Full text 
Procedure : 2011/2032(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0231/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 06/07/2011 - 13
CRE 06/07/2011 - 13

Votes :

PV 07/07/2011 - 7.3
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
PDF 254kWORD 99k
Thursday, 7 July 2011 - Strasbourg
EU external policies in favour of democratisation

European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on EU external policies in favour of democratisation (2011/2032(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 21 thereof, and to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular Article 25 thereof,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and to the OSCE commitments agreed upon in Copenhagen in 1990 and at the 1999 Istanbul Summit, at which all OSCE participating States undertook to invite international observers, and specifically the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), to their elections,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and to the American Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to ILO Convention 169 of 7 June 1989 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 6, 8 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, proclaimed in Strasbourg on 12 December 2007,

–  having regard to Articles 8, 9 and 96 of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (2000),

–  having regard to the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 4 December 2000 entitled ‘Promoting and consolidating democracy’(1), and to the latter's resolution of 20 December 2004 entitled ‘Enhancing the role of regional, subregional and other organisations and arrangements in promoting and consolidating democracy’(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide (EIDHR),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 September 1996 on the Commission communication on the inclusion of respect for democratic principles and human rights in agreements between the Community and third countries(3), and to its resolution of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2001 on the Commission communication entitled ‘EU Election Assistance and Observation’(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 April 2002 on the Commission communication entitled ‘The European Union's role in promoting human rights and democratisation in third countries’(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 May 2008 entitled ‘EU election observation missions: objectives, practices and future challenges’(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2009 on democracy building in the EU's external relations(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2010 on the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on developing countries and on development cooperation(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 September 2010 entitled ‘Poverty reduction and job creation in developing countries: the way forward’, in particular paragraphs 71, 72 and 73 thereof(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2010 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2009 and the European Union's policy on the matter(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2011 entitled ‘Tax and development – cooperating with developing countries on promoting good governance in tax matters’(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 April 2011 entitled ‘Migration flows arising from instability: scope and role of EU foreign policy’(15),

–  having regard to all the agreements concluded between the EU and third countries and to the human rights and democracy clauses contained therein,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 May 2009 on ‘Support to democratic governance: towards an enhanced EU framework’,

–  having regard to the two sets of Council conclusions on ‘Democracy support in the EU's external relations’: those of 17 November 2009 and those of 13 December 2010 containing the ‘2010 progress report and list of pilot countries’,

–  having regard to the Commission/Council General Secretariat joint paper on ‘Democracy building in EU external relations’ (SEC(2009)1095),

–  having regard to the joint communication to the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the southern Mediterranean’ (COM(2011)0200),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council of 22 June 1993,

   having regard to the thematic and geographic financial instruments of the European Commission concerning democratisation, human rights and human trafficking (such as AENEAS, its successor the Thematic Programme for Migration and Asylum, MIEUX, EIDHR, TAIEX, ENPI etc.),

–  having regard to the report of 21 March 2011 by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises(16),

–  having regard to the creation of a post of Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and an operational European External Action Service (EEAS) as of 1 January 2011,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A7-0231/2011),

A.  whereas the EU treaties proclaim human rights and democracy as founding values of the Union and as principles and objectives of the Union's external action, which the latter must promote as universal,

B.  whereas democracy is the best safeguard of human rights and fundamental freedoms, tolerance of all groups in society and equality of opportunity for each person,

C.  whereas democracy has evolved into a universal value, but democratic systems may vary in form and shape, as exemplified by the EU 27 Member States' different but equally valid forms of democracy, shaped by history, culture and circumstances, and by the EU itself, representing a form of supranational democracy that is unique in the world; whereas no single model of, and no one blueprint for, democracy exists, but there is shared agreement on the essential elements of democracy,

D.  whereas these are defined in two United Nations General Assembly resolutions(17),

E.  whereas human rights and democracy are inextricably connected, and only in a democracy can individuals fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms; and whereas only when human rights are respected can democracy exist,

F.  whereas the rule of law must prevail, ensuring equality before the law, recognition of private property rights and the absence of arbitrary interference by public authorities, both in law and in practice, and therefore requires public institutions to exercise their powers through transparent and accountable elected and public officials, with an independent and impartial judiciary,

