Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 - Strasbourg
Mergers of public limited liability companies ***I
 Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EC and Jordan, to take account of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU ***
 EC–West African Economic and Monetary Union air services agreement ***
 Harmonised conditions for the marketing of constructions products ***II
 Implementation of the European Consensus on humanitarian aid: the mid-term review of its Action Plan and the way forward
 Recognition of agriculture as a strategic sector in the context of food security

Mergers of public limited liability companies ***I
PDF 196kWORD 27k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 January 2011 on the amended proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning mergers of public limited liability companies (codification) (COM(2010)0391 – C7-0209/2010 – 2008/0009(COD))
P7_TA(2011)0001A7-0363/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure – codification)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2008)0026), and the amended proposal (COM(2010)0391),

–  having regard to its position at first reading of 17 June 2008(1),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 50(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0209/2010),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 21 October 2010(2),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 December 1994 – Accelerated working method for official codification of legislative texts(3),

–  having regard to Rules 86 and 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0363/2010),

A.  whereas according to the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the proposal in question contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts without any change in their substance,

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 18 January 2011 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2011/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning mergers of public limited liability companies (codification)

P7_TC1-COD(2008)0009


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive 2011/35/EU.)

(1) OJ C 286 E, 27.11.2009, p. 60.
(2) Not yet published in the Official Journal.
(3) OJ C 102, 4.4.1996, p. 2.


Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EC and Jordan, to take account of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU ***
PDF 194kWORD 30k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 January 2011 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (06903/2010 – C7-0384/2010 – 2007/0231(NLE))
P7_TA(2011)0002A7-0373/2010

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (06903/2010),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (09373/2008),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7-0384/2010),

–  having regard to Rules 81, 90(8) and 46(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0373/2010),

1.  Consents to conclusion of the Protocol;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.


EC–West African Economic and Monetary Union air services agreement ***
PDF 190kWORD 29k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 January 2011 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the West African Economic and Monetary Union on certain aspects of air services (06646/2010 – C7-0103/2010 – 2008/0145(NLE))
P7_TA(2011)0003A7-0361/2010

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (06646/2010),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Community and the West African Economic and Monetary Union on certain aspects of air services (06190/2009),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2), Article 218(8), first subparagraph, and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7-0103/2010),

–  having regard to Rules 81 and 90(8) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0361/2010),

1.  Consents to conclusion of the Agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the West African Economic and Monetary Union.


Harmonised conditions for the marketing of constructions products ***II
PDF 198kWORD 26k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 January 2011 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC (10753/3/2010 – C7-0267/2010 – 2008/0098(COD))
P7_TA(2011)0004A7-0343/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (10753/3/2010 – C7-0267/2010),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and to the Council (COM(2008)0311) and to the amended proposal (COM(2009)0579),

–  having regard to Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0203/2008),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication to Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–  having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to its position at first reading(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 25 February 2009(2),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 8 December 2010 to approve Parliament's position at second reading, in accordance with Article 294(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 66 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A7-0343/2010),

1.  Adopts its position at second reading hereinafter set out;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at second reading on 18 January 2011 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC

P7_TC2-COD(2008)0098


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) No 305/2011.)

(1) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 441.
(2) OJ C 218, 11.9.2009, p. 15.


Implementation of the European Consensus on humanitarian aid: the mid-term review of its Action Plan and the way forward
PDF 237kWORD 64k
European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2011 on implementation of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid: the mid-term review of its action plan and the way forward (2010/2101(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0005A7-0375/2010

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid signed on 18 December 2007 by the Presidents of the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the Commission,

–  having regard to the Commission working document of 29 May 2008 establishing an action plan with concrete measures to implement the Consensus (SEC(2008)1991),

–  having regard to Article 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which deals with humanitarian aid,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(1),

–  having regard to the European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law, of 23 December 2005, as updated in December 2009, and to the Council conclusions of 8 December 2009,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2007/162/EC, Euratom, of 5 March 2007 establishing a Civil Protection Financial Instrument(2),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2007/779/EC of 8 November 2007 establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of December 2007 inviting the Commission to make the best use of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism and to strengthen cooperation between Member States,

–  having regard to the joint document by Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the Commission, on the lessons to be learned from the EU response to the disaster in Haiti,

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and Parliament of 10 September 2003 entitled ‘The EU and the UN: the choice of multilateralism’ (COM(2003)0526), which calls for EU-UN relations generally to be strengthened and incorporated into a framework of systematic political dialogue, closer cooperation, better crisis management and crisis prevention, and strategic partnerships between the Commission and certain UN bodies,

