Texts adopted
Thursday, 4 September 2008 - Brussels
Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems ***I
 Eligibility of Central Asian countries under Council Decision 2006/1016/EC *
 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
 The evaluation of EU sanctions as part of the EU's actions and policies in the area of human rights
 Maternal health
 Trade in services
 European ports policy
 Freight transport in Europe
 Mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010
 Coup in Mauritania
 Albino killings in Tanzania

Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 September 2008 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems (COM(2007)0709 – C6-0418/2007 – 2007/0243(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2007)0709),

–   having regard to Articles 251(2), 71 and 80(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0418/2007),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6-0248/2008),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 4 September 2008 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No .../2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Code of Conduct for computerised reservation systems and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 2299/89


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position at first reading corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EC) No 80/2009.)

Eligibility of Central Asian countries under Council Decision 2006/1016/EC *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 September 2008 on the proposal for a Council decision on the eligibility of Central Asian countries under Council Decision 2006/1016/EC granting a Community guarantee to the European Investment Bank against losses under loans and loan guarantees for projects outside the Community (COM(2008)0172 – C6-0182/2008 – 2008/0067(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2008)0172),

–   having regard to Article 181a of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0182/2008),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia(1),

–   having regard to the EU Strategy for a new partnership with Central Asia adopted by the European Council on 21-22 June 2007,

–   having regard to case C-155/07, European Parliament v Council of the European Union, pending before the Court of Justice of the European Communities,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A6-0317/2008),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

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

5.  Asks the Commission to withdraw its proposal, should Decision 2006/1016/EC currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Communities be annulled;

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a decision
Recital 3 a (new)
(3a)  There is an acknowledged need for EIB lending in Central Asia to focus on energy supply and energy transport projects which also serve EU energy interests.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a decision
Recital 3 b (new)
(3b)  Regarding energy supply and transport projects, EIB financing operations in Central Asia should be consistent with and support the EU policy objectives of diversification of energy sources and the Kyoto requirements, and of enhancement of environmental protection.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a decision
Recital 3 c (new)
(3c)  All EIB financing operations in Central Asia should be consistent with and support EU external policies, including specific regional objectives, and should contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, the objective of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the observance of international environmental agreements to which the European Community or its Member States are parties.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a decision
Recital 3 d (new)
(3d)  The EIB should ensure that individual projects are subject to a Sustainability Impact Assessment carried out independently of the project sponsors and the EIB.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a decision
Recital 4
The macro-economic conditions prevailing in the Central Asian countries, and in particular the situation of external finances and debt sustainability, have improved in the recent years as a result of strong economic growth and prudent macroeconomic policies, and they should therefore be allowed access to financing from the EIB.
The macro-economic conditions prevailing in the Central Asian countries, and in particular the situation of external finances and debt sustainability, have improved in the recent years as a result of strong economic growth and prudent macroeconomic policies, and they should therefore be allowed access to financing from the EIB. There should nevertheless be pre-conditions for their eligibility for EIB loans: these countries must show clear progress in establishing the rule of law, freedom of speech and the media and freedom of NGOs, and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals as specified in the EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreements.They should not be subject to EU sanctions for human rights violations and they should have made real progress in terms of the human rights situation as required by the European Parliament's resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia1.
1 Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2008)0059.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a decision
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)  Lending activities should support the EU's policy objective of promoting stability in the region.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a decision
Article 1
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are eligible for EIB financing under Community guarantee in accordance with Council Decision 2006/1016/EC.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are eligible for EIB financing under Community guarantee in accordance with Council Decision 2006/1016/EC. Uzbekistan will become eligible as soon as the EU sanctions against the country are lifted.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a decision
Article 1 a (new)
Article 1a
The guarantee agreement between the Commission and the EIB, as foreseen in Article 8 of Council Decision 2006/1016/EC, shall lay down the detailed provisions and procedures relating to the Community guarantee and shall contain conditions with clear benchmarks regarding respect for human rights.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a decision
Article 1 b (new)
Article 1b
On the basis of the information received from the EIB, the Commission shall produce an assessment and a report, on an annual basis, to be forwarded to the European Parliament and the Council, on the EIB financing operations carried out under this Decision. The report should include an assessment of the contribution of EIB financing operations to the achievement of the external policy objectives of the EU, and especially the contribution to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, the objective of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the observance of international environmental agreements to which the European Community or its Member States are parties.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a decision
Article 1 c (new)
Article 1c
The EIB shall ensure that framework agreements between the Bank and the countries concerned are made available to the public and that adequate and timely objective information is made available to enable them to play a full part in the decision-making process.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0059.

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the Middle East,

–   having regard to the statement made to Parliament by Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner on 9 July 2008 on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,

–   having regard to the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to the results of the eighth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council of 16 June 2008,

–   having regard to the report drawn up by its ad hoc delegation to Israel and the Palestinian territories (30 May to 2 June 2008) and its conclusions,

–   having regard to the Geneva Conventions, in particular Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and in particular to Articles 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 59, 61 to 77 and 143 thereof,

–   having regard to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–   having regard to the International Committee of the Red Cross Annual Report for 2007, and in particular the section dealing with the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

–   having regard to the reports published in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel with the help of financial contributions from the European Commission and several Member States,

–   having regard to the relevant UN resolutions on the Middle East conflict,

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

A.   whereas Israel has been facing many deadly terrorist attacks against its civilian population in recent years and whereas the Israeli authorities have taken a number of measures to prevent those terrorist actions, including arresting suspected Palestinian militants, but whereas the fight against terrorism is no justification for violating humanitarian law,

B.   whereas today more than 11 000 Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, are being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres and whereas most of those detainees were arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

C.   whereas, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a signatory, a child is defined as a human being under the age of 18 years; whereas, however, Palestinian children from the age of 16 years are considered adults under Israeli military regulations governing the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and are often held in inappropriate conditions,

D.   whereas 198 Palestinians were freed by the Israeli Government on 25 August 2008 as a gesture of good will and to build mutual trust and whereas further negotiations are being conducted between the two sides with a view to reaching a more comprehensive agreement on the release of other prisoners,

E.   whereas positive steps were recently taken by the Governments of Israel and Lebanon to exchange prisoners for the remains of Israeli soldiers,

F.   whereas around 1 000 prisoners are detained in Israel on the basis of 'administrative detention orders', with the right of appeal but without charge, trial and rights of defence ; whereas such 'administrative detention orders' can be, and in some cases are, prolonged for many years,

G.   whereas human rights reports state that Palestinian prisoners are subject to abuses and use of torture,

H.   whereas it is often impossible or very difficult for the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners held in prisons situated inside Israeli territory to exercise their right to visits by their families, despite calls to this effect from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Israel,

I.   whereas the issue of prisoners has important political, social and humanitarian implications, and the arrest of 48 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and other local councillors has serious consequences for political developments in the occupied Palestinian territory; whereas the 'Prisoners' Document', adopted in May 2006 by detained Palestinian political leaders from various factions, served as a basis for national reconciliation and paved the way for the establishment of a national unity government,

J.   whereas relations between the European Communities and Israel, under Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, are based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which constitute an essential element of that agreement; whereas the EU-Israel Action Plan stresses that respect for human rights and for international humanitarian law is among the values shared by the parties,

1.  Welcomes the recent decision by the Israeli Government to free a number of Palestinian prisoners, this being a positive gesture to strengthen the authority of the Palestinian Authority and install a climate of mutual trust;

2.  Calls for steps to be taken by Hamas and Israel with a view to the immediate release of the Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit;

3.  Stresses that the issue of Palestinian prisoners has a major impact on both Palestinian society and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and considers that, in this context, a substantial release of Palestinian prisoners, as well as the immediate release of the imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council including Marwan Barghouti, could be a positive step towards establishing the climate of mutual trust needed to make substantial progress in the peace negotiations;

4.  Supports the legitimate security concerns of Israel; believes that the rule of law must be fully respected in the treatment of all prisoners, this being crucial for a democratic country;

5.  Calls on Israel to guarantee that minimum standards on detention be respected, to bring to trial all detainees, to put an end to the use of 'administrative detention orders', and to implement adequate measures for minors and prisoners' visiting rights, in full compliance with international standards including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

6.  Expresses its concern at the situation of Palestinian women and vulnerable prisoners, who are reportedly subjected to mistreatment and a lack of access to health care;

7.  Calls on the Palestinian Authority to make every effort to prevent any violent or terrorist acts, particularly by former prisoners and, especially, by children;

8.  Expresses its belief that the upgrading of EU-Israel relations should be consistent with and linked to Israel's compliance with all obligations under international law;

9.  Welcomes the decision taken at the eighth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council to establish a fully-fledged Subcommittee on Human Rights replacing the current Working Group on Human Rights; calls for human rights organisations and non-governmental organisations in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be extensively consulted and fully involved in monitoring Israel's progress towards compliance with its obligations under international law;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Israeli Government, the Knesset, the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Legislative Council, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East, the President of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The evaluation of EU sanctions as part of the EU's actions and policies in the area of human rights
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on the evaluation of EU sanctions as part of the EU's actions and policies in the area of human rights (2008/2031(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–   having regard to all United Nations human rights conventions and the optional protocols thereto,

   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the two optional protocols thereto,

–   having regard to the UN Charter and specifically Articles 1 and 25 and, in Chapter VII, Articles 39 and 41 thereof,

–   having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the European Convention on Human Rights) and the protocols thereto,

–   having regard to the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (the Paris Charter),

–   having regard to the 1975 Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Final Act),

–   having regard to Articles 3, 6, 11, 13, 19, 21, 29 and 39 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Articles 60, 133, 296, 297, 301 and 308 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC),

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

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation with regard to human rights in the world,

–   having regard to its previous debates and urgency resolutions on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 September 1996 on the Communication from the Commission on the inclusion of respect for democratic principles and human rights in agreements between the Community and third countries(1),

–   having regard to the international obligations of the European Community and its Member States, including those contained in WTO Agreements,

–   having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement)(2), specifically Articles 8, 9, 33, 96 and 98 thereof, and to the revision of that Agreement(3),

–   having regard to the Council document entitled "Establishment of a "Sanctions" formation of the Foreign Relations Counsellors Working party (RELEX/Sanctions)" of 22 January 2004 (5603/2004),

–   having regard to the Council document entitled "Basic Principles on the Use of Restrictive Measures (Sanctions)" of 7 June 2004 (10198/1/2004),

–   having regard to the Council document entitled "Guidelines on implementation and evaluation of restrictive measures (sanctions) in the framework of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy", last reviewed on 2 December 2005 (15114/2005),

–   having regard to the Council document entitled "EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures" of 9 July 2007(11679/2007),

–   having regard to Common Position 96/697/CFSP on Cuba(4), adopted on 2 December 1996 by the Council,

–   having regard to Council Common Positions 2001/930/CFSP on combating terrorism(5) and 2001/931/CFSP on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism(6), both of 27 December 2001, and Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism(7),

–   having regard to Council Common Position 2002/402/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Usama bin Laden, members of the Al-Qaida organisation and the Taliban and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them(8), and Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban(9), both of 27 May 2002,

–   having regard to the Common Military List of the European Union(10),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 April 2002 on the Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the European Union's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries(11),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements(12),

–   having regard to all the agreements concluded between the European Union and third countries and the human rights clauses contained in these agreements,

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 October 1982 on the significance of economic sanctions, particularly trade embargoes and boycotts, and their consequences for the EEC's relations with third countries(13),

–   having regard to the resolution on the impact of sanctions and, in particular, of embargoes on the people of the countries on which such measures are imposed(14), adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on 1 November 2001 in Brussels (Belgium),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 September 2007 on the functioning of the human rights dialogues and consultations on human rights with third countries(15),

–   having regard to Resolution 1597 (2008) and Recommendation 1824 (2008) on United Nations Security Council and European Union blacklists, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 23 January 2008,

–   having regard to the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon, 13 December 2007, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2009,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on International Trade (A6-0309/2008),

A.   whereas Article 11(1) of the TEU recognises respect for human rights as one of the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and whereas the new Article 21 of the TEU, as introduced by Article 1(24) of the Treaty of Lisbon, recognises that "the Union's action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law",

B.   whereas sanctions are applied in pursuit of specific CFSP objectives set out in Article 11 of the TEU, which include, but are not limited to, promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and good governance,

C.   whereas the above-mentioned Basic Principles on the Use of Restrictive Measures (Sanctions) is the first pragmatic document defining the framework within which the EU imposes sanctions; whereas, however, the EU has in practice been doing so since the early 1980s and, in particular, following the entry into force of the TEU in 1993; whereas that document formally establishes sanctions as an instrument of the CFSP and, as a result, represents the starting point for an EU sanctions policy,

D.   whereas this sanctions policy is based principally on the following five objectives within the CFSP: to safeguard the common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union in conformity with the principles of the UN Charter; to strengthen the security of the Union in all ways; to preserve peace and strengthen international security, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, and the objectives of the Paris Charter, including those on external borders; to promote international cooperation; to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,

E.   whereas international consensus is growing that any serious and voluntary damage caused to the environment undermines world peace and security and constitutes a violation of human rights,

F.   whereas the EU is committed to the systematic implementation of sanctions decided on by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and at the same time imposes autonomous sanctions in the absence of a UN Security Council mandate, in cases where the UN Security Council is not empowered to take action or is prevented from doing so by a lack of agreement amongst its members; stressing in this regard the obligation incumbent on both the UN and the EU to impose sanctions in conformity with international law,

G.   whereas the EU's sanctions policy therefore incorporates UN Security Council sanctions, but its scope and objectives are broader than those of the UN Security Council policy (international peace and security),

H.   whereas sanctions are one of the instruments which the EU may use to implement its policy on human rights; recalling that the use of sanctions must be consistent with the Union's overall strategy in the area concerned and must constitute the final attempt, in the list of priorities, to pursue the specific objectives of the CFSP; whereas the effectiveness of sanctions depends on their simultaneous application by all Member States,

I.   whereas there is no authoritative definition of what a sanction is under either international law or EU/EC law; whereas, however, within the framework of the CFSP, sanctions or restrictive measures are regarded as measures interrupting or reducing, wholly or in part, diplomatic or economic relations with one or more third countries which seek to bring about a change in certain activities or policies, such as violations of international law or human rights, or policies that do not respect the rule of law or democratic principles by governments of third countries, non-state entities or natural and legal persons,

J.   whereas the types of restrictive measures include a variety of measures such as arms embargoes, trade sanctions, financial/economic sanctions, freezing of assets, flight bans, restriction on admission, diplomatic sanctions, boycotts of sports and cultural events, and suspension of cooperation with a third country,

K.   whereas, in line with general EU practice, this resolution makes no distinction between the terms "sanctions" and "restrictive measures"; whereas this resolution takes over the definition of "appropriate measures" contained in Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement(16),

L.   whereas EU sanctions themselves are founded on a variety of legal bases, depending on the exact nature of the restrictive measures and on the legal nature of the relations with the third country concerned, as well as on the sectors and objectives in question; whereas these factors determine both the procedure for adoption of the sanctions – which often, but not always, require a CFSP Common Position and therefore unanimity within the Council – and the legislative procedure to be followed in order to make the sanctions legally binding and enforceable, the common procedure being that set out in Article 301 of the TEC,

M.   whereas visa bans and arms embargoes have become the most frequently imposed CFSP sanctions and constitute one of the initial steps in the EU's sanctions sequence; whereas these two types of measures are the only ones directly implemented by the Member States due to the fact that they do not require specific sanctions legislation under the TEC; whereas, on the other hand, financial sanctions (asset freezing) and trade sanctions require the adoption of specific sanctions legislation,

