Texts adopted
Thursday, 27 September 2007 - Strasbourg
i2010: Digital libraries
 Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems
 Moratorium on the death penalty
 Chad and the Central African Republic
 Obligations of cross-border service providers
 Equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin
 Equality between women and men in the EU

i2010: Digital libraries
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on i2010: towards a European digital library (2006/2040(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission entitled: "i2010: digital libraries" (COM(2005)0465),

–   having regard to Commission Recommendation 2006/585/EC of 24 August 2006 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation(1),

–   having regard to the Council conclusions on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation(2),

–   having regard to Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society(3),

–   having regard to the report of 18 April 2007 by the High-Level Expert Group (copyright subgroup) on digital preservation, orphan works and out-of-print works,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission entitled "Scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation" (COM(2007)0056),

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

–   having regard to the report by the Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0296/2007),

A.   whereas through the meeting, exchanging and sharing that culture entails, it can help to bring the European Union into closer contact with its citizens and a true European identity to take root and find expression,

B.   whereas the wealth and diversity of the European cultural heritage ought to be promoted, safeguarded and disseminated as widely as possible,

C.   whereas the Member States and cultural institutions, particularly libraries, have a key role to play in this enterprise at the national level and at the regional and local levels,

D.   whereas account must be taken of the rapid development of new technologies and the resulting changes in cultural practices,

E.   whereas for a large number of people, particularly young people, the internet has become one of the principal means of accessing knowledge and learning,

F.   whereas in this digital environment it is essential to guarantee access for all to the European cultural heritage and to ensure that that heritage is preserved for the generations to come and that it forms part of our collective memory,

G.   whereas large-scale digitisation and on-line access to the European cultural heritage is one of the main ways of achieving this goal,

H.   whereas the European cultural heritage reflects the diversity of Europe and therefore access to it must be multilingual,

I.   whereas coherent policies on digitisation and preservation of digital works must be put in place to prevent the irrecoverable loss of cultural content whilst ensuring strict respect for copyright and related rights,

J.   whereas, apart from its intrinsic cultural qualities, digitisation of the European cultural heritage will also benefit other sectors, particularly education, science, research, tourism and the media,

K.   whereas mass digitisation of cultural content does not aim to replace or compete with traditional cultural content, but rather to produce reliable and good-quality parallel digital versions of such content,

L.   whereas digital technology is a very useful tool for disabled people and enables them to adapt content to their needs,

M.   whereas, however, only a tiny part of the European cultural heritage has so far been digitised, and Member States are progressing at very different speeds,

N.   whereas the public funding allocated to mass digitisation is insufficient for a project of this scale,

O.   whereas digitisation initiatives are very fragmented and most experience already acquired at Community level is misunderstood and does not provide simple, direct and multilingual access to all works comprising the European cultural heritage,

P.   whereas a "general public" tool must be put in place to ensure universal and immediate access to the European cultural heritage, without any need to travel, and to help speed up digitisation,

Q.   whereas it is appropriate to use as a basis existing European initiatives which will contribute to the initial development of the European digital library, such as TEL (the European Library), which already provides access to documents held in European national library collections and in particular enables searches to be undertaken through the digital or bibliographical resources of 23 of the 47 national libraries, the TEL-ME-MOR project, which contributes to the integration of the 10 national libraries of the new Member States, the EDL project, which seeks to integrate 9 other national libraries in the framework of EU/EFTA, and Europeana, which brings together the national libraries of France, Hungary and Portugal,

The European digital library, the face of a Europe that is unified in diversity

1.  Recommends setting up in stages a European digital library in the form of a single, direct and multilingual access point for the European cultural heritage;

2.  Stresses that, although the long-term aim is to establish a tool that covers all categories of cultural material, such as audiovisual content, the European digital library must initially concentrate on the potential offered by text material that is free of rights;

3.  To this end invites all European libraries to make available to the European digital library works that are free of rights which they already hold in digital form;

4.  Calls on European universities and other higher education institutions to open up access to doctoral theses and other scientific works whose subject matter and fields of study relate to the European cultural heritage under conditions to be determined and without in any way infringing copyright;

5.  Invites other European cultural institutions, including regional and local institutions, to take part in this project so that it will be representative of the wealth and diversity of European culture; encourages museums to digitise their archives so that they can be included in this project;

6.  Stresses that the European digital library does not aim to disseminate content exclusively, but to coordinate access to digital works;

7.  Urges that common standards based on existing formats are chosen and used and also adapted to ensure interoperability of content, which is necessary if the European digital library is to function properly, and that fixed metadata languages (Dublin Core, etc.) be phased in;

8.  Encourages Member States to continue their efforts and speed up the rate of digitisation of cultural content to achieve a sufficient mass of content;

9.  Encourages Member States, together with cultural institutions, to draw up digitisation plans at national or regional level to establish a European map of all digitisation activities, thus enabling synergies to operate while avoiding duplication of the efforts and costs undertaken by many public and private institutions to digitise their holdings, since it is essential to draw up a survey of work already carried out, broken down by type of institution;

10.  Encourages close cooperation between Member States and cultural institutions and an exchange of good practice with regard to digitising works and making them accessible and digitally preserving them;

11.  Emphasises, given that the project cannot be translated into reality without a substantial research and development component, that the European digital library will encourage research in the areas of digitisation, interoperability and digital preservation, particularly through skills centres set up by the Commission;

12.  Emphasises the need to support innovation and research in the field of multilingualism;

13.  Points out that, although Community programmes are not able to fund digitisation as such, new methods of financing must be developed, including partnerships with the private sector, on the understanding, however, that every effort must be made to prevent digitisation proceeding at different paces in different Member States;

Structure and content of the European digital library – a common, multilingual access point for the European cultural heritage

14.  Encourages the establishment of a common interface providing access to content of guaranteed quality and accuracy via an integrated search engine enabling searches for meta-information and direct text when documents have been digitised in text mode;

15.  Underlines the importance of achieving a multilingual interface giving direct access to content in all European Union languages in order to accommodate not just searches by author or title, but also searches by topic or keyword, the results of which must ultimately encompass the data from every library involved and in every catalogue language;

16.  Urges also putting in place innovative, modern features that are suitable for all visitors;

17.  Emphasises that the European digital library must be planned and organised on the basis of a pool of resources and technical capabilities able to facilitate the creation, research and utilisation of information and should not consist merely of a digital catalogue of European works;

18.  Points out that it would be desirable not to limit the European cultural heritage to the European Union's own works, but also to take account of the cultural contributions of other European countries;

19.  Points out that, although the European cultural heritage is largely made up of works in the public domain, it is not limited to this category alone;

20.  Points out therefore that a distinction must be drawn between works in the public domain and works which are subject to rights, including orphan and out-of-print works, and that different models for each kind of work and suited to each sector must be provided;

21.  Welcomes the establishment of the high-level expert group and in particular supports its proposals to list all orphan and out-of-print works and to develop mechanisms to facilitate the search for right holders;

22.  Emphasises that the proposals formulated by the high-level expert group in its first report primarily concern the book publishing sector, and that a decision as to whether to extend those proposals to other sectors should be taken in conjunction with representatives of those sectors;

23.  Points out that it would be desirable at a later stage for the European digital library to offer, if possible, copyright-protected documents as well as documents which are free of rights, whilst strictly complying with national, Community and international law on intellectual property;

24.  Underlines that any decision of this sort must be taken in cooperation with all players involved, particularly authors, publishers and booksellers;

25.  Proposes that users of the European digital library should be able to find any kind of digital document, in image and text mode, and consult it freely, in their entirety in the case of works which are free of rights or in the form of short extracts in the case of protected works, with the agreement of the right holder;

26.  Proposes that provision be made for on-line browsing of works which are subject to rights through specialised sites providing the security guarantees required by right holders;

27.  Proposes in this case that the European digital library act as a simple conveyor of information;

28.  Points out that specialised sites could provide access to the whole of a protected document in agreement with the right holder and in return for fair remuneration;

Management and monitoring

29.  Calls for the establishment of a steering committee in which cultural institutions play a major role to determine the priorities for and the guidelines of the European digital library and to ensure the coordination, management and monitoring of its activities;

30.  Calls for coordination between the groups established by the Commission, in particular the Member States' expert group on digitisation and digital preservation and the above mentioned high-level expert group, to achieve genuine synergy at European level;

31.  Suggests the establishment of a Europe-wide coordination body, equivalent to TEL, for national museum and archive collections which generate every kind of digitised material connected with the European cultural heritage so as to integrate it into the European digital library search system;

32.  Points out that, if integrated coherently into education systems, the European digital library would make it easier to reach young Europeans and could bring them into closer contact with their cultural and literary heritage, whilst familiarising them with new technologies and combating the digital divide;

33.  Considers it essential to intensify the exchange of experience and good practice with other European institutions, such as the European Commission on Preservation and Access, institutions in third countries, such as the library of the US Congress, international associations, such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, public or private organisations, such as the Online Computer Library Center, and others, endeavouring wherever possible to use software and solutions already tested and in operation;

34.  Urges that the European digital library be promoted and made visible and accessible through extensive communications at all levels and through the creation of a distinctive logo;