–  having regard to the Commission communication to Parliament and to the Council of 5 March 2008 on ‘Reinforcing the Union's Disaster Response Capacity’ (COM(2008)0130) and to Parliament's resolution of 19 June 2008 on ‘stepping up the Union's disaster response capacity’(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and to Parliament of 23 February 2009 on ‘European Union strategy for supporting disaster risk reduction in developing countries’ (COM(2009)0084),

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and to Parliament of 31 March 2010 entitled ‘Humanitarian Food Assistance’ (COM(2010)0126),

–  having regard to the Commission working document on DG ECHO's 2010 operational strategy,

–  having regard to the report by Michel Barnier entitled ‘For a European civil protection force: Europe Aid’, published in May 2006,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948,

–  having regard to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977,

–  having regard to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted in July 1951,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the optional protocol thereto on the involvement of children in armed conflict, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989,

–  having regard to the Food Aid Convention, signed in London on 13 April 1999, establishing a Community commitment to respond to emergency food situations and other food needs of developing countries(5),

–  having regard to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programmes, adopted in 1994,

–  having regard to the principles and practices of Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD), approved in Stockholm on 17 June 2003,

–  having regard to the Principles of Partnership endorsed in 2007 by the Global Humanitarian Platform linking UN and non-UN humanitarian organisations,

–  having regard to the UN Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief (Oslo Guidelines) as revised on 27 November 2006,

–  having regard to the March 2003 Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets to support United Nations Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies (MCDA Guidelines),

–  having regard to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan on 18-22 January 2005,

–  having regard to the Humanitarian Response Review commissioned by the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs in August 2005,

–  having regard to the Humanitarian Response Index 2010 compiled by Development Assistance Research Associates (DARA), which analyses and classifies the main donor countries' responses to the needs of people affected by disasters, conflicts and emergency situations,

–  having regard to the programme of International Disaster Response Laws, Rules and Principles (IDRL Guidelines) adopted at the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2007 in Geneva and the EU Member States' joint undertaking to support them,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2007 on a European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on the earthquake in Haiti(7),

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 14 December 2010 on Setting up an EU Rapid Response Capability(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on the Israeli military operation against the humanitarian flotilla and the Gaza blockade(9),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution on the humanitarian crisis in Somalia tabled by Mr Oreste Rossi under Rule 120 of its Rules of Procedure (B7-0489/2010),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the delivery of humanitarian aid in third countries,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A7-0375/2010),

A.  whereas, in the common vision of humanitarian aid enshrined in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, emphasis is placed on the Union's will to cooperate closely in this field in order to optimise its effectiveness, to defend and promote the basic humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence and actively to advocate the observance of international humanitarian law,

B.  whereas the commitments derived from the Consensus apply both to the Member States and to the Commission, and whereas the actions listed in the action plan must, in most cases, be implemented by the Commission and Member States acting in concert,

C.  whereas there has been a dramatic increase in the number and severity of natural disasters caused, in particular, by the impact of man-made climate change actions and whereas industrialised countries bear a historical responsibility; whereas the incidence of complex crises is rising which is linked to a number of factors including the changing nature of conflicts, poor governance and situations of fragility; violations of international humanitarian law are worsening; and the ‘humanitarian space’ is shrinking,

D.  whereas the provision of aid is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous, whereas the insecurity of humanitarian aid staff is increasing and whereas, in 2008, 122 humanitarian aid workers were killed,

E.  whereas more specific attention ought to be directed at the most vulnerable groups of people, such as women, children and forcibly displaced persons, and whereas the worsening incidence of gender-related violence and sexual violence is a major problem in humanitarian contexts, with systematic rape being used in some cases as a weapon of war,

F.  whereas the increasing involvement of non-humanitarian bodies in responding to humanitarian crises carries with it a major risk of confusion between the military and humanitarian roles and blurs the boundaries of neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian aid,

G.  whereas the recent tragedies in Haiti and Pakistan demonstrated once again that the tools available to the EU for responding to disasters (humanitarian aid and the Community Civil Protection Mechanism) need to be improved in terms of effectiveness, speed, coordination and visibility and whereas these disasters have highlighted once again the need to create a European rapid reaction capacity,

H.  whereas the humanitarian context worldwide has deteriorated, the scale of the challenges and the humanitarian need is huge and it is essential to work on strengthening implementation of the European Consensus and the associated action plan, as well as worldwide coordination and burden sharing taking into account the regional responsibilities of the countries who have the capacity to be major contributors of humanitarian aid,

I.  whereas the Commission's budget for humanitarian disasters, and specifically that of DG ECHO, has not merely been frozen, but has fallen slightly in real terms over the last five years,