N.   whereas, in accordance with the above-mentioned Basic Principles on the Use of Restrictive Measures (Sanctions) and the guidelines on the subject, targeted sanctions can be more effective than more general sanctions, and are hence preferable, firstly because they avoid negative consequences for a larger proportion of the population and, secondly, because they directly affect the people responsible and are thus more likely to bring about change in the policies pursued by those people,

O.   acknowledging the existence of measures which, while they are adopted by the Council in Presidency Conclusions, are not labelled "sanctions" and differ, at the same time, from the other restrictive measures listed as a CFSP tool,

P.   whereas economic relations between the EU and third states are often governed by sectoral bilateral or multilateral agreements which the EU is required to respect while applying sanctions; whereas, where necessary, the EU should therefore suspend or denounce the relevant agreement before applying economic sanctions which are not compatible with the rights granted to the third country in question by an existing agreement,

Q.   whereas relations between the EU and third states are often governed by bilateral or multilateral agreements which allow one of the parties to take appropriate measures in cases of violation by the other party of an essential element of the agreement, namely respect for human rights, international law, democratic principles and the rule of law (the human rights clause), the Cotonou Agreement being a prominent example,

R.   whereas the introduction and implementation of restrictive measures must comply with human rights and international humanitarian law, including due process and the right to an effective remedy, as well as proportionality, and must provide for appropriate exemptions to take account of basic human needs of the targeted persons, such as access to primary education, to drinkable water and to basic medical care including basic medicines; whereas a sanctions policy has to take fully into account the standards established by the Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the UN resolutions concerning the protection of civilians and of children in armed conflict,

S.   whereas the credibility of the EU and its individual Member States is compromised when EU sanctions appear to be broken, and whereas Robert Mugabe was invited to attend the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon on 8-9 December 2007 despite having been formally banned from all territories of EU Member States under Council Common Position 2004/161/CFSP of 19 February 2004 renewing restrictive measures against Zimbabwe(17) as most recently extended by Council Common Position 2008/135/CFSP of 18 February 2008(18),

General considerations with a view to an effective EU sanctions policy

1.  Deplores the fact that, to date, no evaluation or impact assessment has been carried out in respect of the EU's sanctions policy and that it is therefore extremely difficult to gauge the policy's impact and effectiveness on the ground and thus to draw the necessary conclusions; calls on the Council and the Commission to carry out this evaluation work; considers, nevertheless, that the sanctions policy used against South Africa proved effective in helping to end apartheid;

2.  Considers that disparities in the legal bases for the implementation of the EU's sanctions policy, involving different decision-making, implementation and supervision levels, are undermining the transparency and coherence of the EU's sanctions policy and, as a result, the credibility thereof;

3.  Considers that, for sanctions to be effective, their introduction must be seen as legitimate by public opinion at European and international levels and in countries in which changes are expected; stresses that consultation of Parliament in the decision-making process gives them added legitimacy;

4.  Notes also that sanctions can have symbolic value as an expression of the EU's moral condemnation, thus giving added visibility and credibility to EU foreign policy; warns, however, against placing too much emphasis on the idea of sanctions as symbolic measures, as this could result in them becoming totally devalued;

5.  Considers that recourse to sanctions should be envisaged in the case of actions by authorities or non-state entities or natural and legal persons which seriously undermine security and human rights or where all contractual and/or diplomatic options have been explored or have clearly reached stalemate, owing to the actions of the third party;

6.  Takes the view that any voluntary and irreversible degradation of the environment constitutes a threat to security and a serious violation of human rights; in this connection, calls on the Council and the Commission to include any voluntary and irreversible damage caused to the environment among the grounds which may lead to the adoption of sanctions;

7.  Acknowledges that the overall EU sanctions instruments are generally deployed flexibly in accordance with needs on a case-by-case basis; deplores, however, the fact that the EU has often applied its sanctions policy inconsistently, by treating third countries differently even though their human rights and democratic records are similar, and thus triggering criticism for applying "double standards";

8.  Believes in this respect that the application and evaluation of sanctions by the European Union for infringements of human rights must in principle prevail over any harm deriving from their application to the trading interests of the European Union and its citizens;

9.  Regrets that the existence of intra-EU disagreements on policies towards a given country such as Cuba or the reluctance of Member States to antagonise major partners such as Russia have led the EU to adopt only "informal sanctions" in Presidency Conclusions, reflecting an unbalanced or inconsistent application of EU sanctions; recognises, however, that measures included in the Council conclusions, such as the deferral of the signing of agreements with countries such as Serbia, could be a useful tool in order to pressurise third countries into cooperating fully with international mechanisms;

10.  Recalls that, with regard to Cuba, the above-mentioned Common Position adopted in 1996 and periodically renewed reflects the roadmap for peaceful transition to democracy, remains fully in force and is not the subject of controversy in the European institutions; regrets that, to date, there has been no significant improvement as regards human rights; notes the Council's decision of 20 June 2008 to lift the informal sanctions with regard to Cuba whilst calling on that country to free all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, to facilitate access to prisons and to ratify and implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; notes that the Council will decide in a year's time whether to pursue the political dialogue with Cuba. depending on whether or not there have been significant improvements as regards human rights; recalls that the Council's position is also binding on the European Union institutions as regards dialogue both with the Cuban authorities and with the representatives of civil society; reiterates its position with regard to the Sakharov Prize winners Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and the group known as "Damas de Blanco" ("Ladies in White");

11.  Considers that the argument of the "ineffectiveness" of sanctions cannot be used in favour of lifting them and that it should be used instead to re-orientate and reassess the sanction itself; takes the view, moreover, that the continuation or not of sanctions should depend solely on whether their objectives have been achieved, and that their type may be strengthened or altered on the basis of their evaluation; considers that, to this end, sanctions should always be accompanied by clear benchmarks;

12.  Considers that the effectiveness of sanctions should be analysed at a number of levels, both in terms of the measures" intrinsic effectiveness, i.e. their ability to have an impact on the private and professional activities of the individuals targeted as members of a target regime, or on the operation thereof, and in terms of their political effectiveness, i.e. their ability to bring about a stop to, or to alter, the activities or policies which have led to their adoption;

13.  Believes that the effectiveness of a sanction depends on the European Union's capacity to maintain it for the full period and, in this connection, deplores the use of provisions such as "sunset clauses" involving the automatic lifting of sanctions;

14.  Opposes the application, in all circumstances, of generalised, indiscriminate sanctions to any country, since this approach leads de facto to the total isolation of the population; considers that, unless coordinated with other political instruments, economic sanctions can succeed only with great difficulty in facilitating political reform within the regime targeted; stresses, therefore, that any sanctions taken against government authorities should systematically be coupled with support for civil society in the country concerned;

Sanctions as part of an overall human rights strategy

15.  Points out that most EU sanctions are being imposed on the basis of security concerns; underlines however that human rights violations should constitute a sufficient basis for the application of sanctions since they likewise represent a threat to security and stability;

16.  Points out that the main purpose of sanctions is to bring about a change of policy or activities in line with the objectives of the CFSP Common Position or conclusions adopted by the Council, or the international decision on which the sanctions are based;

17.  Insists on the fact that the Council, by adopting the above-mentioned Basic Principles on the Use of Restrictive Measures (Sanctions), has committed itself to using sanctions as part of a comprehensive and integrated policy approach; stresses in this respect that this approach includes in parallel political dialogue, incentives and conditionality, and could even involve, as a last resort, the use of coercive measures, as set out in the Basic Principles; considers that human rights and democracy clauses, the system of generalised preferences and development aid should be used as tools of such a comprehensive and integrated policy approach;

18.  Stresses that the implementation of the human rights clause cannot be regarded as an entirely autonomous or unilateral EU sanction, as it stems directly from the bilateral or multilateral agreement, which establishes a reciprocal undertaking to respect human rights; considers that appropriate measures taken in accordance with this clause exclusively concern the implementation of the relevant agreement in giving either party the lawful basis for suspending or annulling the agreement; considers, therefore, that the implementation of human rights clauses and autonomous or unilateral sanctions necessarily complement each other;

19.  Welcomes, therefore, the systematic inclusion of human rights clauses and insists on the incorporation of a specific implementation mechanism in all new bilateral agreements, including sector-specific agreements, signed with third countries; recalls, in this connection, the importance of the recommendations issued with a view to more effective and systematic implementation of the clause, namely the formulation of objectives and reference criteria and regular evaluation; reiterates its call for the human rights clauses to be implemented through a more transparent procedure of consultation between the parties, including the European Parliament and civil society, detailing the political and legal mechanisms to be used in the event of a request for bilateral cooperation being suspended on the grounds of repeated and/or systematic human rights violations in breach of international law; supports the procedural model established under the Cotonou Agreement for reacting to grave violations of human rights, for democratic principles and for the rule of law; believes that the system of intensive political dialogue (Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement) and consultations (Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement), before and after the adoption of appropriate measures, has in several cases provided a successful instrument for improving the situation on the ground;

20.  Urges the Commission and the Member States not to propose free trade agreements and/or association agreements – even containing human rights clauses – to governments of countries where, according to reports by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, massive human rights violations are being perpetrated;

21.  Considers that failure to take appropriate or restrictive measures in the event of a situation marked by persistent human rights violations seriously undermines the Union's human rights strategy, sanctions policy and credibility;

22.  Considers that a sanctions policy will be much more effective when it forms part of a coherent human rights strategy; reiterates its request to the Council and the Commission to devise a specific strategy on human rights and the situation as regards democracy as part of each country strategy paper and other similar types of documents;

23.  Considers that, in the case of the imposition of sanctions, the human rights dialogues and consultations should necessarily and systematically incorporate discussions on progress made in the fulfilment of the objectives and benchmarks set out at the time of the adoption of the restrictive measures; considers, at the same time, that the objectives achieved in human rights dialogues and consultations should under no circumstances replace the achievement of the objectives underpinning sanctions;

Coordinated action by the international community

24.  Takes the view that coordinated action by the international community has a stronger impact than disparate and uneven actions by States or regional entities; welcomes, therefore, the fact that the EU's sanctions policy should continue to be based on the notion of a preference in favour of the UN regime;

25.  Calls on the Council, in the absence of UN Security Council sanctions, to cooperate with non-EU sanctioning states, to share information, and to coordinate action at international level to prevent sanctions evasions and to maximise the effectiveness and implementation of EU sanctions and other sanctions, in conformity with international law;

26.  Considers that the EU should seek cooperation with other regional organisations, such as the African Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in order to promote human rights and ensure coordination of actions on sanctions;

27.  Calls on the EU to systematically develop a dialogue with non-sanctioning states with a view to reaching a common position on restrictive measures, especially at regional level; points out that, as shown in the case of Burma/Myanmar, sanctions do not often bring about the required change of policy or activities when the international community is divided and major players are not involved in their implementation;

28.  Calls on the Council and the Commission systematically to include on the agenda for political dialogues with non-sanctioning states the issue of their role and influence vis-à-vis the target regime or non-state actors, whether individuals, organisations or companies;

29.  Considers that the prospect of the signing of a free trade agreement with the regions in which a target country is situated should be used as a "carrot" and means of pressure and that such an agreement should, in any case, not include the country to which sanctions are being applied;

Setting-up of clear decision-making processes, objectives, benchmarks and review mechanisms

30.  Underlines the need for an in-depth analysis of each specific situation prior to the adoption of sanctions in order to assess the potential impact of different sanctions, and to determine which are the most effective in the light of all other relevant factors and comparable experiences; considers that such prior analysis is all the more justified since it is difficult to backtrack once the sanctions process has been initiated without undermining the EU's credibility and the expression of the EU's support for the population of the target third country, given the fact that the country's authorities can instrumentalise the EU decision; takes note in this respect of the current practice whereby the appropriateness, nature and effectiveness of the proposed sanctions are discussed in the Council on the basis of assessment by the EU Heads of Mission in the country concerned, and calls for the inclusion of an independent expert's report in such assessment;

31.  Stresses, however, that such analysis should not be used to delay the adoption of sanctions; emphasises in this respect that the two-step procedure for the imposition of sanctions under the CFSP provides scope for an urgent political reaction, initially through the adoption of a common position to be set out after a more in-depth analysis of the Regulation, detailing the exact nature and scope of the sanctions;

32.  Calls for the systematic inclusion in the legal instruments of clear and specific benchmarks as conditions for the lifting of the sanctions; insists, in particular, that the reference criteria should be established on the basis of an independent evaluation and that those criteria should not be altered at a later stage, depending on political changes within the Council;

33.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to set up an exemplary sanctions review process, notably involving the systematic inclusion of a review clause which entails revisiting the sanctions regime on the basis of the established benchmarks and assessing whether the objectives have been met; insists that declarations of intent or the will to establish procedures that will produce positive results are to be welcomed, but stresses that they should under no circumstances, when sanctions are evaluated, replace the achievement of tangible and genuine progress in meeting reference criteria;

34.  Believes that the arms embargo imposed on China is an illustration of EU coherence and consistency, given that this embargo was originally established following the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and the EU has not received to date any explanations about that massacre, and that there is therefore no reason to lift this embargo;

35.  Calls on the "Sanctions" formation of the Foreign Relations Counsellors Working Party (RELEX/Sanctions) to fulfil their mandate to the full; insists in particular on the need to conduct research prior to the adoption of sanctions and, after their adoption, to provide on a regular basis updated information on developments and to develop best practices with regard to the implementation and enforcement of restrictive measures;

36.  Recognises that states as well as international and regional organisations should be accountable for internationally wrongful acts in the implementation of sanctions and stresses in this regard the need for a judicial mechanism with a view to guaranteeing conformity with international law and humanitarian law;

37.  Requests that Parliament be associated in all the stages of a sanctions process: the decision-making process leading to sanctions, the selection of the sanctions most appropriate to the situation, and also the definition of benchmarks and the evaluation of their implementation within the framework of the review mechanism and the lifting of the sanction;

Targeted sanctions as a more efficient tool?

