Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - Strasbourg
Guidelines for the 2012 budget - sections I, II and IV to X
 EU strategy for the Atlantic region
 2010 progress report on Turkey
 European integration process of Montenegro
 EU strategy on Roma inclusion
 Industrial policy for the globalised era

Guidelines for the 2012 budget - sections I, II and IV to X
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European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on the guidelines for the 2012 budget procedure, Section I – European Parliament, Section II – Council, Section IV – Court of Justice, Section V – Court of Auditors, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee, Section VII – Committee of the Regions, Section VIII – European Ombudsman, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor, Section X - European External Action Service (2011/2017(BUD))
P7_TA(2011)0088A7-0049/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(1),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2007/436/EC, Euratom of 7 June 2007 on the system of the European Communities‘ own resources(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(3),

–  having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2009, together with the audited institutions‘ replies(4),

–  having regard to Rules 23(7) and 79 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0049/2011),

A.  whereas the current financial, economic and social situation of the EU obliges the institutions to respond with the quality and efficiency that is required and to employ strict management procedures so that savings may be achieved,

B.  whereas the institutions should be provided with sufficient resources, although in the current economic context those resources should be managed with rigour and efficiency,

C.  whereas at this stage of the annual procedure, Parliament is awaiting the other institutions‘ estimates and its own Bureau's proposals for the 2012 budget,

D.  whereas it is particularly desirable for the Committee on Budgets and the Bureau to continue with the enhanced cooperation between the two bodies for the fourth year in 2012, throughout the budget procedure,

E.  whereas, under Rule 23 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, the Bureau is responsible for taking financial, organisational and administrative decisions concerning the internal organisation of Parliament and the Committee on Budgets is responsible for establishing Parliament's draft budget estimates in the context of the annual procedure,

F.  whereas the impact of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on heading 5 should stabilise in 2012, although, for instance, the EEAS will have an impact which is still difficult to quantify at this moment,

G.  whereas, with Croatia's accession scheduled for 2013, enlargement will have an impact on the budget for 2012, particularly as regards resources for the new Members and staff recruitment,

H.  whereas in past years the budgetary authority has agreed to take a prudent approach on administrative expenditure, thus leaving significant margins under the heading 5 ceiling,

I.  whereas the ceiling for heading 5 of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the EU's budget in 2012 is EUR 8 754 million (representing an increase of EUR 340 million, or 4%, compared to 2011, including 2% for inflation),

J.  whereas in its capacity as colegislator Parliament has decided to find a reasonable match between its human resources and its new competences following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (19.67% of the heading 5 total in 2009, 19.99% in 2010 and 20.03% in 2011),

K.  whereas it is essential to monitor movements in heading 5 spending throughout 2011, in order to develop an appropriate forecast for the forthcoming budgets,

L.  whereas by decision of 24 March 2010 the Bureau adopted Parliament's medium-term buildings strategy, which sets out some key parameters for its future property policy; whereas as part of that strategy Parliament has decided to continue to give priority to the purchase of buildings (where reasonable), focusing on geographical concentration in its places of work; whereas early payment, with a view to reducing financing costs, remains one of the key priorities for the future,

General framework and priorities for the 2012 budget

1.  Underlines the difficult situation with respect to the heading 5 expenditure ceiling for 2012, and is fully aware of the fact that the institutions may encounter problems in meeting all financing requirements while maintaining budgetary discipline and self- restraint in order to comply with the multiannual financial framework;

2.  Sets the principle of legislative excellence, as a priority, to ensure an appropriate response to the current political challenges, which requires the consolidation of the resources needed to address the new institutional framework resulting from the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty; takes the view that the budget of Parliament and the other institutions for 2012 should be a budget of consolidation, not least because it may also serve as a reference for the next multiannual financial framework;

3.  Points out that this consolidation effort should not prevent investments (e.g. in technology) which would result in future long-term savings;

4.  Views as another priority the principles of good management (Article 27 of the Financial Regulation), namely economy, efficiency and effectiveness; takes the view that these principles should be clearly reflected, in the spirit of accountability in the budgets of Parliament and the other institutions, as well as in their organisational cultures; believes, accordingly, that in the implementation of the various policies the results achieved must be taken into account and that variable expenses should, whenever possible and when their scale so demands, be made subject to regular cost-benefit evaluations;

5.  Believes that, as a result of implementation of these principles, institutions should submit cost cutting plans; takes the view, in this connection, that thought should be given to the advantages of centralisation, so as to generate economies of scale (e.g.: centralised procurement, shared services between the institutions), as well as to what should remain, or be, decentralised;

6.  Believes that accuracy, simplicity, clarity and transparency must be the result of the implementation of the principles of good management; requests, in this connection, the submission of an organisation chart for each institution, together with the respective cost of each constituent unit; requests, moreover, that each expense be clearly specified and justified, with a clear distinction between fixed and variable expenses in order to fulfil the principles of a zero-based budget;

7.  Considers that, at the latest starting from the next multiannual financial framework, Parliament's budget and the budgets of the other institutions should be the result of multiannual planning covering the duration of that framework;

8.  Points out that the necessary preparations should be made at interinstitutional level in order to accommodate staff from Croatia with a view to a possible enlargement of the EU;

9.  Takes the view that Parliament and the other institutions should submit biannual reports on the implementation of their own budgets, giving details of the implementation of each budget line;

10.  Takes the view that environmental policy and EMAS(5) should be part of Parliament's and the other institutions‘ cultures and that, for that purpose, measures for the reduction of paper consumption, energy, water and emissions should be submitted;

11.  Reiterates that interinstitutional cooperation, whenever possible and appropriate, is essential in order to exchange best practices that favour effectiveness and allow for savings; considers that interinstitutional cooperation should be improved as regards translation, interpretation, recruitment (EPSO) and EMAS and should be extended to other areas; requests that there should be a thorough review of freelance translation and the role of the translation centre;

12.  Recalls the need for a fully integrated knowledge management system; welcomes the information provided by the Administration regarding the knowledge management system; calls for a progress report on the multitude of information sources/systems available to Members; calls for a clear timetable to be established for the design of a prototype; stresses the need for speedy implementation of a classification and indexing policy; requests information on how this system can be made easily accessible to European citizens;

13.  Stresses that it is important for the European Parliament and the other institutions to adopt an ambitious and far-reaching digital strategy with regard to the Web 2.0 tools and social networks in particular, to strengthen the link between Europe and its citizens; further considers that Parliament and the other institutions should develop an electronic governance strategy; calls for teleworking to be used where appropriate; calls on the Bureau to consider the introduction of a cloud computing system to reduce the operating costs of the computer system, improve its performance and bring greater mobility to Parliament's work;

14.  Stresses that financial statements and similar types of cost analyses are of the highest importance for decision-making within the institution; insists that these should be used systematically and should identify the recurrent and one-off costs (i.e. fixed costs and variable costs) directly linked to each specific measure;

15.  Asks for use to be made of staff redeployment and of retraining in order to enhance mobility; recommends that new staff only be recruited after internal redeployment and training procedures have failed and where the option of buying in external services is not appropriate;

16.  Takes the view that a joint and coordinated strategy for budgetary implementation should be agreed between all the institutions affected by the accession of Croatia; requests an estimate to be made of the implications for heading 5;

17.  Believes that all the institutions should have active non-discrimination policies and should adapt their buildings and human resources policies to ensure easier access for people with disabilities;

18.  Emphasises that in a context of economic crisis, the heavy burden of public debt and restraint in times of ongoing national budgetary consolidation efforts, the European Parliament and the other institutions should show budgetary responsibility and self-restraint;

Parliament

19.  Takes the view that Parliament's goal should be to develop legislative excellence and that all the necessary resources should be available for this purpose, while respecting budgetary constraints;

20.  Believes that Parliament should show budgetary responsibility and self-restraint by staying around the inflation rate; following the interinstitutional line, enlargement-related needs are to be integrated either by an amending letter or amending budget; the needs for the 18 new MEPs following the Lisbon Treaty will be also integrated by an amending letter or amending budget;

21.  Considers that the additional staffing resources allocated to Parliament's Administration to face the new challenges arising from the Lisbon Treaty should now enter a consolidation phase; insists that organisational structures should be such that they foster the creation of synergies by drawing on the respective expertise of existing specialised units;

22.  Points out that Parliament's budget for 2011 amounts to EUR 1 685 m., representing 20.03% of heading 5;

23.  Expects the Bureau to submit realistic requests when presenting the estimates; is ready to examine its proposals on a fully needs-based and prudent basis in order to ensure appropriate and efficient functioning of the institution; stresses that the purpose of the amending letter presented by the Bureau to the Committee on Budgets in September is to take into account needs unforeseen at the time the estimates were drawn up, and stresses that it should not be seen as an opportunity to renew estimates previously agreed; following the interinstitutional line, the enlargement-related needs shall be integrated either in an amending letter or amending budget; the needs for the 18 new MEPs following the Lisbon Treaty will be also integrated by an amending letter or amending budget;

24.  Requests a detailed and clear overview of those budget lines that were under-implemented in 2010 and looks forward to analysing the reasons for this; also wishes to receive an account of all carry-overs and their use in 2010, as well as an update on the final assigned revenues compared to the amounts that were budgeted;

25.  Considers that Members must be given access to quality services in order to be able to perform their duties on an equal footing; stresses, therefore, the importance of equal treatment of Members of all nationalities and languages in terms of possibility for them to carry out the duties and political activity incumbent upon them in their own language if they so choose; finds, for instance, the absence of interpretation in committee meetings to be unacceptable; believes that the principle of sound financial management needs to apply to interpretation and translation as well;

26.  Is also of the opinion that all means must be sought to increase the flexibility of interpretation as a crucial step in ensuring good working practices and notes that, in many instances, problems and financial wastage could be avoided if there were a possibility to swap languages at short notice depending on the actual attendance at meetings rather than the planned attendance;

27.  Urges that a thorough review should be implemented as to whether the right of freedom of access for European citizens to meet with their European representatives could be more effectively matched with the urgent need to provide security for those who work in the institutions; asks the Secretary-General to submit such a report by 30 June 2011;

28.  Takes the view that, as already decided, a fully functioning wifi service must be implemented so as to enable the goal of reducing the use of paper to be met; considers that the use of videoconferencing for meetings should be encouraged, as should the use of new environmentally friendly technologies; requests a cost-benefit analysis of such measures;

29.  Points out, as regards buildings policy, that Parliament is striving to rationalise the allocation of its existing space and to realise cost savings and economies of scale; points out that the KAD extension project currently under way, the cost of which is estimated at about EUR 549.6 million (at 2016 prices), will allow the geographical concentration of Parliament's Administration in Luxembourg, and that all other buildings currently rented in Luxembourg will be gradually vacated, thus enabling substantial savings to be made once the project is completed; draws attention to the fact that the financing of this building project might require the setting up of specialised legal structures (a special-purpose vehicle), as the Financial Regulation prohibits direct borrowing, and that cost savings could be achieved if this project were to be financed directly from the budget or by means of a direct loan, which clearly shows the need for adjustments to be made to the Financial Regulation in order to guarantee more transparent and more direct implementation of future building projects;

30.  Welcomes the decisions taken by the Bureau on 24 March 2010; reiterates its call for the development of a medium- and long-term buildings strategy; takes the view that this strategy should seek to find the best solution, taking into account the principles of good management and the need to assess various options and alternative financing possibilities; draws attention to the proposal in the abovementioned decision to use assigned revenues from the Belgian governement to invest in infrastructure for new office space for MEPs‘ assistants; requests additional information regarding the use of these assigned revenues for such a purpose, and detailed information on alternative options before any decision is taken;

31.  Underlines the need for further information regarding the House of European History; in particular, calls for a detailed business plan to be submitted to the Committee on Budgets; reiterates the need to receive information concerning the global cost of this project as well as the future financial and legal implications for the EP and requests further information regarding the architectural design competition which has been ongoing since 2009; stresses that all decisions relating to the project are subject to standard parliamentary procedure;

32.  Believes that, as is the case for all big organisations, an independent external viewpoint on how resources are used and how work is organised is sometimes necessary and can only be beneficial if handled correctly; while stressing that a political European institution such as Parliament is unique in character, considers that, in the long term, consideration should be given to carrying out such an external analysis of its organisation and management; believes that in 2012 some specific sector(s) could be identified and examined in this way;

33.  Points out that Parliament's information and communication policy is important and should reach all European citizens and improve citizens‘ ability to interact directly with Parliament, and therefore requests that the results attained with this policy be evaluated;

34.  Supports all efforts to modernise Parliament's financial application software systems;

35.  Gives its full support to all efforts to pursue a more effective and professional staff policy, including redeployment of staff within and between directorates-general;

36.  Considers follow-up action to be important in relation to a number of policies with financial implications, such as EMAS, public procurement and action taken in response to budget discharge recommendations; emphasises the need for continuous follow-up and analysis of Parliament's budget implementation in general;

37.  Is concerned about the proposal to create a European Added Value Assessment Unit to measure the cost of non-Europe; questions whether such an office is necessary; requests more detailed information regarding the creation of this office;

Other institutions

38.  Calls for realistic and cost-based budget requests from the other institutions which take full account of the need to manage scarce resources in an optimal way; welcomes the establishment of a new Section X in the EU budget for the European External Action Service, with an allocation of EUR 464 m., and is ready to examine the EEAS's needs as regards both real estate and personnel and determined to closely monitor its impact on heading 5, as its creation was intended to be budget-neutral; is not prepared to jeopardise the needs of the existing institutions;

39.  Believes that the establishment of a new Section X in the EU budget for the European External Action Service responds to the need to provide the European Union with an institutional framework which, together with the new CFSP/CSDP provisions, can support the EU's ambitions in foreign policy;

o
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40.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the European Ombudsman, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the EEAS.

(1) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 163, 23.6.2007, p. 17.
(3) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 303, 9.11.2010, p. 1.
(5) Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001 allowing voluntary participation by organisations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) (OJ L 114, 24.4.2001, p. 1).


EU strategy for the Atlantic region
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European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on the European Strategy for the Atlantic Region
P7_TA(2011)0089B7-0165/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Council of 14 June 2010, which called on the Commission to draw up a European strategy for the Atlantic region by June 2011,

–  having regard to the public consultation launched by the Commission, with a view to publishing a communication on a European strategy for the Atlantic region,

–  having regard to the EU strategy for the Baltic sea region and to the EU strategy for the Danube region,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the 5th Cohesion Report,

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Article 3 of the Treaty on the European Union and Title XVIII of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union set territorial cohesion as an objective of the European Union,

B.  whereas five EU Member States have Atlantic coasts: France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom,

C.  whereas the Atlantic region has its own specific characteristics, namely:

   a dynamic maritime area (thanks to maritime transport, fishing, marine energy, etc.),
   an area whose fragile environment must be preserved and which is subject to the consequences of climate change (coastal erosion, extreme climatic phenomena),
   an outlying area within the European Union, with accessibility and connectivity problems and with a low number of major city centres,

D.   whereas these specific characteristics stem from guidelines that transcend national boundaries and for which political answers have to be found at European level,

E.  whereas in June 2010 the Council asked the Commission to develop a strategy for the Atlantic region by June 2011, and whereas the publication of a Commission communication is scheduled for 2011,

1.  Asks the Commission to shape as soon as possible the EU strategy for the Atlantic region as an integrated strategy dealing with maritime and territorial issues;

2.  Is of the opinion that this strategy should be set within the cohesion policy objective of territorial cooperation (Objective 3), and be based on an integrated, cross-domain and territorial approach, aiming at better coordinating policies between the various levels of governance on a given territory, with a focus on relevant issues; is convinced that European territorial cooperation can contribute widely to the intensification of the integration process within the Atlantic region through a greater participation by civil society in the decision-making process and the implementation of concrete actions;

3.  Stresses that the major added value of EU macro-regional strategies is seen in multi-level cooperation, coordination and better strategic investment of available funding, not in additional allocation of resources; underlines the conclusions of the Swedish Presidency regarding no new institutions, no new legislation, no new budgets;

4.  Calls for this strategy to be opened to all EU regions along the Atlantic coast, including Macaronesia outermost regions;

5.  Believes that the external dimension of this strategy may be reinforced due to the geo-strategic position of Atlantic regions, in particular in the fields of maritime safety and surveillance and in the sphere of international trade relations; is of the opinion that international cooperation and triangular cooperation initiatives also need to be addressed;

6.  Believes that this strategy should implement a better coordination of goals and means, with strong links to the EU 2020 strategy and EU policies for beyond 2013; recalls in that respect that this strategy aims at better spending of EU money, not increasing expenditure;

7.  Calls for this strategy to be well-connected to EU regional policy and integrated maritime policy and is of the opinion that it should also facilitate synergies with other EU policies such as trans-European transport networks, the common fisheries policy, climate and environment actions, the research and development framework programme, the energy policy, etc.;

8.  Believes that the territorial dimension of this strategy is essential and will contribute to EU territorial cohesion; is of the opinion that this territorial dimension will have to address especially opening up, interconnection of transport and energy networks and development of marine energy, development of urban and rural areas and intensification of land-sea ties and of sea-interior waters ties;

9.  Reiterates the importance of improving the accessibility in Atlantic maritime regions, and of increasing movement of persons, goods and services in these regions in order to achieve the aims of the internal market and the objective of cohesion policy, especially by the development of short sea shipping and the highways of the sea;

10.  Recalls that the maritime dimension is a priority of this strategy, particularly through a maritime basins approach;

11.  Strongly commends the promotion and support by the European Commission of the planning and setting up of maritime roads in the Atlantic region, such as the Gijon-Nantes maritime road, as an innovative way to improve and diversify the trans-European transport networks, to influence international trade relations, to stimulate the harbours‘ economic activity and strengthen tourism, and to contribute to the reduction in CO2 emissions;

12.  Is of the opinion that this strategy would address the following issues of common interest: marine energy, environment and climate change, including the prevention and fighting of marine pollution by ships, transport and accessibility, safety, security and surveillance, research, innovation, creative industries, culture, leisure and tourism, marine services and training, and fisheries and the seafood sector;

13.  Believes that this strategy must develop synergies between relevant EU, national, regional and local policies and is therefore of the opinion that a renewed multi-level governance based on a closer involvement of EU, national, regional and local authorities is required;

14.  Wishes for this strategy to work following a bottom-up approach, starting from local authorities and involving all stakeholders; insists on the necessity of associating regional and local public authorities, Member States, the European Union, private stakeholders and civil society organisations (including interregional networks and organisations concerned) in the design and the implementation of this strategy;

15.  Insists that cooperation within the framework of this strategy should first and foremost be based on the needs of the stakeholders concerned and is thus of the opinion that the political priorities addressed have to be decided through a consensus;

16.  Is of the opinion that the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) could be an interesting tool to facilitate cooperation within the framework of an EU strategy for the Atlantic region;

17.  Is of the opinion that this strategy should be implemented from 2014 onwards and be coordinated with the next multiannual financial framework, and that it should go together with an action plan defined at European level and including a list of structuring projects;

18.  Is of the opinion that the internal and external dimensions of this strategy will have to implement an Atlantic allocation of existing Community funds, based on shared priorities;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up simplified rules to facilitate the implementation of this strategy and reduce the inherent administrative burden;

20.  Calls on the Commission to work closely with the European Parliament in defining the priorities for the development of the EU strategy for the Atlantic region, and calls on the Commission to regularly inform and consult the Parliament on the status of the implementation of this strategy;

21.  Will express its views on the future communication of the Commission through an initiative report;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the other relevant institutions.