G.  whereas equality and non-discrimination are of vital importance; and whereas everyone is entitled to the enjoyment of all human rights without discrimination as to race, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, birth or other status; whereas democracy should ensure the rights of all, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, of indigenous people and other vulnerable groups; whereas the ability of men and women to participate on equal terms in political life and in decision-making is a prerequisite for genuine democracy,

H.  whereas democratic governance encompasses among other things the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to justice, an important role for parliaments and local authorities in decision-making, and transparent management of public finances; whereas the accountability of leaders and public officials to citizens is an essential element of democracy; whereas, in this context, the fight against corruption is crucial; and whereas democratic governance also entails civilian control of the security sector,

I.  whereas all citizens have the right to vote periodically in free and fair elections and to run for public office,

J.  whereas freedom of opinion and expression on political, social, and economic matters, defined broadly, without the risk of state punishment, is a universal right, as is the possibility of seeking out diverse sources of information,

K.  whereas all citizens have the right to form independent associations and organisations, including independent political parties and interest groups,

L.  whereas political parties and the range of political views, interests and regional or communal affiliations that they represent are of vital importance; whereas political parties need to operate free from interference by government and executive officials; whereas elected representatives, whether they support or oppose the government, need the authority and resources to debate and approve legislation and national budgets, and to hold government to account for the conduct of public administration and the use of funds; whereas strong parliaments, as the public forum for negotiating peacefully competitive concepts of political and social order, and national legislative decision-making bodies are key to the experience of inclusive democracy,

M.  whereas civil society organisations and non-state actors are a vital building block in a well-functioning democracy and play an important role in establishing a democratic culture deeply rooted in society; whereas they steer public demands and hold public authorities accountable for their actions,

N.  whereas independent and diverse media are essential for ensuring that a wide range of opinions and viewpoints are expressed and communicated to the public; and whereas free access to information and communication and uncensored access to the internet (internet freedom) are universal rights and indispensable for ensuring transparency and accountability in public life,

O.  whereas education in democratic values is important to sustaining democracy, as is age-appropriate participation in decision-making inside educational institutions,

P.  whereas the EU institutions must take these essential elements of democracy as building blocks for the EU's support in specific areas to assist third countries in following their own path to democracy,

Q.  whereas these elements are reflected in the 2009 and 2010 Council conclusions on ‘Democracy support in the EU's external relations’,

R.  whereas EU accession to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) will strengthen the European system of human rights protection and boost the EU's position vis-à-vis third countries,

S.  whereas it is of the utmost importance to reaffirm that civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and that only the enforcement of all of these can contribute to the founding of a genuine democracy; whereas democracy is the best means of guaranteeing and protecting human rights and enabling sustainable economic development; whereas the active participation of civil society in, and its contribution to, processes of governance is of crucial importance, and while too often it remains neglected,

T.  whereas, in its Agenda for Action on Democracy Support in EU External Relations, the Council stated that it wished to improve the coherence and effectiveness of its support, but whereas limited progress has been made in that respect,

U.  whereas the Union has at its disposal a wide range of instruments for supporting democracy and human rights (including political, economic and trade agreements and partnerships, which contain clauses on human rights and democracy, the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+), political dialogues, Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) actions, European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) missions, specialised financing instruments, twinning projects and observation missions); but whereas it is essential to develop a coherent and results-oriented Human Rights and Democracy policy based on a standard methodology tailored to the situation in each country, which removes existing inconsistencies and double standards in EU external policies in favour of democratisation and avoids introducing any new ones, pays particular attention to the specific needs of fragile and post-conflict situations and promotes democracy, human rights and development as interlinked objectives,

V.  whereas the EU should be more sensitive to the social, political, economic and strategic realities of a country when deciding whether to award or withdraw trading preferences such as GSP+,

W.  whereas the EU should intensify its efforts to promote democracy-related norms and elements through its activities within international organisations and should continue to promote effective implementation of the commitments and obligations undertaken within and through the fora in which EU Member States participate,

X.  whereas major challenges persist with regard to monitoring and implementing the legally binding human rights clauses in the EU's international agreements; whereas the suspension of an international agreement between the Union and its partner country in response to severe violations of human rights or democracy is a tool which exists to be used in certain situations; whereas, despite frequent breaches of the human rights and democracy clause and the failure of some third countries to honour the commitments made in the relevant international agreements, the governments of the countries in question are rarely penalised or held sufficiently accountable even in the face of gross human rights violations; whereas the EU's failure to employ this tool consistently undermines the Union's credibility as a strong and resolute actor on the international stage,