38.  Deplores the fact that, owing to a lack of evaluation, it is impossible to assess the effectiveness of targeted measures; recognises, however, the EU's strong humanitarian concern, which has led to the abandonment of sanctions of general economic scope, as previously done in the case of Iraq, and to the imposition of more targeted, "smart" sanctions, geared to achieving the maximum impact on those whose behaviour it wants to influence while minimising adverse humanitarian effects or consequences for persons not targeted or neighbouring countries;

39.  Considers that economic sanctions used in isolation from other policy instruments are extremely unlikely to force a targeted regime to make major policy changes; stresses, moreover, that far-reaching economic restrictions may entail excessively high economic and humanitarian costs, and therefore reiterates its call for more carefully designed and better targeted economic sanctions, designed to have an impact primarily on key leaders of targeted regimes and perpetrators of human rights violations;

40.  Emphasises that any economic sanctions should first and foremost target those sectors that are not employment-intensive and are of limited relevance for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are important both for economic development and for redistribution of income;

41.  Supports the use of targeted financial sanctions against key leaders of targeted regimes and their immediate family members, which act directly on the income of the sanctioned individuals; stresses the need for these sanctions to be accompanied by appropriate measures against EU economic operators cooperating with such persons; stresses that targeted commodity sanctions targeting a specific or major source of income of a regime present the risk of more wide-ranging, indiscriminate effects on the population and may favour the development of a "black economy";

42.  Considers that economic and financial sanctions, even when they are targeted, must be applied by all natural and legal persons pursuing commercial activities in the EU, including citizens of third countries, and EU citizens or legal persons registered or established in accordance with the legislation of an EU Member State who pursue commercial activities outside the EU;

43.  Calls for a limited application of the "extraordinary exemptions" to the freezing of assets; calls for the creation of a specific procedure for objections in the event that a Member State wishes to grant an exemption to the freezing of assets, since the efficiency of the restrictive measure is undermined by the lack of such a procedure given that the Member States are only required to inform the Commission in advance of such an exemption;

44.  Calls for action to improve the application of the EU's targeted financial sanctions, in order to ensure that, in practice, the measures comprehensively deny designated persons and entities access to all financial services within the EU's jurisdiction, including those that pass through EU clearing-house banks or otherwise make use of financial services within the EU's jurisdiction; stresses the need for greater flexibility in the distribution of sanction lists within the EU and within Member States to all persons covered by the obligations laid down in the Third Money Laundering Directive(19); proposes that each Member State designate one institution responsible for disseminating this information;

45.  Calls for enhanced cooperation by the Council and the Commission with the SWIFT management and shareholders in Europe, so as to achieve improved results in the freezing of blacklisted accounts and the elimination of money transfers from/to such accounts;

46.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to investigate the possibilities and ways to use frozen income of targeted authorities in a constructive manner, for example by allocating them to victims of human rights violations or for development purposes within the framework of Chapter VII of the UN Charter;

47.  Notes that arms embargoes are a form of sanction designed to stop the flow of arms and military equipment to conflict areas or to regimes that are likely to use them for internal repression or aggression against a foreign country as set out in the Code of Conduct on arms exports;

48.  Calls for coordinated cooperation between Member States and the Commission regarding the implementation of EU arms embargoes which are applied by each Member State;

49.  Calls on the Member States to adopt the common position on arms exports that will make the current Code of Conduct on arms exports legally binding;

50.  Urges the Council, the Commission and Member States to continue to work for improvements in UN monitoring and enforcement capabilities, and supports the view that a permanent UN team should be established to assess trade in conflict commodities and the value of sanctions in relation to them;

51.  Recalls that restrictions on admission (travel bans, visa bans) constitute one of the initial steps in the EU's sanctions sequence, entailing the prohibition of blacklisted persons or non-state entities from attending EU official meetings and also from travelling to the EU for private reasons;

52.  Notes with concern that Member States" adherence to EU visa bans has not been optimal; calls on the Member States to adopt a concerted approach in applying travel restrictions and the relevant exemption clauses;

Respect for human rights in applying targeted sanctions in the fight against terrorism

53.  Takes account of the fact that both the autonomous EU anti-terrorist sanctions and the EU implementation of UN Security Council anti-terrorist sanctions are the subject of several cases before the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance;

54.  Recalls the obligation of Member States to draft sanctions in compliance with Article 6(2) of the TEU, which requires the Union to respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States; stresses that the present blacklisting procedures at both the EU and the UN levels are deficient from the perspective of legal security and legal remedies; urges the Council to draw all the necessary conclusions and to fully apply the judgments of the Court of First Instance as regards EU autonomous sanctions;

55.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to review the existing procedure for blacklisting and delisting, in order to respect blacklisted individuals" and entities" procedural and substantive human rights and notably international standards as regards the obtaining of an effective remedy before an independent and impartial body and due process, including the right to be notified and adequately informed of the charges brought against the individual or entity in question and of the decisions taken and the right to compensation for any violation of human rights; calls, similarly, on the EU Member States to promote such a review within the UN mechanisms in order to ensure respect for fundamental rights when applying targeted sanctions in the fight against terrorism;

56.  Considers that Article 75 of the TFEU would be an opportunity to be seized by Parliament in order to remedy the shortcomings in current practice as regards the inclusion of names on a blacklist, and supports all the current parliamentary work aimed at being included on the agenda for the 2009 legislative programme;

57.  Regrets that none of the judicial bodies is in position to assess the appropriateness of blacklisting, given that the evidence leading to blacklisting is based primarily on information held by the secret services, which ipso facto operate in secret; considers, however, that this fundamental discretion should not be transformed into impunity in the case of breaches of international law; calls in this regard on Member States to guarantee effective parliamentary control over the work of the secret services; considers in this regard that it is necessary to associate Parliament with the work done by the Conference of Oversight Committees of the Intelligence Bodies of the Member States already in place;

58.  Reiterates, however, that the system of anti-terrorist lists, provided that it respects the most recent case-law of the Court of Justice, is an effective instrument of European Union anti-terrorist policy;

59.  Stresses that terrorism is a threat to safety and freedom, and therefore urges the Council to review and update the list of terrorist organisations, taking into account their activities on all continents;

A varied sanctions policy

60.  Notes that the EU has always promoted a positive approach to the use of sanctions with a view to encouraging change; stresses, to this end, that it is important to give priority to an integrated global action through a progressive strategy of pressures and incentives;

61.  Considers that a strategy of openness and a policy of sanctions are not mutually exclusive; takes the view, therefore, that the EU's sanctions policy may help to improve respect for human rights in the sanctioned country when revised for the express purpose of introducing a policy of positive measures; in this respect, notes the cycle of sanctions imposed in respect of Uzbekistan from November 2007 to April 2008: while continuing for one year the sanctions imposed for failure to satisfy initial criteria pertaining to investigations into the Andijan massacre and respect for human rights, the Council decided to suspend the implementation of the visa ban, leaving the Uzbek Government six months in which to fulfil a set of human rights criteria, and with the looming threat of the automatic re-establishment of the visa ban; notes that the mix of engagement and sanctions produced some positive developments, thanks to the possible automatic re-establishment of the sanctions and the definition of precise conditions; emphasises that these conditions must be capable of being satisfied within a limited time frame and relevant to the general sanctions regime; regrets, however, that there have not yet been any substantial positive developments and that the lack of cooperation with the Uzbek Government continues;

62.  Urges that sanctions be systematically accompanied, in the context of a multifold strategy, by enhanced positive measures to support civil society, human rights defenders and all kinds of projects promoting human rights and democracy; calls for the thematic programmes and instruments (EIDHR(20), non-state actors, investing in people) to contribute fully to achieving this objective;

63.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to seize the opportunity provided by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the subsequent creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) to guarantee optimum consistency in the EU's various external action instruments as a key element of the further efficiency of the EU's sanctions policy;

Recommendations in relation to the EU institutions and Member States

64.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to undertake a comprehensive and in-depth evaluation of the EU's sanctions policy so as to determine what influence it has and what measures should be taken to strengthen it; urges the Council and the Commission to submit a programme of such measures; calls on the Council and the Commission to assess the impact of sanctions on the development policy of the countries in question and on the EU's trade policy;

65.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that development assistance strategies under the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Development Fund are consistent with existing sanction regimes and human rights dialogues; calls on the Commission to ensure that the conditions for general budget support, including under the so-called "Millennium Development Goals contracts", are explicitly linked to human rights and democracy criteria;

66.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the appointment of a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – who will at the same time be Vice-President of the Commission and chair of the Foreign Affairs Council – and the subsequent creation of the EEAS in order to make the EU's external action more coherent and consistent, to improve the expertise of the relevant EU services working in the field of sanctions and to enhance cooperation between the different services;

67.  Calls at the same time for enhanced cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States and the Commission in order to ensure more coherent and effective implementation of restrictive measures;

68.  Calls also on those Member States that are members of the UN Security Council systematically to seek to internationalise sanctions issued by the European Union, pursuant to Article 19 of the TEU;

69.  Calls on the Member States, in their actions within the UN Security Council, not to infringe the human rights obligations which they have contracted, in particular under the European Convention on Human Rights;

70.  Commits its parliamentary bodies, specifically its standing and ad hoc delegations, to using their contacts with parliaments in non-sanctioning countries so as to enhance understanding of existing EU sanctions regimes relevant to the region concerned and to examine possibilities for coordinated action for the promotion of human rights;

71.  Calls on the Commission to set up a network of independent experts to put forward to the Council, as and when necessary, the most appropriate restrictive measures, to draw up regular reports on developments on the basis of the established criteria and objectives and, where necessary, to suggest ways in which implementation of sanctions might be improved; considers that the setting-up of such a network would improve transparency and discussions on sanctions in general, and would also strengthen the implementation and ongoing monitoring of sanctions in particular cases; considers at the same time that the Commission should play a more proactive role in defining a clear EU policy on sanctions;

72.  Considers that the legitimacy of the EU's sanctions policy, which constitutes a key and sensitive element of the CFSP, must be enhanced by involving Parliament at all stages of the procedure, in accordance with Article 21 of the TEU, in particular in the drafting and implementation of sanctions in the form of systematic consultation with, and reports from, the Council and the Commission; considers also that Parliament should be involved in overseeing the attainment of benchmarks by those who are subject to sanctions; instructs its Subcommittee on Human Rights to structure and supervise work in this area as regards any sanction the objectives and reference criteria of which relate to human rights;

o   o

73.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 320, 28.10.1996, p. 261.
(2) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(3) OJ L 209, 11.8.2005, p. 27.
(4) OJ L 322, 12.12.1996, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 344, 28.12.2001, p. 90.
(6) OJ L 344, 28.12.2001, p. 93.
(7) OJ L 344, 28.12.2001, p. 70.
(8) OJ L 139, 29.5.2002, p. 4.
(9) OJ L 139, 29.5.2002, p. 9.
(10) OJ C 98, 18.4.2008, p. 1.
(11) OJ C 131 E, 5.6.2003, p. 147.
(12) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 107.
(13) OJ C 292, 8.11.1982, p. 13.
(14) OJ C 78, 2.4.2002, p. 32.
(15) OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p. 214.
(16) Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement of 23 June 2000 reads as follows:"Essential elements: consultation procedure and appropriate measures as regards human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law1. Within the meaning of this Article, the term "Party" refers to the Community and the Member States of the European Union, of the one part, and each ACP State, of the other part.2.(a) If, despite the political dialogue conducted regularly between the Parties, a Party considers that the other Party has failed to fulfil an obligation stemming from respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 9, it shall, except in cases of special urgency, supply the other Party and the Council of Ministers with the relevant information required for a thorough examination of the situation with a view to seeking a solution acceptable to the Parties. To this end, it shall invite the other Party to hold consultations that focus on the measures taken or to be taken by the party concerned to remedy the situation.The consultations shall be conducted at the level and in the form considered most appropriate for finding a solution. The consultations shall begin no later than 15 days after the invitation and shall continue for a period established by mutual agreement, depending on the nature and gravity of the violation. In any case, the consultations shall last no longer than 60 days.If the consultations do not lead to a solution acceptable to both Parties, if consultation is refused, or in cases of special urgency, appropriate measures may be taken. These measures shall be revoked as soon as the reasons for taking them have disappeared.(b) The term "cases of special urgency" shall refer to exceptional cases of particularly serious and flagrant violation of one of the essential elements referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 9, that require an immediate reaction.The Party resorting to the special urgency procedure shall inform the other Party and the Council of Ministers separately of the fact unless it does not have time to do so.(c) The "appropriate measures" referred to in this Article are measures taken in accordance with international law, and proportional to the violation. In the selection of these measures, priority must be given to those which least disrupt the application of this agreement. It is understood that suspension would be a measure of last resort.If measures are taken in cases of special urgency, they shall be immediately notified to the other Party and the Council of Ministers. At the request of the Party concerned, consultations may then be called in order to examine the situation thoroughly and, if possible, find solutions. These consultations shall be conducted according to the arrangements set out in the second and third subparagraphs of paragraph (a)."
(17) OJ L 50, 20.2.2004, p. 66.
(18) OJ L 43, 19.2.2008, p. 39.
(19) Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (OJ L 309, 25.11.2005, p. 15).
(20) Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide (OJ L 386, 29.12.2006, p. 1).

Maternal health
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on Maternal Mortality ahead of the UN High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals to be held on 25 September 2008

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000,

–   having regard to the 'EU Agenda for Action on MDGs' of the June 2008 European Council and its 2010 milestones,

–   having regard to the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals to be held at UN headquarters in New York on 25 September 2008,

–   having regard to the 'EU report on Millennium Development Goals 2000–2004' of the Commission (SEC(2005)0456),

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 16 and 17 December 2004, confirming the full commitment of the European Union to the Millennium Development Goals and to policy coherence,

–   having regard to the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1959, according to which 'special care and protection shall be provided both to [the child] and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care', and to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989, under which  States Parties shall 'ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers',

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on 'Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Development Cooperation' (COM(2007)0100),

–   having regard to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted at the EU-Africa Lisbon Summit in 2007,

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2008 on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development Cooperation(1),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 12 April 2005 on the role of the European Union in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)(2) and of 20 June 2007 on the Millennium Development Goals – the midway point(3),

–   having regard to its resolutions of 17 November 2005 on a development strategy for Africa(4) and of 25 October 2007 on the state of play of EU-Africa relations(5),

–   having regard to the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995, to the Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted in Beijing, as well as to the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the UN's Beijing +5 and Beijing +10 Special Sessions entitled "further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action", adopted respectively on 10 June 2000 and 11 March 2005,

–   having regard to the joint statements by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: 'The European Consensus' (The European Consensus on Development)(6) and 'The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid'(7),

–   having regard to the UN Population Fund's (UNFPA) State of World Population reports entitled 'The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals' of 2005 and 'A Passage to Hope: Women and International Migration' of 2006,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation ('Development Cooperation Instrument' (DCI))(8),

–   having regard to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the 'Maputo Protocol', which came into force on 25 November 2005, and to the Maputo Plan of Action for the Operationalisation of the Continental Policy Framework for sexual and reproductive health and rights 2007-2010, adopted at the special session of the Conference of African Union ministers of health held in September 2006,

–   having regard to the UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in September 1994, to the Final Programme of Action adopted in Cairo, and to the subsequent outcome documents adopted in 1999 at the UN General Assembly's Special Session for the further implementation of the ICPD Programme for Action (ICPD+5),

–   having regard to the Brussels framework for action and recommendations on health for sustainable development, adopted at the 1st Meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) ministers of health held in Brussels in October 2007,

–   having regard to the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which entered into force on 3 January 1976, and in particular to Article 12 thereof,

–   having regard to the General Comment No. 14 of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on Article 12 of the ICESCR ('The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health') ,

–   having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which entered into force on 3 September 1981,

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

A.   whereas maternal health (MDG 5) is the area in which the least progress among all the MDGs has been made and, therefore, it is among the goals least likely to be achieved by 2015, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,

B.   whereas over half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth every year, and 99% of these deaths take place in developing countries; whereas in 20 years, the mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa has barely moved with only a 0,1% annual rate of reduction in the region and women there run a lifetime risk of one in sixteen of dying in pregnancy or in childbirth; whereas maternal mortality is the most dramatic indicator of global health inequalities,

C.  Whereas, besides geographical inequality, experience and research on maternal mortality reveals significant disparities in maternal mortality rates arising from wealth, race and ethnicity, urban or rural location, literacy level, and even linguistic or religious divisions within countries, including industrialised countries, a disparity which is the largest among all public health statistics,

D.   whereas the G8 has agreed a package on health that will help the training and recruitment of 1,5 million health workers in Africa and will ensure that 80% of mothers are accompanied in childbirth by a trained health worker; whereas this includes a commitment to upscale to 2,3 health workers per 1 000 people in 36 African countries experiencing a critical shortage; whereas, however, there is no mention of ring-fencing the USD 10 billion which civil society activists claim would be required to save the lives of six million mothers and children each year,

E.   whereas maternal mortality and morbidity constitute a global health emergency and, each year, it is estimated that approximately 536 000 women die during childbirth, while one in twenty experience serious complications, ranging from chronic infections to disabling injuries such as obstetric fistula or lifelong disabilities,

F.   whereas there is no mystery about why women die in pregnancy and childbirth, the causes of maternal mortality being clear and well-known, as are the means to avoid it,

G.   whereas the causes of maternal mortality could be prevented by the provision of safe maternal care, access to effective contraception, and legal and safe abortions,