2010 progress report on Turkey
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European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on Turkey's 2010 progress report
P7_TA(2011)0090B7-0156/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission's Turkey 2010 Progress Report (SEC(2010)1327),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions of 27 September 2006 on Turkey's progress towards accession(1), of 24 October 2007 on EU-Turkey relations(2), of 21 May 2008 on Turkey's 2007 progress report(3), of 12 March 2009 on Turkey's 2008 progress report(4), and of 10 February 2010 on Turkey's 2009 progress report(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 September 2010 on trade and economic relations with Turkey(6),

–  having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey(7) (‘the Accession Partnership’) and to the previous Council decisions on the Accession Partnership of 2001, 2003 and 2006,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 December 2010,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas accession negotiations with Turkey were opened on 3 October 2005 after the Council had approved the Negotiating Framework, and whereas the opening of those negotiations was the starting point for a long-lasting and open-ended process,

B.  whereas Turkey has committed itself to reforms, good neighbourly relations and progressive alignment with the EU, and whereas these efforts should be viewed as an opportunity for Turkey itself to modernise,

C.  whereas full compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria, as well as EU integration capacity in accordance with the conclusions of the December 2006 European Council meeting, remain the basis for accession to the EU, which is a community based on shared values,

D.  whereas the Commission concluded that in 2010 Turkey had continued its political reform process, but that lack of dialogue and of a spirit of compromise between the main political parties has a negative impact on relations between key political institutions and slows down work on political reforms,

E.  whereas Turkey has still not implemented, for the fifth consecutive year, the provisions stemming from the EC-Turkey Association Agreement and the Additional Protocol thereto,

1.  Commends Turkish citizens and civil society for supporting Turkey's further democratisation and for their commitment to an open and pluralistic society, and calls on the EU institutions and Member States to make full use of all EU enlargement policy instruments for candidate countries in this respect;

2.  Notes Turkey's slow progress with regard to reforms and recalls that the Turkish Government has committed itself to undertaking comprehensive reforms both with a view to fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria and for the sake of Turkey's own modernisation; calls on the Government to increase its efforts in that respect;

3.  Is concerned about the ongoing confrontation between the political parties and the lack of readiness on the part of Government and opposition to work towards consensus on key reforms; urges all political actors, the Government and the opposition to work together to enhance political plurality in state institutions and promote the modernisation and democratisation of the state and society; calls upon all opposition forces to engage constructively in the reform process;

4.  Points to the crucial role of a system of checks and balances in the governance of a modern democratic state, which must be based on the principle of separation of powers with balance between the executive, legislative and judicial functions, on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms – in particular freedom of expression and freedom of the press – and on a participatory political culture truly reflecting the plurality of a democratic society;

5.  Underlines the role of the Turkish Grand National Assembly as the institution which ought to make a crucial contribution to strengthening a system of checks and balances, and to support the modernisation reforms actively and constructively, on the basis of cross-party commitment, whilst ensuring that the Government's policies are subject to democratic scrutiny;

6.  Welcomes the adoption of constitutional amendments as a step in the right direction, and urges their proper implementation with full observance of the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; underlines at the same time, however, the pressing need for overall constitutional reform transforming Turkey into a fully fledged pluralistic democracy with the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms at its core; welcomes the Government's declared readiness, and that of the opposition, to undertake such reform, and calls on the Government to ensure that all political parties, as well as civil society, are closely involved in the whole constitutional process; calls for the implementation of the constitutional amendment package; recommends that the Venice Commission also be invited to participate;

7.  Welcomes a number of the Government's symbolic and goodwill gestures and certain concrete steps in the areas of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as protection of minorities and cultural rights; insists, however, that systematic improvements are needed in order fully to recognise the rights of minorities; in particular, encourages the Government to lend fresh impetus to the process of democratic opening, and calls on the opposition constructively to support and engage in that process;

Fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria

8.  Is concerned about the deterioration in freedom of the press, about certain acts of censorship and about growing self-censorship within the Turkish media, including on the internet; calls on the Turkish Government to uphold the principles of press freedom; stresses that an independent press is crucial for a democratic society and points, in this context, to the essential role of the judiciary in protecting and enhancing press freedom, thereby guaranteeing public space for free debate and contributing to the proper functioning of the system of checks and balances; underscores the need for adoption of a new media law addressing, inter alia, the issues of independence, ownership and administrative control; decides to closely follow the cases of Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık and other journalists facing police or judicial harassment;

9.  Welcomes new radio and TV laws which provide for several positive developments such as an increase in the percentage that foreign entities may lawfully own in Turkish media companies (50%, up from 25%), but expresses concern at the fact that broadcasting may be stopped on grounds of national security without a court order or a ruling by a judge; notes with concern the practice of bringing criminal prosecutions – especially under Article 285 of the Penal Code on ‘breaching the confidentiality of a criminal investigation’ and Article 288 on ‘attempting to influence the judiciary’ – against journalists who communicate evidence of human rights violations or raise other issues in the public interest; considers the criminalisation of opinions as a key obstacle to the protection of human rights in Turkey and deplores disproportionate restriction of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly; urges Turkey to comply rigorously with its international human rights obligations in this respect by amending its relevant legislation and by training its police and judiciary;

10.  Deplores the fact that a number of legal provisions such as Articles 301, 318 and 220(6), in combination with Article 314(2), of the Penal Code, and Article 7(2) of the anti-terror law, Law No 5816 of 25 July 1951 – as well as statements by the Government and activities by public prosecutors – continue to limit freedom of expression; reiterates its call to the Government to finalise the review of the legal framework on freedom of expression and, without delay, to bring it into line with the ECHR and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; restates, in this context, the need for the Turkish Government to issue clear guidance to prosecutors in relation to laws that are frequently used to limit freedom of expression; deplores the repeated and disproportionate recourse to closure of websites and asks the Government to prepare amendments to the internet law (Law No 5651) in order to make sure that it no longer restricts freedom of expression or the right of citizens to access information;

11.  Urges the Government to uphold the rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of association enshrined in Articles 33 and 34 of the Turkish Constitution; deplores and condemns, in this context, the violent police crackdown on student demonstrations at Ankara University in December 2010;

12.  Recognises that the issue of Roma rights in Turkey is now receiving significant attention and that both Government and opposition parties are engaging with it politically; advises that implementation of the Government housing plan for Roma, especially with regard to the sustainability and methodology of the plan itself, should be carefully monitored and reviewed; encourages the Government to practise active inclusion, and credible consultation with Roma communities, in the context of any Roma-related inclusion process within the country;

13.  Appreciates the progress made in reforming the judiciary and reiterates its view that judicial independence and impartiality are among the keys to the functioning of a pluralistic democratic society; is concerned that Turkish judicial arrangements have not yet been improved sufficiently to ensure the right to a fair and timely trial; asks the Government to implement the constitutional amendments adopted in this area, with full observance of the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, and of judicial independence and impartiality, in accordance with European standards;

14.  Is concerned, however, by the Turkish Supreme Court's interpretation of the Code of Criminal Procedure extending the pre-trial detention period to 10 years in clear violation of European standards in this respect; calls on the Turkish Grand National Assembly to amend the relevant law in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; also draws attention to Turkey's obligation to comply strictly with its commitment under Article 6 ECHR on a fair trial within reasonable time, notably by creating courts of appeal in its legal system and reinforcing the capacity of its supreme courts;

15.  Welcomes the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Dink v. Turkey on 14 September 2010; calls therefore on the Turkish authorities fully to endorse the consequences of the decision by implementing adequate measures to protect the exercise of freedom of expression; expresses its concern about the Turkish state administration's raising of artificial obstacles to unmasking the real instigators of the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink;

16.  Welcomes the fact that the constitutional amendments adopted finally provide a basis for establishing the institution of ombudsman, and urges the Government to prepare, and the Parliament to adopt, legislation providing for a democratic appointment procedure to bring a broadly respected figure into this new office; welcomes the proposed establishment of a national Human Rights Institution and asks the Turkish National Assembly to consult civil society and to give sufficient guarantees of the new body's independence in accordance with the ‘Paris Principles’;

17.  Commends the progress made on civil-military relations, especially the increase in civilian oversight achieved through limitation of the jurisdiction of military courts, the opening of Supreme Military Council decisions to judicial review and the arrangements for high-ranking officers to be tried by civilian courts; notes that this progress should be pursued further to ensure full civilian oversight, and calls on the Turkish Parliament to become active in ensuring parliamentary oversight of the security forces, including full oversight of the defence budget;

18.  Underlines the fact that investigations of alleged coup plans, such as the ‘Ergenekon’ and ‘Sledgehammer’ cases, need to demonstrate the strength and the proper, independent and transparent functioning of Turkish democratic institutions and the judiciary; is concerned about excessively long pre-trial detention periods and stresses the need for effective judicial guarantees for all suspects; is concerned by the lack of progress in these investigations and notes that the recent detention of well-known journalists such as Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık might lead to a loss of credibility of these trials which should, on the contrary, strengthen democracy;

19.  Considers it regrettable that amendments concerning the closure of political parties, proposed as part of the recent constitutional reform, did not find a majority in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and urges all political parties to bring the relevant legislation into line with the opinion of the Venice Commission;

20.  Reiterates the call made in its previous resolutions for the electoral system to be reformed by lowering the 10% threshold, thereby strengthening party pluralism and better reflecting the plurality of Turkish society; particularly deplores the fact that no reform was undertaken in this area in 2010; calls for a comprehensive review of the rules on party financing and election spending, with a view to reinforcing internal party democracy and fostering a more open political system; encourages political parties to reinforce their internal democracy and to make elected representatives more accountable to their constituencies;

21.  Considers it regrettable that no progress has been made on limiting the immunities of Members of Parliament in respect of corruption-related offences, and notes, at the same time, the concern about adequate protection for the expression of non-violent opinions in Parliament; calls, therefore, on the Government and Parliament to agree an appropriate reform of the system of parliamentary immunities;

22.  Takes note of Turkey's current chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and encourages Turkey to reflect its commitment to the values of the Council of Europe by signing and ratifying the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and ratifying all additional protocols to the ECHR;

23.  Welcomes the ratification by the Turkish Grand National Assembly of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, and calls on Turkey to implement its provisions without delay and in close cooperation with the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

24.  Supports the Government's ongoing dialogue with religious communities, including the Alevis, as well as the Greek, Armenian, Aramean and other Christian communities; is disappointed, however, that only limited progress has been made on the legal framework for the functioning of these communities, notably as regards their ability to obtain legal personality, to open and operate houses of worship, to train clergy and to resolve property problems not addressed by the Law on Foundations; calls – while noting the prevailing delays and procedural problems – for an effective and continued effort on implementation of the Law on Foundations, which must enable the aforementioned religious communities to function without undue constraints, in line with the ECHR and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; urges the Government further to increase its support for freedom of conscience and religious plurality in Turkish society;

25.  Calls, therefore, on the Government to address these issues systematically by amending legislation and by ensuring its proper implementation at all levels of government, including the municipalities; points too, in this context, to the recommendations adopted by the Venice Commission in spring 2010 concerning the legal personality of religious communities and the ecclesiastical title ‘Ecumenical’ of the Orthodox Patriarchate; welcomes the recent decision by the ‘Foundations Assembly’ to transfer the Büyükada Greek Orphanage for Boys to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in accordance with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, and the granting of Turkish citizenship to several Greek Orthodox clergy in order to facilitate the Patriarchate and the Holy Synod; welcomes the religious ceremony in the Sümela Monastery Museum in Trabzon and the ceremony in the church on Akdamar Island in the province of Van; finds the Turkish Supreme Court decision against Mor Gabriel Monastery, concerning a land dispute with villages and the Turkish Treasury, to be regrettable; restates its expectation that the Government's announcements about the reopening of the Halki Greek Orthodox seminary will soon be followed by action and by measures providing for the unhindered training of Christian communities‘ clergy; urges the Government to pay special attention to educational materials in schools, which should reflect the religious plurality of Turkish society, and to the need for unbiaised learning materials;

26.  Strongly condemns the continuing terrorist violence by the PKK, which is on the EU list of terrorist organisations, and by other terrorist groups on Turkish soil; encourages Turkey, the EU and its Member States to intensify their cooperation in the fight against terrorism, in close coordination with the counter-terrorism coordinator and Europol and in strict compliance with international human rights law;

27.  Calls on the Government to revitalise its efforts, as part of the process of democratic opening, to address the Kurdish issue comprehensively with a view to reaching a peaceful solution: notably by ensuring consistent interpretation of laws permitting use of the Kurdish language in political and public life and in education; by amending anti-terror legislation to avoid abuses or extensive interpretation; by guaranteeing the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly; by addressing efficiently the problems of persons displaced from their home regions as a consequence of, inter alia, the long conflict; and by further improving the socio-economic situation in the south-east of the country; expresses its concerns, in this context, about the ongoing trials in Diyarbakir of 151 Kurdish political activists – including eight serving elected local mayors – which constitute interference in legal political activities;

28.  Welcomes the strengthening of the legal framework guaranteeing women's rights and gender equality through the constitutional package; is concerned about the falling rates of labour force participation even among highly educated women; urges the Government, business and civil society to take comprehensive measures – such as fighting female illiteracy, actively supporting girls‘ access to secondary education and providing childcare facilities – to tackle poverty among women and increase women's social inclusion and participation in the labour market; furthermore, encourages the introduction of a system of reserved quotas in order to ensure a meaningful presence of women at all levels in business, the public sector and politics; calls, in particular, on the political parties to use the opportunity of the forthcoming elections to strengthen women's active engagement in politics;

29.  Deeply deplores the persistent high levels of domestic violence, including so-called honour crimes and the phenomenon of forced marriages; welcomes, in that connection, the initiatives by women's movements which give visibility to these problems and urges the Government to step up its preventive efforts at all levels, in particular by enforcing Law No 4320 on the Protection of the Family and by monitoring its implementation by the police and the judiciary, by obliging municipalities of over 50 000 inhabitants to provide sufficient shelters for women and minors in danger, by effectively monitoring full compliance with this obligation, and by putting in place a system of follow-up assistance for women and minors leaving the shelters, in order to provide them with appropriate psychological support, judicial assistance and health care and to assist their reintegration into society; calls on the Government to establish adequate and effective oversight of municipalities‘ compliance with this obligation; urges the judiciary to ensure that violence against women and minors, as well as those fighting so-called honour crimes, is consistently and properly punished;

30.  Urges the Government to ensure that equality, regardless of sex, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, is guaranteed by the law and effectively enforced; deplores the recent legal action against LGBTT associations but welcomes the fact that the cases in question were dismissed by the courts; notes, however, the need for further action against homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation as provided for in the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation to Member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity; calls on the Turkish Government to instruct the Turkish Armed Forces to end its classification of homosexuality as a ‘psychosexual’ illness; asks that the Draft Law on Combating Discrimination and Equality Committee be brought into line with EU standards, including as regards the grounds of sex and sexual orientation; urges national and local authorities to put an end to the ongoing murders of transgender people, including transgender sex workers;

31.  Believes that, in line with its obligations under international law, Turkey should pass legislation introducing, as an alternative to military service, civil or social service that is not punitive in length and is based on free choice; asks the Government to ensure full compliance with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ülke v. Turkey, amending legislation to bring to an end the prosecution of conscientious objectors for their refusal to perform military service; asks the Government to investigate allegations of ill-treatment of conscientious objectors in military custody and to take steps to prevent such abuse in the future;

32.  Underlines the importance of providing effective protection for human-rights defenders; expresses concern about continuing court cases against human-rights defenders and their continued prosecution, and draws particular attention to the trial of Pinar Selek, which has lasted 12 years despite three acquittal decisions; calls on the Commission closely to follow her case, as well as all similar cases, and systematically to attend such trials;

33.  Urges the main political parties to reach a solution on the headscarf ban in universities, in order to counter the polarising effects of the issue on Turkish society; urges that this solution be based on respect for women's free choice;

34.  Strongly reiterates its call to the Turkish Government – given the lack of progress, so far, following the 1625 PACE Resolution – to pursue policies to preserve the bicultural character of the Turkish islands of Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos) and, in particular, to address problems encountered by members of the Greek minority with regard to their education and property rights;

Enhancing social cohesion and prosperity

35.  Commends the resilience of the Turkish economy vis-à-vis the global economic crisis; stresses that this economic revival is a unique opportunity to increase labour force participation and employment rates, which are still very low, barely reaching 50%, and to set in motion a process of progressive social inclusion; points to the shared responsibility of the Government and the social partners and encourages them to intensify their cooperation in order more firmly to anchor a socially oriented market economy;

36.  Urges the Turkish Government and the governments of the EU Member States to consider, and present, the integration of EU citizens of Turkish origin into the societies of their new home countries not as a threat, but as an opportunity for the future of our societies;

37.  Notes the interdependence of the EU and Turkish economies and points to its potential for enhancing prosperity in both the EU and Turkey as Turkey's integration into the EU market advances;

38.  Welcomes the improvements introduced by the constitutional amendments in the area of social dialogue and trade union rights; insists, however, that, in addition to these, the legal framework, including pending trade union legislation, must be brought in line with both EU and ILO standards; encourages all parties in the Economic and Social Council to strengthen their commitment and cooperation in order to advance this goal;

39.  Reiterates the need to strengthen cohesion among Turkish regions and between rural and urban areas; highlights, in this context, the particular role of education and the need to tackle persistent and substantial regional disparities in quality of education and enrolment rates;

40.  Calls on the Turkish Government fully to consider the sustainability and environmental consequences of its plans for new water and energy infrastructure under the South-East Anatolia Project (GAP), which threaten to destroy the environment and the unique landscape of many regions, and, in particular, the project's impact on neighbouring Iraq; stresses especially the need to ensure that the draft law on nature protection and biodiversity is amended so as to preserve the cultural and archaeological heritage in full accordance with European standards and to allocate responsibility for nature protection clearly within the executive; calls on the Government to adopt a more ambitious policy framework, underpinned by specific action plans, to combat the growth of carbon emissions;

Building good neighbourly relations

41.  Calls on the Turkish Government and all parties concerned to give their active support to the ongoing negotiations on the Cyprus issue and to contribute in concrete terms to a comprehensive settlement, and calls on the Government to facilitate a suitable climate for negotiations by starting to withdraw its forces from Cyprus immediately; strongly urges the two communities in Cyprus to work intensively, in accordance with the UN Secretary-General's request, to capitalise on the progress already made in the negotiations, in order to reach a sustainable solution – in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and promoting, in particular, Resolution 550 (1984), and with the principles on which the EU is founded – for the benefit of Cypriot citizens, the EU and Turkey;

42.  Encourages Turkey to intensify its support for the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, in particular by facilitating its access to military zones and archives, and to take all other appropriate action, in accordance with the findings of the European Court of Human Rights, on the humanitarian issue of missing persons;

43.  Calls on Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot authorities to refrain from any new settlements of Turkish citizens on the island, as this would continue to change its demographic balance and reduce the allegiance of its citizens to a future common state based on its common past; calls on Turkey to address the issue of the settlement of Turkish citizens on the island, in accordance with the Geneva Convention and the principles of the International Law;

