Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 8 March 2011 - Strasbourg
Request for the waiver of parliamentary immunity of Elmar Brok
 General product safety and market surveillance
 Management of H1N1 influenza
 Appointment of a Member of the European Court of Auditors (Mr Harald Wögerbauer - AT)
 General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Agreement Area ***I
 Innovative financing at a global and European level
 Reducing health inequalities
 Cooperating with developing countries on promoting good governance in tax matters
 Agriculture and international trade
 EU protein deficit
 Equality between women and men – 2010
 Female poverty
 Restoration of reciprocity in the visa regime – solidarity with the unequal status of Czech citizens following the unilateral introduction of visas by Canada

Request for the waiver of parliamentary immunity of Elmar Brok
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European Parliament decision of 8 March 2011 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Elmar Brok (2010/2283(IMM))
P7_TA(2011)0075A7-0047/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Elmar Brok, forwarded by the German authorities on 28 September 2010 and announced in plenary sitting on 22 November 2010,

–  having heard Elmar Brok in accordance with Rule 7(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Articles 8 and 9 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union of 8 April 1965 and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964 and 10 July 1986(1),

–  having regard to Article 46 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz),

–  having regard to the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung), in particular Section 370 thereof,

–  having regard to Rules 6(2) and 7 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0047/2011),

A.  whereas the facts set out in the explanatory statement constitute a clear case of fumus persecutionis;

B.  whereas criminal charges have been brought against a well-known political figure in respect of a sum and in circumstances which would, in the case of an ordinary citizen, have attracted merely administrative proceedings;

C.  whereas, moreover, the public prosecutor not only sought to withhold knowledge of the charge from Mr Brok on spurious and highly derogatory grounds for no due cause, but also made sure that the case received great publicity in the media, thus inflicting the maximum amount of damage on the Member concerned;

D.  whereas it is therefore plain that the case is one of fumus persecutionis in that it appears that the proceedings were brought with the sole aim of damaging the reputation of the Member concerned;

E.  whereas it would therefore be completely inappropriate to waive the Member's immunity,

1.  Decides not to waive the immunity of Elmar Brok;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its competent committee immediately to the appropriate authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany.

(1) See Case 101/63 Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier [1964] ECR 195 and Case 149/85 Wybot v Faure [1986] ECR 2391.


General product safety and market surveillance
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on the revision of the General Product Safety Directive and market surveillance (2010/2085(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0076A7-0033/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93(2),

–  having regard to Decision No 768/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products, and repealing Council Decision 93/465/EEC(3),

–  having regard to Commission Decision 2010/15/EU of 16 December 2009 laying down guidelines for the management of the Community Rapid Information System ‘RAPEX’ established under Article 12, and of the notification procedure established under Article 11, of Directive 2001/95/EC (the General Product Safety Directive)(4),

–  having regard to the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on implementation of Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety, (COM(2008)0905),

–  having regard to the Commission Working Document entitled ‘Revision of the General Product Safety Directive: Summary envisaged actions’, DG Health and Consumers, 18 May 2010,

–  having regard to the Roadmap entitled ‘Alignment to the New Legislative Framework (Decision No 768/2008/EC)’, DG Enterprise and Industry, 15 April 2010,

–  having regard to the Roadmap entitled ‘Review of Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (GPSD)’, DG Health and Consumers, 25 March 2010,

–  having regard to the Commission Working Paper on the relationship between the General Products Safety Directive 2001/95/EC and the market surveillance provisions of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, DG Health and Consumers, 2 March 2010,

–  having regard to the Commission Working Document entitled ‘Revision of the General Product Safety Directive: Identification of the Key Issues’, DG Health and Consumers, 15 September 2009,

–  having regard to the briefing paper commissioned by the IMCO Committee on Market Surveillance in the Member States, published in October 2009,

–  having regard to the briefing paper commissioned by the IMCO Committee on the Revision of the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) and Market Surveillance, published in September 2010,

–  having regard to the workshop on the Revision of the General Product Safety Directive and Market Surveillance held on 30 September 2010,

–  having regard to the EU-US-China trilateral Summit held in Shanghai on 25-26 October 2010,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0033/2011),

A.  whereas it is essential to ensure that all products placed on the EU market are safe so as to guarantee a high level of protection for consumers among others,

B.  whereas the New Legislative Framework (hereinafter the NLF) was adopted in July 2008, and Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 on market surveillance has been applicable as of 1 January 2010,

C.  whereas the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC (hereinafter the GPSD), which establishes at Community level general safety requirements for consumer products, has to be reviewed and brought into conformity with the NLF through integration, in particular with the Regulation on market surveillance,

D.  whereas the product safety and market surveillance legislative framework consists of three layers of legal acts (GPSD, NLF and sector-specific harmonisation directives), which leads to uncertainties and confusion in the internal market,

E.  whereas the level of market surveillance differs considerably among Member States and a number of them fail to designate necessary resources for efficient market surveillance and interpret ‘products posing serious risk’ differently, which can create barriers to the free movement of goods; disturb competition and jeopardise consumers‘ safety within the internal market,

F.  whereas cooperation among market surveillance authorities and joint market surveillance actions are essential and should therefore be strengthened further and resources delegated thereto,

G.  whereas regulations bring the advantages of clarity, predictability and effectiveness compared with directives, as is also stated in the Monti Report,

Market Surveillance
Introduction

1.  Believes that the current legislative framework for market surveillance does not provide enough coherence and should therefore be reviewed and further coordinated;

2.  Proposes that the Commission establish a common European framework for market surveillance, concerning all products on the internal market or entering the EU market; calls on the Commission to play a more active role in coordinating the activities of the European market surveillance authorities, the customs authorities and the competent authorities of the Member States;

3.  Calls on Member States and the Commission to deploy adequate resources for efficient market surveillance activities; emphasises that failing market surveillance systems could generate a distortion of competition, jeopardise consumers‘ safety and undermine citizens’ trust in the internal market; points out the importance of securing the external borders of the single market, in particular the major sea ports, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to take measures against illegal products from third countries; suggests that the Commission undertake a full assessment of the points of entry of products into the EU market, including an assessment of the resources needed to guarantee adequate control;

4.  Calls on Member States to introduce in a coordinated manner penalties, including heavy fines, for economic operators who deliberately introduce dangerous or non-compliant products into the single market; proposes that product bans should be made public as often as possible in order to increase the visibility of border controls and market surveillance and to deter criminal market operators;

5.  Calls on the Commission with the participation of market surveillance authorities and of the customs authorities to co-fund further joint market surveillance actions;

6.  Emphasises the necessity of sharing best practices among the Member States; calls for joint cooperation, pooling of know-how and sharing of best practices among market surveillance authorities; recalls the importance of cooperation between customs and market surveillance authorities at the external borders to carry out appropriate checks on products entering the Community; recognises the important contribution made today by PROSAFE as regards the coordination of joint market surveillance actions and the exchange of tried and tested practices in the framework of the GPSD; therefore calls on the Commission to consider under what conditions PROSAFE could serve as platform for an extended coordination between Member States for harmonised and non-harmonised products; considers it necessary to establish a legal basis and to allocate sufficient resources to PROSAFE to carry out this task; points out that coordination through PROSAFE today is restricted by limited resources and its informal structure;

7.  Calls upon the EU Member States to share product safety related inquiries and studies with other Member States; considers that the reference numbers of the products concerned should be included to facilitate product identification by other authorities, who could benefit from translating and using the information provided in the studies; calls upon Member States to allow their competent authorities to take market surveillance measures on the basis of test results or studies including those delivered by other Member States, in order to avoid duplication of work;

8.  Suggests establishing offices for education on product safety e.g. in the framework of the Product Contact Points, that can facilitate training and transfer information across industries;

9.  Urges the Commission to establish a public Consumer Product Safety Information Database, including a platform for complaints, if possible based on already existing regional and national systems in the Member States; takes the view that this will raise awareness of dangerous products across borders in the internal market and allow consumers to notify the competent authorities electronically of dangerous products; believes that the database could be formed by developing existing databases such as the European Market Surveillance System (ICSMS) or the Injury Database (IDB); stresses the need for the database to have a legal basis, and for reporting from the Member States to be mandatory; calls for the establishment of an accident statistics system founded on this database, from which mandatory annual reports will be published; calls for the database to be publicly accessible, while ensuring the necessary confidentiality for businesses;

10.  Points out that globalisation, increased outsourcing and the growth in international trade mean that more products are being traded on markets across the world; considers that close cooperation between global regulators and other stakeholders in the area of consumer product safety is key to addressing the challenges posed by complex supply chains and the higher volume of trade;

11.  Calls on the Commission to intensify international cooperation in the international Consumer Product Safety Caucus so as to exchange tried and tested practices and jointly to prevent the production in third countries of dangerous substances intended for export to the European single market;

Revision of the GPSD
Alignment of GPSD and NLF - a new General Product Safety and Market Surveillance Regulation

12.  Supports the revision of the GPSD and of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 with regard to definitions and obligations for economic operators as defined in Decision N° 768/2008/EC, while avoiding the creation of unnecessary administrative burdens, especially for SMEs;considers that having one single regulation is the only way to have one single market surveillance system for all products; therefore urges the Commission to establish a single market surveillance system for all products, based on one legislative act covering both the GPSD and Regulation (EC) No 765/2008; considers that this new legislative act should be created to achieve a high level of product safety and market surveillance, clarifying the legal basis and taking into account the provisions developed more fully in the two existing legislative acts;

13.  Calls for alignment between traceability requirements in the GPSD and the NLF so as to guarantee a coherent traceability system avoiding the creation of new red tape;

14.  Requests the Commission to consider developing more precise criteria for evaluating safety and risks stemming from the non-compliance of products with EU legislation;

Additional specific changes to the GPSD

15.  Regards it as problematic that products operated by service providers are not covered by the current GPSD, i.e. that general safety requirements apply when the product is handled by consumer on the premises of the service provider, but not if the same product is operated by the service provider; stresses the need to rectify this legal loophole;

16.  Calls for the simplification of European product safety legislation, in particular as regards the Commission objectives ‘better law-making’ and ‘think small first’ as set out in the Communication ‘Towards a Single Market Act’, and urges that the provisions on Food-Imitating Products be included in the revised proposal;

17.  Calls, in order to ensure the safety of the widest range of particularly vulnerable consumers, for the introduction of a reference to people with disabilities (along with the references to children and elderly people that are already present);

18.  Calls on the Commission to include an obligation for manufacturers to carry out a risk analysis in their design phase; urges that if any risks are identified they should be documented and made available to the public authorities;

Emergency Community measures

19.  Stresses the need for a more effective regulatory framework, allowing quick interventions and reliable long-term solutions, without delegating political decisions to the standardisation bodies or to the Commission in the absence of a clear set of essential policy requirements such as exists for harmonised legislation;

Traceability

20.  Stresses that products posing serious risks must be permanently withdrawn or recalled from the market as quickly as possible and that traceability throughout the supply chain must be ensured, which calls for sufficient resources for the market surveillance authorities;

21.  Underlines the importance of ensuring reliable traceability throughout all stages of the life of a product, while making sure that this does not lead to increased administrative burdens;

22.  Underlines the importance of product traceability and tracking labels for determining the country of origin of the product and the manufacturer responsible;

23.  Insists on effective enforcement of the identification procedures that are already in place; encourages the Commission to make assessments and evaluations on the use of new technologies, while considering that the usage of new technologies should be proportionate and should not endanger the privacy, security and safety of the consumer;

24.  Stresses however, that no single technical solution should be imposed as the official traceability system/method within the EU market; and calls for overall proportionality;

25.  Emphasises the need to improve and further strengthen RAPEX exchanges of information in respect of dangerous products from third countries (such as China and India) and for its latest studies to be evaluated;

RAPEX

26.  Acknowledges that RAPEX is a useful and efficient tool for disseminating information among the Member States about the measures taken with regard to dangerous products, but believes that this tool can be further improved;

27.  Calls on the Commission to allow product safety professionals, producers, trade and consumer organisations and national authorities to have access to all relevant information while ensuring the necessary confidentiality; calls on the Commission to improve awareness of RAPEX and the EU recall systems outside the EU;

28.  Welcomes the new RAPEX guidelines which contribute to the improvement of the operation of RAPEX; invites the Commission to streamline the new risk assessment method with those in place for harmonised products to assist market surveillance authorities in their work;

29.  Calls on the Commission to explain the classification of products as a ‘serious risk’ in RAPEX notifications;

30.  Notes that consumer products placed on the European internal market are coming increasingly from third countries; is particularly concerned that each year there is an increase in RAPEX notifications relating to products of Chinese origin, accounting for more than half of RAPEX notifications, and that in 20% of cases it appears that it is not possible to identify the manufacturers of those products; therefore calls for enhanced efforts to be made internationally and welcomes EU-China-US cooperation on product traceability strategies; welcomes any support, training and seminars organised by EU and Chinese authorities to improve product safety; underlines that there is a need for multiannual programmes to face these challenges;

31.  Calls on the Commission to consider the usefulness of setting up a system similar to RAPEX – CHINA for other trading partners, in particular those whose products have been notified in the RAPEX system;

32.  Requests the Commission to incorporate into RAPEX, or any other appropriate system at EU level, penalties for infringements by the Member States, in order to ensure transparency and incentives for all stakeholders;

Online selling and customs

33.  Is concerned about the difficulties faced by market surveillance authorities when taking action against dangerous products sold online;

34.  Welcomes the Commission's project C2013 in the area of product safety which will produce guidelines for customs controls in the EU; urges the Commission to deliver specific tools for customs authorities to tackle the challenges of adequate controls on imported products; calls for further enhanced co-operation between enforcement authorities;

35.  Recognises the increase in the number of products from third countries bought online by consumers which do not comply with European standards, thus endangering the safety and health of consumers; calls on the Commission to step up and standardise customs checks on products bought on the internet and to carry out market surveillance, paying special attention to products which can cause direct harm to consumers, such as pharmaceutical and food products; urges the Commission to study possible solutions to that problem in order to strengthen consumers‘ confidence in e-commerce;

36.  Calls on the Commission and Member States‘ authorities to ensure proper training of officers so as to ensure better detection of products presenting a risk; urges better cooperation between customs and market surveillance authorities before products are released on to the market, which calls for a multiannual programme here as well;

37.  Calls on the Commission and national competent authorities to further develop awareness-raising campaigns targeting consumers to inform them about the risk of buying counterfeited products, especially online;

Standardisation

38.  Stresses the need for the market surveillance authorities to systematically participate in the process of security-relevant standard development, as this is an appropriate means of ensuring that their knowledge informs the standardisation process and of generating greater understanding for standards, thereby ensuring that the voluntary application of standards will contribute to increased consumer safety and health as well as to legal certainty by allowing the correct interpretation and application of European Standards by Member States‘ authorities;

39.  Calls on the Commission to increase the clarity of mandates for standards and to consider other evolutionary ways to improve and integrate national and European standardisation systems in the non-harmonised area, with the emphasis on SME participation, while retaining the main elements of the current structure;

40.  Urges that the currently applicable Commission procedures for establishing mandates for the development of European standards be improved so as to guarantee timely reaction to new or emerging risks in a more efficient manner; emphasises, however, that new or amended procedures should also be subject to Parliament's scrutiny; stresses that Parliament should also be entitled to scrutinise the procedures for taking over or applying international, non-European and other standards;

41.  Calls for the European standardisation organisations and the Commission to investigate all systems potentially capable of speeding up the process of standards development, while ensuring the proper involvement of all relevant stakeholders, such as the introduction of a fast-track procedure or the possibility for the Commission of publishing references to existing European or ISO standards developed outside a Commission mandate, if such standards are deemed to provide a high level of consumer protection or to address a specific risk, as an interim measure until a permanent solution becomes available;

42.  Calls for the Commission's mandates for standardisation to be improved in order to allow the European standardisation organisations to develop European Standards fulfilling the technical requirements for which compliance with a political decision is achieved or evaluated; in this respect, considers that there is a need for better involvement and cooperation between the European Commission and the European standardisation organisations in the drafting process; bearing in mind that these organisations work on the basis of consensus, considers it crucial for the proper functioning of the system that political issues are dealt with at the policy-making level and not delegated to the European Commission, the standardisation bodies or any enforcement administrations;

43.  Calls for the introduction of a procedure for formal objection to a standard, such as in Decision No 768/2008/EC, to be included in the GPSD; considers that the use of this procedure should be possible even before a standard is cited in the Official Journal of the EU, but should not be a substitute for Member States significantly increasing the involvement of their market surveillance authorities in the standardisation system;

44.  Calls on the Commission and all stakeholders to guarantee the financial sustainability of the European standardisation system, including through public-private partnerships and through multiannual financial planning, since this is essential to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency;

45.  Calls for the Commission to take further steps in coherence with the new legislative framework, so that the necessary revisions can be enhanced;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 11, 15.1.2002, p. 4.
(2) OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30.
(3) OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 82.
(4) OJ L 22, 26.1.2010, p. 1.


Management of H1N1 influenza
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on evaluation of the management of H1N1 influenza in 2009-2010 in the EU (2010/2153(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0077A7-0035/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 168 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the International Health Regulations – IHR (2005) 2005(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 November 2005 on pandemic influenza preparedness and response planning in the European Community (COM(2005)0607),

–  having regard to the Council working document of 30 November 2007 on health security related matters(2),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 16 December 2008 on health security(3),

–  having regard to the ECDC interim guidance document on ‘Use of specific pandemic influenza vaccines during the H1N1 2009 pandemic’(4),

–  having regard to the WHO guidance document of April 2009 on pandemic influenza preparedness and response(5),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 30 April 2009(6) on Influenza A/H1N1 infection,

–  having regard to the exchange of views between the ECDC director and Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, which took place on 4 September 2009,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 September 2009 on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009(7),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 15 September 2009 on Joint procurement of vaccine against influenza A (H1N1)(8),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 15 September 2009 on communicating with the public and the media on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009(9),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 15 September 2009 on support to third countries to fight the Influenza A (H1N1)(10),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 15 September 2009 on the regulatory process for the authorisation of antiviral medicines and vaccines in the protection against Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009(11),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 15 September 2009 on vaccination strategies against pandemic (H1N1) 2009(12),

–  having regard to the document entitled European Strategy for Influenza A/H1N1 – Vaccine Benefit-Risk Monitoring’ of October 2009(13),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 12 October 2009 on the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 – a strategic approach(14),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 23 November 2009 on Health Security in the European Union and Internationally(15),

–  having regard to the Assessment Report of 16 April 2010 on EU-Wide Response to the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009(16),

–  having regard to the final report of January 2010 on the Evaluation of the European Medicines Agency(17),

–  having regard to Resolution 1749 (2010) ‘Handling of the H1N1 pandemic: more transparency needed’ adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in June 2010(18),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Conference on lessons learned from the A (H1N1) pandemic, held on 1 and 2 July 2010(19),

–  having regard to the recommendations of the European Ombudsman concerning the European Medicines Agency of 29 April and 19 May 2010(20),

–  having regard to the Assessment Report of 25 August 2010 on EU-Wide Pandemic Vaccine Strategies(21),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 13 September 2010 on Lessons learned from the A/H1N1 pandemic – Health security in the EU(22),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 18 November 2010 on lessons learnt from the H1N1 pandemic and on health security in the European Union (SEC(2010)1440),

–  having regard to the Annual epidemiological report on communicable diseases in Europe 2010 by the ECDC(23)

–  having regard to the Workshop held on 5 October 2010 by the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on the Influenza Pandemic A (H1N1) - The response of Member States and the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0035/2011),

A.  whereas the national and international health authorities, including the WHO, stated in May 2009 that the H1N1 influenza was at the time causing only mild illness, but that it could not be taken for granted that this pattern would continue,

B.  whereas, under the International Health Regulations (IHR) – a legal instrument binding on the states parties to it – the remit of the WHO includes public health surveillance, coordinating international public health measures and, in relation to potentially pandemic viruses, determining current phases of alert on a scale of one to six,

C.  whereas the phases of a global pandemic are determined in accordance with the provisions of the IHR and in consultation with other organisations and institutions and with the Member States affected,

D.  whereas the criteria for defining a ‘pandemic’, as revised by the WHO in 2009, are based solely on the spread of the virus while disregarding the severity of the illness caused by it,

E.  whereas Member States, the European Commission and external bodies such as the WHO should take into account the virulence of a future influenza outbreak as well as the propagation of the virus when making public health decisions which may affect public health and social policies in Member States,

F.  considering the high degree of unforeseeability regarding the pandemic's severity and how it was going to unfold, and the possibility that the pandemic might worsen in Europe, as it did in 1918 and 1968,

G.  whereas, on the basis of the WHO pandemic alert and subsequent recommendations, the Member States responded rapidly, in line with the precautionary principle, using what resources they had available to implement public health action plans; whereas the move to the highest level of alert, indicating the presence of a pandemic, gave rise in some cases to public health decisions that were disproportionate,

H.  whereas the WHO called an end to the state of alert concerning H1N1 influenza only in August 2010 (statement by the WHO Director-General of 10 August 2010(24)),

I.  whereas, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the preparation for and reaction to health risks in the European Union fall within the competence of the Member States; whereas the Treaty of Lisbon exhorts the Member States to strengthen cooperation, sharing of information and good practices within the framework of the WHO and the existing structures of the EU; whereas stronger coordination measures by the Commission,with the support of the ECDC and the EMEA within the framework of the International Health Regulation, reinforce the effectiveness of national measures,

J.  whereas the pharmaceutical industry had to respond to a sudden, pressing and exponential demand for the supply of vaccines by the Member States; whereas the industry had to develop with very great urgency a new vaccine likely to be effective against the virus,

K.  whereas the costs arising from the management of this crisis in the Member States were significant and could perhaps have been reduced by better cooperation between the Member States and better coordination between the Member States and ECDC,

L.  whereas the expenditure committed by certain Member States to the response plans drawn up relates mainly to the purchase of vast quantities of vaccines and antiviral treatments, and whereas purchasing procedures led to concerns regarding compliance with rules on public procurement and transparency in some Member States,

M.  whereas there were significant price disparities among the Member States that had prior purchase agreements for vaccines, based, among other factors, on the differentiated liability conditions of each agreement,

N.  whereas lawsuits were taken in various Member States, alleging corruption and conspiracy on the part of civil servants in relation to contracts signed in summer 2009 between ministries of public health and manufacturers of H1N1 influenza vaccines,

O.  whereas, according to the Commission the reluctance of vaccine suppliers to bear full product liability may have contributed to reducing citizens‘ trust in vaccine safety; whereas confidence in vaccines against H1N1 influenza was also undermined by incomplete and contradictory communication on the benefits and risks of vaccination and the potential risks of H1N1 influenza to the public,

P.  whereas the differing recommendations made within the EU and the Member States on the subject of the priority groups targeted for vaccination illustrate the significant uncertainties and diverging views surrounding the appropriate response to H1N1 influenza,

Q.  whereas pandemic influenza preparedness planning relies to a great extent on vaccination strategies; whereas vaccination strategies should rely on three conditions to be successful: efficacy of the vaccine, a positive benefit-risk balance for the vaccine, and targeting of risk groups,

R.  whereas there needs to be transparency about the fulfilment of these conditions,

S.  whereas the vaccines‘ benefit-risk ratio has now been demonstrated in tolerance and immunogenicity studies based on actual use,

T.  whereas there is a need for studies on vaccines and antiviral medications that are independent from pharmaceutical companies so as to have a balance between private and publicly funded studies,

U.  whereas, in the event of a future influenza pandemic, more work needs to be done to improve the performance of influenza vaccines, especially for high risk groups and against drifted variants,

V.  whereas, due to the early acquisition of vaccines and systematic vaccination strategies, especially among the most vulnerable groups, the EU was the best prepared region in the world; whereas, however, considerable differences emerged between the preparedness of EU Member States and the lack of genuine cooperation weakened the EU's overall preparedness,

W.  whereas the limited cooperation among Member States, especially the lack of joint public procurement of vaccines, the lack of joint stockpiles, the lack of a solidarity and brokerage mechanism between Member States, and the absence of prior purchase agreements in several Member States were the main factors undermining the EU's better preparedness,

X.  whereas despite the repeated requests made by the European Ombudsman to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the documents held by the EMA relating to research protocols, clinical trials and the undesirable effects of medicinal products submitted to it for assessment are not always accessible to the public,

Y.  whereas the information and communication concerning H1N1 influenza in 2009-2010 in the EU have demonstrated the crucial role played by the media in relaying public health precautions and recommendations, but also in emphasising selected aspects of the outbreak and its consequences, thus potentially altering public opinion perceptions and the public authorities‘ responses,

Cooperation

1.  Calls for the prevention plans established in the EU and its Member States for future influenza pandemics to be revised in order to gain in effectiveness and coherence and to make them sufficiently autonomous and flexible to be adapted as swiftly as possible and on a case-by-case basis to the actual risk, based on up-to date relevant information;

2.  Requests clarification, and if necessary review, of the roles, duties, remits, limits, relationships and responsibilities of the key actors and structures at EU level for the management of medical threats – the European Commission, the ECDC, the EMA and the Member States, as well as more informal entities such as the Health Security Committee, the HEOF and the ‘public health’ group, composed of senior officials able to intervene in the decision-making process regarding the management of a health crisis – and calls for that information to be made publicly available;

3.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission has committed itself to studying the possibility of a revision and a long-term reinforcement of the legal basis of the Health Security Committee;

4.  Requests that special attention be paid to preparation between sectors within the framework of co-operation between Member States on the Health Security Committee;

5.  Emphasises the need to reinforce cooperation between Member States, and coordination of Member States with the ECDC, so as to ensure coherent risk management in response to a pandemic in compliance with the International Health Regulation;

6.  Calls for the continuation and improvement of cooperation and coordination among Member States, institutions and international and regional organisations, particularly in the early stages of a virus outbreak, in order to determine its severity and make appropriate management decisions;

7.  Considers it advisable to reinforce the mandate of the Committee of Public Health, the action and role of which should be improved to provide better support for the Member States in achieving a coherent approach to preparedness for and response to public health threats and emergencies of international concern as defined in the IHR;

8.  Urges the WHO to revise the definition of a pandemic, taking into consideration not only its geographical spread but also its severity;

9.  Calls on the Member States to involve health professionals more closely at every stage in the preparation and application of strategies for preventing and combating pandemics;

10.  Urges the European Union to allocate more resources to research and development regarding preventive measures in the field of public health care while conforming to its stated objective of allocating 3% of European GDP to R&D; more specifically, calls for an increase in the investments dedicated to a better evaluation and anticipation of the impact of an influenza virus both between pandemics and at the beginning of a pandemic;

11.  Calls for continued investment in national epidemiological, serological and virological surveillance centres;

12.  Expresses its approval for the introduction of a procedure enabling the Member States to make group purchases of anti-viral vaccines and medicinal products on a voluntary basis, in order to obtain, for a given product, inter alia, equitable access, advantageous rates and flexibility for the order;

13.  Recalls that according to current Union legislation on medicinal products, liability for the quality, safety and efficacy concerning the authorised indications of a medicinal product rests with the manufacturer, and calls for full application of this rule by Member States in all contracts for the procurement of vaccines, as an important factor in maintaining/regaining citizens‘ trust in vaccine safety;

14.  Requests, within the framework of the common and responsible management of the supply of vaccines, that consideration be given to the possibility of easing access for developing countries to vaccine products in the event of a pandemic;

Independence

15.  Takes the view that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has to exercise its powers as an independent agency to assess and communicate the severity of infection risk and be given adequate means for all its tasks;

16.  Invites the ECDC, with input from the WHO, to contribute to reviewing best practice on national influenza preparedness plans, and to make recommendations on best practice in areas such as crisis management techniques, vaccination and communication strategies;

17.  Demands that increased vigilance and complete transparency be assured with regard to the evaluation of, and reporting on, medicinal products recommended in the event of health emergencies, and more particularly in genuine pandemic situations;

18.  Underscores the need for studies independent of the pharmaceutical companies on vaccines and antiviral medications, including with regard to the monitoring of vaccination coverage;

19.  Wishes to ensure that scientific experts have no financial or other interests in the pharmaceutical industry that could affect their impartiality; requests the development of a European code of conduct relating to the exercise of the function of a scientific expert in any European authority in charge of safety and of the management and anticipation of risks; requires that each expert subscribe to the ethical principles of this code of conduct before taking up his or her duties;

20.  Asks that experts who are involved in the pharmaceutical sector, while they may be consulted, should be excluded from decision-making;

21.  Calls in particular on the European Commission, with the support of the EMA, to improve the accelerated authorisation procedures for the placing on the market of medicinal products designed to respond to a health crisis - inter alia by making them suitable for different influenza strains varying levels of severity and differences in target groups - in such a way that proper clinical trials are carried out before a pandemic occurs, in order to ensure a full assessment of the risk-benefit balance associated with the use of those medicinal products for the relevant target groups and to come up with corresponding legislative proposals where necessary;

Transparency

22.  Calls for an assessment of the influenza vaccination strategies recommended in the EU and applied in Member States, covering the efficacy of the vaccines, their risk-benefit balance and the different target groups recommended, with a view to safe and effective use;

23.  Calls on Member States to report the following information to the Commission before 8 September 2011:

  a) on different vaccines and anti-viral treatments, respectively:
   (i) the number of doses purchased,
   (ii) the total expenditure for the purchase,
   (iii) the number of doses actually used,
   (iv) the number of doses placed in storage, sent back to the manufacturer and reimbursed, or sold to other Member States or third countries,
  b) on the disease and side effects of vaccines and anti-viral treatment, respectively:
   (i) the number of H1N1 infections,
     (ii) the number of deaths due to H1N1 infections,
   (iii) the number and nature of adverse effects reported due to vaccinations or and anti- viral treatment against H1N1,

24.  Calls on the Commission, with the support of ECDC and EMA, to make a summary report about the information referred to in paragraph 23, broken down by Member State, before 8 March 2012 and to make it publicly available as an important contribution to the review of the current pandemic influenza preparedness plans;

25.  Reminds the EMA of the regulatory requirement to make access available to all the documents relating to clinical trials, research protocols and undesirable effects of the medicinal products evaluated by its experts, including the vaccines and anti-viral drugs recommended as a means of combating H1N1 influenza; welcomes the new rules on access to documents adopted by the EMA in October 2010;

26.  Recognises that conflicts of interest among experts who advise European public health authorities lead to suspicions of undue influence and harm the overall credibility of these public health authorities and their recommendations; considers that all conflicts of interest must be avoided;

27.  Requests the adoption of a definition common to all European public health authorities of what constitutes a conflict of interest;

28.  Calls for such conflicts of interest to be brought to Parliament's attention by means of an internal investigation carried out by the Committee on Budgetary Control with a view to determining whether payments to the aforementioned experts were made in a correct and transparent manner and whether the procedures normally employed by the European institutions to forestall such conflicts of interest were followed;

29.  Calls for the declarations of interest of all experts who advise the European public health authorities to be published, including those of members of informal groups;

30.  Is aware of the need to communicate risks and benefits more clearly and transparently to the public; underlines the necessity to arrive at a coherent message to the citizens as soon as a health hazard is evaluated; insists on the importance of consistent communication by the Member States regarding the informative contents of the message (e.g. the nature of the virus, the nature of the risk, how best to prevent it and the risks and benefits of prevention and/or treatment);

31.  Calls for a global European strategic approach for the so-called ‘at-risk’ groups on how to reach them and communicate with them in case of pandemics;

32.  Calls for the building of relationships of trust with the media concerned with disseminating public health messages; requests the setting-up of a select group of available experts to answer questions from journalists at all times, as well as the availability of a spokesperson;

33.  Stresses the need for accountability of information professionals and the prudence required in the processing of health information messages, a fortiori in the context of a pandemic;

34.  Expects, in this regard, a more comprehensive collection and rapid submission of coherent data from national health monitoring authorities to competent EU authorities,

35.  Considers it essential for the Commission and Member States to swiftly undertake the necessary revisions, including better vaccination and communication strategies, in order to build confidence in public health measures that seek to prepare and prevent pandemics;

o
o   o

36.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the WHO and national parliaments.