Y.  whereas sanctions must be chosen in a fair, measured and intelligent way, and whereas the people of the country concerned must in no circumstances be the primary victims of these sanctions,

Z.  whereas the Union has a genuine policy of incentives in this area with a view to providing leverage for reform, but whereas the full potential of these incentives has not been exploited, for political reasons and in particular because of a lack of consensus throughout the EU on the importance of promoting democracy and respect for human rights as opposed to other priorities; whereas in theory there is no structural or legal impediment to the coordinated use of the external financing instruments to support democratisation,

AA.  whereas Resolution 63/168 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2008 calls for a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty; whereas the death penalty is still used as a method of punishment in many countries of the world and in some cases even on minors,

AB.  whereas the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is central to European policy by virtue of its focus on measures which cannot be implemented through bilateral cooperation instruments,

AC.  whereas the EIDHR finances EU election observation missions, which are a crucial tool for interaction in the area of democratic consolidation, but whereas in many cases their recommendations have not been adequately followed up or implemented,

AD.  whereas this situation may stem from a lack of political commitment on the part of the governments of the countries which host EU election observation missions and from the inability of the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the recommendations are followed up with specific support programmes, in particular for newly elected parliaments,

AE.  whereas the European Parliament does not yet have at its disposal sufficiently detailed studies which would enable it to assess the scope of the support for democracy provided by the Union, including its Member States; whereas this is partly the result of transparency, document-access and consultation issues which have not yet been resolved by the Council,

AF.  whereas the only way to achieve the objectives of genuine democratisation, genuine respect for human rights and genuinely better economic prospects for local populations is to apply a principle of full conditionality; whereas this principle of conditionality should be defined together with beneficiary countries, in close consultation not only with governments but also with civil society, and with due respect for the real needs of local populations,

AG.  whereas political parties and freely and fairly elected parliaments are centrally important to each democracy and democratisation process, and whereas support for, and application of, the EIDHR has not yet corresponded to the importance of these actors in the past,

AH.  whereas the work of UN Women is crucial to supporting women in their contribution to, and participation in, the process of democratisation,

AI.  whereas there is widespread consensus among the EU institutions as to the multi-dimensional, complex and long-term nature of democracy, but whereas the Commission and the Member States have not taken the full electoral cycle into account when programming and implementing measures in support of democracy,

AJ.  whereas in states undergoing democratisation, women and young children are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, including for purposes of prostitution,

Need for a paradigm shift

1.  Believes that only democracies based on the rule of law can function as a foundation for balanced structural partnerships between third countries and the EU that are also in keeping with the needs and interests of both parties and their respective populations;

2.  Stresses that partnerships based on dialogue and consultation enhance ownership of democracy-building processes and elements of democratic governance; calls on all EU institutions to make greater efforts to use these dialogues in a more coherent, consistent and coordinated manner;

3.  Considers that the EU's role as a ‘soft power’ in the international system can only be consolidated if protection of human rights constitutes a real priority for it in its policy towards third countries;

4.  Points out that it is essential, if the EU is to have a credible, consistent foreign policy and support the development of democracy, that an exemplary policy of respect for human rights and democracy is always pursued within the EU and its Member States, both now and in the future;

5.  Considers that combating poverty and removing obstacles to countries' development can make a decisive contribution to democratic processes;

6.  Notes that the events unfolding in North Africa and the Middle East have demonstrated the limitations of a focus on security – notably the fight against irregular migration – and stability, which has failed to reduce poverty and social injustice; stresses that ‘security versus democracy’ is a false dilemma since there can be no human security in a society without a democratic and accountable government; believes that, although there has been economic growth, its benefits have not been distributed fairly; considers therefore that the question of social justice and the fight against inequalities has to become an essential objective of the Union's external policy, as it is an indispensable factor in the building of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic society;

7.  Highlights the need for a paradigm shift aimed at genuine consolidation of democracy on the basis of endogenous, sustainable and comprehensive development that benefits the population and respects the rule of law and basic human rights and freedoms; takes the view that the EU must encourage the establishment of an environment conducive to the development of a democratic society;