The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid and the associated action plan

1.  Considers it regrettable that, outside the humanitarian partners, there is insufficient awareness of the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, and calls for the introduction of specific training about the Consensus, particularly for the European External Action Service (EEAS), for diplomats from the Member States and for military bodies;

2.  Considers it regrettable that the Member States are not more involved in implementing the Consensus and considers that the role of the Council's Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) should be reinforced with a view to better monitoring of how the Consensus is implemented for example by organising specific sessions on integrating the Consensus into national humanitarian strategies or submitting an annual activity report and more active pursuit of the remit to argue the case for humanitarian aid with other Council Working Groups and with the Political and Security Committee (PSC), while continuing to focus on effective and speedy coordination;

3.  Encourages active promotion by EU delegations in third countries of the dissemination and implementation of the Consensus and of its Action Plan among the representations of the Member States;

4.  Calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of a yearly exchange of best practices with EU national Parliaments about their implementation of the Consensus commitments;

5.  Advocates increased funding for humanitarian aid to reflect the growing number of humanitarian interventions, and calls on the budgetary authority to transfer all or part of the emergency reserve allocation to DG ECHO's initial budget; underlines the importance of achieving the OECD/DAC target of 0.7% of GNI by 2015;

6.  Calls also for realistic budgets to be drawn up, allocating appropriations for natural disasters or humanitarian action on the basis of repeated experience with spending in previous years;

7.  Urges that additional efforts be made to speed up the funding of operations following natural and other disasters and the simplification of the decision-making and authorisation procedures for budgetary implementation; stresses the need for the Commission's services to work in close collaboration with the EEAS, so as to make rapid initial funding of the operations possible;

8.  Recalls the importance of maintaining a balanced overall response while devoting particular attention to ‘forgotten crises’;

9.  Calls for an increase in funding and the development of capabilities and resources in order to ensure that humanitarian aid and civil protection remain purely civilian tasks;

10.  Supports the essential role played by NOHA (the first network of universities offering humanitarian aid training at European level) in promoting greater awareness of the world humanitarian context and particularly European policy in response to the needs of the most vulnerable groups by means of education and training of young Europeans;

Humanitarian principles, international humanitarian law and protecting the ‘humanitarian space’

11.  Reasserts the principles and aims of humanitarian aid contained in the Consensus; emphasises that EU humanitarian aid is not a crisis-management tool and deplores the increasing politicisation of humanitarian aid and its consequences in terms of respect for the ‘humanitarian space’;

12.  Takes the view that the external action of the European Union, provided for in the Lisbon Treaty, must respect the principles espoused and commitments given in the Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, and considers that the EU should, in the light of its political weight and its influence as the main international donor, promote humanitarian principles unstintingly;

13.  Calls also for military and civilian personnel, and humanitarian workers involved in disaster response or humanitarian operations, to act in accordance with the principles of neutrality, independence and impartiality;

14.  Welcomes the December 2009 review of the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and considers that the Commission and the Member States have a major political role to play in their implementation; hopes, also, that specific training in international humanitarian law will be provided at the EEAS;

15.  Asks the Commission to ensure that additional funding is earmarked for promoting IHL and raising awareness of it on the ground – among those who bear arms, among young people and among politicians and civil society;

16.  Recalls that the principles and good practices in the field of humanitarian aid adopted in June 2003 emphasise the need to encourage the rendering of accounts and the regular assessment of international responses to humanitarian crises, including the performance of donors, and stresses that these assessments must be the subject of wider consultation, particularly with humanitarian actors;

A joint framework for the delivery of aid
The quality of aid

17.  Points out that the provision of aid must be based solely on identified need and the degree of vulnerability, that the quality and quantity of the aid are determined primarily by an initial evaluation and that the evaluation process needs to be further improved, particularly with regard to the application of vulnerability criteria, especially regarding women, children and disabled groups;

18.  Recalls that genuine and continuous involvement – and if possible participation – of beneficiaries in the management of aid is one of the essential conditions for the quality of humanitarian responses, particularly in the case of long-term crises;

19.  Insists that the EU assistance in the event of natural or man-made disaster should aim at helping the local economy as much as possible, in particular by purchasing locally or regionally produced foodstuffs and providing the necessary materials for farmers;

20.  Calls for harmonisation of the methodologies used by the various parties involved and encourages the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to continue working towards the definition of a common methodological framework which prioritises effective and speedy intervention and permanently involves, as far as possible, the local stakeholders, including non-state stakeholders;

21.  Actively encourages the Commission to pursue its work in specific fields such as nutrition, protection, gender and sexual violence, refugees, returnees and IDPs and calls for the issues of gender and reproductive health to be systematically integrated into the emergency healthcare aspect of humanitarian response;