44.  Urges both parties, Turkey and Armenia, to ratify, without preconditions, the protocols and to open the border, and calls on Turkey to use its regional weight to enhance confidence-building measures;

45.  Takes note of the intensified efforts by Turkey and Greece to improve their bilateral relations; considers it regrettable, however, that the casus belli threat declared by the Turkish Grand National Assembly against Greece has not yet been withdrawn; expects the Turkish Government to end the continued violation of Greek airspace and Turkish military aircraft flights over Greek islands;

46.  Emphasises that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea has been signed by the EU, the 27 Member States and all the other candidate countries and that it is part of the acquis communautaire; calls, therefore, on the Turkish Government to sign and ratify it without further delay;

47.  Appreciates the deepening of relations between Turkey and Iraq, including its Kurdish regional government, and points, in particular, to Turkey's contribution to the stabilisation of Iraq; urges Turkey to articulate with the Iraqi Government, and other neighbours, measures to counter the negative impact of the hydroelectric dam project announced by the Turkish Government;

Advancing EU-Turkey cooperation

48.  Deplores Turkey's non-implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement, which continues to affect the process of negotiations, and calls on the Turkish Government to implement the protocol in full;

49.  Takes note of the progress achieved by Turkey on the energy chapter and once again urges the Council to open negotiations on this chapter without further delay; calls on the Turkish Government to step up its efforts in negotiations on joining the Energy Community Treaty; welcomes the ratification of the Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement and the signing of the memorandum of understanding for the operation of the Interconnector-Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) natural gas pipeline, both of these projects being important for the energy security of the EU;

50.  Welcomes the ongoing negotiations on the Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy chapter, which was opened on 30 June 2010; encourages Turkey to complete the necessary steps in order to close certain chapters such as Enterprise and Industrial Policy and Trans-European Networks;

51.  Welcomes the finalisation of the negotiations on the EU-Turkey readmission agreement and calls on the Turkish Government to ensure that, until this agreement enters into force, existing bilateral agreements are fully implemented; underlines the importance of intensifying cooperation between the EU and Turkey on migration management and border controls, inter alia given the large percentage of illegal immigrants entering EU territory via Turkey; welcomes the consultation with civil society on three draft laws in the field of asylum and urges the Government to bring the laws before Parliament without delay; takes the view that, once the readmission agreement enters into force, the Council should mandate the Commission to initiate a visa dialogue, with particular attention to the matter of entry conditions for businesspeople and students travelling to the EU, as a necessary step in relation to mobility;

52.  Takes note of Turkey's increasingly active foreign policy aimed at strengthening its role as regional player; urges the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to take this dimension fully into consideration and engage with Turkey with a view to the coordination of objectives and the proper promotion of EU interests; calls on the Turkish Government to step up its foreign policy coordination with the EU; welcomes, in principle, the recently pronounced ‘zero-problems’ policy in respect of Turkey's neighbours but points out the need to maintain Turkey's unambiguous commitment to our common European values and interests; calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to intensify the existing dialogue with Turkey on foreign policy issues of mutual interest; in light of the inspiration Turkey provides to many in the Arab world, as a secular democracy with a majority Muslim population, strongly encourages the pursuit of concerted efforts in support of democratisation and development in the Middle East and Northern Africa;

53.  Stresses the strategic importance to the EU of the Black Sea region; believes that Turkey is an important EU partner in this region and calls on it to support and actively contribute to the implementation of EU policies and measures in the region, including an eventual EU Strategy for the Black Sea;

54.  Urges the Turkish Government fully to support the international community's efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and deplores Turkey's vote against the relevant UN Security Council resolution; takes the view that Turkey could contribute to democratisation and the strengthening of human rights in Iran while coordinating its efforts with the EU;

55.  Believes that Turkey has an important role to play in fostering dialogue in the Middle East Peace process and in contributing to stabilisation in Lebanon, and calls on Turkey to renew its close ties with Israel, resume its constructive mediation and, in particular, contribute to the strengthening of the Palestinian Authority;

56.  Appreciates Turkey's constructive engagement supporting the efforts of the transatlantic partners in Afghanistan and the Balkans; finds it regrettable, however, that NATO-EU strategic cooperation beyond the ‘Berlin Plus’ arrangements is blocked by Turkish objections;

57.  Calls on the Turkish Government to sign and submit for ratification the Statute of the International Criminal Court, thus further increasing Turkey's contribution to, and engagement in, the global multilateral system;

58.  Takes note of the conclusions and improvements proposed by the Commission in the 2009 annual report on implementation of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) with a view to prioritising targets and projects in line with the accession criteria, as proposed in the Court of Auditors‘ Special Report No 16/2009. Underlines the importance of comprehensive monitoring of IPA implementation as more projects get under way;

o
o   o

59.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.

(1) OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 284.
(2) OJ C 263 E, 16.10.2008, p. 452.
(3) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 57.
(4) OJ C 87 E, 1.4.2010, p. 139.
(5) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 59.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0324.
(7) OJ L 51, 26.2.2008, p. 4.


European integration process of Montenegro
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European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on the European integration process of Montenegro
P7_TA(2011)0091B7-0157/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the European Council decision of 17 December 2010 to grant Montenegro the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union,

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission opinion on Montenegro's application for membership of the European Union (COM(2010)0670),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011 (COM(2010)0660),

–  having regard to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Montenegro, of the other part of 29 March 2010(1),

–  having regard to the EC-Montenegro readmission agreement of 8 November 2007(2) and to Council Regulation (EC) No 1244/2009 of 30 November 2009, adopted on 1 December 2009, amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement(3),

–  having regard to the recommendations of the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee of 27-28 September 2010,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Thessaloniki European Council of 19-20 June 2003 reaffirmed that the future of the Western Balkans lies with the European Union; whereas that statement was reiterated by the Brussels European Council of 15-16 June 2006 and at subsequent summits,

1.  Welcomes the general consensus and high priority given to the European integration by the government and opposition parties in Montenegro, which has resulted in good progress in the reform process since the independence of the country; welcomes the new political leadership in Podgorica and encourages the new government to continue Montenegro's European integration process and speed up the reforms leading to fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria;

2.  Welcomes the European Council decision of 17 December 2010 to grant Montenegro the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union; regrets, however, the decoupling of candidate status from the right to open negotiations and stresses that the decision to start them should not be unduly or unreasonably postponed; expects the negotiations to start at the latest after the publication on the 2011 Commission Progress Report, provided Montenegro makes good progress in fulfilling the benchmarks set by the Commission;

3.  Welcomes the Council's decision to grant Montenegrin citizens the possibility to travel without visas (full visa liberalisation) to the EU Schengen area as of 19 December 2009; underlines the importance of such a step for the development of people-to-people contacts, particularly in the field of education, research, tourism, for business contacts and international trade union cooperation; calls on the non-Schengen EU countries also to consider adopting a similar visa liberalised regime for Montenegrin citizens, especially in view of the smooth implementation of the visa liberalisation regime with the Schengen EU countries;

4.  Welcomes the fact that the process of establishing the legal and constitutional framework of the country has almost been finalised; draws attention, however, to the fact that the deadline for harmonising the existing legal system with the new constitution has been extended for the fourth time and calls on the authorities to adopt swiftly the outstanding legislation, in particular the amendments to the legal framework on elections; calls on all political parties to reach a consensus on the draft law without further delay in line with the recommendations of the OSCE-ODIHR and the Venice Commission, and to improve the mechanism for verifying election-related complaints before the Electoral Commission or the courts; calls on the Montenegrin Parliament to urgently and significantly strengthen its capacities regarding the task of assessing whether laws proposed by the government are in line with the acquis and urges the Commission to provide the necessary technical assistance in this regard within the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession; urges the government to make the process of law-making more transparent and publicly accessible;

5.  Notes with satisfaction that IPA assistance works well in Montenegro; encourages both the Montenegrin Government and the Commission to simplify the administration procedure for IPA funding, with the aim of making it more accessible to smaller and non-centralised civil organisations, trade unions and other beneficiaries;

6.  Reiterates the utmost importance of the rule of law for the development of the country and for the credibility of the state institutions in the eyes of citizens; welcomes, to this end, the increased activity shown by the government and parliament in preparing and adopting the requisite legislation; underlines however the importance of public participation in the development of new legislation and its effective implementation in order for progress to be visible to the citizens;

7.  Welcomes the initiative of the Montenegrin Parliament to professionalise the function of the President of the State Electoral Commission, calls however for the professionalisation of the remaining members of this body and an upgrade in its capacities in order to ensure transparent, democratic and effective administering of electoral processes;

8.  Notes good progress in adopting important legislation in the field of fighting corruption and welcomes the adoption of a new strategy and an action plan as well as the establishment of the National Commission to implement them; underlines, however, that corruption is still prevalent in many areas, especially in the construction, privatisation and public procurements sector, and that it constitutes a serious problem; notes, moreover, that the track record of investigations, prosecutions and final convictions in corruption cases remains low; underlines the importance of establishing a clearly stated comprehensive framework to fight corruption, including better implementation of the law on free access to information and coordination between law enforcement agencies as well as a single authority monitoring and enforcing the obligations of government bodies and following up on complaints from the public (Ombudsman); draws attention to the need to effectively implement the adopted legislation in this field, in order to give the law enforcement agencies new tools to fight corruption; urges change in the legislative framework for political parties and electoral campaign financing in order to ensure independent control and transparency of the financing mechanisms;

9.  Calls for energetic steps to be taken to eliminate the cases of conflicts of interest in public administration by strengthening the Conflict of Interest Commission and granting it powers to verify declarations of assets by public officials and to sanction irregularities; calls, equally, for the amendment of the law on prevention of conflicts of interest in exercising public functions, which allows Members of Parliament and other elected representatives to take up duties as members of managing or supervisory bodies: in certain cases full transparency and declaration of interests by elected representatives can resolve this conflict;

10.  Points out that the freedom of information law is being implemented with difficulty, especially when it comes to the provision of documents that could reveal corruption in the field of privatisation and public procurement; urges the government to facilitate access to relevant data; urges state authorities to refrain from pressuring those non-governmental and non-profit organisations and civil society actors in general which investigate corruption and organised crime cases and perform a watchdog role;

11.  Notes the progress in reform of the judiciary, as demonstrated by the adoption of major amendments to criminal procedures and other substantive legislation, increasing the human resources available and reducing the backlog of cases in the courts; stresses, however, the need for ensuring accountability and efficiency of the judiciary and prosecutors as well as their independence from political interference; stresses the need to ensure full implementation of the Code of Ethics; calls urgently for changes in the system for the appointment of judges and prosecutors, and an end to the practice of nomination of prosecutors and the members of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils solely by parliament by simple majority and by the government; is concerned, moreover, by the potential for an excessive accumulation of power in the persons of the President of the Supreme Court and of the Supreme Public Prosecutor; calls for the adoption of the law on regulating access to free legal aid; calls for the unification of jurisprudence in order to ensure a predictable judicial system and public trust; emphasises the importance of enhancing international cooperation, especially with neighbouring countries;

12.  Calls on Montenegro to further improve common criteria for judicial training, which shall be applied by the Judicial Training Centre, and to allocate the necessary financial resources towards this objective;

13.  Calls on the Commission to include in its next progress report an assessment of the impact and results achieved, through the allocation of EU funds, in the reform of the judiciary and the fight against corruption;

14.  Underlines the fact that organised crime, and above all money laundering and smuggling, remains a problem in spite of improvements in the legal framework and its implementation; calls on the authorities to take steps to boost law enforcement capacities, in particular proactive investigative capacities, and improve coordination between different bodies and agencies as well as cooperation with the respective neighbouring and international authorities in order to establish a solid track record in combating organised crime; welcomes the adoption of the Criminal Procedure Code and calls for its swift and proper implementation;

15.  Welcomes the improvements in the work of parliament but recommends further efforts to ensure the high quality of adopted legislation and its conformity with the acquis; calls for greater internal allocation of budgetary and human resources as well as more EU assistance to the Montenegrin Parliament, such as twinning with Members States‘ parliaments or with the European Parliament, to increase the capacities of the Members of Parliament and the parliamentary secretariat in enabling oversight and scrutiny of government as stated in the Commission's Opinion;

16.  Calls for further reforms of public administration, which still remains under-resourced and overtly politicised, and in particular for a review of the law on civil servants and state employees in order to establish a comprehensive and merit-based employment system, including transparent rules for hiring and laying down procedures for career advancement; underlines, equally, the need to strengthen human resources at the local level of administration and to provide sufficient financing for its functioning, in order to ensure its efficiency and transparency, particularly important in view of the ongoing decentralisation process; draws attention to the need to respect legally binding decisions of the Human Resources Management Authority; underlines the need to improve the legal and institutional framework, so as to strengthen accountability and respect for the rule of law within public administration, in particular in areas such as tax administration, public procurement, urban planning and licensing in local administration and customs; welcomes the opening of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) in Danilovgrad;

17.  Welcomes the adoption of the general law on prohibition of discrimination in employment or provision of public services, banning discrimination on any grounds other than merit, as an important step in establishing the legal framework conducive to fighting discrimination; notes, however, possible remaining shortcomings in the law and calls for their rectification; underlines that vulnerable groups such as Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians and persons with disabilities still allegedly suffer discrimination and that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity widely persists, including on the part of state authorities; urges the Montenegrin authorities to strengthen the implementation mechanisms for preventing, monitoring, sanctioning and prosecuting discrimination cases; is concerned that the labour rights of disabled persons are not fully respected and welcomes in this regard the Memorandum dealing with the situation on the labour market for disabled persons signed by the Confederation of Trade Unions of Montenegro (CTUM) and NGOs;

18.  Is concerned that women continue to be under-represented in decision-making processes and in leading positions both in the public administration, such as parliament, ministries, top government posts, and in the management of public companies; calls for steps to swiftly mainstream gender equality policy, by implementing the action plan, and to introduce the principle of equal pay;

19.  Welcomes the adoption of the law on protection from domestic violence and calls on the government to swiftly implement it, as well as to grant financial support for organisations providing services to victims; calls on the authorities to promote an awareness campaign in order to inform women of their rights and a policy of zero tolerance towards domestic violence;

20.  Urges the Montenegrin authorities to ensure that the relevant legal provisions, including the law on minority rights and freedoms, are comprehensively implemented; recalls that all minorities have to be protected by strict implementation of the anti-discrimination law; encourages Montenegro to deploy further efforts in raising awareness of any type of discrimination; encourages the Montenegrin authorities to continue to support fully the implementation of its Action Plan for resolving the status of displaced persons;

21.  Welcomes the generally good inter-ethnic relations and good general protection of minority rights in the country, and reiterates that this is a positive basis from which to begin the peace-building process in a region that was, at one time, characterised by inter-ethnic violence and mass population displacement, but calls for further consultation of the opinions of minority groups by the authorities and in the administrative structures in order to help reconciliation in the region; draws attention, to this end, to the need to clarify the constitutional provision on accurate representation of minorities and welcomes the steps taken to produce accurate statistics in this field; calls for the law on citizenship and the law on foreigners to be aligned with European standards; encourages both political and religious leaders on both sides of the Serbo-Montenegrin border to contribute to a positive inter-ethnic and inter-religious climate by finding compromise solutions on controversial issues including contested religious sites;

22.  Notes that Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities continue to face problems with frequent discrimination; calls on the authorities to improve their living conditions, access to social security, health, education and employment services, as well as to provide them with identification documents which is a pre-condition for access to any public services; stresses the urgency of improving the living conditions in Konik camp and adopting and implementing a sustainable strategy for improving conditions within and eventual closure of the camp;

23.  Reiterates the importance of active and independent civil society organisations for democracy; welcomes the improved cooperation of the government with NGOs, particularly in the fight against corruption; calls for further strengthening of these relations and for broader consultation with NGOs in policy-making, including the formulation of policies and legislation, as well as in monitoring the activities of the authorities; stresses the crucial role of civil society actors in contributing to enhanced regional cooperation on social and political aspects; welcomes the work of the National Council for European Integration, including civil society, government, the judiciary and the opposition, but calls for its role in the progress of EU integration to be strengthened;

24.  Encourages the Montenegrin Government to engage in close collaboration and regular dialogue with NGOs, trade unions and other civil society organisations; welcomes in this regard the appointment of the Council for Cooperation between the Montenegrin Government and NGOs; underlines the importance of strengthening the institutional framework for cooperation between the government, NGOs, trade unions and other civil society organisations;

25.  Welcomes the progress in implementing the Bologna reform process and calls for further efforts to improve the quality of education, both general and vocational, to supply youth with the necessary skills to successfully compete on the labour market; urges more effective implementation of the strategy for inclusive education, including children from vulnerable groups;

26.  Acknowledges the steps taken by the Montenegrin Government to ensure freedom of expression in the media through the adoption of the law on electronic media and amendments to the Criminal Code but calls for further steps to ensure the independence and professionalism of media outlets, including strengthening the capacity and independence of the public broadcaster; calls on the Montenegrin authorities to demonstrate their commitment with a view to ensuring that the media sector operates without political interference and that the independence of regulatory bodies is guaranteed; draws attention to disproportionate fines for defamation, which continue to hamper the freedom and independence of the work of journalists, and calls for the legislation and practice on defamation to be aligned fully with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights; stresses that reported cases of intimidation and physical violence against journalists as well as against civil society activists must be fully investigated and prosecuted where appropriate; underlines the importance of journalists applying high professional standards and a professional code of ethics;

27.  Welcomes the country's good track record in implementing economic reforms but underlines the fact that the financial crisis has revealed potential weaknesses in its economic model and highlighted the urgency of further structural changes; calls in particular for further steps to improve the monitoring and enforcement of privatisation contracts, ensure transparency in the provision of state aid and adopt better and simpler regulation of the business environment and in particular to facilitate the functioning of small and medium enterprises;

28.  Notes the improvements in the functioning of the labour market but is concerned by a significant level of informal employment; considers the informal economy as a deeply rooted problem the resolving of which demands in-depth strategies which have to include all aspects of society; draws attention to the fact that the labour market is still characterised by structural unemployment and that at the same time vacancies for highly skilled jobs remain unfilled, showing a mismatch between required and supplied skills; welcomes the adoption of the National Qualification Framework covering the legal preconditions for filling this mismatch, encourages the Montenegrin Government to implement this swiftly;

29.  Underlines the importance of improvements in the transport infrastructure and of ensuring the connectivity of the transport system with those of neighbouring countries, for the development of Montenegro; calls for further development of the railway systems and modernisation of the existing one, which is a viable and ecological alternative to the roads and could take over a substantial part of the transport of goods and passengers;

30.  Underlines that Montenegro has ratified the eight core labour rights conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the revised European Social Charter; underscores that although basic labour and trade union rights are provided for in the Labour Code there are still restrictions; encourages Montenegro to further strengthen labour and trade unions rights; points out the important role of social dialogue and encourages the Montenegrin Government to step up their ambitions in further strengthening the Social Council; underlines the importance of improving the transparency and effectiveness of the Social Council;

31.  Welcomes the fact that the Constitution defines Montenegro as an ecological state; notes a significant role played in the economy by tourism and its potential to contribute to the development of the country; notes, however, the risks to the environment stemming from tourism and calls on the government to take further steps to protect nature, such as swift implementation of the law on the environment and of the outstanding by-laws and further efforts which are needed to prevent possible devastation of the coast on the Adriatic sea; draws particular attention to the need for effective waste management, in particular on the local level, to ensure its safe disposal; welcomes measures to develop a lower carbon economy by developing the country's huge hydroelectric and other renewable energy potential, which will contribute in covering domestic needs and even constitute an export resource and foreign currency earner for the country; warns, however, that large scale dams often have significant negative impacts on the environment and calls for appropriate and transparent environmental assessments, including of ‘environmentally better options’, public participation and civil society involvement, before their approval or authorisation, in line with the EU acquis;

32.  Urges the Montenegrin authorities, notably the Ministry of Economy, to post publicly on its website all annexes and documents related to the recent agreement on the establishment of an underwater energy cable between Montenegro and Italy; calls for the full consequences of the deal, including the environmental impact, to be made public;

33.  Notes with satisfaction that Montenegro is strongly committed to regional cooperation and is a constructive regional partner; commends Montenegro on its good relations with its neighbouring countries and its overall stabilising role in the region; notes that the country is an active member of most regional organisations and it has concluded a series of judicial and police agreements with its neighbours; welcomes the recently ratified readmission agreements with Croatia and Serbia as well as the recently concluded extradition agreement with Serbia and Croatia; calls on the country to resolve swiftly its border issue with Croatia through the International Court of Justice;

34.  Stresses that the Montenegrin Parliament has been the first one in the region to adopt the resolution on Srebrenica genocide and welcomes this step as an important contribution to regional reconciliation;

35.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government and Parliament of Montenegro.