35.  Recommends in this connection that part of the resources earmarked for the European digital library be devoted to its promotion with the broadest possible public;

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

(1) OJ L 236, 31.8.2006, p. 28
(2) OJ C 297, 7.12.2006, p. 1
(3) OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, p. 10

Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on efficiency and equity in European education and training systems (2007/2113(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled "Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems" (COM(2006)0481),

–   having regard to the proposal for a recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (COM(2006)0479),

–   having regard to its position adopted at second reading on 25 October 2006 with a view to the adoption of a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning(1), and to Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning(2),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission entitled "Adult learning: it is never too late to learn" (COM(2006)0614),

–   having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 26 September 2006 on the proposal for a recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on key competences for lifelong learning(3), and to Recommendation No 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning(4),

–   having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 13 October 2005 on the proposal for a recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education(5), and to Recommendation No 2006/143/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education(6),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0326/2007),

A.   whereas in response to cuts in public budgets, the challenges of globalisation, demographic change and technological innovation, greater emphasis is being placed throughout Europe on making education and training more effective,

B.   whereas the considerable disparity in performance between education systems in the EU, as illustrated in the Pisa 2003 Report, is a matter of concern,

C.   whereas this factor might be translated into an increase in the differences in the economic and social development of the Member States and jeopardise the achievement of the Lisbon strategy goals,

D.   whereas the right to education is a principle recognised both at international level and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

E.   whereas most current education and training systems replicate and deepen existing inequalities,

F.   whereas inequity in education and training has high hidden costs,

G.   whereas investment in education and training has long-term economic and social benefits and must be planned on a long-term basis,

H.   whereas in education and training systems a culture of appraisal must be established in order to ensure that the development of those systems can be monitored effectively on a long-term basis,

I.   whereas education and training policies must be linked to policies relating to employment, the economy and social integration,

J.   whereas education and training have a fundamental role in the development of a European identity based on intercultural education and peace,

K.   whereas young women are still more likely to be unemployed than young men, given that the unemployment rate in the 27 Member States of the EU in 2006 was 18.1% for young women compared to 16.9% for young men, and whereas women are less represented in leading positions, despite the fact that in most Member States more women than men reach a high level of education,

Efficiency and equity in lifelong learning

1.  Endorses the long-term-planning process in the field of lifelong learning, since investment in that field has long-term economic and social benefits;

2.  Acknowledges that investment at one level of education not only enables skills and capabilities to be developed at that level, but also establishes the basis for the acquisition of further abilities and qualifications at other educational levels;

3.  Supports the plan to create a European qualifications framework for lifelong learning which will facilitate recognition of educational achievement and allow visible and transparent switching between different study options;

4.  Believes there to be a need for a culture of appraisal in education and training systems - hence effective long-term policies must be based on reliable measurements;

5.  Welcomes the Commission's attempt to take efficiency and equity in education into consideration when devising a framework of indicators and benchmarks for monitoring progress towards achievement of the Lisbon objectives;

6.  Believes that in order to proceed with an examination of effectiveness/efficiency and equity of education systems in Europe, the terminology, both for effectiveness/efficiency and for equity, should be clarified; for the examination of the latter, individual characteristics such as gender, ethnic origin and disability (other than socio-economic) should be included;

7.  Acknowledges that investment in lifelong learning which is aimed at improving access and equity fosters social cohesion and enables individuals to solve problems, to adapt, to build up their self-esteem and to cope with change, thereby improving their personal development and making it easier for them to deal with other changes in their lives;

8.  Calls on the Member States to implement gender responsive education and training policies and materials as a tool for the elimination of gender inequality in education and employment and for the eradication of gender stereotypes; urges the Member States to promote gender-atypical employment (for example more male teachers in primary schools and more women in science) for young people, including young children before the age at which key educational and career decisions are taken and in such a way that gender based occupational segregation is reduced; reiterates that higher quality gender-and-age-disaggregated data is a prerequisite for any policy;

Ensuring efficiency and equity in the framework of education and training policies
Pre-school education: emphasis on teaching the very young

9.  Believes that efficiency and equity can be achieved on an individual basis if investment and reform are focused on the early stages of education;

10.  Stresses the need to develop, from the pre-school phase, measures to encourage the integration of children from third countries resident in the territory of the European Union;

11.  Calls upon the Member States to invest much more in pre-school - including nursery -education, since such investment can be an effective means of establishing a basis for future education, for developing a child's intellect and for raising overall skills levels, and can significantly increase the equity of the education system;

12.  Believes however that more research into pre-school education is necessary at EU level, in particular in the field of early and targeted actions, in order to identify practices which produce the expected effects;

13.  Considers the quality of pre-school education to be partly dependent on adequately trained teachers, and that there is therefore a need for a financially viable strategy which will result in both future-oriented and high quality education and satisfactory teaching careers;

14.  Acknowledges that as from the pre-school stage, social diversity of classes and establishments must be ensured in order to avoid a differentiation of curricula and expectations;

15.  Believes the involvement of parents by means of educational and information programmes (particularly in the case of disadvantaged children) to be important to the success of pre-school education;

16.  Is in favour of all forms of pre-school education and intervention at an early age (when children's cognitive skills are developing) - this being of all the stages in the entire process of life-long learning the one which pays the highest dividend;

17.  Urges Member States to increase the number of subsidised places in pre-school education, thereby offering better opportunities to children under school age who lack financial security to benefit from the education system;

Primary and secondary education: improving the quality of primary education for all

18.  Emphasises that compulsory attendance at school, as well as the training system, should provide basic education and key skills; stresses further that education and appropriate key skills contribute to the achievement of fundamental social and civic values, strengthen social cohesion and help to improve individual levels of qualification and employability;

19.  Notes that the role of schools, particularly at primary and secondary level, must above all take account of intercultural values and education for peace, these being the hallmarks of a European identity;

20.  Believes that premature categorisation has a detrimental effect on efficiency and equity in education systems;

21.  Believes that equal access by disadvantaged people to quality education can improve the efficiency and equity of European education systems;

22.  Favours, on the other hand, creating a flexible range of study options at secondary school level, which should not preclude a choice of a different track at subsequent educational stages;

23.  Urges the Member States to monitor all school careers, particularly at moments of choice and orientation, and to ensure that their education systems support pupils and students by motivating their efforts to achieve their personal development;

24.  In view of the different levels of support from which each pupil may benefit at home, throughout his/her school career, and the sometimes very unequal nature of the education provided, supports efforts to involve parents in the education process with a view to significantly reducing the risk of future social exclusion;

25.  Calls upon Member States to support initial and further training for teachers, to boost their motivation and to improve the qualitative conditions of school life - these being decisive factors in the achievement of efficiency and equity;

26.  Urges Member States to promote multilingualism at every level in the educational system, thereby improving the mobility of children, juveniles and adults within European territory and making the educational process within the EU more efficient;

27.  Encourages Member States to raise awareness of gender equality among teachers and education providers in order that they be able to promote respect for this principle among the younger generation;

University education: increasing investment and widening access

28.  Acknowledges that university education is a key aspect of a knowledge-based economy and society;

29.  Supports the plan to modernise universities with a view to ensuring that university education becomes more competitive, is available to everyone on an equitable basis and remains financially viable and effective;

30.  Calls upon Member States to increase efficiency and equity by creating suitable conditions and incentives for securing increased investment from public and private sources;

31.  Acknowledges that providing university education free of charge will not necessarily and by itself guarantee equity; calls in that regard for further studies based on the assumption that tuition fees are not an isolated issue but are part of a nexus of factors connected with financial incentives and accompanying financial support which, in the case of disadvantaged groups, can reduce inequity in terms of access to university education;

32.  Emphasises that universities must devise comprehensive information and admission policies so as to be able to react to rapidly evolving social and economic needs;

Vocational education and training: increasing quality and value

33.  Considers that, viewed in the light of an ageing population, the problem of permanently high youth unemployment is becoming increasingly serious;

34.  In view of the problem of an ageing population, supports better provision of adult education in order to make it easier for people to adapt to the requirements of the employment market and for the low-skilled to become involved in education;

35.  Stresses that young people with the lowest levels of educational achievement have great difficulty in entering the employment market and are the most vulnerable in the event of an economic downturn, run a higher risk of unemployment and are likely to end up doing less skilled work or casual labour;

36.  Calls on Member States to promote access to education and training for young women, especially women from remote regions and vulnerable groups such as migrant women, women from ethnic minorities, disabled women and low-skilled women; calls on Member States to identify and exchange best practices in this field and urges the social partners and private and public undertakings to eliminate all forms of discrimination, to actively encourage the provision of work-based training by removing all age-related barriers and to support leave for training purposes for the disadvantaged;

37.  Calls on Member States to promote access to publicly funded adult training schemes for unemployed women and those who have not succeeded in the compulsory education system;

38.  Calls on Member States to implement policies to facilitate the school-to-work transition for young people, with special attention being given to young women, who tend to experience more difficulties; emphasises that the higher quality of, and better access to, education and training and investments during youth have implications for the labour market during the latter stages of life; notes that an evaluation mechanism should be put in place in order to be able to assess the efficiency and impact of government education spending on young unemployed people, especially young women;