22.  Calls on the Council to work out details of how to act on the recommendation in the Barnier report that the EU's outermost regions should be used, on a non-exclusive basis, as support bases to facilitate the pre-positioning of vital products and logistics, which would make it easier to deploy the available European human and material resources in the event of an urgent humanitarian intervention outside the EU;

23.  Encourages the Commission to continue its thinking about the potential negative impact of humanitarian aid on the areas where it is provided – particularly the possible destabilisation of economic and social structures and the impact on the natural environment – and calls on it to devise appropriate strategies to make it possible to take this impact into account from the project design stage;

Diversity and quality of partnerships

24.  Calls for respect for the diversity of bodies actively involved in financing and implementing international humanitarian programmes – the UN, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs – and encourages efforts to reinforce the capacity of local players; calls for proper coordination and exchange of information between all actors involved;

25.  Requests all government bodies to respect the important role of NGOs in raising funds through private donations;

26.  Supports the pursuit of humanitarian reforms at UN level and calls for the system of humanitarian coordinators to be reinforced; for ‘pooled funds’ to be used in a more transparent, recipient-driven and flexible way; and for improvements in the ‘cluster’-based approach (with regard to sectoral responsibility), based on the UN HRR recommendations and reinforcing the transparency and accountability principles, notably in terms of coordination with local structures and non-state actors, consideration of inter-sectoral aspects and coordination between ‘clusters’;

International and European-level coordination

27.  Reaffirms the core role played by the United Nations, particularly the OCHA, in coordinating international humanitarian action;

28.  Welcomes initiatives to achieve greater consistency among the various European crisis-response instruments, and the fact that humanitarian aid and civil protection have been placed under the responsibility of a single directorate-general; insists, however, that a formal separation be maintained between the respective remits, roles and resources;

29.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to introduce precise and transparent rules on cooperation and coordination between the EEAS and the Commission in the management of large-scale crises outside the EU; and to work actively regarding EU's visibility of those resources and capabilities used on the field;

30.  Recalls that the European Union's external strategy on children's rights should be based on the values and principles defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Articles 3, 16, 18, 23, 25, 26 and 29, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols;

Use of military and civil protection capabilities

31.  Reaffirms that a very clear distinction needs to be maintained between the remits of military and humanitarian bodies, particularly in areas affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts, and that it is essential for military resources and capabilities to be used only in a very limited number of cases and as a last resort in support of humanitarian aid operations, in accordance with UN guidelines (the MCDA and Oslo guidelines)(10);

32.  Reminds the Commission and the Member States that humanitarian aid and civil protection must be regarded as purely civilian tasks and implemented accordingly;

33.  Calls on the Commission to undertake awareness-raising activities about the specificity of humanitarian aid as part of EU foreign policy and calls on the Member States to ensure that their armed forces observe and apply the UN guidelines; considers, further, that there is a need for dialogue between military and humanitarian bodies in order to develop mutual understanding;

34.  Reaffirms that the use of civil protection resources in humanitarian crises must be needs-based and must complement and be consistent with humanitarian aid, and points out that, in the case of natural disasters, such resources can make a certain contribution to humanitarian action, if employed in line with Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) principles on the subject;

35.  Calls on the Commission to bring forward ambitious legislative proposals for the establishment of a European civil protection force, based on optimising the existing Community Civil Protection Mechanism and pooling existing national resources so that no major additional costs will be incurred, and drawing on systems tried and tested during preparatory initiatives; takes the view that civil protection force financing has to be additional to funding for humanitarian emergencies;

36.  Considers that the European civil protection force could comprise a commitment by certain Member States to voluntarily make available predetermined essential civil protection modules, which would be ready to intervene immediately for EU operations coordinated by the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), and also considers that most of these modules, which are already available at national level, would remain under their control and that the deployment of these modules on a standby basis would form the nucleus of the EU's civil protection to respond to disasters outside and inside the EU;

Continuity of aid
Disaster risk reduction and climate change

37.  Welcomes the adoption in February 2009 of a new European strategy to support disaster risk reduction in developing countries; urges the Commission in this respect to develop disaster prevention and response management capacity programmes with national governments, local authorities and civil society organisations in beneficiary countries and calls for the strategy to be implemented swiftly;

38.  Calls for a major effort to ensure that disaster risk reduction is more systematically included as an aspect of development aid and humanitarian aid policies;

39.  Advocates a substantial increase in the funding allocated to this aspect of policy and stresses the importance of maintaining provision for small-scale funding in order to ensure a context-friendly approach and local ownership of projects;