(1) OJ L 108, 29.4.2010, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 334, 19.12.2007, p. 25.
(3) OJ L 336, 18.12.2009, p. 1.


EU strategy on Roma inclusion
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European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion (2010/2276(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0092A7-0043/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular Articles 1, 8, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 35 and 45,

–  having regard to international human rights law, notably the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to European conventions protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and the related case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the related recommendations of the European Committee of Social Rights, and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union, which lay down the fundamental rights and principles underpinning the European Union, including the principle of non-discrimination and free movement,

–  having regard to Article 5(3) of the Treaty on European Union, which provides a legal basis for Union action if the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can be better achieved at Union level,

–  having regard to Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, which deals with fundamental rights in the Union,

–  having regard to Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which provides for sanctions and the suspension of rights in case of serious breaches of Union law,

–  having regard to Articles 9 and 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which obliges the Union to take into account – as a horizontal requirement – the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, a high level of education, training and protection of human health and the combating of discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin,

–  having regard to Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which gives the Council the power to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin,

–  having regard to Article 151 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which defines the promotion of employment, improved living and working conditions, and proper social protection as objectives of the Union and the Member States,

–  having regard to Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which defines the fields in which the Union is to support and complement the activities of the Member States, and in particular to Article 153(1)(h) on the integration of persons excluded from the labour market and Article 153(1)(j) on the combating of social exclusion,

–  having regard to Title XVIII of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which deals with economic, social and territorial cohesion,

–  having regard to Article 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘flexibility clause’), which provides for the adoption of appropriate measures to attain one of the objectives set out in the Treaties,

–  having regard to Articles 3, 8, 16, 18, 20, 21 and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Recommendation 1355 (1998) on Fighting Social Exclusion and Strengthening Social Cohesion in Europe,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which recognises regional or minority languages as integral parts of Europe's cultural heritage, as well as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2005 on the situation of the Roma in the European Union(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on the situation of Roma women in the European Union(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2007 on application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their families to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 31 January 2008 on a European Strategy on the Roma(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2008 on the census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2009 on the social situation of the Roma and their improved access to the labour market in the EU(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2010 on the Second European Roma Summit(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2010 on the situation of the Roma and on freedom of movement in the European Union(8),

–  having regard to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data(9),

–  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(10),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(11),

–  having regard to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(12),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(13),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 437/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund as regards the eligibility of housing interventions in favour of marginalised communities(14),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Councils of December 2007 and June 2008 and the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of December 2008,

–  having regard to the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council's conclusions on the Inclusion of the Roma, adopted in Luxembourg on 8 June 2009, with special regard to the Ten Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion annexed to the conclusions,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on the social and economic integration of the Roma in Europe (COM(2010)0133), the creation of a task force(15) (on 7 September 2010), the first findings of the Task Force(16) and the reports of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document entitled ‘Roma in Europe: The Implementation of European Union Instruments and Policies for Roma Inclusion – Progress Report 2008-2010’ (SEC(2010)0400),

–  having regard to the First European Roma Summit, held in Brussels on 16 September 2008, and the Second European Roma Summit, held in Córdoba on 8 April 2010,

–  having regard to the reports on Roma, racism and xenophobia in the Member States of the EU in 2009, published by the Fundamental Rights Agency(17), and to the reports by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg,

–  having regard to the related recommendations, opinions and declarations made by the Council of Europe, such as the conclusions of the Council of Europe High-level meeting on Roma (Strasbourg, 20 October 2010)(18),

–  having regard to the proclamation in 2005 of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and the establishment of the Roma Education Fund by a number of EU Member States, candidate countries and other countries in which the Union institutions have a significant presence,

–  having regard to the recommendations adopted by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at its 77th session (2-27 August 2010),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe report entitled ‘Fourth ECRI Report on France’, published on 15 June 2010,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0043/2011),

A.  whereas a large proportion of Europe's 10-12 million Roma – most of whom are EU citizens – have suffered systematic discrimination and therefore are struggling against an intolerable degree of social, cultural and economic exclusion as well as human rights violations, and experience severe stigmatisation and discrimination in public and private life,

B.  whereas there are still economic and social disparities between the various regions of the European Union and whereas a significant proportion of the Roma community live in regions which are among the least economically and socially advanced in the Union,

C.  whereas the European Union is founded on the principles enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the EU Treaties, which include the principles of non-discrimination, the specific rights intrinsic to EU citizenship, free movement and equality,

D.  whereas the EU trio in their joint declaration at the second Roma Summit held in Cordoba on 8-9 April 2010 committed themselves to advancing the mainstreaming of Roma issues in European and national policies on fundamental rights and protection against racism, poverty and social exclusion; improving the design of the roadmap of the Integrated Platform on Roma Inclusion and prioritizing key objectives and results; and ensuring that existing financial instruments of the European Union, in particular the Structural Funds, are made available to the Roma,

E.  whereas the exclusion of Roma children from the education system has an adverse impact on the other rights of members of the Roma community, in particular the right to work, and whereas this exacerbates their marginalisation,

F.  whereas the communities that wish to maintain their traditional nomadic lifestyle within Europe are those most affected by illiteracy, and whereas there are therefore cultural barriers to the schooling of their children,

G.  whereas the material conditions required for the schooling of Roma children must be provided, and whereas this must include the appointment of school mediators,

H.  whereas the EU has developed a range of useful tools, mechanisms and funds to foster the inclusion of Roma, but these are scattered across policy areas and have not been properly monitored, and therefore their effect and benefit remain limited and hard to measure; thus, despite the existence of numerous cooperation mechanisms and institutions, the problems and challenges regarding the inclusion of Roma have so far not been met effectively, and therefore the no-change option is unsustainable,

I.  whereas a ‘Decade of Roma inclusion’ was launched in 2005 to combat discrimination and improve the economic and social situation of the Roma, and whereas the signatories to the Declaration of the Decade – Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – undertook to work toward eliminating discrimination and closing the unacceptable gaps between Roma and the rest of society,

J.  whereas true integration of the Roma is possible only by means of mutual recognition of the rights and obligations of the communities concerned,

K.  whereas repatriations and returns of Roma have been taking place in several Member States and are often accompanied by the stigmatisation of Roma and general anti-Gypsyism in political discourse,

L.  whereas non-discrimination – although indispensable – is still an inadequate answer to a history of structural discrimination affecting the Roma and whereas it is therefore necessary to complement and reinforce equality legislation and policies by addressing the specific needs of the Roma regarding the full respect, protection and promotion of fundamental rights, equality and non-discrimination, the full and non-discriminatory application of legislation, policies and mechanisms to monitor and sanction violations of the rights of Roma, as well as the fulfilment of and equal access to their specific human rights to employment, housing, culture, health care, participation in public affairs, training, education and free movement by means of an EU-level strategy,

M.  whereas the soft policy approach of the Open Method of Coordination relying on the voluntary participation of the Member States and without any hard incentive to induce effective performance proved to be insufficient in fostering Roma inclusion and this limitation may be partially obviated by tying EU funding mechanisms more closely to peer review processes,

N.  whereas women from ethnic minorities and especially Roma women face much more serious multiple discrimination than men from the same ethnic group or women from the majority, and whereas the employment rate of Roma women is even lower than that of Roma men, whilst on the other hand, given their role in the family, women can be the cornerstones of the inclusion of marginalised communities,

O.  whereas it is necessary to pay particular attention to minors and children when working out a European strategy for the integration of the Roma,

P.  whereas the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion shall address all forms of violations of the fundamental rights of Roma – including discrimination, segregation, hate speech, ethnic profiling and unlawful fingerprinting, as well as unlawful eviction and expulsion – by ensuring the full transposition and stronger implementation of all related directives and EU law,

Q.  whereas growing stigmatisation of Roma and anti-Gypsyism in political discourse and general public are causes for concern, whereas the questionable repatriations and returns of Roma that have been taking place in several Member States have created fear and anxiety amongst the Roma population as well as worrying levels of racism and discrimination,

R.  whereas the chances of the Roma accessing the same rights and obligations as citizens of a Member State are largely dependant on their being provided with legal documentation of citizenship,

S.  whereas access for the Roma people to high-quality education and vocational training, the sharing and understanding of their culture, their values and their cultural heritage, their involvement in associations and better representation for their community are essential strands of a holistic approach to the implementation of national and European strategies for their inclusion and involvement in society,

T.  whereas high-quality education and training has an influence on an individual's future life, in both personal and professional terms, and on his or her involvement in society, and it is therefore essential to ensure that everyone has the same access to education and training without discrimination of any kind, and whereas the inclusion of cultural diversity and action to combat stereotypes in school curricula from a very early age is an important tool for Roma integration and mutual understanding,

U.  whereas on 19 October 2010 the Commission announced the presentation of an EU framework for national Roma strategies in April 2011(19),

1.  Calls on the Commission to propose and the Council to adopt an EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion (hereinafter: ‘the Strategy’) as an EU-wide, indicative, inclusive and multilevel action plan, which will be prepared and implemented at all political and administrative level and can evolve as needed, builds on the fundamental values of equality, access to rights, non-discrimination and gender equality and is based on the tasks, objectives, principles and instruments defined by the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as referred to above, as well as the relevant EU legislation and is furthermore based on shared competences, as well as the supporting, coordinating and complementary actions of the Union;

2.  Recognises that Roma communities face discrimination and/or frequent prejudice in several Member States and that this situation is exacerbated by the current economic and financial crisis, resulting in loss of employment; stresses that the inclusion of the Roma population is both the responsibility of all the Member States and the EU institutions; calls on the Member States to fully cooperate with the EU and representatives of the Roma population in setting up integrated policies, making use of all the EU financial resources available under the EU funds, and in particular under the ERDF, ESF and EAFRD, to promote Roma inclusion at national, regional and local level; invites the Commission to pay particular attention to requests for technical assistance in a bid to improve the effectiveness of all available instruments for the integration of Roma communities;

3.  Recalls that European programmes and funding are available and can be used for the social and economic integration of the Roma people but that improved communication is needed on all levels within the local authorities, civil society and the potential target groups so that Roma people are informed about them; furthermore, encourages the use of existing EU funds for building new houses or renovating existing ones, improving the engineering infrastructure, local utilities, communication systems, education, measures for access to the job market, etc.;

4.  Calls on the Commission to:

  (a) adopt priority areas for the Strategy, above all:
   fundamental rights, in particular non-discrimination, equality and free movement,
   education, vocational and lifelong training,
   culture,
   employment,
   housing, including a healthy environment and adequate infrastructure,
   healthcare, and improving the health situation of Roma, and
   political and civil participation of Roma civil society, including young Roma;
   (b) present in the Strategy a roadmap for introducing binding minimum standards at EU level for the priority areas of education, employment, housing and healthcare;
  (c) define the objectives of the Strategy linked to the priority areas, above all by:
   adopting and strengthening effective anti-discrimination legislation and measures to protect against discrimination in all fields of life, including multiple discrimination, and to guarantee, protect and promote fundamental rights, equality and non-discrimination and the right to free movement, including awareness-raising actions targeting Roma and non-Roma, in order to eradicate discriminatory obstacles,
   combating anti-Gypsyism, prejudices, stereotypes, racism and xenophobia, stigmatisation and hate speech against Roma, notably by ensuring full implementation of relevant legislation and imposing appropriate punishment for racially-motivated crimes,
   ensuring that the media do not disseminate prejudice against the Roma community and that they promote a positive image of diversity, as well as allowing a more proportionate participation of Roma in the media,
   preventing human rights abuses and protecting victims, ensuring that legal aid and effective legal remedies are provided for them, with particular attention to the situation of Roma children and women, who are often subject to multiple discrimination,
   introducing preventive measures against trafficking in human beings, victims of which are over-represented among the Roma,
   training of persons involved at all levels of administration, justice and police services on non-discriminatory practices,
   setting up dialogue between local authorities, judicial bodies, police and the Roma community in order to abolish discrimination in the judicial sphere, improve confidence and combat ethnic profiling,
   ensuring equal access to quality education for all,
   providing equal access to adult vocational training and access to lifelong learning,
   ensuring equal access to social services and basic care infrastructure, such as child care and care of the elderly,
   abolishing school and classroom segregation, also by creating an inclusive school climate and employing Roma school mediators,
   providing equal access to adequate preparation for competitiveness in the job market,
   providing equal access to early childhood education,
   ensuring the education of girls,
   providing intercultural education,
   facilitating dialogue between families and schools, particularly through mediators,
   increasing the number of Roma teachers and ensuring the protection of the language and identity of Roma children by making education available in their own language,
   introducing measures to prevent early school-leaving and academic failure,
   introducing measures to send children who have dropped out of the school system back to school, such as by the creation of second-chance programmes,
   providing equal access to quality secondary and higher education and scholarship programmes,
   combating the over-representation of Roma in special schools,
   combating child poverty, reducing children's separation from their families and preventing their placement in foster homes and special care as a result of poverty,
   ensuring effective access to the labour market and developing and making available micro-credit for entrepreneurship and self-employment,
   ensuring equal access to affordable and healthy housing and abolishing territorial segregation,
   guaranteeing the right to a registered address, including the possibility of registering through a civil society organisation, and guaranteeing a complete and up-to-date register of births, marriages and deaths for all Roma citizens, as well as combating discrimination in the issuing of administrative documents,
   combating health inequalities by providing equal access to quality health care and health promotion, particularly in order to reduce health inequalities with special emphasis on the protection of vulnerable groups including women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities,
   empowering Roma civil society, including by means of a capacity-building policy and by strengthening administrative capacity at national, regional and local level as well as encouraging the civil and political participation of Roma people,
   enhancing active citizenship, involving Roma in all spheres of public and political life and strengthening their representation in institutions and elected bodies at local, national and EU level,
   introducing an enlargement and neighbourhood dimension of the Strategy, requiring the improvement of the situation of Roma in the acceding and candidate countries as well as potential candidates and those countries involved in the European Neighbourhood Policy; furthermore, prioritising the evaluation of progress in this field in the Annual Progress Reports as well as reviews of EU Neighbour Countries,
   ensuring respect for culture and cultural preservation,
   ensuring gender equality mainstreaming by addressing the specific needs of Roma women while involving them in the development of policies; stopping the practice of child marriages,
   stopping returns of Roma to countries where they might be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

5.  Stresses that complex programmes and programmes adapted to the specific needs of Roma communities living in different circumstances are crucial, and that in this context there is a need to provide the Roma with access to personalised services on site;

6.  Recalls that adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services are basic pillars of the active inclusion strategy presented in Recommendation 2008/867/EC;

7.  Stresses that social assistance, decent housing and clothing, accessible high-quality early development programmes and non-segregated, high-quality education with an inclusive climate and a willingness to involve parents are essential to ensure equal opportunities, the chance of full participation in society and the lack of future discrimination; stresses the need to combat truancy and early school leaving and to provide grants and financial support; maintains that education, training opportunities and job assistance offered to adults are crucial to support the recruitment and continued employment of the Roma in order to avoid the reproduction of social exclusion;

8.  Urges that the prevention of marginalisation should begin in early childhood, so that as soon as a child is born it is entered in the population register in such a way that its nationality is recognised and it comes within the sphere of all social services; considers in particular that Roma children should be guaranteed high-quality early education services and that special measures should be taken to support their schooling;

9.  Recalls the challenges that Roma, especially women and girls, face in terms of extreme poverty, discrimination and exclusion, resulting in lack of access to high educational levels, employment and social services; asks the Commission and Member States to address the particular needs of Roma women and girls by applying a gender perspective in all policies for Roma inclusion, and to provide protection for especially vulnerable subgroups;

10.  Calls on the Member States to take concrete action to inform their citizens about the historical and current situation of the Roma, using amongst other things the reports from the FRA as a source of material for this purpose;

11.  Underlines that the EU Strategy on Roma inclusion should also include measures to ensure the monitoring of the situation of Roma in relation to the respect and promotion of their fundamental social rights, equality, non-discrimination and free movement in the EU;

12.  Stresses that access for the Roma people to high-quality education and vocational training, the sharing and understanding of their culture, values and cultural heritage, their involvement in associations and better representation for their community are essential strands of a holistic approach to the implementation of national and European strategies for their inclusion and involvement in society;

13.  Emphasises that quality education and training influence an individual's future personal and professional life, and that it is therefore essential to ensure equal access to effective education and training systems, without discrimination or segregation of any kind;

14.  Stresses the importance of endorsing the Strategy and overseeing its implementation in a transparent manner with the primary responsibility falling on democratically accountable ministers within the Council, and emphasises that the Strategy should in no way be divisive for the EU, creating splits among Member States, but on the contrary should contribute to the reinforcement of community integration;

15.  Underlines the importance of appropriate use of the funds allocated to the individual Member States in the priority sectors provided for by the Strategy;

16.  Highlights the need for the objectives of the Strategy to be subjected to checking and measurement with regard to the degree of attainment so as to introduce award criteria in favour of compliant Member States and penalties for non-compliance;