(1) http://www.who.int/ihr/en/
(2) http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/07/st15/st15789.en07.pdf
(3) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/lsa/104770.pdf
(4) http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/0908_GUI_Pandemic_Influenza_Vaccines_during_the_H1N1_2009_Pandemic.pdf
(5) http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/pipguidance2009/en/index.html
(6) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/lsa/107492.pdf
(7) http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_threats/com/influenza/docs/com481_2009_en.pdf
(8) http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_threats/com/influenza/docs/flu_staff1_en.pdf
(9) http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/com/Influenza/docs/flu_staff2_en.pdf
(10) http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_threats/com/influenza/docs/flu_staff3_en.pdf
(11) http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/com/Influenza/docs/flu_staff4_en.pdf
(12) http://ec.europa.eu/health/communicable_diseases/diseases/influenza/h1n1/index_en.htm#fragment2 and http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_threats/com/influenza/docs/flu_staff5_en.pdf
(13) http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Report/2010/01/WC500044933.pdf
(14) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/lsa/110500.pdf,
(15) http://ec.europa.eu/health/preparedness_response/docs/commission_staff_healthsecurity_en.pdf
(16) http://ec.europa.eu/health/communicable_diseases/diseases/influenza/h1n1/index_en.htm#fragment2
(17) http://ec.europa.eu/health/files/pharmacos/news/emea_final_report_vfrev2.pdf
(18) http://assembly.coe.int/Mainf.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta10/ERES1749.htm
(19) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/lsa/116478.pdf
(20) http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/press/release.faces/fr/4940/html.bookmark and http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/press/release.faces/fr/5251/html.bookmark
(21) http://ec.europa.eu/health/communicable_diseases/diseases/influenza/h1n1/index_en.htm#fragment2
(22) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/lsa/116478.pdf
(23) http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/1011_SUR_Annual_Epidemiological_Report_on_Communicable_Diseases_in_Europe.pdf
(24) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2010/h1n1_vpc_20100810/en/print.html


Appointment of a Member of the European Court of Auditors (Mr Harald Wögerbauer - AT)
PDF 188kWORD 31k
European Parliament decision of 8 March 2011 on the nomination of Harald Wögerbauer as a Member of the Court of Auditors (C7-0029/2011 – 2011/0801(NLE))
P7_TA(2011)0078A7-0048/2011

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 286(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C7-0029/2011),

–  having regard to the fact that at its meeting of 3 March 2011 the Committee on Budgetary Control heard the Council's nominee for membership of the Court of Auditors,

–  having regard to Rule 108 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0048/2011),

A.  whereas Harald Wögerbauer fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,

1.  Delivers a favourable opinion on the nomination of Harald Wögerbauer as a Member of the Court of Auditors;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information, the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States.


General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Agreement Area ***I
PDF 644kWORD 881k
Resolution
Consolidated text
Annex
Annex
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 8 March 2011 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain provisions for fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement Area (COM(2009)0477 – C7-0204/2009 – 2009/0129(COD))
P7_TA(2011)0079A7-0023/2011

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2009)0477),

–  having regard to Article 37 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C7-0204/2009),

–  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(3) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 17 March 2010(1),

–  having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A7-0023/2011),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 8 March 2011 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain provisions for fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement area [Amendment 1]

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0129


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 43(2) thereof, [Amendment 2]

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

[Amendment 3]

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(2),[Amendment 4]

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(3),[Amendment 5]

Whereas:

(1)  The Agreement for the establishment of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (‘GFCM’), hereinafter referred to as the GFCM Agreement, was approved by the Council by Decision 98/416/EC of 16 June 1998 on the accession of the European Community to GFCM(4).

(2)  The GFCM Agreement provides an appropriate framework for multilateral cooperation to promote the development, conservation, rational management and best utilisation of stocks of living aquatic resources in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea at levels which are considered sustainable and at low risk of collapse.

(3)  The European Union, as well as Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Romania and Slovenia are Contracting Parties to the GFCM. [Amendment 6]

(4)  Recommendations adopted by GFCM are binding on its Contracting Parties. As the Union is a contracting party to the GFCM, these recommendations are binding on the Union and should therefore be transposed into Union law, where their content is not already covered thereby. [Amendment 7]

(5)  At its Annual Sessions in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, the GFCM adopted a number of recommendations and resolutions for certain fisheries in the GFCM Agreement area which have been temporarily transposed into Union law by the annual regulations on fishing opportunities(5) or, in the case of GFCM recommendations 2005/1 and 2005/2, by Articles 4(3) and 24 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 of 21 December 2006 concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea(6). [Amendment 8]

(6)  For reasons of clarity, simplification and legal certainty, and since the permanent character of recommendations requires also a permanent legal instrument for their transposition into Union law, it is appropriate to transpose these recommendations via a single legislative act, to which future recommendations can be added by way of amendments. [Amendment 9]

(7)  GFCM recommendations apply to the entire GFCM Agreement area, notably the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and connecting waters, as referred to in Annex II to Decision 98/416/EC, and, therefore, in order to ensure the clarity of Union legislation, they should be transposed in a single separate regulation rather than through amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, which only covers the Mediterranean Sea. [Amendment 10]

(8)  Certain provisions contained in Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 should apply not only in the Mediterranean Sea but in the entire GFCM Agreement area. Those provisions should therefore be deleted from Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 and included in this Regulation.

(9)  The ‘Fisheries Restricted Areas’ established by GFCM recommendations for spatial management measures are equivalent in effect to the ‘Fishing Protected Areas’ as used in Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006.

(10)  At its Annual Session of 23-27 March 2009 the GFCM adopted a recommendation on the establishment of a fisheries restricted area in the Gulf of Lions on the basis of scientific advice by Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), as contained in the report of its 11th session (FAO report n° 890). It is appropriate to implement this measure by means of an effort management system.

(11)  The selectivity of some fishing gears cannot go beyond a certain level in Mediterranean mixed fisheries and, in addition to the control and limitation of fishing effort, it is fundamental to limit fishing effort in areas where adults of important stocks aggregate in order to have a low risk of reproduction impairment, thus allowing for their sustainable exploitation. It is therefore advisable to first limit the fishing effort in the area examined by the SAC to previous levels and not to allow any increase of that level.

(12)  The advice on which management measures are based should be based on the scientific use of relevant data on fleet capacity and activity, on the biological status of exploited resources and on the social and economic situation of fisheries; these data need to be collected and submitted in time to allow the subsidiary bodies of GFCM to prepare their advice.

(13)  At its Annual Session in 2008 the GFCM adopted a recommendation on a regional scheme of Port State measures to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the GFCM Agreement area. While Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing(7) covers generally the content of this recommendation and applies from 1 January 2010, there are, nevertheless, some aspects such as the frequency, coverage and procedure for port inspections which need to be referred to in this Regulation in order to adapt the measure to the specificities of the GFCM Agreement area. [Amendment 11]

(14)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers, which should be without prejudice to the provisions of this Regulation relating to delegated acts and which should not apply to provisions of this Regulation on Port state measures and Port state inspection procedures, should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers(8) ▌. [Amendment 47]

(15)  The Commission should be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in respect of the incorporation into Union law of future amendments to those GFCM measures for conservation, control or enforcement, as already transposed into Union law, which form the subject matter of certain explicitly defined non-essential elements of this Regulation and which become binding upon the European Union and its Member States in accordance with the terms of the GFCM Agreement. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level,[Amendment 13]

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

TITLE I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject matter

This Regulation lays down the rules for the application, by the Union, of the conservation, management, exploitation, monitoring, marketing and enforcement measures for fishery and aquaculture products, as established by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (‘the GFCM’). [Amendment 14]

Article 2

Scope

1.  This Regulation applies to all commercial fishing and aquaculture activities conducted by EU fishing vessels and nationals of Member States in the GFCM Agreement area. [Amendment 15]

It shall apply without prejudice to Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006.

2.  By way of derogation from paragraph 1, the provisions of this Regulation shall not apply to fishing operations conducted solely for the purpose of scientific investigations which are carried out with the permission and under the authority of the Member whose flag the vessel is flying, of which the Commission and the Member States in whose waters the research is carried out have been informed in advance. Member States conducting fishing operations for the purpose of scientific investigations shall inform the Commission, the Member States in whose waters the research is carried out and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries of all catches from such fishing operations.

Article 3

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation the following definitions, in addition to the definitions laid down in Article 3 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy(9) and Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 shall apply:

   (a) ‘GFCM Agreement area’ means the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and connecting waters, as referred to in Annex II of Decision 98/416/EC;
   (b) ‘Fishing effort’ means the product of the capacity of a fishing vessel, both in kW and in GT, and the days at sea;
   (c) ‘day at sea’ means any calendar day a vessel is absent from port, irrespective of the amount of time of the day that that vessel is present in an area.

TITLE II

TECHNICAL MEASURES

Chapter I

Fisheries restricted areas

Section I

Fisheries restricted area in the Gulf of Lions

Article 4

Establishment of a fisheries restricted area

A fisheries restricted area is established in the eastern Gulf of Lions (as bounded by lines joining the following geographic coordinates):

42°40‘N, 4°20’ E;

42°40‘N, 5°00’ E;

43°00‘N, 4°20’ E;

43°00‘N, 5°00’ E.

Article 5

Fishing effort

The fishing effort for demersal stocks of vessels using towed nets, bottom and mid-water longlines and bottom-set nets in the fisheries restricted area as referred to in Article 4 shall not exceed the level of fishing effort applied in 2008 by each Member State in that area .

Article 6

Fishing track record

The Member States shall submit to the Commission in electronic format, not later than …(10), a list of vessels flying their flag that had a track record of fishing during the year 2008 in the area referred to in Article 4 and in GFCM Geographical Sub-Area 7 as defined in Annex I. The list shall contain the name of the vessel, its number in the Fleet Register, referred to in Annex I to Commission Regulation (EC) No 26/2004 of 30 December 2003 on the Community fishing fleet register(11), the period for which the vessel was authorised to fish in the area referred to in Article 4 and the number of days spent by each vessel in the year 2008 in Geographical Sub-Area 7, and more specifically in the area referred to in Article 4. [Amendment 16]

Article 7

Authorised vessels

1.  Vessels authorised to fish in the area referred to in Article 4 shall be issued with a Special Fishing Permit by their Member State in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1627/94 of 27 June 1994 laying down general provisions concerning special fishing permits(12).

2.  Fishing vessels not having records of fishing within the area referred to in Article 4 prior to 31 December 2008 shall not be authorised to start fishing therein.

3.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission, not later than (13), the national legislation in force at 31 December 2008 concerning: [Amendment 17]

   (a) the maximum time of daily fishing activity allowed per vessel,
   (b) the maximum number of days per week a vessel can stay at sea and be absent from port and
   (c) the compulsory timing to exit and return to the registered port of their fishing vessels.

Article 8

Protection of sensitive habitats

Member States shall ensure that the area referred to in Article 4 is protected from the impacts of any other human activity jeopardizing the conservation of the features that characterise that area as an area of spawners‘ aggregation.

Article 9

Information

Before 31 January of each year, Member States shall submit to the Commission in electronic format a report on the fishing activities carried out in the area referred to in Article 4.

Section II

Fisheries restricted areas in order to protect deep-sea sensitive habitats

Article 10

Establishment of fisheries restricted areas

Fishing with towed dredges and bottom trawl nets shall be prohibited in the following areas:

  (a) Deep Sea fisheries restricted area ‘Lophelia reef off Capo Santa Maria di Leuca’ bounded by lines joining the following coordinates:
     - 39° 27.72‘ N, 18° 10.74’ E
     - 39° 27.80‘ N, 18° 26.68’ E
     - 39° 11.16‘ N, 18° 32.58’ E
     - 39° 11.16‘ N, 18° 04.28’ E;
  (b) Deep Sea fisheries restricted area ‘The Nile delta area cold hydrocarbon seeps’ bounded by lines joining the following coordinates:
     - 31° 30.00‘ N, 33° 10.00’ E
     - 31° 30.00‘ N, 34° 00.00’ E
     - 32° 00.00‘ N, 34° 00.00’ E
     - 32° 00.00‘ N, 33° 10.00’ E;
  (c) Deep Sea fisheries restricted area ‘The Eratosthenes Seamount’ bounded by lines joining the following coordinates:
     - 33° 00.00‘ N, 32° 00.00’ E
     - 33° 00.00‘ N, 33° 00.00’ E
     - 34° 00.00‘ N, 33° 00.00’ E
     - 34° 00.00‘ N, 32° 00.00’ E.

Article 11

Protections of sensitive habitats

Member States shall ensure that their competent authorities are called upon to protect the deep-sea sensitive habitats in the areas referred to in Article 10 ▌ in particular ▌ from the impacts of any other ▌ activity jeopardising the conservation of the features that characterise those habitats. [Amendment 18]

Chapter II

Establishment of a closed season for the dolphinfish fisheries using fish aggregating devices (FADs)

Article 12

Closed season

1.  The common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) fisheries using fish aggregating devices (FADs) shall be prohibited from 1 January to 14 August of each year.

2.  By way of derogation from paragraph 1, if a Member State can demonstrate that, because of bad weather, the fishing vessels flying its flag were unable to utilise their normal fishing days, that Member State may carry over days lost by its vessels in FAD fisheries until 31 January of the following year. In that case, before the end of the year, Member States shall submit to the Commission an application for the number of days to carry over.

3.  Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall also apply in the management zone referred to in Article 26(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006.

4.  The application referred to in paragraph 2 shall contain the following information:

   (a) a report containing the details of the cessation of fishing activities in question, including appropriate supporting meteorological information;
   (b) the name of the vessel and its EU Fleet Register number. [Amendment 19]

5.  The Commission shall decide on the applications referred to in paragraph 2 within 6 weeks from the date of reception of the application, and inform the Member State in writing thereof.

6.  The Commission shall inform the Executive Secretary of the GFCM of decisions taken pursuant to paragraph 5. Before 1 November of each year, Member States shall send to the Commission a report on the carrying over of days lost in the previous year as referred to in paragraph 2.

Article 13

Special fishing permit

Fishing vessels authorised to participate in the common dolphinfish fishery shall be granted a special fishing permit in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1627/94 and shall be included in a list containing the name of the vessel and its EU Fleet Register number, to be provided to the Commission by the Member State concerned. Notwithstanding Article 1(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1627/94, vessels of an overall length of less than 10 meters shall be required to have a special fishing permit. [Amendment 20]

This requirement shall also apply to the management zone referred to in Article 26(1) of Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006.

Article14

Data collection

Without prejudice to Council Regulation (EC) No 199/2008 of 25 February 2008 concerning the establishment of a Community framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the Common Fisheries Policy(14), Member States shall set up an appropriate system for the collection and treatment of fisheries catch and effort data.

Member States shall report to the Commission, by 15 January of each year, on the number of vessels involved in the fishery and on the total landings and transhipments of common dolphinfish carried out in the previous year by the fishing vessels flying their flag in each geographical sub-area of the GFCM Agreement area as set out in Annex I.

The Commission shall forward the information received from the Member States to the Executive Secretary of the GFCM.

Chapter III

Fishing gear

[Amendments 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25]

Article 15

Minimum mesh size in the Black Sea

1.  The minimum mesh size for nets used for trawling activities exploiting demersal stocks in the Black Sea shall be 40 mm; panels of netting smaller than 40 mm mesh size opening shall not be used or kept on board.

2.  By 31 January 2012, the net referred to in paragraph 1 shall be replaced by a square-meshed net of 40 mm at the cod-end or, at the duly justified request of the ship-owner, by a diamond meshed net of 50mm which must have an acknowledged size selectivity that is equivalent to or higher than that of square-meshed nets of 40 mm at the cod-end.

3.  Member States whose fishing vessels conduct trawling activities exploiting demersal stocks in the Black Sea shall submit to the Commission, for the first time by 1 October 2011 and subsequently every 6 months, the list of fishing vessels, and their percentage out of the whole national demersal trawl fleet equipped with a square-meshed net of at least 40 mm at the cod-end or diamond meshed nets of at least 50mm. [Amendment 26]

4.  The Commission shall forward the information referred to in paragraph 2 to the Executive Secretary of the GFCM.

Article 16

Use of towed dredges and trawl nets fisheries

The use of towed dredges and trawl nets fisheries at depths beyond 1000m shall be prohibited.

TITLE III

CONTROL MEASURES

CHAPTER I

REGISTER OF VESSELS

Article 17

Register of authorised vessels

1.  Before 1 December of each year, each Member State shall send the Commission, through the accustomed data-processing support, an updated list of the vessels of more than 15 metres overall length flying its flag and registered in its territory that it authorises to fish in the GFCM Agreement area by issue of a fishing authorisation. [Amendment 27]

2.  The list indicated in paragraph 1 shall include the following information:

   (a) vessel's EU fleet register number, and external marking as defined in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 26/2004; [Amendment 28]
   (b) period authorised for fishing and/or transhipment;
   (c) fishing gears used.

3.  The Commission shall send the updated list to the GFCM Executive Secretary before 1 January of each year so that these vessels can be entered on the GFCM register of vessels of more than 15 metres in overall length authorised to fish in the GFCM Agreement area (‘the GFCM register’). [Amendment 29]

4.  Any change to be made to the list indicated in paragraph 1 shall be notified to the Commission for transmission to the GFCM Executive Secretary and the same procedure shall apply, at least 10 working days before the vessel begins fishing activity in the GFCM Agreement area.

5.  EU fishing vessels of more than 15 metres in overall length that are not entered on the list indicated in paragraph 1 shall not fish, retain on board, tranship or land any type of fish or shellfish within the GFCM Agreement area. [Amendment 30]

6.  Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that:

   (a) only vessels flying their flag that are included in the list indicated in paragraph 1 and hold on board a fishing authorisation issued by them are authorised, under the terms of the authorisation, to carry out fishing activities in the GFCM Agreement area; [Amendment 31]
   (b) no fishing authorisation is issued to vessels that have carried out IUU fishing in the GFCM Agreement area or elsewhere, unless the new owners provide adequate documentary evidence that the previous owners and operators have no longer any legal, beneficial or financial interest in, or exercise any control over, their vessels, or that their vessels neither take part in nor are associated with IUU fishing; [Amendment 32]
   (c) as far as possible, their national legislation prohibits owners and operators of vessels flying their flag that are included in the list indicated in paragraph 1 from taking part in or being associated with fishing activities in the GFCM Agreement area by vessels not on the GFCM register;
   (d) as far as possible, their national legislation requires owners of vessels flying their flag that are included in the list indicated in paragraph 1 to be nationals or legal entities within the flag Member State;
   (e) their vessels comply with all the relevant GFCM conservation and management measures.

7.  Member States shall take the necessary measures to prohibit fishing, retention on board, transhipment and landing of fish and shellfish caught in the GFCM Agreement area by vessels of more than 15 metres in overall length that are not on the GFCM register.

8.  Member States shall, without delay, pass on to the Commission any information showing that there are strong reasons for suspecting that vessels of more than 15 metres in overall length that are not on the GFCM register are fishing for or transhipping fish and shellfish in the GFCM Agreement area.

CHAPTER II

PORT STATE MEASURES

Article 18

Scope

This Chapter shall apply to third country fishing vessels.

Article 19

Prior notice

By way of derogation from Article 6(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 ▌, the period for prior notification shall be at least 72 hours before the estimated time of arrival at the port. [Amendment 33]

Article 20

Port inspections

1.  Notwithstanding Article 9(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008, Member States shall carry out inspections in their designated ports of at least 15 % of landings and transhipment operations each year.

2.  Notwithstanding Article 9(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008, fishing vessels that enter into a Member States‘ port without prior authorisation shall be inspected in all cases.

Article 21

Inspection procedure

In addition to the requirements provided for in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 port inspections shall comply with the requirements set out in Annex II to this Regulation.

Article 22

Denial of use of port

1.  Member States shall not allow a third-country vessel to use their ports for landing, transhipping or processing of fisheries products caught in the GFCM Agreement area and shall deny it access to port services, including, inter alia, refuelling and resupplying services, except in cases of force majeure or distress within the meaning of Article 18 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for services strictly necessary to remedy those situations, if: [Amendment 34]

   (a) the vessel does not comply with the requirements of this Regulation; or [Amendment 35]
   (b) the vessel is included in a list of vessels having engaged in, or supported, IUU fishing adopted by a regional fisheries management organisation; or
   (c) the vessel does not have a valid authorisation to engage in fishing or fishing related activities in the GFCM Agreement area.

2.  Paragraph 1 shall apply in addition to the provisions on denial of use of port provided for by Articles 4(2) and 37(5) and (6) of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008.

3.  Where a Member State has denied the use of its ports in accordance with paragraphs 1 or 2, it shall promptly notify the master of the vessel, the flag State, the Commission, the Executive Secretary of the GFCM of such action.

4.  Where the grounds for denial referred to in paragraphs 1 or 2 no longer apply, the Member State shall withdraw its denial and notify thereof the addressees of the notification issued pursuant to paragraph 3.

TITLE IV

COOPERATION, INFORMATION AND REPORTING

Article 23

Cooperation and information

1.  The Commission and Member States shall cooperate and exchange information with the Executive Secretary of the GFCM, in particular by:

   (a) requesting information from, and providing information to relevant databases;
   (b) requesting and providing cooperation to promote the effective implementation of this Regulation.

2.  Member States shall ensure that their national fisheries related information systems allow for the direct electronic exchange of information on port State inspections referred to in Title III between them and the GFCM Secretariat, with due regard to appropriate confidentiality requirements.

3.  Member States shall take measures to share, by electronic means, information among relevant national agencies and to coordinate the activities of such agencies in the implementation of the measures under Chapter II of Title III. [Amendment 36]

4.  Member States shall establish a list of contact points for the purpose of this Regulation, which shall be transmitted electronically, without delay, to the Commission, the Executive Secretary of GFCM and GFCM Contracting Parties.

Article 24

Reporting of statistical matrices

1.  Member States shall submit, before 1 May each year, to the Executive Secretary of the GFCM, the data of Task 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 of the GFCM statistical matrix as set out in Annex III.

[Amendment 37]

2.  The first submission of the data of Task 1.3 and 1.5 shall be made before 1 February 2011.

3.  For the submission of data referred to in paragraph 1, Member States shall use the GFCM data-entry system or any other appropriate data submission standard and protocol set by the GFCM Secretariat and available at the following web-site: http://www.gfcm.org/gfcm/topic/16164.

4.  Member States shall inform the Commission of the data submitted on the basis of this Article.

TITLE V

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 25

Implementing acts[Amendment 48]

The Commission may adopt implementing acts in order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation. Those implementing acts, which shall be without prejudice to Article 27 of this Regulation and which shall not apply to provisions of this Regulation on Port state measures in Chapter II and Port state inspection procedures in Annex II, shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 26 (2). [Amendment 49]

Article 26

Committee procedure[Amendment 50]

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture established by Article 30(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002. That committee is a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of European Parliament and of the Council. [Amendment 51]

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation 182/2011/EU shall apply. ▌ [Amendment 52]

[Amendment 40]

Article 27

Delegation of power

[Amendment 41]

As far as necessary, in order to transpose into Union law amendments to the existing provisions of the Scheme which become obligatory for the Union, the Commission may amend the provisions of this Regulation, by means of delegated acts, in accordance with Article 28 and subject to the conditions set out in Articles 29 and 30, concerning:

   the fisheries restricted area in the Gulf of Lions as set out in Articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9;
   the fisheries restricted areas in order to protect deep-sea sensitive habitats as set out in Title II, Chapter I, Section II, Articles 10 and 11;
   the establishment of a closed season for the dolphinfish fisheries using FADs as set out in Title II, Chapter II, Articles 12, 13 and 14;
   the provision of information to the Executive Secretary of GFCM as set out in Article 15(4);
   the register of authorised vessels as set out in Article 17;
   cooperation, information and reporting as set out in Articles 23 and 24;
   table, map and geographical coordinates of GFCM Geographical Sub-Areas as set out in Annex I;
   GFCM statistical matrixes as set out in Annex III.

Article 28

Exercise of the delegation

1.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 27 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of three years from …(15). The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegated power at the latest six months before the end of the three-year period. The delegation of power shall be automatically extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council revokes it in accordance with Article 29.

2.  As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.

3.  The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in Articles 29 and 30.

[Amendment 42]

Article 29

Revocation of the delegation

1.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 27 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council.

2.  The institution which has commenced an internal procedure for deciding whether to revoke the delegation of power shall endeavour to inform the other institution and the Commission within a reasonable time before the final decision is taken, indicating the delegated power which could be subject to revocation and possible reasons for a revocation.

3.  The decision of revocation shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect immediately or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of the delegated acts already in force. It shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

[Amendment 43]

Article 30

Objections to delegated acts

1.  The European Parliament or the Council may object to a delegated act within a period of two months from the date of notification.

At the initiative of the European Parliament or the Council that period shall be extended by two months.

2.  If, on expiry of the period referred to in paragraph 1, neither the European Parliament nor the Council has objected to the delegated act, it shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and shall enter into force on the date stated therein.

The delegated act may be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force before the expiry of that period if the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission of their intention not to raise objections.

3.  If either the European Parliament or the Council objects to the delegated act within the period referred to in paragraph 1, it shall not enter into force. The institution which objects shall state the reasons for objecting to the delegated act.

[Amendment 44]

Article 31

Amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006

[Amendment 45]

[Amendment 46]

Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 is amended as follows:

   (a) in Article 4, paragraph 3 is deleted;
   ( b) in Article 9, paragraph 3 shall be replaced by the following:"
3.  For towed nets other than those referred to in paragraph 4, the minimum mesh size shall be at least:
   ( a) a square-meshed net of 40 mm at the cod-end, or
   ( b) at the duly justified request of the ship owner, a diamond-meshed net of 50mm of an acknowledged size selectivity that is equivalent to or higher than that of nets referred to under (a).

Fishing vessels shall be authorised to use and keep on board only one of the two types of nets.
The Commission shall submit a report on the implementation of this paragraph to the European Parliament and the Council by 30 June 2012, on the basis of which, as well as on the basis of the information supplied by Member States before 31 December 2011, it shall propose suitable amendments where appropriate."
   (c) Article 24 is deleted;
   (d) in Article 27, paragraphs 1 and 4 are deleted.

Article 32

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at ,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX I

A)  Table of GFCM Geographical Sub-Areas (GSAs)

FAO SUBAREA

FAO STATISTICAL DIVISIONS

GSAs

WESTERN

1.1

BALEARIC

1

Northern Alboran Sea

2

Alboran Island

3

Southern Alboran Sea

4

Algeria

5

Balearic Island

6

Northern Spain

11.1

Sardinia (west)

1.2

GULF OF LIONS

7

Gulf of Lions

1.3

SARDINIA

8

Corsica Island

9

Ligurian and North Tyrrhenian Sea

10

South Tyrrhenian Sea

11.2

Sardinia (east)

12

Northern Tunisia

CENTRAL

2.1

ADRIATIC

17

Northern Adriatic

18

Southern Adriatic Sea (part)

2.2

IONIAN

13

Gulf of Hammamet

14

Gulf of Gabes

15

Malta Island

16

South of Sicily

18

Southern Adriatic Sea (part)

19

Western Ionian Sea

20

Eastern Ionian Sea

21

Southern Ionian Sea

EASTERN

3.1

AEGEAN

22

Aegean Sea

23

Crete Island

3.2

LEVANT

24

North Levant

25

Cyprus Island

26

South Levant

27

Levant

BLACK SEA

4.1

MARMARA

28

Marmara Sea

4.2

BLACK SEA

29

Black Sea

4.3

AZOV SEA

30

Azov Sea

B)  Map of GFCM GSAs (GFCM, 2009)

20110308-P7_TA(2011)0079_EN-p0000001.jpg

─ FAO Statistical Divisions (red) ─ GFCM GSA (black)

01 - Northern Alboran Sea

07 - Gulf of Lions

13 - Gulf of Hammamet

19 - Western Ionian Sea

25 - Cyprus Island

02 - Alboran Island

08 - Corsica Island

14 - Gulf of Gabes

20 - Eastern Ionian Sea

26 - South Levant

03 - Southern Alboran Sea

09 - Ligurian and North Tyrrhenian Sea

15 - Malta Island

21 - Southern Ionian Sea

27 - Levant

04 – Algeria

10 - South and Central Tyrrhenian Sea

16 - South of Sicily

22 - Aegean Sea

28 - Marmara Sea

05 - Balearic Island

11.1 - Sardinia (west) 11.2 - Sardinia (east)

17 - Northern Adriatic

23 - Crete Island

29 - Black Sea

06 - Northern Spain

12 - Northern Tunisia

18 - Southern Adriatic Sea

24 - North Levant

30 - Azov Sea

C)Geographical coordinates for GFCM GSAs (GFCM, 2009)

GSAs

LIMITS

GSAs

LIMITS

GSAs

LIMITS

GSAs

LIMITS

1

Coast Line

36º N 5º 36‘ W

36º N 3º 20‘ W

36º 05‘ N 3º 20’ W

36º 05‘ N 2º 40’ W

36º N 2º 40‘ W

36º N 1º 30‘ W

36º 30‘ N 1º 30’ W

36º 30‘ N 1º W

37º 36‘ N 1º W

4

Coast Line

36º N 2º 13‘ W

36º N 1º 30‘ W

36º 30‘ N 1º 30’ W

36º 30‘ N 1º W

37º N 1º W

37º N 0º 30‘ E

38º N 0º 30‘ E

38º N 8º 35‘ E

Algeria-Tunisia border

Morocco-Algeria border

7

Coast line

42º 26‘ N 3º 09’ E

41º 20‘ N 8º E

France-Italy border

10

Coast line (including North Sicily)

41º 18‘ N 13º E

41º 18‘ N 11º E

38º N 11º E

38º N 12º 30‘ E

2

36º 05‘ N 3º 20’ W

36º 05‘ N 2º 40’ W

35º 45‘ N 3º 20’ W

35º 45‘ N 2º 40’ W

5

38º N 0º 30‘ E

39º 30‘ N 0º 30’ E

39º 30‘ N 1º 30’ W

40º N 1º 30‘ E

40º N 2º E

40º 30‘ N 2º E

40º 30‘ N 6º E

38º N 6º E

8

43º 15‘ N 7º 38’ E

43º 15‘ N 9º 45’ E

41º 18‘ N 9º 45’ E

41º 20‘ N 8º E

41° 18‘ N 8° E

11

41º 47‘ N 6º E

41° 18‘ N 6° E

41º 18‘ N 11º E

38º 30‘ N 11º E

38º 30‘ N 8º 30’ E

38º N 8º 30‘ E

38º N 6º E

3

Coast Line

36º N 5º 36‘ W

35º 49‘ N 5º 36’ W

36º N 3º 20‘ W

35º 45‘ N 3º 20’ W

35º 45‘ N 2º 40’ W

36º N 2º 40‘ W

36º N 1º 13‘ W

Morocco-Algeria border

6

Coast line

37º 36‘ N 1º W

37º N 1º W

37º N 0º 30‘ E

39º 30‘ N 0º 30’ E

39º 30‘ N 1º 30’ W

40º N 1º 30‘ E

40º N 2º E

40º 30‘ N 2º E

40º 30‘ N 6º E

41º 47‘ N 6º E

42º 26‘ N 3º 09’ E

9

Coast line

France-Italy border

43º 15‘ N 7º 38’ E

43º 15‘ N 9º 45’ E

41º 18‘ N 9º 45’ E

41º 18‘ N 13º E

12

Coast line

Algeria-Tunisia border

38º N 8º 30‘ E

38º 30‘ N 8º 30’ E

38º 30‘ N 11º E

38º N 11º E

37º N 12º E

37º N 11º 04‘E

GSAs

LIMITS

GSAs

LIMITS

GSAs

LIMITS

13

Coast line

37º N 11º 04‘E

37º N 12º E

35º N 13º 30‘ E

35º N 11º E

19

Coast line (including East Sicily)

40º 04‘ N 18º 29’ E

37º N 15º 18‘ E

35º N 15º 18‘ E

35º N 19º 10‘ E

39º 58‘ N 19º 10’ E

25

35º 47‘ N 32º E

34º N 32º E

34º N 35º E

35º 47‘ N 35º E

14

Coast line

35º N 11º E

35º N 15º 18‘ E

Tunisia-Libya border

20

Coast line

Albania-Greece border

39º 58‘ N 19º 10’ E

35º N 19º 10‘ E

35º N 23º E

36º 30‘ N 23º E

26

Coast line

Libya-Egypt border

34º N 25º 09‘ E

34º N 34º 13‘ E

Egypt-Gaza Strip border

15

36º 30‘ N 13º 30’ E

35º N 13º 30‘E

35º N 15º 18‘ E

36º 30‘ N 15º 18’ E

21

Coast line

Tunisia-Libya border

35º N 15º 18‘ E

35º N 23º E

34º N 23º E

34º N 25º 09‘ E

Libya-Egypt border

27

Coast line

Egypt-Gaza Strip border

34º N 34º 13‘ E

34º N 35º E

35º 47‘ N 35º E

Turkey-Syria border

16

Coast line

38º N 12º 30‘ E

38º N 11º E

37º N 12º E

35º N 13º 30‘ E

36º 30‘ N 13º 30’ E

36º 30‘ N 15º 18’ E

37º N 15º 18‘ E

22

Coast line

36º 30‘ N 23º E

36º N 23º E

36º N 26º 30‘ E

34º N 26º 30‘ E

34º N 29º E

36º 43‘ N 29º E

28

17

Coast line

41º 55‘ N 15º 08’ E

Croatia-Montenegro border

23

36º N 23º E

36º N 26º 30‘ E

34º N 26º 30‘ E

34º N 23º E

29

18

Coast lines (both sides)

41º 55‘ N 15º 08’ E

40º 04‘ N 18º 29’ E

Croatia-Montenegro border

Albania-Greece border

24

Coast line

36º 43‘ N 29º E

34º N 29º E

34º N 32º E

35º 47‘ N 32º E

35º 47‘ N 35º E

Turkey-Syria border

30

ANNEX II

Port state inspection procedures for vessels

(1)  Vessel identification

The port inspector(s) shall:

   a) verify that the official documentation onboard is valid, if necessary, through appropriate contacts with the flag State or international records of vessels;
   b) where necessary, arrange for an official translation of the documentation;
   c) be assured that the vessel's name, flag, any external identification number and markings (and International Maritime Organization (IMO) ship identification number when available) and the international radio call sign are correct;
   d) to the extent possible, examine whether the vessel has changed name and/or flag and, if so, note the previous name(s) and flag(s);
   e) note the port of registration, name and address of the owner (and operator and beneficial owner if different from the owner), agent, and master of the vessel, including the unique ID for company and registered owner if available; and
   f) note name(s) and address(es) of previous owner(s), if any, during the past five years.