40.  Calls for the agenda on adaptation to climate change to be better coordinated with disaster risk reduction activities;

Linking emergency aid, rehabilitation and development

41.  Deplores the fact that there has still been little practical progress on linking emergency aid, rehabilitation and development, in spite of the numerous political undertakings given in that regard in recent years;

42.  Stresses the importance of a timely transition from emergency to development, based on specific criteria and a thoroughly conducted assessment of needs;

43.  Calls for more resources with the aim of assuring the continuity of aid and a focus on flexibility and complementarity among existing financial arrangements in the phases of transition from emergency to development;

44.  Advocates enhanced dialogue and coordination among humanitarian organisations and development agencies both in the field and in the relevant departments of the EU and Member State institutions;

o
o   o

45.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

(1) OJ L 163, 2.7.1996, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 71, 10.3.2007, p. 9.
(3) OJ L 314, 1.12.2007, p. 9.
(4) OJ C 286 E, 27.11.2009, p. 15.
(5) OJ L 163, 4.7.2000, p. 37.
(6) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 273.
(7) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 5.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0465.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0235.
(10)1. MCDA Guidelines: Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets to support United Nations Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies; March 2003. Oslo Guidelines: Guidelines on the Use of Foreign Military and Civil Defence Assets in Disaster Relief; November 2007.


Recognition of agriculture as a strategic sector in the context of food security
PDF 157kWORD 60k
European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2011 on recognition of agriculture as a strategic sector in the context of food security (2010/2112(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0006A7-0376/2010

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2010 on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 January 2009 on the Common Agricultural Policy and Global Food Security(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on EU agriculture and climate change(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2010 on fair revenues for farmers: A better functioning food supply chain in Europe(4),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories, SEC(2010)1058,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on rising food prices in the European Union and developing countries(5),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission entitled ‘An EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges’,

–  having regard to the UN Millennium Goals, which include halving the proportion of the global population suffering from hunger in 2015 as compared with 1990,

–  having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0376/2010),

A.  whereas ensuring food security for Europe's citizens, providing consumers with healthy and high-quality food at reasonable prices, and safeguarding farm incomes have been the core objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) since its inception and remain key objectives of the EU at present,

B.  whereas recent food and commodity price volatility has raised serious concerns about the functioning of the European and global food supply and whereas the increase in food prices has hit the most vulnerable population groups hardest,

C.  whereas price volatility in agriculture is permanent in nature, as prices respond disproportionately to small variations in the level of production, very frequently as a result of speculation,

D.  whereas at a recent meeting of the Committee on World Food Security in the FAO, the EU highlighted the problem of extreme price volatility and the new High Level Panel of Experts was asked to report on causes and measures in relation to price fluctuations,

E.  whereas climatic and other events may lead countries to pursue protectionist policies, as illustrated by the recent export bans on wheat imposed by Russia and Ukraine, which together export some 30% of the world's wheat,

F.  whereas global food production can be regularly undermined by a range of factors including the impact of pests and diseases, availability of natural resources and natural disasters, as illustrated in 2010 by the prolonged drought and fires in Russia and the massive floods in Pakistan,

G.  whereas climate change will result in more frequent occurrences of such natural disasters, thus undermining food security,

H.  whereas the challenge is to produce ‘more from less’, with an emphasis on sustainable production, due to pressure on natural resources,

I.  whereas the EU is the largest net agricultural products importer, and is over-reliant on imports of protein, oleaginous products and maize for its animal husbandry sector, as well as fruit and vegetables, not least because our producers are not allowed to use the same production methods for such products,

J.  whereas the estimated growth in the global population from 7 to 9.1 billion will require a 70% increase in the food supply by the year 2050, according to the FAO,

K.  whereas poverty and famine still exist in the European Union; whereas 79 million people in the EU still live below the poverty line (60% of the average income of the country in which the person lives); and whereas 16 million EU citizens received food aid through charities last winter,

L.  whereas food security does not only mean the availability of food supplies, but also includes according to the FAO the right to food and the accessibility of healthy nutrition for all; whereas, by becoming ever more competitive, Europe can contribute to global food security,

M.  whereas lack of food security for the poorest members of society has been aggravated by the effects of the global economic and financial crisis,

N.  whereas farmers' incomes fell dramatically in 2009 after a decade of income stagnation, due largely to difficult market conditions and rising costs of production; whereas agricultural incomes are significantly lower (by an estimated 40% per working unit) than in the rest of the economy, and income per inhabitant in rural areas is considerably lower (by about 50%) than in urban areas,