8.  Stresses that democracy as a system of government provides mechanisms for allocating political power and managing conflict which are essential for stable and peaceful societies; notes, however, that democracy must be home-grown and cannot be artificially imposed by outside agents; argues that the EU, together with the international community, can play an active role in supporting democratic consolidation processes;

9.  Considers that if a democratisation process is to be successful, it is crucial that it should address the social and economic development of the country concerned, in order to ensure that the inhabitants' basic rights, such as the right to education, health and employment, are met;

10.  Takes the view that the experience of democratic transition following the collapse of communist dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe should be shared with the newly emerging democratic forces in North Africa and the wider Middle East; encourages the Commission and the EEAS to be more actively engaged in the unfolding democratisation process in this important neighbouring region; encourages European parties to develop party-to-party cooperation programmes with emerging partners in all neighbourhood regions;

11.  Emphasises that priority must now be given to making greater and more vigorous practical use of the Union's existing range of instruments and incentives, brought together in strategies tailored to the situation in each country, and to the elimination of inconsistencies and double standards in their implementation, which undermine perceptions of Europe and the latter's ability to implement a strong, consistent external policy; stresses that such an approach requires a genuine change of policy whereby democracy, the rule of law and human rights become a cornerstone of the Union's external policy, not only being translated into policy objectives, but also becoming part of its articulation and its very structure;

12.  Calls for international agreements, country strategy papers, action plans, the GSP+ programme and all other contractual relations between the Union and third countries to be tightened up by means of more clearly worded clauses on human rights, democracy, the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted before decisions are taken, good governance, specific mechanisms in the event of non-compliance (based, at the very least, on those set out in the Cotonou Agreement), commitments coupled with specific, measurable, achievable, time-bound criteria for assessing the progress made, and a specific timetable for implementation; regrets that despite the human rights clauses in the Cotonou Agreement, the EU often turns a blind eye to continuing systematic human rights violations committed by some Cotonou partner governments, adopting a ‘business as usual’ relationship; calls on the Commission to adopt consistent policies aimed at discouraging human rights violations, such as reducing the financial envelopes for governments that fail to respect democracy and human rights, thus denying them budget support, while increasing financial resources to strengthen civil society which bypass those governments;

13.  Recalls that the objectives of the common commercial policy should be fully coordinated with the EU's overall objectives; points out that, pursuant to Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU's common commercial policy must be conducted ‘in the context of the principles and objectives of the Union's external action’, and that, pursuant to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, it must contribute, inter alia, to sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights;

14.  Emphasises the importance of constant monitoring of implementation of the agreements, and calls in this respect for the use of impact studies on human rights and democracy in addition to those on sustainable development in order to ensure continuing evaluation of the agreements;

15.  Notes that democratic principles and values can be further encouraged by promoting ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC, giving priority to the regions that are underrepresented, in order to reinforce its universal character and the fight against impunity, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity;

16.  Deplores the fact that the Commission only very rarely implements mechanisms providing for the withdrawal of GSP+ preferences in the event of breaches of the related agreements; condemns the attitude adopted by the Commission, which, despite mutually corroborating reports from a number of international organisations, is refusing to open investigations into several countries which enjoy GSP+ status and which are strongly suspected of not observing agreements they have signed;

17.  Recalls the firm position adopted by Parliament in favour of including in all free trade agreements legally binding clauses on social and environmental aspects and respect for human rights, taking as a minimum basis the list of conventions contained in the GSP+ Regulation;

18.  Reaffirms that the European Parliament must supervise these aspects more closely; calls, therefore, on the Council and Commission to involve the European Parliament at every stage in the negotiation, conclusion, application and suspension of international agreements with third countries, including the process of defining the negotiating mandate for new agreements (in particular as regards the promotion of human rights), in dialogue within association councils or any other equivalent political body responsible for overseeing an agreement (as regards the honouring of commitments relating to democratisation), and in the process of deciding whether to launch consultation or suspend an agreement;

19.  Considers that lessons must be learned from the past as regards the decision-making process on upgrading relations with partner countries; stresses that advanced status must only be granted if clear human rights and democracy requirements are met by partner countries; calls once again for a clear consultation mechanism which guarantees that Parliament will be kept fully informed at all levels of the negotiations;

20.  Believes that the monitoring of the human rights situation in each country derives its legitimacy primarily from the United Nations framework, and reiterates the need for European countries to adopt a common position in all UN bodies; calls on the Commission and the EEAS, nevertheless, to present regular, comprehensive reports on third countries' implementation of commitments relating to democracy and human rights which are specifically included in agreements with the Union;