39.  Calls on Member States to support university excellence programmes, since by providing highly qualified specialists in different areas, demand on the employment market would be met more effectively;

40.  Points out that equal access for women and men to new technologies should be encouraged within education and training so as to bridge the digital divide between the sexes;

41.  Urges Member States to increase the proportion of, and strengthen the position of, women in science, engineering and technology; calls on the national governments to boost the number of women in leading positions and to measure progress by adopting qualitative and quantitative targets;

42.  Recommends improved access to tertiary education and the development of opportunities for those who have completed their training to continue studying and further their education whilst working;

43.  Emphasises that the training programmes on offer should be flexible in order to take into account the demand on the employment market, this being a particularly effective way of increasing employment opportunities for disadvantaged people; acknowledges in that regard that public investment should focus on the most disadvantaged target groups as they benefit the least from continuing training;

44.  Calls on Member States to promote the flexible organisation of studies, in partnership with higher education and vocational training establishments, in order to meet more effectively the needs of young men and women who are working or attending to family responsibilities at the same time as studying and to prevent them from leaving education prematurely;

45.  Calls upon Member States to involve educational institutions, companies, the social and other partners and the public sector in a joint partnership for the implementation of successful training programmes;

European Union action

46.  Emphasises that the fundamental goal of EU action is to promote the convergence of EU education systems towards higher standards of performance;

47.  Believes that in order to better target EU action it would be necessary to develop a process, based on reports periodically submitted by Member States as well as on independent verification, for the appraisal of the performance of education and training systems in the EU, paying particular attention to the acquisition of basic skills by pupils and to the achievement of equity objectives;

48.  Asks the Commission to publish regular reports on efficiency and equity in EU education and training systems in order to monitor progress towards higher standards of performance;

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

(1) OJ C 313 E, 20.12.2006, p. 187.
(2) OJ L 327, 24.11.2006, p. 45.
(3) OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 165.
(4) OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 10.
(5) OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 100.
(6) OJ L 64, 4.3.2006, p. 60.

Moratorium on the death penalty
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on a universal moratorium on the death penalty

The European Parliament,

‐   having regard to its resolutions of 1 February 2007(1) and 26 April 2007(2) on the Italian initiative for a universal moratorium on the death penalty,

‐   having regard to the Guidelines on EU policy towards third countries on the death penalty of 3 June 1998,

‐   having regard to the statement on the abolition of the death penalty delivered on 19 December 2006 at the UN General Assembly by the EU Presidency, which was initially signed by 85 countries in all geographical groups,

‐   having regard to the statement read by the EU Presidency on behalf of the European Union during the fourth session of the UN Human Rights Council on 29 March 2007,

‐   having regard to the support for a moratorium publicly expressed by the Secretary-General of the UN during his recent visit to Rome,

‐   having regard to the establishment of a European Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October each year, as supported also by its Conference of Presidents on 12 July 2007,

‐   having regard to Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(3),

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

A.   whereas the call for a universal moratorium on the death penalty is a clear political decision to seek the abolition of the death penalty in all countries,

B.   whereas its resolutions of 1 February 2007 and 26 April 2007 called on the EU Presidency to urgently submit a resolution to the current UN General Assembly and to keep Parliament informed of the results achieved; whereas at this stage no resolution has been submitted to the current UN General Assembly,

C.   whereas the statement on the death penalty presented by the European Union in the UN General Assembly on 19 December 2006 has now gathered 95 signatures from countries in all geographical groups,

D.   whereas the EU Presidency has received a mandate from the Council to draft and table, in cooperation with Italy, a text on an international moratorium on the death penalty, to be sent to the United Nations General Assembly,

1.  Reaffirms to the EU Presidency and Members States that the main political content of the resolution must be the adoption of a worldwide moratorium as a crucial step towards the abolition of the death penalty;

2.  Urges the EU Presidency and Member States to present a resolution on the moratorium at the 62nd United Nations General Assembly under the heading of 'human rights', in order for it to be adopted before the end of 2007; reiterates its call on the EU Presidency to involve as many countries as possible as co-sponsors of the resolution;

3.  Calls on the EU Presidency to encourage those remaining countries which have not signed and ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to do so, and those Member States that have not signed Protocol No 13 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the death penalty to do so;

4.  Reiterates its full support to EU institutions and Members States to declare, together with the Council of Europe, a European Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October each year; regrets the lack of unanimity in the Council on this issue and calls on the future Polish Government to fully support this initiative that reflects the basic values of the European Union; calls on all institutions and Member States of the EU, together with the Council of Europe, to continue supporting this action and mandates its President to promote this political initiative;

5.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to support the establishment of regional pro-moratorium and abolitionist coalitions;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly and the governments of the UN Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0018.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0166.
(3) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000, p. 1.

Chad and the Central African Republic
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on the ESDP operation in Chad and the Central African Republic

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the conflict in Darfur and its wider regional impact, in particular on eastern Chad and northern Central African Republic (CAR),

–   having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1706 (2006) of 31 August 2006, which stressed that regional security aspects must be addressed to achieve lasting peace in Darfur,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Council for General Affairs and External Relations meeting of 23 to 24 July 2007, asking its competent bodies to continue planning a possible decision on a bridging operation, in the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), in support of a multi-dimensional UN presence in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR with a view to improving security in those areas,

–   having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007) of 31 July 2007 establishing, for an initial period of 12 months, an African Union/United Nations (AU/UN) hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID),

–   having regard to the UN Secretary-General's report on Chad and CAR of 10 August 2007, recommending that an international presence be deployed in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR in order to improve the security of refugee and displaced populations, facilitate the supply of humanitarian aid and create conditions for reconstruction and development work in these areas,

–   having regard to the Arusha meeting on peace in Darfur, which was held from 3 to 6 August 2007,

–   having regard to the signing in N'Djamena on 13 August 2007, in the presence of the international community and of Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, of the political agreement with a view to reinforcing the democratic process in Chad by all relevant Chadian political parties in power and in opposition,

–   having regard to the UN Security Council presidential statement of 27 August 2007 confirming the UN Security Council's readiness to establish a UN mission in Chad and welcoming the European Union's intention to provide support in the form of a military ESDP mission,

–   having regard to the adoption by the Council on 10 September 2007 of the "crisis management concept" by written procedure,

–   having regard to the findings of its Development Committee delegation to Darfur, which visited Sudan and Chad from 30 June to 6 July 2007,

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 July 2007 on the situation in Darfur(1),

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

A.   extremely worried about the worsening humanitarian situation in Chad where, because of the cross-border effects of the conflict in Darfur, about 238 000 refugees from Sudan, 44 600 refugees from CAR and 170 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are hosted in 12 camps along Chad's eastern border with Sudan,

B.   preoccupied by the security situation in eastern Chad, which has deteriorated since 2006 as a result of clashes between Chadian security forces and Chadian rebels, and incursions of Janjaweed militias and armed groups from Sudan, to which banditry and attacks on humanitarian organisations must be added,

C.   whereas civilian populations in north-eastern CAR have also experienced attacks by rebel forces from Sudan,

D.   whereas a contribution must be made to stabilising the region, which is affected by the Darfur conflict, as part of a global and regional approach,

E.   whereas long-term stability in Sudan, Chad and CAR calls for respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance,

F.   welcoming UN Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007) authorising the deployment of an AU/UN force of 26 000 soldiers in Darfur, which will contribute to pacifying the whole region in combination with the deployment of a UN police force and the planned ESDP operation in eastern Chad and northern CAR,

G.   whereas the Chadian and CAR authorities have given the UN Secretary-General confirmation of their agreement to the deployment of an EU multi-dimensional presence,

H.   supporting the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to find a negotiated solution to the conflict in Darfur by promoting contacts between the Sudanese authorities and the various rebel groups,

I.   welcoming the signing in N'Djamena on 13 August 2007 by all the Chadian political parties of an agreement aimed at reinforcing the democratic process in Chad,

J.   noting the efforts by regional actors to find a solution to the internal conflict inside Chad with the groups that did not sign the previous agreement,

K.   welcoming UN Security Council Resolution 1778 (2007) of 25 September 2007 authorising the EU to send a peacekeeping force with a robust mandate to Chad and CAR,

1.  Recalls that no peacekeeping mission in eastern Chad and northern CAR can be successful without a genuine political reconciliation process;

2.  Calls, therefore, on the Council, the Commission and the United Nations to coordinate their efforts in order to create conditions that would enable the different parties to the conflict in the broader region of Darfur, eastern Chad and northern CAR to find a political solution which would end the insecurity and resulting humanitarian disaster in the area, facilitating the return of the refugees and IDPs to their places of origin;