17.  Calls on the Commission to:

   take the leading role in strategic coordination regarding progress in the priority areas and the fulfilment of the objectives relating to the Strategy, in partnership with the Member States and in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity,
   establish the task force as a permanent body to take responsibility for supervision, coordination, monitoring, reporting, evaluation, facilitation of implementation, mainstreaming and follow-up, thereby meeting the need for an independent, multi-sector body serving as an ‘external facilitator’ which can assess and balance the various national and sectoral interests in a manner acceptable to all,
   review and update the Strategy as appropriate on a regular basis, and seek endorsement from the European Parliament and the Council for the changes made,
   take into account the priority areas and objectives of the Strategy in all its relevant policy initiatives and programme planning at EU level,
   report on the implementation and progress of the Strategy and the national action plans, with an evaluation of results including benchmarks and indicators, and keep the Council and Parliament informed on an annual basis, noting that policy effectiveness and ex post evaluation should become a criterion for providing prolonged support,
   ensure the collection and dissemination of necessary statistical data and ensure the consolidation and up-scaling of locally developed good practices,
   validate the conformity of national plans with the EU strategy,
   change the regulatory framework of cross-financing, decrease bureaucratic burdens, simplify and accelerate procedures for EU funds, and also require the Member States to introduce simple and normative funding procedures and utilise Global Grants,
   gradually introduce compulsory institutional guarantees for the mainstreaming of non-discrimination and anti-segregation measures, taking into account Directives 2000/43/EC and 2004/113/EC, and also monitor such measures and fight stigmatisation,
   ensure the involvement of concerned stakeholders at all levels and stages and Roma communities from all levels through the European Roma Platform, and work in partnership with the other institutions, Member States, regional and local authorities, international financing institutions, transnational programming bodies and intergovernmental organisations, as well as non-governmental organisations and inter-governmental initiatives, noting that it is necessary to improve coordination and collaboration between concerned policy actors and policy networks to avoid duplication and enhance the mutually-reinforcing effects of policy actions in the field and to eliminate the risks of policy overlap and policy conflict stemming from the proliferation of stakeholder networks;

18.  Recalls that the Commission has a special responsibility for promoting an EU Strategy on Roma inclusion, but that this strategy has to be implemented at local level;

19.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to mobilise existing EU strategies and instruments with a view to securing the socio-economic inclusion of Roma, and to design and implement all relevant policies by taking into account, where appropriate, the Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion;

20.  Considers that stronger collaboration among Roma leaders, local authorities and EU bodies is crucial for determining the main challenges and solutions that both the EU and its Member States are facing regarding socio-economic inclusion for the Roma population;

21.  Calls on the Member States to endow decision-making bodies with the powers necessary to secure complex and development-oriented EU funding supporting good local initiatives and responding to the diverse local needs of the Roma people; stresses the importance of identifying and exchanging good practices with regard to Roma integration and of increasing the visibility of the success stories; also calls for the development of institutional capacity to provide necessary assistance (administrative and project management assistance) at local level;

22.  Deems that concerted action and responsibility should be taken throughout the whole process by Roma and non-Roma organisations, local, regional and national authorities and EU bodies building on best practices, on the existing vast knowledge bases compiled by the Member States and on the experiences of the first period of the Decade of Roma Inclusion; stresses the importance of organising awareness-raising campaigns, particularly for regions with large Roma communities;

23.  Considers that social inclusion of the Roma is not possible without creating and strengthening their interest representation, including in political decision-making, and their civil activities through NGOs at national and European level;

24.  Strongly advises EU bodies to secure greater involvement of the national level in consultations and in the decision-making mechanism in order to achieve a future strategy that can be beneficial for all parties involved; also draws the attention of the Commission and the Member States to the fact that it is necessary to design, develop, implement and evaluate Roma inclusion policies in cooperation with regional and local authorities, with Roma and non-Roma population groups, representatives and civil society organisations, and with the Committee of the Regions and international organisations in order to improve acceptance and effectiveness of policies;

25.  Calls on the Commission to collect and disseminate information on the experience gained and the action taken in the various Member States, in particular in the educational and cultural spheres;

26.  Calls for better assistance to project organisers eligible for European funding for the integration of Roma people by creating platforms for information, analyses and exchanges of good practices;

27.  Maintains that part of the solution lies in the full commitment of the Member States to provide effective support for project organisers and that the Member States, in conjunction with the Commission, have a role to play in encouraging local authorities to select projects to integrate Roma people;

28.  Calls on the Member States to develop cross-sectoral poverty reduction strategies that take into consideration the often sensitive issue of the coexistence of the Roma community and the majority community, which are both affected by lack of employment, poverty and marginalisation; highlights the importance of incentive measures that provide visible benefits to encourage the poor to enter the labour market rather than live off social benefits and perhaps work on the black market; emphasises that programmes promoting mutual understanding and tolerance towards each other are of utmost importance;

29.  Calls on the Commission to incorporate an enlargement dimension into the Strategy by developing pilot projects in candidate countries and potential candidates which guarantee the development of national action plans in line with the EU Strategy;

30.  Calls on the Member States to appoint a high-level government official or an administrative body to act as national contact points for the transparent and efficient implementation of the Strategy, equipped with executive powers and responsible for the implementation, coordination, monitoring, mainstreaming and enforcement of the Strategy at national, regional and local level by ensuring minimum bureaucracy and efficient management and control of funds, as well as transparency of the reporting;

31.  Calls on national education ministries and the Commission to establish innovative and flexible grants for nurturing talent and to increase support for existing grants and programmes;

32.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to adopt the augmented and detailed components of the Laeken indicators in measuring social and territorial exclusion as well as to evaluate progress; stresses that the horizontal divisions of the Laeken indicators must be extended also to the smallest statistical-administrative units (LAU 1 and LAU 2); moreover, points out that the Laeken indicators could be added to the future indicators in the Cohesion Policy, especially regarding the social dimension;

33.  Calls on the Commission to complement the indicators by a system of targets and benchmarks in order to have real political commitment for progress; stresses furthermore the urgent need for progress in the collection of disaggregated data so as to be able to measure progress towards targets/benchmarks/indicators and to develop evidence-based policies as well as enhance effectiveness and evaluation;

34.  Calls urgently for the development – with the help of best practices – of benchmarks, indicators, independent monitoring and impact assessment mechanisms to support and evaluate the efficiency and the tangible results of the programmes rather than purely checking that projects in receipt of grants have met the procedural formalities, and calls for effective monitoring of the use of funds so that the financial resources genuinely end up improving the living conditions, health care, education and employment of the Roma;

35.  Considers that the structured cooperation of the Member States in the existing open methods of coordination in the fields of employment and social inclusion is of vital importance for advancing the full inclusion of the Roma and asks the Commission to organise exchanges of good practice and experience between the Member States and all parties concerned with Roma issues;

36.  Calls – in the interest of ensuring that funds with precisely-stated and specified objectives effectively reach the Roma in need and bring about long-lasting advances in their lives – for real commitment on the part of the Commission and the Member States to launching more target- and development-oriented, complex, flexible and sustainable programmes with a longer time coverage and greater territorial relevance, focusing on the most disadvantaged micro-regions in their geographical, socio-economic and cultural context, while also addressing the problem of suburban and rural poverty and segregated Roma neighbourhoods, and placing special emphasis on improving substandard housing (lacking, for example, drinking water, heating, electricity and sanitation) and on providing further assistance to families to maintain their improved housing situation; also calls on the Commission to monitor the outcomes of the projects after their funding has run out;

37.  Calls on the Member States to improve the economic opportunities of Roma, including the promotion of the microcredit facility among entrepreneurs; calls on the Member States to build on the experience of successful projects, for example where undeclared businesses have been turned into legal economic activities with the help of experts;

38.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to frame clear policies for the inclusion of the Roma in the labour market and to devise and adopt measures to combat the adverse effects of prolonged dependence on the social welfare system;

39.  Recognises that most Roma are employed in undeclared jobs, and, given the need to ensure the sustainability of the social security systems, calls on the Member States, in cooperation with the social partners, to effectively combat this phenomenon;

40.  Calls on the Member States to commit themselves to involving public actors such as SMEs and micro-companies in the implementation of inclusion measures for the Roma population regarding employability;

41.  Stresses the important role that SMEs and micro-companies can play in Roma integration and advocates measures to reward those that contribute to this goal;

42.  Believes that better prospects for Roma people, in particular with a view to their access to the labour market, can be ensured through increased investment by the Member States in education and training – with a particular focus on new technologies and the Internet – incorporating measures endorsed by the international scientific community, foundations and NGOs working in the field of education and social inclusion at regional and local level;

43.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a European crisis map which identifies, measures and surveys those micro-regions within the EU where the inhabitants are hardest hit by poverty, social exclusion and discrimination, at least on the basis of the following attributes:

   accessibility of workplaces,
   distance from city centres or problematic over-concentration close to the city centres,
   high rate of unemployment,
   inadequate public services,
   inappropriate environmental conditions,
   lack of nearby companies,
   lack of proper infrastructure,
   low income,
   low level of education,
   low-level human resources,
   poor/expensive transport infrastructure,
   social tensions,
   capacity of the local public administration to manage poverty,
   situations of serious violations of human rights, discrimination, evictions, expulsions, racism, targeting of the Roma population by local or regional authorities or third parties;

44.  Calls for the involvement of the Member States in providing data regarding the socio-economic situation of the Roma (mainly regarding their education, health, housing and employment) and invites international organisations (e.g. the ILO and the OECD) to elaborate on these issues as part of their general surveys, and to help set specific targets concerning, for example, the percentage of the Roma community who complete secondary and tertiary education, are employed in public administration or are represented in different sectors of social and political life, and asks the European Commission to help set up a clear and viable EU strategy on Roma inclusion with the help of these data;

45.  Calls therefore on the Commission to bring specific support, including financial support, to these micro-regions and directly develop pilot projects that include the participation of mediators in line with the Council of Europe programme and a specific follow-up of the evolution of the implementation of the Strategy;

46.  Calls on the Commission to encourage, within the Strategy, the Member States, relevant international and European institutions, NGOs, Roma communities, other stakeholders and the public to use the terms ‘Roma’ / ‘Roma and Sinti’ whenever referring to this minority;

47.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to allocate dedicated funding in the Cohesion Policy within the next Multiannual Financial Framework explicitly to support the Strategy by creating a performance reserve for the EU Strategy on Roma;

48.  Takes the view that current EU fund absorption rates are too low; calls therefore on the Commission to analyse the reasons for this phenomenon and to elaborate a more efficient approach to monitoring the absorption of EU funds, in particular those funds specifically intended for marginalised groups; above all, calls urgently for the collection of data – with due consideration for the data protection directives – on the effectiveness of EU funds, in order to develop evidence-based policies;

49.  Highlights the fact that the social exclusion of the Roma has a very strong territorial dimension of poverty and marginalisation which is concentrated in underdeveloped micro-regions that severely lack the financial resources required to make their own contribution to the Community funding for which they are eligible and which generally lack the administrative capacity and human resources to make good use of the funding; emphasises the need for specific efforts to be focused on these micro-regions that are often peripheral intra-regional areas and for the substantial simplification of bureaucratic red tape so that the maximum possible allocation of resources can be achieved under the umbrella of the Cohesion Policy;

50.  Deems that there is also a need for new regulations on the allocation of the Structural Funds to set conditionality concerning the elimination of segregation and the assurance of equal access of the Roma to public services; takes the view that equal opportunity and anti-segregation plans should also be prepared at local level, based on measurable indicators and concrete actions;

51.  Urges the Commission to provide appropriate instruments to guide the Member States in securing complementarity among the ESF, the ERDF, and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and invites the Member States to utilise other programmes, such as the PROGRESS programme, the Lifelong Learning programme, the Culture programme (2007-2013) and the Health programme (2008-2013) in the interests of Roma inclusion;

52.  Calls for delegating EU development support bodies under the supervision and control of the Roma Task Force, in order to:

   secure development-oriented EU funding in support of good local initiatives,
   identify and report misuse of funds in time,
   perform regular checks on the consistency and efficiency of the use of funding in relation to the expected result, including for the purposes for which funding is allocated under the Strategy,
   serve as advisor by capitalising on the complex EU-wide knowledge, elaborating on indicators, impact assessment etc., and
   provide targeted support of local initiatives, projects and complex programmes best fulfilling the objectives of the Strategy and generating efficient solutions to the concrete problems of Roma communities;

53.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to apply both participatory monitoring evaluation which involves Roma communities and helps to develop the capacity of the stakeholders on the one hand and external expertise in order to gain a realistic and objective view of the overall success or failure of different measures and instruments on the other; furthermore requests that the Commission provide Parliament with a list of projects financed by the Commission benefitting Roma since 2000, presenting indications about the results achieved;

54.  Calls on the Member States to implement the horizontal priority ‘Marginalised Communities’ within the framework of the EU Structural Funds and to participate in the EU-Roma network working on the good implementation of structural funds for Roma social inclusion; underlines that existing measures, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms must be significantly improved; stresses furthermore that agencies and organisations implementing projects co-financed by the Structural Funds and targeting Roma directly or benefitting Roma indirectly must be held accountable and implement actions in a transparent manner; furthermore, calls for an ongoing cost-benefit analysis of the proportion of funds dedicated to and spent on the actual programmes and running expenses;

55.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to extend the scope of EU funding so that, besides development, the provision of quality public services also becomes eligible ; stresses furthermore that co-financing should be reviewed and possibly differentiated to better reflect the diversity of actions and beneficiaries, and thus projects targeting Roma could be required to have a lesser share of co-financing from the country, with a higher share from the EU;

56.  Stresses that coordination among related EU policies must be significantly improved in order to foster synergies and complementarities; bureaucratic and implementation rules must be substantially simplified and all barriers between the various funds must be eliminated so that the maximum possible allocation of resources can be achieved by all the instruments;

57.  Emphasises the need for the Structural Funds to combine national and local approaches by acting through programmes that operate concurrently with a national strategy and provide local responses to specific needs; stresses, furthermore, the need to create synergies between the implementation of the Structural Funds and government strategies for Roma, as well as between the managing authorities of the European Social Fund and the specialised Roma units or coordination structures dealing with Roma issues;

58.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to improve access to EU funds of local governments and NGOs working on Roma inclusion by simplifying the application process and rules;

59.  Calls on the Commission to introduce in the Strategy a mechanism which promotes the hiring of Roma in public administration at both EU and national level, and calls on the Member States to hire Roma staff in public administration, especially in institutions participating in the programming and implementation of EU and nationally-funded programmes for Roma inclusion;

60.  Stresses the importance for the Member States to sign and ratify the European Convention of Nationality, which clearly states that no discrimination shall exist in a state's internal nationality law on the grounds of sex, religion, national or ethnic origin;

61.  Underlines, in this context, the need to continue EU programmes, such as the Progress Programme to combat discrimination and JASMINE, which promotes investment in capacity building, and calls for such programmes to be further developed beyond 2013;

62.  Welcomes the opportunity created through the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 437/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010, providing up to 3% of the ERDF allocation to specific programmes or 2% of the overall allocated budget for the rehabilitation of housing for the benefit of marginalised communities; regrets that no operational plans have so far been changed to reprioritise housing of the Roma population; calls on Member States to make quick and full use of this new opportunity within the framework of the Structural Funds in order to strengthen the prospects of effective social inclusion; calls on the Commission to come forward with a specific action plan on this Regulation to speed up the use of the funds and recommends the preparation of a Commission report on their utilisation; furthermore, calls on the Member States to make effective use of the potential for interaction between the ERDF, the ESF and EAFRD in developing programmes for Roma integration;

63.  Recognises that Roma communities are extremely heterogeneous groups, with the consequence that there can be no single strategy; recommends therefore that the local and regional authorities of the Member States propose effective integration policies that should differ according to their specific backgrounds (geographical, economic, social, cultural); recommends that the Commission make use of the experience acquired by those authorities which have actively contributed to the integration of Roma communities and encourages the use of best practices and recipes for success, with a view to achieving their social inclusion;

64.  Recalls that the main prerequisite of successful integration is a joint effort made by both mainstream society and the Roma community; calls therefore on the Member States to help improve the housing and employment situation of the Roma people and recommends that Member States and regional and local public authorities integrate – in accordance with the regulation governing the European Regional Development Fund – the allocation of new housing to marginalised communities into a broader, more complex policy framework of mutual and two-way social commitment, such as community building, which includes the participation of Roma in the process of building the new establishments and mutual efforts to enhance school attendance for children and substantially reduce unemployment; the Member States can thus significantly contribute towards a concrete solution for the location needs of marginalised groups living in poor housing conditions; also urges the Member States to make use of the EU Roma network in order to encourage an exchange of best practices;

65.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to make maximum use of the programmes within the European Territorial Cooperation objective, such as cross-border cooperation programmes, transnational cooperation programmes and interregional cooperation programmes, and to exploit the possibilities provided by the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation;

66.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to analyse and eliminate the barriers to (re)entering the labour market and self-employment of Roma women and furthermore to place proper emphasis on the role of women in the economic empowerment of marginalised Roma and launching businesses; furthermore calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the involvement of Roma women in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion;

67.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include as a horizontal objective the capacity building and empowerment of Roma women in all the priority areas of the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion;

68.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to include the promotion of gender equality among the objectives of the Strategy as well as combating multiple and intersectional discrimination;

69.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to collect, analyse and publish reliable statistical data disaggregated by gender so as to be able to properly evaluate and update the Strategy as well as measure the impacts of the Strategy's projects and interventions on Roma women;

70.  Calls for the inclusion in the Strategy of a mechanism of cooperation, exchange of information and monitoring, not only at EU but also at national level, together with the Fundamental Rights Agency, the Council of Europe, other relevant international and European institutions, NGOs, Roma communities and other stakeholders, in order to address problems and find solutions and to ensure that the Strategy is correctly and fully implemented both at EU and national level by those responsible for it, thereby ensuring the success of the Strategy;

71.  Calls on the Commission to offer the technical support needed to improve the administrative capacities of bodies involved in the administration of the Structural Funds, and calls on the Member States to provide advice and administrative assistance, e.g. by organising training and by helping with aid applications and explanations, to make it easier for Roma to obtain information concerning European and national funding programmes in support of entrepreneurship and employment and to submit the relevant applications;

72.  Calls on the Member States to lay down concrete and specific targets, and detailed and measurable goals, on the social inclusion of the Roma when transposing Europe 2020 poverty and social inclusion objectives into national programmes, and calls urgently for measures to enforce the achievement of targeted goals;

73.  Believes that a better future for the Roma people can be ensured through education and that investing in the education of Roma children and youth is therefore essential; emphasises that schooling is not only a right but also a duty and expresses its support for activities aimed at enhancing the participation of Roma students in schools, including via the active involvement of their families;

74.  Believes that promoting knowledge of Romani culture across Europe will facilitate mutual understanding between Roma and non-Roma in Europe while also boosting European intercultural dialogue;

75.  Takes the view that the future strategy for the Roma minority should focus on education as the core instrument for promoting social inclusion;

76.  Believes that support mechanisms such as scholarships and mentoring arrangements should be established for young Roma in order to inspire them not only to obtain diplomas but also to enrol in higher education and improve their qualifications;

77.  Takes the view that a new type of scholarship programme should be developed to ensure the highest-quality instruction for Roma students in order to educate a new generation of Roma leaders;

78.  Believes that educational institutions whose underprivileged students win places at higher-level institutions, or whose percentage of students graduating is above average, should be rewarded, and calls on the Commission to develop projects in this area;

79.  Stresses that it is crucial that the Member States promote the integration of Roma into the community and cultural life of the places and countries in which they live, and ensure their long-term participation and representation therein, including through measures designed to promote vocational education and training (VET) and lifelong learning programmes aimed at the Roma community, taking into account the cultural heritage and way of life of the various Roma groups in Europe; points out, for instance, that efforts could be made to offer special training for school staff, to promote the hiring of Roma schoolteachers, to foster close cooperation with Roma families and organisations and to provide after-school support and scholarships; notes that this process should actively involve local authorities in the Member States and send a signal to the non-profit sector that its activities should include programmes designed to integrate Roma people into society;

80.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to combat every form of social and educational exclusion of the Roma and to encourage all programmes that invest in education for Roma people;

