Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 - Strasbourg
Protection of personal data *
 Pericles programme *
 Pericles programme - extension to non-participating Member States *
 Taking into account previous convictions in another Member State *
 EC-Guinea-Bissau agreement on fishing *
 Draft amending budget 3/2006 (Amendments)
 Draft amending budget No 3/2006
 Draft amending budget No 4/2006
 PROGRESS ***II
 Strategic guidelines on cohesion ***
 Services of general interest
 Turkey's progress towards accession

Protection of personal data *
PDF 193kWORD 37k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council framework decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters (COM(2005)0475 – C6-0436/2005 – 2005/0202(CNS))
P6_TA(2006)0370A6-0192/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal (COM(2005)0475)(1),

–   having regard to Article 34(2)(b) of the EU Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 39(1) of the EU Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0436/2005),

–   having regard to the Protocol integrating the Schengen acquis into the framework of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament,

–   having regard to Rules 93 and 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0192/2006),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended on 14 June 2006(2);

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.  Calls on 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.

(1) Not yet published in OJ.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0258.


Pericles programme *
PDF 191kWORD 30k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council decision amending and extending Decision 2001/923/EC establishing an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting (the 'Pericles' programme) (COM(2006)0243 – C6-0179/2006 – 2006/0078(CNS))
P6_TA(2006)0371A6-0276/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2006)0243)(1),

–   having regard to Article 123(4), third sentence of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0179/2006),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A6-0276/2006),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal;

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

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

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

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


Pericles programme - extension to non-participating Member States *
PDF 191kWORD 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council decision extending to the non-participating Member States the application of Decision 2006/…/EC amending and extending Decision 2001/923/EC establishing an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting (the "Pericles" programme) (COM(2006)0243 – C6-0180/2006 – 2006/0079(CNS))
P6_TA(2006)0372A6-0277/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2006)0243)(1),

–   having regard to Article 308 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0180/2006),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0277/2006),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal;

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

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

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

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


Taking into account previous convictions in another Member State *
PDF 319kWORD 84k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on taking account of convictions in the Member States of the European Union in the course of new criminal proceedings (COM(2005)0091 – C6-0235/2005 – 2005/0018(CNS))
P6_TA(2006)0373A6-0268/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal (COM(2005)0091)(1),

–   having regard to Article 34(2)(b) of the EU Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 39(1) of the EU Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0235/2005),

–   having regard to Rules 93 and 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A6-0268/2006),

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.  Calls on 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 6
(6)  The entry in the criminal record of a Member State of convictions against nationals or residents handed down in another Member State must be governed by the same rules as if it had been handed down by a national court and may not cause persons convicted in other Member States to be treated more unfavourably than those who have been convicted by national courts.
deleted
Amendment 2
Recital 7
(7)  This decision is to replace the provisions concerning the taking into consideration of criminal judgments in the Convention of 28 May 1970 on the International Validity of Criminal Judgments.
(7)  This Framework Decision applies between Member States without prejudice to the provisions concerning the taking into consideration of criminal judgments in the Convention of 28 May 1970 on the International Validity of Criminal Judgments.
Amendment 3
Article 1, paragraph 1
1.  The purpose of this Framework Decision is to determine the conditions in which a Member State takes into account, in the course of new criminal proceedings against the same person, convictions handed down in another Member State for different facts or enters such convictions in the criminal record.
1.  The purpose of this Framework Decision is to determine the conditions in which a Member State takes into account, in the course of criminal proceedings against a person, previous convictions handed down in another Member State against the same person for different facts.
Amendment 5
Article 2, point (a)
(a) "conviction" means any final decision of a criminal court or of an administrative authority whose decision can be appealed against in the criminal courts establishing guilt of a criminal offence or an act punishable in accordance with national law as an offence against the law;
(a) "conviction" means any final court decision establishing in criminal proceedings guilt of a criminal offence under national law;
Amendment 6
Article 2, point (b)
(b) "criminal record": the national register or registers recording convictions in accordance with national law.
deleted
Amendment 7
Article 3, paragraph 1
1.  Each Member State shall, in the course of new criminal proceedings for different facts, attach to convictions handed down in the other Member States in accordance with rules determined by them legal effects that are equivalent to those they attach to national convictions.
1.  Each Member State shall ensure that, in the course of criminal proceedings brought against a person, its competent national authorities and courts or tribunals take into account previous convictions handed down in other Member States against the same person for different facts in accordance with their national law and attach to them the same legal effects as they attach to previous national convictions, provided that such persons are not treated more unfavourably than they would have been if the previous convictions had been national convictions.
Amendment 8
Article 3, paragraph 2
2.  Paragraph 1 shall apply at the pre-trial stage, at the trial stage itself and at the time of execution of the conviction, in particular with regard to the applicable rules of procedure, including those relating to provisional detention, the definition of the offence, the type and level of the sentence, and the rules governing the execution of the decision.
2.  Paragraph 1 shall apply at the pre-trial stage, at the trial stage itself and at the time of execution of the conviction, in particular with regard to the applicable rules, including those relating to provisional detention, the definition of the offence, the type and level of the sentence, and the rules governing the execution of the decision.
Amendment 9
Article 5, paragraph 1
1.  Convictions handed down in another Member State may be disregarded where the underlying facts do not constitute an offence against the criminal law of the Member State.
deleted
The first subparagraph shall not apply to the following categories of offences:
- participation in a criminal organisation;
- terrorism;
- trafficking in human beings;
- sexual exploitation of children and child pornography;
- trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
- trafficking in weapons, munitions and explosives;
- corruption;
- fraud, including fraud affecting the financial interests of the European Communities within the meaning of the Convention of 26 July 1995 on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests;
- laundering the proceeds of crime;
- counterfeiting currency, including the euro;
- computer-related crime;
- environmental crime, including trafficking in endangered animal species and in endangered plant species and varieties;
- facilitation of unauthorised entry and residence;
- murder, grievous bodily harm;
- illicit trade in human organs and tissue;
- kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage-taking;
- racism and xenophobia;
- organised or armed robbery;
- illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiques and works of art;
- swindling;
- racketeering and extortion;
- counterfeiting and piracy of products;
- forgery of administrative documents and trafficking therein;
- forgery of means of payment;
- trafficking in hormonal substances and other growth promoters;
- trafficking in nuclear or radioactive materials;
- trafficking in stolen vehicles;
- rape;
- arson;
- crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court;
- unlawful seizure of aircraft/ships;
- sabotage;
- conduct which infringes road traffic regulations, including breaches of regulations pertaining to driving hours and rest periods and regulations on hazardous goods;
- smuggling of goods;
- infringements of intellectual property rights;
- threats and acts of violence against persons, including during sports events;
- criminal damage;
- theft;
- offences established by the convicting State and serving the purpose of implementing obligations arising from instruments adopted under the Treaty establishing the European Community or under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union.
Amendment 10
Article 5, paragraph 2
2.  Without prejudice to paragraph 1, convictions handed down in another Member State may also be disregarded where the consequence of having been convicted in another Member State on the occasion of new criminal proceedings for different facts is that the person concerned is treated more unfavourably than if the conviction had been handed down by a national court.
deleted
Amendment 11
Article 6, paragraph 1
1.  Where a Member State enters convictions handed down in another Member State in its criminal record, the amount of the penalty entered shall correspond to that of the sentence actually passed, unless the amount of the penalty has been actually reviewed when the penalty was executed in the registering Member State.
deleted
Amendment 12
Article 6, paragraph 2
2.  If, under national legislation, convictions handed down in the other Member States against nationals or residents are entered in the national criminal record, the rules governing entry in the record, modifications or deletion of the information entered may under no circumstances have the effect of causing the person to be treated more unfavourably than if he/she had been convicted by a national court.
deleted
Amendment 13
Article 6, paragraph 3
3.  Any modification or deletion of an entry in the convicting Member State shall entail an equivalent deletion or modification in the Member State of nationality or residence if it made an entry in the record and is informed of the modification or deletion, unless the legislation of the latter State provides for more favourable treatment for the convicted person.
deleted
Amendment 14
Article 7
1.  Without prejudice to its application in relations between the Member States and third countries, this Framework Decision replaces Article 56 of the Hague Convention of 28 May 1970 on the International Validity of Criminal Judgments as between the Member States.
This Framework Decision shall apply between the Member States without prejudice to Article 56 of the Hague Convention of 28 May 1970 on the International Validity of Criminal Judgments with regard to the relations between Member States and third countries.
Amendment 15
Article 8, paragraph 1
1.  Member States shall adopt the measures necessary to comply with the provisions of this Framework Decision no later than 31 December 2006.
1.  Member States shall adopt the measures necessary to comply with the provisions of this Framework Decision within one year of its adoption.
Amendment 16
Article 8, paragraph 3
3.  On the basis of that information the Commission shall, no later than 31 December 2007 present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Framework Decision, accompanied if necessary by legislative proposals.
3.  On the basis of that information the Commission shall no later than two years after the adoption of this Framework Decision present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Framework Decision, accompanied if necessary by legislative proposals.

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


EC-Guinea-Bissau agreement on fishing *
PDF 192kWORD 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council regulation on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters concerning the extension of the Protocol establishing the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on fishing off the coast of Guinea-Bissau for the period 16 June 2006 to 15 June 2007 (COM(2006)0182 – C6-0167/2006 – 2006/0065(CNS))
P6_TA(2006)0374A6-0271/2006

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council regulation (COM(2006)0182)(1),

–   having regard to Articles 37 and 300(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0167/2006),

–   having regard to Rules 51 and 83(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A6-0271/2006),

1.  Approves conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

(1) Not yet published in OJ.