O.  whereas farmers receive a steadily decreasing share of the value added generated by the food supply chain, while the share of the food industry has increased; whereas a proper functioning food supply chain is a necessary prerequisite to ensure that farmers obtain a fair return for their produce,

P.  whereas along the whole food production, supply and consumption chain, up to 50% of the food produced in the EU is wasted,

Q.  whereas only 7% of farmers in the EU are under 35 years of age,

R.  whereas food security is a central issue for Europe and requires coherence and coordination between various sectoral policy areas at EU level, namely the CAP, energy policy, research programmes, development and trade policies, and financial regulation,

1.  Stresses that a strong and sustainable agricultural sector across the EU and a thriving and sustainable rural environment, ensured by a strong CAP, are vital components of meeting the food security challenge;

2.  Affirms that the EU has the highest standards of agricultural and food production in the world with a strong emphasis on food safety, food quality and the environmental sustainability of agriculture;

3.  Takes the view that we will need to make use of all forms of farming in order to be able to feed Europe and third countries;

Food security in Europe and the world

4.  Believes that the right to food security is a basic human right and it is achieved when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to suitable, safe (from the point of view of health) and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life;

5.  Affirms that the EU has a duty to feed its citizens and that continuing farming activity in the EU is key in this regard; draws attention to declining farm incomes in the EU, caused by rising production costs and price volatility, which impact negatively on farmers' ability to maintain production; highlights the costs that European farmers have to bear in meeting the highest food safety, environmental, animal welfare and labour standards in the world; stresses that farmers must be compensated for these additional costs and for providing public goods to society; underlines that food from third countries entering the EU must meet the same high standards, so that European producers do not suffer in terms of competitiveness;

6.  Recognises that guaranteeing an adequate supply of food is an essential component of food security, but also acknowledges that access to food and affordability of food requires that attention be given to the provision of an adequate standard of living, particularly for those with insufficient economic resources, who are often children, elderly persons, migrants, refugees and unemployed persons;

7.  Supports the formula Food Security - Nutrition - Quality - Proximity- Innovation - Productivity; believes that in order to achieve this the future CAP should take note of the public expectations that it should be both an agricultural and a food policy geared to providing public information about a healthy diet;

8.  Considers that the EU should create better conditions for the implementation of nutrition programmes such as School Fruit and School Milk in the Member States, as well as better support for education and awareness-raising about the origin of products and nutrition, given that informed choices about diet can prevent disease and reduce the heavy strain on social spending in Europe; also calls for more dietary support programmes, which should have a reduced administrative burden, and for the budget for those programmes to be increased; invites the Commission to assess the practicalities of these programmes;

9.  Reaffirms its support for the EU's Most Deprived Persons programme; recalls that through its Farm Bill the US allocates significant support to its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme, which generates substantial revenues for the sector and the economy in general, in addition to alleviating some of the food needs of its poorest people;

10.  Is conscious of the great challenge climate change poses to achieving food security, especially through an increase in the frequency and scale of climatic events, such as droughts, floods, fires and storms; highlights the increasing challenge of water scarcity and its impact on food production; stresses the need to tackle water management and climate change as a matter of urgency;

11.  Recalls that energy security and food security are very closely linked; recognises that energy costs are a key factor in determining the level of profitability of agriculture, which is the main oil dependent; encourages measures that incentivise farmers to become more energy efficient and develop alternative energy supply sources; recalls that more consistent support for research development and advisory services is needed;

12.  Considers, however, that the increased drive to develop renewable energy sources and meet the 2020 targets must take into account the impact on food production and supply; stresses the delicate balance involved in meeting the food/fuel challenge;

13.  Notes the level of reliance on imports of proteins and oleaginous products from third countries, which has negative consequences for the food and farming industry, in particular the animal husbandry sector when price spikes occur;

14.  Calls on the Commission to propose a technical solution to the problem of low-level presence of GM material in non-GM imports and to propose a faster approval process within the EU for the importation of a new GM feed variant once it has been proved safe;

15.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the public have access to information on the outcome of food security controls in order to increase transparency at European level;

16.  Is concerned about the emergence of the phenomenon of land grabbing and its implications for food security in developing countries and the future of agriculture and farmers; calls on the Commission to investigate this situation in relation to land tenure and natural resources;

17.  Observes that, due to high feed costs, the situation of livestock farms within the EU has deteriorated; calls, therefore, for targeted use of the instruments available under the Common Market Organisation Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 to stabilise the market and avert a crisis;

18.  Believes that the productivity gains that will be made in the new Member States will increase the amount of land available and will provide an opportunity to boost the production of proteins and oleaginous products in the EU;