(2)  Authorisation(s)

The port inspector(s) shall verify that the authorisation(s) to fish or transport fish and fishery products are compatible with the information obtained under paragraph 1 and examine the duration of the authorisation(s) and their application to areas, species and fishing gear.

(3)  Other documentation

The port inspector(s) shall review all relevant documentation, including documents in electronic format. Relevant documentation may include logbooks, in particular the fishing logbook, as well as the crew list, stowage plans and drawings or descriptions of fish holds if available. Such holds or areas may be inspected in order to verify whether their size and composition correspond to these drawings or descriptions and whether the stowage is in accordance with the stowage plans. Where appropriate, this documentation shall also include catch documents or trade documents issued by any regional fisheries management organisation.

(4)  Fishing gear

a)  The port inspector(s) shall verify that the fishing gear on board is in conformity with the conditions of the authorisation(s). The gear may also be checked to ensure that features such as, inter alia, the mesh size(s) (and possible devices), length of nets, hook sizes conform with applicable regulations and that identification marks of the gear correspond to those authorised for the vessel.

b)  The port inspector(s) may also search the vessel for any fishing gear stowed out of sight and for fishing gear that is otherwise illegal.

(5)  Fish and fishery products

(a)  The port inspector(s) shall, to the greatest extent possible, examine whether the fish and fishery products on board were harvested in accordance with the conditions set out in the applicable authorisation(s). In doing so, the port inspector(s) shall examine the fishing logbook, reports submitted, including those transmitted by a vessel monitoring system (VMS), as appropriate.

(b)  In order to determine the quantities and species on board, the port inspector(s) may examine the fish in the hold or during the landing. In doing so, the port inspector(s) may open cartons where the fish has been pre-packed and move the fish or cartons to ascertain the integrity of fish holds.

(c)  If the vessel is unloading, the port inspector(s) may verify the species and quantities landed. Such verification may include product type, live weight (quantities determined from the logbook) and the conversion factor used for calculating processed weight to live weight. The port inspector(s) may also examine any possible quantities retained onboard.

(d)  The port inspector(s) may review the quantity and composition of all catch onboard, including by sampling.

(6)  Verification of IUU fishing

Article 11 of Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 applies.

(7)  Report

A written report shall be prepared and signed by the inspector on completion of the inspection and a copy provided to the master of the vessel.

(8)  Results of Port State Inspections

Results of port State inspections shall include at least the following information:

1.  Inspection references

–  Inspecting authority (name of inspecting authority or the alternate body nominated by the authority);

   Name of inspector;
   Date and time of inspection;
   Port of inspection (place where the vessel is inspected); and
   Date (date the report is completed).

2.  Vessel identification

–  Name of the vessel;

   Type of vessel;
   Type of gear;
   External identification number (side number of the vessel) and IMO-number (if available) or other number as appropriate;
   International Radio Call Sign;
   MMS I-number (Maritime Mobile Service Identity number), if available;

–  Flag State (State where the vessel is registered);

   Previous name(s) and flag(s), if any;
   Home port (port of registration of the vessel) and previous home ports;
   Vessel owner (name, address, contact of the vessel owner);
   Vessel beneficial owner if different from the vessel owner (name, address, contact);
   Vessel operator responsible for using the vessel if different from the vessel owner (name, address, contact);
   Vessel agent (name, address, contact)
   Name(s) and address(es) of previous owner(s), if any;
   Name, nationality and maritime qualifications of master and fishing master;
   Crew list

3.  Fishing authorisation (licenses/permits)

–  The vessels‘ authorisation(s)to fish or transport fish and fish products;

–  State(s) issuing the authorisation(s);

   Terms of the authorisation(s), including areas and duration;
   Relevant regional fisheries management organisation;
   Areas, scope and duration of the authorisation(s);
   Details of allocation authorised ‐ quota, effort or other;
   Species, by-catch and fishing gear authorised; and
   Transhipment records and documents (where applicable).

4.  Fishing trip information

–  Date, time, zone and place current fishing trip commenced;

   Areas visited (entry and exit from different areas);
   Transhipment activities at sea (date, species, place, quantity of fish transhipped)
   Last port visited; and
   Date and time where current fishing trip ended
   Intended next port of call, as appropriate.

5.  Result of the inspection on the catch

–  Start and end of discharge (times and date):

   Fish species;
   Product type;
   Live weight (quantities determined from the log book);
   Relevant conversion factor;
   Processed weight (quantities landed by species and presentation);
   Equivalent live weight (quantities landed in equivalent live weight, as ‘product Weight multiplied with the conversion factor’); and
   Intended destination of fish and fishery products inspected.
   Quantity and species of fish retained on board, if any.

6.  Results of gear inspection

–  Details of gear types.

7.  Conclusions

–  Conclusions of the inspection including identification of the violations believed to have been committed and reference to the relevant rules and measures. Such evidence shall be attached to the inspection report.

ANNEX III

A)GFCM/SAC Fleet Segmentation

Groups

<6 metres

6-12 metres

12-24 metres

More than 24 metres

1.Polyvalent small-scale vessels without engine

A

2. Polyvalent small-scale vessels with engine

B

C

3. Trawlers

D

E

F

4. Purse seiners

G

H

5. Long liners

I

6. Pelagic Trawlers

J

7. Tuna seiners

K

8. Dredgers

L

9. Polyvalent vessels

M

Description of segments

A Polyvalent small-scale vessels without engine - All vessels less than 12 metres in length (LOA) without an engine (wind or propulsion).

B Polyvalent small-scale vessels with engine less than 6 m - All vessels under 6 metres in length (LOA) with engine.

C Polyvalent small-scale vessels with engine between 6 and 12 metres - All vessels between 6 and 12 metres in length (LOA) with engine, that use different gears during the year without clear predominance of one of them or that use a gear not considered in this classification.

D Trawlers less than 12 m - All vessels less than 12 metres in length (LOA) allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a demersal trawl.

E Trawlers between 12 and 24 m - All vessels, between 12 and 24 metres in length (LOA) allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a demersal trawl.

F Trawlers longer than 24 m - All vessels over 24 metres in length (LOA), allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a demersal trawl.

G Purse Seiners between 6 and 12 m - All vessels between 6 and 12 m in length (LOA), allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a purse seine.

H Purse Seiners longer than 12 m - All vessels over 12 m in length (LOA), allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a purse seine, excluding those using a tuna seine during any time of the year.

I Long liners longer than 6 m - All vessels over 6 m in length (LOA), allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a long line.

J Pelagic Trawlers longer than 6 m - All vessels over 6 m in length (LOA), allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a pelagic trawl.

K Tuna Seiners - All vessels operating with a Tuna Seine for any length of time during the year.

L Dredgers longer than 6 m - All vessels over 6 m in length (LOA), allocating more than 50 percent of their effort operating with a dredge.

M Polyvalent vessels longer than 12 m - All vessels over 12 metres in length (LOA), that use different gears during the year without clear predominance of one of them or that use a gear not considered in this classification.

Note: All the cells are open for collecting information. The cells left blank in the above table are considered as unlikely to have a significant population. However, if necessary, it is advisable to merge the information of a ‘blank cell’ with the most appropriate neighbouring ‘blue cell’

B)Table on fishing effort(16) measurement

Gear

Number and dimension

Capacity

Activity

Nominal Effort(17)

Dredge (for molluscs)

Open mouth, width of mouth

GT

Time fishing

Dredged bottom surface(18)

Trawl (including dredges for flatfishes)

Type of trawl (pelagic, bottom)

GT and/or GRT

Engine power

Mesh size

Size of the net (width of mouth)

Speed

GT

Time

Fishing

GT*days

GT*hours

KW*days

Purse seine

Length and drop of the net

GT

Light power

Number of small boats

GT

Length and drop of the net

Search time

Set

GT * Fishing sets14

Length of the net *

fishing sets

Nets

Type of net (e.g.trammel net,

gillnets, etc.)

Net length (used in regulations)

GT

Net surface

Mesh size

Net length and drop

Time fishing

Net length * days

Surface*days

Long lines

Number of hooks

GT

Number of longline

Characteristics of hooks

Bait

Number of

hooks

Number of

longline unit

Time fishing

Number of hooks *

hours

Number of hooks * days

Number of longline

units * days/hours

Traps

GT

Number of

traps

Time

fishing

Number of traps * days

Purse

seine/FADs

Number of FADs

Number of FADs

Number of

trips

Number of FADs *

Number of trips

C)  GFCM Task 1 – Operational Units

20110308-P7_TA(2011)0079_EN-p0000003.jpg

(1) OJ C 354, 28.12.2010, p. 71.
(2) OJ C 354, 28.12.2010, p. 71.
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 8 March 2011.
(4) OJ L 190, 4.7.1998, p. 34.
(5) Council Regulation (EC) No 43/2009 Articles 28-31, Council Regulation (EC) No 40/2008 Articles 29-31, Council Regulation (EC) No 41/2007 Articles 26-27, Council Regulation (EC) No 51/2006 Annex III.
(6) OJ L 409, 30.12.2006, p. 11.
(7) OJ L 286, 29.10.2008, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(9) OJ L 358, 31.12.2002, p. 59.
(10)* 20 working days after the entry into force of this Regulation.
(11) OJ L 5, 9.1 2004, p. 25.
(12) OJ L 171, 6.7.1994, p. 7.
(13)* 20 working days after the entry into force of this Regulation.
(14) OJ L 60, 5.3.2008, p. 1.
(15)* Date of the entry into force of this Regulation.
(16) It refers to nominal effort.
(17) Should be referred to a particular area (indicating the surface) to estimate fishing intensity (effort • km2) and to relate the effort to exploited communities.
(18) The effort measures that do not include a time activity should be referred to a period of time (i.e. by year).


Innovative financing at a global and European level
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on innovative financing at global and European level (2010/2105(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0080A7-0036/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 17 June 2010 and the conclusions of the European Council of 11 December 2009,

–  having regard to the minutes of the ECOFIN meeting of 19 October 2010 and to the report to the European Council quoted therein,

–  having regard to the Belgian Presidency's programme, in particular the proposals on innovative financing,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2010 on financial transaction taxes – making them work(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 September 2010 on European Supervisory Authorities(3) and, specifically, its resolutions of 22 September 2010 on the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority(4), of 22 September 2010 on the European Banking Authority(5), of 22 September 2010 on the European Securities and Markets Authority(6), and of 22 September 2010 on macro-prudential oversight of the financial system and establishment of a European Systemic Risk Board(7),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document on innovative financing at a global and European level (SEC(2010)0409) and the Commission Communication on the taxation of the financial sector (COM(2010)0549), along with the accompanying staff working document (SEC(2010)1166),

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (COM(2010) 0484),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on Bank Resolution Funds (COM (2010)0254),

–  having regard to the G20 Declaration issued on 15 November 2008 in Washington, the G20 Declaration issued on 2 April 2009 in London and the Leaders‘ Statement of the G20 Summit of 25 September 2009 in Pittsburgh,

–  having regard to the 2010 IMF report to the G20 on Financial Sector Taxation,

–  having regard to the OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee paper entitled ‘The parameters of a financial transaction tax and the OECD global public good resource gap, 2010-2020’ of 15 February 2010,

–  having regard to the 2010 OECD report entitled ‘The elephant in the room: the need to deal with what banks do’,

–  having regard to the Austrian Economic Research Institute (WIFO) study entitled ‘A General Financial Transaction Tax: Motives, Revenues, Feasibility and Effects’ of March 2008,

–  having regard to the Foundation for European Progressive Studies paper entitled ‘Financial Transaction Taxes: Necessary, Feasible and Desirable’ of March 2010,

–  having regard to the Centre for Economic Policy Research study entitled ‘Benefits of a Financial Transactions Tax’ of December 2008,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission - State Aid Scoreboard - Report on recent developments on crisis aid to the financial sector (COM(2010)0255),

–  having regard to the Notre Europe study entitled ‘An ever less carbonated Union? Towards a better European Taxation against climate change’,

–  having regard to the outcome document of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations ‘Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals’ of September 2010,

–  having regard to the Declaration issued at the Seventh Plenary Meeting of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development held in Santiago in January 2010,

–  having regard to the 2010 Report of the Committee of Experts to the Taskforce on International Financial Transactions for Development ‘Globalising Solidarity: The Case for Financial Levies’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0036/2011),

A.  whereas the unprecedented global financial and economic crisis in 2007 revealed significant dysfunctions in the regulatory and supervisory framework of the global financial system, which can be described as the combination of unregulated financial markets, overly complex products and non-transparent jurisdictions; whereas Europe needs more transparent and efficient financial markets,

B.  whereas free markets are the foundation of wealth creation worldwide, and whereas market economies and free trade create wealth and lift people out of poverty,

C.  whereas the spectacular rise in the volume of financial transactions in the global economy within the last decade – a volume which in 2007 reached a level 73.5 times higher than nominal world GDP, mainly owing to the boom on the derivatives market - illustrates the growing disconnection between financial transactions and the needs of the real economy,

D.  whereas the financial sector is heavily reliant on trading patterns, such as high-frequency trade (HFT), which are mainly targeted on short-term profits and are exposed to a high degree of leverage, which was one of the main causes of the financial crisis; whereas this has caused excessive price volatility and persistent deviations of stock and commodity prices from their fundamental levels,

E.  whereas the ability of businesses, governments and individuals to borrow and lend to one another is a crucial factor for the global economy; whereas the financial crisis has provided examples of unfortunate features of the international capital market; whereas for that reason it is necessary to strike a balance between the need to take steps that help to preserve financial stability and the need to maintain banks‘ ability to provide credit to the economy,

F.  whereas at the G20 summits held in Washington in 2008 and in Pittsburgh in 2009 an agreement was reached to implement reforms to strengthen financial-market regulatory regimes and surveillance in order to make financial institutions assume their fair share of responsibility for the turmoil,

G.  whereas the main costs of the crisis have been borne thus far by taxpayers, whose money governments in many parts of the world have used to bail out private banks and other financial institutions; whereas there are growing calls for financial institutions and stakeholders, which have enjoyed years of excessive returns on equities and excessive annual bonus payouts and accounted for the majority of global corporate profits, to contribute their fair share to meeting the costs,

H.  whereas in the EU in particular the cost of the bail-outs has worsened and accelerated the onset of a fiscal and debt crisis that has placed an unexpected burden on public budgets and severely endangered job creation, welfare state provision and the achievement of climate and environmental goals,

I.  whereas short-termism and speculation on the European government bond market were important aggravating factors in the eurozone sovereign deficit crisis in 2009-2010 and have exposed the close links between the drawbacks of the financial sector and the problems in guaranteeing the sustainability of public finances at times of excessive budgetary deficits and growing public and private debt,

J.  whereas the ineffectiveness of the Stability and Growth Pact in its present form and the disparities in competitiveness between Member States prompted the current debate on European economic governance, key components of which should be measures to strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact, mainly its preventive provisions, launch without any further delay unavoidable structural reforms and coordinate taxation policies and the fight against tax avoidance, fraud and evasion in order to safeguard tax justice, while gradually shifting the tax burden from labour towards capital and activities with strong negative externalities,

K.  whereas the crisis has highlighted the need to raise new, broad-based, fair and sustainable revenues and to enforce existing laws on tax evasion and improve their effectiveness in order to ensure that fiscal consolidation is effectively combined with long-term economic recovery and the sustainability of public finances, job creation and social inclusion, which are key priorities of the EU 2020 agenda,

L.  whereas the serious budget constraints resulting from the recent crisis come at a time when the EU has entered into highly important commitments at global level, mainly relating to climate-change targets, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and development aid, in particular for climate change adaptation and mitigation for developing countries,

M.  whereas on 17 June 2010 the European Council stated that the EU should lead efforts to establish a global approach to the introduction of systems of levies and taxes on financial institutions and called for the issue of the introduction of a global financial transaction tax (FTT) to be explored and further developed,

N.  whereas it has already asked the Commission to carry out an impact assessment and provide an analysis of the positive merits of an FTT; resolving, therefore, to wait for this analysis before taking further action,

1.  Takes note of the work carried out so far by the Commission to respond to the call made by Parliament in its resolution of 10 March 2010 for a feasibility study on financial transaction taxes at global and EU level; stresses the need for a comprehensive impact assessment and calls for the result of the impact assessment and possible concrete proposals to be made public by summer 2011, as announced in the Commission's communication on Taxation of the Financial Sector; emphasises that a balanced and thorough feasibility study on an EU FTT should be the basis on which the procedure for introducing such a tax is implemented;

2.  Emphasises that an increase in the rates and the scope of existing taxation tools and further cuts in public expenditure can be neither a sufficient nor a sustainable solution to address the main challenges ahead at European and global level; stresses that, when addressing these challenges and discussing new systems of financing, one of the main priorities should be creating means to strengthen the European competitiveness and economic growth;

3.  Stresses that a properly functioning single market is the EU's most valuable tool in a global and competitive world and the main driver of European growth; stresses that the focus should be on strengthening the internal market and on finding ways to spend national and European resources more intelligently by taking a holistic view of budget reform, covering both the expenditure and the revenue side of the budget; points out that spending needs to be delivered in a way which is designed to bring results and new financial instruments for budget delivery must be smart, integrated and flexible;

4.  Emphasises that removing the remaining barriers within the internal market is the best way to promote real growth policies that deliver; notes that studies show that as much as EUR 200 to 300 billion could be saved annually if all barriers to the four freedoms were removed;

5.  Stresses the importance of the relaunch of the Single Market and emphasises that the EU must draw up and effectively implement common rules to enable the internal market to serve as a relay for structural growth; stresses that efforts must focus on the driving force of the European economy: Europe's 20 million businesses, especially the small and medium-sized ones run by entrepreneurs and other creative spirits;

6.  Emphasises that one of the European Union's greatest assets is its scale and that this asset must be used to the full by exploiting the potential of the Single Market and by using funds from the EU budget to bring added value to the public sector's efforts to stimulate the drivers of growth;

7.  Stresses that the Commission should adopt a common strategic framework, outlining a comprehensive investment strategy which translates Europe 2020‘s targets and objectives into investment priorities and indentifies investment needs in relation to headline targets and flagship projects and the reforms needed to maximise the impact of investment supported by cohesion policy;

8.  Stresses that one of the main advantages of innovative financing tools is that they can bring a double dividend, as they can at the same time contribute to the achievement of important policy goals, such as financial market stability and transparency, and offer significant revenue potential; stresses, in this context, that the effects of these tools on the negative externalities produced by the financial sector should also be taken into account;

Taxation of the financial sector

9.  Recalls that the financial damage caused by tax evasion and tax fraud in Europe is estimated at between EUR 200 and 250 billion every year; considers, therefore, that reducing tax fraud levels would help to reduce public deficits without increasing taxes; points out, against this background, that innovative financing should reinvigorate efforts by the Member States, the EU and the international community to combat tax avoidance and fraud as well as other forms of illicit capital flight which have a significant budgetary impact;

10.  Stresses that in the aftermath of the crisis the EU needs to convince its citizens that it has the will and the tools to go forward with a balanced combination of a fiscal consolidation strategy and stimulus policies in order to safeguard a long-term economic recovery;

11.  Considers that, while major progress has been achieved recently both on the regulatory and the supervisory fronts, tax policy is the missing dimension in the EU approach to the financial sector;

12.  Welcomes the Commission's recognition that the financial sector is under-taxed, in particular because no VAT is levied on most financial services, and calls for innovative financing measures to raise more from this sector and contribute to shifting the burden of taxation away from working people;

13.  Considers that the introduction of an FTT could help to tackle the highly damaging trading patterns in financial markets, such as some short-term and automated HFT transactions, and curb speculation; stresses that an FTT would thus have the potential to improve market efficiency, increase transparency, reduce excessive price volatility and create incentives for the financial sector to make long-term investments with added value for the real economy;

14.  Emphasises the current revenue estimates for a low-rate FTT, which could, with its large tax base, yield nearly EUR 200 billion per year at EU level and $650 billion at global level; considers that this could constitute a substantial contribution by the financial sector to the cost of the crisis and to public finance sustainability;

15.  Notes the developments in the debate concerning the FTT and the differing views concerning the feasibility, efficiency and effectiveness of such a tax, as well as the emerging discussion concerning a Financial Activities Tax (FAT), but notes that the G20 has so far been unable to promote meaningful joint initiatives on this matter; calls on the G20 leaders to speed up the negotiations for an agreement on the minimum common elements of a global FTT and to provide guidance on the desired future of these various kinds of taxation;

16.  Favours the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, which would improve the functioning of the market by reducing speculation and help to finance global public goods and reduce public deficits; considers that the introduction of a tax on financial transactions ought to be as broadly based as possible and that the EU should promote the introduction of an FTT at global level, failing which, the EU should implement an FTT at European level as a first step; calls on the Commission swiftly to produce a feasibility study, taking into account the need for a global level playing field, and to come forward with concrete legislative proposals;

17.  Points out that when examining options for the taxation of the financial sector at global and EU level the lessons learned from the introduction of sectoral transaction taxes at Member State level should be taken into account;

18.  Stresses, further, that the flow of merely speculative transactions to other jurisdictions would have few detrimental effects, but could also have the potential to contribute to increased market efficiency; also stresses that not all actions deemed to be speculative are to be condemned, since certain forms of risk-taking can enhance the stability of EU financial markets;

19.  Stresses that within the centralised European central market clearing and settlement services could facilitate the introduction of an EU FTT, making it cheap in administrative terms and simple to implement; recalls, however, that the global and interconnected nature of the financial industry must be taken into account when the technical aspects of the FTT are designed;

20.  Notes the recent Commission Communication as a first step in getting to grips with this topic; considers that the burden of proof regarding the possible advantages and/or drawbacks of the introduction of an FTT at EU level lies with the Commission and its impact assessment;

21.  Notes that the recent Commission Communication announced an impact assessment of various options for the taxation of the financial sector and calls on the Commission also to address in its feasibility study the geographical asymmetry of transactions and revenues and the possibility of a graded or differentiated rate on the basis of the asset category, the tax incidence, the nature of the actor involved or the short-term and speculative nature of some types of transactions; asks the Commission to draw on all available research;

22.  Calls on the Commission to analyse in its feasibility study the various possible options for an EU FTT and their impacts, including the benefits for the economy and society of reducing the scale of speculative financial transactions, which currently cause severe market distortions;

23.  Stresses that an FTT should have the broadest base possible so as to guarantee a level playing field in the financial markets and not drive transactions to less transparent vehicles; considers, therefore, that the Commission's feasibility study should look into all transactions with financial assets, such as exchange-traded spot and derivatives transactions carried out on markets and Over-The-Counter (OTC); points out that the grading of an FTT, with differentiated rates across trading venues, could further enhance market stability by creating positive incentives for financial actors to move transactions away from OTC vehicles to more transparent and well-regulated venues;

24.  Welcomes, in that context, the recent Commission proposals on OTC derivatives and short selling which impose explicit central clearing and trading repository requirements on all OTC derivatives transactions, thus making the implementation of this broad-based EU FTT technically feasible;

25.  Insists on determining who will ultimately be paying the tax, as the burden usually falls on the consumer, who in this case would be retail investors and individuals; stresses the need for comprehensive rules on exemptions and thresholds, in order to prevent this;

26.  Welcomes the recent proposals from the IMF, supported by the Commission, for a tax on bank assets to allow every country to levy between 2 and 4% of GDP to finance future crisis-resolution mechanisms; believes that bank levies should be proportionate to the systemic significance of the credit institution concerned and to the level of risk involved in an activity;

27.  Notes that bank levies, an FAT and an FTT each serve different economic objectives and have different revenue-raising potential; emphasises that, since they are based on balance-sheet positions, bank levies cannot take on the role of curbing financial speculation and further regulating shadow banking; in that connection, stresses, moreover, the importance of financial supervisory mechanisms and transparency in enhancing the resilience and stability of the financial system;

28.  Notes the IMF proposal on a FAT and the Commission's recent commitment to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment of its potential; stresses that an FAT is mainly a revenue-oriented tax tool that targets the financial sector, making it possible to tax economic rents and profits from excessive risk-taking, and as such could provide a solution to the current VAT exemption of the financial sector;

29.  Is aware of different options for the management of the additional revenues generated by the taxation of the financial sector at both national and European level; stresses that, the question regarding the purpose for which the revenues raised by an FTT should be used needs to be resolved and that, in order to give taxpayers a proper picture of the rationale behind additional financial sector taxation, the assessment of and prioritisation among different options should be seen as an essential element in the overall debate on innovative financing; stresses that, owing to its global nature, the revenue raised by a global FTT should be used to provide financing for global policy goals, such as development and poverty reduction in developing countries and the fight against climate change; notes the Commission's aim to increase the volume of the EU budget through the use of innovative financial instruments; is convinced that in order to safeguard the European added value of the aforementioned innovative financing tools a part of those revenues could be allocated to finance EU projects and policies; recalls that the Commission's recent Communication on a review of the EU budget regards EU taxation of the financial sector as a possible source of own resources; calls for a broad debate involving the EU institutions, national parliaments, EU stakeholders and civil society representatives on the choices available regarding those policies, the shares of revenue to be allocated at EU and national level and the various ways of achieving this; notes, with regard to the management of the share of the revenue allocated at national level, that all possible options should be evaluated, including the allocation of revenue to consolidate public finances;

30.  Emphasises that the possible introduction of these new taxation tools in the financial sector should be analysed in the context of the existing tax environment in that sector, taking into account secondary effects and keeping a special focus on identifying synergies between old and new taxes;

31.  Notes the Commission's aim to increase the volume of the EU budget through the use of innovative financial instruments and recognises the potential benefits of leveraging private sector funding with public money; is aware, however, that the use of special purpose vehicles for financing projects can result in increased contingent liabilities; believes, therefore, that such measures should be accompanied by fully transparent disclosure combined with appropriate investment guidelines, risk management, exposure limits and scrutiny and surveillance procedures, all to be established in a democratically accountable manner;

Eurobonds and European project bonds

32.  Notes that Eurobonds are increasingly referred to as a common debt management instrument; notes all recent proposals and initiatives to that effect; calls on the European Council and the Commission to provide an immediate response to call Parliament made in its resolution of 16 December 2010(8) on the permanent crisis mechanism for the necessary political signal to be given for a Commission investigation into a future system of Eurobonds, with a view to determining the conditions under which such a system would be beneficial to all participating Member States and to the eurozone as a whole;

33.  Supports the idea of issuing common European project bonds to finance Europe's significant infrastructure needs and structural projects in the framework of the EU 2020 agenda, anticipated new EU strategies, such as the new Strategy on Energy Infrastructure Development, and other large-scale projects; believes that EU project bonds would secure the investment required and create sufficient confidence to enable major investment projects to attract the support they need and would thus become an important mechanism for maximum leverage of public support; recalls that, if Europe is to be put on a sustainable footing, these projects must also contribute to the ecological transformation of our economies, paving the way for the zero-carbon economy;

34.  Emphasises that greater use should be made of the EU budget to leverage investment; stresses that the norm for projects with long-term commercial potential should be that EU funds are used in partnership with the private banking sector, in particular via the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD);

35.  Calls on the Commission and the European Central Bank to investigate the moral hazard implications for Member States of financing critical infrastructure projects via EU project bonds or Eurobonds, especially where such infrastructure projects are transnational in scope;