Draft amending budget 3/2006 (Amendments)
PDF 131kWORD 67k
Amendments to Draft amending budget No 3/2006 of the European Union for the financial year 2006, Section III - Commission, Section VIII Part B - European Data-protection Supervisor (11297/2006 - C6-0239/2006 - 2006/2119(BUD))
P6_TA(2006)0375A6-0283/2006

Amendment 1

SECTION III: Commission

Item 02 01 04 01 - Operation and development of the internal market, particularly in the fields of notification, certification and sectoral approximation ‐ Expenditure on administrative management

02 01 04 01

Budget 2006

DAB 3/2006

Amendment

Budget 2006 + AB3 amended

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

2 790 000

2 790 000

-554 545

-554 545

554 545

554 545

2 790 000

2 790 000

NOMENCLATURE:

Unchanged

REMARKS:

Unchanged

JUSTIFICATION

Restore the preliminary draft amending budget.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
P6_TA(2006)0375A6-0283/2006

Amendment 2

SECTION III: Commission

Item 06 02 03 - Transport safety

06 02 03

Budget 2006

DAB 3/2006

Amendment

Budget 2006 + AB3 amended

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

18 080 000

17 080 000

-2 714 000

-2 714 000

2 714 000

2 714 000

18 080 000

17 080 000

NOMENCLATURE:

Unchanged

REMARKS:

Unchanged

JUSTIFICATION

Reject decrease because it's too early in the budgetary year to introduce substantial reductions.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
P6_TA(2006)0375A6-0283/2006

Amendment 3

SECTION III: Commission

Item 06 02 09 01 - Galileo Supervisory Authority ‐ Subsidy under Titles 1 and 2

06 02 09 01

Budget 2006

DAB 3/2006

Amendment

Budget 2006 + AB3 amended

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

2 231 400

2 231 400

1 600 000

1 600 000

850 000

850 000

4 681 400

4 681 400

NOMENCLATURE:

Unchanged

REMARKS:

Unchanged

JUSTIFICATION

Restore the preliminary draft amending budget.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
P6_TA(2006)0375A6-0283/2006

Amendment 4

SECTION III: Commission

Item 06 02 09 02 - Galileo Supervisory Authority ‐ Subsidy under Title 3

06 02 09 02

Budget 2006

DAB 3/2006

Amendment

Budget 2006 + AB3 amended

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

2 500 000

2 500 000

0

0

600 000

600 000

3 100 000

3 100 000

NOMENCLATURE:

Unchanged

REMARKS:

(Estimate of revenue and expenditure for the financial year changed accordingly)

JUSTIFICATION

Restore the preliminary draft amending budget.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
P6_TA(2006)0375A6-0283/2006

Amendment 5

SECTION III: Commission

Item 18 02 03 02 - European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders ‐ Subsidy under Title 3

18 02 03 02

Budget 2006

DAB 3/2006

Amendment

Budget 2006 + AB3 amended

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

Commit.

Paym.

9 440 000

9 440 000

-3 786 000

-3 786 000

3 786 000

3 786 000

9 440 000

9 440 000

NOMENCLATURE:

Unchanged

REMARKS:

(Estimate of revenue and expenditure for the financial year changed accordingly)

JUSTIFICATION

Reject decrease because it's too early in the budgetary year to introduce substantial reductions.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
P6_TA(2006)0375A6-0283/2006

Draft amending budget No 3/2006
PDF 199kWORD 32k
European Parliament resolution on Draft amending budget No 3/2006 of the European Union for the financial year 2006, Section III – Commission, Section VIII Part B – European Data-protection Supervisor (11297/2006 - C6-0239/2006 - 2006/2119(BUD))
P6_TA(2006)0376A6-0283/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 272(4), penultimate subparagraph, thereof,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 177 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(1), and in particular Articles 37 and 38 thereof,

–   having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2006, as finally adopted on 15 December 2005(2),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(3),

–   having regard to Preliminary draft amending budget (PDAB) No 3/2006 of the European Union for the financial year 2006, which the Commission presented on 22 May 2006 (SEC(2006)0633),

–   having regard to Draft amending budget (DAB) No 3/2006, which the Council established on 11 July 2006 (11297/2006 – C6-0239/2006),

–   having regard to Rule 69 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0283/2006),

A.   whereas Draft Amending Budget No 3/2006 comprises four different elements, namely strengthening the European GNSS Supervisory Authority, reinforcing the staff of the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders, and increasing the appropriations for the European Data-protection Supervisor,

B.   whereas the Commission, in its PDAB No 3/2006, proposed to finance these additional needs by an increase of EUR 3 604 545 in own resources,

C.   whereas the Council, in its DAB No 3/2006, has decided to cover all proposed increases exclusively through redeployment,

D.   whereas, in particular, the Council wants to finance the additional needs of the European Data-protection Supervisor by reducing commitments and payments of an administrative line in the Commission section of the budget, which falls under Heading 3 of the Financial Perspective 2000-2006,

E.   whereas Parliament agrees with the Commission's Declaration on DAB No 3/2006 in that this would create a dangerous precedent for all institutions as it aims to finance, during the implementation of the budget, the administrative expenditure of one institution by taking the necessary appropriations from the budget of another institution,

1.  Supports the increases proposed by the Commission in its PDAB No 3/2006 for the European GNSS Supervisory Authority, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders and the European Data-protection Supervisor;

2.  Considers it too early in the budgetary year, however, to make up at this point for the necessary increases in these lines by reducing other lines which still might be fully implemented in 2006;

3.  Rejects, therefore, Council's intention to cover the requests for additional appropriations through redeployment and, in particular, compensate for the increase asked for by the European Data-protection Supervisor by decreasing the Commission's section of the budget;

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

(1) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 78, 15.3.2006.
(3) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1. Agreement as last amended by Decision 2005/708/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 269, 14.10.2005, p. 24).


Draft amending budget No 4/2006
PDF 198kWORD 33k
European Parliament resolution on Draft amending budget No 4/2006 of the European Union for the financial year 2006, Section III – Commission (11298/2006 – C6-0247/2006 – 2006/2149(BUD))
P6_TA(2006)0377A6-0284/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 272(4), penultimate subparagraph, thereof,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 177 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(1), and in particular Articles 37 and 38 thereof,

–   having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2006, as finally adopted on 15 December 2005(2),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(3),

–   having regard to Preliminary draft amending budget No 4/2006 of the European Union for the financial year 2006, which the Commission presented on 16 June 2006 (SEC(2006)0760),

–   having regard to Draft amending budget No 4/2006, which the Council established on 17 July 2006 (11298/2006 – C6-0247/2006),

–   having regard to Rule 69 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0284/2006),

A.   whereas Draft amending budget No 4/2006 relates to the revenue side of the budget and comprises a number of elements affecting the level of contributions from Member States to the Community's own resources,

B.   whereas these elements relate to the annual revision of the forecasts for traditional own resources, VAT bases, GNI bases and a technical re-calculation of the contributions necessary to finance the UK rebate repayment as well as to the surplus from the Guarantee Fund for external measures from 2005,

C.   whereas the Brussels European Council of December 2005 invited the Commission to undertake a full and wide-ranging review of all areas of EU expenditure and revenue, including the British rebate, with a view to presenting a report, accompanied by appropriate proposals, in 2008/2009,

D.   whereas in undertaking this review and in drawing up its proposals, the Commission shall take into account the work and recommendations of the European Parliament, in accordance with the terms of Declaration No 3 annexed to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(4),

E.   whereas Parliament has entered into a dialogue with the national parliaments with the aim of jointly contributing to this planned comprehensive review of the own resources system in full respect of its established rights,

1.  Approves Draft amending budget No 4/2006 unamended;

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

(1) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 78, 15.3.2006.
(3) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1. Agreement as last amended by Decision 2005/708/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 269, 14.10.2005, p. 24).
(4) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.


PROGRESS ***II
PDF 191kWORD 32k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the Council common position for adopting a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - PROGRESS (6282/3/2006 – C6-0272/2006 – 2004/0158(COD))
P6_TA(2006)0378A6-0300/2006

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council common position (6282/3/2006 – C6-0272/2006),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2004)0488)(2),

–   having regard to the amended Commission proposal (COM(2005)0536)(3),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A6-0300/2006),

1.  Approves the common position;

2.  Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the common position;

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 193 E, 17.8.2006, p. 99.
(2) Not yet published in OJ.
(3) Not yet published in OJ.


Strategic guidelines on cohesion ***
PDF 188kWORD 31k
European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council decision on Community strategic guidelines on cohesion (11807/2006 – C6-0266/2006 – 2006/0131(AVC))
P6_TA(2006)0379A6-0281/2006

(Assent procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council decision (11807/2006),

–   having regard to the request for assent submitted by the Council pursuant to Article 161 of the EC Treaty (C6-0266/2006),

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2006 on preparing for the assent procedure for the Community's strategic guidelines for the period 2007-2013 (Cohesion Policy in Support of Growth and Jobs)(1), which occasioned an early dialogue between the European Commission and the European Parliament which should be repeated prior to the mid-term review of the Community strategic guidelines provided for by Article 26 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund(2),

–   having regard to Rule 75(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0281/2006),

1.  Gives its assent to the proposal for a Council decision;

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

(1) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0216.
(2) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 25.


