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Wednesday, 13 December 2006 - Strasbourg
Legislative and work programme of the Commission for 2007

European Parliament resolution on the Commission legislative and work programme for 2007

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on its Legislative and Work Programme for 2007 (COM(2006)0629), adopted on 24 October 2006, and presented by the Commission and debated by Parliament on 14 November 2006,

–   having regard to the Commission's strategic political orientations for 2004 to 2009, the Commission's 2007 Annual Policy Strategy and the contributions of Parliament's committees, forwarded to the Commission by the Conference of Presidents, as provided for in the Framework Agreement between Parliament and the Commission,

–   having regard to Rules 33 and 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas 2007 will be a crucial year for the European integration process, given that the European Union will welcome two new Member States, Romania and Bulgaria, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, strive to achieve an institutional settlement, and launch an extensive series of new financing programmes,

B.   whereas it is essential for the Union to be able to meet ambitious political, economic and social goals for its citizens, and to serve the European common interest in making the Union a leading global player promoting shared solutions for peace, security, global prosperity and sustainable economic and social development,

C.   having regard to the need to align expenditure closely with political priorities, given that the means provided in the new financial framework are insufficient to meet all the challenges ahead,

D.   reiterating the need for Europe to take action in order to meet the increased expectations of citizens and to improve its role as a leading player on the world stage,

1.  Welcomes the emphasis in the Commission's Legislative and Work Programme (LWP) for 2007 on modernising the European economy and improving the well-being of citizens; agrees in this context with the importance attributed to security, health, innovation, a cleaner environment, energy and climate change, the internal market, migration and integration, Europe's global visibility and effectiveness, and improved communication with European citizens; regrets, however, a certain lack of ambition in several fields; believes that, in order to restore the momentum behind the European project, the Commission should play its full role in strengthening and modernising Europe's social market economy, based on sustainable development;

2.  Believes that the distinction drawn between 'strategic initiatives' and 'priority initiatives' increases the clarity and credibility of the LWP; requests, nevertheless, the Commission to be more coherent and precise in explaining the distinction between those two categories, and in particular to clarify the timescale for the presentation of 'priority initiatives'; invites the Commission to present after six months an update on progress made in implementing the LWP;

3.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission has endorsed a range of the contributions made by the committees of Parliament in the framework of the new 'structured dialogue' and outlined in the summary report of the Conference of Committee Chairmen;

4.  Asks the Commission nevertheless to inform Parliament why it chose not to include the following legislative initiatives in its 2007 work programme, as requested by its committees:  mutual recognition in trade in goods, proposals to improve the CE mark, revision of the European Company Statute, the development of microcredits, reconciling work and family life, the protection of atypical workers, a new proposal on a European mutual society, thresholds for seeds containing GMOs, and a proposal on the Transparency Initiative;

5.  Believes that the operation of the Framework Agreement on relations between Parliament and the Commission can and should be improved by involving the political groups more consistently and at an early stage in the procedure;

6.  Regrets the lack of interaction between the LWP and the budget procedure; in line with the Framework Agreement between Parliament and the Commission, wishes to improve the linkage between the two procedures, and looks forward to a discussion on how to do so;

7.  Calls on the Commission to engage in an early dialogue with Parliament on the crucial revision of the EU budgetary framework and the financial framework, the mid-term review of the CAP, and the discussion on new mechanisms for own resources;

8.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to better connect Europe with its citizens through an improved communications strategy designed to improve awareness and understanding of the EU at national, regional and local levels; supports all initiatives to build partnerships and to listen and respond more systematically to the concerns of citizens;

9.  Underlines to this end, in particular, the need to coordinate communications policy more closely with national governments and political parties, with the aim of launching an effective open dialogue with citizens on European issues; believes that Members can contribute to this process and expects the Commission to cooperate closely with Parliament when developing and implementing its communications policy;

10.  Notes the Commission's determination to be involved in the drafting of the Berlin Declaration on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome; believes it important that this declaration should have a genuinely interinstitutional character, with Parliament, the Council and the Commission jointly involved; believes that such a declaration should contribute inter alia to reasserting the values and identity of the Union and promoting institutional reform in Europe;

11.  Welcomes the desire of the Commission to engage actively in the process of helping secure the adoption of a European constitutional treaty; believes that the objectives and reforms enshrined in that treaty are essential to the sound functioning and future development of the Union; invites the Commission, in conjunction with Parliament, to take a leading role in finding a workable solution to the current institutional impasse;

Priorities for 2007
Modernising the European economy

12.  Welcomes the strong emphasis in the Commission's programme on the continuing need for modernisation of the European economy, to render it more dynamic and competitive in the face of global challenges; underlines the importance accorded to vigorous implementation of the Lisbon strategy, emphasising the interdependence of economic, social and environmental progress in creating a dynamic and innovative European economy; reiterates its support for a European agenda in which prosperity and solidarity are mutually supporting objectives, and calls on the Commission to take action to reflect that;