H.   whereas maternal mortality could be prevented by increasing access to and adoption of family planning methods, by access to and the provision of safe, quality maternal care, particularly during pregnancy, at delivery, with emergency obstetric care, and in the post-natal period, and by improving women's health and nutritional status and their position in society,

I.   whereas this preventive approach includes training women and health workers to recognise complications in pregnancy and childbirth and to seek appropriate care, a network of appropriate health facilities that can be reached within a reasonable time period given available infrastructure and transport, and the provision of adequate care at these nearby health facilities, by trained staff and with effective management and available electricity, water and medical supplies, rural areas included,

J.   whereas preventable maternal deaths constitute violations of the right to life of women and adolescent girls, as laid down in numerous international human rights commitments, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity can also involve violations of other human rights, including the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the right to non-discrimination in access to basic health care,

K.   whereas the right to sexual and reproductive self-determination includes the right to marry, have a family and to enter into sexual relationships voluntarily, and the right to freedom from sexual violence and coercion,

L.   whereas it is the responsibility of governments to provide, either themselves or through others, health care services as of right, and whereas even for governments with limited resources there are immediate measures that can be taken that will have an impact on maternal health,

M.   whereas, ultimately, the underlying causes of maternal mortality and birth-related injuries are less likely to be practical or structural than symptomatic of the low value and status accorded to women, who are generally disadvantaged in society, and whereas, in countries with similar levels of economic development, the higher the status of women, the lower the rate of maternal mortality,

N.   whereas women are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy or childbirth because of several forms of discrimination, including disparities between men and women in the household, traditional practices that are harmful to women, violence against women, women's lack of control over their reproductive health and rights, rejection of female babies, and stereotypes of women as primarily mothers and carers; whereas the CEDAW has been ratified by all EU Member States,

O.   whereas the UN General Assembly has included 'universal access to reproductive health by 2015' as one of the international community's Millennium Development targets, under MDG5 to reduce maternal mortality,

P.   whereas the international community pledged new resources at the ICPD, identifying reproductive health (including family planning and maternal health services) as a central priority for international development efforts,

Q.   whereas rather than support being increased, total donor funding for family planning is now far lower than it was in 1994, having fallen from USD 723 million in 1995 to USD 442 million in 2004 in absolute dollar terms,

R.   whereas the EU has made regular and consistent commitments to meeting the MDG 5 target, most recently in the above-mentioned 'EU Agenda for Action on MDGs ',

S.   whereas despite the gravity of this problem and the violation of human rights, maternal health services have remained low on the international agenda, overshadowed by attention to disease-specific interventions, and this has led to the marginalisation of maternal mortality, while high HIV rates have contributed to stagnating or deteriorating progress towards reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity,

1.  Expresses strong concern over the fact that maternal mortality (within MDG 5) is the only MDG on which not only has there been no progress since 2000, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but 20 years ago the figures were the same as they are now;

2.  Notes that alongside education, the empowerment of women significantly contributes to the improvement of maternal health (MDG 5);

3.  Calls on the Council and the Commission, ahead of the UN High Level Event on the MDGs, to prioritise action to meet MDG 5 targets;

4.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to reduce the disparity between maternal mortality rates in industrialised and developing countries, through increased investment and action to improve human resources for health, and greater resources and commitment for strengthening health systems and basic health infrastructure, including allocations for monitoring, supervision, basic public health functions, community action and other necessary support functions;

5.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to intensify efforts to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity through development, implementation, and regular evaluation of 'road maps' and action plans for the reduction of the global burden of maternal mortality and morbidity, which adopt an equity-based, systematic and sustained human rights-centred approach, adequately supported and facilitated by strong institutional mechanisms and financing;

6.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to expand the provision of maternal health services in the context of primary health care, based on the concept of informed choice, education on safe motherhood, focused and effective prenatal care, maternal nutrition programmes, adequate delivery assistance that avoids excessive recourse to caesarean sections and provides for obstetric emergencies, referral services for pregnancy, childbirth and abortion complications, and post-natal care and family planning;

7.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to promote access for all women to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services;

8.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to adopt and develop the already well-established indicators and benchmarks for reducing maternal mortality (including Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocations) and to establish monitoring and accountability mechanisms that could lead to a constant improvement of the existing policies and programmes;

9.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to guarantee that reproductive health care services are affordable, available, accessible and of good quality, and to devote the maximum available resources to the policies and programmes on maternal mortality;

10.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure the collection of reliable and timely data to guide the implementation of measures addressing maternal mortality and morbidity;

11.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to enable training, capacity-building, and infrastructure for an adequate number of skilled birth attendants, and to ensure that all pregnant women and girls have access to such attendants and that 'road maps' and national action plans reflect this goal;

12.  Calls for the upscaling in national health programmes of HIV testing prior to and during pregnancy, antiretroviral treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women, and HIV-preventive measures such as information campaigns and education;

13.  Urges the EU to remain in the vanguard of efforts to support sexual and reproductive health rights by maintaining levels of funding for the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, and regrets the fact that while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of maternal mortality, it also has the lowest rate of contraceptive use in the world (19%), and 30% of all maternal deaths in the region are caused by unsafe abortions;

14.  Believes that in order to meet the MDG targets on universal access to reproductive health by 2015, the level of funding from the EU has to be increased since, if not, women will continue to die from pregnancy and related causes;

15.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to develop programmes and policies to address the underlying health determinants that are essential to prevent maternal mortality, such as participation in health-related decision-making processes, information on sexual and reproductive health, literacy, nutrition, non-discrimination, and the social norms underlying gender equality;

16.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to follow up the advances made in the reduction of maternal mortality, to participate actively in global forums such as 'Countdown to 2015', to share best practices on programmes and policies in this area, and to promote a continued momentum for improvement;

17.  Urges Member States to refrain from reneging on funding commitments to meet the MDGs, including MDG 5, and calls on the Council Presidency to take the lead and set an example by ensuring that adequate and predictable funding is available and that efforts are upscaled so that lives can be saved;

18.  Recalls the commitment of Member States to achieving ODA levels of 0,7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015, and calls on those Member States not currently on track to increase their efforts;

19.  Calls on those countries which have not yet introduced a ban on harmful practices and traditions such as female genital mutilation (FGM) to take action and to support information campaigns to this end;

20.  Asks the Commission to ensure that MDG contracts concentrate primarily on the health and education sectors;

21.  Deplores the ban on the use of contraceptives advocated by churches, as condom use is crucial in preventing diseases and unwanted pregnancies;

22.  Condemns the US's 'global gag rule' which prevents foreign NGOs that receive USAID (United States Agency for International Development) family planning funding from using their own, non-US funds to provide legal abortion services, medical counselling or abortion referrals;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

(1) P6_TA(2008)0103
(2) OJ C33 E, 9.2.2006, p. 311.
(3) OJ C 146E, 12.6.2008, p. 232.
(4) OJ C 280E, 18.11.2006, p. 475.
(5) P6_TA(2007)0483
(6) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 25, 30.1.2008, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 378, 27.12.2006, p. 41.

Trade in services
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on Trade in services (2008/2004(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) entering into force in January 1995,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, entitled "Global Europe: Competing in the World. A contribution to the EU's Growth and Jobs Strategy" (COM(2006)0567),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled "Global Europe: A stronger partnership to deliver market access for European exporters" (COM(2007)0183),

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council Decision on the signature and provisional application of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the CARIFORUM States, of the other part (COM(2008)0155),

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council Decision concluding the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the CARIFORUM States, on the other part (COM(2008)0156),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2007 on the Global Europe - External Aspects of Competitiveness(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2008 on the EU's Strategy to deliver market access for European companies(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2007 on trade and economic relations with Korea(3),

–   having regard to it resolution of 8 May 2008 on trade and economic relations with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 April 2006 on the assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 October 2006 on economic and trade relations between the EU and Mercosur with a view to the conclusion of an Interregional Association Agreement(6),

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on EU-US transatlantic economic relations(7),

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 October 2005 on prospects for trade relations between the EU and China(8),

–   having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2006 on the EU's economic and trade relations with India(9),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6-0283/2008),

A.   whereas the EU is the most competitive actor regarding trade in services; whereas the EU is the world's largest exporter and the biggest service provider with more than 28% of the world's total exports and therefore has a strong interest in ensuring that new markets for goods, services and investments are opened,

B.   whereas the total percentage of the share of GDP in the EU 25 in 2007 was comprised of more than 75% for the service sector; whereas the share of GDP for services in 2007 was around 78% for North America, 52% for Africa and 60% for Asia,

C.   whereas trade in services so far amount to 25% of world trade; whereas the sector has a huge potential and more jobs are created in this sector than in any other sector of the economy,

D.  D whereas the development of quality employment has been accompanied by a quantitative increase in jobs; notes that it is in the services sector that the highest level of part-time employment is being created and that, for the development of this economic sector, account must be taken of the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),

E.   whereas the multilateral trading system, embodied in the World Trade Organization (WTO), remains the most effective framework for achieving fair and equitable trade in goods and services on a global basis, by developing appropriate rules and ensuring compliance with those rules; whereas the role of the WTO with regard to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) has to take into account the different nature of the services sector which does not lend itself to quantitative measurements of its degree of liberalisation or remaining barriers to trade,

F.   whereas GATS is and must be the multilateral framework for the regulation of trade in services; whereas this does not prohibit states and notably the EU from negotiating bilateral agreements which have further reaching schedules of specific commitments, taking however into account that bilateral agreements may impact negatively on the advancement and importance of the multilateral framework,

G.   whereas an efficient services infrastructure is a precondition for economic success; whereas access to world-class services helps exporters and producers of goods and services in developing countries to capitalise on their competitive strength; whereas a number of developing countries have also been able, building on foreign investment and expertise, to advance in international services markets; whereas services liberalisation has thus become a key element of many development strategies,

H.   whereas obstacles to trade and behind-the-border barriers not only limit trade in goods but also significantly affect trade in services and public procurement,

I.   whereas in opening up the services market a clear distinction should be made between industrialised countries and developing countries and between the individual developing countries in order to take into account different levels of development,

J.   whereas some developing countries, and in particular the least developed countries, should reinforce their governance and create efficient structures and infrastructures for enhancing trade and expanding services markets,

K.   whereas it is important that the Parliament has access, in due time, to the texts of the various negotiating mandates given to the Commission,

General remarks

1.  Notes that international trade geared to development and poverty reduction must also contribute to social progress and quality employment; trade regulations must comply with ILO social standards; measures to combat all forms of exploitation at the workplace (prohibiting forced labour and child labour in particular), together with respect for trade union liberties, are essential for balanced trade in the interest of all; reaffirms the need to examine the interaction between trade and social issues;

2.  Draws attention to the high level of external competitiveness of EU services providers; calls on the Commission to pursue, in trade negotiations, both the progressive and reciprocal opening of access to the services market and a policy of increased transparency and predictability of rules and regulations, accompanied by strict rules and sanctions to fight against corruption and monopolies, in order that citizens and entrepreneurs of both parties to an agreement can have access to a wider range of services;

3.  Fully recognises the existing distinction among the different nature of services, especially the need to distinguish between commercial and non- commercial services; stresses the need for a differentiated approach in opening the markets in services of general interest;

4.  Recalls that the Commission must take the different Member State interests and those of the developing countries, together with economic inequalities between categories of individuals, into account when negotiating commitment schedules;

5.  Takes the view that an effectively functioning internal market in services is important for the global competitiveness of EU enterprises; stresses that the timely and correct implementation and transposition of Community legislation, including Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market(10), is important to this end;

6.  Underlines that the services sector can bring many solutions to environmental problems and believes services are one of the main elements of added value in the EU's exportation of know-how; underlines that the importance of the services sector needs to be taken into account when designing a policy for sustainable development;

7.  Welcomes the Commission's emphasis on ensuring that the positive effects of globalisation are passed on to consumers; stresses that, in combination with a high level of consumer protection, fair competition in services is crucial in order to ensure that consumers benefit from liberalised EU markets;

8.  Is convinced that services play an important role in every economy and considers that a wider opening of access to the services market, which takes into consideration the different economic realities is therefore important not only for developed countries, but also for developing countries;

9.  Emphasises the need for the EU to take into account the different degrees of development when requiring deregulation and liberalisation of services, and therefore underlines that the EU cannot and should not impose a one-size-fits-all model on other countries;

10.  Takes the view that, in order to ensure favourable results, liberalisation of a new services sector, particularly in the developing countries, must in every case be accompanied by new regulations and supervision and implementation mechanisms so as to contain the impact on the population and the environment, and to limit any abuse of a dominant position or concentration, and be phased in and accompanied by the necessary ancillary measures;

11.  Is aware that the newly proposed disciplines on domestic regulation would be added in the form of an annex to the GATS requiring an amendment to the agreement; calls on the Commission to keep Parliament informed about the proceedings of the GATS Working Party on Domestic Regulation and to submit any decision about an amendment to the GATS Agreement to Parliament under the codecision procedure;

12.  Acknowledges states' sovereignty and thus their right to regulate in all areas of services in particular in the area of public services, irrespective of whether commitments have been undertaken in the framework of the GATS, provided that any such regulations are made in conformity with Article VI of GATS on Domestic Regulation; believes that service markets require clear and legally unequivocal regulations in order to operate efficiently;

13.  Suggests that the efficiency gains that could be obtained thanks to opening markets to services competition, when accompanied by domestic regulatory measures, could allow less developed countries to provide a greater range of services for their citizens; stresses the importance of universal accessible and sustainable services with affordable prices and high-quality standards;

14.  Underlines the need for rules and standards to govern liberalisation; encourages compliance with environmental and quality standards in a reasonable and objective manner, without constituting unnecessary barriers to trade;

15.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission has publicised the Community's package of offers in the current GATS negotiations; considers, however, that the Commission should discuss current developments in greater detail with Parliament and its relevant committees;

16.  Points out that trade in services is in large measure a transfer of expertise between countries and that, therefore, free trade in services is an important part of any development strategy since it enables in depth know-how to be transferred swiftly and effectively;

17.  Recognises that frequently some of the problems regarding fairness and transparency in the provision of services in some developing countries are brought about with the complicity of companies from developed economies;

18.  Requests from the Commission a detailed overview of specific service sectors like software, film, logistics and financial services which play a crucial role in certain developing countries and which are provided and distributed worldwide; further requests from the Commission a detailed analysis of how this affects the European service market;

19.  Requests from the Commission a detailed overview of substantial data mining services which are operating on a global scale; further requests from the Commission detailed information about location, operators, size and quality of service in this sector;

The Doha Development Round and GATS

20.  Recalls Article XIX of GATS stating that members shall enter into successive rounds of negotiations, beginning not later than five years from the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement and periodically thereafter, with a view to achieving a progressively higher level of liberalisation; recalls that such negotiations take place in the frame of the single undertaking principle and therefore have to be balanced against interests put forward in other areas of negotiations;

21.  Recalls that the principles of GATS do not prohibit either privatisation or deregulation; underlines therefore that each state is free to liberalise any service sector; stresses that GATS schedules deal with the bound commitments of each WTO member in terms of trade in services and that each member is free to open its market beyond its GATS commitments provided that the Most Favoured Nation principle enshrined in Article II or Article V of GATS on Economic Integration is respected;

22.  Recalls that the Doha Development Round must focus on development and, accordingly, that negotiations on trade in services must serve both the interests of the EU and the economic growth of the poorest countries;

23.  Stresses the need to allow developing countries political space regarding the level of reciprocity in the opening up of trade by enabling them to decide for themselves the depth and the speed at which liberalisation may be pursued;

24.  Takes note of the request from developing countries to the EU and US in particular to improve offers in Mode 4; considers it necessary to find the right balance in order to satisfy both sides; requests that the Commission inform it about any changes from the original requests;