Services of general interest
PDF 212kWORD 90k
European Parliament resolution on the Commission White Paper on services of general interest (2006/2101(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0380A6-0275/2006

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled 'White Paper on services of general interest' (COM(2004)0374),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled 'Implementing the Community Lisbon programme: Social services of general interest in the European Union' (COM(2006)0177),

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2005/842/EC of 28 November 2005 on the application of Article 86(2) of the EC Treaty to State aid in the form of public service compensation granted to certain undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest(1),

–   having regard to Article 36 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which concerns access to services of general economic interest,

–   having regard to Articles 2, 5, 16, 73, 86, 87, 88 and 295 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to its resolutions on services of general interest, in particular its resolution of 13 November 2001 on the Commission communication 'Services of General Interest in Europe'(2), its resolution of 14 January 2004 on the Commission Green Paper on services of general interest(3) and its resolution of 22 February 2005 on State aid in the form of public service compensation(4),

–   having regard to its position of 16 February 2006 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market(5),

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the Presidency of the Lisbon European Council of 15 and 16 March 2000, the Nice European Council of 7, 8 and 9 December 2000, the Laeken European Council of 14 and 15 December 2001 and the Barcelona European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002 on services of general interest,

–   having regard to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities in the field of services of general interest, in particular its judgments of 19 May 1993 in Case 320/91, Corbeau(6), of 27 April 1994 in Case C-393/92, Almelo(7), of 18 November 1999 in Case C-107/98 Teckal(8), of 3 July 2003 in Joined Cases C-83/01 P, C-93/01 P and C-94/01 P, Chronopost(9), of 24 July 2003 in Case C-280/00, Altmark(10), of 27 November 2003 in Joined Cases C-34/01 to C-38/01, Enirisorse(11), and of 11 January 2005 in Case C-26/03, Stadt Halle(12),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Transport and Tourism, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and Committee on Regional Development (A6-0275/2006),

A.   whereas the Treaties provide for an open social market economy and whereas the following principles, inter alia, constitute terms of reference and are important in this context:

   solidarity, bringing people together on the basis of the objectives of social, economic and territorial cohesion and sustainable development,
   cooperation, enabling the realisation of transnational and European aspirations in the Treaties and programmes,
   open borders and an internal market with the freedom of movement for persons, goods, services and capital, in order to integrate economies and societies and increase the wealth and social wellbeing of European citizens,
   competition, enabling the completion of the internal market on the basis of social market economy rules and governed by competition law, which is an essential area of democratic law and, above all, to avoid the abuse of monopolies and economic power and to guarantee innovation, high quality at an affordable price, diversification of consumer choices and legal protection for consumers,
   subsidiarity, based on Article 5 of the EC Treaty, ensuring the plurality of the Member States and the different traditions in the EU and that the EU acts as efficiently and closely as possible to the citizens, when, but only when, this will achieve a better result than actions on the national or sub-national level,
   proportionality, according to which any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty, and
   democracy, according to which universal suffrage is the source of legitimacy for the national and regional public authorities which determine and organise the aims, service provision and funding of services of general interest (SGIs).

B.   whereas, SGIs are not only an important element of social and economic cohesion, but also contribute considerably to the competitiveness of the European economy,

C.   whereas competition, which is intended to facilitate the completion of the single market based on social market economy rules and which is regulated by antitrust rules, is a substantive democratic right, which limits not only state power but also, and above all, abuses of dominant market positions and protects consumer rights,

D.   whereas the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities is now extensive, is continually developing and concerns various aspects of SGIs, including State aids, equal treatment and/or the distortion of competition,

E.   having regard to the development in the cases brought before the Court of Justice relating to the compatibility of SGIs with the internal market rules and European competition rules, and having regard to the need to respond to this by clarifying positive European law in this area,

F.   whereas because the evolution of markets and the way in which societies organise themselves is subject to dynamic development, which is different in each Member State, the application of rigid rules and definitions would constitute an obstacle to achieving optimal economic and social results,

G.   whereas it is impossible to define SGIs uniformly, in a social and economic environment as diverse as that of the EU,

H.   whereas the availability of efficient SGIs is an integral part of the economic, societal and social systems of all Member States; whereas this availability varies considerably from Member State to Member State and whereas the objective of successfully completing the internal market should enable Member States to introduce effective and efficient SGIs that fully respect the interest of the citizen in his dual role of consumer of services and taxpayer as well as the Member States' responsibilities, without unduly interfering in the freedom of local and regional authorities to establish and ensure the high quality, frequency, affordability and accessibility of those services,

I.   whereas SGIs and services of general economic interest (SGEIs) should be provided uniformly throughout the EU; whereas economic and social cohesion has as its objective the reduction of disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the promotion of the overall harmonious development of the EU, especially in the new Member States,

J.   whereas, taking into account the principle of subsidiarity pursuant to Article 5(2) of the EC Treaty, it is for the Member States and their regional and/or local authorities to define their SGIs and to decide which services should be covered and how they should be organised, financed, delivered, evaluated and controlled, and this should be fully respected when drafting further legislation,

K.   whereas, in the matter of compatibility between internal market and competition rules, and the smooth operation of SGIs, legal certainty must be established in order to give the relevant national, regional and local authorities the necessary room for manoeuvre, to take decisions, and to avoid conflicts and legal proceedings, with due respect for the internal market and the Parliament's above-mentioned position on services in the internal market as well as clear implementation of internal market and competition rules,

L.   whereas sectoral EC directives on SGEIs in network industries and other sectors in which market opening has been achieved or begun have been successful in providing better services at lower prices and provide a reliable framework,

M.   whereas the multitude of sector-specific initiatives relating to the opening of the internal market in the area of services and the Parliament's above-mentioned position on services in the internal market enlarges the opportunities for competition and better operation also in the areas of SGEIs, which underlines the need for legal clarity regarding SGIs,

N.   whereas SGEIs have a direct effect on the internal market for services, and a number of sectors which provide SGEIs have been successfully modernised and integrated into their respective service markets; whereas this integration was achieved in a controlled way and accompanied by measures to protect the general interest, in particular the concept of universal services,

O.   whereas Article 16 of the EC Treaty recognises the importance of SGEIs; whereas Articles 43 to 49 of the EC Treaty provide a legal basis for the formulation of Community action with regard to the free provision of services; whereas Articles 86 and 87 of the EC Treaty and the case law of the Court of Justice provide a clear framework for dealing with State aid as well as the modalities and levels of funding of SGEIs; whereas Article 95 of the EC Treaty is the appropriate legal basis for dealing with issues related to public procurement procedures and related matters;

P.   whereas, while Articles 16 and 86(2) of the EC Treaty refer to SGEIs, they are not defined in the EC Treaty; whereas SGIs are not referred to in the EC Treaty but were introduced as a concept in a Commission communication; and whereas, pursuant to the Parliament's above-mentioned position on services in the internal market, SGEIs should be exempt from the scope of Article 16 of the proposed services directive and SGIs should be wholly exempt from the directive,

Q.   whereas different forms of administration and partnership between economic operators carrying out SGIs and SGEIs are being encouraged , and whereas this should occur in compliance with the responsibilities of the Member States regarding the provision and procurement of those services in the interests of effectiveness and high quality,

R.   whereas the Community objective of a high level of consumer protection together with strict compliance with the principle of subsidiarity should be brought into sharper focus,

S.   whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union recognises and respects access to SGEIs with a view to promoting social and territorial cohesion in the Union,

1.  Considers that its resolutions on SGIs of 13 November 2001, 14 January 2004 and 22 February 2005 remain pertinent, particularly in view of

   the principle of subsidiarity,
   deregulation, and
   the achievement of the internal market and the need to provide services of high quality;
  

recalls it is not important who provides SGIs, but rather that high-quality standards and an equitable social balance be maintained in their provision and that the criteria be based on reliability and continuity of supply; recalls that the Parliament considers that SGEIs cover a very broad range of industries;

2.  Notes that it is particularly important, so as to exploit fully the opportunities offered by the internal market, for the conditions and provisions regulating the modernisation of markets to guarantee fair, transparent and efficient competition, while maintaining social cohesion and universal service accessibility, and avoid abuses of dominant position and the formation of new monopolies, which hamper access to the market by new participants;

3.  Stresses that SGIs should be of high quality, should encompass comprehensive coverage, should be provided at optimum cost, should respect social balance and should be provided on the basis of lasting security of supply; and emphasises that the majority of SGIs can be provided under conditions of fair competition, according to the principle that private and public undertakings must receive equal treatment;

4.  Requests that the Commission submit to Parliament a comprehensive analysis of the effects of liberalisation to date, in particular on the situation of the consumers and employees concerned;

5.  Emphasises that most SGEIs are supplied in the internal market and are therefore, as a matter of principle, subject to internal market, public procurement, competition and State aid rules and Commission supervision as regards any abuses, without prejudice to the fact that the application of the rules must not obstruct the performance, in law or in fact, of the particular tasks assigned to the SGEIs, as provided in Article 86(2) of the EC Treaty; emphasises that, in accordance with Article 16 of the EC Treaty, which concerns SGEIs, the Community and Member States are responsible, within their respective competence, for ensuring that they operate on the basis of principles and conditions that enable them to fulfil their missions;

6.  Considers that the legitimate requirements of the general interest must not be used as a pretext for the improper closure of services markets as regards international providers who undertake to respect the legitimate requirements and are capable of so doing;

7.  Underlines that especially after the enlargement of the European Union, cohesion must be ensured in the field of SGEIs and that, in the framework of structural policy, Member States' infrastructures for network-based SGEIs must be interlinked and cross-border cooperation enhanced in order to create a real internal market and to facilitate standardisation;

8.  Takes into consideration the economic weight of these services and their importance for the production of other goods and the provision of other services; underlines that the way in which SGEIs are organised can affect the internal market, for example by prohibiting establishment in the country in which the service is provided;

9.  Considers that the objective of competition rules should be to improve the quality of service provision, consumer choice and affordable prices and to realise other public-interest objectives, including sustainable development;