Carbon tax

36.  Stresses that the current taxation model should fully embrace the polluter-pays principle by using appropriate innovative financing tools in order gradually to shift the tax burden on to activities which pollute the environment, create significant greenhouse-gas emissions or use considerable volumes of resources;

37.  Supports, therefore, a strengthening of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and a comprehensive revision of the energy taxation directive to make CO2 emissions and energy content basic criteria for the taxation of energy products;

38.  Stresses that both tools have a strong double dividend, providing major incentives to shift towards carbon-free and sustainable and renewable energy sources, on the one hand, and significant additional revenue, on the other; recalls, however, that the main motive for introducing a carbon tax is to change behaviour and production structures, since the expected revenue will diminish when production patterns shift towards sustainable and renewable energy sources;

39.  Believes that a carbon tax and the revision of the energy taxation directive should set the minimum mandatory requirements for all Member States, leaving it to up to each Member State to go further on if it sees fit;

40.  Emphasises that adequate transitional periods should be laid down in order to avoid carbon leakages and to prevent overwhelming burdens being shifted to low-income consumers; considers it useful, moreover, to provide for specific targeted measures in favour of low-income households and to enhance investment in public-sector infrastructure and in household energy efficiency;

41.  Considers, however, that the scope for a global agreement at G20 level or within the WTO should be fully explored before such a tax is imposed on foreign imports into the EU in order to ensure that this border taxation adjustment tool does not give rise to a shortage of raw materials, on the one hand, and retaliatory measures by third countries against EU exports, on the other;

42.  Draws attention, bearing in mind the rising energy demand in emerging countries, to the EU's imperative need to come up with adequate investments in the areas of energy supply and efficiency that will strengthen its energy infrastructure and reduce as much as possible its vulnerability to market fluctuations which could have negative consequences for the EU economy and the EU 2020 objectives;

43.  Calls on the Member States to consider allocating revenues from climate-change taxation to finance R&D and measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions and combating global warming, stimulating energy efficiency, tackling energy poverty and improving energy infrastructure in the EU and in developing countries; recalls, in this context, that under the ETS Directive at least 50% of revenues from carbon dioxide emissions auctioning under the EU ETS should be earmarked for measures to combat climate change, including in the developing countries;

44.  Notes that revolving financial instruments for energy efficiency measures represent an innovative way of financing climate-friendly projects; welcomes the creation of a dedicated financial facility, which could also attract private investors (in the framework of public-private partnerships (PPPs)), which would use uncommitted funds from the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) Regulation to support energy efficiency and renewable initiatives; asks the Commission to assess carefully the effectiveness of this instrument and to analyse the potential for applying a similar approach, including initiatives on energy, energy efficiency and raw materials, to future unspent funds in the EU budget;

45.  Notes the importance of energy efficiency and therefore urges the Commission and Member States to make effective use of the Structural Funds to increase energy efficiency in buildings, in particular residences; calls for the effective use of funding by the EIB and other public funding bodies, as well as coordination between EU and national funds and other forms of assistance which could leverage investment in energy efficiency with a view to achieving EU objectives;

46.  Reminds Member States of the possibility of applying reduced rates of VAT to services offering home improvement and enhanced energy efficiency;

47.  Considers, also, that the thrifty use of resources and innovation in green technologies are of major importance in terms of competitiveness;

48.  Stresses the need, as new, innovative taxation is developed and ultimately introduced, for an overall, cross-border and cross-sectoral assessment of different types of existing and planned financing, taxation and subsidies for environment and climate activities, what might be termed a ‘de Larosière process for environment financing’, in order to target these new tools more effectively and eliminate the possibility of overlapping and/or conflicting policies;

49.  Acknowledges that a carbon tax would be an instrument to reduce emissions rather than a long-term source of income, as this source would eventually dry up should that instrument be effective;

Financing for development

50.  Calls for a re-affirmation by the Member States of their pledge to earmark 0.7% of their gross national income GNI to official development assistance (ODA); deplores the fact that while all EU Member States have accepted this 0.7% GNI target for spending, only Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands reached or exceeded this goal in 2008;

51.  Recalls that, despite the global crisis, the European Union as a whole, including its Member States, remains the leading development aid donor, accounting for 56% of the worldwide total, worth EUR 49 billion in 2009, which is confirmed by the EU governments‘ collective pledge to earmark 0.56% and 0.70% of GNI to ODA by 2010 and 2015 respectively;

52.  Stresses the paramount importance of sound financial management in respect of all EU development and humanitarian aid, in particular because the European institutions involved in the decision-making and implementation of this aid must be fully accountable to European citizens and taxpayers;

53.  Emphasises that innovative financing for development can complement traditional development aid mechanisms and so help them to achieve their goals on time; recalls that innovative financing instruments should be additional to the UN goal of 0.7% of GDP devoted to development cooperation; stresses that innovative financing for development should be characterised by diversity of funding, in order to reach maximum revenue potential, but also be fully tailored to each country's priorities, with strong country ownership; emphasises, at the same time, the need for developing countries to step up their own efforts in the area of taxation, mainly as regards tax collection and the fight against tax evasion, which are crucial to achieving a sound fiscal policy;

54.  Stresses that effective, high-quality development aid delivery calls for a particular effort in terms of donor coordination and governance arrangements; believes that tackling the problem of fragmentation in European development aid, which causes inefficiencies which have both financial and political consequences, would bring efficiency gains estimated at up to EUR 6 billion a year for Member States and also facilitate the work of partner country administrations;

55.  Recalls that USD 300 billion will be needed in order to achieve the MDG objectives by 2015; deplores the fact that, despite their recent declaration at the UN's High Level Summit on the MDGs in September 2010, a majority of developed nations have not yet honoured their 2005 commitment to increase development aid and points out that a much more concerted effort has to be made; emphasises that it is not acceptable that innovative financing mechanisms (IFMs) might be seen as encouraging certain countries to renounce official development assistance (ODA); stresses that ODA commitments and innovative financing mechanisms must be seen as essential and complementary in the fight against poverty;

56.  Stresses that public supervision and transparency of innovative financing systems are a sine qua non for their introduction, reflecting the lessons of the recent financial and food crises;

57.  Stresses the urgent need to improve EU coordination of wealth-creation measures in local markets and that promoting innovative financing for development should not focus only on increasing taxation but should also explore other paths, such as enhancing domestic revenue, which can be best achieved through the recognition and protection of property rights, land mapping, and improving the business and investment environment in developing countries;

58.  Recalls that major pandemic diseases – AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria – which strike developing countries, and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, constitute a major obstacle to achieving the MDGs; recalls, in this context, that a solidarity contribution levied on air tickets is an important financial tool in addressing health problems and one that needs to be further developed; calls, in particular, on the Commission to examine further financing mechanisms to address global health issues, and to facilitate access to medicines in poor countries;

59.  Points out that climate change will affect developing countries in particular and takes the view that funding measures to alleviate the effects of climate change and reduce energy poverty will contribute to achieving the MDGs;

60.  Welcomes the fact that the Final Declaration of the UN Summit on the MDGs, adopted on 22 September 2010, refers, for the first time, specifically to the role of innovative financing in achieving the MDGs;

61.  Underlines the success of innovative financing mechanisms to date, in particular the UNITAID international facility for the purchase of drugs, the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) and the advance market commitment (AMC) for vaccination against pneumococcal disease, which have to date raised over USD 2 billion; notes that other innovative financing mechanisms have also proved effective, for example debt-for-nature or debt-for-health swaps or bunker fuel taxes;

62.  Recalls the firm support given by a number of European Heads of State or Government to the implementation of a tax on financial transactions at the UN Summit on the MDGs in September 2010 and expects decisive action from them in support of this commitment;

63.  Calls on the Member States which have not yet done so to join the pilot group on innovative financing mechanisms set up in 2006 and participate in all existing mechanisms, including the solidarity contribution on airline tickets;

64.  Urges the Commission to propose the implementation of innovative development financing mechanisms at EU level;

65.  Calls on the institutions and EU governments to examine closely the possibility of creating a worldwide lottery to fund measures to combat hunger, as proposed by the World Food Programme, along the lines of the Food Project;

66.  Takes the view that ODA will fail to eradicate poverty if the G20, the EU and financial institutions do not take a determined stance in opposing corrupt administrations in recipient countries; stresses, therefore, the need to upgrade the EU's assistance in the area of the strengthening of tax authorities, the judiciary and anti-corruption agencies in developing countries; urges the EU Member States to combat bribery committed by companies which are domiciled in their jurisdictions, but which have operations in developing countries;

67.  Recalls that an estimated EUR 800 billion, i.e. 10 times the amount of ODA, is lost annually from developing countries through illicit practices such as unlawful capital flows and tax evasion, the prevention and reduction of which could prove decisive in achieving the MDGs; urges the EU and its Member States to place the fight against tax havens, corruption and harmful tax structures at the top of the agenda in all international fora so as to enable developing countries to increase their domestic revenues;

68.  Recalls the collective responsibility of the G20 to mitigate the impact of the crisis on developing countries, which have been hard hit by its indirect effects;

69.  Urges that, in order to achieve transparency in ODA, accountability should be promoted through the strengthening of national control mechanisms and parliamentary scrutiny of aid; calls on the EU and the G20 to pursue their agenda of cracking down on tax havens and tax secrecy, promoting country-by-country reporting;

70.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to promote and work towards the implementation of innovative financing instruments for development, such as an international financial transaction tax, transport levies, measures to combat illicit capital flows and the reduction or alleviation of remittance costs;

71.  Notes that the economic and financial crisis will throw many developing countries into a new debt crisis, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to renew their efforts to alleviate the debt burden on developing countries;

72.  Recalls that developing countries are the least well-equipped to deal with climate change, and are, generally speaking, likely to be the principal victims of this phenomenon; calls for the implementation of the EU financial pledge given under the Copenhagen Accord and in the context of the Global Climate Change Alliance; urges the EU to assume a pivotal role in joint initiatives by the industrialised countries to make a larger and more specific contribution to supporting development in the third world, to which they have a historic responsibility;

o
o   o

73.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Parliament Policy Challenges Committee, the Commission, the European Council, the EIB, the ECB, the IMF, and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 40.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0376.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0336.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0334.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0337.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0339.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0335.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0491.


Reducing health inequalities
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on reducing health inequalities in the EU (2010/2089(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0081A7-0032/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 168 and 184 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which deals with equality between men and women in all areas,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Solidarity in health: reducing health inequalities in the EU’ (COM(2009)0567),

–  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)(1),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2010/48/EC of 26 November 2009 concerning the conclusion, by the European Community, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(2),

–  having regard to the Social Protection Committee Opinion on ‘Solidarity in health: reducing health inequalities in the EU’,

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 8 June 2010 on ‘Equity and Health in All Policies: Solidarity in Health’,

–  having regard to the report on the second joint assessment by the Social Protection Committee and the Commission of the social impact of the economic crisis and of policy responses,

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions on ‘Common values and principles in European Union Health Systems’(3),

–  having regard to the Council Resolution of 20 November 2008 on the health and well-being of young people,

–  having regard to the Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (WHO, 2008),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘Solidarity in health: reducing health inequalities in the EU’(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 February 2007 on Promoting Healthy Diets and Physical Activity: a European Dimension for the Prevention of Overweight, Obesity and Chronic Diseases(5)) and its resolution of 25 September 2008 on the White Paper on Nutrition, Overweight and Obesity-related Health Issues(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 on the White Paper entitled ‘Together for Health: A Strategic Approach for the EU 2008-2013’(7),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0032/2011),

A.  whereas universality, access to high-quality care, equity and solidarity are common values and principles underpinning the health systems in the EU Member States,

B.  whereas, while people live, on average, longer and healthier lives than previous generations, the EU is faced, in the context of an ageing population, with an important challenge, namely the wide disparities in physical and mental health which exist and are growing between and within EU Member States,

C.  whereas the difference in life expectancy at birth between the lowest and highest socioeconomic groups is 10 years for men and six years for women,

D.  whereas the gender dimension in terms of life expectancy is also a major issue to be addressed in the context of health inequalities,

E.  whereas, apart from genetic determinants, health is influenced above all by people's lifestyles, by their access to healthcare services, including health information and education, disease prevention and treatment for short- and long-term illnesses; whereas lower socioeconomic groups are more susceptible to poor nutrition and to tobacco and alcohol dependency, all of which are major contributory factors in many diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and cancers,

F.  whereas inequalities in health between people in higher and lower educational, occupational and income groups have been found in all Member States,

G.   whereas there is evidence of a gender dimension in malnutrition rates which suggests that women suffer more from malnutrition and that this inequality is exacerbated further down the socioeconomic scale,

H.  whereas gender and age inequalities in biomedical research and the under-representation of women in clinical trials undermine patient care,

I.  whereas the comparative measurement of health inequalities is a fundamental first step towards effective action,

J.  whereas rates of morbidity are usually higher among those in low educational, occupational and income groups and substantial inequalities can also be seen in the prevalence of most specific forms of disability and of most specific chronic non-communicable diseases, oral diseases and forms of mental illness,

K.  whereas the incidence of tobacco use among women, particularly young women, is rapidly rising, with devastating consequences for their future health; and whereas, in the case of women, smoking is aggravated by multiple disadvantage,

L.  whereas the Commission has noted that there is a social gradient in health status in all the EU Member States (Commission Communication of 20 October 2010 entitled ‘Solidarity in Health: Reducing Health Inequalities in the EU’); and whereas the World Health Organisation defines this social gradient as being the link between socioeconomic inequalities and inequalities in the areas of health and access to healthcare,

M.  whereas numerous projects and studies have confirmed that the onset of overweight and obesity in particular is characterised by early disparities linked to the socioeconomic environment and that the highest incidence rates of overweight and obesity are registered in lower socioeconomic groups; whereas this situation could lead to even greater health and socioeconomic inequalities owing to the increased risk of obesity-related diseases,

N.  whereas despite the socioeconomic and environmental progress that has led to an overall improvement in people's health status over long periods, a number of factors, such as hygiene, living and working conditions, malnutrition, education, income, alcohol consumption and smoking, are still having a direct impact on health inequalities,

O.  whereas climate change is expected to result in a number of potential health impacts through increased frequency of extreme weather events, such as heat waves and floods, through changing patterns of infectious disease, and via increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation; whereas not all EU countries are equally prepared to address these challenges,

P.  whereas health inequalities are not only the result of a host of economic, environmental and lifestyle-related factors, but also of problems relating to access to healthcare,

Q.  whereas health inequalities are also linked to problems in accessing healthcare, both for economic reasons (not so much for major treatment, which is dealt with correctly by the Member States, but rather for everyday treatment, such as dental and eye care) and as a result of poor distribution of medical resources in certain areas of the EU,

R.  whereas the dearth of medical professionals in certain parts of the EU and the fact that they can easily move to other parts of the EU is a real problem, and whereas this situation is resulting in major inequalities in terms of access to healthcare and patient safety,

S.  whereas people living in remote and island areas continue to have limited access to prompt and high-quality healthcare,

T.  whereas patients living with chronic diseases or conditions form a specific group which suffers inequalities in access to diagnosis and care, social and other support services, and disadvantages including financial strain, poor access to employment, social discrimination and stigma,

U.  whereas violence against women is a widespread phenomenon in all countries and among all social classes and has a dramatic effect on the physical and emotional health of women and children,

V.  whereas infertility is a medical condition recognised by the World Health Organisation which has a particular impact on women's health, and whereas the UK National Awareness Survey has shown that over 94% of women suffering from infertility also suffer from forms of depression,

W.  whereas there are wide disparities between Member States in terms of access to fertility treatment,

X.  whereas, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, unemployment across the 27 EU Member States reached 9.6% in September 2010, and whereas the Council of the European Union's Social Protection Committee, in its opinion of 20 May 2010, expressed concern that the present economic and financial crisis will adversely affect people's access to healthcare and Member States‘ health budgets,

Y.  whereas the current economic and financial crisis may have a severe impact on the healthcare sector in several EU Member States, on both the supply and the demand sides,

Z.   whereas the restrictions due to the current economic and financial crisis, combined with the consequences of the forthcoming demographic challenge that the Union will have to face, could seriously undermine the financial and organisational sustainability of Member States‘ healthcare systems, thus hindering equal access to care on their territories,

AA.  whereas the combination of poverty and other forms of vulnerability, such as childhood or old age, disability or minority background, further increases the risks of health inequalities, and whereas, vice versa, ill health can lead to poverty and/or social exclusion,

AB.  whereas early years have lifelong effects on many aspects of health and well-being – from obesity, heart disease and mental health, to education, professional achievement, economic status and quality of life,

AC.  whereas health inequalities have significant economic implications for the EU and for Member States; whereas losses linked to health inequalities have been estimated to cost around 1.4% of GDP,

AD.  whereas in many EU countries equitable access to healthcare is not guaranteed, either in practice or in law, for undocumented migrants,

AE.  whereas cases still arise in the Member States of members of various social groups (for example, people with disabilities) being faced with obstacles to equal admission to healthcare establishments, which limits their access to health services,

AF.  whereas, with their ageing populations, the Member States are having to deal with problems relating to dependency and an increasing need for geriatric care and treatment; whereas a change in the approach to organising healthcare is therefore needed; and whereas inequalities relating to access to healthcare for elderly people are on the increase,

1.  Welcomes the key suggestions made by the Commission in its Communication entitled ‘Solidarity in health: reducing health inequalities in the EU’: (1) making a more equitable distribution of health part of our overall goals for social and economic development; (2) improving the data and knowledge bases (including measuring, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting); (3) building commitment across society for reducing health inequalities; (4) meeting the needs of vulnerable groups; and (5) developing the contribution of EU policies to the reduction of health inequalities;

2.  Stresses the importance of healthcare services being provided in a manner consistent with fundamental rights; points to the need to maintain and improve universal access to healthcare systems and to affordable healthcare;

3.  Points to the importance of improving access to disease prevention, health promotion and primary and specialised healthcare services, and reducing the inequalities between different social and age groups, and emphasises that these objectives could be achieved by optimising public spending on preventive and curative healthcare and targeted programmes for vulnerable groups;

4.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to press ahead with their efforts to tackle socio-economic inequalities, which would ultimately make it possible to reduce some of the inequalities relating to healthcare; furthermore, on the basis of the universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity, calls on the Commission and Member States to focus on the needs of vulnerable groups, including disadvantaged migrant groups and people belonging to ethnic minorities, children and adolescents, people with disabilities, with a special focus on mental illness, patients diagnosed with chronic diseases or conditions, older people, people living in poverty, and people affected by alcoholism and drug addiction;

5.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the most vulnerable groups, including undocumented migrants, are entitled to and are provided with equitable access to healthcare; calls on the Member States to assess the feasibility of supporting healthcare for irregular migrants by providing a definition based on common principles for basic elements of healthcare as defined in their national legislation;

6.  Calls on the Member States to take account of the specific health protection needs of immigrant women, with particular reference to the guaranteed provision by health systems of appropriate language mediation services; those systems should develop training initiatives enabling doctors and other professionals to adopt an intercultural approach based on recognition of, and respect for, diversity and the sensitivities of people from different geographical regions; priority must also be given to measures and information campaigns to combat female genital mutilation, including severe penalties for those who practise it;

7.  Calls on the EU and the Member States rapidly to find ways of combating ethnic discrimination, particularly in certain Member States where Council Directive 2000/43/EC has not been implemented and where women from ethnic minorities have little or no social protection or access to healthcare;

8.  Calls on the Member States to promote access to high-quality legal advice and information in coordination with civil society organisations to help ordinary members of the public, including undocumented migrants, to learn more about their individual rights;

9.  Emphasises that the economic and financial crisis and the austerity measures taken by Member States, in particular on the supply side, may lead to a reduction in the level of funding for public health and health promotion, disease prevention and long-term care services as a result of budget cuts and lower tax revenues, while the demand for health and long-term care services may increase as a result of a combination of factors that contribute to the deterioration of the health status of the general population;

10.  Stresses that health inequalities in the EU represent a substantial burden to Member States and their healthcare systems and that the effective functioning of the internal market and strong and, if possible, coordinated public policies on prevention can contribute to improvements in this field;

11.  Stresses that countering socio-economic factors such as obesity, smoking, etc., the accessibility of healthcare systems (jeopardised by the non-reimbursement of the cost of care and of medicines, inadequate prevention and the fragmentation of medical demography) and effective diagnosis should be considered key aspects of measures to combat health inequality and that, in addition, the accessibility and affordability of pharmaceutical treatments should also be regarded as a key aspect of individual people's health; therefore calls on Member States to ensure that the Transparency Directive (89/105/EEC) is being properly implemented and that the conclusions from the 2008 Commission Communication on the Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry are being appropriately addressed;

12.  Stresses that healthcare is not and should not be regarded as a general good or service;

13.  Calls on the Council and the Member States to evaluate and implement new measures to improve the effectiveness of their health expenditure, in particular by investing in preventive healthcare so as to reduce future longer-term costs and social burdens, and to restructure healthcare systems in order to provide equitable access to high-quality healthcare (in particular basic medical care) without discrimination throughout the EU, and encourages the Commission to study the use of existing European funds in order to further promote investment in health infrastructure, research and training and to promote and step up disease prevention;

14.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that equitable access to healthcare and treatment options for older patients are included in their health policies and programmes and to make adequate access to healthcare and treatments for older people a priority for ‘2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity’; calls on the Member States to promote initiatives in order to tackle social isolation in elderly patients as it has a significant impact on patients‘ longer-term health; stresses the need for the European Union and its Member States to anticipate, through an appropriate long-term strategy, the social and economic impact of the ageing of the European population, in order to guarantee the financial and organisational sustainability of healthcare systems, as well as equal and continued delivery of care for patients;

15.  Calls on the Member States to improve their capacity to monitor closely, at national, regional and local levels, the health and social impact of the crisis;

16.  Calls on the Commission to foster the pooling of experience in connection with health education, healthy lifestyle promotion, prevention, early diagnosis and appropriate treatments, in particular in relation to drinking, smoking, diet and obesity and drugs; calls on Member States to promote physical activity, good nutrition and ‘Healthy Schools’ programmes targeted at children, in particular in more disadvantaged areas, and to improve levels of personal, social and health education, with view to promoting healthier behaviour and encouraging positive lifestyle-related behaviour;

17.  Encourages all the Member States to invest in social, educational, environmental and health infrastructure in line with the principle of ‘health in all policies’,while coordinating measures concerning the qualification, training and mobility of health professionals, thus guaranteeing the capacity and sustainability of the health infrastructure and workforce at both EU and national level;

18.  Emphasises that health inequalities in the Union will not be overcome without a common and overall strategy for the European health workforce, including coordinated policies for resource management, education and training, minimum quality and safety standards, and registration of professionals;

19.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that information on health, healthy lifestyles, healthcare, prevention opportunities, early diagnosis of diseases and suitable treatments is available in a form and in languages that everyone can understand, using new information and communication technologies, with particular reference to online health services;

20.  Calls on the Member States to promote the introduction of telemedicine technologies, which can significantly reduce geographical disparities in access to certain types of healthcare, with particular reference to specialist care, in particular in border regions;

21.  Calls on the Member States to promote public policies aimed at ensuring healthy life conditions for all infants, children and adolescents, including pre-conception care, maternal care and measures to support parents and, more particularly, pregnant and breast-feeding women, in order to ensure a healthy start to life for all newborns and avoid further health inequalities, thereby recognising the importance of investing in early child development and life course approaches;

22.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that all pregnant women and children, irrespective of their status, are entitled to and actually receive social protection as defined in their national legislation;

23.  Recalls the EU's obligation, under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to guarantee the right of persons with disabilities to the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination on the grounds of disability; insists that the inclusion of disability in all relevant health measurement indicators is a key step towards meeting this obligation;

24.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to include the health status of women and the question of ageing (older women) as factors in gender mainstreaming and to use gender budgeting in their health policies, programmes and research, from the development and design stage through to impact assessment; calls on the EU-funded framework research programmes and public funding agencies to include a gender impact assessment in their policies and to provide for the compilation and analysis of gender- and age-specific data with a view to identifying key differences between women and men in relation to health, in order to support policy change, and to introduce and collate epidemiological tools to analyse the causes of the life-expectancy gap between men and women;

25.  Considers that the EU and the Member States should guarantee women easy access to methods of contraception and the right to safe abortion;

26.  Calls on the Commission to provide the Member States with examples of good and best practices to encourage more uniform access to fertility treatment;

27.  Urges the EU and the Member States to focus on women's human rights, in particular by preventing, banning and prosecuting those guilty of the forced sterilisation of women and female genital mutilation;

28.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to recognise male violence against women as a public health issue, whatever form it takes;

29.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to take the necessary measures, in relation to access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART), to eliminate discrimination against women on the grounds of marital status, sexual orientation or ethnic or cultural origins;

30.  Calls on the Member States to follow the World Health Organisation in recognising obesity as a chronic disease and thus to provide access to obesity-prevention programmes and guarantee access to treatment with proven evidence of a positive medical outcome for persons suffering from obesity who require medical treatment, also with a view to preventing the onset of further diseases;

31.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to mainstream gender into tobacco control, as recommended by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and to introduce anti-smoking campaigns targeting young girls and women;

32.  Calls on the Member States to encourage and support medical and pharmaceutical research into illnesses that primarily affect women, with reference to all phases of their lives and not only their reproductive years;

33.  Calls on the Member States to solve problems of inequality in access to healthcare that affect people's everyday lives, for example in the areas of dentistry and ophthalmology;

34.  Suggests that the EU and the Member States introduce coherent policies and supportive measures aimed at women who do not work or who hold jobs in sectors where they are not covered by personal health insurance and seek ways of providing such women with insurance;

35.  Urges the Commission, in the context of its collaboration with the competent authorities of the Member States, to promote best practices on pricing and reimbursement of the cost of medicines, including workable models for pharmaceutical price differentiation so as to optimise affordability and reduce inequalities in access to medicines;

36.  Recalls that the adoption of a European patent, with appropriate language arrangements and a unified dispute-settlement system, is crucial for the revitalisation of the European economy;

37.  Notes that the work already done in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection with regard to product safety and advertising, among other subjects, has helped to address certain aspects of health inequality in the EU, and, in that connection, stresses the importance of closely monitoring the information which pharmaceuticals firms provide to patients, particularly the most vulnerable and least well-informed groups, and the need for an effective and independent system of pharmacovigilance;

38.  Calls on the Member States to adapt their health systems to the needs of the most disadvantaged by developing methods for setting the fees charged by healthcare professionals which guarantee access to care for all patients;

39.  Urges the Commission to do its utmost to encourage Member States to offer reimbursements to patients and to do everything necessary to reduce inequalities in access to medication for the treatment of those conditions or illnesses, such as post-menopausal osteoporosis and Alzheimer's Disease, which are not reimbursable in certain Member States, and to do so as a matter of urgency;

40.  Emphasises that, in addition to national governments, in many countries regional authorities play an important role in public health, health promotion, disease prevention and the provision of health services and thus need to be actively involved; points out that regional and local governments and other stakeholders also have a vital contribution to make, including within workplaces and schools; in particular as regards health education, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, effective disease prevention and early screening and diagnosis of diseases;

41.  Calls on the Member States to support a ‘local care approach’ and to provide integrated healthcare, accessible at local or regional level, enabling patients to be better supported in their own local and social environment;

42.  Encourage all the Member States to re-evaluate their policies on matters which have a significant impact on health inequalities, such as tobacco, alcohol, food, pharmaceuticals and public health and healthcare delivery;

43.  Encourages the Member States to develop partnerships in border regions in order to share the cost of infrastructure and personnel and reduce inequalities with regard to health, particularly in respect of access to state-of-the-art equipment;

44.  Asks the Commission to study the effects of decisions based on national and regional assessments of the effectiveness of medicines and medical devices on the internal market, including in terms of patient access, innovation in new products and medical practices, which are some of the main elements affecting health equality;

45.  Considers that the implementation of Directive 2011/24/EU on Patients‘ Rights in Cross-Border Healthcare should be followed by impact assessments in order to measure as accurately as possible its effectiveness in combating health inequalities and to ensure that it maintains an adequate level of public protection and safeguards patient safety, particularly in terms of the geographical allocation of medical resources, both human and material;

46.  Notes that high-quality and efficient cross-border healthcare calls for increased transparency of information for the public, patients, regulators and healthcare providers on a wide range of issues, including patients‘ rights, access to redress and the regulation of healthcare professionals;

47.  Deplores the fact that the directive on cross-border healthcare was not accompanied by a legislative proposal on the mobility of healthcare professionals, taking into account the risk of a ‘brain drain’ within the EU, which would dangerously increase the geographical inequalities in certain Member States, and calls on the Commission to remedy this failure, possibly in the context of the future revision of the directive on professional qualifications (2005/36/EC);

48.  Urges the Member States to implement fully the existing Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC); with regard to the complexity of medical qualifications, encourages the Commission, in its evaluation and review of the directive, to address some of the regulatory gaps that have the potential to leave patients vulnerable to harm and compromise their right to safe treatment; invites the Commission, further, to consider whether to make registration with the IMI System mandatory for competent authorities and improve the extent to which competent authorities can proactively share disciplinary information about healthcare professionals by creating an appropriate alert mechanism;

49.  Urges the Commission, in its forthcoming legislative proposal on professional qualifications, to move towards a strengthened mechanism for the recognition of qualifications in the Member States;

50.  Points out that increased innovation often leads to greater accessibility of treatment, which is particularly relevant for isolated or rural communities;

51.  Calls on the Commission to foster, in conjunction with the Member States, the development of telemedicine services as a means of reducing geographical disparities in healthcare provision at both regional and local levels;

52.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to give greater recognition within the Europe 2020 strategy to the fact that physical and mental health and well-being are key to fighting exclusion, to include comparative indicators stratified by socio-economic status and the state of public health in the procedures for monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy, and to take account of age-based discrimination, in particular in relation to clinical trials for treatments better suited to the needs of elderly people;

53.  Considers that the EU and the Member States must support civil-society and women's organisations that promote women's human rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights, the right to a healthy lifestyle and the right to work, with a view to ensuring that women have a voice on European and national health policy issues;

54.  Encourages all the Member States to foster and build capacity and international exchanges and cooperation between all relevant multi-sectoral stakeholders in developing and implementing policies that reduce health inequalities;

55.  Calls on the Member States to support and implement a joined-up approach to policy-making at local, regional and national level, thereby striving towards a Health in All Policies Approach (HiAP);

56.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop a common set of indicators to monitor health inequalities by age, sex, socio-economic status and geographic location and the risks resulting from alcoholism and drug addiction, and to establish a methodology for auditing the health situation in Member States with the aim of identifying and prioritising areas in need of improvement and best practices;

57.  Stresses that health inequalities are rooted in social inequalities in terms of living conditions and models of social behaviour linked to gender, race, educational standards, employment and the unequal distribution not only of income but also of medical assistance, sickness prevention and health promotion services;

58.  Stresses that health risks to members of disadvantaged (poorer) social categories are what is behind the problem of health inequalities, bearing in mind that these risks are being aggravated by a combination of poverty and other vulnerabilities;

59.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the tasks of reducing health inequalities and improving access to physical and mental health services are fully addressed and integrated into its current initiatives, such as the Partnership on Healthy and Active Ageing and the EU Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, and into future initiatives on early childhood development and youth policies focusing on education, training and employment;

60.  Calls for better coordination between the EU agencies which have a major role to play in combating health inequalities, in particular between the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work;

61.  Calls on the Commission to assist Member States in making better use of the Open Method of Coordination in order to support projects to address factors underlying health inequalities;

62.  Calls on the Commission to develop ways to engage and involve all the relevant stakeholders at European level in promoting the uptake and dissemination of good practice in the public health sphere;

63.  Draws attention to the particular importance, among the various health determinants, of a varied, high-quality diet, and, in that connection, urges the Commission to make greater use of the effective programmes established under the CAP (free distribution of milk and fruit in schools and of food to the most deprived groups);

64.  Calls on the Member States to create a network of specific social, health and counselling services, with dedicated telephone helplines, for women, couples and families, with the aim of preventing domestic violence and providing qualified professional help and support for those needing it, in cooperation with the other bodies in the field;

65.  Calls on the Commission to assist Member States in making better use of EU cohesion policy and structural funds in order to support projects that contribute to addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health inequalities; calls, further, on the Commission to help Member States make better use of the PROGRESS programme;

66.  Urges the Member States to stop the current cuts in public spending on health services which play a pivotal role in providing a high level of health protection for women and men;

67.  Calls on the Commission to mainstream an approach based on the economic and environmental determinants of health and on ‘equity and health in all policies’ when developing all internal and external EU policies, especially with a view to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and in particular good maternal health;

68.  Urge all the Member States to recognise the importance of health for society and to look beyond a GDP-based approach when measuring societal, community and individual development;

69.  Calls on the Council to promote efforts to tackle health inequalities as a policy priority in all Member States, taking into account the social determinants of health and lifestyle-related risk factors, such as alcohol, tobacco and nutrition, by means of actions in policy areas such as consumer policy, employment, housing, social policy, the environment, agriculture and food, education, living and working conditions and research, in keeping with the ‘health in all policies’ principle;

70.  Calls on the Commission to support actions financed under the current and future Public Health Action Plans to address the social determinants of health;

71.  Calls on the Commission to draw up guidelines to improve the mechanisms to monitor inequalities in health across the EU (between and within Member States) by enhancing data collection by compiling more systematic and comparable information that complements existing data on health inequalities and by means of regular monitoring and analysis;

72.  Asks the Commission to consider drafting a proposal for a Council recommendation, or any other appropriate Community initiative, aimed at encouraging and supporting the development by Member States of integrated national or regional strategies to reduce health inequalities;

73.  Calls on the Commission to assess, in its progress reports, the effectiveness of measures to reduce health inequalities and improvements in health resulting from policies relating to the social, economic and environmental determinants of health;

74.  Calls on the Commission to apply the HiAP approach to EU-level policy-making and carry out effective impact assessments that take health equity outcomes into account;

75.  Argues that open, competitive and properly functioning markets can stimulate innovation, investment and research in the healthcare sector, and recognises that this must be accompanied by strong financial support for public research in order to further develop sustainable and effective healthcare models and to promote the development of new technologies and their applications in this field (e.g. telemedicine), and by a common health technology assessment methodology, all of which should benefit every individual, including those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, whilst taking into account the ageing of the population;

76.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support public information and awareness-raising programmes and step up dialogue with civil society, the social partners and NGOs regarding health and medical services;

77.  Regards it as essential to increase the number of women involved in the development of healthcare policies, programme planning and the provision of healthcare services;

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

(1) OJ L 301, 20.11.2007, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 23, 27.1.2010, p. 35.
(3) OJ C 146, 22.6.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 232, 27.8.2010, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 250 E, 25.10.2007, p. 93.
(6) OJ C 8 E, 14.1.2010, p. 97.
(7) OJ C 9 E, 15.1.2010, p. 56.