81.  Believes that local governments must take responsibility for reintegrating students who drop out of the school system before reaching the age at which education ceases to be compulsory; notes that, to this end, educational institutions must provide local governments with information about school-leavers;

82.  Calls on the Commission to support further initiatives designed to provide early childhood education opportunities and care for Roma children and youth;

83.  Believes that kindergartens and/or alternative forms of pre-school care and education should be established in communities where none exist and expanded where there is a lack of places;

84.  Calls on the Commission to support initiatives which have proved effective in preventing any form of segregation and prioritise inclusive projects that promote educational success and involve the participation of Roma families;

85.  Expresses its concern at the high rate of illiteracy among the Roma people and deems it essential that programmes are designed and developed which ensure quality primary, secondary and tertiary education for Roma girls and women, including strategies to facilitate their transition from primary to secondary school and promote, throughout the whole process, greater understanding of Roma cultural heritage, history and values among Roma and non-Roma people;

86.  Emphasises that low school attendance, high absenteeism rates and low educational achievement may indicate that pupils and parents are not always aware of the importance of school; other relevant factors may include insufficient resources, health problems, lack of quality education on site or of accessible transportation to school, substandard housing and clothing that make school attendance impossible, a non-inclusive school climate and segregated schools that fail to provide adequate preparation with a view to competitiveness on the job market; underlines, therefore, the importance of action aimed at promoting school participation by Roma students and of ongoing, regular dialogue on educational matters with those students‘ families, the Roma community and all stakeholders;

87.  Emphasises the vital role that grass roots and performance sports can play in the process of ensuring the inclusion of the ethnic Roma population;

88.  Supports the promotion of teacher training programmes that enhance teachers‘ ability to engage with children and youth with a Roma background, as well as with their parents and people employed as Roma mediators, particularly in primary schools, as a way to promote regular school attendance by Roma;

89.  Suggests that different approaches to educational integration be adapted both to children from Roma families wishing to settle in one place – by monitoring children's regular school attendance, for instance – and to those from families wishing to continue their nomadic way of life – through measures facilitating school attendance inside Roma camps, for example;

90.  Stresses the importance of mobility, lifelong learning, vocational training and continuing training programmes with a view to ensuring the inclusion of young people and adults from Roma communities and enhancing their potential to enter the employment market;

91.  Believes that the workplace training system must be expanded so as to allow the large-scale acquisition of the necessary skills and abilities;

92.  Believes that it is necessary to harmonise the supply of training with labour market demand and calls, therefore, for medium-term national and regional forecasts of expected labour demand;

93.  Calls on the Commission to develop and implement joint monitoring systems involving the EU institutions, the Member States and Roma community leaders, in respect of the programmes and projects put into practice within the Member States;

94.  Views the Roma culture as an integral part of Europe's cultural mosaic; points out that a key means of understanding the Roma people and their way of life is to increase other Europeans‘ awareness of the heritage, traditions and language of the Roma and of contemporary Roma culture; strongly supports the promotion and preservation of their creative activities as an essential component of intercultural dialogue;

95.  Takes the view that the Roma should make an educational effort to learn about the customs and culture of the peoples with whom they live, thereby facilitating their better integration in the places in which they live;

96.  Believes that the promotion of voluntary and sporting activities involving Roma and non-Roma is important in fostering greater social inclusion;

97.  Calls on the Commission to promote best practices and positive models and experiences arising from implemented programmes and Roma self-initiatives, with a view to improving the perception and image of Roma within non-Roma communities and boosting active participation by Roma communities and creative collaboration between those communities and the EU, the Member States and local programmes;

98.  Calls for better identification and use, at all levels of government, of the existing EU funds available to promote the employment, education and culture of Roma peoples;

99.  Recommends that future EU policies for the Roma minority should be based on a differentiated approach, tailored to the specific features of the different Member States and the particular nature of the communities involved;

100.  Draws attention to the importance of conducting stricter checks on the use of EU funding for Roma inclusion;

101.  Believes that exchanges of experience and good practices between Member States having achieved good results in the area of Roma inclusion and those still faced with this issue would be useful;

102.  Recognises that the complexity of paperwork may constitute an obstacle to project organisers; stresses the need to step up work on simplifying grant procedures; stresses the under-utilisation of European funding in this field;

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

(1) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2006, p. 129.
(2) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 283.
(3) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 428.
(4) OJ C 68 E, 21.3.2009, p. 31.
(5) OJ C 294 E, 3.12.2009, p. 54.
(6) OJ C 87 E, 1.4.2010, p. 60.
(7) OJ C 4 E, 7.1.2011, p. 7.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0312.
(9) OJ L 281, 23.11.1995, p. 31.
(10) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(11) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(12) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(13) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(14) OJ L 132, 29. 5.2010, p. 1.
(15) IP/10/1097.
(16) MEMO/10/701 of 21.12.2010.
(17) Report on Racism and Xenophobia in the Member States of the EU in 2009; European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, Data in Focus Report: The Roma in 2009; The Situation of Roma EU Citizens Moving to and Settling in Other EU Member States; and Housing Conditions of Roma and Travellers in the European Union: Comparative Report.
(18) CM(2010)133.
(19) MEMO/10/502.


Industrial policy for the globalised era
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European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on an Industrial Policy for the Globalised Era (2010/2095(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0093A7-0022/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 173 of Title XVII of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (ex Article 157 of the Treaty establishing the European Community), covering EU industrial policy and referring to, among other things, the competitiveness of the Union's industry,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 28 October 2010 entitled ‘An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalised Era Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage’ (COM(2010)0614),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 June 2010 on EU 2020(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2010 on Community innovation policy in a changing world(2),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 23 September 2009, ‘Preparing for our future: Developing a common strategy for key enabling technologies in the EU’ (COM(2009)0512),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on the mid-term review of industrial policy: a contribution to the EU's Growth and Jobs Strategy(3),

–  having regard to the informal Competitiveness Council of 14 and 15 July 2010,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the 2999th meeting of the Competitiveness Council of 1 and 2 March 2010,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 4 November 2008 entitled ‘The raw materials initiative - meeting our critical needs for growth and jobs in Europe’ (COM(2008)0699),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020 – A Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 6 October 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative: Innovation Union’ (COM(2010)0546),

–  having regard to the Commission Paper of 26 April 2010 from DG Enterprise and Industry entitled ‘EU Manufacturing Industry: What are the Challenges and Opportunities for the Coming Years?’,

–  having regard to the Commission Working Document entitled ‘Report on the Implementation of the Small Business Act’ (COM(2009)0680),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 16 July 2008 entitled ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy Action Plan’ (COM(2008)0397),

–  having regard to the report entitled ‘Promoting innovative Business Models with Environmental Benefits’ of November 2008 conducted on behalf of the Commission,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 4 July 2007 entitled ‘Mid-term review of industrial policy - A contribution to the EU's Growth and Jobs Strategy’(COM(2007)0374),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Regional Development (A7-0022/2011),

A.  whereas the global economic crisis has affected European industry, making it more difficult for it to adapt in the face of the challenges of globalisation, climate change, resources depletion, demographic change and change to industry based on knowledge and efficiency that are profoundly affecting industrial development, the employment market and prospects for the future,

B.  whereas, to be able to overcome the effect of the crisis and face those challenges, the EU needs an industry policy approach that combines competitiveness, sustainability and decent work that can at the same time stimulate the economy, boost employment, reduce environmental degradation and improve quality of life,

C.  whereas industrial policy in Europe can only succeed if it is firmly rooted both in a new financial sector architecture that promotes investment and prevents speculation, and also in a macroeconomic policy that steers fiscal, economic and budgetary policies in the EU towards sustainable growth and employment,

D.  whereas certain European industries are in permanent crisis as a result of unfair competition from third countries, particularly in the areas of labour relations, the environment and intellectual and industrial property protection,

E.  whereas European industry is facing increasing global competition from industrialised countries and from emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil in terms of access to resources, technological innovation and a skilled workforce as well as targeted and ambitious industry and innovation policies,

F.  whereas an EU strategy to promote:

is the only means of increasing the sustainability and competitiveness of European industry and thus maintaining its global leadership,

   strong and skilled human resources with a strong creative potential and active involvement in innovation and development,
   new and innovative technologies/processes/solutions which generate added value,
   R&D geared to the needs of sustainable development,
   an efficient supply chain for the production of high-quality goods and services,
   more efficiently organised production and management systems,
   overall greater resources efficiency that leads to reduced carbon footprint,
   cost-efficient and sustainable modes of transport,
   smart and efficient logistics and high-quality infrastructure,
   a consolidated and fully operational single internal market,
   a level playing field in trade relations with third countries

G.  whereas European industry's global leadership is increasingly being challenged by the expanding industrial base in emerging countries, and the major competitors such as the USA, Japan and China are pursuing a strong and active industrial policy supported by broad investment in leading edge products and services, and for this reason it is extremely important to maintain and develop the competitiveness of European industry, to maintain its role as a driver of sustainable growth and employment in Europe,

H.  whereas it is possible to support industrial progress through a combination of the appropriate framework conditions, smart, forward-looking and targeted regulation and market stimulation, based on accurate expectations for market developments and supporting the global trends towards clean, sustainable and innovative forms of production, distribution, and consumption,

I.  whereas a general policy of support for investment in industry and services should be the EU's macro-economic priority, particularly at a time of crisis, such as now, when investment (in particular in capacity as opposed to productivity) is the first type of expenditure to be cut; whereas the Member States, the EU and regional and local authorities should set themselves public investment targets (i.e. what proportion of total public spending should be taken up by investment), including in austerity plans,

J.  whereas an ambitious EU industrial policy must be based on a strong internal market, both within EU borders and in its external dimension; whereas, in this connection, all industrial policy instruments (such as R&D policy, regional policy, competition policy, regulatory convergence and trade policy) must be brought to bear in addressing the opportunities and challenges of globalisation,

K.  whereas de-industrialisation is an established fact in Europe that puts our technological and economic position at risk, given increasing globalisation and intense competition from rapidly developing countries,

L.  whereas the red tape faced by businesses needs to be drastically reduced and their legislative and regulatory environment needs to be simplified in line with better lawmaking principles,

M.  whereas world-wide demand for raw materials and resources has been increasing steadily, leading to worries over possible disruptions of supply,

N.  whereas, according to the German statistical office, up to 45% of the cost of a product unit is made up of the cost of materials, and whereas intelligent use of raw materials and efficient use of energy are thus crucially important for European industry,

O.  whereas, despite the performance of some Member States, the EU has lost market share; whereas the EU's presence in the high-technology sector is not what it should be, in particular as regards NICTs (13% of added value in the United States, as against 5% in the EU); whereas productivity is slowing down in the EU's manufacturing industry,

P.  whereas the manufacturing industry is the main source of productivity gains, both within the industry itself and in the other economic sectors, and whereas industrial innovation is one of the main catalysts for the development of new services and, thereby, for long-term growth, particularly in view of EU demographic trends,

Q.  whereas industry forms an essential part of the EU economy, accounting for 37% of the EU's GDP (when taken together with the related services), 80% of R&D spending and 75% of exports,

R.  whereas the EU's traditional industries are important, and whereas their expertise needs to be put to good use,

S.  whereas our international competitors, such as the United States and the Asian nations, have adopted proactive industrial policies based on large-scale investment in R&D in key sectors,

A new approach to a sustainable industrial policy

1.  Welcomes the fact that, with the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Communication on an Integrated EU Industrial Policy, the Commission is finally acknowledging the importance of a thriving industrial, and in particular manufacturing, base for sustainable growth and employment in Europe and committing itself to an integrated industrial policy based on the principle of a social market economy;

2.  Acknowledges the proposal for Integrated Industrial policy proposed by the Commission and notices its focus on restoring EU industry's competitiveness; stresses in this respect that, in the face of the global challenges, it is essential that energy and resources efficiency are at the basis of the European industrial renewal if European industry intends to maintain its competitiveness in the future;

3.  Highlights the fact that the various measures put forward by the Commission need to remain affordable for consumers, especially at a time when the European economy, particularly in the new Member States, is still recovering from its worst crisis for decades;

4.  Highlights the fact that sustainable development, as defined by the Johannesburg Conference in 2002, is to be based on three pillars: economic, social and environmental, and that, in order to have the most competitive economy, industrial policy needs to be sustained by finding a balanced mix of these factors;

5.  Calls on the Commission and on the Member States to develop an ambitious, eco-efficient and green EU industrial Strategy in order to recreate manufacturing capacity across the EU territory and to generate highly qualified and well paid jobs within the EU;

6.  Stresses the need for long-term regulatory predictability and stability which are vital to industry for investment planning; therefore calls on the Commission to develop, together with the European Parliament and the Council, a comprehensive vision for European industry in 2020, which looks towards competitiveness and sustainability of industry and lays down guidelines, for example for energy and resource efficiency, with a view to developing growth, employment and thereby prosperity in Europe; regrets, in this respect, the lack of tangible proposals in the Commission Communication;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that, in connection with the changes to the EU Treaties that are currently being considered, employment is placed on the same footing as combating inflation among the European Central Bank's objectives;

8.  Stresses that development cannot exist without a solid and strong industrial base; recognises that development can contribute to increased job creation and preservation of the living standards of citizens;

9.  Calls on public authorities to cut back on red tape, prevent duplication of formalities and increase transparency with regard to time-frames for the resolution of proceedings;

10.  Stresses that this will only be possible with a knowledge-based industry with a strong industrial basis;

11.  Stresses that a new, sustainable industrial policy can achieve success only via an integrated, cross-sectoral approach underpinned by practical horizontal and sectoral initiatives based on objective economic argumentation, focused on common issues with major implications for a number of sectors and bringing tangible results for both business and consumers at European, national, regional and local level;

12.  Emphasises how important sectors like energy and transport are within the cost structure of European industry; takes the view that the competitiveness of these sectors needs to be further improved via privatisation; with this in mind, is convinced of the need to restrict the level of public funding in companies operating in liberalised markets and to take steps with a view to the freedom to provide services in all modes of transport;

13.  Believes that macro-economic framework conditions in which European industry can thrive must be established, taking due account of the reality of resources scarcity and depletion; in this context, considers that Europe must aim not only at promoting today's competitiveness but above all at securing future competitiveness;

14.  Takes the view that the EU's industrial strategy should identify strategic fields to invest in and calls on the Commission and the Member States to reflect these priorities in the future financial perspective, in the annual budgets and in EU policies;

15.  Considers it important to adopt an integrated industrial policy under which European initiatives in all areas are complementary and not contradictory to the common goal of development;

16.  Urges the Commission to make haste with the completion of the EU single market, this being a precondition for competitive industry and innovation;

17.  Highlights the fact that fair competition together with open markets are crucial for the emergence of new and dynamic industries;

18.  Is convinced that not only the public sector but mostly the private sector will have an essential role to play in investing in the restructuring and the development of new industrial sectors, ensuring both the creation of jobs and the transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy; considers it essential, therefore, for the right framework to be in place to stimulate these private investments;

19.  Emphasises that the new, integrated approach calls for extremely effective collaboration within the Commission and coherence amongst the different Commission policies; to this end, calls on the Commission to set up a permanent industrial policy task force which will be responsible for coordinating and adapting the direction and the measures under the current new and integrated European industrial policy strategy and for monitoring their implementation;

20.  Calls on the Commission to focus more on competitiveness aspects during the impact assessment process (‘Competitiveness Proofing’) and in ex-ante/ex-post evaluation (‘Fitness Checks’), and to implement this essential part of smart regulation as fast as possible across all Commission services; stresses the fact that sustainability is essential for continuous competitiveness and for a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy;

21.  Stresses that the European Union could create the most competitive industry in the world by means of, inter alia:

   new standards of quality and effectiveness,
   shortening the time-to-market for new products with the help of advanced ICT analytical, design, manufacturing and maintenance tools, methods and processes,
   facilitating the development of SMEs and the equipment sector within the supply chain,
   making more determined efforts to match the synergies between civil and military research;

22.  Supports the Commission's initiative at Point 3 of its Communication consistently to analyse the industrial policy implications of future legislation and to assess the implementation of this legislation, and stresses that the social partners must be included and there must be the greatest possible transparency;

23.  Stresses that a new, sustainable EU industrial policy can only be effective if it is pursued in close coordination with the industrial policies of the Member States, and therefore calls on the Commission to take in 2011 the initiatives that are possible under Article 173(2) of the Lisbon Treaty, in the form of guidelines, indicators, exchange and dissemination of best available practices and technologies, monitoring and evaluation procedures;

24.  Calls on the Commission to develop, together with the European Parliament and the Council, a new framework that will permit and encourage companies from different Member States to work together more effectively in setting and achieving their industrial priorities; believes that this will strengthen the competitiveness of European-made products and improve responses to changing global market conditions;

25.  Is convinced that the success of a new, sustainable industrial policy depends on the involvement of all stakeholders, including the social partners, regional and local authorities, representatives of SMEs and civil society; notes that the Commission is required to embed a clear partnership principle in all areas and measures, part of which consists in joint monitoring and evaluation of anticipated measures, including assessment of strategies/measures/programmes;

26.  Considers that an ‘EU industrial policy for the globalised era’ can achieve its aims only if it deals with the extent to which Community policies are adapted to future challenges that European regions and their local industries are facing and will face in the coming years, insofar as the EU policies concerned lead to an increase in the efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs, the prime movers of European industry; in this regard, stresses that the impact of economic, demographic, climate and energy changes needs to be further analysed with respect to their regional dimension, taking into consideration the potential regional disparities that these challenges will generate, thus affecting the homogeneous growth of EU industries; emphasises the leading role played by regions in promoting the greening of industry and the development of renewable energies;

27.  Notes that industrial policy depends to a large extent on protecting EU industry against unfair competition from third countries;

28.  Calls on the Commission to draw up without delay a detailed time frame for monitoring implementation of this strategy and to present an annual progress report; considers, furthermore, that the Commission should reassess every year the effectiveness of these guidelines and initiatives in order to identify any problems that have arisen during their implementation, and should lay down additional objectives with a view to ensuring that EU industrial policy is always at the forefront of progress;

29.  Points out that internationalisation is a key factor in the competitiveness of businesses, and therefore calls on the Commission to step up efforts to promote as much as possible the knowledge gained across the spectrum of business support networks so that companies that are in the process of internationalisation can make use of it;

30.  Stresses that pan-European structures and infrastructures that aim at joining sources and resources could launch a pan-European industrial model capable of competing on the global market;

Funding

31.  Calls for ambitious funding for industrial policy and for infrastructure facilities (in particular research and energy, telecommunications and transport (TEN) infrastructure) – the ‘public utilities’ that make up the corporate environment; considers it essential, to this end, for EU bonds (Eurobonds or project bond) to be issued with a view to enabling the Union to fund innovation, infrastructure and reindustrialisation;

Innovation

32.  Stresses that innovation is the main driving force behind industrial policy and growth, and that all initiatives in support of innovation:

   must be based on a comprehensive definition of innovation which embraces products and producing systems, services, training, processes, organisation, quality, management, dissemination and protection,
   must take account of policies implemented in third countries and make suitable adjustments to some of our internal policies, such as those governing state aids for research, development and innovation,
   must, in particular, cover the design, production and composition of products and services along the whole chain of processes and added value, through the provision of support right up to the product pre-marketing stages,
   must be technology-neutral,
   must first aim at providing a favourable environment for companies to invest in R&D and innovation through efficient financing schemes and greater cooperation between actors inside and between different industries and within the value chains, research institutes and universities,
   must focus on the role that production plays in the innovation phase; if all industrial production is relocated to other parts of the world, knowledge production will lose its base in Europe and also relocate because ideas produced on the drawing board cannot be tested immediately in practice,
   must promote creativity and employee-driven innovation within public and private organisations;