10.  Calls on the Commission to clarify the distinction between SGIs and SGEIs by developing operational criteria, taking into account Member States" national traditions, based on the nature of collective goods and public funding or by solidarity mechanisms of SGIs; underlines that for many SGIs making the distinction between economic and non-economic aspects is extremely difficult due to the dynamic character of these services and their rapid development; welcomes, therefore, the fact that, in its White Paper on SGIs, the Commission indicates that "the effective performance of a general interest task prevails, in case of tension, over the application of Treaty rules"; recognises that broad areas of SGIs must not be withdrawn from the scope of the rules of the internal market and competition through an attempt to define SGIs; notes that a precise definition of SGIs and SGEIs would run counter to the freedom of Member States to define their SGIs;

11.  Considers that Article 86(2) of the EC Treaty provides guarantees for the Member States to ensure that SGEIs are provided in accordance with the universal service obligations established by Community law or by the Member States; follows the interpretation of the Court of Justice that there is a parallel between this evaluation and the examination of proportionality in the framework of Article 49 of the EC Treaty;

12.  Recalls the fact that the rules in force in this area are defined by the case law of the Court of Justice and by the Commission's interpretation of individual cases, and that, thus, neither the necessary legal certainty nor adequate transparency has yet been achieved;

13.  Requests furthermore clarification from the Commission in particular on two major questions: consequences of the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice based on a sectoral approach and application of competition law to SGIs and SGEIs, especially with regard to the financing of these services;

14.  Notes that local and regional authorities have proved to be the appropriate level, close to the citizen, for providing SGIs, and that they remain the appropriate level for guaranteeing the right of involvement, consumer protection and public welfare in respect of such services; notes that the European level of government must help ensure that the capacity of the local and regional level of government to provide such services is not jeopardised;

15.  Is of the opinion, therefore, that, in the interests of:

   local, regional and national authorities, in order that, where necessary, they might provide and guarantee appropriate services in the interests of all citizens with due respect for the internal market and Parliament's above-mentioned position on services in the internal market,
   the companies that provide or offer these services, whether public, profit-making, or non-profit-making, in order that they might be aware what conditions and obligations can be imposed on them by the authorities under the internal market and the legislation in force, given the general interest missions that are entrusted to them, and
   service users, in order that they can be certain that the services defined and developed by Member States and their local authorities in accordance with local conditions can be provided subject to proper conditions on competition, where possible, accessibility, quality, affordability, innovation, adaptability, continuity, durability, equality of treatment, long-term planning, safety, universality, etc.,
  

the Commission should formulate legal clarifications, guidelines and principles on a number of problematic topics, in particular including the application of internal market and competition rules in the field of SGIs and SGEIs while ensuring democratic accountability for the application of rules to SGIs and SGEIs to the Member States, regional, and local authorities; notes that there is a need to clarify how responsibilities are shared between the EU and Member States and considers that the sectoral approach which takes into account the specific situation in the relevant sectors should be an important element in this respect; underlines in this context, that after a due evaluation of the Treaty and the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice SGIs, remain to be defined by the Member States; notes, moreover, that there is no legal basis for a proposal seeking the non-application of the relevant EC Treaty provisions to particular services;

16.  Emphasises the need for existing or future sector-specific regulations based on internal market rules and respect for the principle of subsidiarity and stresses that sector-specific rules should not be called into question; recalls the success of these sector-specific regulations and recommends that the sectoral approach be expanded into other sectors;

17.  Calls on the Commission to create more legal certainty in the area of social and health-care SGIs and to formulate a proposal for a sector-specific directive of the Council and the Parliament in those fields in which it is appropriate to do so;

18.  Urges the Council, therefore, to adopt a common position as soon as possible on the revision of Regulation (EEC) No 1191/69 of 26 June 1969 on action by Member States concerning the obligations inherent in the concept of a public service in transport by rail, road and inland waterway(13);

19.  Recommends that when a competent authority identifies the supply of a service as an SGEI, the public service obligation should be assigned either by way of a fair and transparent tendering procedure, based on equal conditions for all competitors, or by way of a suitable legal act which must satisfy the transparency criteria;

20.  Welcomes the proposed Community legal framework for State aid in the form of compensation for public service obligations and the Commission's plan to revise its Directive 80/723/EEC of 25 June 1980 on the transparency of financial relations between Member States and public undertakings as well as on financial transparency within certain undertakings(14);

21.  Recommends that when a competent authority intends to finance SGEIs other than through direct funding from its general budget, the authority in question should choose a form of funding that is in compliance with the provisions of the EC Treaty, in particular Article 86(2), especially when granting exclusive and special rights or compensation for the supply of public services or when setting up a fund for the supply of public services; notes that in all cases this will require a transparent tariff system as well as appropriate and transparent financing;

22.  Recommends that when a competent authority intends to grant compensation for the supply of public services in order to ensure the funding of an SGI, such compensation should not be considered to constitute State aid in the meaning of Article 87 of the EC Treaty, provided that:

   the beneficiary is entrusted with a clearly defined public service mission;
   the parameters for calculating the compensation payments are established in advance in an objective and transparent manner;
   the level of compensation does not exceed the costs incurred in the discharge of the public service obligations, allowing a reasonable profit;
   the beneficiary is chosen in a public tender procedure or is compensated to an amount not exceeding the costs of a well-run undertaking that is adequately equipped with the means to provide the public service; and
   a transparent procedure has been followed;
  

stresses, however, that the amount of compensation may not exceed what is necessary for the operation of the service and must not be used to finance activities outside the scope of the service in question, in the form of cross-subsidies; points out that compensation must be available to all operators entrusted with providing SGIs, irrespective of their legal status;

23.  Points to the importance of applying clearly the provisions of the above-mentioned Decision 2005/842/EC; emphasises, however, that the payment of pure compensation for public service obligations should not be deemed to be State aid, and that the law should be amended accordingly;

24.  Emphasises that it is for the competent authority to decide whether to supply an SGI directly or to entrust supply to external profit or non-profit service providers, while exercising the same control as that provided for directly supplied services; in the event that the competent authority decides to outsource the provision of SGIs, a call for tenders must be issued; moreover the principle of local and regional self-government should be respected, which gives the competent authority the right to choose, taking into account the public interest, how best each service should be delivered;

25.  Is of the opinion that outsourcing the supply of SGIs normally imposes on the authority in question the obligation to assign the service on the basis of a public service contract, following a public tender procedure; notes that the principle of awarding a public service contract should allow the competent authority the opportunity to transfer a public service contract in emergencies; calls on the Commission, together with the Member States and the Parliament, to clarify the relevant criteria in the procurement directives or in the form of a regulation; in this context, affirms that local authorities should be able to assign service tasks directly to inter-communal companies or similar forms of joint arrangements, or to companies that they own or control, provided that such bodies carry out the essential part of their activities for the controlling authority or authorities, and do not compete on external markets but constitute only a domestic organisational practice and an arrangement must be found which does not categorically exclude private participation from the outset;

26.  Calls in this connection, and in the interests of possible improvements in efficiency through the involvement of new operators and ways of providing SGIs, for more legal certainty as a matter of urgency as regards the different forms of inter-authority organisations (cooperation between local authorities, public-private partnership, awarding concessions) and the clarification of European law on competition the award of contracts and State aid and of the general criteria applicable throughout Europe; stresses that there should be legal clarification concerning the outsourcing of public services, which is distinct from the award of public contracts; calls on the Commission to spell out the rules for awarding such outsourced services and to make a clear distinction between those rules and the rules governing public contracts;

27.  Is of the opinion that the competent authority should ensure that in the sectors in which it has laid down rules for public universal service obligations or particular objectives, the types of regulation and instruments appropriate to each sector should be applied on the basis of transparent rules;

28.  Is also of the opinion that guidelines at national and local level are necessary in the following areas, in the interests of transparency and consumer protection:

   to define the procedures for access to existing networks where access is necessary for the provision of a service;
   to define the price and/or tariff conditions for the supply of services;
   to secure competition and opportunities for new entrepreneurs where possible ;
   to establish rules on out-of-court settlements between suppliers and users of services, regardless of the possibility of legal action; and
   to consult and, as appropriate, make referrals to the competition authorities regarding any element that might point to a breach of the national competition rules or of those laid down in the EC Treaty;

29.  Recommends, in the interests of high-quality and efficient SGIs, encouraging voluntary benchmarking and quality measurement mechanisms at national and European level; also recommends the exchange of experience and the promotion of best practices be supported and involve all stakeholders concerned; suggests that such measures address the following aspects :

   the development of comprehensive evaluation methods, including economic, social and environmental criteria;
   the protection and safety of service users;
   the appropriateness and proportionality of the standard in relation to the cost of the service;
   the widest possible dissemination and publication of the standard; and
   simple and effective monitoring of adherence to the standard, which could be laid down on the basis of a charter or of a code of conduct;

30.  Stresses the importance of strengthening Member States´ supervisory capacities in order to ensure that public policy objectives, including affordability and quality standards, are effectively achieved; stresses further that it is necessary for the relevant public authorities to have adequate instruments and expertise at their disposal to be able to enforce competition and to ensure consumer protection;

31.  Calls on the Commission, on the basis of the present resolution as well as its above-mentioned resolution of 14 January 2004 and its resolution of 9 March 2005 on the mid-review of the Lisbon Strategy(15) to propose appropriate legal initiatives, as referred to in this resolution, and recalls that codecision rights, where foreseen by the Treaty, should be fully exercised by all parties involved in the field of SGIs and SGEIs;

32.  Points out that international agreements concluded by the Community and the obligations attaching thereto must be compatible with internal Community policies and rules;

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

(1) OJ L 312, 29.11.2005, p. 67.
(2) OJ C 140 E, 13.6.2002, p. 153.
(3) OJ C 92 E, 16.4.2004, p. 294.
(4) OJ C 304 E, 1.12.2005, p. 117.
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0061.
(6) [1993] ECR I-2533.
(7) [1994] ECR I-1477.
(8) [1999] ECR I-8121.
(9) [2003] ECR I-6993.
(10) [2003] ECR I-7747.
(11) [2003] ECR I-14243.
(12) [2005] ECR I-1.
(13) OJ L 156, 28.6.1969, p. 1.
(14) OJ L 195, 29.7.1980, p. 35. Directive as last amended by Directive 2005/81/EC (OJ L 312, 29.11.2005, p. 47).
(15) OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 164.