19.  Notes that food security cannot be guaranteed if free access to genetic resources for food and agriculture is not available; recognises the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as an important instrument for the preservation of agricultural biodiversity which thereby averts the consequences of climate change;

20.  Stresses that the incentives for sustainable energy crops currently being planned should not in any way compromise food security for the public;

21.  Calls on the Member States to develop and implement programmes containing concrete agricultural measures aimed at mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change;

22.  Stresses the need to promote the launching of an information campaign for consumers regarding efforts by farmers and the agricultural sector in terms of environmental protection and food security;

Agriculture, financial markets and price volatility

23.  Believes that financial and agricultural markets today are more intertwined than ever; considers that a European response alone is no longer sufficient and that Europe should act in concert with third countries and international organisations on the issues of price volatility and food security; endorses the action taken towards this end by the G20 Presidency;

24.  Highlights the problems faced by farmers at times of extreme market and price volatility; draws attention to the difficulties that farmers encounter in attempting to plan ahead at times of extreme volatility; urges the Commission to introduce permanent and robust measures to address volatility in agricultural markets as a matter of urgency; believes that this will be a key determinant in ensuring that production is maintained in the European Union;

25.  Notes that the price index on financial markets for primary agricultural goods has never been so unstable; cites as an example the recent increase in the price of contracts for wheat, which rose by 70% in two months, with the volume of trading in them more than doubling on the Paris commodities market;

26.  Highlights the fact that these events are only partly caused by market fundamentals such as supply and demand and are to a great extent the result of speculation; notes that speculative behaviour has accounted for up to 50% of the recent price hikes; endorses the conclusions of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food regarding the role played by large institutional investors, such as hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks – all generally unconcerned with agricultural markets – in influencing commodities price indexes through their movements on derivatives markets;

27.  Supports, in this context, a revision of the existing legislation on financial instruments, which should provide for more transparent trading; recalls that financial instruments should serve the economy and help agricultural production surmount crises and climatic events; at the same time, speculation should not be allowed to threaten otherwise efficient agricultural holdings;

28.  Welcomes the Commission proposal for a regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories; wishes to see safety nets against extreme price volatility available as a rapid reaction crisis tool; wishes to see coordination on legislation between the EU and third countries, such as the US, in order to reduce opportunities for speculators to take unfair advantage of the differences between various regulatory systems;

29.  Is in favour of bolder European action to tackle the problem of speculation, including through a mandate issued to regulators and oversight bodies to restrict speculation; believes that commodity derivatives are different from other financial derivatives and that the former should be dealt with only by traders who have legitimate interests in protecting agricultural merchandise against risks and by other categories of persons directly linked to real agricultural production; calls on the Commission to ensure that dealing with food commodity derivatives is restricted as far as possible to investors directly linked to agricultural markets;

30.  Expresses its concern about the far-reaching concentration which has occurred in cereals trading, as a result of which the businesses concerned are able to influence market prices; notes that this can increase the volatility of prices, as cereal merchants have an interest in major price fluctuations because of their speculative transactions; considers that this also demonstrates the need for intervention stocks or for some other safety net to promote price stability and defend the interests of farmers and consumers;

31.  Stresses that it is not possible to take effective action against major price fluctuations without intervention stocks or strategic stocks; considers, therefore, that the role of market intervention instruments must be enhanced in the future CAP;

32.  Stresses that increased transparency and fairness in the food supply chain is required to ensure a fair return for farmers, fair profits and pricing along the food supply chain and a viable agricultural sector that will deliver food security; urges the Commission to come forward with tangible and effective proposals to address this issue;

33.  Points out that, when confronted with price volatility, countries with low income food deficit (LIFDC) tend to be more vulnerable;

Global food stocks for global food security

34.  Notes that at present the total global food supply is not insufficient and that it is rather inaccessibility and high prices which deny many people food security;

35.  Notes, however, that global stocks of food are much more limited than in the past, having fallen to a record low of 12 weeks' worth of global food reserves during the food crisis of 2007; points out that world food production is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events linked to climate change, to increased global pressure on land as a result of urbanisation, and to an increasing number of pests and diseases which can cause sudden and unpredictable food shortages;

36.  Considers, therefore, that a targeted global system of food stocks (both emergency stocks to reduce hunger and stocks to be used to regulate commodity prices) would be beneficial, helping to facilitate world trade when price spikes occur, warding off recurring protectionism and easing the pressure on world food markets; considers that these stocks should be managed by a common body under the aegis of the United Nations, or by the FAO, and make full use of the experience amassed by the FAO and the UN World Food Programme; calls on the Commission as a matter of urgency to study and report to Parliament on the most effective way to achieve this; further calls on the Commission to play a leading role in advocating this targeted global food-stock system;