3.  Endorses the launch of an ESDP operation in eastern Chad and northern CAR, to last for one year, but makes its final approval conditional on the fulfilment of the following:

   a) the mission of the European force (EUFOR) must create the conditions necessary for a secure environment for the work of the UN police force, the return of IDPs, the supply of humanitarian aid, the free movement of humanitarian personnel and the continuation of the dialogue between the political forces in the region;
   b) it is extremely important that EUFOR is seen to be impartial; the composition of EUFOR should therefore be diverse and Member States should contribute the necessary troops as soon as possible;
   c) at the same time, and in order to avoid becoming a target, EUFOR must remain neutral with regard to the complex political situation in the region by avoiding becoming involved in fights between governmental authorities and rebel groups;
   d) in full compliance with the principles of international humanitarian law, EUFOR should not become involved or interfere with the tasks performed by the NGOs present in Chad and CAR, in order not to endanger them;
   (e) EUFOR must establish effective coordination with UNAMID in order to secure the area under its responsibility in the most efficient way;
   (f) EUFOR must work as a deterrent force, which means that it must have a robust mandate under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and clear rules of engagement allowing the use of force when necessary, in particular to prevent attacks on civilians, camps and villages, humanitarian workers or UN police officers, as well as in self defence;
   g) in order to deter any potential aggressor, EUFOR must have the necessary number of troops and must be equipped appropriately; it must be able to secure its supply lines and conduct long-range patrols with armoured vehicles, helicopters (including transport and attack helicopters) and reconnaissance planes;
   (h) EUFOR must be considered as a bridging force with a temporary mandate; a clear exit strategy must therefore be defined before the deployment begins, which should foresee the replacement of EUFOR by a successor operation (an AU, a UN or a hybrid force) in order to provide for the successful conclusion of its mandate and the timely return of the troops committed;

4.  Regrets that this ESDP operation cannot be conducted, for many reasons, from the newly established operations centre of the European Union in Brussels;

5.  Underlines that its final approval of the ESDP operation will be subject to its being kept fully informed of the different phases in the preparation of the operation as regards, inter alia, the crisis management concept, joint action, the concept of operations, the operation plan, and the force generation process;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the presidents, governments and parliaments of Chad, the Central African Republic and Sudan.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0342.

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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on Burma

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Burma, particularly that of 6 September 2007(1),

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

A.   whereas the Alliance of All Burmese Buddhist Monks has led a massive wave of peaceful demonstrations against the repressive military junta in Burma and demanded freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners,

B.   whereas the demonstrations have continued to grow in spite of arrests and fears of a violent reaction by government forces,

C.   whereas on 23 September 2007 the Dalai Lama appealed to the Burmese authorities to avoid violence toward Buddhist monks and other protestors,

D.   whereas on 20 September 2007 the situation in Burma was only briefly discussed in the UN Security Council,

1.  Applauds the courageous action of the Burmese monks and tens of thousands of other peaceful demonstrators in confronting the anti-democratic and repressive regime in Burma and utterly condemns the brutal response by the Burmese authorities;

2.  Reiterates its call for the immediate release and full freedom of movement and expression of Aung San Suu Kyi;

3.  Expresses its horror at the killing of peaceful protestors, insists that the security forces return to barracks and calls for recognition of the legitimacy of the demands that are being made, for international medical assistance for the injured and for the release of arrested demonstrators and other political prisoners;

4.  Calls for the cessation of the current illegitimate constitutional process, and its replacement by a fully representative National Convention including the National League for Democracy and other political parties and groups;

5.  Asks China and Russia fully to support a clear statement by the UN Security Council condemning the use of brutal force in Burma, calls on the UN Security Council to empower the UN Secretary-General to take action in order to facilitate national reconciliation and a transition to democracy in Burma, and calls on the UN General Assembly to take appropriate action;

6.  Calls on the UN Security Council to ensure that the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Burma, Mr Ibrahim Gambari, makes his planned visit to Burma as a matter of urgency and is given unfettered freedom of movement and access;

7.  Calls on the Council of the European Union, as a matter of urgency, to liaise with the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other members of the international community in order to prepare a coordinated series of additional measures, including targeted economic sanctions, that might be taken against the Burmese regime if it resorts to violence and does not respond to the call for a return to democracy;

8.  Asks the Commission to make the appropriate means available in the framework of the Financial Instrument for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights Worldwide in order to actively support the pro-democracy movement and NGOs that work for the restitution of good governance in Burma;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the governments of the ASEAN member countries, the National League for Democracy, the State Peace and Development Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0384.

Obligations of cross-border service providers
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on the obligations of cross-border service providers (2006/2049(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 95 and 153 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council directive on the liability of suppliers of services (COM(1990)0482),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission on new directions on the liability of suppliers of services (COM(1994)0260),

–   having regard to Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market(1) (the Services Directive),

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis (COM(2006)0744),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee on the EU Consumer Policy strategy 2007-2013 (COM(2007)0099),

–   having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the safety of services for consumers (COM(2003)0313),

–   having regard to the study on obligations of cross-border service providers of March 2007, requested by the European Parliament's Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

–   having regard to the Commission's reply of 12 January 2006 to the written question of Diana Wallis MEP(2),

–   having regard to its recommendation of 19 June 2007 based on the report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Crisis of the Equitable Life Assurance Society(3),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A6-0294/2007),

A.   whereas the economic and social development of the EU depends to a large extent on the services sector, which is constantly growing and makes up nearly 70 % of EU GDP,

B.   whereas European consumer confidence in cross-border consumption is low, as evidenced by the fact that only 6 % of consumers made an online cross-border purchase in 2006,

C.   whereas figures for cross-border trade in services are extremely low compared to the figures for trade in goods,

D.   whereas a directive on liability for defective products(4) was adopted in 1985 and a directive on general product safety(5) in 2001,

E.   whereas the status of consumer safety and the level of consumer protection differ between Member States with regard to the cross-border provision of services, whilst in the goods sector, both international and Community law ensure satisfactory consumer protection,

F.   whereas a recent Eurobarometer survey showed that 33 % of consumers report that businesses refused to sell or deliver services because the consumer was not resident in the country of the business,

G.   whereas consumer policy is as important as competition policy to the extent that well-informed consumers create competitive pressure on markets,

H.   whereas the current EU consumer acquis is fragmented: in line with the allocation of competence in the Treaties, the EU has laid down clear rules only in certain sectors or services, such as distance contracts, unfair commercial practices, consumer credit, package holidays and timeshares,

I.   whereas there is evidence to suggest that the current fragmentation of the legislative framework may act as a deterrent to engagement in cross-border transactions on the part of consumers and that that fragmentation could provide unwelcome opportunities for cross-border scams and fraudsters,

J.   whereas the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis does not address the obligations of service providers,

K.   whereas neither the consumer nor the service provider are always able to determine with clarity which legal regime is applicable to each aspect of their activities, that is to say, whether the law of the host or home country applies or whether the regulatory regime of the host or home country applies,

L.   whereas, in some Member States, users of services provided by private entities are better protected than users of services provided by public entities,

M.   whereas existing legislation does not, as a rule, address the substantive obligations of service providers, nor does it provide specific remedies for the consumer, in contrast to measures that have been adopted concerning the free movement of goods,

N.   whereas the lack of any legal structure at Community level allowing consumers to take collective action on a cross-border basis against fraudsters and deficient service providers constitutes both a gap in the regulatory regime and more importantly a barrier to consumers obtaining cost-effective legal redress and compensation cross-border,

O.   whereas, in some Member States, there is no body competent to assist in out-of-court dispute resolution and existing structures at Community level, namely the ECC-Net (European Consumer Centres Network) and FIN-NET (Cross-Border Out-of-Court Complaints Network for Financial Services in the European Economic Area), are both insufficiently well-known and under resourced,

Internal market for services

1.  Encourages the development of measures that will complete the internal market for services;

2.  Is convinced that a more uniform system of obligations for service providers is needed as the market in services becomes increasingly cross-border in order further to facilitate the development of a seamless internal market for services;

3.  Is aware that the Services Directive, to be transposed into national law in all Member States by 28 December 2009, should have a considerable impact on the cross-border provision of services, but notes that the Directive does not address the substantive obligations of service providers;

4.  Believes that clarifying the legal system of obligations of service providers in the EU will bring more competition as well as greater choice for consumers and at the same time should not create unjustified obstacles to the free movement of services in the internal market;

5.  Believes that the different laws, regulations and administrative practices in the Member States cause uncertainty and lack of transparency for both service providers and consumers and make the use of the EU's common resources more difficult, but also provide an opportunity for competition in consumer protection;

6.  Regrets that the present mix of legislative instruments between rules on conflict of law and internal market instruments and the failure clearly to determine their interaction mean that neither the consumer nor the service provider is always able to know with clarity which legal regime is applicable to each aspect of their activities, that is to say, whether the law of the host or home country applies or whether the regulatory regime of the host or home country applies;

7.  Is convinced that when consumers feel uncertain about the safety and quality of a service, they tend to erect mental barriers to foreign suppliers, which deters them from making use of cross-border services, and that when a consumer has a negative experience, it frequently is made to reflect unfairly on all foreign service providers;

8.  Points out that when it comes to the performance of a service, consumers are not as well protected under the Community acquis as consumers who purchase goods;

9.  Expresses its reservations, nonetheless, pending full implementation of the Services Directive, as regards far-reaching new horizontal tools for the completion of the internal market for services;