Turkey's progress towards accession
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European Parliament resolution on Turkey's progress towards accession (2006/2118(INI))
P6_TA(2006)0381A6-0269/2006

The European Parliament,

   having regard to the Turkey 2005 progress report of the Commission (COM(2005)0561),

   having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2005 on the opening of negotiations with Turkey(1),

   having regard to its resolution of 16 March 2006 on the Commission's 2005 enlargement strategy paper(2),

   having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2004 on the 2004 regular report and the recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey's progress towards accession(3),

   having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2005 on the role of women in Turkey in social, economic and political life(4),

   having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,

   having regard to Council Decision 2006/35/EC of 23 January 2006 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey(5), setting out short-term and medium-term priorities,

   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 389/2006 of 27 February 2006 establishing an instrument of financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot Community(6),

   having regard to Turkey's declaration with regard to Cyprus of 29 July 2005, the Council's declaration of 21 September 2005 and Turkey's Action Plan of 24 January 2006,

   having regard to the position paper of the European Union tabled on the occasion of the 45th meeting of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 12 June 2006,

   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 15 and 16 June 2006,

   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0269/2006),

A.   whereas on 3 October 2005 the Council approved a framework for negotiations with Turkey on its accession to the EU, thus enabling negotiations to begin immediately after that meeting, whereas the Commission is currently undertaking a formal process of examination of the acquis, which is advancing in certain policy areas, and whereas one chapter, "Science and Research", was opened and provisionally closed during the Accession Conference of 12 June 2006,

B.   whereas the advancement of the negotiations will have to depend on the accomplishment of the priorities set out in the Accession Partnership, the requirements of the Negotiating Framework and full implementation of the provisions stemming from the Association Agreement (Ankara Agreement) and the Additional Protocol thereto, including a comprehensive settlement of border disputes and a comprehensive settlement regarding Cyprus, to be supported by both sides of that island,

C.   whereas compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria has always been the basis for accession to the EU and should remain so for future accessions,

D.   whereas the European Parliament stressed in its above-mentioned resolutions of 15 December 2004 and 28 September 2005 that the opening of accession negotiations was to be recommended so long as it is agreed that, in the first phase of the negotiations, priority is given to the full implementation of the political criteria, that each session of the negotiations at ministerial level is to be preceded by an assessment of the political criteria not only in theory but also in practice, thus exerting effective and permanent pressure on the Turkish authorities to maintain the pace of the necessary reforms, and that a full programme of clear targets, timeframes and deadlines should be fixed for the fulfilment of the political criteria,

E.   whereas, whilst recognising that the impetus for successful reform must be firmly rooted in Turkish government and society, so as to guarantee the sustainability and the irreversibility of the reform process, the EU should continue to monitor the scope of reforms and their implementation,

F.   whereas the Commission concluded in its progress report that the pace of change slowed last year, that implementation remains uneven and that significant further efforts are required as regards fundamental freedoms and human rights, in particular freedom of expression, women's rights, religious freedoms, trade union rights, political freedoms, minority rights, language and cultural rights, and the further strengthening of the fight against torture and ill-treatment, and the swift and correct enforcement of court rulings by State services,

G.   whereas progress in the area of freedom of expression is still far from satisfactory, presenting a mixed picture featuring certain positive developments, such as the recent acquittals of Professor İbrahim Kaboğlu and Professor Baskin Oran, prosecuted under Articles 216 and 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, the journalist Murat Belge, the novelist Elif Shafak, the writer Perihan Mağden and the author Orhan Pamuk, while a number of human rights defenders are still being prosecuted and journalists and publishers continue to face trials, and the journalist Hrant Dink, whose case, despite his acquittal by a court ruling, has been referred to the Court of Cassation and who is facing up to three years in prison in connection with another trial, and others, such as the human rights activist Eren Keskin, have been sentenced,

H.   whereas on 12 July 2006 the Court of Cassation decided to confirm a six-month suspended prison sentence against Hrant Dink on the basis of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code on the grounds that he insulted "Turkishness",

I.   whereas Turkey has still not acknowledged the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians, despite numerous calls from the European Parliament and several Member States,

J.   whereas international conventions for the elimination of terrorism should be carefully taken into account when drafting new legislation against terrorism,

K.   whereas the definition of terrorist crimes should be brought into line with international norms and standards, notably the principle of legality as required by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a provision that allows for no derogation even during states of emergency,

L.   whereas the recently adopted Turkish Anti-Terror Law is specifically contrary to the advice of the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Terrorism, and undermines previous reforms in the field of fundamental freedoms and human rights by reintroducing elements that had been removed during previous reforms, and whereas it may further restrict the exercise of those rights and freedoms if wide definitions of the terms "terrorist act" and "terrorist offenders" are introduced and if the scope of the crimes falling under that law is extended; whereas Turkey, like the EU, should seek to prevent security matters from curtailing citizens" freedoms, a common concern across the EU that has been increasingly apparent since the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999 and has been demonstrated more recently by the advent of the Hague Programme,

M.   whereas no progress has been made since Parliament's last report in addressing the difficulties faced by religious minorities, and whereas the expected Law on Foundations pending in the Turkish Parliament does not seem to remove all the shortcomings identified in the previous draft, such as the seizure of assets belonging to religious foundations, legal personality, the right to training of clergy and internal management, thus falling short of EU standards and the expectations both of religious communities and generally of non-governmental organisations necessary for a diverse and independent civil society,

N.   whereas the Emasya Protocol signed in 1997 by the General Staff and the Ministry of the Interior allows, under certain conditions, for military operations to be conducted when internal security matters are at stake,

O.   whereas the resurgence of violence in the south east of the country and the revival of the terrorist activities of the Kurdistan Workers" Party (PKK), followed by a large-scale rise in military operations, constitute a serious threat to peace, stability and democracy in Turkey; whereas it must be emphasised that action against terrorism must be proportionate to the threat and always respect international human rights law,

P.   whereas a courageous and promising signal given last year by Prime Minister Erdoğan, in which he addressed the Kurdish issue, has not yet been followed by substantial actions,

Q.   whereas there is a lack of a comprehensive strategy on the part of the Turkish Government for the south-east region aiming at its political, economic and social development, and whereas the South-eastern Anatolia Project has to date had a very limited impact in Diyarbakir and other provinces,

R.   whereas it is a positive signal to other ethnic groups in Turkey that broadcasting in Kurdish has been allowed via three broadcasters, although this remains subject to time and programming restrictions,

S.   whereas Turkey has still to implement outstanding decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), including those concerning Cyprus, and whereas judgments were delivered in 290 cases by the ECHR in 2005 concerning Turkey, 270 of which contained a finding of at least one violation,

T.   whereas the Turkish Government is a Contracting Party to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms establishing the ECHR, and whereas criticism by the Turkish Government of rulings of the ECHR in specific cases can undermine acceptance of the rule of law among the Turkish public,

U.   whereas more than 2000 applications for asylum by Turkish citizens were accepted by EU Member States in 2005,

V.   whereas the Commission concluded in its progress report that corruption remains a serious problem in Turkey, and whereas on Transparency International's 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index, Turkey had an average score of 3,5 (on a scale of 0 "highly corrupt" to 10 "highly clean"),

W.   whereas the Turkish economy is recognised as a freely operating market economy and showed strong growth (around 7,6%) and a growing volume of foreign direct investment in 2005; whereas, however, concerns remain regarding the current account deficit, which continues to grow, and the high unemployment rate (around 10,9% in March 2006),

X.   whereas Turkey's strategic geographic position in the region, together with a number of transnational issues (e.g. energy, water resources, transport, border management, the fight against terrorism), the dynamism of its economy and its human resources, enable it to play an important role in addressing the various challenges faced by the region, and in the future development of the EU's common foreign and security policy,

Y.   whereas Turkey's cultural and historical background puts the country in a position to act as a bridge-builder between Europe and the Islamic world,

Z.   whereas Turkey's geostrategic situation, NATO membership and relationship with the Islamic world may represent a security policy asset for Europe,

AA. whereas Turkey has signed, but not ratified or implemented, the Additional Protocol extending the Ankara Agreement to the new Member States and whereas this results, inter alia, in a continued embargo against vessels flying the Cypriot flag as well as vessels approaching from harbours in the Republic of Cyprus, denying them access to Turkish ports, and an embargo against Cypriot aircraft, denying them flying rights over Turkey and landing rights at Turkish airports,
AB. whereas, as stated in the above-mentioned declaration of the European Community and its Member States of 21 September 2005 and in the Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 15 and 16 June 2006, the EU will closely monitor and evaluate full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Ankara Agreement and its Additional Protocol by Turkey in 2006, and whereas the European Community and its Member States have declared that failure on the part of Turkey to implement its contractual obligations in full will affect overall progress in the negotiations,
AC. whereas Turkey continues to exert an unjustifiable blockade against Armenia; whereas this blockade threatens the stability of the region, hampers good-neighbourly regional development and breaches the priorities of the revised Accession Partnership and the requirements of the Negotiation Framework,
Democracy and the rule of law