Bilateral and Regional Agreements

25.  Encourages a clear and ambitious level of commitments in the upcoming bilateral and regional trade agreements and those currently being negotiated; stresses the importance of including therein provisions relating to human rights and social standards;

26.  Takes note of the results achieved in the Economic Partnership Agreement with the Caribbean Forum of ACP States (CARIFORUM); believes that trade in services is a vehicle for development subject to the condition that sound and transparent domestic regulations to govern services are in place; calls for universal, accessible, sustainable and affordable public services with high-quality standards to be ensured for all;

27.  Notes that the investment chapter of the CARIFORUM EPA guarantees to foreign investors their expected benefits, as a result of commitments made under that Agreement;

28.  Supports specifically the agreement on Mode 4 in the EU-CARIFORUM agreement; considers this to be a means of avoiding the brain drain;

29.  Believes with regards to the negotiation of the EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that aspects of the agreement affecting public procurement, investments and services should recognise the varying level of development of ASEAN members and respect the right of all participants to regulate public services, particularly those relating to basic needs - this, however, should not prevent private companies filling in the gap where the state fails to provide services required by citizens;

30.  Is aware with regards to the negotiation of the EU-Korea FTA about the difficulties that foreign firms face in gaining access to the Korean market for services including banking, insurance, telecommunications, news agencies and legal advice; also urges the Commission, when addressing this issue in the negotiations on the FTA , to take into account the growing concerns in the EU about the crisis-prone effects of a banking and insurance sector whose pace of liberalisation is not accompanied by sound and transparent domestic regulation;

31.  Stresses with regards to the negotiation of the EU-India FTA the importance of our partnership with India and the need to get an ambitious agreement with substantial and broad commitments, with the fewest restrictions on Indian market access possible across all modes of supply. Points out that liberalisation of trade in services should be at least 90% by both sectoral coverage and volume of trade in line with the requirement of substantial coverage under GATS Article V; Stresses that restrictions are particularly acute in financial services, securities, accountancy, telecommunications, distribution, postal and courier, and legal services;

32.  Is concerned with regards to the negotiation of an EU-Gulf Cooperation Council FTA about the level of transparency and accountability in financial services and, in particular, in the area of investments made by sovereign wealth funds;

Specific sectoral issues

33.  Notes that no WTO member has yet made any commitments on the water distribution sector; stresses that should a such commitment be made it does not prohibit the state from setting levels of quality, safety, price or other policy objectives as they see fit, and the same regulations would apply to foreign suppliers as to local suppliers;

34.  Underlines the importance of cultural services, such as the audiovisual, musical and publishing sectors for both EU industries and for our trading partners; calls on the Commission to ensure that trade in cultural services is therefore properly balanced, while respecting the protection of intellectual property rights;

35.  Stresses that specifically the tourism sector contributes largely to the economy in a number of developing countries; considers it therefore vital that the EU assists through development cooperation and technical assistance;

36.  Believes that, on the basis of prior established sound and transparent domestic regulation, a cautious and phased opening up of the market in financial services in developing countries may offer citizens and entrepreneurs access to funds in order to create local jobs and alleviate poverty since they are no longer forced to rely on state monopolies or institutions;

37.  Considers, that, in order to increase its external competitiveness, the EU must take measures under its commercial policy to strengthen the security of electronic transactions and trade and to improve data protection;

38.  Notes that services, in particular financial services, affect many fields of competence and underlines that the focus of this Resolution is on trade in services, i.e. achieving market access by the voluntary opening of markets through the request and offer method of negotiations; suggests that areas such as financial supervision, regulation and other issues dealing with different aspects of financial services should be dealt with in the appropriate forum;

39.  Strongly supports the Commission's view that market access and free trade in services are an essential component of the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs; underlines that open markets in combination with balanced and regulated free trade in services will benefit all participating countries and regions;

40.  Notes that EU companies are increasingly active internationally, that global economic growth is, to a large extent, driven by third countries, and that improved market access would therefore contribute towards strengthening the EU's competitiveness;

41.  Considers that trade in services is a necessary complement to trade in goods but that they should be considered as distinct from one another;

42.  Considers that the service economy has become the most quantitatively important economic sector in the OECD economies and that increased trade and availability of services will increase economic growth and facilitates business growth and development, improving the performance of other industries, as services provide key intermediate inputs especially in an increasingly interlinked globalised world;

43.  Recognises that achieving market access for services is a difficult process within the ongoing WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations; calls on the Commission to pursue a balanced package with an ambitious offer in services, especially in financial services, where the EU industry has competitive expertise and has a strong potential for growth; Notes that compliance with rules and standards is necessary in order to prevent non-tariff barriers, which may be sensitive in the area of services;

44.  Calls on the Commission to take full account in trade negotiations of the existence of general interest services and the potential impact of market opening on their organisation;

45.  Notes that with regard to financial services, the EU has one of the most open markets in the world, but underlines that the EU has to pursue more offensive and balanced trade in services negotiations and endorse the principles of openness, development and reciprocity;

46.  Stresses the importance of financial service authorities keeping pace with all developments on the European and global financial services markets; calls on the Commission and the Member States to enhance the European regulatory frameworks, as well as to intensify the regulatory dialogue between the EU and its trading partners with the aim of reducing trade barriers;

47.  Calls on the Commission to look into the "offshore" practices of third countries which jeopardise a mutually beneficial opening up of markets;

48.  Calls on Member States to work towards a more integrated and coherent trade policy with the Commission, in particular in the area of investments; points out that Member States should not overstate the risks of foreign investment, but aim for effective openness of their economies, and for a common approach in the context of sovereign wealth funds; takes note of the need to evaluate issues such as security of supply, especially concerning foreign investments in the energy sector made by state-owned entities, recalls that such evaluation cannot be used as a protectionist measure;

49.  Draws the Commission's attention to the potential risks, with regard to compliance with the competition rules within the EU, due to the lack of reciprocity in the WTO agreement on public procurement;

50.  Calls on the Commission to take stronger action against counterfeiting, particularly via the Internet, inter alia, by encouraging better cooperation between national administrations, and strengthening the means of observation and evaluation of counterfeiting; furthermore asks the Commission to present to Parliament and to the Council a proposal with a view to providing the Community and its Member States with qualitative and statistical data at European level on counterfeiting, particularly via the Internet;

51.  Shares the Commission's strong support for multilateral trade negotiations, but notes that for trade in services, especially concerning financial services, free trade agreements may be better suited for achieving market access; considers that, when full Economic Partnership Agreements with the ACP countries are to be finalised, they could cover not only goods but also services and investment, but only if this is the wish of those countries;

52.  Underlines that effective market access for financial services creates better opportunities for competition, transparency and diversification; notes that, in the emerging economies in particular, effective market access could lead to a stronger local financial market development for the benefit of firms wishing to establish themselves, as well as provide consumers with more choice and better products;

53.  Mindful of the weak financial, administrative and institutional capacity of the ACP countries, invites the Commission to ensure respect for the internationally agreed standards for regulation and supervision in the financial services sector when negotiating and implementing trade agreements with countries that are considered to be tax havens;

54.  Considers that access to financial services (micro credits, access to bank accounts, basic banking services, mortgages, leasing and factoring, insurance, pensions and local and international transfers), in particular, is necessary for individuals in developing countries to engage in basic economic activities, and therefore asks the Commission to promote better market access for financial services in developing countries and to encourage sound prudential regulation, the development of competitive markets and financial services education.

o   o

55.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the World Trade Organisation and to its member countries.

(1) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 128.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0053.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0629.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0195.
(5) OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 155.
(6) OJ C 308 E, 16.12.2006, p. 182.
(7) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 235.
(8) OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 103.
(9) OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 400.
(10) OJ L 376, 29.12.2006, p. 36.

European ports policy
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on a European ports policy (2008/2007(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on a European ports policy (COM(2007)0616),

–   having regard to the Commission communication 'Towards a future maritime policy for the Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas' (COM(2006)0275),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 July 2007 on a future maritime policy for the European Union: a European vision for the oceans and seas(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2008 on sustainable European transport policy, taking into account European energy and environment policies(2),

–   having regard to Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds(3),

–   having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora(4),

–   having regard to Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste(5),

–   having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(6),

   having regard to Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0308/2008),

A.   whereas market access to port services has been a subject of debate within Parliament, prompting the Commission to undertake an extensive consultation of stakeholders,

B.   whereas the abovementioned Commission communication on a European ports policy proposes no new measures on market access to port services,

C.   whereas a European ports policy at Community level, exploiting their comparative geopolitical advantages, is appropriate for this sector because of its international dimension,

D.   whereas ports are important not only for maritime, river and intermodal transport in Europe, but also as economic axes, sources of employment and means to integrate the population,

E.   whereas, in view of its objectives of boosting the competitiveness of maritime transport and providing high-quality modern services, a European ports policy should promote the following four principles: safety, swift service, low cost, and respect for the environment,

F.   whereas there are a number of challenges that European ports will face in the future, particularly in the areas of the environment, globalisation, sustainable development, employment and social conditions, especially as regards safety and lifelong learning, finance, market access and administration, as well as anti-competitive and discriminatory measures taken by non-EU countries in relevant geographical markets,

G.   whereas the lack of potential areas for port development in Europe, together with the rarity and fragility of natural habitats, highlight how important it is for the legislator to ensure balance and legal clarity when it comes to environmental, economic and social obligations,

H.   whereas great diversity exists in the European ports sector and substantial growth is expected in future years,

I.   whereas the widening of the Panama Canal will have an impact, which will probably accentuate the current trend towards larger vessels,

J.   whereas modern infrastructure and effective hinterland and island connections are important to ports,

1.  Welcomes the abovementioned Commission communication on a European ports policy;

2.  Commends the Commission on the approach it took when drawing up the communication, particularly the extensive process of consultation;

3.  Welcomes the Commission's focus on soft law measures such as publishing guidelines and removing administrative obstacles;

4.  Emphasises the crucial importance of the ports sector to the EU from the economic, commercial, social, environmental and strategic points of view;

5.  Believes that the Commission's role is important in order to ensure that all European ports are able to reach their full potential;

6.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to publish guidelines on the application of Community environmental legislation to port development and their infrastructure, the main objective being to protect the marine environment and the areas surrounding ports; urges the Commission to publish these guidelines before the end of 2008;

7.  Considers it possible for ports and nature to coexist in a sustainable manner, as the destruction of nature often causes economic damage to other sectors, such as tourism, agriculture and fisheries, and therefore calls on the Transport Commissioner to work closely with the Environment Commissioner in drawing up and enforcing EU legislation and guidelines on ports and on environmental issues;

8.  Believes that the aim of these guidelines should be to tackle the legal uncertainty deriving from certain environmental directives and thereby genuinely to address environment policy, while taking account of the specific situation of ports in the Union;

9.  Underlines the need to involve port and local authorities in drawing up plans to manage the water quality of river basins and maritime ports in accordance with Directive 2000/60/EC;

10.  Draws attention to the need for regional authorities to support the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from ships and from land and air transport by laying down air quality management plans and complying with the Marpol Convention and with Council Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996 on ambient air quality assessment and management(7);

11.  Stresses the need to develop an integrated European policy to boost regional competitiveness and territorial cohesion, taking account of social, environmental, economic and security aspects at all territorial levels, by organising interinstitutional, intersectoral and multi-territory partnerships;

12.  Notes that the Commission is concerned about the distribution of traffic flows in Europe, and points to the diversity of the ports sector and the increase in small and medium-sized ports in Europe; considers also that the Commission should take account of the major changes expected in international maritime traffic as a result of technological and economic progress, the widening of the Panama Canal and the increase in the size and capacity of vessels, which will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on the sector;

13.  Highlights the territorial dimension of the development of European ports, particularly the need for cross-border cooperation and coordination between neighbouring port regions; stresses the importance of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the regional strategy for the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas; welcomes the Commission's proposal for drawing up a list of bottlenecks between EU ports and ports of the EU's neighbouring states;

14.  Calls on the Commission systematically to monitor the development of new technologies and management methods used internationally at ports and ship service, freight, passenger and land transport terminals with the aim of promoting policies and initiatives to develop Community ports and enhance their efficiency and productivity for the benefit of themselves and users;

15.  Considers that the technological changes needed to enable intermediate ports to meet the challenges of an increased volume of traffic will have major financial implications for the regions concerned; considers that these regions should be entitled to draw on the structural funds to that end, particularly to finance the acquisition of advanced technological installations, to create jobs in innovative fields, and to rehabilitate urban areas freed up by the transfer of port business to out-of-town areas;

16.  Considers that the legal certainty of the Community legal framework in the maritime field, flowing from the international legal framework, depends on the speedy approval of the Erika III maritime package,

17.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to promote cooperation between European ports; stresses in this connection the role which ports play in the regional economy of their hinterland; in this regard, underlines that the harmonious development of ports is a key element of the Union's integrated maritime policy;

18.  Stresses the social and cultural role of ports for the population of the hinterland and considers it essential to improve public awareness of the importance of ports as means of development;

19.  Considers that maritime and river transport cannot be considered in isolation from land and air transport and that links to a port's hinterland are of great importance to its commercial success, and that it is therefore necessary to establish interconnections between ports, inland logistics platforms and "dry ports"; with this in mind, also believes that the co-modal participation of ports is needed in relation to both the trans-European transport networks (TEN-Ts) and the future Community green corridors to ensure better exploitation of transport capacity in the area of cabotage and river transport, and also as regards connections with land and air transport, so as to ensure a coherent and genuine transport policy;

20.  Supports the intention of the Commission, therefore, to evaluate ports" hinterland connections status and needs and their impact on a balanced network of traffic flows on the occasion of the mid-term review of the TEN-T in 2010(8);

21.  Considers that one of the aims of the mid-term review of the TEN-T in 2010 should be to integrate maritime and river transport with land transport via European ports;

22.  Calls on the regional authorities concerned to implement a more multimodal transport policy in order to ensure that, in addition to motorways, more traffic goes by rail and internal waterways, to connect port areas effectively with the TEN-Ts and to give ports more effective hinterland connections, in particular through the use of railways and inland waterways;

23.  Notes that EU ports are in competition with third country ports which are often not subject to the same rules, and also face discriminatory economic policies implemented by EU neighbouring countries, for example via discriminatory tariff policies;

24.  Calls on the Commission to study port safety issues anew and to factor in the increased cost with regard to the competitiveness of European ports;

25.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to conduct a survey of the problems encountered by European ports in this area and calls on the Commission to consider compiling a log of these problems, so as specifically to tackle problems generated by competition with non-EU ports and anti-competitive and discriminatory measures taken by EU neighbouring countries;

26.  Stresses the need to develop cooperation with third countries in order to prepare and submit programmes for the development, coordination and transfer of know-how among neighbouring ports;

27.  Considers that the Commission should examine the possibility of introducing a Community programme on the renewal of cargo vessels, particularly those intended for cabotage and river transport;

28.  Believes that new technologies, particularly information technologies, are key elements that will enable European ports, which are already facing competitive pressures from third country ports but also in some cases suffering from a lack of space, to expand, and to increase their efficiency and profitability;

29.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to hasten, through the appropriate bodies, the implementation of remote pilotage systems in order to increase efficiency and security in traffic management in ports as well as in roadstead areas;

30.  Urges the Commission to pursue research and innovation in this sector under the Union's framework programmes and calls on the Commission and Member States to support research into safety issues, so as to keep accidents to a minimum, into logistics, so as to improve the use of space in ports, and into environmental questions, so as to curb CO2 emissions and pollution caused by waste;

31.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support the proposals before the International Maritime Organisation to replace the current fuel with diesel by 2020, and the possibility of including the maritime sector in the emissions trading scheme;