10.  Is aware that services are often complex structures involving human interaction and choice;

11.  Is convinced that not only consumers, but also and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), could, both as buyers and sellers of cross-border services, benefit from additional legal certainty, simplicity and a reduction in costs;

12.  Recalls that, as stated in the General Agreement on Trade in Services, cross-border services are provided in many different ways (such as selling online, travelling to another country for the service, or through a visit by the service provider to the consumer's home country), which should be taken into consideration;

13.  Notes that there are several pending legislative initiatives aimed at ensuring legal certainty as regards the rights and especially the obligations of cross-border service providers, namely the proposal for a regulation on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) (COM(2005)0650), Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II)(6) and the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis;

14.  Points out that Article 5 of the Rome I proposal is essential in order to determine whether the consumer protection legislation of the country of origin (of the service provider) or of the client (consumer of the service) applies; stresses that it is important to await the outcome of this legislative procedure;

15.  Is convinced that the establishment of an internal market for services, the legal framework for which is based on the fundamental freedoms of establishment and to provide services, as set out in the EC Treaty and as defined in the Services Directive, depends on the relevant measures being clear from both a legal and a practical perspective;

Public and private service providers

16.  Calls on the Commission to bear in mind that, when it comes to the obligations of services providers, no difference should be made between public and private service providers, which should both be equally subject to the application of the directives on consumer protection;

17.  Recognises that, even though existing legislation in the EU, such as the Services Directive and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive(7), does not contain any specific provisions aimed at regulating the cross-border liability of service providers, it may have an indirect effect on national legislation in this field;

18.  Calls on the Commission to monitor thoroughly the transposition and implementation of existing and forthcoming horizontal and sectoral legislation relating to the liability of cross-border service providers;

19.  Calls on the Commission to examine measures, such as the introduction of standards at EU level, for promoting the safety of services and for guaranteeing consumers' rights in the field of cross-border services provided by Member States;

20.  Calls on the Commission further to develop, resource and promote the work of the ECC-Net and of FIN-NET and, in the event that alternative dispute resolution systems remain unavailable in key service sectors in Members States, to consider at least a recommendation on that subject;

21.  Calls on the Commission to continue active consideration of the introduction of a legal instrument at Community level to facilitate collective action by consumers on a cross-border basis so as to allow greater access to legal redress;

22.  Recognises that liability regimes for service providers exist, albeit to varying degrees, in all Member States, but believes that in the interests of clarity and so as to create consumer confidence there needs to be some convergence, especially in key cross-border sectors; believes also that there is a need for greater co-operation between national regulatory bodies and professional organisations, where appropriate;

Request for a proposal for a horizontal instrument on the obligations of service providers

23.  Calls on the Commission, whilst continuing work on a sectoral basis in key areas, to submit, within 12 months, a work programme for an appropriate assessment of the impact of existing and forthcoming legislation in the internal market on the obligations of cross-border service providers and of the need for a possible broad horizontal instrument to align the rules on cross-border service provision in order to provide a high level of consumer protection;

24.  Considers that such an assessment should examine a possible broad instrument which should at least contain basic general rules requiring adequate information on pricing, contract terms and remedies in the case of defective or delayed services;

25.  Calls on the Commission to define clearly the interaction between private international law instruments and internal market instruments with a view to leaving no doubt as to when home or host country legislation or regulation applies and so, as far as possible, to leave no gaps in the liability regime applicable to service providers;

26.  Considers that the Commission should take into account the impact of any initiative on SMEs;

27.  Calls on all those Commission Directorates-General involved in legislation for the service sector to participate in the continuing work on the Common Frame of Reference with a view to including sections on service contracts, especially in those areas where there is already, or there is likely to be, cross-border activity, such as, by way of example only, financial services and the health sector;

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

(1) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36.
(2) P-4797/05.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0264.
(4) Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products (OJ L 210, 7.8.1985, p. 29).
(5) Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (OJ L 11, 15.1.2002, p. 4).
(6) OJ L 199, 31.7.2007, p. 40.
(7) Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market (Unfair Commercial Practices Directive) (OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22).

Equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on the application of Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (2007/2094(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Rule 45 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 Women's Rights and Gender Equality and of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A6-0278/2007),

The fight against discrimination

A.   whereas the EU is a political project based on common values such as the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in Article 6 TEU and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and promotes equality and non-discrimination through its policies and laws, also on the basis of Article 13 TEC,

B.   whereas it is important that political declarations on the fight against discrimination are matched by the progressive development and full and correct implementation of policies and laws, and notably of the anti-discrimination directives and of the projects promoting equality, such as the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All,

C.  Implementation of the Racial Equality Directive

C. whereas the 2006 annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia confirms that discrimination remains a serious problem in the Member States,

D.   whereas a recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 64% of citizens in 25 Member States surveyed think discrimination based on ethnic origin is still widespread,

E.   whereas the adoption of Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1) may be seen as a major step in raising the level of protection for victims of discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin and in giving them better possibilities of redress,

Burden of proof

F.   whereas the burden of proof provision is a key aspect of the Directive because it contributes to the effective enforcement of the protection which it offers,

G.   whereas the case-law on the burden of proof shows that there are still considerable divergences between Member States as to what is accepted as prima facie evidence by the courts; whereas Member States should therefore be encouraged to exchange views on the subject, with a view to seeing whether it is possible to bring judicial procedures into line with one another,

H.   whereas the effective implementation of the principle of equality would be helped if the rules on the burden of proof in civil and administrative cases were extended to judicial provisions against victimisation,

Equality bodies

I.   whereas almost all Member States now have equality bodies or have allocated the functions to be carried out by such bodies to existing bodies,

J.   whereas all Member States should be encouraged to take the extremely positive step of broadening the remit of their equality bodies to cover discrimination on grounds other than race or ethnic origin,

K.   whereas equality bodies should have adequate resources in terms of both personnel and financing,

L.   whereas equality bodies should be able to function independently of government and should be perceived as functioning independently, i. e. not forming part of government,

M.   whereas, despite the existence of specialised anti-discrimination and equality bodies, the number of registered complaints remains low in a number of Member States,

N.   whereas in practice equality bodies unfortunately bring only a small number of cases before the courts, owing to a lack of financial and human resources; whereas it is often NGOs that provide victims of discrimination with assistance until the conclusion of the proceedings,

O.   whereas the training of public officials on the aims of the Directive is vital because of their responsibility for implementing it,


P.   whereas it is not always possible to distinguish between discrimination on the ground of racial or ethnic origin and discrimination on the ground of religion, opinion or nationality,

Q.   whereas it is not always easy to determine whether discrimination is based on gender, ethnicity, race, social conditions, sexual orientation or other factors,

Dissemination of information and awareness-raising

R.   whereas the recent Eurobarometer survey confirms that awareness of the existence of anti-discrimination legislation in the EU is quite low and that on average only one third of EU citizens claim to know their rights should they be victims of discrimination or harassment,

S.   whereas, however, some Member States have taken a wide range of information and awareness-raising initiatives (websites, campaigns, television spots, newspaper advertisements);

T.   whereas some Member States have taken the important initiative of incorporating in their national law an obligation on employers to inform their employees of anti-discrimination laws,

U.   whereas some specialised bodies in the Member States have established hotlines providing information and support to victims of discrimination,

V.   whereas there are also a number of Member States that implemented rather limited information and awareness-raising activities and in some countries no awareness-raising campaigns were reported,

W.   whereas especially in the context of the European Year for Equal Opportunities for All, both the EU institutions and the Member States should make substantial efforts to inform citizens of their rights, and whereas the Member States should ensure that the measures initiated in 2007 continue into 2008, the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue,

Data collection

X.   whereas data collection is essential in the fight against discrimination, and ethnically disaggregated statistical data can be essential in demonstrating indirect discrimination, informing policy and developing positive action strategies, but at the same time raises several ethical and legal questions,

Y.   whereas such data collection must not infringe personal privacy by revealing individuals' identities or serve as a basis for ethnic or racial profiling,

Legal redress

Z.   whereas alternative dispute resolution procedures should not pre-empt access to the courts,

AA.   whereas a large number of victims of discrimination do not lodge a complaint with the courts for various reasons, including costs and fear of reprisals,

AB.   whereas the goals of the fight against discrimination can be achieved only if legal measures are combined with positive actions at the level of the EU and the Member States;

AC.   whereas the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has the task of collecting and analysing relevant, reliable and comparable information and data relating to fundamental rights,

1.  Reiterates the importance of Directive 2000/43/EC;

2.  Recalls that Directive 2000/43/EC is a minimum standard and should therefore be the foundation on which a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy is built;

3.  Welcomes the Commission Communication on the application of Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (COM(2006)0643)), which seeks to establish a framework to combat discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin in order to ensure that the principle of equality before the law, equal opportunities and equal treatment is consolidated in the Member States, whilst fully complying with the principle of subsidiarity and respecting the various national traditions and procedures; while appreciating the overview of the implementation of the Directive contained in the Commission Communication, notes that it would also have been useful to have been provided with a detailed description of the way in which the provisions of Directive 2000/43/EC have been incorporated into national law, as specified in the Directive itself; further notes that the Commission undertook not only to collect detailed information, but also to report on it to Parliament and the Council and that Parliament, in its resolution of 14 June 2006 on non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all – a framework strategy(2), asked the Commission to 'examine as a matter of urgency the quality and content of the laws implementing the anti-discrimination directives';