1.  Emphasises that the strengthening of the ties between Turkey and the European Union is of fundamental importance for the EU, for Turkey and for the wider region;

2.  Welcomes the fact that the active phase of the accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union has begun with the opening and provisional closure of the "Science and research" chapter; regrets, however, the slowing down of the reform process over the last year, as reflected in persistent shortcomings or insufficient progress in particular in the areas of freedom of expression, religious and minority rights, civil-military relations, law enforcement on the ground, women's rights, trade union rights, cultural rights and the swift and correct enforcement of court rulings by State services; urges Turkey to reinvigorate the reform process;

3.  Welcomes the Turkish Government's initiative to resume the process of legislative change by submitting to the Turkish Parliament a ninth package of legislative reforms, including, inter alia, an Ombudsman Law, a Law on the Court of Accounts (permitting the auditing of military expenditure), a Law on Foundations and measures to strengthen the functioning of the judiciary such as the Law on Administrative Procedures, measures to fight corruption, measures to facilitate the functioning of minority schools and measures to increase transparency in the funding of political parties;

4.  Emphasises that in democracy draft legislation touching upon questions of fundamental rights and freedoms should be discussed openly and transparently and that civil society should be fully involved in these debates at all stages;

5.  Expects that, in order to enable the ninth package of legislative reforms to give a truly new impetus to the reform process, the Turkish Parliament will amend and subsequently adopt this package, bearing in mind in particular the following:

   the functioning and independence of the judiciary will be strengthened through appropriate measures to be included in a Settlement Law, a Law on Administrative Procedures and a Law on Administrative Legal Procedures;
   the Law on Foundations will remove all existing restrictions faced by religious minorities as regards legal personality, the training of clergy, work permits, schools and internal management, will properly address the issues of confiscated properties and the institution of proceedings for damages against the State for failure to enforce court rulings, and will allow full freedom of association, thus supporting the principle of a pluralistic, independent and self-confident civil society;
   the Law on the Financing of Political Parties will bring about a real increase in transparency and put an end to corruption;
   any remaining competence of military courts to try civilians will effectively be abolished;
   international agreements such as the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will be signed and ratified;
   the legislative process in general and the implementation of the ninth package in particular are best served by constant and structural engagement of NGOs;

6.  Takes note of the adoption on 30 June 2006 of the new Anti-Terror Law, which was adopted in view of the renewed and ongoing campaign of intimidation, violence and terrorism by the PKK; calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure that its implementation will not further restrict the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms and that it will strike the right balance between security needs and human rights guarantees; underlines in particular the importance of a strict and narrow definition of terrorist acts, of full guarantees for freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including the freedom to defend all causes through democratic means, of proportionate sentences for terror crimes, of full rights of the defence according to European standards, of full accountability for crimes committed by security forces or intelligence officials and of extreme caution in the authorisation of law enforcement agents to use fire-arms;

7.  Notes that if a continued need exists to classify some organisations linked to terrorist crimes as terrorist organisations, with adverse legal consequences, the procedure for such classification should be transparent and objective, and the organisations concerned should be able to appeal to an independent judicial body;

8.  Recognises the importance of the Act on Compensation of Victims of Terrorism, which covers victims of acts of terrorism as well as victims of counter-terrorism operations by the State; regrets that the Act does not fully meet expectations because the loss assessment commissions under the Act are ill-equipped to fulfil their tasks appropriately;

9.  Calls on Turkey to ensure equal treatment before the law for all Turkish citizens during the whole legal process, including investigations, trial, sentencing and detention, without derogations for Government officials, military staff or members of the security forces; stresses that in the fight against impunity and in order to build public trust in law enforcement, it is important that the criteria on which officials charged with crimes are detained and arrested are the same as those applying to other criminal suspects;

10.  Calls on Turkey to abolish or amend, at short notice, those provisions of the Penal Code, such as Articles 216, 277, 285, 288, 301, 305 and 318, which allow for arbitrary interpretations by judges and prosecutors leading to judgments which run counter to freedom of expression and freedom of the press and thus constitute a threat to respect for human rights and freedoms and negatively affect the progress of democracy;

11.  Deplores the condemnation of Hrant Dink on 12 July 2006 by the Court of Cassation on the basis of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code; notes that courts have not succeeded in establishing a positive case-law when interpreting the provisions of the Penal Code in line with relevant EU standards;

12.  Recognises the improvements in legislation resulting from the efforts made since 2002 by the Turkish Government as regards the policy of zero tolerance towards torture, thereby fulfilling recommendations of the European Parliament; also recognises the declining curve of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials described in the 2006 report on Turkey by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; stresses that more effective implementing measures are needed, as is highlighted by the persistence of reported cases of torture and ill treatment, especially in the south east, by law enforcement officials and the impunity often enjoyed by those officials, as described, inter alia, in Amnesty International's 2006 report; encourages Turkey to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; is concerned about the quality of law enforcement on the ground, which falls short of EU standards;

13.  In order to combat any remnants of impunity and to strengthen the international protection of human rights, stresses the importance of the ratification by Turkey of the Rome Statute of the ICC;

14.  Recognises the improvements in legislation resulting from the efforts made since 2002 by the Turkish Government to combat corruption; calls on the Turkish authorities to energetically pursue the fight against corruption on the ground; recalls the recommendations issued by the Group of States against Corruption in March 2006 and encourages Turkey to follow and implement them;

15.  Regrets that no functioning system for the monitoring of places of detention by independent human rights institutions exists in the country to date;

16.  Notes that some progress has been made as regards women's rights following the entry into force of the new Penal Code; stresses, however, that non-respect for women's rights in Turkey remains a matter of serious concern and stresses that further efforts need to be made to eradicate discriminatory practices and violence against women and to provide more shelters for women in distress, in cooperation with women's organisations in civil society and with the support of adequate funding; calls on Turkey to step up its efforts to ensure that women are free to assert to the full their right to an education and employment opportunities; notes some progress in the fight against honour crimes since the penalty has been raised to a life sentence, but expresses its concern over the rapid increase in alleged suicides of women in south-east Turkey; welcomes in this context the awareness campaigns organised by NGOs and the press in Turkey;

17.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to engage in a constant dialogue with the European Parliament on women's rights in Turkey and to take note in this regard of its second resolution on the role of women in Turkey in social, economic and political life, due to be debated in 2006 in the European Parliament;

18.  Notes that women in Turkey make up 50% of all university graduates and 40% of professional classes including lawyers and doctors,

19.  Welcomes the recent social inclusion initiative of the Turkish Government which encourages job growth through a system of financial initiatives in 49 economically underdeveloped areas;

20.  Expresses its deep concern over the Şemdinli affair, which involved the bombing of a bookshop, allegedly by Turkish security forces, and the subsequent dismissal of the prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya, which has been investigated by the Turkish Parliament; emphasises that it has serious concerns about the continued – not to say resurgent – role of the army in Turkish society; emphasises that objective and impartial investigations are necessary prerequisites to restoring public trust and ensuring the credibility of the judiciary; calls, therefore, for publication of the investigation report of the Turkish Grand Assembly;

21.  Maintains that clear-cut, constitutional separation of civil and military, political and institutional roles in Turkey is a condition that has to be fulfilled if there is to be serious talk of Turkish accession to the EU;

22.  Reiterates its call for the electoral system to be reformed by reducing the threshold of ten per cent, thereby ensuring wider representation of political forces and minorities in the Grand National Assembly; welcomes in this light the current debate on reforms of the electoral system;

23.  Recalls that it regards the drafting of a new constitution as a further and probably necessary reflection of the very fundamental nature of the changes required for EU membership, and notes that a modern constitution may form the basis of a modernisation of the Turkish State;

24.  Strongly condemns the killing of a judge of Turkey's highest court; is concerned about the low level of security offered to such judges by the police, despite clear and public threats; calls on the Turkish Government to remedy this situation;

25.  Condemns the recent bomb attacks in various cities in Turkey; expresses its condolences to the victims of these and previous attacks;

26.  Calls on the Turkish Government to apply EU environmental standards to projects that are expected to result in possible damage to the environment, such as the proposed gold mine in Bergama and other comparable mining projects, Yortanli dam, which is currently under construction, Ilisu dam, which could result in the destruction of historically important landscapes, like Hasankeyf (which would be flooded by Ilisu dam) and Allionoi (which would be flooded by Allini dam), and other dam projects planned in the Munzur valley and Yusufeli in Artvin province;

Human rights and the protection of minorities

27.  Deplores the fact that only limited progress has been reported over the last year as regards fundamental rights and freedoms; condemns violations of human rights and freedoms and constraints on the exercise of those rights and freedoms;

28.  Reiterates the need for Turkey to comply with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, including full and timely execution of all judgments of the ECHR;

29.  Is concerned by the number of asylum-seekers leaving Turkey to go to the industrialised states during the year 2005; takes this to be an indication of Turkish under-performance either in the maintenance of its own borders or in the fields of justice, tolerance and the safeguarding of human rights; at the same time, recognises the progress made over the period from 2001 to 2005 when the number of asylum-seekers originating from Turkey reduced by 65% to just over 10,000 in 2005;