32.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support actively the continuous improvement of the "Search and Rescue" (SAR) fleet and other SAR functionalities in ports, under SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and SAR Conventions and to further improve cooperation between Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres;

33.  Considers that there is a need for the further development of the "Clean ship" and "Clean port" programmes;

34.  Calls on the Commission and the sector to encourage shipping companies to reduce the number of empty containers transported and to make full use of this capacity and to support initiatives with this aim (e.g. via research programmes), taking account of the real and specific needs of clients as well as reducing the environmental impact;

35.  Warmly welcomes the Commission's intention to submit a legislative proposal on creating a barrier-free European maritime transport area and considers that the aim of this proposal should be to ensure fair competition between maritime transport and land transport in the Union;

36.  Recommends that Community-cleared goods should be exempt from customs controls in short-sea shipping in the Community and also advocates, as far as possible, the creation of separate port zones for intra-community and international traffic, together with simplification of internal transport, standardisation and identification of special containers;

37.  Calls on the Commission to review and improve policies to develop and support short sea shipping;

38.  Calls on the Commission to examine the possibility of introducing a single transport document for containers in the Community so as to streamline administrative procedures;

39.  Calls on the Commission to undertake a study of the funds provided by public authorities to European commercial ports so as to identify possible distortions of competition and to clarify in the State aid guidelines which types of aid given to port authorities should be seen as State aid; believes that possible investments by public authorities to develop ports must not be seen as State aid where they are directly intended for environmental improvements or decongestion and reducing the use of roads for freight transport, particularly when it is considered to be essential to ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion (e.g. in relation to islands), unless it would benefit a single user or operator;

40.  Urges the Commission to publish guidelines for State aid to ports in 2008, and believes that these guidelines should cover the port area as such, with a distinction made between access and defence infrastructure, project-related infrastructure and superstructure and with no distinction made between different categories of ports;

41.  Approves the extension of the transparency requirements laid down by Commission Directive 2006/111/EC of 16 November 2006 on the transparency of financial relations between Member States and public undertakings as well as on financial transparency within certain undertakings(9), but calls on the Commission to consider a reduced minimum threshold for annual revenue rather than an absolute obligation;

42.  Takes note, in particular, of the Commission's analysis of port concessions and calls on it to bear in mind the importance of some flexibility for port authorities in this area, particularly as regards the renewal of concessions linked to major investments, but believes that this flexibility should not be used to prevent competition within ports;

43.  Believes that it is of the utmost importance to maintain a balance between the freedom to provide services and the specific requirements of ports, while stressing the need for cooperation between the public and private sector in order to modernise ports;

44.  Encourages the use of European territorial cooperation programmes under the cohesion policy and cooperation programmes under the EU neighbourhood and enlargement policy, but also urges the Commission, the Member States and the regional authorities concerned to employ a trans-border approach as far as possible to the use of existing capacity when co-financing port infrastructure;

45.  Strongly supports the role of locally owned, not-for-profit trust ports, and urges local, regional, national and European authorities to take steps to protect them from disrepair, as their social, recreational and touristic benefit for the surrounding communities goes beyond their original economic function;

46.  Emphasises most strongly that any debate on Europe and its maritime policy, if it is to succeed, must include the major role played by the European recreational craft sector in terms of local economic development, since marinas are not only a showcase for their hinterland, and a powerful tool for promoting the exploitation of the port and its environs, but also an essential supply service for local businesses;

47.  Welcomes the emphasis placed on dialogue in the port sector; calls for a European social dialogue committee to be set up and considers that it should deal with subjects related to ports, including workers' rights, concessions and the 1979 International Labour Organisation Convention No 152 on occupational safety and health (dock work);

48.  Stresses the importance of protecting and securing the highest possible level of training for port workers; supports the Commission's desire to provide port workers with a mutually recognisable basic qualification so as to foster flexibility in the sector; with this in mind and, as a first step, considers that a comparison should be made between the different existing systems of professional qualifications for port workers; considers, however, that this basic qualification must not have the effect of lowering the average level of qualification of port workers in a Member State;

49.  Proposes that the topic of professional qualifications and lifelong training be addressed together with the social partners within the future European social dialogue committee;

50.  Urges the Commission to promote the exchange of good practice in the port sector in general and with regard to innovation and the training of workers in particular in order to improve the quality of services, competitiveness and the level of investment attracted;

51.  Welcomes the introduction of the European maritime day, on 20 May, and in particular supports the introduction of an "open day" which could help the public gain a better understanding of the work and importance of the port sector;

52.  Urges the Commission, in line with Parliament´s resolution of 8 May 2008 on the Transatlantic Economic Council(10), to continue its efforts to ensure that the US regulation to scan 100% of US-bound cargo is changed to ensure cooperation based on the mutual recognition of "authorised economic operators" and of security standards agreed by the World Customs Organisation (C-TPAT, SAFE) framework; calls on the Commission to evaluate the potential costs to business and to the EU economy of scanning 100% of US-bound maritime cargo containers, as well as its potential impact on customs operations;

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

(1) OJ C 175 E, 10.7.2008, p. 531.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0087.
(3) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p.1.
(4) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(5) OJ L 182, 16.7.1999, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 296, 21.11.1996, p. 55.
(8) Cf. Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 680/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks (OJ L 162, 22.6.2007, p. 1).
(9) OJ L 318, 17.11.2006, p. 17.
(10) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0192.

Freight transport in Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on Freight transport in Europe (2008/2008(INI))

The European Parliament

–   having regard to the Commission communications entitled "The EU's freight transport agenda: Boosting the efficiency, integration and sustainability of freight transport in Europe" (COM(2007)0606), "Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan" (COM(2007)0607), "Towards a rail network giving priority to freight" (COM(2007)0608) and "Multi-annual contracts for rail infrastructure quality" (COM(2008)0054),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled "Freight Transport Logistics in Europe – the key to sustainable mobility" (COM(2006)0336),

–   having regard to the Commission communication on the deployment of the European rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS (COM(2005)0298),

–   having regard to the Conclusions of the Council of 29-30 November and 3 December 2007 on the Commission communication on the Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan, and of 7 April 2008 on the Commission communication entitled "Towards a rail network giving priority to freight",

–   having regard to the Commission Green Paper entitled "Towards a new culture for urban mobility" (COM(2007)0551),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 September 2007 on Freight Transport Logistics in Europe - the key to sustainable mobility(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2008 on 'Towards a new culture of urban mobility'(2)

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0326/2008),

A.   whereas the transport sector is responsible for almost 30% of CO2 emissions in the EU – as much as 40% in cities – and, despite some efforts made in respect of technical improvement and innovation, CO2 emissions grew by 26% between 1990 and 2005, while in other sectors they were cut by 10% due to substantial investments (running into billions of Euros),

B.   whereas sustainable and efficient freight transport in Europe plays a vital role in having a successful and competitive economy, in meeting consumer demands and in creating a considerable number of jobs and wealth for European citizens,

C.   whereas freight transport is expected to grow by some 50% (in tonne-kilometres) between 2000 and 2020, in line with forecasts in the Commission White Paper entitled 'European transport policy for 2010: time to decide' (COM(2001)0370), and whereas it grew some 30% faster than GDP between 1995 and 2005; whereas, furthermore, growth in freight transport as a whole has mainly been the result of an increase in road and air transport relative to other modes of transport,

D.   whereas solutions aimed at more sustainable and efficient logistics and freight transport systems and at intermodal integration of all modes of transport not only lead to improvements in the economy and in security, but also meet the EU's objectives in the fields of climate change and energy savings to be achieved by 2020,

E.   whereas, in order to meet these challenges, the EU and the Member States should, in the current context of inadequate budgetary resources, set themselves specific coordinated priorities, concentrate their resources on a limited number of measures favouring sustainability and intermodality in freight transport, and take account of sensitive regions,

F.   whereas the European corridor network should be better developed, starting from the existing network and existing structures and technologies, and should also incorporate "green" corridors for all modes of freight transport, with ambitious sustainable environmental criteria,

G.   whereas the aim of the above-mentioned Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan must be to facilitate freight transport operations in Europe and beyond for the benefit of all European companies and for European competitiveness as a whole,

1.  Stresses that Europe's freight transport systems must meet pressing challenges to increase effective integration and sustainability of freight transport in Europe, making a greater contribution to improving mobility, energy efficiency, and reducing oil consumption, polluting emissions, and external costs, and therefore welcomes the above-mentioned Commission communications and Council conclusions; encourages the Commission, the Member States and industry to support in future a freight transport policy which is more sustainable in terms of mobility, the environment, climate, the economy, security and social interests, by promoting the use, in an enlarged European Union, of more efficient logistics systems as part of the gradual integration of priority cross-border rail freight corridors, hubs and conventional networks, and by promoting the user and polluter pays principles for all modes of transport;

2.  Supports the view of the Commission that co-modality and intermodality remain key factors in creating sustainable and efficient freight transport in Europe;

3.  Notes, however, that the EU's powers and resources for improving freight transport markets are limited; notes that key parts of the network are already being used at full capacity; therefore urges transport ministers responsible for the main European corridors to take up the issue of infrastructure investments and at least agree on coordinating their National Investment Plans in relation to their respective corridors;

4.  Is convinced that urban freight logistics require a specific approach; hopes that the debate on the above-mentioned Green Paper on Urban Mobility, together with the Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan, can result in an exchange of good practices between towns in order to find sustainable ways of transporting supplies to towns;

5.  Requests therefore, that the Commission proposes, no later than the end of 2008, a programme for strengthening cooperation between the Member States responsible for projects in this area, and that it facilitates and assesses solutions to the current blockages, with particular attention to goods transport, taking due account of the added value of the logistics factor;

6.  Supports the idea of dedicated goods transport networks, which should exploit existing conventional traffic networks which are being freed up as a result of the progress being made with high-speed trains;

7.  Stresses that the rail freight network should be based on the most "market-relevant" freight corridors taking into account the existing ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) corridors and TEN-T (Trans-European Transport) network, (i.e. extended as necessary to include specific areas generating heavy volumes of traffic, e.g. ports); considers that "high level corridor coordinators" should be appointed, wherever this has not yet been done; calls upon the European Railway Agency, as the ERTMS authority, to ensure that these routes become interoperable;

8.  Looks to the Commission to define the 'green corridors' as exemplary mobility and inter-modality projects, to shift to environmentally friendly modes to reduce overall accidents, congestion, noise, local toxic and non-toxic pollution, CO2 emissions, landscape and energy consumption and to increase the use of renewable sources (particularly wind and solar energy) in accordance with EU legislation, its objectives and the intelligent transport systems;

9.  Urges the Commission and the Member States in this regard to offer stronger incentives to boost the environmental performance of all modes of transport and to support the most efficient combinations of modes of transport with a view to achieving the lowest possible impact on the environment, especially in the 'green' corridors;

10.  Proposes that support be given to the integration of regional planning, production processes and market structures – including the avoidance of unnecessary transport – and to shortening distances and adjusting speeds in freight transport; takes the view that time-consuming and energy-intensive "stop-go" freight transport should be avoided by means of computerised speed adjustment;

11.  Regards it as a priority to improve proper implementation and strengthening of existing legislation regarding the transport of hazardous and polluting goods;

12.  Urges the Commission and Member States to press forward with the exchange of best practice in sensitive cross-border areas (mountainous areas and conurbations), as well as in cities, taking account of the recommendations included in its above-mentioned resolution on urban mobility and of the experience gained from the CIVITAS programme on cleaner and better transport in cities, by enhancing the logistics aspect;

13.  Calls on the Commission to concentrate EU co-financing on the efficiency, interoperability and upgrading of rail infrastructure, intermodal hubs as well as all other modes of freight transport;

14.  Calls also on the Commission and Member States, pending the overhaul of the European Union's budget expected in 2009, already to consider the position of transport in that budget, in order to avoid any repetition of past errors and to ensure sufficient future investment in strategic infrastructure in order to attain the objectives which the Union has set for itself with regard to sustainable development and emission reduction;

15.  Stresses the utmost importance of interoperable road charging for efficient freight transport in Europe;

16.  Considers better links from maritime and inland ports to their hinterland rail and road network to be an important element in transport infrastructure; highlights the important role of internal platforms and dry docks;

17.  Is convinced of the potential of inland waterways regarding freight transport and urges the Commission to ensure proper implementation of the NAIADES action programme on promoting inland waterway transport in Europe;

18.  Stresses that investments in hinterland terminals can be put into effect flexibly and rapidly, thereby eliminating bottlenecks in the intermodal chain as a whole;

19.  Calls for the compliance with, and/or introduction of, stable intermodal standards for the dimensions and weight of vehicles, containers and loading equipment, to be considered as being of strategic importance with a view to shifting freight transport to rail and sustainable waterways, thereby reducing infrastructure costs;

20.  Notes that various horizontal techniques which would help simplify the transfer of freight not only from lorries to rail but also between differing rail gauges are often insufficiently standardised; therefore urges the international and European bodies to standardise these technologies in particular with a view to greater efficiency and cost reduction; stresses in this regard the importance of quickly adopting a worldwide standard for intermodal loading units;

21.  Calls on the Commission to draft its guidelines for environmental and railway subsidies in such a way as to simplify investments in sustainable rail freight transport; stresses in this regard the strategic importance of co-financing noise reduction, including at source (retrofitting of goods trucks), such as already exists for the fitting of rolling stock with ERTMS;

22.  Is convinced that infrastructure management and the provision of services must take place on a cross-border, non-discriminatory and transparent basis with a view to achieving efficient, interoperable and smooth-running freight transport logistics; stresses in this respect the importance of the further completion of the internal transport market for all modes of transport; welcomes in this regard the Commission proposal for the establishment of a 'European maritime transport space without barriers' and supports the idea of a single transport document and 'single points of interface' for all modes of transport;

23.  Stresses that an internal market in road haulage which functions effectively could help to make transport more efficient and reduce the number of unladen journeys; calls on the Commission to strictly enforce EU legislation on international road haulage and cabotage; recognises that Member States are permitted to restrict cabotage under certain conditions, but calls on the Commission, as guardian of the Treaty, to take rigorous action against disproportionate restrictions and penalties which a number of Member States are imposing on foreign carriers in this regard;

24.  Calls on the Commission, in multi-annual contracts for rail infrastructure quality, to draw up framework conditions for minimum quality standards throughout Europe; proposes that the Member States link the availability of appropriations for rail infrastructure construction, extension and maintenance to these quality standards and treat them as indivisible packages, thus contributing to increased efficiency and financial savings;

25.  Calls on the Commission to monitor and promote effective and consistent application of best practice on multi-annual contracts for infrastructure quality; invites the Commission, on the basis of its above-mentioned Communication COM(2008)0054, to develop a format for benchmarking infrastructure services in close collaboration with infrastructure managers, including publication of key performance indicators;

26.  Calls on the Commission to present stronger recommendations on multi-annual contracts for infrastructure quality and capacity (based on the transparent monitoring of the current implementation of Article 6 of Directive 2001/14/EC(3)); in that respect, calls on the Commission to urge Member States to implement these multi-annual funding frameworks in order to guarantee to rail infrastructure managers financial stability in respect of their maintenance and renewal needs (entailing adequate public funding);

27.  Calls on the Commission to support projects concerning the differential use of high-speed lines e.g. for light freight transport;

28.  Urges the Commission to carry out a survey of freight trucks equipped with satellite navigation in the EU with a view to testing the cross-border interoperability or compatibility of such systems with existing technology, to ensure the fitting of inter-operable satellite navigation systems for new freight trucks and promote the retrofitting of existing trucks; advocates the adoption of best practice in loading techniques, thereby structuring the intermodal chain from the beginning to the end of the transfer and unloading process in such a way as to boost the efficiency of the whole sector;

29.  Stresses the need to standardise and to simplify the administrative procedures of the authorities involved in the freight transport market, together with simplified customs rules and procedures at borders; welcomes in particular the decision to establish a European maritime space without barriers; urges the Commission to ask the appropriate international associations and organisations to develop a single intermodal document;

30.  Stresses that there is a lack of good logistics education delivered by universities and therefore calls on the Member States to give absolute priority to higher education and further education in the logistics and freight transport sector;

31.  Urges the Commission to support projects and research, and to work towards standard information flows to ensure the integration and interoperability of modes at data level;

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

(1) OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p.154.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0356.
(3) Directive 2001/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2001 on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure and safety certification (OJ L 75, 15.3.2001, p. 29).

Mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on the mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (2007/2252(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee on the mid-term review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (COM(2007)0314),

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 February 2005 on the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010(1),

–   having regard to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report of 27 July 2007 entitled 'Principles for evaluating health risks in children associated with exposure to chemicals',

–   having regard to Articles 152 and 174 of the EC Treaty targeting a high level of protection for human health and the environment,

–   having regard to Decision No 1350/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 establishing a second programme of Community action in the field of health (2008-13)(2),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0260/2008),

A.   noting with interest the fact that, since 2003, the EU has based its health-protection policy on closer cooperation between the health, environment and research sectors, so that it may be hoped that a coherent and integrated European environmental health strategy will eventually be introduced,

B.   whereas the courses of action currently being followed by the EU as part of its first environment and health action plan (2004-2010) (COM(2004)0416) - namely, the preparation of indicators, the development of integrated monitoring, the collection and evaluation of relevant data as well as an increase in the volume of research - will allow greater insight into the interactions between sources of pollution and health effects but are known to be inadequate as a means of reducing the growing number of diseases related to environmental factors,

C.   whereas it is virtually impossible to establish a mid-term assessment of the aforementioned action plan, since the latter pursues no clear, quantified objective and the total budget allocated to it is difficult to determine and definitely insufficient for its efficient promotion,

D.   whereas the main objective of the 2008-2013 health programme is to act upon the factors which traditionally determine health (diet, smoking, alcohol consumption and the use of drugs); whereas this 2004-2010 action plan should focus on certain new health challenges and in addition address the determining environmental factors which affect human health, such as indoor and outdoor air quality, electromagnetic waves, nanoparticles and chemicals which are a cause for serious concern (substances classed as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction [CMR], endocrine disruptors), as well as risks to health arising from climate change,

E.   whereas respiratory illnesses rank second as a cause of death and in terms of incidence, prevalence and cost within the EU, whereas they constitute the main cause of death amongst children under the age of five and whereas such diseases are continuing to progress on account of - in particular - indoor and outdoor air pollution,

F.   whereas atmospheric pollution caused, in particular, by fine particles and ground-level ozone, is a significant threat to human health which is affecting the proper development of children and reducing life expectancy in the EU(3),

G.   whereas, with reference to the issue of urban environmental health, particularly the quality of indoor air, the Community - in accordance with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles - should do more to combat domestic pollution, since Europeans spend on average 90% of their time inside buildings,

H.   whereas at the 2004 and 2007 WHO ministerial conferences on health and the environment, attention was drawn to the links between the complex combined influence of chemical pollutants and a number of chronic illnesses and disorders (affecting children in particular); whereas those concerns are also expressed in official documents issued in connection with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS),

I.   whereas there is increasing scientific evidence that certain cancers, such as cancer of the bladder, bone cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer and others are caused not only by the effects of chemical substances, radiation and airborne particles but also by other environmental factors,

J.   whereas these problematic developments in environmental health have been accompanied in recent years by the emergence of new diseases or syndromes, such as multiple chemical hypersensibility, dental-amalgam syndrome, hypersensitivity to electromagnetic radiation, sick-building syndrome and attention-deficit and hyperactivity syndrome in children,

K.   whereas the precautionary principle has been enshrined in the Treaty since 1992 and whereas the European Court of Justice has repeatedly specified the substance and the scope of that principle in Community law, which constitutes one of the cornerstones of the protection policy pursued by the Community in the field of health and the environment(4),

L.   having regard to the highly restrictive - if not to say impracticable - nature of the criteria adopted by the Commission in its 2 February 2000 Communication on the precautionary principle (COM(2000)0001),

M.   having regard to the importance of human biological monitoring as a tool for assessing the European population's degree of exposure to the effects of pollution and the determination (repeatedly expressed by Parliament in Paragraph 3 of its aforementioned resolution of 23 February 2005 and in the conclusions issued at the end of the 20 December 2007 Council meeting of Environment Ministers) to expedite the introduction of a biological-monitoring programme at EU level,

N.   whereas it is readily acknowledged that climate change can play an important role in increasing the severity and incidence of certain diseases and in particular that heat-wave frequency, flooding and wildfires as the most frequent natural disasters in the EU can lead to additional diseases, poor sanitation and deaths, while at the same time recognising the beneficial effects on health of measures to alleviate climate change,

O.   whereas climate change will have significant effects on human health, inter alia by encouraging the development of certain infectious and parasitic diseases mainly because of changes in temperature and humidity and their impact on ecosystems, animals, plants, insects, parasites, protozoa, microbes and viruses,

P.   whereas Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(5) and its daughter directives contain clear provisions concerning the preservation and restoration of healthy waters,

Q.   whereas environmental medicine is a new medical discipline based on university teaching which is still too fragmentary and unevenly distributed amongst the Member States and which thus deserves to be supported and promoted within the EU,

R.   whereas the number of persons suffering as a result of environmental factors is increasing and epidemiologies should be developed in order to obtain a full picture of diseases which are caused wholly or in part by environmental factors,

1.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the Commission since the action plan was launched in 2004, particularly in terms of improving the chain of information concerning health and the environment, integrating and expanding European research in this area and cooperating with specialist international organisations such as the WHO;

2.  Considers, however, that such an action plan is bound to fail at least in part, since it is designed solely to accompany existing Community policies, it is not based upon a preventive policy intended to reduce illnesses linked to environmental factors, and it pursues no clear, quantified objective;

3.  Draws the Commission's attention to the fact that a programme has already been carried out under the aegis of the WHO as part of which the WHO Member States established their own national and local environmental health action plans comprising specific objectives and implementation plans; recommends to the Commission therefore that it review this WHO programme as a possible model which could also serve as a useful example to the Union in the future;

4.  Deeply regrets the fact that the Commission (and in particular its Research DG) has not provided sufficient funding for human biological monitoring in 2008 to enable it (as it had promised Parliament and the Member States) to introduce a consistent approach to biological monitoring within the EU;

5.  Calls upon the Commission to respond by 2010 to two essential objectives which the Commission set itself in 2004 and to establish and carry out a practicable communication strategy for these objectives, namely to make members of the general public aware of environmental pollution and the impact thereof on their health, and to reconsider and adapt European risk-reduction policy;

6.  Strongly recommends that the Commission and Member States meet their obligations as regards implementation of Community legislation;

7.  Stresses that, when it comes to assessing the impact of environmental factors on health, consideration should be given first and foremost to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, newborn babies, children and the elderly;

8.  Calls for special attention to be given to vulnerable groups, who are the most susceptible to pollutants, by introducing measures to reduce exposure to indoor environmental contaminants in healthcare facilities and schools through the adoption of sound indoor air quality management practices;

9.  Urges the Commission, when drafting proposals for the revision of existing laws, not to weaken those laws under pressure from lobbies or regional or international organisations;

10.  Points that the EU needs to apply a continuous dynamic and flexible approach to the Action Plan; considers that it is therefore of paramount importance to acquire specific expertise on the subject of environmental health, to be based on transparency and on a multidisciplinary and adversarial approach which would thus enable the general public's distrust of official agencies and committees of experts to be countered; points to the importance of improving the training of health experts by means, in particular, of exchanges of best practice at Community level;

11.  Points out that in recent years there have been genuine advances in environmental policy in the form of (for example) a reduction in air pollution, an improvement in water quality, the collection and recycling of waste, the monitoring of chemicals and a ban on leaded petrol, but notes at the same time that EU policy still lacks a comprehensive preventive strategy and fails to apply the precautionary principle;

12.  Calls, therefore, on the Commission to revise the criteria laid down in its aforementioned Communication as regards recourse to the precautionary principle pursuant to European Court of Justice case-law, in order to ensure that an action and security principle based on the adoption of provisional and proportionate measures lies at the heart of Community health and environment policies;

13.  Considers that shifting the burden of proof onto producers or importers and requiring them to demonstrate that a product is harmless would make it possible for a policy based on prevention to be promoted (as provided for in European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of 18 December 2006 concerning the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) and establishing a European Chemicals Agency(6)), and encourages the Commission to extend that obligation to Community legislation concerning all products; considers that any increase in animal testing under the Action Plan should be avoided and full regard should be paid to the development and use of alternative methods;

14.  Calls once again upon the Commission to come forward as soon as possible with concrete measures on indoor air quality which would ensure a high level of protection of health and safety indoors to be established, in particular when revising Council Directive 89/106/EEC of 21 December 1988 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to construction products(7), and to propose measures to increase the energy efficiency of buildings and the safety and the harmlessness of chemical compounds used in equipment and furnishings;

15.  Recommends that, in order to reduce damaging effects of the environment on health, the Commission should call upon Member States, by means of tax concessions and/or other economic incentives, to interest market operators in improving the quality of indoor air and reducing exposure to electromagnetic radiation in their buildings, branch establishments and offices;

16.  Recommends that the Commission draft appropriate minimum requirements to guarantee the quality of indoor air in buildings to be newly built;

17.  Recommends that, in awarding individual European Union support, the Commission bear in mind its impact on the quality of indoor air, exposure to electromagnetic radiation and the health of particularly endangered sections of the population in the projects concerned in a similar way to that in which attention is devoted to environmental protection criteria;

18.  Calls for environmental quality standards for priority substances in water to be laid down in accordance with the latest scientific knowledge and regularly brought into line with current scientific thinking;

19.  Points out that certain Member States have successfully introduced mobile analysis laboratories (or "green ambulances") to enable habitat pollution in public and private places to be diagnosed swiftly and reliably; considers that the Commission could promote such a practice within the Member States which have not yet acquired such a means of direct intervention at a polluted site;

20.  Is concerned about the lack of specific legal provisions to ensure the safety of consumer products containing nanoparticles and the relaxed attitude of the Commission with regard to the need to review the regulatory framework for the use of nanoparticles in consumer products in light of the increasing number of consumer products containing nanoparticles being put on the market;

21.  Is greatly concerned at the Bio-Initiative international report(8) concerning electromagnetic fields, which summarises over 1500 studies on that topic and which points in its conclusions to the health risks posed by emissions from mobile-telephony devices such as mobile telephones, UMTS, Wifi, Wimax and Bluetooth, and also DECT landline telephones;

22.  Notes that the limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields which have been set for the general public are obsolete, since they have not been adjusted in the wake of Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0Hz to 30 GHz)(9), obviously take no account of developments in information and communication technologies, of the recommendations issued by the European Environment Agency or of the stricter emission standards adopted, for example, by Belgium, Italy and Austria, and do not address the issue of vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, newborn babies and children;

23.  Calls, consequently, upon the Council to amend its Recommendation 1999/519/EC in order to take into account the Member States' best practices and thus to set stricter exposure limits for all equipment which emits electromagnetic waves in the frequencies between 0.1 MHz and 300 GHz;

24.  Takes a very serious view of the multiple health risks created by global warming on EU territory and calls for enhanced cooperation between the WHO, the Member States" monitoring authorities, the Commission and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in order to bolster the early-warning system and thus to curb the harmful effects which climate change has on health;

25.  Highlights that this Action Plan would benefit from being extended to cover negative impacts of climate change on human health by elaborating on effective adaptation measures necessary at Community level, such as:

   - systematic public education programmes and awareness-raising;
   - integration of climate change adaptation measures into public health strategies and programmes, such as communicable and non-communicable diseases, workers' health and animal diseases hazardous to health;
   - proper surveillance aiming at the early detection of disease outbreaks;
   - health-related early warning systems and response;
   - coordination of existing environmental data monitoring networks with disease outbreak networks;

26.  Calls on Member States and the Commission to respond adequately to the new threats posed by climate change such as the increased presence of emerging viruses and undetected pathogens and therefore implement new existing pathogen reduction technologies that reduce known and undetected viruses and other pathogens transmitted by blood;

27.  Regrets that the current cost benefit impact assessment of the '20 20 by 2020 Europe's Climate Change Opportunity' (COM(2008)0030) only considers the health benefits of reduced air pollution at a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020; calls on the Commission to ensure that the (ancillary) co-benefits to health of various levels of ambition, in line with the International Panel on Climate Change recommendations of domestic 25% to 40% as well as possibly 50% or more of greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2020, are urgently investigated and modelled into an impact assessment by the Commission;

28.  Calls on the Commission to pay attention to the serious problem of mental health, considering the number of suicides in the EU, and to devote more resources to the development of adequate prevention strategies and therapies;

29.  Reiterates that the Commission and the Member States should support the WHO Children's Environment and Health Action Plan in Europe, to encourage it both through EU and bilateral development policy, and to encourage similar processes outside the WHO Europe Region;

30.  Calls on the Commission to reincorporate into its second action plan the initiative SCALE (Science, Children, Awareness, Legal instruments, Evaluation) relating to the reduction of exposure to pollution, as set out in the European Environment and Health Strategy (COM(2003)0338);

31.  Urges the Commission to work on and provide instruments that would foster the development and promotion of innovative solutions, as stressed within the Lisbon agenda framework, in order to minimise major health risks from environmental stressors;

32.  Urges the Council to take a decision without delay on the proposal for a regulation establishing the Union Solidarity Fund, as Parliament adopted its position as long ago as 18 May 2006(10); considers that the new regulation, which, together with other measures, will lower thresholds for the entry into force of the Union Solidarity Fund, will make it possible to alleviate more effectively, flexibly and quickly damage caused by natural or man-made disasters; stresses that such a financial instrument is very important, particularly because it is assumed that natural disasters will occur more frequently in future, partly on account of climate change;

33.  Recommends, as SMEs are of decisive economic importance in Europe, that the Commission should provide technical support to SMEs to make it possible, and help them, to comply with binding environmental health regulations and encourage them to make other changes which are positive from the point of view of environmental health and affect the operation of enterprises;

34.  Advises the Commission to envisage (by 2010 and under the "second cycle" of the health and environment action plan) refocusing its initiatives on vulnerable populations and to devise new methods of risk assessment, taking into account the fundamental fact that children, pregnant women and older people are particularly vulnerable;

35.  Urges the Commission and Member States therefore to acknowledge the advantages of the prevention and precautionary principles and to develop and implement tools enabling potential environmental and health threats to be anticipated and countered; recommends that the Commission cost the 'second cycle' of this action plan and make provision for appropriate funding covering a larger number of practical measures to reduce environmental impact on health and to implement prevention and precautionary measures;

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

(1) OJ C 304 E, 1.12.2005, p. 264.
(2) OJ L 301, 20.11.2007, p. 3.
(3) Europe's environment, the fourth assessment, summary, European Environment Agency (10.10.2007).
(4) Judgment of 23 September 2003 in Case C-192/01, Commission/Denmark, ECR 2003, p. I-9693; judgment of 7 September 2004 in Case C-127/02, Landelijke Vereniging tot Behoud van de Waddenzee and Nederlandse Vereniging tot Bescherming van Vogels, ECR 2004, p. I-7405.
(5) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1; corrected version in OJ L 136, 29.5.2007, p. 3.
(7) OJ L 40, 11.2.1989, p. 12.
(8) Published by a group of independent scientists on 31 August 2007. For details, see:
(9) OJ L 199, 30.7.1999, p. 59.
(10) OJ C 297 E, 7.12.2006, p. 331.