13.  Calls on the Commission to improve the coordination of economic policies, in particular with a view to promoting national and European initiatives aimed at fostering research, skills and new technologies, to sharing best practices on ways to improve the effectiveness and quality of public spending, and to enhancing the quality of statistical data;

Research and development

14.  Reiterates the urgency of fostering cooperative research to improve the competitiveness of the European economy, in particular in the areas of advanced technologies; urges that enhanced coordinated efforts be undertaken to promote the telecoms and information society technology sectors;

15.  Believes that the establishment of the proposed European Institute of Technology (EIT), if it is based on the right principles, could contribute to the competitiveness of the European economy by helping to reverse the fragmentation of research, education and innovation efforts which has stunted progress so far; insists that no funds previously earmarked for the Seventh Framework Programme should be used to finance EIT activities;

16.  Welcomes the Commission proposals for the Erasmus Mundus II programme, aimed at fostering cooperation with third countries in the field of higher education; stresses, however, the need to undertake further initiatives to promote excellence in European universities, higher education and life-long learning, as well as better knowledge of languages;

17.  Underlines the strategic significance of the rapidly developing space sector, and thus fully supports the Commission in its initiative to develop a coherent and comprehensive European space policy;

Internal market

18.  Calls on the Commission to step up efforts to complete the internal market, so as to enable citizens to reap its full benefits; believes, however, that the Single Market Strategy review should not provide a pretext for failing to bring forward internal market initiatives as necessary; insists that the single market can only be developed successfully in a context of promoting fair competition, cohesion, a high level of consumer protection, and respect for the Göteborg principles;

19.  Reiterates its request to the Commission that it should explore all possible ways of improving the patent and patent litigation systems;

20.  Stresses the importance of completing the internal market in the field of financial services and insurance, and, in particular, of the Commission's commitment to proposing the modernisation of legislation on solvency, investment funds (UCITS) and VAT treatment for financial services; nevertheless considers that a key priority for 2007 in the field of financial services legislation should be the proper implementation and timely application of legislation already adopted in recent years; in this respect, invites the Commission to report on the possible impact of private equity funds and hedge funds on financial stability, economic performance and employment;

Addressing the challenges of European society

21.  Notes that the Commission is planning to undertake a 'comprehensive stocktaking of European society', but calls on it to be more ambitious and, given that 2007 will be the European Year of Equal Opportunities, to come forward with a number of initiatives in the areas of social exclusion, poverty, protection of atypical workers and better social protection in new forms of employment, as well as an evaluation of the implementation of EU legislation on the fight against all forms of discrimination, and any necessary initiative in this field;

22.  Calls for a proper follow-up to the Commission communication concerning a consultation on action at EU level to promote the inclusion of the people furthest from the labour market (COM(2006)0044);

23.  Calls on the Commission to identify a clear legal basis for combating all forms of violence, in particular against women and children;

24.  Welcomes in this context the Commission's objective of exploring possible pathways to enhance flexicurity and to help Member States to achieve both high productivity and high social protection;

Consumer protection

25.  Asks the Commission for new impetus in the field of consumer protection, in particular with a view to consolidating and reviewing the consumer acquis to reinforce the effectiveness of consumer protection policy and consumer rights, ensuring protection of vulnerable consumers, strengthening information and awareness for consumers on rights and redress - e.g. by means of a EU-wide information campaign - and protecting the interests of consumers in related policy areas; points out in that context that legislation on consumer protection should by no means constitute a channel for the creation of new barriers within the internal market, but ensure instead that consumers in all the Member States benefit from the high-level protection already achieved;

26.  Therefore welcomes the Action Plan on Sustainable Production and Consumption, as it integrates both the social and economic dimensions;

Security for citizens, justice and migration

27.  Demands the Member States' and the Commission's commitment to address the structural causes of massive migration by adapting and updating their current policies, in order to enable developing countries to protect and build their economies, and to allow decent incomes for their populations, which constitutes the only long-term alternative in order to reduce illegal immigration;

28.  Calls on the Member States to strengthen cooperation and mutual technical assistance between their border control services and for increased financing for FRONTEX, in order to combat human trafficking; requests that the conclusion of readmission agreements be fair and respect the fundamental rights of migrants and take into consideration the shared needs of Member States and of the countries of origin and transit;

29.  Believes that a common immigration, visa and asylum policy, as well as an effective economic and social integration of immigrants on the basis of common principles, must be at the heart of EU action for 2007; welcomes the proposed Commission initiatives on labour immigration and on sanctions for employers of illegally resident third country nationals; reiterates its call for a move to the codecision procedure and qualified-majority voting in all areas related to immigration;