30.  Reminds Turkey of its recommendation that current human rights inspection services be reformed by assigning their tasks to independent inspection services, which should be given sufficient resources to operate effectively in all regions of Turkey and empowered to investigate any police detention facility at any time while closely cooperating with independent Turkish human rights NGOs; stresses that there is an urgent need to consolidate and strengthen the capacity of institutions promoting and enforcing human rights; welcomes Turkey's cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Torture and calls on Turkey to maintain a standing invitation to all UN Human Rights Council special procedures;

31.  Respects the sensitivities that exist in a country where the large majority are Sunni Muslims, but reminds Turkey of the important cultural and historic heritage handed down to it for safe-keeping by the multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious Ottoman Empire; deplores the absence of progress in the area of freedom of religion since Parliament's resolution of 28 September 2005; emphasises that the freedom of citizens to practise whichever religion or be part of whichever denomination they choose must extend to affording them similar legal and administrative opportunities to practise their religion, organise their communities, hold and administer community assets and train their clergy;

32.  Roundly condemns the murder of Father Andrea Santoro, an Italian priest and missionary;

33.  Reiterates its call on the Turkish authorities, expressed in its previous resolutions, to fulfil their commitments regarding freedom of religion and to take concrete steps to eradicate obstacles facing religious minorities as regards, in particular, their legal status, the training of clergy and their property rights (the Ecumenical Patriarchate, for example, has suffered the expropriation of 30 properties in recent times); calls for an immediate stop to all seizure and selling off by the Turkish authorities of properties belonging to religious communities; calls for the immediate re-opening of the Greek Orthodox Halki seminary and the public use of the ecclesiastical title of the Ecumenical Patriarch; calls for the protection and recognition of the Alevis, including the recognition of Cem houses as religious centres; calls for the protection and recognition of the Yezidis and the establishment of Yezidi places of prayer, and for all religious education to be voluntary and to cover not only the Sunni religion, and for the establishment of an alternative subject, for those who do not wish to take part in religious instruction, in which values, standards and ethical issues are discussed; calls for the protection of the fundamental rights of all Christian minorities and communities in Turkey (e.g. the Greeks of Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos);

34.  Hopes that the forthcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey will contribute to strengthening interreligious and intercultural dialogue between the Christian and Muslim world;

35.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to fully respect and implement all decisions handed down by, and to comply with the case-law of, the International Court of Justice (ICJ);

36.  Insists on Turkey's obligation to ensure that the protection of the fundamental rights of all religious communities is fully guaranteed; demands that a revised draft of the Law on Foundations must reflect recommendations made by the European Parliament and the Commission and must comply with European standards while satisfying the expectations of the multi-religious Turkish society;

37.  Notes that an important discussion on headscarves is going on within Turkish society; points out that there are no European rules in this matter, but expresses its hope that a compromise will be found in Turkey on the wearing of headscarves by students at universities;

38.  Reiterates its call on the Turkish authorities to apply the International Labour Organization's standards for trade union rights, refrain from political interference in the functioning of trade unions, take them into account in the policy-making process and pay special attention to the participation of women in the labour market, and, while welcoming recent successes such as a project in Adana against child labour, calls for the introduction of further legislation prohibiting the employment of children; welcomes the latest assessment by the ILO, which cites Turkey as a successful example in the fight against child labour, and therefore welcomes the Turkish Government's long-term aim of eradicating the worst forms of child labour by 2012;

39.  Welcomes the commencement of broadcasting in Kurdish – which may be regarded as an important step, provided that it is followed by a further lifting of all restrictions and constraints – including specialist programming produced by and for Kurdish communities, allowing the free exercise by the Kurds of their cultural and educational rights;

40.  Recalls that the ECHR advised Turkey to prepare a new legal framework for conscientious objectors and reminds Turkey that the right to conscientious objection is recognised in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; therefore welcomes the initiative by the Ministry of Justice to legalise the right to conscientious objection and to propose the introduction of an alternative service in Turkey; is concerned that in a recent judgment of the Turkish military court a conscientious objector to military service was sentenced to imprisonment and that the military court openly declined to follow a relevant ruling of the ECHR; condemns the on-going persecution of journalists and writers who have expressed their support for the right of conscientious objection to military service;

41.  Strongly supports the activities of Turkey's democratic civil society, first and foremost the Turkish Human Rights Association and the Turkish Human Rights Foundation; recognises that democratic organisations of this kind do invaluable work, especially in monitoring the human rights situation;

42.  Calls on the Commission to provide comprehensive and resolute support, especially from the financial point of view, for the activities of the above-mentioned democratic organisations representing Turkish civil society;

43.  Strongly condemns the xenophobic and racist Talaat Pacha Committee, run by extreme right-wing organisations, for gravely infringing European principles, and the denialist demonstrations in Lyon and Berlin organised by those same organisations; calls on Turkey to abolish this committee and to end its activities;

The South East

44.  Strongly condemns the resurgence of terrorist violence on the part of the PKK; stresses that there can never be an excuse for the violence that has been used against Turkish citizens in various parts of the country by any party involved in the conflict; expresses its solidarity with Turkey in its fight against terrorism, and accordingly calls on the PKK to declare and respect an immediate ceasefire;

45.  Welcomes the recent call of the Democratic Society Party for a cease-fire and for political negotiations concerning the conflict in the south east, and calls on the PKK to respond positively to it;

46.  Notes that a great many civil society representatives are at present still being tried and are subjected to intimidation every day, one victim being Mehdi Zana, the husband of the European Parliament Sakharov prize winner Leyla Zana; calls on the Turkish Government to lift the restrictions still imposed on these representatives of Turkey's democratic civil society;

47.  Is deeply concerned about the resulting tensions in the south east, which constitute a serious threat to peace and stability in the region; stresses the importance of the further progress in reducing the tensions in eastern and south-eastern Turkey which needs to be accomplished in order to ensure that reforms are sustainable and credible; calls on all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from using violence or reacting to it with violence; considers it important not to stretch the legal concept of terrorism in such a way as to bring non-terrorist crimes within the scope of the Turkish Anti-Terror Law, which defines terrorism on the basis of its purpose or aims rather than referring to specific criminal acts, which is formulated vaguely and in very broad terms, and which thereby jeopardises basic freedoms;

48.  Expresses its belief that the call by the Democratic Society Party for the outlawed PKK to declare a unilateral ceasefire raises hopes for an end to the vicious circle of violence in south-east Turkey and in the rest of the country;

49.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to apply European standards for the arrest and detainment of suspects; calls on the Turkish authorities to allow full access by independent pathologists in the case of deaths in custody or as a result of alleged violence by security forces; is concerned about the violence against children which resulted in casualties during riots in Diyarbakir in March 2006; notes that a new Law on the Protection of Children adopted in July 2005 does not fully comply with international standards as regards the provisions related to juvenile offenders;

50.  Calls on the Turkish Government to pursue a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue following Prime Minister Erdoğan's encouraging statement of last year; considers it essential to strike a balance between the need to control the situation as regards security, avoiding civil-military strains, and effectively promoting the political dialogue and the economic and social development of the south-east region through a comprehensive strategy supported by adequate means; calls on the Turkish Government to invest in the socio-economic development of the south east, to address the disparities between the national average and the east and south east in, inter alia, unemployment, access to education, and housing and health care and to engage in a constructive dialogue with peaceful interlocutors; calls on the elected representatives of the Kurdish community to respond positively to any such dialogue with the Turkish Government, upholding firmly the principle of non-violence; recalls in this context the importance of allowing elected Kurdish representatives to participate more strongly in the democratic process by appropriate means such as reducing the electoral threshold; emphasises the need for the establishment of an efficient decentralised administration;

51.  Expresses its belief that the necessary financial means for such an investment and development programme for the south east cannot be met by Turkey alone and should therefore be raised in a broader international framework; calls on the Turkish Government and the European Commission to examine the extent to which EU pre-accession assistance could be used in this context;

52.  Welcomes the adoption of the Act on internally displaced people which, if applied efficiently, could serve as an important instrument of redress; notes however that the continued presence of village guards and the resurgent violence is hampering the right to return; consequently, urges the Turkish authorities to disarm the village guards and to disband the village guard system;

53.  Calls on the Turkish Government to show its resolve to find a political solution to the Kurdish question by meeting and entering into talks with the legal and pro-Kurdish political party, the Democratic Society Party, which has called for a cease-fire and for political dialogue;

Regional issues and external relations

54.  Welcomes the nomination of Istanbul as European Capital of Culture in 2010;

55.  Reaffirms its belief that a modern, democratic and secular Turkey, whilst progressively aligning itself with the policies of the EU Member States, could play a constructive and stabilising role in promoting understanding between civilisations and between the European Union and countries in the region surrounding Turkey, particularly in the Middle East; welcomes in this respect the decision of the Turkish Government and parliament to participate in the UN peace-keeping forces in Lebanon;

56.  Takes note of the proposal by Turkey to establish a committee of experts which should be under the auspices of the United Nations in order to overcome the tragic experience of the past, and the position of Armenia regarding that proposal; urges both the Turkish Government and the Armenian Government to continue their process of reconciliation leading to a mutually acceptable proposal; welcomes the fact that, with the recent debates in Turkey, a start at least has been made in the discussion on the painful history with Armenia; stresses that, although recognition of the Armenian genocide as such is formally not one of the Copenhagen criteria, it is indispensable for a country on the road to membership to come to terms with and recognise its past; calls in this respect on the Turkish authorities to facilitate the work of researchers, intellectuals and academics working on this question, ensuring them access to the historical archives and providing them with all relevant documents; urges Turkey to take the necessary steps, without any preconditions, to establish diplomatic and good neighbourly relations with Armenia, to withdraw the economic blockade and to open the land border at an early date, in accordance with resolutions adopted by the European Parliament between 1987 and 2005, thereby fulfilling the Accession Partnership priorities and the requirements of the Negotiating Framework on 'peaceful settlement on border disputes' which are both mandatory for EU accession; believes that a similar position should be adopted for the cases of other minorities (e.g. the Greeks of Pontos and the Assyrians);

