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Procedure : 2009/2513(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0150/2009

Texts tabled :

B6-0150/2009

Debates :

PV 25/03/2009 - 8
CRE 25/03/2009 - 8

Votes :

PV 26/03/2009 - 4.8
CRE 26/03/2009 - 4.8
Explanations of votes
PV 02/04/2009 - 9.17
CRE 02/04/2009 - 9.17
PV 22/04/2009 - 6.36
CRE 22/04/2009 - 6.36
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2009)0252

Texts adopted
PDF 118kWORD 40k
Wednesday, 22 April 2009 - Strasbourg
Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan
P6_TA(2009)0252B6-0150/2009

European Parliament resolution of 22 April 2009 on the Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council and Commission decision (COM(1998)0617),

–   having regard to the Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part (5144/1999),

–   having regard to Articles 133 and 300(2), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C5-0338/1999),

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

–   having regard to its position of 22 April 2009 on the above-mentioned proposal(2),

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

A.   whereas relations between the European Communities and Turkmenistan are currently governed by the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation concluded in December 1989; whereas this agreement does not contain a human rights clause,

B.   whereas the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related Matters of 2 December 1998, concluded between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part, is now undergoing approval in the Council,

C.   whereas a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan was initialled in May 1997 and signed in 1998; whereas since then 11 Member States have ratified the PCA - France, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Greece still have still to do so - and the 12 new Member States will ratify it by means of a single protocol; whereas Turkmenistan ratified the PCA in 2004,

D.   whereas the PCA, once fully ratified, will be concluded for an initial period of 10 years, after which it will be renewed annually, provided that neither of the parties terminates it; whereas the parties may expand or amend the PCA or elaborate further on it, in order to take new developments into account,

E.   whereas Turkmenistan plays an important role in the Central Asia region, so that close cooperation between it and the European Union is desirable,

F.   whereas the situation in Turkmenistan has improved since the change of president; whereas the regime has indicated its willingness to carry out major reforms; whereas substantive progress is still needed in several key areas, such as human rights, the rule of law, democracy and individual freedoms,

G.   whereas the proposed Interim Trade Agreement (ITA) between the European Communities and Turkmenistan stipulates respect for democracy and human rights as a condition for cooperation,

H.   whereas the ITA would therefore have the potential to contribute to the advancement of the ongoing democratic reforms in Turkmenistan,

I.   whereas the ITA includes a mechanism which allows either party to terminate it by notifying the other party,

1.  Notes that after the change of president in Turkmenistan there are signs of an ambition to carry out reforms in key areas; welcomes in particular the creation of a National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights; takes note of the process of revising the Constitution, which aims to strengthen democracy, individual freedoms and the rule of law; notes, further, the revision of the electoral law; welcomes Turkmenistan's accession to international conventions such as the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women; welcomes the reforms of the educational system, aiming at higher quality and more equality for students;

2.  Calls on the Turkmenistan Government to move swiftly towards democracy and respect for the rule of law; calls, in particular, for open and democratic elections, freedom of religion, the development of a genuine civil society, the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, the lifting of restrictions on travel, and access for independent monitors;

3.  Stresses the need for the European Union to further encourage these developments; underlines that the Turkmenistan Government's activities must be carefully and regularly scrutinised;

4.  Asks the Council and Commission to keep it regularly and substantively informed about the human rights situation in Turkmenistan;

5.  Deplores the fact that in several areas, particularly human rights and democracy, the situation is still unsatisfactory; draws attention in particular to the need for all political prisoners to be unconditionally released; underlines the importance of the removal of all obstacles to free travel and to free access for independent monitors, including the International Red Cross; calls for further improvements in civil liberties, including for non-governmental organisations; stresses the need to implement reforms at all levels and in all areas of the administration;

6.  Underlines the importance of economic and trade relations for the opening-up of Turkmen society and the improvement of the democratic, economic and social situation of Turkmen citizens;

7.  Sees the ITA, while at the same time laying down rules governing economic relations, as a possible stepping stone towards steady and sustainable relations between the European Union and Turkmenistan and as a potential lever to strengthen the reform process in Turkmenistan;

8.  Underlines that the ITA is not a blank cheque for Turkmenistan; calls, therefore, for strict monitoring and regular reviews of developments in key areas in Turkmenistan and, if appropriate, for a suspension of the agreement if there is evidence that the conditions are not being met; asks for regular updates on the monitoring by the Commission and the Council;

9.  Calls on the Council and Commission to include a clear suspensive human rights clause in the PCA; stresses that the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights should be respected; calls on the Council to accept any request from the Parliament to suspend the agreement;

10.  Calls on the Council and Commission also to include a revision clause in the PCA; asks to be consulted on any revision of the PCA;

11.  Points out that the PCA requires Parliament's assent in order to come into force; whilst the ITA unfortunately does not require its assent, calls for the points raised in this resolution to be taken fully into account, since otherwise its assent to the PCA might be jeopardised; accordingly, intends to base its opinion on the ITA on the answers received from the Council and the Commission in their statements;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of Turkmenistan.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0059.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0253.

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