Cooperating with developing countries on promoting good governance in tax matters
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on Tax and Development – Cooperating with Developing Countries on Promoting Good Governance in Tax Matters (2010/2102(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0082A7-0027/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on Promoting Good Governance in Tax Matters(1),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission on Tax and Development - Cooperating with Developing Countries on Promoting Good Governance in Tax Matters (COM(2010)0163),

   having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2010 on the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on developing countries and on development cooperation(2), and having regard to the Declaration of Monterrey (2002), the Conference on Financing for Development in Doha (2008), the Paris Declaration (2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (2008) whereby capital flight and illicit financial flows were explicitly identified as a major obstacle to mobilisation of domestic revenue for development,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2010 on progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: mid-term review in preparation of the UN high-level meeting in September 2010(3),

–   having regard to the G20 summit held in Seoul on 11-12 November 2010, and the initiative to strengthen international cooperation with developing countries to fight tax evasion and avoidance, launched by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, referred to as the ‘International Tax Compact’ (ITC),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the International Conference on Taxation in Pretoria on 29 August 2008,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the London G20 Summit of 2-3 April 2009,

–  having regard to the Leaders‘ Statement issued following the Pittsburgh G20 Summit of 24 and 25 September 2009 and its resolution of 8 October 2009 thereon(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 April 2009 on the London G20 Summit of 2 April 2009(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2007 on the draft Commission regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1725/2003 adopting certain international accounting standards in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 8, concerning disclosure of operating segments(6),

–  having regard to the Norwegian Government Commission Report ‘Tax Havens and Development’ of June 2009,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on International Trade (A7-0027/2011),

A.  whereas the strengthening of the tax system is one of the principal challenges faced by developing countries to achieve MDGs,

B.  whereas taxation can be a reliable and sustainable source of development finance if there is a progressive taxation regime, an effective and efficient tax administration to promote tax compliance, and transparent and accountable use of public revenue,

C.  whereas developing countries face important challenges in raising tax revenues due to insufficient human and financial resources to collect taxes, weak administrative capacity, corruption, lack of legitimacy of the political system, an uneven distribution of revenues and poor tax governance,

D.  whereas the major forms of illicit financial flows and capital flight especially include: transfer mispricing between countries to attract FDI, round-tripping, double-dipping, bulk cash movements, opaque and disadvantageous investment protocols and smuggling,

E.  whereas off-shore centres and tax havens facilitate an annual illicit capital flight of US$1 trillion; whereas these illicit monetary outflows are roughly ten times the amount of aid money going into developing countries for poverty alleviation and economic development,

F.   whereas tax havens that offer secrecy rules and fictional domiciles combined with ‘zero tax’ regimes in order to attract capital and revenues that should have been taxed in other countries generate harmful tax competition,

G.   whereas tax competition has resulted in a shift of the tax burden to workers and low-income households and has forced damaging cutbacks in public services in poor countries,

H.  whereas tax fraud in developing countries leads to an annual loss of tax revenue corresponding to ten times the amount of injected development aid from developed countries,

I.  whereas the possibility of enhancing domestic resource mobilisation is further affected by the global context of liberalisation of international markets, entailing the replacement of customs revenues with other domestic resources; whereas IMF research shows that while rich countries have managed to offset the decline of trade taxes as a principal source of income with other sources of revenue, notably VAT, the poorest countries have at best replaced about 30% of lost trade taxes(7),

J.   whereas the ‘mapping survey’ led by the ITC demonstrates that further donor coordination is needed in the area of taxation and development,

K.  whereas the existence of a large informal sector in the economy is holding back the mobilisation of domestic resources,

L.   whereas many developing countries are missing out on the commodity boom by failing to receive a decent share of mineral royalties which are justified,

M.   whereas many developing countries do not even attain a minimum tax level which would be necessary to fund public services and international commitments like poverty reduction,

N.   whereas tax provides a source of income that is potentially more stable and sustainable than aid flows and fosters the ownership of the respective countries in a better way,

O.   whereas reporting on a consolidated basis often makes it difficult to identify companies to be taxed and to determine the right tax level due to their complex corporate structures and the distribution of economic activity between them,

P.  whereas so-called vulture funds, often based in tax havens, increasingly buy up the debt of developing countries at a huge discount and afterwards sue for the original amount of debt (frequently with interest and penalty fees) and in doing so, restrict to a substantial degree the extent to which developing countries can act thanks to their additional tax revenues,

Q.  whereas there are no laws that cap the amount of profits that a vulture fund can collect through litigating against developing countries to collect default debt and whereas there are no regulatory structures that disclose who vulture funds are and also how much they paid for this debt that was previously considered worthless,

R.  whereas in many developing countries there exist multiple corporate income tax rates based not only on income and dividends, but also on business sectors, meaning that the sectoral allocation of resources is distorted by differences in tax rates,

S.  whereas tax compliance should be defined as seeking to pay at the right place, at the right time, where ‘right’ means that the economic substance of the transactions undertaken coincides with the place and form in which they are reported for taxation purposes,

The importance of taxation for meeting the MDGs

1.  Agrees with the Commission that efficient and fair tax systems are crucial for poverty reduction, good governance and state-building;

2.  Welcomes the Commission's initiative to strengthen the capacities of good tax governance for development and sees the need for a regulatory framework designed to support international tax cooperation, transparency, public and private sector development and economic growth;

3.  Highlights that tax-to-GDP ratios in developing countries range between 10 and 20%, as opposed to between 25 and 40% in developed countries; regrets that too little support has been given so far by donors to tax-related assistance; in this context, welcomes the Commission's proposal to provide enhanced support for assisting developing countries in tax reforms and strengthening tax administrations regarding EDF for ACP States, the Development Cooperation Instrument and the ENP and Partnership Instrument, and support for national supervisory bodies, parliaments and non-state actors;

4.  Notes that more emphasis should be placed on efforts to undertake capacity building within developing countries in order to help them make effective use of the exchange of information and effectively counter tax evasion with their own, internal, legislation;

Difficulties encountered by developing countries in raising tax revenues

5.  Notes with concern that the tax system in many poor countries remains characterised by extremely narrow tax bases, tax exemptions for the elite, corporate tax holidays providing a strong incentive for tax avoidance, as taxed enterprises can enter into economic relationships with exempt ones to shift their profits, massive revenues from natural resources going unaccounted for, and large illicit capital flows related to massive tax evasion;

6.  Stresses that tax revenue must not be regarded as an alternative to foreign aid, but rather as an integral part of public revenue facilitating these countries‘ development;

7.  Points out that efficient, progressive and equitable taxation systems are crucial for development as they contribute to financing the provision of public goods and to state building and good governance, that the goal of poor countries must be to replace foreign aid dependency with tax self-sufficiency, and that tax evasion and avoidance are, however, hampering these goals in development;

8.  Deplores the fact that tax havens weaken democratic governance, make economic crime more profitable, encourage rent-seeking and increase the inequitable distribution of tax revenues; urges the EU to make the fight against tax havens and corruption a top priority of the agenda in international finance and development institutions;

9.  Points out that tax evasion represents a considerable financial loss for developing countries, and that measures to combat tax havens and tax evasion are one of the priorities for the EU with a view to providing developing countries with effective help in gaining access to their tax revenues; recalls the need to take the appropriate measures in that respect at European and international level, in accordance with the commitments given, in particular, by the G20;

10.  Recalls that, while the positive impact of EPAs will be felt only in the medium to long term, losses of revenue are an immediate consequence of reductions in customs tariffs;

11.  Underlines that further attention should be paid to difficulties encountered by developing countries in raising domestic revenues in a globalised context, multiple exemptions being granted to large domestic and foreign companies in order to attract investments; calls on the EU to help developing countries in building up tax systems that allow them to benefit from the process of globalisation;

12.  Stresses that the poorest countries are having difficulties in compensating for the decline in trade taxes resulting from the current global context of trade liberalisation, by replacing them with other types of domestic resources, since at best about 30% of lost trade taxes have been replaced;

13.  Stresses that tax havens, by increasing competition for mobile capital, encroach upon the sovereignty of developing countries to tax income from capital as a means to widen the tax base, while they already have a narrower tax base than rich countries;

14.  Recalls that asymmetry of information, which results from tax havens‘ secrecy rules, reduces the efficiency of international financial markets, since it has led to higher risk premiums and thereby increased borrowing costs for both rich and poor countries;

15.  Recognises that the qualitative and quantitative improvement in developing countries‘ domestic revenue mobilisation will bear fruit over the long term; calls on the European Union to maintain its offer of assistance in all its forms for as long as the developing countries consider it necessary for the financing of their own development;

Supporting effective, efficient, fair and sustainable tax systems

16.  Reiterates that good governance and the quality of institutions represent the most important driver for economic prosperity; accordingly, urges the Commission to assist the tax authorities, the judiciary and the anticorruption agencies in developing countries in their efforts to build up a progressive and sustainable tax system that will eventually bring a ‘governance dividend’ through increased legitimacy and accountability, and to effectively integrate the principles of good governance in tax matters into the programming, implementation and monitoring of country and regional strategy papers; urges Member States to implement their commitments regarding their aid for tax and to combat bribery committed by companies domiciled in their jurisdictions but which have operations in developing countries; recommends that the Commission include national parliaments of the developing countries in the budgetary process, thereby fostering a harmonious relationship and promoting greater transparency in this process;

17.  Points out that good governance in tax matters cannot be exported or imposed from outside, and that it is up to each of the countries to decide its own tax policy; in that context, calls on the Commission and the national governments not to hamper, and to cooperate with, any countries which opt, consistently and fairly, for an increase in taxation that affects foreign undertakings present on their territory, particularly those operating in the field of extraction of primary resources, which is an important source of wealth in developing countries;

18.  Calls on the Commission to include a tax governance clause, including monitoring of its implementation, in relevant agreements between the EU and third countries;

19.  Points out that the decline in customs resources brought about in particular by Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union is having a negative impact on the financial resources immediately available to developing countries; in that context, and to compensate for those losses, calls on the Commission to encourage developing countries, as part of any assistance given to improve their national tax systems, to give priority to progressive direct taxes over indirect taxes, particularly those levied on consumption, which, by their nature, hit low-income population groups harder;

20.  Calls for the systematic implementation, in the framework of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), of measures to support tax reforms, in the form of both material assistance (IT systems) and organisational assistance (legal and tax training for tax authority staff), if requested by a developing country; emphasises the need to make a special effort with African countries, which still do not receive long-term assistance on taxation matters;

21.  Reaffirms the need to enhance the degree of coherence between the European Union's development policy and its trade policy; recalls that, while the crisis may have exacerbated the volatility of commodity prices and caused a decrease in capital flows to developing countries, the European Union as a whole, including its Member States, remains the leading development aid donor, accounting for 56% of the worldwide total, worth EUR 49 billion in 2009; stresses that, in this context, it ought to be a priority for developing countries to put in place an efficient tax system so as to reduce their dependence on foreign aid and other, unpredictable, external financial flows;

22.  Calls for coherence between EU financial support and the provision of access to EU markets for particular countries and for their level of cooperation with regard to the principles of good governance in the area of taxation to be enforced;

23.  Welcomes the regional initiative on tax cooperation to enable developing countries to discuss the role of taxation in state-building and capacity development and to share best practices on tax administration;

24.  Recalls that the main challenge for poor countries is to broaden the tax base; points out that among other factors the decline of trade taxes has led to the introduction of consumption taxes (VAT or energy taxes); considers that even if VAT can enable the widening of the tax base in economies with large informal sectors, the non-discriminatory nature of VAT hits poor people the hardest; believes that EU development assistance should prioritise initiatives to improve the effectiveness and transparency of tax systems, e.g. by investigating ways in which developing countries can broaden their tax base/tax revenue stream through direct and indirect taxation;

25.  Recalls that the objective of expanding trade with the developing countries must be to promote the sustainable economic growth and the development of these countries; notes that the abolition of customs duties will inevitably entail a loss of customs revenue and must therefore be subject to tighter supervision, be more gradual and go hand in hand with the implementation of tax reforms which harness alternative forms of revenue to make up the shortfall (VAT, property tax, income tax);

26.  Notes with concern that billions of dollars per year left the African continent between 1991 and 2004; in particular, underlines that these outflows are estimated at 7,6% of the annual GDP of the region, which makes African countries net creditors of donor countries; considers that ODA and debt relief provided by developed countries will only be effective if concrete measures are taken equally by the G20, the OECD and the EU to ensure that the potential tax base of developing countries is not undermined through tax evasion; encourages in this context the UN and the OECD, in close cooperation with the African Tax Administration Forum, to pursue their work in this area;

27.  Insists that the appropriate means of devising alternative sources of revenue collection should be supportive of and not discourage innovation, entrepreneurship and the creation of SMEs, strengthening ownership and local development;

28.  Underlines that the administrative costs, especially for a multiple-rate VAT system, might be to too high for developing countries whose tax authorities are not equipped with the necessary financial and human resources, and should therefore be carefully scrutinised; believes that in such cases excise duties should be highly selective, narrowly targeting a few goods mainly on the grounds that their consumption entails negative externalities on society, demand for which is usually inelastic (tobacco, alcohol etc.); calls in case of limitation also for the identification and taxation of those companies which may account for increased tax revenue (for example those engaged in the extraction of raw materials);

29.  Stresses that an important requirement to increase direct taxation should be bringing the informal sector into the formal economy and improving the business environment;

30.  Underlines that, in the global context of tax competition, developing countries derive a larger part of their tax revenues from capital and have little possibility to collect alternative taxes; notes that the decline in tax revenues because of that competition should be addressed by broadening the tax base or by abstaining from that competition altogether if convenient and if other factors like good governance, legal security and avoidance of nationalisation are jeopardised in the competition process for FDI; points out that low-income countries need the capacity to effectively negotiate with multinational corporations in order to secure an equitable share of corporations‘ profits and recalls that they should have adequate policy space to impose capital controls as the right to collect and redistribute tax revenues is a key criterion for the sovereignty and legitimacy of states and therefore a prerequisite for good governance;

31.  Points out that the French Government has commissioned research on the topic of political incentives for taxation, but more is needed; therefore asks the Commission to study whether different approaches to transferring aid, e.g. grants versus loans, could help to limit or offset the potentially negative effects of aid on revenue raising and whether budget support and related improvements in transparency and effectiveness of public expenditure management contribute over the longer term to increased willingness of citizens to pay tax;

32.  Notes that too little attention has been paid to how governments can use tax policies to reduce inequalities in income and well-being by minimising existing gender differences in tax liabilities;

33.  Calls for concentration on the principles of neutrality, equality and simplicity with regard to tax systems in developing countries, which should be achieved by:

   (a) a tax that does not take up a greater share of poor people`s income but a greater proportion of the taxpayer`s income or wealth as it increases;
   (b) a tax that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, type of household, citizenship or civil status;
   (c) a clear, simple and transparent tax system which excludes different types of undesirable interpretation of tax laws with the aim of gaining massive tax reductions at the expense of social spending;
   (d) identical treatment for tax purposes of true gains and true losses from any given source of income, meaning that the gains are taxable and the losses deductible;
   (e) a level of taxation that is robustly linked to different stages of economic development;
   (f) the unification of multiple corporate income tax rates by calculating income tax rates on the basis of business volume rather than business sectors;

34.  Considers it necessary for the OECD to draw up new guidelines on transfer pricing, an essential way of preventing certain multinationals from transferring their profits to the countries with the most favourable tax regimes and ensuring that they pay their taxes in the countries – including developing countries – where they have actually generated their profits;

35.  Considers that a system of low-rate taxation of low and medium incomes founded on a broader tax base and excluding all discretionary tax exemptions and preferences, including for the extractive industries, is indispensable; emphasises the need for public investment in projects with a positive local impact in economic, social and environmental terms, whilst not creating any opportunities for any form of fiscal dumping;

Working towards a transparent, cooperative and fair international tax environment
Trade mispricing

36.  Stresses that trade mispricing is one of the most prominent drivers of illicit financial outflows; calls on the Commission to contribute to enhancing public expertise on such issues in developing countries, and to work upon concrete proposals to ensure that the G20, the OECD, the UN and the WTO consider a broader set of indicators and methods for tackling trade mispricing, among which are the US ‘comparable profit methods’ that have shown promise in determining the incorrect pricing of transactions;

37.  Calls for action against illegitimate transfer price manipulation (TPM) and for a review of global tax rules which go beyond the comparable profits method, in case there are other more promising alternatives which address the problem of mispricing more effectively; stresses that the EU, the G20, the EU and the WTO in general should concentrate their efforts on approaches that rely on the so-called arm's length principle (ALP), stating that tax-relevant transactions must be subject to the same conditions as those which would be made between independent enterprises;

38.  Urges the EU to defend within the G20 and OECD the principle of the automatic exchange of information on tax matters along the lines of the EU Savings Tax Directive, as a way to curb illicit financial flows in secrecy jurisdictions;

39.  Calls for the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, the revenue from which would improve the functioning of the market by reducing speculation and help to finance global public goods such as development and the fight against climate change, and reduce public deficits; calls on the Commission to swiftly produce a feasibility study taking into account the global level playing field and, if appropriate, to come forward with concrete legislative proposals;

40.  Proposes the inclusion of a specific provision related to good tax governance in the review of the Cotonou Agreement;

41.  Calls on the EU Member States, under their bilateral assistance programmes, to take similar measures;

Extractive industries

42.  Urges the development of initiatives to promote greater transparency in natural resource rents, inter alia through the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; welcomes the adoption of the Congo Conflict Minerals and Transparency Amendments to the Financial Regulatory Reform Bill and asks the Commission to propose a legislative initiative along the same lines without diminishing the responsibility of governments in the developing world, and without placing an undue bureaucratic burden on companies, as that has already been criticised by stakeholders in the developing world and could prove counterproductive;

43.  Stresses that exploitation of natural resources should be pursued in order to help a country meet its broader social and economic goals, which, for governments in developing countries, means outlining a vision, if so desired together with international stakeholders and expertise, of how the resource sector fits into the country's economic future; considers that for some countries the best use of resource endowments may be to leave them in the ground for future use while for others, it may be to extract rapidly, as an intermediary source of domestic revenue, in order to generate revenues to sustain the investment necessary for growth and to meet urgent human needs;

44.  Points out that developing countries should be equal partners in the discussion and adoption of new initiatives in the sector of resource extraction; stresses that new arrangements in this field should take the form of generalised international standards in order to avoid the creation of another patchwork of regulations which would be counterproductive from the point of view of governments, tax administration and international companies;

45.  Stresses that the proposals of the Commission and non-governmental transparency initiatives for the sector of extractive industries, e.g. the Natural Resource Charter, the Equator Principles and the Guidelines for Investors and Companies by ‘Critical Resource’, are in effect pro-business; they produce legal security and sustainable long-term partnerships and act as safeguards against renationalisation, reopening of negotiations or expulsion; notes that there are problems to be addressed as well, for instance the fact that businesses may have to disclose commercially sensitive information which puts them at a competitive disadvantage, or that some agreements with governments are based on information being kept secret;

46.  Notes that resource rents should always be seen as an intermediary means to increase domestic revenue; points out that success in taxation of resources often brings advances in direct taxes, such as corporate income taxes, and non-tax revenues, such as royalty fees;

47.  Points out that a large number of rentier states, which benefit from abundant resource rents, particularly those from oil and minerals, have little incentive to be accountable, responsive or efficient; reiterates that strong institutional and democratic control mechanisms are crucial for combating economic crime; in particular, calls on the Commission to step up its development assistance on the formulation of contracts between multinational companies and developing countries on resource exploitation issues;

48.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to engage more with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, through provision of finance and participation in its governing body;

49.  Recalls that the quality of financial reporting is crucial to combat tax evasion effectively; considers that country-by-country reporting is of the utmost importance for extractive industries, but recalls that it would equally be beneficial for investors in all sectors, thereby contributing to good governance globally; therefore asks the Commission to promote the inclusion of a requirement within the International Financial Reporting Standard of the IASB that multinational corporations report their income and tax paid on a country-by-country basis; recalls that this request is consistent with the need to improve the corporate social responsibility of multinational enterprises; calls on the Commission to integrate country-by-country reporting in its reform of accounting directives;

50.  Calls for the introduction of country-by-country financial reporting obligations for cross-border companies, including pre- and post-tax profits, with the aim of enhancing transparency and access to relevant data for tax administrations; takes the view that, in order to ensure that all sectors and all companies are uniformly covered, the EU should introduce the principle as part of the upcoming revisions of the transparency directive and the EU accounting directives, while at the international level the Commission should exert pressure on the IASB swiftly to develop the corresponding comprehensive standard; calls once again on the Commission to report back to Parliament on the outcome of its public consultation and on its discussions with the IASB within the next six months;

51.  Underlines the importance of country-by-country reporting and requests that negotiations in this field be intensified:

   (a) governments and international groupings (including the G20 and United Nations) should support a country-by-country financial reporting standard, and formally request the International Accounting Standards Board to adopt it;
   (b) the OECD should continue its feasibility study of country-by-country reporting, and report back to both the G20 and the UN during 2011;
   (c) the International Accounting Standards Board should adopt a new standard that includes country-by-country reporting;
   (d) civil society and the media should in future make use of the information disclosed under country-by-country reporting to hold governments and multinational companies to account;

Improving donor coordination

52.  Takes note of the finding of the ITC ‘Mapping Survey’ that further donor coordination in the area of taxation and development is needed; encourages the Commission to take initiatives along these lines and to step up its support for multilateral and regional initiatives, such as the African Tax Administration Forum and the Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations;

Improving the international architecture to combat tax havens

53.  Stresses that conventional ODA will fail to eradicate global poverty if no ambitious measures are taken within the G20, the OECD and the EU to clamp down on tax havens and harmful tax structures;

54.  Notes that, since the G20 Summit of 2 April 2009, offshore financial centres have committed to OECD standards on transparency and exchange of information; notes however that the harmful structures of tax havens still prevail; calls once more for action beyond the OECD framework to combat tax havens in view of their various shortcomings; in this respect, reiterates its concerns about the fact that the OECD international standards require exchange of information on request but that there is no automatic exchange of information along the lines of the Savings Tax Directive; likewise criticises the fact that the OECD allows governments to escape its blacklist merely by promising to adhere to the information exchange principles, without ensuring that these principles are effectively put into practice; considers also that the requirement to conclude agreements with 12 other countries in order to be removed from the backlist is arbitrary as it does not refer to any qualitative indicators for an objective assessment of compliance with good governance practices;

55.  Highlights that as much as EUR 800 billion is lost each year from developing countries to tax havens and illicit financial flows; notes that greater transparency in the financial process could be a decisive step towards poverty alleviation and significant wealth creation;

56.  Considers that automatic information exchange should take place in all circumstances; welcomes in this respect the Commission's proposal on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation in order to extend cooperation between the Member States to cover taxes of any kind, abolish banking secrecy and establish the automatic exchange of information as a general rule;

57.  Welcomes the fact that some Member States are signatories of the Council of Europe-OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, and urges the 17 Member States that have not done so to sign the Convention;

58.  Calls on the EU to step up its action and to take concrete measures, such as sanctions, against tax evasion and illicit capital flight; calls on the Council to examine the possibility of a multilateral mechanism for automatic tax information exchange in close collaboration with the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters;

59.  Calls on the Commission to adopt more stringent criteria for the identification of tax havens and to work towards an internationally binding multilateral automatic tax-information exchange agreement, including for trusts and foundations, envisaging countermeasures in the event of non-compliance; calls on the Commission to support developing countries in their fight against illicit outflows and capital flight, as these are identified as a major obstacle to mobilisation of domestic revenue for development; draws the Commission's attention in particular to the European Parliament position of 24 April 2009 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2003/48/EC on taxation of savings income in the form of interest payments(8) and to the recommended measures for combating tax havens;

60.  Expresses its concern about the unfortunate effect of tax treaties on the distribution of tax revenues; notes that the method of assigning the right to tax based on the domicile principle rather than the source country helps to make tax havens a more favourable location; deems that tax treaties should be reviewed for fairness, which implies the possibility of granting the primary right to tax in the source country where real activities are pursued;

61.  Deplores the fact that the G20 has not yet proposed a clear timetable and concrete sanction mechanism to make effective the fight against tax havens; calls for the adoption of an international convention with the purpose of eliminating harmful tax structures that would include sanctions both for non-cooperative jurisdictions and for financial institutions that operate with tax havens; urges the EU to adopt measures similar to the US Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and to consider the possibility of withdrawing banking licences from financial institutions that operate with tax havens;

62.  Considers that the EU should also ensure consistency in the implementation at EU and international level of standards in the areas of prudential supervision, taxation and money laundering;

63.  Calls for international disclosure of the structures of vulture funds to identify them and ban their activities;

64.  Calls for the creation, in the EPA framework, of an independent monitoring mechanism to assess the net tax impact of abolishing customs duties and, at the same time, the progress being made in the area of tax reform country by country; calls for a clause to be introduced providing for a mandatory overall review of all EPAs within three to five years and for the provisions of each agreement to be amended to make them more conducive to poverty eradication, sustainable development and regional integration; calls, further, for a mandatory review of individual countries‘ progress in implementing tax reforms or efficient tax collection in line with the latest versions of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital;

65.  Stresses that tax administrations in developing countries need to cooperate if they are not part of the respective Ministries of Finance, especially over tax and budgetary policy, in ways that do not stimulate rivalry and jealousy but foster good relationships and good governance in tax matters;

66.  Calls for the establishment or (if they are already in place) institutional improvement of so called (semi-)autonomous revenue authorities (ARA), through adequate systems of checks and balances, to prevent abuse of tax authorities;

67.  Underlines in this context that the high status and managerial autonomy of ARAs should be offset by pluralistic governance arrangements which make sure:

   (a) that an ARA has a guaranteed budget that cannot be changed by the government;
   (b) that its status, responsibilities and powers are enshrined in law and can be protected by the police and the courts;
   (c) that appointments to the supervisory board (to be established) are made by a variety of public agents (different ministries, business and lawyers‘ associations);
   (d) that appointments to the supervisory board are for a long term and of fixed duration;
   (e) and that managerial and operational staff are answerable only to the supervisory board;

68.  Considers that the development of an efficient tax system in developing countries must become the backbone of their public finances; considers that the new EU investment policy in developing countries should contribute to establishing an environment more favourable to foreign and domestic private investment and to creating the conditions for more effective international assistance; recalls that the EU's investment policy must focus on SME development, including through the provision of micro-credit, and encourage innovation, public service efficiency, public-private partnerships and knowledge transfer in order to promote growth;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 29.
(2) OJ C 4 E, 7.1.2011, p. 34.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0210.
(4) OJ C 230 E, 26.8.2010, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 94.
(6) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 323.
(7) For instance, see study by Baunsgaard & Keen (2005), quoted in the IMF report of 15 February 2005, entitled ‘Dealing with the Revenue Consequences of Trade Reform’, in which the IMF concludes that ‘many low-income countries and some middle-income countries have had difficulty in replacing trade tax revenues’.
(8) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 488.