57.  Calls on Turkey to commit itself to good neighbourly relations; reminds Turkey in this context that it should refrain from any threats against neighbouring countries (e.g. the "casus belli" threat against Greece concerning its right to determine the extent of its territorial waters), as well as from tension-prone military activities (e.g. continuous violations of the Athens Flight Information Region rules and of Greek national airspace) which also threaten air-navigation safety, affect good neighbourly relations and could negatively influence the accession process; calls on Turkey to engage in serious and intensive efforts for the resolution of outstanding disputes with all its neighbours, in accordance with the UN Charter and other relevant international conventions; believes that, as stated in the Presidency conclusions of the Helsinki European Council of 10 and 11 December 1999 and in the short-term priorities of the Accession Partnership, failing a settlement, outstanding delimitation issues (e.g. delimitation of the Aegean sea continental shelf) should be brought before the ICJ, with a view to a final and compulsory settlement;

58.  Expresses its disappointment over the fact that, in spite of its contractual obligations, Turkey continues to maintain restrictions against vessels flying the Cypriot flag and vessels approaching from harbours in the Republic of Cyprus, denying them access to Turkish ports, and against Cypriot aircraft, denying them flying rights over Turkey and landing rights at Turkish airports; reminds Turkey that this practice constitutes a breach by Turkey of the Ankara Agreement, the related Customs Union Agreement and the Additional Protocol, as the restrictions infringe the principle of the free movement of goods; seeks to work with the Turkish authorities to enable them to comply in full with their obligations in this respect without seeking to exacerbate domestic political tensions contrary to the interest of long-term reconciliation for Cyprus; regrets that Turkey maintains its veto against the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in international organisations and in multilateral agreements;

59.  Urges Turkey to take concrete steps for the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus, as soon as possible; in this context, recalls the above-mentioned Council's Declaration of 21 September 2005;

60.  Notes the current difficulties in EU-NATO cooperation and calls upon Turkey to reconsider its position on the inclusion of all EU Member States;

61.  Reminds Turkey that recognition of all Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus, is a necessary component of the accession process; calls upon Turkey to take concrete steps for the normalisation of bilateral relations with the Republic as soon as possible; urges Turkey to fully implement the provisions stemming from the Ankara Agreement and its Additional Protocol as well as the priorities stemming from the Accession Partnership; calls on the Turkish authorities to maintain a constructive attitude in finding a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question within the UN framework, acceptable to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and based on the previous work of the UN, leading to an equitable solution based upon the principles on which the EU is founded, as well as on the acquis, and, pursuant to the relevant UN resolutions, to effect an early withdrawal of their forces in accordance with a specific timetable; welcomes the meeting between Mr Papadopoulos and Mr Talat on 3 July 2006, which led to the agreement of 8 July 2006; encourages further contacts in order to pursue dialogue which should lead to a comprehensive settlement;

62.  Calls on both parties to adopt a constructive attitude in finding a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question within the UN framework and based upon the principles on which the EU is founded;

63.  Points out that the withdrawal of Turkish soldiers could facilitate the resumption of substantive negotiations and, pursuant to the relevant UN resolutions, calls on the Turkish Government to effect an early withdrawal of Turkish forces in accordance with a specific timetable;

64.  Welcomes the establishment of an instrument of financial support to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community following the General Affairs Council of 27 February 2006; supports the Commission in its efforts to implement these funds; calls on the Council to make renewed efforts to reach an agreement on trade facilitation regulation concerning the northern part of Cyprus without undue delay, including further attention to possible joint control of the Port of Famagusta under the aegis of the EU and UN, in accordance with the unanimous General Affairs Council decision of 27 February 2006, taking into account the Council conclusions of 26 April 2004 but also the consultations held under the Luxembourg Presidency and Protocol No 10 to the Act of Accession of the Republic of Cyprus and nine other countries, and calls on the Governments of Cyprus and Turkey to undertake new initiatives to strengthen the ties between the two communities, thereby building mutual trust;

65.  Welcomes positive developments in the Turkish economy, which is recognised as a fully functional free market economy, registering a high level of growth (around 7,6 % in 2005) and an important and growing volume of foreign direct investment (FDI); however, remains concerned about the current account deficit, which continues to deepen, and a high unemployment rate (around 10,9 % in March 2006); calls on the Turkish government to pursue efforts to transform the positive dynamics into sustained growth and macro-economic stability while seeking to diminish significant regional disparities in socio-economic development in terms of income, health, access to education, labour market and other living conditions (per capita income in the Istanbul region being 43% higher than the national average and about 4 times that the poorest region);

66.  Notes that, despite the overall success of the Customs Union, there are a number of long overdue, unfulfilled commitments by Turkey relating in particular to existing technical barriers to trade, for example a ban on imports of beef meat, lack of alignment in the area of State aid and serious gaps in the enforcement of intellectual property rights; urges Turkey to make immediate progress in this area and reminds it of the need to respect its obligations under the Customs Union agreement;

Negotiations

67.  Reminds Turkey that the Council decision requires the Commission to report in 2006 on the full implementation by Turkey of the Additional Protocol, and that a lack of progress in this regard will have serious implications for the negotiation process and could even bring it to a halt;

68.  Underlines the need for accurate, structured and thorough research and statistical data as the basis for policy making in Turkey and for EU policy making towards Turkey;

69.  Regrets that Turkey continues to oppose Cyprus's membership of international organisations and mechanisms such as the OECD, Missile Technology Control Regime, Black Sea Cooperation and the Wassenaar Arrangement; calls upon Turkey to change its policy towards the Republic of Cyprus as soon as possible;

70.  Stresses the need to intensify the EU-Turkey energy security dialogue, given that diversification of energy supply routes is in the interests of both parties;

71.  Expects that, in line with its previous resolutions and the position taken by the Council and the Commission, the short-term priorities set out in the Accession Partnership will be accomplished before the end of 2007 and the medium-term priorities before the end of 2009; underlines the fact that priority should be given to full implementation of the political criteria in the first phase of the negotiations and that attaining these clear targets is a condition for continuation of the negotiation process;

72.  Welcomes the proposal by the EU Presidency that the political criteria be addressed throughout the negotiation process, starting with the chapter covering education and culture; deeply regrets that no consensus has been reached on this proposal and that the political criteria will therefore only be addressed during the negotiations on certain policy areas; stresses that this makes it even more essential to respect the agreed terms for the achievement of the short and medium-term priorities in the Accession Partnership (before the end of 2007 and the end of 2009 respectively) so as to safeguard the necessary political reforms and the credibility of the accession process as such;

73.  Stresses that, in Turkey's own interests and in order to maintain confidence in the irreversibility of the reform process, it is important that the reforms be given impetus from within the country by the authorities themselves, both civilian and military, as well as by civil society, and are not merely the result of pressure from outside Turkey;

74.  Considers it equally important for the Turkish Government to make an increased effort to explain to the public that the process of Turkey's accession to the Union implies continuous domestic reform in which the yardstick for success is not the fulfilment of certain individual measures but the attainment of a European standard with respect to democratisation and political liberalisation, in order to change not just certain practices but public and official mindsets;

75.  Takes note of the intention of the Turkish Government to proceed with the construction of nuclear reactors for the production of nuclear energy for civilian purposes; urges the Turkish Government to commit itself to full respect of the terms and conditions set by the International Atomic Energy Agency and to closely cooperate with it on the safety of the reactors as well as on the protection of the environment; within this framework, calls on the Commission to strictly monitor the implementation of the acquis communautaire during the accession negotiations;

76.  Stresses that the opening of negotiations is the starting point for a long-lasting process, which by its very nature is an open-ended process and does not lead a priori and automatically to accession; emphasises, however, that the objective of the negotiations is Turkish EU membership, but that the realisation of this ambition will depend on the efforts of both sides;

77.  Reiterates that, in the event of serious and persistent breach of the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and the principles of international law, the Commission could recommend to the Council the suspension of negotiations, which would decide by a qualified majority;

78.  Considers that, regardless of whether or not negotiations are successfully concluded, relations between the EU and Turkey must ensure that Turkey remains fully anchored in European structures;

79.  Recalls that the EU's capacity to absorb Turkey while maintaining the momentum of integration is an important consideration in the general interest of both the EU and Turkey; regrets that the Commission has not been able to deliver the follow-up to the impact study in 2005; asks to be provided with the follow-up to the impact study in 2006; considers it of paramount importance that the EU put in place the institutional and financial preconditions in due time for Turkey's accession; recalls in this respect that the Nice Treaty is not an acceptable basis for further decisions on the accession of any more new Member States and therefore insists that the necessary reforms be brought into force within the framework of the constitutional process; recalls that the budgetary impact of Turkey's accession can only be fully assessed in the context of the financial framework from 2014 onwards; looks forward, in this regard, to the report which the Commission is to present on the Union's absorption capacity before the December 2006 European Council;

80.  Emphasises that, unlike in previous negotiations, in the case of Turkey it would be necessary to inform the European public continuously and intensively about the negotiations themselves and Turkey's progress in this regard;

o
o   o

81.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President of the ECHR and the Government and Parliament of Turkey.

(1) OJ C 227 E, 21.9.2006, p. 163.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0096.
(3) OJ C 226 E, 15.9.2005, p. 189.
(4) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p. 385.
(5) OJ L 22, 26.1.2006, p. 34.
(6) OJ L 65, 7.3.2006, p. 5.

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