33.  Stresses the need to distinguish more clearly between research and innovation as activities which, while closely linked, have different objectives, means, instruments of intervention and working methods: research, carried out by enterprises in the interests of their own growth, should create new knowledge and should, by its nature, be exploratory, independent and risk-taking; innovation, by contrast, has the objective of creating new products, new services and new processes having a direct impact on the market, on society and on the life of enterprises as such;

34.  Believes that in particular the setting of benchmarks and standards has proven to be a strong driver for promoting innovation and sustainable competitiveness in several industrial sectors; calls for a reinforcement of the European Standardisation System through measures promoting simplification, transparency, cost reduction and involvement of stakeholders;

35.  Draws attention to the need for better coordination between Member States and closer cooperation between businesses through business clusters, networks and centres of excellence;

36.  Stresses that the competitiveness of the EU is very much dependent on innovation capacity, on research and development facilities and on the linkage between innovation and the manufacturing process;

37.  Calls for research expenditure for the upcoming programming period from 2013 (8th RDP) to be significantly increased (EU target: 3% of GDP for research and development, 1% of GDP in public funding) as a matter of priority, so that European industry remains at the forefront of technology and globally competitive, thus putting private investment to effective use; notes that, alongside a strong focus on research into innovative processes, management, organisation and employee involvement in innovation, research in basic generic technologies is needed; stresses, furthermore, the need for the administrative procedures and procedures for gaining access to funding to be simplified;

38.  Points out that the increase in regional disparities in terms of research and development potential is a challenge that has to be addressed not only in the framework of cohesion policy but also through research and innovation policy; in this respect, calls, in addition to research funding, for a reallocation of funding within the same operational programmes in order to support innovation and to enhance the deployment of research into marketed solutions for society;

39.  Notes that a significant increase in R&D investment, both private and public, is essential for EU industry to remain a technology leader and retain global competitiveness in areas such as renewable energy and transport efficiency; notes that to support increased private R&D investment, functioning markets for innovative products and a stable investment environment are necessary; takes the view that increased public funding of R&D is necessary to leverage private investment and encourage collaboration, and that simplification of public funding procedures, especially in the EU Framework Programmes, is a prerequisite for increased industry participation;

40.  Recognises, however, that for Europe to reach the investment levels needed for innovation to be the driving force behind economic growth, the private sector needs to increase its R&D funding; therefore calls on the Commission to examine the barriers preventing Europe's businesses from investing at equivalent levels to their international counterparts, e.g. the US, and to take appropriate measures, legislative as well as non-legislative, as deemed necessary;

41.  Considers Joint Technology Initiatives (such as Clean Sky) to be an extremely useful means of marshalling funding from States, the EU and the private sector for innovative projects with a strong knock-on effect; calls for funding to continue to be provided for existing projects, so that they may be completed, and considers it essential for new projects to be developed in promising sectors (such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, space, renewable energy, new means of transport and new materials);

42.  Calls for the consistent use and reinforcement of available scientific and technological competencies in the Member States, particularly in key enabling technologies (KETs);

43.  Welcomes the deployment of a high-level group of experts to draw up a common longer-term strategy and an action plan for KETs, so that their potential can be fully realised;

44.  Stresses the success of the Risk Sharing Financial Facility (RSFF) as an important way of providing R&D and innovation funding via the EIB; strongly encourages the Commission to make significantly more funds available, including through revolving innovation funds from ERDF sources, and to promote direct private investments and innovative financing mechanisms for high-risk innovative projects and those in which suitable SMEs participate; also stresses the importance of making innovation programmes more accessible for SMEs by decreasing bureaucratic burdens;

45.  Is concerned about firms‘ limited uptake of structural funding for the purpose of financing innovative projects; takes the view that managing authorities should focus on raising firms’ awareness of the operational programmes and providing them with whatever help they need to launch their projects;

46.  Calls on the Commission to draw up an inventory of the best practices of existing and planned funding mechanisms, fiscal measures and financial incentives to promote innovation, and calls for an annual update and review of the measures‘ effectiveness;

47.  Calls for thought to be given to introducing new, alternative mechanisms to address the shortage of funding for EU businesses, in particular SMEs; considers that such mechanisms must

and must take the form of the following instruments:

   be based on public-private partnerships that share the risks between private and public investors,
   ensure that public investment has the best possible leverage effect, thus generating substantial private investment,
   take account of the specific needs of innovative SMEs, which do not have the equity or assets required in order to raise funds through loans,
   foster the commercialisation of European research findings, as well as technology transfers to SMEs ,and
   support action by the European Investment Bank;
   a European Innovation Financing Fund (EIFF), the role of which would be to invest in the start-up and development phases, on a risk-capital basis,
   a European patents fund to facilitate technology transfers between research centres and businesses, in particular innovative SMEs,
   loans on more favourable terms than those obtainable on the market;

48.  Acknowledges the EU's problem of having fewer young leading innovators in high R&D-intensity sectors, especially biotech and internet; stresses, therefore, the need to encourage their development by tackling the specific barriers they face in new sectors and by closely monitoring emerging innovative markets, adapting the mix of policy instruments to their specific needs;

49.  Calls on the Commission to create an environment favourable to enterprises at the start-up and spin-off phases, by means of dedicated services enabling young entrepreneurs to overcome the barriers which have traditionally stood in the way of embarking on new productive activities (infrastructural barriers, access to information, cost of services, management of intellectual property);

50.  Calls lastly for the EU to respond to the fragmentation of the European risk-capital market by bringing forward an EU scheme to establish pan-European funds;

51.  Underlines the fact that investment in R&D and innovation could be made through national tax incentives and access to specialised finance, for instance venture capital;

52.  Calls for further stimulation of technologies for sustainable development as begun in the ETAP action plan with the cross-linking of research, environmental and economic strategies, calls for an ambitious ETAP follow-up plan, where research, education, training and industry will join their efforts, and calls for allocation of adequate financial resources for its implementation; stresses the need to increase funding for the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan);

53.  Calls for industry to be involved in eco-innovation to boost its employment potential; notes, in this regard, that informing entrepreneurs – by demonstrating new business opportunities – will be crucial to the success of a strategy aimed at developing resource-efficient economies and sustainable industries;

54.  Suggests that thought also be given to other forms of funding to support the development of innovative technologies by bringing together various stakeholders at different levels (European, national and local), as well as to making use of a range of tools including public-private partnerships and risk capital;

55.  Calls for particular attention to be paid to support for innovation in effective and sustainable use of raw materials;

56.  Recalls that, representing as it does an annual 17% of GDP in the EU, public procurement plays an important role for the European single market and for stimulating innovation; points out that competitors such as China and the USA have set ambitious targets for public procurement of innovative and environmental products; calls on the Member States and the Commission to simplify and improve national and EU procurement rules where necessary and in line with the rules of transparency, fairness and non-discrimination; calls on the Commission to provide information about existing possibilities of involving innovative and sustainable criteria in tenders under current EU procurement rules in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy and to promote the use of these possibilities; stresses that it is essential to ensure reciprocity of access to external public procurement markets, so as to enable EU businesses to compete on fair terms internationally;

57.  Notes that pre-commercial public procurement can give a decisive initial push to new markets for innovative and green technologies, while also improving the quality and effectiveness of public services; calls on the Commission and the Member States to improve communication with public authorities about existing possibilities for pre-commercial procurement;

58.  Considers that the importance of public procurement in stimulating an innovative industrial base should not be underestimated; calls in this regard on the EU Member States to exploit the full potential of pre-commercial procurement as a driver of innovation and as a tool for improving SME participation in public procurement, with the effect of identifying and effectively stimulating lead markets for European business;

59.  Calls on the Commission to increase its efforts to prevent knowledge being transferred from the EU all over the world, particularly to China, which does not often reciprocate;

Resources

60.  Considers that economic growth can and should be decoupled from increased use of resources;

61.  Is convinced that the clear increase in resourcing efficiency as regards raw and auxiliary materials and supplies is strengthening the global competitive position of European industry, and therefore calls on the Commission to propose, building on its Communication on a resources strategy (COM(2005)0670), an ambitious EU resource efficiency policy as a priority, by means of an action plan or, if need be, in a Directive on resource efficiency; considers that this means:

   drawing up a clear definition of resources in all their facets,
   developing clear cradle-to-cradle indicators for monitoring resource productivity and, if necessary, further developing corresponding standards, guidelines and prototype development of new approaches,
   indentifying targets and instruments that would enhance the EU's resource productivity, durability and reuse, recycling and remanufacturing and the development of closed-loop industrial production systems,
   supporting R&D on improving recyclability of products and their material contents, and supporting R&D on developing closed industrial processes with minimum levels of wasted material and energy flows,
   prototype development of new approaches, such as resource contracting,
   disseminating best-practice solutions and promoting resource efficiency networks, in particular targeting supply chains and SMEs, and support materials efficiency agencies,
   developing an SME-friendly standard form of business sustainability report which will analyse the ‘environmental rucksack’ – resulting in economies and making firms more competitive in consequence – and group together, standardise and promote the use of voluntary environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 or EMAS,
   incorporation of and respect for national raw material initiatives;

62.  Stresses that the availability of raw materials, in particular strategic resources and rare earths, is of central importance to European industry's development possibilities, and therefore calls on the Commission to present an ambitious and comprehensive raw materials strategy in the first half of 2011, which should not only be limited to ‘critical raw materials’ as defined by the EU Commission and should include:

   regular impact assessments of anticipated demand for – and criticality and supply risks of – raw materials and rare earths (including potential shortages, price increases, etc.) and the consequences for the EU economy in general and businesses in particular, with regular updates to the list of raw materials and rare earths covered,
   monitoring production forecasts from third countries and the operating conditions of the global markets in raw materials,
   intensification of raw material recovery and reuse by means of: setting and implementing ambitious though realistic recycling rules, plans, standards and incentives, strict implementation of the Waste Framework Directive and of rules on recovery of waste and exporting waste that can be a source of raw materials and an appropriate support of research the Commission should be asked to consider the further use of the producer responsibility concept in support of this goal),
   more research on substitutes for scarce raw materials, consideration of resources defined as ‘scarce raw materials’ and the establishment of a strategy for supplying the latter,
   optimal utilisation of and improved access to raw materials available in the EU, calling among other things for the rapid introduction of a European geo-information system and a common database that gives an overview of the raw materials, minerals and recyclable natural resources available in the EU,
   ensuring fair access to raw materials and rare earths through free and fair trade agreements and strategic partnerships and through the conclusion of economic partnership agreements with third countries with a view to obtaining adequate supplies, but only when this is fully compatible with the development objectives of EPAs,
   intensifying exchanges with partners such as Japan and the US on access to raw materials though bilateral dialogues but also with key raw materials producing countries such as China and Russia,
   when justified, efforts to resolve through the WTO disputes concerning raw materials of strategic importance to European industry,
   a regular and more proactive dialogue with African countries on raw materials and rare earths,
   initiation of consultations with third countries whose policies cause distortion on international raw materials markets, in order to discourage discriminatory policies which damage the market economy,
   improved access to renewable raw materials for use by industry and elimination of discrimination in European law which prevents wider use of these materials;
   measures to counter the growing market domination by national oligopolies and monopolies and transnational corporations as regards the extraction of mineral and energy raw materials and the manufacture of semi-finished goods, as well as trade therein,
   paying attention to the use of biomass not only as a renewable energy but also as a raw material for industry, promoting sustainability criteria and avoiding market distorting measures,
   a contingency plan in the event of a sudden interruption in supplies of vital raw materials for a variety of reasons,
   support for small and medium-sized enterprises using local raw materials, including agricultural and forestry raw materials;

63.  Takes the view that an industry policy needs, first and foremost, to rebalance energy actions in favour of a demand-driven policy, empowering consumers and decoupling economic growth from energy use; considers in particular that the transport and construction industries must pursue an active energy savings policy and diversify towards sustainable, non-polluting and safe energy sources, and that an industry policy should help create market conditions which stimulate higher energy savings and energy efficiency investments, to exploit a wide range of renewable energies as well as key technologies for energy storage mobility (notably public transport);

64.  Is convinced that, in order to ensure security of investment, industry needs an ambitious but realistic long-term energy policy which: guarantees competitive energy prices and security of EU supply, reduces dependence on fossil fuels, encourages efficiency and savings in production and consumption, allows manufacturing to take place with as few damaging emissions as possible, and prevents energy poverty and carbon leakage; points out that legal certainty, stable framework conditions, appropriate investment and further harmonisation of the internal energy market are key to switching to low-carbon production and supply and reducing industry costs; stresses that the infrastructure for a trans-European energy network, which includes heating and also takes advantage of the digital and transport network infrastructures, must therefore be renewed and extended in a timely and cost-efficient manner, and smart grids and metering promoted, particularly with the aid of funding from the European Investment Bank;

65.  Emphasises the importance to the European automobile sector of taking the lead in the further development and production of electric cars; calls on the European Commission in this respect to ensure, at the latest by mid-2011, framework conditions for the development of electric vehicles, notably concerning standardisation of infrastructures and charging technologies which will guarantee interoperability and safety of infrastructures; calls furthermore on the Commission to set up harmonised requirements for the approval of electric vehicles, with specific regard to health and safety for both workers and end-users;

66.  Recalls the huge job creation potential and cost reduction benefits that energy efficiency improvements are expected to yield; considers that the adoption of measures including targets, standards and benchmarking mechanisms that ensure energy efficiency improvement must therefore underpin initiatives in all industrial sectors;

67.  Calls for innovations in health care and the social sector so that industries will not face workforce shortages and higher labour costs in the next decades;

68.  Draws attention to the energy-saving potential of smart technologies;

69.  Believes that a policy of improving sustainability of transport systems and infrastructure through such measures as more efficient technologies, interoperability and innovative mobility solutions but also local sourcing policies is needed to ensure that supply chains can function with more sustainable logistics systems and at reduced operating costs;

70.  Believes that modern ICT technologies provide a large potential for innovations in support of sustainability and eco-efficiency, e.g. integration of technologies by putting additional intelligence layers on top of physical layers to achieve more efficiency management of systems (such as water supply, transportation systems); stresses the need to have open ICT standards available for such solutions; therefore urges the Commission to require open standards and stakeholders to drive the development of suitable open standards in support of resource efficiency;

71.  Draws attention to the need for sufficient technical and skilled personnel; considers therefore that more investment is needed in the field of education and training; insists that every effort be made to redress skills shortages at all levels in order to promote the qualifications of the workforce and interest young graduates more in industry, by means inter alia of:

   an institutionalised dialogue between the relevant authorities, representatives of businesses and the social partners with a view to reviewing syllabuses, so as to include the entrepreneurial spirit and increase awareness of business, and devising effective ways of completing the transition between education and profession, particularly encouraging the promotion of individual mobility programmes such as ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’ and ‘Erasmus for Apprentices’,
   both strengthening work-based learning throughout Europe in order to link vocational training systems more closely to the labour market, and enhancing the appeal of vocational training throughout Europe with higher education permeability for vocational training graduates,
   securing the right to lifelong learning for all citizens, who must be given the opportunity to retrain during their working life, which is crucial for equality and solidarity but also for competitiveness in times of economic difficulties,
   innovative training of young students as future employees ready to confront the forecast technological movements and closer relations between universities, research institutes and industry,
   improvement of and wider access at all levels to education and training, especially in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), by means of coordinated initiatives and the exchange of best practice in education, training, and innovative measures to reconcile work and family life and to promote gender and social justice,
   coordinated activities to improve teaching and raise awareness of the economic role of European industrial sectors and the necessity of their innovative transformation within a low-carbon and resource efficient economy,
   additional coordinated and targeted higher qualifications, which are of benefit to both employers and employees, with more extensive use of the European Social Fund in this connection,
   setting up at European level benchmarking for jobs and skills to reflect the level of professional sectors, enterprises and the most developed industrial regions,
   creating observatories of the industrial professions at regional, national and European level in order to identify the future professions and professional demand,
   opening up, modernising and financially strengthening universities to allow them to offer lifelong higher vocational qualifications, re-qualification (for engineers, IT specialists, technicians, etc.) or increased cooperation between science universities and those universities of applied sciences and educational institutions which are more geared to vocational education,
   establishing, in cooperation with training bodies and the social partners, work-based vocational and occupational (re)training and lifelong learning programmes, both for workers and for employers,
   more mobility and flexibility in vocational and educational training both for employers and employees, taking into account the individual requirements especially of SMEs,
   studying the new needs created in terms of employment and qualifications by the development of jobs in the green economy with a view to responding to them by means of appropriate training,
   encouraging closer synergies between universities and business culture and businesses of a knowledge-oriented type,
   incentives to encourage engineers and qualified researchers from third countries to come to the EU,
   setting up incentives for higher education to adjust the curricula accordingly;

72.  Stresses the need to encourage youth access to the labour market through fairly paid internships and quality apprenticeship;

73.  Considers it vital for the economic, social and ecological future of the Union that young people are made aware of the high level of specialised and general education needed for their later employment in industry;

74.  Stresses that the comparative reluctance to engage in self-employed business activity can be overcome by creating a more attractive environment for business starters, more integrated support schemes such as ENTRE:DI and specific programmes such as ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’;

75.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal to explore new financing sources for major European infrastructure projects and supports the creation of an EU bond project in collaboration with the European Investment Bank;

Fair competition

76.  Is convinced of the need to put the instruments of the internal market at the service of European industrial policy in order to promote the emergence of major ‘European champions’ who set global benchmarks in their sectors of activity, such as Galileo or SESAR; calls on the EU not to impose excessively asymmetrical constraints on its businesses in comparison with those which exist in third countries;

77.  Stresses the need for the EU to secure for its businesses reciprocal access to public contracts when negotiating bilateral and multilateral agreements with third countries, while improving the effectiveness of the use of trade defence instruments by SMEs to combat monetary, social and ecological dumping practices, piracy, counterfeiting and illegal copying;

78.  Calls on the EU, like Canada, the USA, China or Japan, to require indication of the country of origin of certain products imported from third countries so that quality and safety requirements with regard to traceability apply to them as well as to those manufactured in the EU;

79.  Takes the view that, to consolidate European industry and, in particular, improve the competitiveness of companies within the world economy, it is necessary to introduce European provisions regarding origin marking (Made In); considers that this would make it possible for the public and for consumers to make informed choices and would encourage production within the European Union, which is in many cases preceded by a reputation for quality and high production standards;

80.  Considers that a multilateral climate agreement would be the best instrument for reducing the negative impacts of CO2 on the environment, but that there is a risk that such an agreement will not be concluded in the near future; takes the view, therefore, that the EU should continue to look into the possibility of putting in place, for those industries that are actually exposed to carbon leakage, appropriate environmental instruments in addition to the auctioning of CO2 quotas under the EU's emissions trading scheme, in particular a ‘carbon inclusion mechanism’ that complies with WTO rules, as such a mechanism would make it possible to combat the risk of CO2 emissions being transferred to third countries;