30.  Stresses the need for a common EU visa policy, with the conclusion of the VIS (Visa Information System) being a key element of this objective; stresses, however, its concern in relation to data protection, access to data and the interoperability of databases and regrets that the framework decision on data protection under the third pillar remains blocked in the Council;

31.  Strongly supports the Commission in its intention to update the framework decision on the fight against terrorism, in particular by addressing the problems of the spread of explosives and the transmission of expertise, and by combating terrorism propaganda, yet stresses that increased security for citizens must not compromise the protection of their fundamental rights;

32.  Insists on the need to tackle cyber-crime, as well as to improve border controls and the management of visa requests, whilst emphasising the importance of the rapid entry into force of both SIS II and VIS;

33.  Urges the Commission to put forward in 2007 a report on how the rights of seasonal workers in the EU can be safeguarded in order to avoid abuses and violation of core labour standards, as is currently the case;

34.  Recalls that much remains to be done to secure fair and efficient access to justice for everyone; calls for more initiatives in the field of civil justice in order to deliver the balanced legal framework that would give security and access to justice;

Secure, competitive and sustainable energy

35.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal to make the development of 'European energy policy' a strategic objective for 2007, based on the principles of security and diversity of supply, sustainability, efficiency and greater energy independence;

36.  Stresses that an essential element of a common energy policy should be enhanced solidarity between Member States in order to deal with difficulties related to the physical security of infrastructures and security of supply; considers, furthermore, that such enhanced solidarity would considerably strengthen the capacity of the EU to defend its common interest on energy issues at international level;

37.  Strongly holds the view that an essential part of maintaining security of supply is the rapid transposition of current EU law by all Member States to achieve a fully functioning internal market in electricity and gas so as to enhance competitiveness, transparency and energy efficiency;

38.  Urges Member States to create an EU internal energy market by setting a balance between internal and external sources of supply and ensuring interoperability of national energy grids;

39.  Asks the Commission to better develop the synergies between economic development, on the one hand, and development and use of clean and energy-saving technologies, on the other, as complementarities are strong and constitute a potential source of increased competitiveness;

Making Europe a better place to live
Environment and sustainable development

40.  Underlines the leading role of the European Union at international level in promoting environmental issues, and agrees that, in the following years, efforts should be directed towards the protection of biodiversity and towards climate change, especially by developing the concept of 'green diplomacy', as well as towards seeking a specific energy policy focused on increasing the share of renewable energy, energy saving and efficiency in Europe;

41.  Calls on the Commission to support a strong role for the EU in devising post-Kyoto policies and new targets; welcomes in this respect the proposed Green Paper on post-2012 climate change, which will help identify areas in which action is needed;

42.  Expects the proposal to review the EU emissions trading scheme to aim at improving the environmental effectiveness of the scheme, thereby also including aviation emissions in it;

43.  Urges the Commission to better coordinate transport and environment policy in the spirit of sustainable development, proposing concrete targets for CO2 reduction for the total vehicle fleet and integrating air transport into the binding obligations of the Kyoto Protocol;

44.  Regrets that the protection and conservation of biodiversity in the EU has not been highlighted as a priority for 2007, and all the more warmly encourages the Commission to take the lead in facing the global challenge of biodiversity loss, whilst ensuring the proper management of the NATURA 2000 network, especially in marine zones;

45.  Calls on the Commission to take the necessary initiatives to enable the creation of a better environment for developing non-CO2 energy sources; underlines the fact that climate change has consequences not only for the environment, but also for health and therefore asks the Commission to address new threats and long-term effects;


46.  Welcomes the Commission's contribution to shaping health policy in Europe, and strongly believes that the protection and promotion of health should constitute an underlying component of EU policies;

47.  Underlines the fact that an effective European health strategy calls for improved collaboration between health services, in particular as regards patient mobility and patient safety (e.g. drug counterfeiting), information for patients on pharmaceuticals, and lifestyle changes, and in addressing the challenges of healthy ageing;

Agriculture and fisheries

48.  Notes the Commission's intention to bring forward a proposal on the simplification of the CAP as well as on a single common market organisation (CMO), in line with the objectives of simplification and transparency; stresses that in view of the revision of the budgetary framework the regional, social and environmental role of the CAP should be enhanced, together with the stabilisation of the Community agricultural funds;

49.  Welcomes the stepping up of simplification initiatives in the field of the CAP and attaches particular importance to the Commission's commitment to report on the operation of the cross-compliance system; expresses its support for the Commission's intention to recast and modernise existing feed labelling requirements;