4.  Urges the Member States to transpose all Community anti-discrimination legislation at the earliest opportunity and to make use of all the instruments available, including positive action, to ensure equality in practice;

5.  Stresses that the Directive goes beyond access to employment, self-employment and occupation, and also applies to areas such as education, social protection including social security and healthcare, social benefits and access to and the supply of goods and services in order to safeguard the development of democratic and tolerant societies that allow the participation of all irrespective of racial or ethnic origin;

6.  Notes with satisfaction that most Member States have taken action in order to implement the Directive, but is disappointed that only a few have adequately transposed all of its provisions fully;

7.  Points out that, in particular, a number of provisions of the Directive such as the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and the burden of proof have not been correctly transposed in many Member States;

8.  Calls, in particular, for strict monitoring of the application of the rule on the partial reversal of the burden of proof, which is particularly effective in the case of employment-related disputes;

9.  Expresses its concern that Member States have exempted more areas of activity from the scope of the Directive than is desirable or justifiable;

10.  Recalls that the Directive was adopted in June 2000 and that Member States were bound to implement it before June 2003, which gave them enough time to adopt the necessary implementing measures; calls on the Commission to adopt a more proactive approach, for instance by issuing interpretative communications and guidelines for implementation to ensure full and correct implementation by Member States; asks the Commission to continue to monitor the correct implementation of the Directive with vigilance, to publish its evaluation study as soon as possible and to start infringement proceedings where necessary and without delay and in any event before the end of 2007;

11.  Reiterates that sanctions applicable to infringements of national provisions adopted pursuant to Directive 2000/43/EC must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive;

12.  Calls for the establishment of national integrated action plans in order to effectively tackle all forms of discrimination;

13.  Calls on Member States implementing or introducing national action plans to combat racism and discrimination to include components covering the gathering, checking and monitoring of data in key policy areas such as non-discrimination and equality, social inclusion, Community cohesion, integration, gender, education and employment;

14.  Calls on the Commission to submit to Parliament and the Council a specific action plan on the mechanisms and methods of observation and description of the impact of the national implementation measures; stresses the importance of developing ways of gathering data on discrimination, particularly as regards labour relations, focusing on clandestine, undeclared, poorly-paid and uninsured labour, in line with data protection legislation, as a useful tool for identifying, monitoring and reviewing policies and procedures to combat discrimination, while respecting national integration models; calls on the Commission to lay down common standards for data, so that the information transmitted can be effectively compared; calls for the importance of examining not only the content of the implementing legislation, but also its effectiveness, to be taken on board;

15.  Calls on the Commission to request the Member States, in their annual reports on the implementation of Directive 2000/43/EC, to analyse the effectiveness of anti-discrimination legislation in combating patterns of systematic segregation of minorities and women, particularly in the education sector and as regards access to the labour market, healthcare and goods and services, and further to incorporate a gender equality perspective into the reports as a way of alleviating the multiple discrimination faced by many;

16.  Reminds the Commission of the fact that Parliament would like to receive a document listing the exemptions created in Member States' legislation, so that a public debate may be held on such exemptions;

17.  Recalls that Member States should undertake independent reviews of the impact of national time limits and the effectiveness of the protection against victimisation;

18.  Is concerned about the low level of awareness of anti-discrimination legislation among citizens in the Member States and calls on the Commission and Member States to step up their efforts to raise this level of awareness;

19.  Considers that the Roma community, together with other recognised ethnic communities, need particular social protection, particularly further to enlargement, since the problems of exploitation, discrimination and exclusion have become more acute in their regard;

20.  Emphasises that laws are effective only when citizens are aware of their rights and have easy access to the courts, since the protection system provided for by the Directive depends on citizens taking the initiative;

21.  Recalls that Article 10 of the Directive imposes an obligation on Member States to disseminate information to the public on the relevant provisions of the Directive by all appropriate means;

22.  Urges Member States to adopt a set of minimum standards under the open coordination method, so as to guarantee access for children from ethnic minorities – particularly girls – to high-quality education and equal conditions, and to adopt positive legislation making it compulsory to end segregation in schools and lay down detailed plans to put an end to the provision of separate, lower quality education to boys and girls from ethnic minorities;

23.  Reminds Member States of their obligation to disseminate relevant information to citizens and to encourage and support awareness-raising campaigns about existing national legislation and bodies involved in the fight against discrimination;

24.  Urges Member States to ensure that all persons from ethnic minorities – particularly women – have access to primary, preventive and emergency healthcare services, to formulate and implement policies that ensure that even the most excluded communities are given full access to the healthcare system, and to organise training and awareness courses for healthcare workers, with a view to putting an end to prejudice;

25.  Urges the governments of the Member States to ensure equal treatment and opportunities under employment and social inclusion policies, to address the extremely high unemployment rates recorded particularly among women from ethnic minorities and, in particular, to address the serious barriers raised by direct discrimination in recruitment procedures;

26.  Firmly believes that it is vitally important that officials receive training on the subject of the aims and provisions of the Directive, in view of their responsibility for implementation of the Directive within society as a whole and in order to remove all risks of institutional racism within government bodies themselves; calls on the Member States to invest in such training and encourages them and the Commission to set up European programmes for exchanges between the various national administrative bodies;

27.  Calls on the Member States to collect, compile and publish annually comprehensive, accurate, reliable and gender-disaggregated statistics relating to the following: the labour market, housing, education and training, health and social benefits, public access to goods and services, the criminal justice system, and civic and political participation, and to set clear, quantitative targets and indicators within the employment and social inclusion guidelines that enable them to measure progress in the situation of migrants and/or minorities;

28.  Recommends that Member States resource and empower their equality bodies properly so that they can perform their important function effectively, and so that where equality bodies do have substantial powers they exercise these fully;

29.  Recommends that Member States resource and empower those NGOs which are active in informing citizens and providing legal aid in matters of discrimination;

30.  Points out that in informing citizens and providing legal aid, NGOs carry a disproportionate share of the burden without enjoying corresponding status and funding from the authorities of the Members States;

31.  Recommends that the Commission carefully monitor the independent functioning of equality bodies, for which purpose it can use as a reference the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions ('the Paris Principles') as adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993 , which include principles on the adequate financing of such bodies;

32.  Reminds the Commission of Parliament's position that Member States must ensure that independent bodies have adequate financial resources at their disposal in order at least to be able to guarantee that complaints will be dealt with free of charge in the case of those who are not in a position to contribute financially themselves, and calls on the Commission to discuss with the Member States how to achieve this objective;

33.  Recommends that Member States make use of the best practices of other Member States, such as allowing equality bodies to initiate legal proceedings on behalf of victims or participate as amicus curiae in legal proceedings;

34.  Recommends that data on complaints and on the outcome of the related proceedings in courts, specialised bodies, other bodies or tribunals should be disaggregated according to the ground of discrimination, which would improve the assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of the legislation, especially in countries where specialised bodies and/or tribunals deal with all grounds of discrimination;

35.  Recommends that the Member States provide their equality bodies with sufficient human and financial resources to enable them to perform their important role effectively, including the provision of appropriate assistance to victims of discrimination; considers that such bodies should also be given the necessary powers to investigate cases;

36.  Encourages Member States to step up dialogue with NGOs combating all forms of discrimination and to involve them closely in policies seeking to promote the principle of equal treatment;

37.  Stresses that victims of discrimination should be assisted in legal proceedings and recalls in this respect that statutory and non-statutory organisations can be of real help to victims;

38.  Calls on the Member States to collect and provide relevant and reliable and comparable information and data to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (the Fundamental Rights Agency);

39.  Recommends that Member States ensure that such statutory and non-statutory organisations are adequately resourced;

40.  Asks the Commission to carefully study the various legal questions and parameters regarding the issue of data collection and to come forward with proposals to improve the recording of cases of discrimination, including to ensure that such data collection does not infringe personal privacy by revealing individuals' identities or serve as a basis for ethnic or racial profiling; provision should be made for comparable sets of data to be available from all the Member States; at present, these data are not available for all Member States and comparable data are critical to give a solid platform on which to build policy;

41.  Underlines the sensitivity of processing data on race and ethnicity, and recalls the applicability of the data protection directives to data processed in the application of the Directive; stresses that additional guarantees should be provided for data on race and ethnicity, as these data could be diverted and used for other purposes in the justice and home affairs field, for instance for ethnic profiling; reiterates its request for the adoption of a Framework Decision on Data Protection, also to guarantee that any interaction of data between the first and third pillars falls under strict data protection rules;

42.  Recommends that Member States consider the collecting of statistical data, using the appropriate safeguards on protection of personal data to exclude the use of ethnic profiling, on representation of ethnic and racial groups in different areas of society, including both the public and private sectors, and to develop policies, on the basis of these data, aiming to ensure equal access to employment, self-employment, occupation, education, social protection and social security, social benefits and access to and the supply of goods;