81.  Insists that the EU should examine the economic practices of third countries before drawing up its own policies, and calls in particular on the Commission to assess as a criterion the international competitive position of European businesses when monitoring State aid;

A sustainable culture for industry

82.  Stresses the importance of creating the right framework for industry to remain in Europe and to further improve its global competitiveness; believes, therefore, that EU policies should be based on robust impact assessments which analyse all angles of the economic, societal and environmental benefits of EU policies;

83.  Calls for EU initiatives that identify what drives growth, innovation and competitiveness in different sectors and then bring forward stronger, coordinated technology-neutral and market-based EU policy responses and instruments for those sectors, of which full use should be made; considers that, for these purposes, product-specific legislation such as the eco-design directive should be developed further in a cost-efficient way, the energy efficiency labelling directive should be fully implemented, and industry-stimulating initiatives such as the ‘green car initiative’ put in place; calls, in this context, for a long-term campaign on sustainable consumption to raise awareness and change behaviour and thus support new innovative products and designs;

84.  Believes in the need to maintain and strengthen Europe on the global industrial map, especially given that new industrial opportunities arise from EU investment commitments, e.g. in the fields of climate change and energy, which will open up employment opportunities in high-skill areas;

85.  Calls on the Commission to clearly integrate this industrial policy into the development of the Roadmap for a Low-Carbon Economy by 2050, the SET-plan industrial initiatives and the 2050 vision in the Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe;

86.  Calls for the maintenance and extension of close-to-the-market innovation funding such as the current Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP);

87.  Stresses the need for a systematic quality check of any new legislation using the following criteria:

   scientific advice: quality of evidence and interpretation,
   consultation: asking ‘users’ about their experience with existing regulations,
   international benchmarking: comparing with legislation in key competing countries,
   consistency of the proposal with related EU legislation,
   simplification achieved (including voluntary alternatives);

88.  Recalls that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) has become a vital tool to help communities transform from uncompetitive industries to sustainable ones; stresses that the EGF should continue and, if needed, be expanded;

89.  Calls for efforts to be stepped up with a view to overcoming current difficulties and creating without delay a single Community patent, which will provide effective, high-quality legal protection at low cost, and a harmonised European system for settling disputes concerning patents, in order to improve the framework conditions for industrial and intellectual property rights, to enhance legal certainty and combat counterfeiting, whilst keeping bureaucratic costs at a minimum, particularly for SMEs; welcomes the large support in Council for the Commission decision to initiate in 2011 the enhanced cooperation procedure on a single EU patent; further calls for a reform of standardisation methods (in particular in the ICT sector) where standards development should be open, transparent, based on the principle of interoperability and ensuring the competitiveness of European industry; considers that promoting international standardisation will safeguard European technological leadership;

90.  Notes that completion of the internal market is essential to the competitiveness and growth of European industry; stresses that European industries need a proper framework in which to create and develop goods and services at European level, and welcomes in this context the proposals set out in the Single Market Act; calls on the Commission to identify the scope for efficiency-enhancing harmonisation and improved governance within the framework of the Single Market Act, particularly in the fields of VAT, intellectual property rights and the EU patent, global standardisation, labelling and specific sectoral standards;

91.  Encourages Member States to assume a more proactive role in managing the single market, by improving cooperation between national authorities and strengthening the transposition, application and enforcement of single market rules on the ground; asks Member States to reduce transaction costs through additional measures, such as more effective e-government;

92.  Stresses the need for public authorities to support the development of key technologies and emphasises that the development of standards must be accelerated, as it is crucial to preserving EU industrial competitiveness and stimulating new growth, and that this applies particularly to the development of standards stimulating innovation as a means of addressing emerging environmental and societal challenges;

93.  Highlights the need to take account of the specific characteristics of SMEs and craft enterprises in the European standardisation system, particularly in terms of cutting the cost of access to standards, disseminating standards (through the publication of abstracts) and providing financial support; stresses the key role to be played by national standards bodies in promoting and boosting participation by SMEs and craft enterprises in the standardisation process, in keeping with the ‘national delegation’ principle;

94.  Stresses the importance of taking into account aspects which are currently not covered by European patent law, such as ‘business secrets’, so as to enable European industry to reap the benefits of genuine protection of intellectual property rights relating to products and procedures, following the example of the USA and Japan;

95.  Recalls that, in order to increase the competitiveness and technological leadership of European industry, it is desirable to:

   take as a basis the European Standardisation System (ESS), the advantages of which have been demonstrated, and consolidate it so that it meets the needs of innovative undertakings as effectively as possible, particularly those of SMEs,
   increase the participation of undertakings, especially SMEs, in the standardisation process and ensure a high degree of promotion of standards;

96.  Stresses that there is still vast potential for the performance of European industry in the full implementation of the internal market and calls on the Commission and Member States to quickly dismantle the remaining obstacles and barriers in the internal market;

97.  Calls on the Member States - while noting that restructuring is the primary responsibility of companies and social partners - to establish task forces on restructuring operations which will oversee the restructuring processes and ensure smooth economic transition by, for example, improving mobility on the labour market, retraining and other measures that could provide innovative and sustainable alternatives for both employees and firms; calls for the role of the European structural funds and for research and development in furtherance of conversion processes to be intensified;

98.  Calls for renewed investment in Europe's industrial workforce, with a strong emphasis on sectoral social dialogue to manage structural changes caused by globalisation and on the promotion of a resource- and energy-efficient economy; encourages the social partners in sectors where employment is declining to face the challenges early on and to support both individual workers and the sector during the transition phase; stresses the importance of transition security via functioning social security systems, as this can help individuals move towards sectors where employment is created;

99.  Calls on the Commission to take the initiative to propose support for professional transition, to reduce social inequalities, to promote the ILO's Decent Work Agenda, and to use the EU Employment Guidelines to specify the securities to be provided throughout the lifecycle of each type of professional transition;

100.  Calls for a more active role for the European Commission in the restructuring of companies with a European Works Council; considers that all relevant information should be made available at the earliest opportunity to the European Commission when such restructuring is carried out so that it can fully play its role as European interlocutor and coordinator for the Member States; considers that this will also put the Commission in a better position to screen and assess any use of State aid to assist restructuring;

101.  Calls for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to be thoroughly assessed and reformed so as to accelerate access to it, and for its budget to be increased in the next Financial Perspective; suggests moreover that a European Environmental Adjustment Fund be set up;

102.  Emphasises that the global economic crisis is affecting employment rates all over Europe, thus worsening the socio-economic prospects of the EU and increasing regional disparities; in this respect, emphasises that the existence of a competitive, diversified, fair and sustainable industrial sector based above all on efficient and competitive SMEs is essential for the future of workers Europe-wide; advocates making good use of the experience and abilities of older workers in preparing the ground for younger generations;

103.  Acknowledges that there are regional differences in industrial development, principally where there have been deindustrialisation processes in the new Member States, and calls for these too to be incorporated in the new sustainable industry policy and the allocation of resources from the Structural Funds in order to strengthen territorial cohesion;

104.  Stresses the great importance of SMEs in the industrial landscape, in particular when it comes to providing long-term jobs at regional level, and in preserving economic and creative vitality and a high level of growth, and calls on the Commission:

   to cater better for the distinctive characteristics of SMEs and the specific difficulties they face, by pressing on with implementation of the Small Business Act, dealing with shortcomings in the application of the guidelines adopted and implementing appropriate specific measures such as reducing the administrative burden (as well as other aspects of regulatory burden, e.g. compliance costs) and consistently applying the ‘SME Test’ so that sufficient progress is finally made for Europe's SMEs,
   to support SMEs in accessing research services and competences through universities‘ consortia and foundations, structures working as a ’go-between‘ linking research and the market,
   not to overlook the issue of the European private company statute, which has been a key theme in European debate for many years,
   to continue working on better access to financing opportunities for SMEs and, in particular, to develop viable venture capital possibilities; to strengthen, in the context of the new architecture of the financial market, short- and long-term financing possibilities for SMEs and their preferred sources of finance; to open up markets and create fair preconditions for competition, enabling more entrepreneurs and small companies to grow and develop into companies operating all over Europe,
   to examine the EU definition of small and medium-sized enterprises with a view to allowing for a greater flexibility in specific industrial sectors in which SMEs do not fulfil the specified sales and employment thresholds due to specific market structures, but are nevertheless medium-sized, though any change to the SME definition must not impair its effectiveness,
   to develop the provision of advice to SMEs in the export business, particularly as regards gaining access to markets in non-EU countries, ensuring a long-term presence in those markets and protecting intellectual property and optimising its financial and technological value,
   to strengthen internationalisation measures in order to make SMEs more competitive and geared to the internal and global market,
   to increase SMEs‘ participation in the framework programmes for research and development, by simplifying the relevant procedures and putting in place a more effective information and support system at local level,
   to implement projects that facilitate networking between SMEs and larger firms throughout the value chain,
   to provide instruments fostering the development and growth of eco-innovative SMEs as well as the development of eco-industrial parks,
   to examine whether medium-sized and family-owned enterprises which do not fulfil the criteria of the existing SME definition are adequately able to use existing and future financing opportunities for research and development directed specifically at small and medium-sized companies,
   to ensure greater convergence between supply and demand in respect of patents, in particular for SMEs, and to reduce the cost of access to standards for SMEs;

105.  Takes the view that the European directive on takeover bids must be revised to give the EU the means to oppose projects that may prove to be detrimental – in industrial, economic and social terms – to social cohesion and the stability of the internal market; takes the view that the Union must be able to oppose takeover bids from firms that are not socially responsible and/or fail to comply with good governance requirements, along with takeover bids envisaged in sectors that the Member States deem to be strategic, in accordance with the European Union's international undertakings;

106.  Calls for improvement in the development of public-private partnerships;

107.  Takes the view that in order to achieve Europe 2020 objectives and climate and energy targets by 2020, sectoral aid policy should not only be seen in the context of competition law, but must, in the interests of Europe, be used proactively, transparently and with clear rules to strengthen innovation, competitiveness and the roll-out of sustainable products, and in connection with industrial restructuring operations; opposes specific national State aid schemes that do not abide by the rules and therefore create unequal terms of competition;

108.  Takes the view that competition policy must respond to the needs of an ambitious industrial policy, while respecting the rules of the internal market;

109.  Emphasises that sustainable and fair development in the industrial sector can be better achieved by Member States through the principle of reciprocity of commercial policies; notes that regional network structures and competitive clusters should not be adversely affected by dissimilar commercial rules and provisions which have a particular impact on SMEs;

110.  Stresses, as highlighted in many recent studies, that sectoral aid stimulates growth where it is compatible with the preservation of competition in the sectors concerned, and where its provision is coupled with mechanisms to ensure that projects which prove ineffective do not receive further funding; urges that the granting of such aid be systematically made subject to a requirement that the activities supported remain within the EU for at least five years, and at least 10 years in the case of R&D activities;

111.  Notes in this connection that European business locations must be internationally competitive, especially in the field of key enabling technologies;

112.  Believes that free trade remains a key cornerstone for Europe's economic growth and therefore calls for future multilateral and bilateral trade agreements to be drawn up in such a way that they form part of an industrial strategy based on fair global competition and reciprocity by European trading partners; takes the view that, in order to take into account the principle of sustainable development, social and environmental concerns and relevant standards should be incorporated in free trade agreements; considers that steps must be taken to ensure that European industries are not endangered by unfair practices, as is currently happening in the solar energy industry; recalls that regulatory dialogues with key trading partners must be strengthened to prevent and remove barriers to trade; calls on the Commission to strictly monitor the environmental legislation, exchange rate policies, state aid rules and other support programmes adopted by third countries competing with the EU; calls for the consideration of an EU foreign direct investment strategy in emerging markets to enable better access in new markets and building up of local production;

113.  Considers that the EU's trade policy, set against the multilateral background of the WTO and a transparent and effectively regulated market, needs an effective production base that is supported by appropriate sectoral policies and targeted at growth and sustainable development;

114.  Considers that the economic recovery, spurred on by decisions taken by the EU and in conjunction with the Member States, will favour new opportunities for European firms as they find themselves increasingly competing in open, transparent global markets;

115.  Considers also that EU industrial policy guidelines should give due consideration to more homogeneous customs controls, as an important means of fighting counterfeiting and protecting European consumers; considers that an industrial policy should also ensure that the customs duty collection systems of countries at EU borders are harmonised to avoid inequalities and harm being caused to the interests of importers and to the development of the EU's industrial fabric;

116.  Stresses the crucial importance of free trade to the development of European industry;

117.  Asks the Commission to make the guidelines for EU industrial policy the basis upon which tangible legislative instruments promoting EU trade are planned;

118.  Calls for the Commission not only to improve the environmental performance of EU industry in its legal proposals but at the same time to ensure that the same environmental standards as for products produced in the European Union also apply to imported products into the EU single market, focusing not only on setting these rules but also upholding them;

119.  Calls on the Commission to deliver on the objectives set out in the Global Europe communication and forthcoming communication on trade policy, notably by ambitious new market access in the Doha Round, including sectoral agreements, e.g. chemicals and machinery;

120.  Calls for the preservation of effective trade defence instruments for the purpose of countering unfair commercial practices, such as dual pricing in respect of the supply of raw materials and subsidies for domestic industry;

121.  Stresses that employees‘ ideas and skills must be used in the restructuring of industry, and therefore calls for the widest possible consultation;

122.  Calls on the Commission to create a framework for cross-border collective bargaining in order to contribute to the enforceability of cross-border agreements and to tackle the challenges concerning the organisation of work, training and working and employment conditions;

123.  Stresses the need, when formulating and implementing industrial policy in the EU, to provide for consideration of the conditions under which industrial waste products, especially toxic waste products, are disposed of and their destination, in order to ensure that industrial waste does not become an environmental, economic or social burden on communities both within the EU and in third countries;

124.  Asserts that effective market surveillance throughout the internal market is crucial to protecting European industry from unfair competition; encourages the Commission to submit ambitious proposals to reform the current system of market surveillance, strengthening the EU's role in the coordination of national market surveillance and customs authorities and ensuring that adequate resources are made available in all Member States;

125.  Calls on the Commission to continue the Better Regulation strategy and to improve governance of the single market, namely by creating ‘one stop-shop’ schemes and promoting online cross-border administrative solutions taking into account the particular needs of SMEs;

126.  Stresses that the expansion in times of crisis of the hidden economy and undeclared activities is an important factor in distortion of competition; calls on the competent authorities in the Member States to take the necessary action to combat this phenomenon;

127.  Stresses the importance of workers‘ contributions to increasing economic growth and progress;

Specific industries

128.  Is convinced that, in parallel with a horizontal approach, specific sectoral initiatives must be launched in order to further promote modernisation, increased competitiveness and sustainability of individual industrial sectors, their supply chains and associated services through best-case practice sharing, standard-setting, benchmarking and similar soft policy-making tools; calls for:

   implementation of the recommendations of existing industry-specific approaches (task forces, high-level groups, technology and innovation platforms such as Cars 21, etc.) in a way that is tailored to the needs of the specific industries, comparably developed by the Commission in consultation with all stakeholders, and with the establishment of new sectoral initiatives in other appropriate sectors,
   the securing of sustainability proofing of the sector specific approaches in line with the EU's climate and energy policy objectives and ambitious resource efficiency objectives,
   consideration of the whole range of possible policy measures including benchmarks and standards and sustained R&D and innovation efforts,
   a particular focus on the key European industries and those facing major societal challenges but where there is also business and employment potential,
   emphasis to be placed on the complementary nature of different types of cross-cutting technology, and on the convergences between the sectors concerned that have been made possible by the transition to a digital economy,
   the development of new activities such as renewable energies and creative industries – sectors in which the EU is at an advantage, and which have the potential to create large numbers of jobs – to be encouraged,
   regular progress reports by the Commission;

129.  Takes the view that EU industrial policy should also be based on practical projects which bring tangible benefits to European businesses and citizens, such as the GMES, Galileo and ITER projects;

130.  Points out that European industry is increasingly dependent on business services and that particular attention therefore needs to be paid to all the main links in the production chain; welcomes, in this context, the willingness expressed by the Commission to attach greater importance to these interdependencies;

131.  Reiterates the need to make swift progress in relation to interconnection of the European business register, as a means of ensuring that information for both producers and consumers is transparent and reliable;

132.  Stresses the importance of the tourism industry in the EU, which is the world's foremost tourist destination, and in certain regions where it is the mainstay of the economy; supports the Commission's strategy for boosting the competitiveness of the tourism industry by means of measures relating to quality, sustainability and the enhancement of Europe's image as a tourist destination;

133.  Calls on the Commission to respect the roadmaps and conclusions developed in industry-specific approaches; believes that these roadmaps provide industry with long-term planning certainty and are a valuable tool for remaining competitive;

Responsibility

134.  Takes the view that European industry and stakeholders should step up their investments, corporate, social and environmental engagements and cooperate closely to develop favourable framework conditions; believes that industry should maintain investment and production in Europe, sustain its own research efforts, and strive towards sustainable growth, innovation and fairly-paid employment; believes that industry has a role to play in developing a new culture of qualifications offering good opportunities for high quality training and even more innovative, sustainable products and processes, and should enter wherever possible into strategic partnerships in Europe;

135.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to devise new mediation approaches to monitoring and building new infrastructure and to implement them so as increase the involvement of citizens, so that infrastructure which is necessary for the sustainable renewal of the industrial base (e.g. smart networks, wind farms, new railway lines) can quickly become possible;

136.  Expresses its conviction that the world economic crisis has clearly demonstrated the need for companies to act with due diligence in full conformity with the principles of CSR regarding both good corporate governance and respect for the environment and social excellence;

Regions

137.  Stresses that regional structures make a major contribution to strengthening industry in Europe; considers that competitive clusters and innovation networks (businesses, universities, research centres, technology services, training institutes, etc.) and linkages among businesses themselves and with other players (value-added chains, synergies) are essential to investment decisions; for this reason, takes the view that:

   innovation clusters and networks, in particular the European competitiveness clusters and the new innovation partnerships to be launched in 2011 as part of the ‘Innovation Union’ initiative, and mainly in the field of key enabling technologies, should be given greater support, enabling knowledge and technological transfer and research, better training and the infrastructure to be promoted in a coordinated way, something which should also be a priority for the European Regional Development Fund,
   regional network structures and rural regions should receive EU assistance with promoting their industrial base,
   the clusters and networks should be brought together under the ‘umbrella’ of European platforms, so that support for clusters and networks can be strengthened,
   initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors and Smart Cities should be supported, as industry and SMEs also benefit from these,
   the European Investment Bank should strengthen the link between industrial policy and territorial cohesion;

138.  Recognises the contribution of EU industry to the vision of socio-economic and territorial cohesion and considers prosperous industry to be a crucial condition for economic growth and social stability in EU regions;

139.  Calls, therefore, for concerted efforts to use and build on the scientific and technological skills which are already available in the regions, in particular in the area of key technologies, and for more emphasis to be placed on cluster policies;

140.  Points out: that the roll-out of appropriate digital infrastructures and innovative technologies is a strategic element for increasing the competitiveness of EU regions and industries; that the ICT sector plays a key role in enhancing the productivity of other industrial sectors; that modern communication infrastructures with high transmission capacity should primarily be built in underserved regions; and that this could result in a favourable environment for public and private investment and, importantly, would help raise the digital literacy standard of business;

o
o   o

141.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0223.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0209.
(3) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 65.

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