37.  Recalls that the EU has so far responded with aid and money, including through the Food Facility; wishes to see reports on the effectiveness of this facility, including with regard to progress in combating causes and symptoms, and calls on the Commission to analyse the possibility of introducing an instrument to help fight famine in the world;

38.  Reiterates the importance of developing agriculture in the developing world and the importance of allocating an appropriate share of EU ODA to the agriculture sector; regrets that there has been a dramatic reduction in the level of development aid allocated to agriculture since the 1980s and welcomes the recognition of the need to reverse this trend; calls on the Commission to prioritise agriculture in its development aid, including assistance to farmers in accessing markets;

39.  Is dismayed at the conclusions of the 2010 United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), pointing out that developed countries are a long way from meeting the commitments given in terms of official development assistance;

40.  Commends the initiative taken by the World Bank at the 2010 United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to increase its support for the agricultural sector, so as to boost incomes, employment and food security, particularly in low-income areas;

A new CAP to respond to challenges

41.  Reaffirms the position set out in its report on the future of the CAP after 2013; reaffirms its commitment to a strong agricultural and rural development policy which ensures food security for all, maintains the vitality of rural Europe, makes agriculture more competitive, ensures the continuation of agriculture production throughout the EU, is supportive of innovation, competitiveness and employment, and plays its part in meeting major global challenges, such as climate change; emphasises also the need for further simplification and debureaucratisation of the CAP in order to reduce the implementing costs for beneficiaries;

42.  Stresses the role that must be played by young farmers in the future CAP; points out that only 7% of European farmers are younger than 35, and at the same time that no fewer than 4.5 million farmers will retire in the next 10 years; favours strengthening measures beneficial to young farmers such as installation premiums, subsidised interest rates on loans and other incentives which have been implemented by Member States through their rural development budgets; reaffirms the substance of its budget amendment on the exchange programme for young people and wishes to see this implemented as a pilot project; calls also for the removal of all administrative constraints preventing young people from taking up farming;

43.  Believes that research and innovation are key to meeting the challenge of food security in increasing production while using less resources; highlights the importance of promoting professional training, access to education, knowledge transfer and the exchange of best practices in the farming sector; reiterates the need for a coordinated approach between the CAP and other policies in order to facilitate access to research and innovation in agriculture;

44.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to avail themselves to the full of the opportunities offered by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development in the field of research and technological innovation so as to improve productivity while respecting energy efficiency and sustainability criteria;

45.  Notes that every year the amount of land available for agricultural production is reduced due to climate change and urbanisation;

46.  Wishes to stress in particular the importance of diversity in European agriculture and of ensuring the coexistence of different agricultural models, including small-scale farming which creates jobs in rural parts of the EU, as well as that of the diversity and quality of food, including small-farm and non-industrial products in short supply chains, and nutrition across Europe, with a view to fostering the development of rural areas and preserving the heritage of regional food and wine sectors;

47.  Notes that local traditional agricultural practices, family farming, small-scale, and organic farming, can make a valuable contribution to food security , because they often represent effective ways of utilising land through methods specifically developed in individual regions over lengthy periods of time and enable a deep connection to be established between a product and the area in which it originates and which symbolises the quality and authenticity of the product; stresses the need for those types of agriculture to co-exist with sustainable modern farms, combining high productivity with sustainable land use;

48.  Emphasises also that the excessive subdivision of farmland in some Member States is an impediment to agricultural productivity, and that steps need to be taken to encourage the amalgamation of small agricultural holdings;

49.  Highlights the need to preserve the diversity of agriculture in the EU, acknowledges that local markets supplied by fresh and locally produced agricultural goods are environmentally sustainable and help to support established farming communities; stresses the importance of agriculture in less favoured areas; calls on the Commission to address the diverse European agricultural models in its future CAP proposals, including a consideration of the possibility of creating special financial incentives and identification schemes;

50.  The need to implement a fairer CAP, which should ensure a balanced distribution of support to farmers, both within and between all Member States, greater territorial cohesion, and the phasing-out of export subsidies, in parallel with the phasing out of all forms of export subsidies by the EU's trading partners and the imposition of discipline on all export measures with equivalent effect;

51.  Recognises that reforms of the CAP have significantly reduced the impact of the EU's agricultural production on developing countries, with export refunds all but eliminated; calls for the EU to recognise the importance of supporting the agricultural sectors of developing countries, particularly by ensuring that agriculture is prioritised in developing countries and in the EU's overseas development aid budget;

o
o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0286.
(2) OJ C 46 E, 24.2.2010, p. 10.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0131.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0302.
(5) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 71.

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