Agriculture and international trade
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on EU agriculture and international trade (2010/2110(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0083A7-0030/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Part Three, Title III and Part Five, Titles II and V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the principles relating to the welfare requirements of animals laid down in Article 13 of the TFEU,

–  having regard to the WTO agreements, and in particular to the Agreement on Agriculture which was negotiated during the Uruguay Round and entered into force on 1 January 1995,

–  having regard to the Declaration adopted at the fourth Ministerial Conference held in Doha from 9 to 14 November 2001, to the Decision adopted by the WTO General Council on 1 August 2004 and to the Declaration adopted at the sixth Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong from 13 to18 December 2005,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 April 2006 on the assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong(1),

–  having regard to the revised draft modalities for agriculture circulated on 6 December 2008 by the WTO chairperson of the agriculture negotiations,

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding of 15 May 2009 between the United States of America and the European Commission regarding the importation of beef from animals not treated with certain growth-promoting hormones and increased duties applied by the United States to certain products of the European Communities,

–  having regard to the mutually agreed solution reached on 15 July 2009 between Canada and the European Union to the dispute entitled ‘European Communities – Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products’,

–  having regard to the agreement initialled on 15 December 2009 between the EU and Latin American countries setting the conditions for the final settlement of pending disputes on the EU import regime for bananas (Geneva Agreement),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2009 on the prospects for the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) following the Seventh WTO Ministerial Conference(2),

–  having regard to the conclusion, on 17 December 2009, of the negotiations between the EU and Morocco on an agreement concerning liberalisation measures on agricultural and fisheries products,

–  having regard to the conclusion, on 1 March 2010, of the negotiations between the EU, Peru and Colombia on the signing of a Multi-Party Agreement,

–  having regard to the mutually agreed solution reached on 18 March 2010 between the Argentine Republic and the European Union to the dispute entitled ‘European Communities - Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2010 on ‘Agricultural product quality policy: what strategy to follow?’(3),

–  having regard to the conclusion, on 19 May 2010, of the negotiations between the EU and Central America on the trade pillar of the Association Agreement,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2010 on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013(4),

–  having regard to the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and South Korea signed on 6 October 2010,

–  having regard to the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Mercosur towards an Association Agreement,

–  having regard to the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Canada towards a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement,

–  having regard to the ongoing negotiations between the EU and India towards a Free Trade Agreement,

–  having regard to the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Ukraine towards an Association Agreement,

–  having regard to its study entitled ‘Stocktake of the WTO Agricultural Negotiations after the Failure of the 2008 Talks’, of June 2009,

–  having regard to the guide entitled ‘Geographical Indications and TRIPs: 10 Years Later. A roadmap for EU GI holders to get protection in other WTO Members’, which was commissioned by the Commission,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 15 September 2010 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (COM (2010)0484),

–  having regard to the issue of the liberalisation of duties for Pakistan, as provided for in Article 1 of the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council introducing emergency autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan (COM(2010)0552),

–  having regard to the UN Millennium Development Goals,

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  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 opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Development (A7-0030/2011),

A.  whereas the EU remains by far the largest importer of agricultural goods in the world, with imports having almost doubled in value over the past decade and now accounting for nearly 20% of world imports,

B.  whereas the EU's share of global agricultural exports is declining as a result of the faster growth of other key agricultural trading partners; whereas final products accounted for 68% of the value of EU exports in 2007-2009, while intermediate products and commodities represented 23% and 9% respectively; whereas, furthermore, world market prices are a factor in the difficulties the EU is experiencing in exporting its products, given that, in general, prices are low and the Union has higher production costs,

C.  whereas the EU agricultural trade deficit reached a record high of EUR 7 billion in 2008; whereas the EU's trade deficit with Mercosur, for example, has more than doubled since 2000 and EU imports of agricultural products from Mercosur are now worth EUR 19 billion worth, as against EUR 1 billion worth of exports,

D.  whereas the EU is the world's largest importer of agricultural goods from developing countries, importing more than the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined; whereas around 71% of the EU's total agricultural imports originate from developing countries, as a result of the Everything but Arms (EBA) initiative for least developed countries (LDCs), the generalised system of preferences (GSP), and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs),

E.  whereas the 2008 WTO draft modalities on agriculture would require even greater concessions from the EU than those set out in the already substantial offer made by the EU in October 2005,

F.  whereas the application of policy coherence for development (PCD) to agriculture and trade will also impact on the fulfilment of Millennium Development Goals 1 (eradication of extreme poverty and hunger) and 8 (global partnership for development), including through provisions for fairer trade rules and market access,

G.  whereas the EU has already drastically reduced its trade-distorting domestic support, unlike key trading partners, in particular the US, which maintained and in some cases strengthened its instruments under the 2008 Farm Bill,

H.  whereas the EU has unilaterally made a substantial reduction in its export refunds, with their share of the CAP budget falling from 29.5 % in 1993 to only 1.2 % in 2009, and with the proportion of the value of agricultural exports for which export refunds are paid falling from 25% in 1992 to only 0.9% in 2009; whereas some key trading partners are continuing to make considerable use of other forms of export incentives,

I.  whereas, in the framework of the ‘beef hormones’ dispute, the US is continuing to impose sanctions on the EU and had even announced that they will be rotated to cover other EU agricultural products, in order to increase their impact (‘carousel’ legislation); whereas under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the EU grants a zero-duty import tariff quota of 20 000 tons of beef,

J.  whereas the US has challenged, within the WTO, the EU rules governing the hygiene and marketing of poultry,

K.  whereas a mutually agreed solution was reached with Canada and Argentina on the ‘GMOs dispute’; whereas the US has made a general retaliation request,

L.  whereas the ruling of the WTO panel on sugar was one of the main drivers of the 2006 EU sugar reform and is still having a major impact on trade in sugar; whereas the common market organisation for sugar respects all EU trade commitments; whereas in the space of three years the EU has changed from being the second largest exporter of sugar to the second largest net importer, mainly for the benefit of developing countries (LDCs and ACP countries),

M.  whereas the 2006 sugar reform has achieved the objectives of increasing competitiveness, reducing sugar prices and decreasing the sugar production quota by about 30%; whereas, however, it has led to the closure of 83 factories out of a total of 189 in the EU-27, the loss of over 16 500 direct jobs in rural areas, and the end of sugar beet cultivation for around 140 000 farmers,

N.  whereas the world sugar market is one of the most volatile agricultural commodity markets and is dominated by one country (Brazil); whereas EU sugar production provides a reliable supply to the world market and ensures a regular internal supply of high quality and sustainable products for European users,

O.  whereas the EU is promoting sustainable production of renewable energy, through requirements to be applied by the end of 2010; whereas the EU already imports more than 25% of its fuel bioethanol consumption, not including bioethanol imported in the form of mixtures with the aim of circumventing import duties; whereas the Commission needs to ensure that there is a balance between internal bioethanol production and imports, in accordance with Article 23(5)(a) of the Renewable Energy Directive (Directive 2009/28/EC(5)),

P.  whereas the 4th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be held in November 2010; whereas a public consultation has been launched on the possible revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (Directive 2001/37/EC(6)); whereas several WTO members have raised the issue of the conformity with the TBT Agreement of Canadian Bill C-32, which effectively involves the banning of all traditional blended tobacco products except those using solely Virginia tobacco, the only variety produced in Canada and used in the manufacturing of Canadian tobacco products,

Q.  whereas the EU must strike a balance in international trade agreements between market liberalisation and protection for economic sectors and the rights of workers and consumers,

R.  whereas EU trade agreements with third countries must safeguard EU sectors that are experiencing difficulties – in particular the fruit and vegetables, livestock and cereals sectors, in which incomes have fallen substantially – and, at the same time, offer them genuine export opportunities,

S.  whereas local small farmers, who make a significant contribution to food security in their regions, must not be adversely affected by the EU's conclusion of international trade agreements,

T.  whereas the EU must aim to secure better monitoring of human rights and social and environmental standards when concluding international trade agreements,

U.  whereas Parliament's consent is required for the conclusion of trade agreements negotiated by the Commission,

Consistency between EU agricultural and common commercial policies

1.  Considers that the EU agricultural sector has a clear added value for the European economy and a strategic role to play in the EU 2020 strategy towards tackling the economic, social and environmental challenges that the EU is facing; underlines the need to ensure policy coherence between the EU's agricultural, trade and development policies;

2.  Stresses that external trade policy must not jeopardise the EU's ability to maintain a strong agricultural sector and to ensure food security against a background of increased market volatility; calls on the Commission to defend, in all fora, and in the WTO in particular, the multifunctional role of EU agriculture, including the vital role it plays in providing employment and in sustaining the vitality of rural areas, and the European agri-food model, which is a strategic component of Europe's economy;

3.  Condemns the Commission's approach, which far too often makes concessions on agriculture in order to obtain enhanced market access in third countries for industrial products and services; calls on the Commission to stop putting agricultural interests behind the interests of the industrial and services sector;

4.  Calls on the Commission to propose an approach that strikes a balance between domestic production and imports, taking into account, for each agricultural sector, the development of multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, as well as EU environmental, social, animal welfare and safety standards and respect for human rights;

5.  Stresses that, in relation to the agricultural sector, the Commission must conduct impact assessments which must be made public before the commencement of negotiations and proposed updates to take account of new positions arising in the negotiations; emphasises the need for a proper and transparent process for consulting all interested parties, particularly in Parliament and the Commission; recalls that a domestic advisory council was included in the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and South Korea and notes that this could be a precedent for the involvement of interested parties and stakeholders in future trade agreements;

6.  Underlines that impact assessments must look at the specificities of each commodity, such as the beef market, taking market segmentation into account; highlights the fact that previous impact assessments have provided only global figures; urges the Commission therefore to provide detailed impact assessments taking into account the effects on specific segments of the market arising from the opening up of EU agricultural markets to the Mercosur trade bloc;

7.  Takes the view that decisions to further open up the EU market to imports of agricultural goods should not be taken without ensuring that EU farmers can be compensated for their losses;

8.  Underlines the fact that financial compensation cannot offset the negative impacts of the discontinuation of EU agricultural production, which guarantees food safety and quality and is essential for the prosperity of EU rural areas and the protection of rural landscapes against the threat of land abandonment and rural depopulation; emphasises, therefore, the need to maintain the conditions necessary for EU farmers to remain viable and receive a fair income in all Member States, thus clearing the way for the revitalisation of farming in Europe, in the light of the key role played by the CAP in the EU setup;

9.  Recalls that EU producers are obliged to meet the highest standards in terms of quality, product hygiene, sustainable production methods, plant health, animal health and welfare, traceability, pesticide residue control, veterinary medicine and additives;

10.  Is adamant that third-country production methods for export to the EU must provide European consumers with the same guarantees in terms of health, food safety, animal welfare, sustainable development and minimum social standards as those required of EU producers; underlines that this is the only way to ensure that EU producers can compete on a level playing field with third countries, and insists on the need for tighter import controls at borders and for checks on production and marketing conditions carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office in countries exporting to the EU to be stepped up, so that compliance with EU standards is guaranteed;

11.  Stresses the need, in relation to imports, for strict compliance with origin rules and mechanisms for the prevention of triangular trade;

12.  Urges the Commission proactively to promote the EU's offensive agricultural interests and to make it easier for EU products to gain access to third-country markets, given the vast export and world market stabilisation potential of the EU's high quality agri-food products; underlines, inter alia, the need to step up promotion programmes; notes that these measures are WTO-compatible, falling as they do into the ‘green box’;

13.  Notes that the outermost regions (ORs) are an integral part of the EU and that trade agreements apply in their entirety to such regions; stresses that lower customs tariffs pose a threat to the fragile economies of ORs, which are based mainly on farming and produce goods similar to those produced by, among others, Latin American partner countries; points out that, under Article 349 of the TFEU, EU policies may be tailored to the specific geographical and economic circumstances of such regions; calls accordingly on the Commission to take account, during negotiations, of the specific situation of ORs, so as to ensure that their development is not undermined;

Agriculture in the multilateral trading system
Doha Development Agenda (DDA)

14.  Considers that, in a bid to secure a successful outcome to the DDA, the EU made an extremely generous offer on agriculture, which cannot be increased, but this has not, to date, been reciprocated by an equivalent level of ambition from other developed and advanced developing countries;

15.  Recalls that the 2003 CAP reform and the 2008 ‘Health Check’ have demonstrated the seriousness of the EU's reform commitments by anticipating the likely results of the Doha round, while equivalent concessions are still expected from the EU's trading partners;

16.  Calls on the Commission to comply strictly with its negotiating mandate from the Council, which sets the most recent reform of the CAP as the limit of its action, provided that equivalent concessions are obtained from its trading partners; asks it to refrain from making any proposals that would predetermine the decisions to be made on the future of the CAP post-2013;

17.  Emphasises the role of non-trade concerns (NTC) in the Doha Development Agenda; takes the view that, in the agriculture sector negotiations, a balance needs to be struck between the economic dimension of trade and non-economic values, such as social values, environmental concerns, human health and animal health and welfare;

18.  Deplores the absence of progress on the establishment of a multilateral register for wines and spirits as well as on the extension of the protection of geographical indications to all agricultural products; recalls that these elements are sine qua non for a balanced outcome to the agricultural negotiations; emphasises the need for the principles underpinning the EU's agricultural product quality policy to be promoted more widely at multilateral and bilateral level;

19.  Recalls that the EU has already significantly reduced its trade-distorting domestic support and asks for firm commitments to do the same from other trading partners;

20.  Recalls the commitment made by the WTO members during the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference to achieving the elimination of all forms of export subsidies in full parallelism with the imposition of disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect, notably export credits, agricultural state trading enterprises and the regulation of food aid;

21.  Considers that the general reduction in customs tariffs should be assessed in the light of the EU offer concerning the domestic support and export competition pillars, and should depend on the possibility of keeping the Special Safeguard clause, on a specific exemption from tariff simplification disciplines and on adequate flexibility in the formula for tariff cuts and in the designation of sensitive products; is of the opinion that the proposed mechanism for designating sensitive products is fatally undermined by the obligation to achieve a significant tariff quota expansion;

22.  Stresses the need for the ‘single undertaking’ principle to be upheld in the WTO's DDA negotiations; points out that, for some time now, there has been a tendency for the negotiations to focus on a limited range of negotiating areas, including agriculture, in which the EU has major defensive interests, with relatively less progress being made in other negotiating areas, and this is threatening to undermine the EU's negotiating position; points out, in addition, that this is making it difficult to take stock of the Round as a whole;

23.  Reaffirms that developing countries should legitimately be allowed to enact policies which create domestic added value;

24.  Stresses that the volatility of prices has aggravated malnutrition problems worldwide, as the FAO observes, and that greater liberalisation of world trade in agricultural products, which has been encouraged by WTO agreements, has not so far made it possible to curb the threat of hunger in the world; stresses that the EU also has a duty to contribute to world food security;

WTO dispute settlement

25.  Notes the fact that the agreement on trade in bananas settles 20 years of the most technically complex, politically sensitive and significant WTO-dispute, constitutes an important step towards the consolidation of a rule-based multilateral trading system, and at the same time could make a decisive contribution to the resolution of issues relating to tropical products and preferences in WTO negotiations;

26.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the settlement of the ‘beef hormones’ dispute will allow for the suspension of the sanctions on EU products, while guaranteeing that beef imports to the EU will be in line with EU requirements;

27.  Considers, with regard to the ‘chlorinated poultry’ dispute, that the importation of such products into the EU would be contrary to the public demand in the EU for safe products and to the principles underpinning the European food model;

28.  Asks the Commission vigorously to defend the EU regime for authorising and marketing GMOs against challenges in the WTO;

Agriculture in plurilateral, inter-regional and bilateral trade relations

29.  Believes that the conclusion of multilateral negotiations is a priority to be pursued by the EU; believes that bilateral trade agreements must complement multilateral processes in the form of respect for equal working conditions, common environmental rules and food safety standards already in force in the European Union and avoid the fostering solely of sustainable development programmes; recalls that the EU has substantial offensive interests in agriculture, in particular as regards high- quality processed products; believes that bilateral trade agreements with major trade partners can successfully promote the export interests of the EU agro-food industry, providing substantial economic benefits;

30.  Calls for agricultural imports into the EU to provide European consumers with the same guarantees in terms of consumer protection, animal welfare, environmental protection and minimum social standards as those provided by European production methods, and draws attention to Parliament's firm position on this matter; calls on the Commission to include clauses in bilateral trade agreements that oblige third countries to comply with the same sanitary and phytosanitary conditions that are imposed on European producers; considers that such agreements must provide at least for compliance with international obligations and standards;

31.  Stresses that in order to avoid ‘paying twice'– first at bilateral and then at multilateral level – the concept of a ’single pocket agreement‘ must be supported, under which concessions in bilateral agreements will be linked to the final outcome of the Doha negotiations;

32.  Emphasises the importance of strict implementation of the preferential rules of origin; calls for a review of all trade preferences given to emerging countries which are members of the G-20 by the European Union;

33.  Takes the view that curbs should be put in place to prevent irregular practices in agri-food trade, such as triangular trade, when a country exports its production to the EU, taking advantage of EU market access preferences, and then meets its own needs by importing the products from abroad; considers that, in order to prevent such irregularities, EU market access concessions offered by the EU in trade agreements concluded with third countries should not exceed the actual production and export capabilities of the countries concerned;

34.  Calls on the Commission strongly to defend the inclusion of geographical indications (GIs) as an essential part of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); regrets that, in the framework of recently concluded or ongoing trade negotiations, only a ‘short list’ of EU GIs is to be protected by our trading partners; points out that, in line with the Global Europe strategy, bilateral agreements must secure enhanced international protection for geographical indications through WTO+ provisions; emphasises the need for a proper and transparent process for consulting all interested parties, particularly in Parliament and the Commission;

35.  Recalls that the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea allowed significant numbers of GIs to be recognised; calls for further efforts to be made to provide for this in future trade agreements; notes that the protection and recognition of GIs in third countries is potentially of great value to the EU's agri-food sector;

36.  Notes that, according to the Commission, the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would relieve EU exporters of the burden of EUR 380 million in duties annually, by eliminating duties on 99% of EU agricultural exports;

37.  Asks the Commission to ensure that trade agreements do not undermine the EU system of entry prices for fruit and vegetables, while maintaining the current import schedules; urges the Commission, nevertheless, to make the changes necessary to improve the system's functioning as soon as possible;

38.  Stresses, in particular, that the complex system of entry prices that applies to tomato imports from Morocco is causing problems; calls, therefore, on the Commission to make the relevant changes without delay;

39.  Expresses its strong concern about the EU-Morocco agreement; points out that, while European markets have opened up almost completely to imports from Morocco, some agricultural products are still subject to quotas on exports from the EU, including important products such as pomaceous fruits;

40.  Regrets that, in the negotiations on the agricultural chapter of the association agreement with Morocco, no guarantees were given in respect of compliance with the preferential import quotas or the entry prices applying to Moroccan exports;

41.  Calls on the Commission to abide by its commitments regarding the EU sugar sector and to end systematic concessions on sugar in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations; notes in this context the initiatives of the sugar sector, which have increased its competiveness while improving its environmental sustainability and contributing to the EU development agenda via the preferences granted to ACP countries and LDCs;

42.  Points out that any additional bilateral EU sugar market access concessions granted to third countries (for example Latin American countries and Ukraine) will be destabilising for the EU sugar market and will cause preference erosion for LDCs and ACP countries; is all the more concerned by the fact that such concessions, when granted to net importing countries, encourage swap mechanisms; calls on the Commission to continue to exclude sugar and sugar-derived products, including ethanol, from the scope of bilateral negotiations;

43.  Calls on the Commission to guard against the circumvention of import duties on ethanol, since growing quantities of ethanol are now entering the EU in the form of mixtures with a very low import duty;

44.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that there are symmetrical tariff concessions in free trade area agreements concluded by the EU with countries with significant agricultural production and export capabilities, e.g. Mercosur;

45.  Notes the resumption of negotiations on the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement – an agreement of the utmost importance, which would affect 700 million people and would be the world's most ambitious bi-regional agreement – and therefore stresses that the European Parliament should be closely involved at all stages of the negotiations;

46.  Considers it unacceptable that the Commission resumed negotiations with Mercosur without making publicly available a detailed impact assessment and without engaging in a proper political debate with the Council and Parliament; calls for a study into the impact of these negotiations on European agricultural sectors and regions to be produced and discussed before any tariff proposals are exchanged between the EU and Mercosur; points out that, given the agricultural implications of the negotiations, a link with the Doha Round must necessarily be established; calls accordingly on the Commission not to conclude the negotiations with Mercosur until the WTO round has been brought to a close, as stipulated in its mandate; calls on the Commission to keep the Council and Parliament duly informed of developments in the negotiations with Mercosur and in future to inform Council and Parliament before such trade negotiations commence;

47.  Is deeply concerned about the impacts on the EU agricultural sector as a whole of a possible association agreement with Mercosur, given the request made by Mercosur in March 2006 for access to the EU agricultural market, which went considerably further than the already substantial offer made by the EU in 2004; considers it is necessary, therefore, to review the concessions so as to protect our farmers‘ interests;

48.  Considers that the position of the new Member States has not been taken into account in the negotiations between the EU and Mercosur, based on the mandate agreed by the Council in 1999;

49.  Notes that farm businesses in Mercosur countries have much lower production costs, including land, labour and other capital costs, and that Mercosur producers do not have to meet the same standards as EU producers, with regard to the environment, animal welfare, food safety and phytosanitary measures; emphasises that a balanced outcome for both parties must be achieved by making sure that the negotiations take full account of consequences and impacts, in particular on environmental and social challenges; calls on the Commission to carry out an impact assessment on the consequences of such an agreement for the agricultural sector;

50.  Is of the opinion that the level of market integration in the Mercosur customs union is currently insufficient to guarantee an adequate circulation of imported goods within the region; takes the view that an agreement would not yield any real dividends in the absence of provisions ensuring full and effective circulation of goods within the Mercosur area;

51.  Regrets the tariff concessions recently granted by the Commission to the countries that export bananas to the EU; calls for a review of the aid received by European producers under aid programmes for the outermost regions (POSEI) in order to compensate these producers for the effects that this cut in tariffs will have on prices in the EU market; believes that the interests of Community producers and ACP producers must be taken into consideration in similar future negotiations, so that these sectors, which provide numerous jobs, are not weakened;

52.  Underlines the fact that a series of reports from the Food and Veterinary Office highlights the ongoing failure of Brazilian beef to meet EU producer and consumer standards on food safety, animal identification and traceability, animal health and disease controls;

53.  Urges the Commission to study the various reports published by the Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) on the widespread use in Brazil of pesticides that are banned in the EU and most other parts of the world, which highlight the grave health risks stemming from this practice;

54.  Expresses its strong concern about the policy that Argentina is implementing, in violation of its WTO obligations, with a view to restricting imports of food products competing with domestic production; points out that those measures come on top of the Argentine non-automatic import licensing system, which is already having an adverse impact on EU exports; calls on the Commission to take all necessary action to ensure that those measures, which go against the spirit of negotiating an EU-Mercosur agreement, are effectively discontinued;

55.  Is concerned about concessions made on fruit and vegetables within the Euro-Mediterranean agreements; maintains, in this connection, that the complementarity between the growing seasons in southern and northern Mediterranean countries should continue to be a guiding factor in the liberalisation of agricultural trade within the Union for the Mediterranean;

56.  Stresses that, while tobacco products must be governed by a strict regulatory framework, the regulation of ingredients in tobacco products at EU and international level must follow a proportionate, risk-based approach reflecting scientific evidence; warns against any non-science-based ban on any ingredient, which would effectively lead to the banning of European traditional blended tobacco products, as this would have severe socio-economic repercussions for EU tobacco growers (of oriental and burley varieties) without yielding any public health benefits;

57.  Calls on the Commission, in negotiations on EU trade agreements, including those with Canada and Ukraine, to take account of the interests of EU citizens, to maintain openness and to inform Parliament regularly about the progress of the negotiations; regrets that the Commission has not yet informed Parliament about the negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, even though these negotiations commenced in October 2009; calls on the Commission to provide Parliament and the committees responsible with detailed information on each further round of negotiations; is also concerned at possible concessions by the Commission in the negotiations, particularly in the areas of the opening up of markets, GMOs, milk, protection of intellectual property and origin labelling, and calls on the Commission not to make any concessions that might have a negative impact on European agriculture;

58.  Is concerned at the prospect of concessions on cereals in the negotiations with Ukraine, in view of the fact that Ukrainian production is highly competitive and that Ukraine is already the main user of reduced-tariff cereal quotas (wheat and barley) offered to third countries; calls, therefore, on the Commission to limit its offer in this sector;

59.  Reaffirms the importance of agricultural trade for economic development and poverty alleviation in developing countries; calls on the EU to help ACP countries to adapt to the increasing global competition;

60.  Calls on the Commission to take due account of this resolution when drafting and implementing its future trade strategy;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 155.
(2) OJ C 286 E, 22.10.2010, p.1.
(3) OJ C 4 E, 7.1.2011, p. 25.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0286.
(5) OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p.16.
(6) OJ L 194, 18.7.2001, p. 26.


EU protein deficit
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on the EU protein deficit: what solution for a long-standing problem? (2010/2111(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0084A7-0026/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 November 2010 entitled ‘The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future (COM(2010)0672),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 July 2010 entitled ‘The TSE Road map 2. A Strategy paper on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies for 2010-2015’ (COM(2010)0384),

–  having regard to Council Decision 93/355/EEC of 8 June 1993 concerning the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding on certain oil seeds between the European Economic Community and the United States of America within the framework of the GATT(1), which adopted the Blair House Agreement setting a ceiling on oilseed and protein crop production in the European Union and on specific tariffs for such crops,

–  having regard to the November 2009 report submitted to the Commission by LMC International entitled ‘Evaluation of Measures applied under the Common Agricultural Policy to the protein crop sector’(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulations (EEC) No 1431/82(3) and (EC) No 1251/1999(4), which laid down special measures in the protein crop sector and introduced the maximum guaranteed area, Council Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003(5) and Articles 76 to 78 of Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009(6), which provided for the phasing-out of specific support for protein crops, and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1121/2009(7), which set out detailed rules regarding the protein crop premium,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) 767/2009 on the placing on the market and use of feed(8),

–  having regard to Article 68 of Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009, which allows Member States to grant support for protein crops on their territory, and has been used in particular by France, Spain, Poland and Finland,

–  having regard to the study by the Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development on the ‘Economic Impact of Unapproved GMOs on EU Feed Imports and Livestock Production’, 2007,

–  having regard to the recommendations concerning the role of research and local knowledge, including the role of leguminous protein plants, made in the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report on the global food supply, carried out by the United Nations Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank,

–  having regard to the studies requested by its Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and presented at the workshop held on 11 October 2010,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2008 on sustainable agriculture and biogas: a need for review of EU legislation(9),

–  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 (A7-0026/2011),

Basic facts on the protein deficit: supply, demand and international trade

A.  whereas total EU protein crop production currently occupies only 3% of the Union's arable land and supplies only 30% of the protein crops consumed as animal feed in the EU, with a trend over the past decade towards an increase in this deficit,

B.  whereas in some Member States substantial areas of farmland remain fallow year on year, with their productive potential going to waste,

C.  whereas, historically, this significant deficit in protein crop production goes back to previously established international trade agreements, especially with the United States, which allowed the EU to protect its cereal production and in return allowed duty-free imports of protein crops and oilseeds into the EU (GATT and 1992 Blair House Agreement); whereas this was accompanied by significant progress in the efficiency of protein crop production and the use of new technologies outside the EU, leading to a competitive disadvantage for EU farmers who find protein crop production economically unattractive,

D.  whereas 70% (42 million tonnes in 2009) of the raw materials rich in plant proteins consumed, especially soy flour, are imported, mainly from Brazil, Argentina and the USA; whereas approx. 60% of these imports (26 million tonnes) are by-products derived from vegetable oil production and are used as meals, especially soymeal, for animal feed,

E.  whereas, because the volumes produced are so low, the European compound food industry only uses 2 million tonnes of protein crops each year but estimates that it would be able to use nearly 20 million tonnes per year,

F.  whereas these imports represent the equivalent of 20 million hectares cultivated outside the EU, or more than 10% of the EU's arable land, and whereas these producers are not subject to the same environmental, health and GMO regulatory constraints as European producers,

G.  whereas the emergence of new customers for South American suppliers, notably China, who are not as demanding as the European Union in regard to production conditions and whose supply strategy is rather opaque, may in the long run weaken the stability of the markets and the EU supply chain,

H.  whereas the EU livestock sector is vulnerable to price volatility and trade distortions, and depends on affordable and high quality protein imports; whereas the sector's competitiveness is undermined by the additional costs of protein imports for feed incurred by the lack of an EU technical solution to the current zero tolerance policy on low level presence of unapproved GMOs,

I.  whereas shortages of soya and maize imports impose an additional cost burden on the EU livestock and feedstuffs sectors, and put the economic viability of domestic meat production at risk,

J.  whereas, as a consequence of the small volume of leguminous fodder crops (lucerne, clover, sainfoin, etc.) and seed crops (pea, soja, lupin, horse bean, vetch, etc.) produced in the EU, the number of plant protein research programmes in the EU has dropped from 50 in 1980 to 15 in 2010, and training and the acquisition of practical experience in domestic protein crop production have been neglected, leading to a low level of innovation and regionally adapted seed production in the EU,

K.  whereas the EU is highly dependent on soya beans and maize imported from third countries and any interruption of the supply of these products due to a minute presence of unauthorised GMOs has a very costly impact on the European feed industry,

L.  whereas a research policy is only likely to prove successful if it is covered by medium- to long-term commitments, which is not the case at present for protein crops,

M.  whereas farmers‘ knowledge of sustainable practices which link crop and livestock production through balanced crop rotation and adequate use of grassland areas could be lost, and whereas moreover domestic protein crop quality does not offer the quality of compound feed needed in the various animal production sectors,

N.  whereas for protein crops to become a sustainable element in cropping patterns, income from these crops must be increased in the short term, notably through specific CAP support,

Basic statements on the advantages of reducing the protein deficit

O.  whereas rebalancing the supply and consumption of cereals, proteins and oilseeds in the EU could have major economic benefits for farmers and the food and feed industry, as well as improving the variety of healthy, high-quality food for consumers, if the political framework for the upcoming CAP reform fully addressed the new challenges highlighted in the Commission's communication,

P.  whereas all opportunities afforded by the various promotion measures should be used to promote human consumption of cereals, protein crops and oilseeds, which should be further protected under an agricultural product quality scheme for protection of geographical or traditional products, thereby helping to preserve local and regional foods made from these commodities,

Q.  whereas, in the context of climate change, the production of protein crops can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the assimilation and fixation of nitrogen in the soil (amounting to up to 100 kg N/ha per month) and the consequent reduction in the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, which contains nitrous oxide, whose warming potential is 310 times higher than that of carbon dioxide,

R.  whereas the EU's ‘GL-pro’ programme has demonstrated that introducing protein crops into crop rotation once every four years results in a significant drop in CO2 emissions of approximately 10% to 15% and reduced ozone production,

S.  whereas, in terms of soil fertility, a higher proportion of protein crops cultivated on arable land as part of increased crop rotation systems and blocking plans contributes to more balanced nutrient storage, reduced soil acidification, enhanced disease resistance, better soil structure (including increased energy efficiency for soil treatment), less use of herbicides and greater biodiversity, assisting pollination,

T.  whereas the number of crops being rotated is a factor in reducing the likelihood of disease and propagation of weeds, and consequently the need for plant protection treatments, and whereas increasing the proportion of protein crops cultivated on arable land may help cut energy consumption by 10%,

U.  whereas, in terms of water management, in particular the use in animal feed production of leguminous crops – such as permanent grass-clover mixtures or mixtures of cereals and protein crops – and permanent soil coverage can substantially reduce the run-off of nutrients, especially nitrates and phosphates, into groundwater,

V.  whereas, in terms of agricultural biodiversity, the extended use of protein crops that are adapted to European climatic conditions, such as beans, soya, peas, lentils, lupins, chick peas, alfalfa/lucerne, clover, Phacelia spp, Lotus corniculatus and sainfoin, will substantially stabilise and enhance diversity within the production system,