43.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a study examining which Member States have positive action provisions, what the tests are that must be satisfied, how these provisions have been applied in practice by governmental or non-governmental bodies, and how effective they have been;

44.  Calls on the Member States to make publicly available detailed statistics on racist crime and to develop surveys of crime and/or victims of crime that allow for the collection of quantitative and comparable data on victims of racist crime;

45.  Calls on the Commission to look into and supply data on multiple discrimination;

46.  Asks the Commission to monitor attentively disguised discrimination based on "genuine and determining occupational requirements", the interaction between discrimination based on the application of this exemption on religious grounds within the framework of Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)(3) and its consequences for race and ethnicity, and to pay particular attention to discrimination in the field of education;

47.  Reiterates the political, social and legal desirability of putting an end to the hierarchy of protection against the different grounds of discrimination, and welcomes in this respect the Commission's intention to put forward a proposal for extending the scope of Directive 2000/43/EC to all other grounds of discrimination, as stated in its Annual Legislative Programme for 2008; consequently expects the Commission to start preparatory works already this year in order to issue its proposal as soon as possible, and in any case before the end of 2008;

48.  Welcomes the Commission's interest in the issue of multiple discrimination, including the launching of a study on this subject; calls on the Commission to adopt a broad concept of multiple discrimination capable of taking into account the possibility of individuals being at risk of discrimination on several grounds at once;

49.  Calls on Member States to accord greater importance to evidence of discrimination; recommends that they follow the guidelines relating to evidence of discrimination drawn up by the International Labour Organization, as proposed by the Fundamental Rights Agency, and that they train people to produce evidence in the key areas of employment and work, education, housing and accommodation, health, access to goods and services, and racist violence;

50.  Calls on the Commission to involve the Fundamental Rights Agency in the Community anti-discrimination legislative framework in a manner that is in keeping with that body's remit, so as to enable it to play an important role by supplying a regular stream of accurate and up-to-date information of relevance to the drafting of further legislation;

51.  Urges the EU institutions to continue to use the situation of ethnic minorities, particularly women and minors, in applicant countries as a criterion for the purpose of assessing preparedness for accession to the European Union;

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

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) OJ C 300 E, 9.12.2006, p. 259.
(3) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.

Equality between women and men in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2007 on equality between women and men in the European Union - 2007 (2007/2065(INI))

The European Parliament,

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

–   having regard to the report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on equality between women and men - 2007 ("the Commission report on equality") (COM(2007)0049),

–   having regard to the Community framework strategy on gender equality (2001-2005) (COM(2000)0335) and the Commission's annual reports for 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 (COM(2001)0179, COM(2002)0258, COM(2003)0098, COM(2004)0115, COM(2005)0044 and COM(2006)0071),

–   having regard to the European Pact for Gender Equality, adopted by the European Council in March 2006,

–   having regard to the common declaration adopted on 4 February 2005 by the ministers of the EU Member States responsible for gender equality policies,

–   having regard to the Roadmap for equality between women and men 2006-2010 (COM(2006)0092),

–   having regard to the opinion on gender pay gap adopted by the Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men on 22 March 2007,

–   having regard to the framework of actions on gender equality, adopted by the European social partners on 22 March 2005,

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

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the opinions of the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0290/2007),

A.   whereas the Commission and the Member States have recently renewed their commitment to gender equality, namely with the abovementioned Roadmap for equality between women and men and the European Pact for Gender Equality,

B.   whereas there is a clear gender dimension to the demographic challenge facing Europe and gender equality policies are fundamental to meeting that challenge,

C.   whereas gender mainstreaming means, in practice, assessing how political, administrative and social measures impact on the lives and situations of both women and men and, where necessary, taking responsibility for revisiting those measures with a view to promoting gender equality,

D.   whereas the reconciliation of professional, family and private life for both women and men is essential to promoting the entry, re-entry and permanent presence of women in the labour market; whereas responsibility for children is a responsibility shared between parents irrespective of sex,

E.   whereas segregation in education, persistent gender stereotyping in the choice of fields of study and discrimination against girls and young women in education remain widespread and have negative consequences for the comparative position of women in certain sectors of the labour market, particularly those relating to advanced technology, science, research and engineering,

F.   whereas, at the European Council of March 2006, the Council once again recognised that policies on gender equality are essential instruments for economic growth,

G.   whereas gender mainstreaming is specified as a key requirement in the Lisbon Agenda, and whereas gender mainstreaming is still underdeveloped and often absent from National Action Plans for employment and social inclusion,

H.   whereas the Commission's report on equality highlights the positive result achieved as regards female employment rates, in that six million of the eight million jobs created in the EU since 2000 have been taken up by women but states at the same time that there are significant variations in the employment rates of different age groups as well as between occupations, with female employment rates having risen mainly in those sectors where women were already in a majority; whereas it is deplorable that the majority of new jobs for women are part-time jobs and some of them are unsafe and insecure jobs which pay low - and slowly increasing - wages,

I.   whereas the Commission's report on employment in Europe 2006 shows that 32.3 % of women in employment in the EU have a part-time job compared to only 7.4 % of men,

J.   whereas no substantial developments have been made since the previous report with regard to the gender pay gap (which averages at 15 % across the EU and remains up to 30 % in some European countries), which clearly demonstrates that there has been no real progress in the implementation of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, a principle which was introduced thirty years ago by Council Directive 75/117/EEC of 10 February 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women(2); whereas the distribution of wealth between men and women in the EU is also unequal,

K.   whereas a 2003 Eurobarometer survey showed that the main factors deterring fathers from taking on more domestic and family responsibilities are not only of a financial nature but also concern the fear that doing so may have negative consequences for career development,

L.   whereas long-term unemployment is proportionally higher among women and whereas responsibility for children aged 5 and under is linked to a higher rate of unemployment than in the case of women without children,

M.   whereas adequate access to services for the care of children, the elderly and other dependants is essential in order to permit the full and equal participation of men and women in the labour market,

N.   whereas Member States that have adopted reconciliation policies for both women and men have higher birth rates, a higher percentage of women in the labour market and higher employment rates,

O.   whereas social partners play an important role in defining actions for gender equality at the European, national, regional, sectoral and corporate levels, and successful reconciliation policies require a partnership between employers, trade union organisations, employees and public authorities,

P.   whereas best practices show that reconciliation actions at the microeconomic level result in lower staff turnover and absenteeism, higher commitment and productivity, and attract an efficient and motivated workforce,

Q.   whereas Article 16(1) 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(3) provides that the Member States and the Commission are to ensure that equality between men and women and the integration of the gender perspective are promoted during the various stages of implementation of those funds,

1.  Welcomes the efforts of the Commission to intensify its actions promoting equality between women and men;

2.  Welcomes the focus of the Commission's report on equality as regards employment issues such as the gender pay gap, reconciliation and the equal treatment directives, since economic independence for women is one of the priorities of the Roadmap for equality between women and men;

3.  Welcomes the culture of equality in the EU, including the Commission's Roadmap for equality and the Council's Pact for Gender Equality, and calls for its practical implementation by way of concrete measures and allocation of financial resources;

4.  Stresses that further efforts and additional measures to overcome outdated decision-making and behavioural patterns, particularly in the administrative sector, are required in order to improve gender mainstreaming across policy areas;

5.  Points out that gender mainstreaming at EU level is being conducted as a dual strategy seeking to ensure, on the one hand, equality for men and women in all policy and decision-making areas and, on the other, targeted measures to curb discrimination against women;

6.  Calls on the Commission to propose, in addition to the gender mainstreaming approach, a series of specific measures including awareness-raising campaigns, the exchange of best practices, dialogues with citizens and public-private partnership initiatives;

7.  Recognises the potential of social cohesion policy for promoting equality;

8.  Insists on the need to have a clear and permanent link between the annual reports on equality and the priorities defined in the Roadmap in order to ensure an efficient cycle of planning, monitoring and evaluation of gender equality policies; encourages the Commission to work towards achieving this cycle;

9.  Recalls its request in its resolution of 2 February 2006 on equality between women and men in the European Union(4) that the Commission monitor compliance by the Member States with the acquis communautaire in the area of equality between women and men in all policies, particularly employment policies but also those concerning access to and the provision of goods and services; calls, therefore, on the Commission to carry out a study on how Member States implement Community legislation in the area of equality and to take appropriate action in the event of non-transposition or infringement;

10.  Calls on the Member States to support the Commission in monitoring the implementation of national measures in order to assess the effectiveness of policies and whether the principle of equality is being upheld, in particular with regard to statutory entitlements and pension and social security schemes;

11.  Calls on the Member States to propose specific measures to combat inequalities between women and men caused by interrupted patterns of employment resulting, in particular, from maternity leave or leave to care for dependants and to reduce their negative effects on careers, wages and pension entitlements, and to work towards gender-neutral wages and pensions; calls on the Commission to find appropriate means to combat the gender segregation of the labour market and to facilitate women's entry into non-traditional sectors;

12.  Calls on the Commission to carry out gender analysis and mainstreaming in order to establish the impact of pension reforms on women's lives in the EU, with the aim of individualising pensions rights and social security and tax systems;