50.  Welcomes the proposed regulation aimed at stepping up the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, given in particular the considerable losses which such fishing causes to coastal communities and to legally operating fishermen; regrets, however, the general lack of initiative and political impulse in the CFP field, which is necessary to confront new challenges both within the EU and internationally;

Europe as a world partner
Neighbourhood policy

51.  Welcomes the commitment by the Commission to give priority to strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy, but believes that concrete proposals and steps are needed to give content to this commitment; warns against the risk that the European Neighbourhood Policy may limit itself to bilateral and administrative or 'bureaucratic' relations with the countries concerned; expresses the view that certain features of the policy ought to be revised, in order to take account of the expectations of the various countries concerned and to tailor arrangements better to their needs; calls in this respect for the Parliament to be involved in the process;

52.  Calls on the Commission to draw up an annual report on compliance with the human rights and democracy clause of the agreements with Neighbourhood Policy countries, accompanied by a detailed evaluation and recommendations dealing with the effectiveness and coherence of the action taken;

Stability and democracy in South East Europe

53.  Notes that the countries of South East Europe are coming closer to acquiring the accession momentum referred to in the 'Thessaloniki Declaration', and expects the Union to take a leading role in consolidating stability and increasing prosperity in the Western Balkans, thus helping the countries of the region on their way to EU membership;


54.  Reminds the Commission that the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Russia will expire in 2007; calls on the Commission to propose guiding principles for the strategic content of the EU's relations with Russia, and in particular to emphasise the importance of placing democracy, human rights and freedom of expression at the core of future relations, establishing a clear mechanism for monitoring the implementation of all the clauses of such an agreement;

Development policy

55.  Requests the Member States and the Commission to be more ambitious in respecting their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, and calls on the Commission to come forward with concrete proposals for alternative financing of development programmes;

56.  Believes that, in order to enable the ACP countries to meet their development goals, the regional development aspect should be properly respected in negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements;

Trade policy and WTO negotiations

57.  At multilateral level, calls for a successful and ambitious outcome of the Doha Round; regrets that it was necessary to suspend the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda sine die and points out that a failure of multilateral negotiations and a shift to bilateral/regional agreements could lead to an unequal process of liberalisation and uneven development and would thus adversely affect the least developed countries in particular;


58.  Stresses the need to strengthen the mechanisms for parliamentary oversight of the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in general, and ESDP missions in particular, and highlights the need to provide information proactively and to conduct debates before joint actions in the field of ESDP are decided on, so that Parliament can voice its opinion and concerns;

Better lawmaking

59.  Underlines the need to accelerate the simplification and consolidation of EU legislation and to put more effort into better regulation, prompt transposition and correct implementation of EU legislation; calls for a stronger monitoring and enforcement mechanism in respect of the implementation of EU legislation in the Member States;

60.  Insists that all simplification initiatives comply fully with all the principles and conditions outlined in its resolution of 16 May 2006 on the strategy for simplification of the regulatory environment(1);

Impact assessments

61.  Welcomes the inclusion of impact assessments in the legislative process, and the fact that the LWP highlights agreement on the need for high-quality legislation, with the Commission undertaking to carry out impact assessments on all strategic and priority initiatives; insists on the need for independent impact assessments, but emphasises that these should not lead to unjustified delays in Commissions proposals; recalls that 'better regulation' does not necessarily mean deregulation or forms of minimal regulation;

Soft law

62.  Regrets the increasing use by the Commission of soft law, such as recommendations and interpretative communications, thereby circumventing the prerogatives of the legislative authority;

Monitoring of implementation and enforcement of the acquis

63.  Regrets that the Commission has only offered a weak response to Parliament's request concerning implementation of EU legislation in the Member States;

64.  Requests the Commission to make the whole process of transposition and implementation more transparent and to persuade Member States to produce the 'correlation tables' that show exactly which parts of any piece of legislation derive from the EU and from national law respectively;

Budgetary responsibility

65.  Expects all new reforms set out in the new Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management to be fully implemented in the course of 2007, thus enabling a swift result in terms of higher-quality implementation of the budget;

66.  Asks the Commission to ensure, facilitate and encourage the total implementation of the EU budget, in particular in the new Member States, given the fact that 2007 will be a crucial year for the implementation of the new structural policy; asks the Commission to apply all the necessary measures in order to ensure that the operational programmes for the new financing period, in accordance with the strategic guidelines for cohesion, are ready and implemented on time for all Member States;

67.  Underlines the importance it attaches to the reform agenda, in particular in the field of the fight against fraud and mismanagement, as any such cases help to increase EU scepticism; deplores the fact that the Commission seems to have downgraded its original reform programme; in this context calls on the Commission to continue its work on the Action Plan for an Integrated Internal Control Framework and the Transparency Initiative;

o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0205.

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