Coup in Mauritania
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on the coup in Mauritania

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the statements, following the coup in Mauritania, by the President of the European Parliament, the Presidency of the Council in the name of the European Union, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Commission, the UN Security Council, the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie,

–   having regard to the second visit to Mauritania since the coup by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, Saïd Djinnit,

–   having regard to the Constitutive Act of the AU, which condemns all attempts to seize power by force,

–   having regard to Rule 115(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas a coup took place in Mauritania on 6 August 2008, when President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was ousted by a group of high-ranking generals whom he had dismissed from office earlier that day,

B.   whereas the legislative elections of November and December 2006, the senatorial elections of January 2007 and the election of President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi in March 2007 were found to have been fair and transparent by the international observers, including the EU observers and, in particular, Parliament's observation missions, through which Parliament endorsed the legality of the elections,

C.   whereas more than two thirds of the members of Mauritania's parliament have signed a declaration of support for the leader of the coup, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and his fellow generals; whereas in June 2008, the legislature passed a vote of no confidence, prompting President Abdallahi to reshuffle his cabinet and 49 members withdrew from parliament after President Abdallahi appointed 12 cabinet ministers from among those who had served in the highly unpopular previous regime,

D.   whereas all decisions concerning the political, economic and social future of Mauritania are a matter for the people's elected representatives alone and whereas democracy entails a system of checks and balances between the executive and the legislature, both of which derive their legitimacy from the electorate;

E.   whereas the coup has occurred in a deteriorating economic and social context, while the success of democracy is best ensured by development,

F.   recognising the progress made regarding the return of refugees and the adoption of the law criminalising slavery in Mauritania,

G.   whereas the EU's backing of the democratic transition and the 'support programme' of EUR 156 000 000 for the period 2008 to 2013 in the framework of the 10th European Development Fund, complementing the assistance already in place, and the EUR 335 000 000 granted in aid since 1985,

H.   whereas the World Bank has suspended USD 175 000 000 in aid to Mauritania; whereas that suspension will affect some 17 national projects in Mauritania as well as the country's participation in World Bank regional projects relating to rural development, health, education and infrastructure (such as road building),

I.   whereas a democratic Mauritania represents a pole of stability in a particularly fragile subregion, marked by the presence in the Sahara on the north-eastern border with Algeria and Mali of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, which has become Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, as well as by the Tuareg rebellion,

J.   whereas the 'constitutional ordinance' in which the junta defines its powers and which enables it to govern by decree is without any legal basis,

1.  Condemns the military coup perpetrated by the generals in Mauritania, the second coup in that country in three years, which has violated both constitutional legality and the results of democratic and internationally validated elections; regrets this setback, given the notable advances made in the development of democracy and the rule of law over the past few years in Mauritania; calls for the current political tensions in Mauritania to be resolved within an institutional framework reflecting the transition to democracy, and for the constitutional order and civilian rule to be restored as soon as possible;

2.  Calls for the immediate release of President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed el-Waghef, and other members of the government, who are still under house arrest in various locations;

3.  Calls for full respect for the constitutional legality of the powers of the Mauritanian President and parliament, implying that the mechanisms for cohabitation between President and parliament and for the balance between executive and legislature need to be adjusted on a basis of respect and within the framework of the constitution, which can be amended only in the interests of greater stability if such amendment is effected in line with the provisions of the constitution and following a large-scale debate including all political forces;

4.  Believes that the constitutional means and forms required for putting an end to the crisis must be the outcome of an open and frank debate involving the main political forces;

5.  Welcomes the return of the refugees, the adoption of a law criminalising slavery, and the draft law liberalising the media; deplores the absence of democratic means of dealing with the legacy of human rights violations and the abuses perpetrated in 1990 against the black Mauritanian community, despite the President's promises to set up a committee of inquiry;

6.  Calls for the restoration of the rights of the refugees who have returned to Mauritania, and demands the return of the property confiscated from them;

7.  Insists that the people of Mauritania, who are already severely affected by the economic and food crises, must not be made hostages of that crisis and calls on the Commission to implement the support projects for civil society under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

8.  Notes the announcement of new presidential elections by the junta, but deplores the failure - contrary to the position of the 2005-2007 junta - of a commitment to neutrality; calls on the military in power to commit themselves forthwith to a timetable for the restoration of the democratic institutions in cooperation with the political forces;

9.  Supports the AU's efforts to seek a rational solution to the crisis;

10.  Calls on the Commission to engage in a political dialogue, pursuant to Article 8 of the Partnership Agreement between the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part and the European Community and its Member States of the other part, signed at Cotonou on 23 June 2000(1), as amended in Luxembourg on 24 June 2005 (the Cotonou Agreement), with a view to restoring constitutional legality, and to inform Parliament of the outcome of that dialogue; should it not succeed, calls for the reactivation of Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, which could lead to the freezing of aid, excluding food and humanitarian assistance;

11.  Urges the Council Presidency to continue to monitor the political situation in Mauritania in close collaboration with the AU, and to ensure the safety of citizens of the European Union;

12.  Calls for a parliamentary delegation to be sent as soon as possible, with a view to its members meeting their counterparts and proposing forms of aid to end the crisis;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments of the Member States, the institutions of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and the UN Security Council.

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.

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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on executions in Iran

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran, notably those concerning human rights and in particular its resolution of 19 June 2008(1) on the execution of juvenile offenders in Iran,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union, of 13 June 2008, on the execution of Mohammad Hassanzadeh,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union, of 18 July 2008, concerning application of the death penalty in Iran,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union, of 29 July 2008, on the execution of 29 people in Evin prison in Iran,

–   having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union, of 25 August 2008, on the execution by hanging of Reza Hejazi,

–   having regard to the Statements by the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on on 19 and 28 August 2008 on the imminent execution of Behnood Shojaee and of Bahman Soleimanian respectively,

–   having regard to the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, in particular Resolution A/RES/62/168 of 18 December 2007 on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Resolution A/RES/62/149 of 18 December 2007 on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a party,

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

A.   whereas, according to Amnesty International, the number of executions carried out in Iran so far this year totals at least 191, while in 2007 more executions were carried out in Iran – 317 – than in any other country in the world except China, although its population is 18 times smaller than China's,

B.   whereas 29 simultaneous executions took place in Evin prison in Tehran on 27 July 2008,

C.   whereas on 10 June 2008 16-year-old Mohammad Hassanzadeh, an Iranian Kurd, was executed for a crime he committed at the age of 14; whereas on 22 July 2008 juvenile offenders Hassan Mozafari and Rahman Shahidi were executed, and on 19 August 2008 19-year-old Reza Hejazi was hanged for an alleged murder which he committed when he was 15 years old; whereas on 26 August 2008 19-year-old Behnam Zare was executed for an offence he committed at the age of 15, making him the sixth juvenile offender to be put to death in Iran in 2008 alone,

D.   whereas neither Zare's nor Hejazi's family, nor their lawyer, were notified of the time and place of the scheduled executions, in violation of Iranian law,

E.   whereas juvenile offenders Amir Marollahi, Behnood Shojaee, Mohammed Fadaei and Bahman Soleimanian face imminent risk of execution,

F.   whereas the execution of juvenile offenders is prohibited under international law, as stated in Article 6(5) of the ICCPR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child; whereas there are currently at least 130 children and child offenders on death row despite Iran's legal obligations,

G.   whereas minority rights activists are increasingly exposed to the threat of the death penalty, as in the case of Yaghoub Mehrnehad, an ethnic Baluchi and executive director of the Voice of Justice Youth Association, who was executed on 4 August 2008, after having publicly confronted local officials demanding accountability for their poor performance,

H.   whereas another minority rights activist, Kurdish teacher Farzad Kamangar, has been condemned to death on charges, without evidence, of taking up arms against the state,

I.   whereas confessions are often obtained following torture, without access to lawyers, and court rulings lack the minimum standards to be met to ensure a fair trial,

J.   whereas, on 5 August 2008, the Iranian Judiciary announced the suspension of the use of stoning as a means of execution, with the consequence that 10 unnamed women facing death by lapidation would not be stoned,

K.   whereas there are grounds for concern that members and associates of the Iranian opposition who are regrouped and protected in Camp Ashraf in Northern Iraq by US-led multinational forces under Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention may be under threat of being expelled or forcibly returned to Iran, where they could face heavy persecution and possibly even the death penalty,

1.  Is profoundly saddened at the recent execution of several juvenile offenders in Iran, making Iran the only country in the world where this grave and inhumane punishment is still practised in 2008;

2.  Draws particular attention to the fate of Soghra Najafpour, who has spent almost the entire past 19 years of her life on death row for a murder which took place when she was 13 years old;

3.  Calls on the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Sharoudi, to systematically commute all death penalties for juvenile offenders, and pleads with the Iranian authorities in particular to halt the execution of Amir Marollahi, Behnood Shojaee, Mohammed Fadaei and Bahman Soleimanian;

4.  Strongly condemns the growing number of executions, and urges the Iranian authorities to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition in accordance with the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2007;

5.  Reiterates its call on the members of the Majlis to urgently amend legislation in order to ensure that no-one is executed for a crime committed when less than 18 years of age and to raise the age of legal responsibility to international standards;

6.  Supports legislative efforts in Iran to introduce a separate legislative and court system for juvenile offenders, and calls on the members of the Majlis to provide for measures aimed at education and social reintegration of child offenders; calls on the Commission to support the Iranian authorities in any request for international cooperation in this domain;

7.  Strongly condemns the persecution and imprisonment of citizens in Iran who engage in the defence of human rights and campaign against the death penalty, and are frequently charged with 'activities against national security'; calls, in particular, for the unconditional release of Emadeddin Baghi and Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand and the commutation of the death sentence on Farzad Kamangar, as well as a reinvestigation into his case;

8.  Welcomes the recent announcement of the suspension of stoning as a means of execution; expresses its concern, however, that in the penal code reform proposal currently under consideration by the Majlis, stoning for certain forms of adultery is being maintained, and calls on the members of the Majlis to commit themselves to the full abolition of stoning;

9.  Calls on the Iraqi and US authorities not to forcibly return to Iran any Iranian opposition members, refugees and asylum seekers who would be at serious risk of persecution and, in particular, to work together with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others to find a satisfactory long-term solution to the situation of those currently in Camp Ashraf;

10.  Calls for the presentation of a resolution, at the next UN General Assembly, with a request to all countries who retain the death penalty to make available to the UN Secretary General and to public opinion all information on capital punishment and executions, so as to overcome State secrecy on the death penalty, which is also a direct cause of a greater number of executions;

11.  Calls for a new resolution to provide for the creation of a Special Envoy of the Secretary General, with the task of monitoring the situation, ensuring maximum transparency in the capital punishment system and favouring an internal process directed to the implementation of the United Nations resolution on the moratorium on executions;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Council, the Commission, the High Representative for the CFSP, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Governments of the United States and of Iraq.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0314.

Albino killings in Tanzania
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European Parliament resolution of 4 September 2008 on the killing of albinos in Tanzania

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on serious human rights violations,

–   having regard to the United Nations General Assembly's Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

–   having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights which was adopted on 27 June 1981 and entered into force on 21 October 1986,

–   having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted on 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990, and which is binding and applied without exception,

–   having regard to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities of 18 December 1992,

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

A.   whereas according to NGOs and media reports, confirmed by the Government of Tanzania, at least 25 albinos, including children, have been killed and mutilated since March 2008 in the Lake Victoria zone, especially in Mwanza, Shinyanga and Mara, where there is a high concentration of albinos,

B.   whereas the three above-mentioned regions are not only notorious for the killings of albinos but also for the killings of people believed to be witches or wizards; whereas mere rumours are often enough justification for an angry mob to kill a person suspected of witchcraft,

C.   whereas according to the Tanzanian authorities, the killings of albinos are the work of organised gangs hired by witch-doctors,

D.   whereas the media in Dar es Salaam have reported the arrest of 173 people in connection with the killing of albinos in Tanzania, including a considerable number of witch-doctors and their clients,

E.   whereas according to the national police, witch-doctors sell severed body parts and blood from albinos to miners and fishermen who believe that these parts can bring them luck, health and fortune,

F.   whereas these killings have caused great apprehension and fear among the albino community as they now feel very insecure and are even afraid of staying, walking or travelling alone because of the potential risks,

G.   whereas 36% of the Tanzanian population lives below the national poverty line; whereas access to the health care system is severely restricted, making recourse by the population to witch-doctors or traditional healers a common practice,

H.   whereas albinos constitute a minority and discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa; whereas albinism affects one in 20 000 people worldwide,

I.   whereas according to a study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), nearly half of the parents of albino children felt humiliated at the time of the child's birth; whereas albino women are subject to discrimination from other women and whereas women who give birth to albino babies are often mocked or rejected and suffer discrimination at work; whereas some two thirds of parents were reported as saying that specific health interventions for albino children were expensive, and half said that their children had serious vision problems; whereas, however, 83% said that their children did as well at school as any other children,

1.  Strongly condemns the killings of albinos in Tanzania and speculative trading in their body parts;

2.  Welcomes the condemnations by Tanzania's President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the killings of albinos and his promise of concentrated efforts to put an end to these crimes; stresses that these words must be backed up with actions;

3.  Congratulates President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete on his decision to nominate Ms Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer as the first albino Member of Parliament, owing to her determination to fight the discrimination that she and other albinos suffer from;

4.  Supports and welcomes the steps taken by the Tanzanian Government so far, such as the creation of an albino census and the establishment of a police escort service for albino children; endorses Tanzanian Members of Parliament's demand that the Government take further measures to address the root of the problem and end all discrimination against albinos;

5.  Calls on the Tanzanian authorities, local government authorities and civil society in general to collaborate in order to protect all albinos; urges the Tanzanian Government to undertake immediate action, promoting social awareness and providing information related to albinism; considers that such measures should particularly be implemented in rural areas, where people tend to be less educated and more superstitious;

6.  Welcomes the arrest last month of 173 suspects in connection with the killing of albinos in Tanzania; strongly urges the authorities to proceed speedily and bring those responsible before a court of law;

7.  Notes with regret that an investigative journalist, Vicky Ntetema, has gone into hiding after receiving death threats for exposing witch-doctors and police involvement in these killings; urges the Tanzanian authorities to initiate an in-depth and independent investigation of these accusations made by Vicky Ntetema;

8.  Expresses its appreciation and support for the work of the Albino Association of Tanzania, which assists the albino community; calls on the Commission to actively support this association and its call on academics, religious leaders and human rights activists to make the public aware that the killing of albinos is socially and morally unacceptable;

9.  Calls on the Commission to support the UNDP's efforts to promote and protect albinos in Africa;

10.  Considers that the best way to protect the rights of Tanzanian albinos is to guarantee them equal access to quality education and health care, within the framework of inclusion policies, and to provide them with adequate social and legal protection;

11.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support the efforts of the Tanzanian Government, NGOs and civil society to formulate policies to address the needs and rights of albinos, based on non-discrimination and social inclusion, and equal access to employment;

12.  Calls for improved training of healthcare workers and for workshops to be held for teachers and parents to encourage them to ensure that albino children are protected from the sun, as many die of skin cancer before they reach 30;

13.  Insists that the Commission and the Member States do their utmost to ensure that healthcare funds reach the poorest in Tanzania; highlights the urgent need for access to healthcare in rural and remote areas;

14.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to closely monitor the human rights situation of albinos in Tanzania;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the African Union, the Government and Parliament of Tanzania, the UN Secretary-General, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the ACP Council.

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