13.  Welcomes the consultation procedure with the social partners launched by the Commission in order to improve both the legislative and non-legislative frameworks for reconciling professional, family and private life; encourages the Commission to launch forthwith the second phase of the consultation;

14.  Calls on the Commission to gather information on, and disseminate best practice examples of policies relating to the working environment which allow for an effective work-life balance and which include measures for fostering greater involvement by men in family life; calls on the Member States and the social partners to take the necessary measures to be able partly to prevent, and partly to intervene, in order to deal with sexual and moral harassment in the workplace; insists that women must be supported in their professional careers; urges the Commission and the Member States to take measures to reduce the gender pay gap and to promote both parental leave for men and paternity leave;

15.  Notes that the reconciliation of work, private and family life is an important issue and one of the keys to increasing employment and reducing the burden of demographic ageing; points out that all policies in this area must be based on the principle of free personal choice and be geared to the various stages in life;

16.  Regrets the fact that the Commission omitted to consult the social partners when drafting the Green Paper on modernising labour law (COM(2006)0708);

17.  Notes that globalisation has been a force for good, allowing women all over the world to reach their potential, namely through improved access to education and health-care; notes, however, that trade liberalisation has created contradictory and simultaneous trends, on the one hand effectively promoting the formalisation of labour relations in a number of areas, and, on the other, expanding the informal economy through new types of work and income for women, such as home-based work, sub-contracting and micro-enterprises;

18.  Notes that one effect of increased globalisation is the feminisation of poverty and that thorough research should be carried out in order to ascertain the total impact of globalisation on women's ability to earn a living;

19.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that all future trade agreements, for example those within the framework of the WTO, are also scrutinised in the light of gender issues;

20.  Calls on the Commission to focus specifically on the barriers deterring women from gaining access to top jobs, in order to assess the structural dimension of this phenomenon; welcomes, therefore, measures to help women enter the labour market on an equal par with men and to promote female entrepreneurship and insists on the importance of eliminating existing prejudices and gender discrimination regarding the competitiveness and employability of women, especially in high-level jobs;

21.  Emphasises the need to address the major democratic deficit relating to women's under-representation in political decision-making, and calls on the Member States to investigate the factors that prevent women from participating fully in the political arena and from gaining senior management roles in all levels of public administration, and calls for measures to be taken to remedy such situations;

22.  Calls for specific attention to be paid to the situation of women belonging to ethnic minorities and of female immigrants, as their marginalisation is reinforced by multiple discrimination from both outside and within their own communities; recommends the adoption of national integrated action plans in order to effectively tackle multiple discrimination, especially where different bodies deal with discrimination issues in a particular Member State;

23.  Highlights the importance of ensuring that immigrants entering the EU are aware of the values and existing laws and social conventions relating to gender equality in the society of the host country so as to avoid situations of discrimination which result from a lack of cultural awareness;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to intensify the exchange of best practices on non-discrimination in the labour market in order to foster the equality-efficiency dynamic in respect of national specificities;

25.  Calls on the Member States to develop specific gender-equality objectives and targets within the EU Social Inclusion Strategy in order to combat poverty and social exclusion, including a set of policy actions to support non-traditional and one-parent families, and specific policy actions in support of groups of women who are at a high risk of poverty and social exclusion, such as migrants, refugees, ethnic minority women, older women and disabled women;

26.  Urges the Commission to cooperate with Member States in the collection of relevant data and in the enforcement of measures that could prevent human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour;

27.  Calls on the Commission to focus on instruments and mechanisms for preventing the exploitation of migrant workers, including the recognition and enforcement of fundamental human rights of irregular migrants instead of relying on repression;

28.  Urges the Member States to mutualise the costs of maternity and parental leave allowances in order to ensure that women no longer represent a more costly source of labour than men;

29.  Calls on the Member States to combat, in conjunction with both sides of industry, discrimination against pregnant women in the labour market and to take all necessary steps to ensure a high level of protection for mothers; calls on the Commission to make a more detailed assessment of compliance with Community law in this area and to determine whether it needs to be revised;

30.  Notes with concern that, despite all the progress made, women, especially elderly women and single mothers, are still at risk of exclusion and poverty;

31.  Calls on the Member States and the social partners to pursue the objective of making it possible for all women who seek full-time work to be offered such work rather than part-time jobs, which are often unsafe and insecure;

32.  Welcomes the Commission's efforts to give new impetus to reaching the targets agreed upon by the 2002 European Council in Barcelona, of eliminating obstacles to the equal participation of women and men in the labour market and of introducing, by 2010, childcare for 90 % of children between the age of three and mandatory school age, and at least 33 % of children under three years old, particularly through the use of structural funds; encourages the Commission to present in 2008, as planned, a communication setting out further steps to be taken at all levels in order to reach these targets; considers that the aim should be to give all children the right to high-quality care, incorporating an educational element;

33.  Considers that Member States have a responsibility to ensure that everybody who requires geriatric care or care on grounds of illness or disability has access to high-quality care and treatment;

34.  Insists on the need to develop policies that focus on combating gender stereotypes in education from an early age, including eliminating them from school curricula and textbooks, providing awareness training to teachers and students and encouraging boys and girls to embrace non-traditional educational paths;

35.  Calls on the Commission to establish a dialogue with, and provide encouragement to, the media, given their influential role in the field of social responsibility, in order to promote gender equality and prevent the stereotyped portrayal of women and men;

36.  Recommends the development of pan-European measures in order to increase awareness of a zero-tolerance stance towards sexist insults and degrading representations of women in the media and in commercial communications;

37.  Recommends that the different individual needs of girls and boys, in terms of their development, should be taken into account to a greater extent in education, and that, in doing so, stereotypes should be counteracted;

38.  Considers that the labour market in most EU countries does not adequately reflect the superior level of education reached by women nor does it reflect women's better academic performance;

39.  Recommends working towards ensuring that school education promotes knowledge and fixes sensible criteria in order to make it possible to achieve freedom, personal autonomy, as well as equity so as to achieve social inclusion for women; further believes that so-called key competences, such as an entrepreneurial attitude and a scientific and technological approach, should be reinforced, especially among women;

40.  Stresses the need for training measures to be provided during parental leave in order to help women cope with changing job requirements;

41.  Observes the importance of having adequate comparable statistics and, in this context, deplores the invisibility of certain categories of person in European statistics, for example partners working on family farms, who, if they are women, are generally recorded as "housewives"; calls on Eurostat to include this category of person in its statistics in order to raise the profile of women's work;

42.  Stresses that, in the agricultural sector, women often do a significant proportion of the work as family workers; considers that this work could also be appropriately taken into account in rural development policy;

43.  Draws attention to the large number of (mostly female) partners working on family farms, whose legal status is uncertain in many Member States, which can give rise to specific financial and legal problems with regard to access to maternity leave and sick leave, the accumulation of pension entitlements and access to social security, as well as in the event of divorce;

44.  Stresses the need to improve the legal status of women working in the agricultural sector, both in relation to social security, by ensuring that they all have direct access thereto, and in relation to their role on the farms themselves, with particular emphasis on co-ownership of family farms, access to loans, and their rights in the context of inheritance law;

45.  Draws attention in this connection to its resolution of 21 February 1997 on the situation of the assisting spouses of the self-employed(5), in which it called for an improvement in the circumstances of assisting spouses in agriculture, to be achieved by strengthening Council Directive 86/613/EEC of 11 December 1986 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-employed capacity, and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and motherhood(6), to that end laying down a legal status for assisting spouses whereby, instead of being denied recognition as workers, they would belong to social security schemes in order to qualify for sickness, invalidity, and accident insurance and an old age pension;

46.  Draws attention to the high levels of poverty and degrees of isolation affecting women in some rural areas; points to the need for effective measures to guarantee equal opportunities for women, an aim which should be central to all the measures provided for under the common agricultural policy and to other relevant Community policies;

47.  Considers it vital to improve the quality of life for women living in rural areas by enabling them to gain access more easily to education and vocational training, lifelong learning, new media infrastructures, the necessary efficient local public health services, and locally based facilities and amenities for children and families, including crèches, nurseries, schools, arts centres, and markets;

48.  Emphasises the need for the European Social Fund to support specific measures that improve women's access to, and participation in, the labour market as well as gender mainstreaming; considers that regional funds should have a gender budget line (gender budgeting) for the funding of measures designed to promote gender equality and surveys assessing the impact of policies relating to the situation of women;

49.  Recalls that there is a need to incorporate new approaches and innovative instruments into regional development strategies and stresses the need to provide training in gender mainstreaming methodology and tools for decision-makers at regional and local levels; calls on the Commission to further develop its guidelines for the administrative sector on gender mainstreaming for structural fund purposes;

50.  50 Asks the Commission, with the help of the European Institute for Gender Equality, to include facts and statistics from acceding and candidate countries in future annual reports on equality between women and men;

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

(1) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 45, 19.2.1975, p. 19.
(3) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 25.
(4) OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 73.
(5) OJ C 85, 17.3.1997, p. 186.
(6) OJ L 359, 19.12.1986, p. 56.

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