W.  whereas, in terms of protein production and global food security, a better balance needs to be achieved between crop and animal protein production, especially as regards the amount of energy, water and external inputs currently consumed for intensive animal protein production as opposed to protein crop production for human consumption, with the world food balance always the main focus,

X.  whereas several EU policies have an impact on the EU's protein deficit, and whereas the Commission must also analyse the issues of GMO production inside and outside the EU's territory, the development of biofuels and the reappraisal of the total ban on animal proteins in animal feed,

Y.  whereas, besides using native protein crops, the quality of non-imported compound feed can also be improved through the use of by-products of oilseeds such as soya, sunflower and rapeseed,

Z.  whereas using leguminous fodder crops or seed crops in place of imported proteins – primarily soya cake – may bring about significant changes in stock-breeding methods and thus play a part in improving the quality of agricultural products (from standard products to certified products with alterations to specifications) and producers‘ incomes,

AA.  whereas the ban on the use of animal protein in animal feed was introduced following the BSE crisis so as to prevent any contamination with TSE; whereas this ban should only be lifted based on scientific facts and sufficient measures of precaution and control; whereas based on these conditions processed animal proteins from slaughter offal for the production of feed for monogastric animals (pork and poultry) should be considered, provided that the ingredients stem from meat which was approved for human consumption, and that the ban on intra-species recycling and forced cannibalism is fully implemented and controlled,

Basic statements in response to the Commission's communication: preparing the ground for recommendations and demands

AB.  whereas the Commission communication of 17 November 2010 clearly highlights the need to enhance protein crop production within a more integrated crop rotation system,

AC.  whereas various studies carried out by the FAO, the Commission and competent authorities within the Member States have pointed out that improved use of protein crops in EU agriculture has the potential to make the supply of animal feed more reliable by making use of agro-environmental measures,

AD.  whereas it is advantageous for farmers to grow protein crops in several areas: on-farm animal feed production using mixed crops such as cereals and beans; protein production for human consumption; and all kinds of sustainable agriculture,

AE.  whereas at present Member States may provide specific support for protein crop production as part of agro-environmental programmes and the ‘Article 68’ measures to improve the quality of production systems and of food,

AF.  whereas, besides cereal and maize cultivation for feed and energy production, the use of extended crop rotation systems, on-farm mixed cropping and grass-clover mixtures, which can have major environmental and agronomic benefits, should be encouraged, since the growing of leguminous crops as part of a rotation system can prevent diseases, regenerate the soil, have a beneficial effect on the population of pollinators and protect the climate,

AG.  whereas increased cereal yields in central Europe will free up farming land across Europe and make it possible for the cultivation of crops, and particularly protein crops, to be relocated to all parts of Europe,

AH.  whereas the recent increase of volatility in agricultural commodity prices has raised major concerns about the competitiveness of the European livestock sector and its high dependence on protein crop imports; whereas the EU needs a genuine strategic development plan for plant proteins and their specific role in responding to the new challenges of the CAP (climate change, better management of natural resources); whereas reducing the protein deficit also needs major efforts in improved research and breeding, as well as measures which enhance adequate infrastructure for protein crop production, storage and processing; whereas also by-products of oilseed and agrofuels production could be considered for animal feed, provided that strict rules are met to ensure that the precautionary principle is fully applied and that there are no risks to animal and human health,

AI.  whereas the problem of zero tolerance for imports of feed must be debated further and approaches leading to practical solutions must be devised,

AJ.  whereas agricultural and industrial product-paths are connected in many respects and certain by-products of biofuel production are suitable for use as feed,

1.  Calls on the Commission to take a medium- to long-term view in reviewing its policy on proteins, ensuring that its legislative proposals for CAP reform include adequate and reliable new measures and instruments which support farmers in improving crop rotation systems so as to substantially reduce the current protein deficit and price volatility;

2.  Calls on the Commission swiftly to submit to Parliament and to the Council a report on the possibilities and options for increasing domestic protein crop production in the EU by means of new policy instruments (also taking into account the use of oil seeds and their by-products and the potential extent for substituting imports), the potential effect on farmers‘ revenues, the contribution it would make to climate change mitigation, the effect on biodiversity and soil fertility, and the potential for reducing the necessary external input of mineral fertilisers and pesticides;

3.  Calls on the Commission to report on the impact of the zero tolerance rule for the presence in imported feed of GMOs which are not authorised in Europe, giving particular consideration to the possibility of introducing limit values and their practical application;

4.  Calls on the Commission to maintain the common organisation of the market in dried fodder in place until 2013 so as to ensure the continued survival of this key sector, which is vitally important in the production of feed proteins for the livestock sector;

5.  Calls on the Commission to support research into breeding and supply of protein crop seeds in the EU, including their contribution to disease control, and to make proposals for research and development on ways to improve extension services and under the heading of rural development on services training farmers in the use of crop rotation, mixed cropping and technical facilities for on-farm feed production;

6.  Calls on the Commission, in the context of promoting rural development, to bring forward measures to promote an increase in the number of animals with biological material of high value and productive potential, and the dissemination of good practices in connection with the introduction of optimum feeding patterns, with a view to ensuring that the most efficient use possible is made of protein crops grown as animal feed;

7.  Calls on the Commission to propose a framework for rural development measures which introduce improved, decentralised facilities for the production of animal feed, based on local and regional crop varieties, the storage of those varieties and seed selection and development;

8.  Calls on the Commission to carry out an appraisal evaluating the effects of current import tariffs and trade agreements on the various oilseed and protein crops and to submit to Parliament and the Council a detailed legal study on the current scope of the Blair House agreements on the production of protein crops in Europe;

9.  Calls on the Commission to ensure an unhindered supply of soya to the EU market by providing a technical solution regarding the low-level presence of GMOs in protein crops for food and feed imported into the EU; recalls that shortages of soya imports impose an additional cost burden on the EU livestock and feedstuffs sectors, and puts the economic viability of domestic meat production at risk;

10.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to consider including in its legislative proposals for a reformed CAP and beyond this the promotion of crop rotation with protein crops as a precautionary measure against crop disease and a contribution to improved agricultural practices and new challenges such as food security, climate change and management of resources etc;

11.  Calls on the Commission to adopt suitable measures creating market conditions that favour local production as compared to imported products, and that meet the requirements of the feedstuffs industry, including the introduction of models for GMO-free short supply chains and certified production; recognises that local and proximity farming are of greater benefit to the environment;

12.  Calls on the Commission to submit a legislative proposal to Parliament and the Council which authorises the use of processed animal proteins from slaughter offal for the production of feed for monogastric animals (pigs and poultry), provided that the ingredients stem from meat which was approved for human consumption, and that the ban on intra-species recycling and forced cannibalism is fully implemented and controlled;

13.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a specific framework programme for decentralised agricultural and rural development research and to improve European and international cooperation, including on-farm training programmes on improved breeding of locally adapted protein plants, making this an innovative area in the various Member States;

14.  Calls on the Commission to propose a coherent overall political approach to the application of the agro-environmental rules to food products sold within the Union with regard to the importation of genetically modified protein crops;

15.  Calls on the Commission to establish a monitoring mechanism on the origin of protein crops imported into the European Union, revealing especially the sustainability of applied farming practices in the country of origin, such as land use change, sustainability of water use and the use of agricultural technologies; underlines that regular on-site checks are also necessary to this end;

16.  Calls on the Commission to consider including in its legislative proposals on CAP reform the provision of support for farmers cultivating protein crops in crop rotation systems which contribute to the reduction of GHGs and the EU's crop protein deficit and improve disease control and soil fertility;

17.  Calls on the Commission to bring forward incentive-based measures to promote the cultivation of fallow land, which could contribute significantly to reducing the protein deficit in the EU;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 147, 18.6.1993, p. 25.
(2) http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/eval/reports/protein_crops/index_en.htm.
(3) OJ L 162, 12.6.1982, p. 28.
(4) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 270, 21.10.2003, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 30, 31.1.2009, p. 16.
(7) OJ L 316, 2.12.2009, p. 27.
(8) OJ L 229, 1.9.2009, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 66 E, 20.3.2009, p. 29.


Equality between women and men – 2010
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2010 (2010/2138(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0085A7-0029/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 and Article 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

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

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

–  having regard to the Stockholm Programme(1),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(2), Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(3) and Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services(4),

–  having regard to the annual Commission reports on equality between women and men in the European Union for 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 (COM(2001)0179, COM(2002)0258, COM(2003)0098, COM(2004)0115, COM(2005)0044, COM(2006)0071, COM(2007)0049 and COM(2008)0010 respectively),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 18 December 2009 on equality between women and men – 2010 (COM(2009)0694),

–  having regard to Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)(5),

–  having regard to Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC(6),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010, implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC(7),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 October 2008 entitled ‘A better work-life balance: stronger support for reconciling professional, private and family life’, (COM(2008)0635),

–  having regard to Directive 89/552/EEC on Television without Frontiers,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 3 October 2008 entitled ‘Implementation of the Barcelona objectives concerning childcare facilities for pre-school-age children’ (COM(2008)0638),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 September 2010 entitled ‘Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015’ (COM(2010)0491),

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Beijing Platform for Action,

–  having regard to the European Gender Equality Pact adopted by the European Council of 23 and 24 March 2006,

–  having regard to the European Commission's Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and its opinion on the gender pay gap adopted on 22 March 2007,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights‘ Issue Paper on Human Rights and Gender Identity (2009),

–  having regard to the Fundamental Rights Agency's report on homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (2010),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 May 2009 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2009(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on gender aspects of the economic downturn and financial crisis(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on assessment of the results of the 2006-2010 Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men, and forward-looking recommendations(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2007 on a Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men (2006-2010)(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 September 2008 on ‘Equality between women and men – 2008’(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 November 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2010 on the impact of advertising on consumer behaviour(15),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0029/2011),

A.  whereas equality between women and men is a fundamental principle of the EU, recognised in the Treaty on European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights; whereas many inequalities between women and men remain,

B.  whereas the European Union has not been spared by the economic and financial crisis, which has had equally devastating consequences for female and male employment, in particular the economic position of women, and which could prove more damaging for female employment in the long term,

C.  whereas equality between women and men has a positive impact on productivity and economic growth, and helps to increase female participation in the labour market, which in turn has many social and economic benefits,

D.  whereas gender-disaggregated data are necessary in order to compare the effects of the crisis on women and men; whereas the European Institute for Gender Equality could make a valuable contribution to that end, and whereas data are necessary in order to assess the impact poverty has on women's health, in particular that of elderly women, since it is important to guarantee protection of women's health,

E.  whereas female unemployment is often underestimated because of the high rates of women who are either economically inactive (two-thirds of the 63 million inactive people between 25 and 64) or part-time unemployed,

F.  whereas employment rates are lower in rural areas; whereas, moreover, a large number of women are not included in the official labour market and are therefore not registered as unemployed or included in unemployment statistics, which causes particular financial and legal problems in terms of maternity rights and sick leave, acquisition of pension rights and access to social security, as well as problems in the event of divorce; whereas rural areas are at a disadvantage due to the lack of high-quality job opportunities,

G.  whereas women are at a disadvantage on the labour market on account of being more likely to be employed on part-time or involuntary short-term contracts and in particular at lower rates of pay than men; whereas this disparity is reflected in terms of pensions, putting women at a higher risk of poverty than men,

H.  whereas disparities in the pay received by women and men still average 18% in the European Union, exceed 25% in some countries, and even 30% in one Member State, and whereas, despite the efforts and progress made, the pay gap is narrowing very slowly,

I.  whereas motherhood should not hold women back in their careers, but statistics clearly show that women with children work shorter hours than those without, unlike fathers who work longer hours than childless men,

J.  whereas, at the Barcelona European Council of March 2002, the Member States were asked to provide by 2010 childcare for at least 90% of children between three years old and the mandatory school age and at least 33% of children under three years old, but there are still not enough publicly funded childcare facilities in many countries, which has a particularly negative impact on disadvantaged families,

K.  whereas there is a correlation between the rate of female employment and women's family responsibilities; whereas over 20 million Europeans (two thirds of whom are women) care for adult dependent persons, which stops them from having a full-time job; whereas this fact could aggravate the effects of population ageing,

L.  whereas access to childcare services and assistance with the elderly and other dependants is vital to ensuring equivalent participation of women and men in the labour market, education and training,

M.  whereas the burden of responsibility for housework is much greater for women than it is for men and is not evaluated in monetary terms of in terms of a recognition of its value, and whereas work at home caring for children, sick or elderly people is difficult and unpaid work,

N.  whereas there is a need to eliminate gender stereotypes in education, which often result in children being steered into school and university subjects traditionally seen as the preserve of either men or of women; whereas it is important to promote diversification of school and career choices,

O.  whereas the number of women and girls going into science – especially mathematics and the IT sector – is still very low, leading to severe gender segregation by sector,

P.  whereas the crisis may exacerbate the sectoral and professional segregation of women and men, which not only has not decreased, but is increasing, in some countries,

Q.  whereas the EU-2020 Strategy put an emphasis on ecological transformation, renewable sectors, and science and technology-intensive green jobs for a new sustainable economy; whereas the active inclusion and reintegration of women in the labour market is crucial to reaching the employment target of 75% for women and men,

R.  whereas there are generally more women than men graduating from universities (58.9% of degrees are awarded to women) but whereas women's pay is still on average 18% lower than men's pay, and women are under-represented in corporate, administrative and political positions of responsibility,

S.  whereas the Network of Women in Decision-Making in Politics and the Economy, set up in June 2008, can help improve the gender balance in decision-making positions,

T.  whereas greater representation of women at European, national, regional and local level is necessary for effective gender equality in our societies; whereas, in some Member States, the proportion of women in the national parliament is below 15%,

U.  whereas positive action for women has proven to be vital to ensuring their full integration in the labour market and society in general,

V.  whereas women are at greater risk of poverty than men as a result of their truncated careers and lower salaries and pensions; whereas, in the context of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, not enough attention has been paid to the underlying causes of female poverty,

W.  whereas 2011 will be the European Year of Volunteering, and it is important to stress the potential benefits of promoting the principle of gender equality in volunteer programmes,

X.  whereas minority women, especially Roma women, regularly face multiple and intersectional discrimination and are disadvantaged not only in comparison with majority women, but also in comparison with ethnic minority men, and are at particular risk of social exclusion,

Y.  whereas violence against women is a violation of their fundamental rights, knows no geographic, economic, cultural or social bounds, and represents a fundamental obstacle to equality; whereas it is estimated that 20-25% of women suffer physical violence in the course of their lives; whereas psychological violence can be just as devastating as physical violence,

Z.  whereas the European Parliament has on numerous occasions called for the creation of a European Year to fight violence against women,

AA.  whereas women face multiple forms of discrimination and are more vulnerable to social exclusion, poverty and extreme human rights violations, such as trafficking in human beings, especially if they do not belong to mainstream society,

1.  Points out that male-dominated sectors, such as construction and manufacturing, were the first to be hit by the crisis but that the crisis has since spread to more gender-mixed sectors, thus leading to greater female unemployment; stresses that pay has declined most in female-dominated service sectors and in sectors funded by State budgets where most employees are women, and, consequently, women receive smaller pensions, which results in a higher level of poverty among elderly women;

2.  Notes that in countries where equal treatment of men and women in the employment market has been achieved, it has had positive repercussions for economic and social development, and that equality policies should not therefore be abandoned in times of crisis, and that, despite the stated intention of the Member States and the Commission, consistently equal conditions have not yet been achieved; stresses that the recession has worsened what has been a constant trend over the last decade, namely the reduction of women to poverty, unemployment or insecure employment in far greater numbers than men, thus intensifying the feminisation of poverty in the EU;

3.  Stresses that the Lisbon Strategy aims to integrate 60% of women able to work into the labour market, while efforts at the demographic level should strive to promote a rise in the birth rate with a view to meeting the challenges of the future;

4.  Stresses that the presence of women on the labour market is positive from the point of view of economic growth; notes that, according to OECD statistics, the female component contributed to a quarter of annual growth between 1995 and 2008;

5.  Stresses that, in the event of loss of employment, the risk of not being re-employed is higher for women;

6.  Calls for targets to be set for women to be included in activities or sectors, or at levels, from which they have previously been excluded and in which they are still under-represented, by means of measures to inform and motivate employers to recruit and promote women, especially in the sectors and categories mentioned;

7.  Stresses that is it necessary to pay much more attention to the adequacy of women's pensions, since working women interrupt their careers more often than men in order to care for children and sick or elderly family members, and as a result of their family commitments are more inclined than men to work part-time or undertake precarious work;

8.  Calls for the impact of the crisis on women to be quantified by the drawing up of precise statistics with gender-disaggregated indicators, which are regularly updated and reassessed; adds that such statistics should make possible a more targeted response to cyclical and structural employment problems with a view to overcoming the crisis and fostering the spread of good practices;

9.  Criticises the fact that economic recovery plans are focused on male-dominated labour sectors; highlights the fact that preferential support for the working future of men over that of women is increasing rather than reducing gender inequality; stresses the need to integrate gender equality policies in the national, European and international economic recovery plans to tackle the crisis;

10.  Points out that employment rates for both men and women are lower in rural areas and that this places those living in the countryside at a disadvantage in terms of the lack of availability of quality jobs; in addition, many women are not part of the official labour market and therefore do not count as registered unemployed, and are thus faced with financial and legal problems in terms of maternity rights, sick leave and acquisition of pension rights;

11.  Stresses that the present economic crisis has had an adverse impact on workers; notes that, although the level of education among women has increased considerably in recent years, and women now outnumber men among university graduates, many women are still compelled to take on secondary roles which are less well paid;

12.  Stresses that women are overrepresented in precarious work, in involuntary part-time work and among people experiencing poverty, and therefore calls on Member States to ensure that policies to achieve the EU-2020 target with regard to poverty and social inclusion are aimed at women in proportion to the share of people experiencing poverty that they represent;

13.  Points out that gender inequalities remain despite the increasing participation of women in the labour market; stresses that the economic and financial crisis should be seen as a chance to put forward new and innovative proposals on employment, remuneration, working hours and the filling of positions of responsibility;

14.  Stresses the positive effect that equality between women and men has on economic growth; points out that several studies have calculated that, if women's employment, part-time employment and productivity rates were similar to men's, GDP would increase by 30%;

15.  Points out that the emergence of new sectors with a strong potential for job creation, such as ecology, the environment and new technologies, needs to be taken into consideration when employment policies are being formulated; stresses in this connection that women have an important role to play in these sectors; calls on the Member States to encourage girls not to neglect these types of sector; encourages the Commission to issue regular communications on these new perspectives;

16.  Calls on the Member States, with the assistance of the Commission, to encourage women – by stepping up existing measures – to participate in vocational training in the context of lifelong learning, in response to the switch towards a sustainable economy, with the emphasis on SMEs, thereby enhancing the employability of female workers;

17.  Calls for promotion of women's access to wider opportunities in education, vocational training and employment in non-traditional sectors and at higher levels of responsibility;

18.  Calls on the Commission to encourage dialogue with the social partners on issues such as transparency of pay, part-time and fixed-term contract conditions for women, and encouraging women's participation in ‘green’ and innovative sectors;

19.  Points out that organisations active in the social economy (foundations, mutual associations and cooperatives) can play a key role in economic recovery and that their employees are chiefly women; calls on the Member States to consider such organisations seriously when drawing up economic recovery policies;

20.  Stresses the importance of developing the legal concept of shared ownership to ensure full recognition of women's rights in the agricultural sector, appropriate protection in terms of social security and recognition of their work, and also the need to amend the Regulation on the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) so that, as with the European Social Fund (ESF), positive action can be taken for women in the future programming period 2014-2020, which was possible in previous periods but not in the current period, as these measures will be very beneficial in terms of female employment in the rural environment;

21.  Stresses that eliminating the pay gap is a priority, and therefore regrets the fact that the Commission has not done enough to relaunch this debate at European level, particularly by revising the existing legislation applying the principle of equal pay for men and women, as Parliament requested in its resolution of 18 November 2009;

22.  Calls on the Member States to increase their efforts to prevent segregation of job markets by gender and to counter the trend for many women to work in worse-paid occupations, by interesting boys and girls at school in the whole spectrum of possible occupations, and broadening training opportunities for women so as to enable them to adapt to changes in the labour market during their careers; is deeply concerned at the unfair situation whereby, after more than half a century in which the Community treaties have included the principle of equal pay for equal work, a female citizen in the EU has on average to work 418 calendar days to earn what a man earns in a calendar year;

23.  Insists on the need for urgent action to fight wage discrimination, by measures such as revising the existing directive, drawing up phased sectoral plans with specific objectives, which could include reducing the pay gap to 0.5% by 2020, the aim being to put an end to direct and indirect discrimination, or encouraging collective bargaining, training of equality counsellors, action on the issue of gender inequality in unpaid work, and the introduction of equality plans in companies and other workplaces; believes that transparency in wage determination should become the rule, so as to strengthen the bargaining position of women workers;

24.  Calls on the European Commission and the Member States to introduce measures aimed at solving the current paradox in which women, despite being better educated, are still less well paid than men; stresses that, for optimum economic growth and genuinely sustainable development, women's career potential needs to be fully exploited;

25.  Stresses that separate income and high-quality paid employment for women form the key to their economic independence and to greater equality between women and men in society as a whole;

26.  Calls on the Member States to apply the principle of gender equality to national pension systems as concerns both age and pay;

27.  Calls on the EU Member States to implement legislation on equal pay for equal work properly, and calls on the Commission for the application of sanctions for non-compliant Member States;

28.  Stresses that gender equality is not only a question of diversity and social justice: it is also a precondition for meeting the objectives of sustainable growth, employment, competitiveness and social cohesion set forth in the EU-2020 strategy; calls therefore upon the Commission to strengthen the gender dimension in all parts of the EU-2020 strategy, taking particular account of gender specificities, and devise specific measures and targets for gender equality in all measures to improve the European Employment Strategy;

29.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and Member States to favour binding proposals instead of non-binding strategies and policy documents in the field of gender equality;

30.  Believes that the Commission and the Member States should develop training and implementation tools so that all stakeholders take due account, in their respective fields of competence, of the perspective based on equal opportunities for women and men, including assessing the specific impact of policies on women and men;

31.  Stresses the importance of developing quantitative and qualitative indicators and gender-based statistics that are reliable, comparable and available when needed, which must be used to monitor the mainstreaming of gender equality in all policies;

32.  Believes that one priority should be the fight to eradicate poverty, by revising the macroeconomic, monetary, social and labour policies that are at its root, in order to ensure economic and social justice for women; believes that the methods used to determine poverty rates should be re-examined and that strategies should be developed to promote a fair distribution of income, guarantee minimum income, pay and decent pensions, create more high-quality jobs with rights for women, ensure access to high-quality public services for all women and young girls, and improve social welfare and respective local services, particularly crèches, nurseries, day centres, community and leisure centres, and family support services;

33.  Welcomes the Commission's launch of an EU-wide campaign to help tackle the gender pay gap; notes, however, that the pay gap between men and women remains, and therefore calls for a Europe-wide debate to combat stereotypes linked to the respective roles of men and women; stresses, therefore, the importance of organising awareness-raising campaigns in schools, workplaces and the media to combat persistent gender stereotypes and degrading images in particular; points out that campaigns should stress the role of men in ensuring a fair distribution of family responsibilities and a good work-life balance;

34.  Takes the view that demographic change makes it necessary to realise the potential of women, and to increase their employment in order to reach the target employment rate of 75% for women and men aged between 20 and 64, as stated in the EU-2020 strategy; believes at the same time that people should have a free choice to have children and that a fair work-life balance is a key condition to boost women's participation in the labour market;

35.  Asks for concrete proposals with a view to achieving a better work-life balance, particularly with regard to help with care of dependent persons and child care;

36.  Emphasises that the Commission and the Member States need to promote, support and reinforce the role of women in the social economy, in the light of the high level of female employment in that sector and the importance of the services it offers for the promotion of a fair work-life balance;

37.  Asks the Commission to ensure that the various European rules on work-life balance are correctly transposed by the Member States by adapting working conditions between men and women;

38.  Observes that part-time employment can have an adverse impact on the individual concerned, for example by placing obstacles in the way of careers and leading to poverty in old age, or alternatively that they may, on account of smaller incomes, require supplementary State assistance for purposes of subsistence or in the event of illness or unemployment;

39.  Stresses the importance of communication campaigns to ensure the gender neutrality of traditionally male or female trades or activities; in the same respect, calls on the Member States to start a debate on the role of language in the persistence of stereotypes, particularly due to the feminisation or masculinisation of certain trade names;

40.  Calls on public and private establishments to introduce equality plans in their internal rules and regulations, together with strict short-, medium- and long-term objectives, and to evaluate annually the achievement of these objectives;

41.  Asks for concrete proposals with a view to achieving a better balance between work, family and private life, by fostering greater sharing of occupational, family and social responsibilities between men and women, particularly with regard to help with care for dependent persons and child care;

42.  Calls on the Member States to support employment for the disadvantaged category of ‘pregnant women or mothers performing domestic tasks on their own’, encouraging the provision of jobs for this group that are decent, stable and compatible with a proper work-life balance;

43.  Believes that in order to better combine working and caring; it is necessary to improve child-related leave, calls therefore on the Council for speedy adoption of a common position on the Parliament's position of 20 October 2010(16) on the revision of Council Directive 92/85/EEC;

44.  Calls on the Member States to encourage the setting up or improvement of childcare facilities such as crèches and nurseries, and facilities for the elderly and other dependants with a view to providing good-quality, affordable services at times compatible with full-time working hours for as many people as possible; believes that these facilities offer huge support to parents and would make it easier for them to enter the workforce;

45.  Emphasises that the family is a cornerstone of our society and is inherently associated with the transmission of values and with cooperation in a spirit of solidarity; underlines that introducing flexible working hours and providing teleworking opportunities, as well as extending child care and professionalising home help for the elderly, represent an important step towards making it possible to combine work and family life and to enhance equal participation of women and men in the labour market and in education and training; regrets the fact that the lack of adequate leave schemes, parental leave schemes and flexible working arrangements for both parents often prevents women from participating actively in the labour market or from working full time; considers that this also requires a change in corporate cultures with regard to the appointment and employment of women; calls therefore on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to prevent cuts in benefits or social services in the field of childcare, care of the elderly and vulnerable people as a result of the economic and financial crisis;

46.  Reminds the Commission and the Member States of the need to adopt positive measures for both women and men, notably in order to facilitate returning to work after a period devoted to the family (bringing up children and/or caring for a sick or disabled relative), to promote policies for (re)integration in the labour market and, hence, recovery of financial independence;

47.  Stresses that education plays a key role in inculcating in children the importance of gender equality as early as possible and in the acceptance of different cultures and an understanding of the impact of discrimination and prejudice; calls on the Member States to establish education programmes, as well as information and awareness-raising programmes on the values of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, particularly Article 23 thereof, for pupils throughout their school career;

48.  Stresses the need for young people to be free to make their own career choices; points out, therefore, that teachers should not automatically guide pupils towards specific sectors for purposes of conforming to sexist stereotypes and that the full range of job opportunities should be highlighted;

49.  Calls on the Member States to ensure, through awareness programmes within the education sector, that girls are not steered automatically in the direction of traditionally feminised sectors and careers;

50.  Stresses the need to step up efforts at European level to increase women's representation in politics; advocates, therefore, greater participation for women in all European institutions, particularly in positions of responsibility; stresses that further efforts must be made at national, regional and municipal level; calls for binding targets to ensure equal representation of women and men; notes in this regard the positive effects of the use of quotas on representation of women; points out, therefore, that the use of electoral quotas has positive effects on women's representation;

51.  Points out that only 3% of major companies are chaired by a woman; stresses, therefore, the example of Norway, which since 2003 has successfully applied a quota policy to ensure parity on the management boards of companies, with this example now being followed by Spain and France; calls on the Member States to take effective measures, such as quotas, to ensure greater representation for women in major listed companies and on the management boards of companies in general, especially those with public participation;

52.  Stresses that equality plans for businesses or sectors should be established, on a statutory basis, to combat gender injustice in employment in the Member States, which should be initiated and their implementation monitored by the two sides of industry;

53.  Stresses the need for the Member States to take steps, particularly through legislation, to set binding targets to guarantee parity between men and women in positions of responsibility in companies, public administrations and political bodies;

54.  Calls on the Member States to identify companies which promote gender equality and a good balance between work, family and private life and to spread good practices extensively, in particular via chambers of commerce;

55.  Welcomes the general debate on increasing the proportion of women in management positions in industry and suggests introducing a voluntary quota for this in businesses, which should be based on the gender ratio within the work force;

56.  Calls for action to be taken at national and European level to promote entrepreneurship among women by creating training and professional and legal advice structures and by facilitating access to public and private finance;

57.  Encourages a regular exchange of information and experiences between stakeholders promoting gender equality, with a view to implementing good practices throughout society, at European, national, regional and local level and in both the private and the public sectors;

58.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to pay particular attention to vulnerable groups of women: disabled, elderly, immigrant, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, and minority women and women who have little or no training and are responsible for dependants, all of these being specific groups in need of measures tailored to their circumstances; calls on the Commission to broaden the scope of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 to include promotion of gender equality;

59.  Calls on the Commission to support the Member States in increasing the employment prospects of disadvantaged women, such as female immigrants, women from ethnic minorities, women with disabilities, and single mothers, thus increasing their chance of leading an economically independent life, by improving their access to education and vocational training; draws attention to the multiple discrimination affecting immigrant women on grounds of their gender, ethnic or racial origin and, in many cases, age;

60.  Calls on national, regional and local bodies responsible for equality to adopt integrated approaches improving their response to and handling of cases of multiple discrimination; also stresses that these bodies should offer training to judges, juries and general staff so that they can identify, anticipate and handle situations of multiple discrimination;

61.  Points out that women with disabilities are often discriminated against in social, cultural, political and professional life; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make concrete proposals with a view to improving their situation;

62.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to pay particular attention to Roma women in the implementation of the EU strategy on Roma inclusion;

63.  Notes that transgender people remain a highly marginalised and victimised group facing a high degree of stigmatisation, exclusion and violence, as reported by the Fundamental Rights Agency; strongly encourages the Commission and the Member States to follow the Agency's recommendations for stronger and clearer protection against discrimination on grounds of gender identity;

64.  Advocates access for women and men to adequate information and support on reproductive health, and stresses that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men to avail themselves of services in this area; stresses that women must have control over their sexual and reproductive rights, particularly through easy access to contraception and abortion; calls on the Member States and the Commission to adopt measures and actions raising awareness among men about their responsibilities in sexual and reproductive matters;

65.  Points out that violence against women is a major hindrance to gender equality; calls on the Commission to start drawing up a proposal for a comprehensive directive on preventing and combating all forms of violence against women – whether physical, sexual or psychological –, including trafficking;

66.  Welcomes efforts made at EU and national level to combat violence against women, but stresses that this remains a serious, unresolved problem and urges the Member States to take measures to ensure access to support services aimed at preventing gender-based violence and protecting women from such violence regardless of their legal status, race, age, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or religion; welcomes the resumption of debate on this form of violence, notably via the establishment of a European protection order and the Directive on Human Trafficking; calls on present and future EU presidencies to make further progress; stresses the need for the Council and Commission to accept the agreement reached in the European Parliament on the European protection order so that the Directive can enter into force as soon as possible;

67.  Calls again on the Commission to create, within the next four years, a European Year to combat violence against women; points out in this regard that this will raise awareness among European citizens and mobilise governments to fight violence against women;

68.  Stresses the need to conduct a wide-ranging survey covering all the EU countries and using a common methodology to determine the real scope of the problem; points to the important work to be carried out in this area by the European Observatory on Gender Violence, which will provide high-quality statistics to support political measures combating this social scourge;

69.  Calls on the Member States to ensure better training for, and cooperation between, staff in the health sector, social services, the police and the judiciary, and to set up structures capable of dealing with all forms of violence against women, including rare forms of serious physical and psychological violence such as acid attacks;

70.  Stresses the importance of the Member States and regional and local authorities taking action to aid reintegration into the labour market for women who have suffered gender violence, using instruments such as the ESF or the PROGRESS programme;

71.  Points out that schemes helping women's organisations and civil society in general to collaborate with and participate in processes to integrate the gender perspective must be improved;

72.  Stresses the need to integrate the gender perspective and the fight against gender violence in the external and development cooperation policy of the European Union;

73.  Calls on the European Commission to encourage the Member States to promote, in the media in general and in advertising and promotional material in particular, a representation of the female image that is respectful of the dignity, role diversity and identity of women;

74.  Calls on the Commission and the budgetary authority to comply with gender budgeting criteria when drawing up budgets and their new EU multiannual financial framework; encourages Member States to follow this example when drawing up national public budgets;

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

(1) Council of the European Union document Nr. 5731/10 of 3 March 2010.
(2) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(3) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(4) OJ L 373, 21.12.2004, p. 37.
(5) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.
(6) OJ L 180, 15.7.2010, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 68, 18.3.2010, p. 13.
(8) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 23.
(9) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 35.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0231.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0232.
(12) OJ C 301 E, 13.12.2007, p. 56.
(13) OJ C 295 E, 4.12.2009, p. 35.
(14) OJ C 16 E, 22.1.2010, p. 21.
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0484.
(16) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0373.


