p. 193.
(6) World Report on Monuments and Sites in Danger 2002.
(7) 58th Session of the UN General Assembly, 1/58/296, 19.8.2003.


Guantánamo
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European Parliament resolution on Guantánamo
P6_TA(2006)0070RC-B6-0112/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the rights of detainees at Guantánamo to a fair trial, and, in particular, to its resolution of 7 February 2002 on the detainees in Guantánamo Bay(1), and its recommendation to the Council of 10 March 2004 on the Guantánamo detainees' right to a fair trial(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2005 on the human rights situation in the world in 2004(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2006 on Afghanistan(4),

–   having regard to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1984,

–   having regard to the EU guidelines on the fight against torture and on the death penalty, and its guidelines on human rights dialogues with third countries adopted in 2001,

–   having regard to the Defence Authorization Bill, signed by President Bush on 30 December 2005 containing the McCain amendment, which outlaws the use of torture, as well as the Graham-Levin amendment, which establishes – according to the interpretation ("signing statement") of the White House – that aliens held at Guantánamo have no right to have their habeas corpus cases heard in the US civil courts,

–   having regard to the new United States Army Regulation 190-55, due to come into force on 17 February 2006, which allows prisoners condemned to death by courts-martial to be executed at all detention centres, including Guantánamo Bay,

–   having regard to the report drawn up by five experts from the UN Commission on Human Rights on the Guantánamo Bay detention centre,

–   having regard to the recent call by the German Chancellor for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention centre,

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

1.  Calls on the US Administration to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and insists that every prisoner should be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law and tried without delay in a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, impartial tribunal;

2.  Condemns all forms of torture and ill-treatment and reiterates the need to comply with international law;

3.  Stresses that contemporary terrorism, particularly global terrorism directed against democracies and their populations, poses a threat to the basic and fundamental human rights our societies enjoy;

4.  Reiterates that the fight against terrorism, which is one of the priorities of the Union and a key aspect of its external action, can only be successfully pursued if human rights and civil liberties are fully respected;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative for the CFSP, the parliaments of the Member States, the United Nations Secretary-General and the President and Congress of the United States of America.

(1) OJ C 284 E, 21.11.2002, p. 353.
(2) OJ C 102 E, 28.4.2004, p. 640.
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0150.
(4) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0017.

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