Female poverty
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European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on the face of female poverty in the European Union (2010/2162(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0086A7-0031/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 8, 151, 153 and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular its provisions on social rights and on equality between men and women,

–  having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995,

–  having regard to the Millennium Development Goals defined by the United Nations in 2000, in particular Goal 1 (eradicate extreme poverty and hunger) and Goal 3 (promote gender equality),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1558 (2007) on the feminisation of poverty,

–  having regard to Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)(1),

–  having regard to Decision No 1098/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)(2),

–  having regard to Decision No 283/2010/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010 establishing a European Progress Microfinance Facility for employment and social inclusion(3),

–  having regard to draft Council conclusions of 30 October 2007 on the Review of the implementation by the Member States and the EU institutions of the Beijing Platform for Action - Indicators in respect of Women and Poverty (13947/07),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 3 October 2008 on the Implementation of the Barcelona objectives concerning childcare facilities for pre-school-age children (COM(2008)0638),

–  having regard to Commission Report on equality between women and men 2010 (COM(2009)0694),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the Commission Report on equality between women and men 2010 (SEC(2009)1706),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 (COM(2010)0491),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Documents accompanying the Commission Communication on the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 (SEC(2010)1079) and (SEC(2010)1080),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 24 March 2010 ‘Second European Quality of Life Survey: Family life and work’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 October 2005 on women and poverty in the European Union(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 November 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 May 2009 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2010 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2009(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on gender aspects of the economic downturn and financial crisis(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on assessment of the results of the 2006-2010 Roadmap for Equality between women and men, and forward-looking recommendations(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2010 on the role of women in an ageing society(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers(11),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0031/2011),

A.  whereas, according to the abovementioned Decision 1098/2008/EC the activities in the framework of the European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion should have taken into account of the different risks and dimensions of poverty and social exclusion experienced by women and men; whereas 85 million Europeans live below the poverty line and 17% of all women in the EU's 27 countries are classed as living in poverty; whereas, moreover, in the past 10 years the number of women living in poverty has risen disproportionately in relation to the number of men; whereas parental poverty often leads to child poverty and seriously affects children later in life,

B.  whereas the European Union is confronted with a major economic, financial and social crisis that particularly handicaps women in the labour market and in their personal lives, since they are more likely to be in insecure jobs, more liable to be made redundant and less likely to have social security cover; whereas, moreover, in times of economic recession, people who are already at risk of falling into poverty, the majority of whom are women, become even more vulnerable, especially groups that already face numerous disadvantages,

C.   whereas the austerity measures being implemented across the EU will have a particularly damaging impact on women, who dominate the public sector both as employees and as beneficiaries of services,

D.  whereas combating poverty is one of the Commission's five measurable targets proposed for EU 2020; whereas Integrated Guideline 10 of the Europe 2020 Strategy (Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty) would encourage the adoption of national policies to protect women, in particular, from the risk of poverty, ensuring income security for one-parent families or elderly women,

E.   whereas gender equality is a weapon for fighting poverty amongst women, as it has a positive impact on productivity and economic growth and leads to greater participation of women in the labour market, which in turn has many social and economic benefits,

F.   whereas the female employment rate is 59.1% on average; whereas since 2000, the average gender pay gap has remained significant, reaching almost 18% in the EU as a whole and up to more than 30% in some Member States in 2010 and the principle of equal pay for men and women is one of the basic principles set out in the European treaties; whereas the gender-segregated labour market has direct consequences for women,

G.   whereas in 16 Member States the risk of extreme poverty amongst women greatly exceeds the risk of extreme poverty amongst men,

H.   whereas employment itself does not constitute adequate protection against extreme poverty; whereas, mainly as a consequence of occupational segregation, more women than men work in lower-paid jobs, whilst it is often the case that social security payments alone offer no protection against extreme poverty either,

I.   whereas the longer the period of living in poverty with a particularly low income, the greater the risk of falling into a state of permanent economic privation and social exclusion; whereas, therefore, measures to combat poverty should not simply aim to help those who are already living in extreme economic deprivation but should also seek promptly to prevent and tackle factors which lead citizens and in particular women into extreme economic and social deprivation,

J.  whereas there are considerable age and gender disparities in the amount of time spent on unpaid work and daily involvement in caring activities; whereas women in particular experience the greatest unpaid workload;

K.  whereas universal access and affordable, high quality support services such as childcare facilities, facilities for the elderly and other dependants is important for equal participation of women and men in the labour market and as a means to prevent and reduce poverty,

L.  whereas elderly people face a higher risk of poverty than the general population, reaching a rate of around 19% of those aged 65 years and over in 2008 in the EU-27; whereas older women are in a particularly precarious position as their right to a pension income is often derived from their marital status (spousal or survivor benefits) and they rarely have adequate pension rights of their own due to career breaks, pay gap and other factors and as a result, women are more affected than men by persistent and extreme poverty (22% of women aged 65 and over are at risk of poverty compared to 16% of men),

M.  whereas women, in particular in rural areas, are more often part of the informal economy than men, not being registered on the official labour market, or have short-term working contracts, which generates particular problems as regards women's social rights, including rights during pregnancy, maternity leave and breastfeeding, the acquisition of pension rights and access to social security,

N.  whereas poverty is a factor associated with an increased risk of gender-based violence, which is a major barrier to gender equality; whereas, since domestic violence frequently leads to job loss, poor health and homelessness, it can also push women into a cycle of poverty; whereas, in addition, trafficking in human beings is a modern form of slavery that affects women and girls on a large scale and constitutes a significant factor that is both driven by and contributes to poverty,

O.  whereas violence against women, in all its forms, is one of the most widespread human rights violations, knowing no geographical, economic, or social limits; whereas it is a severe problem in the Union, where some 20-25% of women suffer physical violence, and more than 10% sexual violence, in the course of their adult lives,

P.  whereas disabled women suffer discrimination within the family environment and in education, their employment opportunities are restricted and the social benefits they receive do not in most cases lift them out of poverty; whereas Member States should, therefore, provide disabled women with the specialised care they need in order to enjoy their rights and should propose measures to facilitate their integration through additional support programmes,

Q.   whereas women are increasingly bearing the burden of poverty, being at risk of poverty, in particular categories of women with special needs, such as disabled women, elderly women and parents bringing up a child without a partner (especially single mothers and widows with dependent children) and groups most vulnerable to exclusion, such as Roma women, under whose traditions domestic and care work are assigned exclusively to women, removing them prematurely from education and employment, and immigrant women; whereas there is a need for proper working conditions, including the protection of rights such as a decent wage, maternity leave and a working environment free from discrimination, which are essential for these women,

R.  whereas the Progress programme is intended to support the effective implementation of the principle of gender equality and promote gender mainstreaming in EU policies; whereas this programme is a tool of utmost importance in combating the feminisation of poverty,

S.  whereas the life expectancy for women is about six years longer than for men, with statistics for the EU-27 in 2007 showing men living to 76 years old and women to 82 years old; whereas this has important implications for female poverty, particularly as women have greater difficulty than men in accessing social security and pension systems,

Feminisation of poverty

1.  Considers that preventing and reducing women's poverty is an important component of the fundamental principle of social solidarity to which the European Union is committed as provided in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, implying equality between women and men, social justice and protection and combating social exclusion and discrimination;

2.  Recognises that ‘the feminisation of poverty’ means that women have a higher incidence of poverty than men, that their poverty is more severe than that of men and that poverty among women is on the increase;

3.  Points out that, according to the Eurostat ‘at-risk-of poverty’ indicator, nearly 85 million persons in the European Union were at risk of poverty in 2008, and that according to the ‘material deprivation’ indicator it is estimated that the figure would rise to 120 million; considers that the Council's decision on poverty indicators may give rise to ambiguities concerning the overall reduction target of lifting 20 million persons out of poverty and exclusion by 2020 (reduction of 23.5 % according to Eurostat's ‘at-risk-of poverty indicator’, but only 16.7 % according to the ‘material deprivation’ indicator); stresses that those living in poverty are for the most part women, a situation brought about by unemployment, casual labour, low wages, pensions below the minimum subsistence level, and the widespread difficulty of obtaining access to good public services;

4.  Stresses that gender inequality hinders poverty reduction and endangers the prospects of economic and human development;

5.  Calls on the Member States to mainstream the concept of gender equality in all employment policies and special measures so as to improve access to employment, avoid over-representation of women in precarious employment, increase sustainable participation and promote the progress of women in the employment sector, as well as to reduce gender segregation in the labour market by tackling the direct and indirect causes;

6.  Indicates that female poverty is not only the result of the recent economic crisis but the consequence of various factors including stereotypes, existing gender pay gaps, barriers caused by the lack of reconciliation between family and work life, the longer life expectancy of women and, in general, the various types of gender discrimination, victimising mostly women;

7.  Recalls that the Commission has designated 2010 as European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, in order to reaffirm and strengthen the Union's political commitment to achieving a decisive advance in the fight against poverty and recognise the fundamental right of those living in poverty and social exclusion to live a decent life and participate fully in society;

8.  Recalls that the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010 was supposed to be not only a media campaign, but an initiative to further stimulate multidimensional policies against poverty and more advanced poverty indicators; therefore asks the Commission to give a critical overview of new measures undertaken by Member States to overcome poverty and social exclusion in this context;

9.  Suggests that it is necessary to maintain, at both European and national level, a firm commitment to making further progress towards gender equality, by means of strategies furthering the Commission's guidelines on parity between women and men, the European Pact for Gender Equality adopted by the Council of Europe, and the framework of action on gender equality concluded by the European social partners;

10.  Stresses that gender equality is one of the prerequisites for sustainable growth, employment, competitiveness and social cohesion;

11.  Invites the Commission and the Council to take due account of Parliament's demands raised in its resolutions of 15 November 2007 on social reality stocktaking(12), of 9 October 2008 on promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, including child poverty, in the EU(13), of 6 May 2009 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market and of 20 October 2010 on the role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe(14) when designing policies and measures for the next stage of the OMC on Social Inclusion and Social Protection, the Social Inclusion Strategy and the ‘Europe 2020’ flagship initiative on combating poverty and social exclusion, involving all stakeholders in a participatory process;

12.  Takes note of the Commission Communication on the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015; calls on the European Commission and Member States to adopt a gender-specific perspective as a key component of all common policies and national programmes to eradicate poverty and combat social exclusion;

13.  Welcomes the Commission initiative on a ‘European platform against poverty’; calls on the Commission and Member States to promote the gender dimension in this platform;

14.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the European strategy on social inclusion and protection, in accordance with the abovementioned ‘European platform against poverty’ initiative, and to step up efforts to improve the situation of single parents in particular, to allow them to live with dignity;

15.  Points out that, as a consequence of the economic crisis, unemployment and social hardship are still increasing in a number of Member States and affect young and old people, men and women and their families differently, and therefore calls on the European Union and Member States to reinforce their commitment and take specific measures to eradicate poverty and combat social exclusion, particularly poverty among women and its direct impact on family life, as poverty and social exclusion constitute a violation of human rights and affect at least one in six European citizens; calls on the Commission and the Member States to put specific emphasis on the most vulnerable groups (single-parent households, families with three or more children, disabled people, ethnic minorities, especially the Roma, people living in the most disadvantaged microregions, people with decreased work capacity and young people without work experience); believes that access to education and the labour market and participation in society are needed for a decent life; calls on the European Union and Member States to ensure that measures are taken to eradicate child poverty and that all children have equal opportunities in life;

16.  Points out that women's integration into the labour market in recent decades indicates not only a greater direct impact of the recession on women themselves but also on households, where incomes will be significantly affected by female job losses; stresses that female unemployment can be expected to rise disproportionately as public sector budget cuts are announced, since women are disproportionately employed in education, health and social services;

17.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to implement the indicators in respect of women and poverty developed in connection with the Beijing Platform for Action as a tool to monitor the impact of broader social, economic and employment policies on reducing poverty; calls on the Member States to find more appropriate methods of measuring poverty among women;

18.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide systematic gender-disaggregated data and information in national reporting and in the annual Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to introduce new individual indicators in respect of women and poverty as a tool to monitor the impact of broader social, economic and employment policies on women and poverty;

20.  Stresses the necessity to agree upon a follow up to the Women's Charter, with the wide consultation of the European Parliament, and taking into account the views of the social partners and civil society, in order to promote mechanisms to achieve gender equality in all aspects of social, economic and political life;

21.  Draws particular attention to the necessity to continue further with the researches and analyses regarding the phenomenon of ‘feminisation of poverty’; calls on the Commission and Eurofound to cooperate with the European Institute for Gender Equality and to initiate targeted research in order to assess, inter alia, the effects of the global crisis on women;

22.  Urges the Member States to ensure that all individuals, especially the young and the elderly, have access to basic care;

23.  Urges the Member States to ensure that elderly women with diseases typical of their age have access to preventive and diagnostic medicine, as a tool for combating social exclusion and poverty;

24.  Calls on the Member States to facilitate access to medical care for immigrant women for diseases resulting from different eating habits and ritual practices; calls on the Commission and the Member States, accordingly, to frame health policies with a view to combating and preventing practices that are hazardous to women's health and are also a cause of social exclusion and poverty;

25.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that gender policies and EU principles are applied at all levels, locally and nationally;

26.  Recalls that the fight against poverty and social exclusion is to be pursued both within the European Union and externally, in order to fulfil the commitment by the European Union and Member States to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015;

Combating women's poverty through labour policies and social protection

27.  Calls on the Member States for specific programmes to promote the active inclusion or reintegration of women on the labour market and for specific opportunities for life-long training with a view to providing the skills and qualifications, such as empowerment, confidence building and capacity building, needed in the light of the EU 2020 Strategy which puts an emphasis on projects and programmes on ecological transformation, i.e. the renewable sector, science and technology-intensive green jobs for a new sustainable economy; calls, in the interests of not adding to the insecurity experienced by women on the employment market, for family responsibilities to be taken into account when selecting employees for dismissal, bearing in mind that in many situations women have custody of children;

28.  Points to the considerable differences between residents in rural and urban areas as regards access to training, employment and quality of work; attaches considerable importance to the right of all these residents, particularly the youngest and most vulnerable, to receive a proper education, with vocational training and university studies, and therefore calls on the Member States and the Commission to support these groups through an effective system of active policies and appropriate training measures so as to enable them to adjust swiftly to job market requirements;

29.  Points out that social protection, labour market policies and social policy make important contributions to lessening the depth and duration of the recession by stabilising labour markets and consumption, and that the social protection system is a stabiliser on both the revenue and the expenditure side;

30.  Considers active employment policy (e.g. in-work training, vocational education and training) very important in preventing poverty and a process in which social partners play an essential role; deems moreover that proactive employment policy (e.g. work experience for the young, sheltered workshops and workplaces) is also crucial in ensuring the balance of, and increasing accessibility to, the labour market, and maintaining employment for disadvantaged groups;

31.  Stresses the need to establish a transparent regulatory framework for atypical forms of employment in order to ensure proper working conditions and decent pay, given that finding employment is a motor for combating poverty;

32.  Considers that integration of women into the labour market is a key to fighting poverty and social exclusion; stresses the importance of supporting the creation of new jobs, facilitating additional training and education for women living at risk of poverty and strengthening job placement;

33.  Recognises the direct link between economic inequality and female dependency, as well as the inequalities still existing between men and women in terms of access to education, family responsibilities and the general upkeep of a family, and expresses its regret that the pay gap between the two genders continue to be present and produce negative effects;

34.  Stresses that in case of unemployment the risk of not being re-employed is higher for women, and that they are also more likely to be at a disadvantage in recruitment, since more women are employed on insecure or part-time contracts without having so chosen or because unequal pay continues to affect women;

35.  Points out that according to the Eurobarometer Special Survey ‘Gender equality in the EU in 2009’ the need to reduce the pay gap between men and women is widely recognised in Europe;

36.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures to eliminate gender inequalities in employment as part of the EU 2020 Strategy; strongly encourages establishing as an objective the reduction of the gender pay gap by 1% each year, in order to achieve a target of 10% reduction by 2020 and ensure full pay for women during statutory maternity leave as recommended by its position of 20 October 2010(15) on this matter, as this will contribute to eliminating gender inequalities in employment; stresses, moreover, the need for positive action to increase female representation in political, economic and corporate decision-making bodies;

37.  Notes that women entrepreneurs‘ access to credit is limited, which is a major obstacle to their professional development and economic independence, and which conflicts with the principle of equal treatment;

38.  Calls on the policy makers, both at EU and national level, to build their policy responses aiming to limit the negative repercussions of the economic crisis on a gender-sensitive analysis of the labour market as well as systematic gender impact assessments and evaluations;

39.  Calls on the Commission to continue with initiatives aimed at recognising the informal economy and quantifying the ‘economics of life’, using gender-specific approaches in accordance with the ‘Beyond GDP’ project launched by the Commission; calls on the Member States to provide appropriate social benefits for women and men who take care of elderly, sick or disabled relatives, and for elderly women, who receive particularly small pensions;

40.  Calls on the Commission to revise the existing legislation relating to the application of the principle of equal pay for men and women as requested by Parliament in its resolution of 18 November 2008(16) (a legislative initiative requesting the Commission to submit an appropriate proposal by the end of 2009);

41.  Stresses the crucial importance of reforming macroeconomic, social and labour-market policies in order to guarantee economic and social justice for women, to reconsider the methods used to determine the poverty rate and to develop strategies to promote the fair distribution of wealth, to guarantee a minimum income and decent wages and pensions, to create more high-quality jobs for women, coupled with rights, to enable women and girls to benefit from public services of a high standard, and to improve welfare provision and neighbourhood services, including crèches, kindergartens and other forms of pre-school education, day centres, community leisure and family support centres and intergenerational centres, which should be made affordable and accessible to women and men and younger and older people alike and should be compatible with full-time working hours;

42.  Calls on the Member States to set up counselling centres to identify and combat the exploitation of women workers, which is one of the main causes of poverty and social exclusion;

43.  Calls on the Member States to consider reviewing social protection systems with a view to individualising rights in pensions and social security schemes in order to eliminate the ‘breadwinner advantage’, guaranteeing equal pension rights;

44.  Emphasises the positive effect which equality between men and women has on economic growth; points out that various studies estimate that if employment, part-time employment and productivity rates for women were similar to those for men, GDP would increase by 30%, which would not only benefit the economy as a whole but also reduce the risk run by many women of falling into poverty;

45.  Calls on the Commission and Council to develop and implement as a matter of urgency a strategy to halve child poverty by 2012 and break the spiral of poverty in general, given the high risk that persistent poverty is transmitted from parents to their children, which might considerably disadvantage their children's chances of a better life; thus emphasises the need to mainstream individual children's rights in all EU policies and measures to monitor and evaluate steps undertaken to end child poverty, to identify and develop priority actions, to enhance data collection and to further develop common indicators at EU level; believes that in this context it is essential to facilitate single parents‘ entry into and return to the labour market, as well as welfare arrangements for single-parent families in the light of the problems faced by them, while also ensuring concrete support for large families; considers that children from poor households in which no one works must receive special attention and support, in order to prevent poverty in future;

46.  Asks the relevant national authorities to review their immigration policies in order to dismantle structural obstacles to full labour market participation by migrants, to compile data on progress in relation to discrimination against vulnerable groups and to assess the impact of expenditure cuts related to access to health, education and social protection;

47.  Takes note of the Council's decision of 17 June 2010 to leave it up to Member States to set, in cooperation with the regions, their national targets for reducing the number of people at risk of poverty and exclusion on the basis of one or several of the three indicators agreed upon by the Council; considers that Member States using only the ‘jobless household’ indicator may systematically neglect problems such as in-work poverty, energy poverty, the poverty of single parents, child poverty and social exclusion; urges Member States not to abuse the freedom to choose their indicator to achieve less ambitious anti-poverty targets; draws attention to the problems faced by millions of European pensioners whose pensions are inadequate in making ends meet and covering the particular needs associated with age, owing especially to the high cost of medicines and medical treatment; stresses that school and university education for the most vulnerable groups must be a priority target in connection with which each Member State must set targets;

48.  Points out that, since equal and full participation in economic, political and social life should be considered an individual right, active social inclusion policies should use a holistic approach to eradicating poverty and social exclusion, especially by ensuring full access to quality social services and services of general (economic) interest for all;

49.  Stresses the need to develop appropriate employment integration and training policies at national level, together with special tax arrangements for one-parent families, as part of the fight against poverty, child poverty and social exclusion;

50.  Stresses the need for measures to be taken at national and European level to combat discrimination as regards job market opportunities and wages policies;

51.  Calls on the Commission to closely examine obstacles to social participation such as energy poverty, financial exclusion and obstacles to accessing information and communication technology (ICT);

52.  Stresses the importance of coordinating policies to fight unemployment and social exclusion at all levels of government in order to combat poverty effectively;

53.  Calls on the Member States to facilitate access to education and training programmes for immigrants and ethnic minorities, which will facilitate their participation in the labour market;

Reconciliation of family life and work by women who live in poverty or are exposed to the risk of poverty

54.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures to promote the reconciliation of work and private life, in order to enable women who are exposed to the risk of poverty to pursue their careers in full time work, or to provide access to part time work and other flexible work arrangements, including by means of reversible part-time work arrangements during periods spent as carers.

55.  Stresses that one-third of single-parent families in Europe are living in poverty;

56.  Calls on the Member States, in the context of the abovementioned procedure of amending Council Directive 92/85/EEC, to take the measures necessary to prevent the dismissal of workers during pregnancy and motherhood; calls on the Member States to take active measures to prevent discrimination against pregnant women on the labour market, as well as measures to ensure that motherhood does not affect the right of women workers to pensions and that the scale of those pensions is not affected by the fact they have taken maternity leave;

57.  Reminds the Member States that the provision of adequate childcare is a fundamental part of gender equality on the labour market; regrets that the 2002 Barcelona European Council targets on pre-school childcare provision for at least 90% of children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age and at least 33% of children under 3 years, which set objectives up to 2010, are far from being met; calls on the Council and the Member States to renew and fulfil their commitments related to the Barcelona targets for the provision of accessible, affordable and high quality child care and to develop new targets for the care of dependent persons; calls therefore on the Member States to improve accessibility, in particular through financial support for childcare, and to improve public childcare facilities and provide firms with incentives to set up in-house facilities;

58.  Calls on the Member States to take targeted action to ensure that women in a disadvantaged environment have fair access to public health systems - in particular to primary health care (including the protection of mothers and children) as defined by the World Health Organisation - and also to gynaecological and obstetric health care, decent housing, justice, education, training, life-long learning, sport and culture, to prevent the premature abandonment of schooling and facilitate a smooth transition from school to the labour market;

59.  Calls on the Member States to develop appropriate measures to support teenage mothers, who often have difficulty finding jobs and live in poverty owing to their frequently low level of education and to social prejudices;

Combating poverty among older women

60.  Stresses that the risk of falling into poverty is greater for women than for men, particularly in old age, where social security systems are based on the principle of continuous remunerated employment; points out that, in some cases, women do not fulfil this requirement because of interruptions to their work and that they are penalised because of discrimination on the labour market, in particular because of the wage gap, maternity leave and part-time work, or as a result of taking a break from or stopping work to take on family responsibilities, or of having worked in their husband's business, particularly in the commercial and agriculture sectors, without remuneration and without social security affiliation; calls on the Member State governments to give recognition to the bringing up of children and ensure that this period counts towards a pension, thereby enabling women to benefit from full pensions; recommends that Member States ensure the provision of adequate pensions for women;

61.  Calls on the Member States to take action to ensure fair access for women to social security and pension systems, taking into account the higher life expectancy of women, and to ensure that the principle of equal treatment between women and men is applied consistently in pension insurance schemes in order to reduce the gender pensions gap;

62.  Calls on the Member States to provide adequate social security for the women responsible for the care of sick, elderly or disabled members of their families, and for elderly women who receive a particularly low pension;

Impact of gender based violence on the risk of poverty

63.  Points out that violence against women, which affects victims and perpetrators irrespective of age, education, income or social position, is still a major problem at European Union level, has an increasing impact on the risk of marginalisation, poverty and social exclusion and can be an obstacle to women's financial independence, health and access to the labour market and education; once again calls on the Commission to establish a European Year for combating violence against women;

64.  Calls on the Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure the due recording, analysis and study of the factors which lead to domestic violence so that policies can be developed immediately to prevent and deal with the consequences of such violence, such as providing shelter for homeless women who are victims of domestic violence;

65.  Stresses the necessity to step up European efforts to eradicate human trafficking and sexual exploitation through closer judicial and police cooperation; urges the Member States to take the necessary measures to eliminate customary or traditional harmful attitudes and practices, including female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages, and honour crimes;

66.  Calls on the Member States to establish national plans to combat all forms of violence against women where such plans are not already in existence, to ensure ongoing and systematic monitoring to measure progress, to ensure the highest standards of legislation with regard to combating male violence against women and to provide adequate funding for the support and protection of victims of violence, as a way to prevent and reduce poverty;

67.  Recognises, in addition, that finding meaningful solutions to tackling female poverty may be one way of reducing gender-based violence, since women in poverty are at greater risk of abuse;

68.  Emphasises the importance of the Member States and regional and local authorities taking action to aid reintegration into the labour market for women who have suffered gender based violence, using instruments such as the European Social Fund (ESF) or the PROGRESS programme;

69.  Calls on Member States to take gender-specific measures to address issues which are not only linked to income poverty, but which relate to culture, social and political participation and social networks;

Social dialogue and civil society in fighting women's poverty

70.  Stresses the importance of a structured social dialogue in fighting women's poverty; points, in this regard, to the need to improve systems for taking part in, and collaborating with, women's organisations, other NGOs and relevant stakeholders and civil society in general;

71.  Considers that a genuine dialogue should aim to enable the members of the most disadvantaged groups, together with the national and EU administration, to share viewpoints and to contribute to overcoming extreme poverty, providing a concrete example of the very best practice at European level in this area;

72.  Calls on the Commission to maintain the financial allocation that may be used among civil society organisations in fighting and curbing the effects of women's poverty;

Ensuring funding as a means to combat poverty

73.  Emphasises the importance of the structural funds, in particular the European Social Fund, as a key tool for assisting Member States to combat poverty and social exclusion; calls on the Member States for more co-funded actions to give greater support to services such as care facilities for children and for elderly and dependent persons, including by testing new forms of public-private organisational and financial cooperation and new arrangements for such cooperation; calls on the Member States to ensure that the resources allocated are used fairly and properly;

74.  Emphasises the importance of developing the legal construct of shared ownership with the aim of ensuring that women's rights in the agricultural sector are fully recognised, that they receive appropriate social security protection and that their work is recognised; stresses, moreover, the need for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Regulation(17) to be amended to enable, as with the European Social Fund (ESF), proactive measures to be taken in support of women in the 2014-2020 programming period, which was feasible in previous periods but not in the current one, and which will have very beneficial effects on female employment in rural areas;

75.  Welcomes the establishment of a European microfinance facility for employment and social inclusion; calls in this framework for specifically tailored actions, in particular technical assistance and back-up measures, oriented towards ensuring increased access and availability of microfinance for women who face difficulties entering the labour market or want to establish themselves as self-employed workers or launch their own micro-enterprises;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.
(2) OJ L 298, 7.11.2008, p. 20.
(3) OJ L 87, 7.4.2010, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 130.
(5) OJ C 16 E, 22.1.2010, p. 21.
(6) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 23.
(7) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 35.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0231.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0232.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0306.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0365.
(12) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 463.
(13) OJ C 9 E, 15.1.2010, p. 11.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0375.
(15) European Parliament position of 20 October 2010 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 92/85/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (P7_TA(2010)0373).
(16) OJ C 16 E, 22.1.2010, p. 21.
(17) Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) (OJ L 277, 21.10.2005, p. 1).


Restoration of reciprocity in the visa regime – solidarity with the unequal status of Czech citizens following the unilateral introduction of visas by Canada
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Declaration of the European Parliament of 8 March 2011 on the restoration of reciprocity in the visa regime – solidarity with the unequal status of Czech citizens following the unilateral introduction of visas by Canada
P7_TA(2011)0087P7_DCL(2010)0089

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in July 2009 Canada unilaterally imposed a visa requirement for citizens of the Czech Republic, whose status is now therefore unequal to that of other citizens in the EU, and Canada, despite repeated calls to do so, has not given a date on which it will abolish this visa requirement,

B.  whereas further delay in the termination of the unequal status of Czech citizens could threaten the future ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada,

C.  whereas the Czech Republic cannot autonomously introduce a visa requirement for Canadian citizens,

D.  whereas the Commission and Council are not acting with sufficient forcibility in this matter,

1.  Calls on the Commission and Council to increase political pressure on Canada in order to set the earliest possible date for abolishing the visa regime for Czech citizens as well as ending other breaches of visa reciprocity towards citizens of Bulgaria and Romania;

2.  Emphasises that unless this breach of reciprocity is resolved soon, equivalent retaliatory measures by the EU are likely to follow;

3.  Calls on the Commission to establish, rather than bilateral arrangements, a new mechanism that guarantees full visa reciprocity for all Member States while ensuring that if a non-EU country breaches that visa reciprocity, all Member States will immediately restore the visa requirement for nationals of that country;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories(1), to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.

(1) The list of signatories is published in Annex 2 to the Minutes of 8 March 2011 (P7_PV(2011)03-08(ANN2)).

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