21.  Reaffirms the continuous support of the EU for the work of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Women and UNICEF; urges the Council, the Commission and the Member States to collaborate closely with the Human Rights Council;

22.  Calls also on the EU, in such a sensitive field as democratisation, to base its strategies on a detailed analysis of the scope for reform in third countries and of the political will of leaders to engage in such a process, and to identify possible log jams in order to determine the most appropriate strategies; takes the view that this identification process should be based on regular exchanges of views with all democratic forces in a country, in order to ensure that it is rooted in mutual confidence and knowledge;

23.  Notes that European aid channelled as budget support to authoritarian states does not always guarantee democratic development and that it is the outputs of aid, rather than the inputs, on which our assessment of aid effectiveness should focus;

24.  Recommends, in the case of the most problematic partnerships, that the Union refrain from isolating the countries concerned, and that it instead conduct relations with them on the basis of appropriate, effective conditionality, serving as a genuine incentive to democratic reform, compliance with the rules of good governance and respect for human rights, and that the Union verify that such cooperation genuinely benefits the population; endorses the ‘more for more’ approach outlined in the communication entitled ‘A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the southern Mediterranean’; believes that, by the same token, the Union should not hesitate to reassign funds previously earmarked for countries whose governments fail to honour their commitments in the area of democratic governance to countries that have made more progress in meeting the commitments entered into within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Eastern Partnership , and calls for stronger emphasis on promoting democracy in partnership and neighbourhood policies;

25.  Calls on the Union not to hesitate to impose appropriate, proportionate and smart sanctions targeted against the regime's main authorities – while providing support for the population and increasing direct assistance to strengthen civil society – on countries which fail to honour their commitments with regard to human rights, good governance and democratisation, giving due consideration, before taking any action, to the impact of such sanctions on the populations of the beneficiary countries; stresses that cooperation with third countries must be based on the premise of equal, mutual respect between countries; calls for the creation of a financial support network, under the aegis of a Euro-Mediterranean Bank, to promote technical and entrepreneurial development initiatives;

26.  Stresses, however, that this approach, together with the upcoming revised European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), implies that the differentiated approach can only be a valuable and credible instrument if it requires the same human rights and democracy objectives for all ENP partner countries; stresses that the EU would lose its credibility once again by making a difference between ‘minimum standards’ to be respected by the most difficult countries and more ambitious standards for the most advanced countries;

27.  Calls on the Council and the EEAS to mainstream the use of ‘smart’ sanctions, and threats thereof, as an instrument of EU human rights policy vis-à-vis the most repressive regimes; is convinced that selective punitive measures, such as asset freezes and travel bans imposed on high-ranking individuals, can and should be deployed in a way that does not impede further diplomatic engagement, bilateral trade, provision of EU assistance, and people-to-people contacts; reiterates, however, that in order to serve as an effective deterrent against human rights abuses, targeted sanctions should be applied systematically, consistently and with the broadest possible international cooperation;

28.  Calls on the EU and Member States, whenever necessary, to put pressure on the governments of states known for their bad human rights track records, in order to improve the human rights situation in these states and thus accelerate the process of democratisation;

29.  Would welcome the establishment of a forum bringing together national parliaments and the European Parliament to consider foreign policy issues, particularly regarding sensitive subjects such as human rights and democracy;

Further developing the political dimension

30.  Considers that a global, coherent approach is required, based on targeted strategies relating to development, human rights, good governance, social inclusion, promotion of women and minorities and religious tolerance, as an additional instrument of EU foreign policy, and that this is essential as a means of combining the two approaches to promoting democracy, namely the developmental approach, which focuses on socio-economic progress for all and pro-poor growth, and the political approach, which supports political pluralism, parliamentary democracy and respect for the rule of law, human rights and basic freedoms and for a functioning civil society; stresses that such support for the political dimension in third countries must consist in pluralist capacity-building support – notably with regard to the independence and integrity of the judiciary and to good governance mechanisms, including the fight against corruption – and institutional support rather than interference; stresses the added value supplied by former Members of the European Parliament in the EU's measures to promote democratisation;

31.  Calls for improvements in the mainstreaming of human rights, democracy, democratic governance and the rule of law in all EU external relations activities, in line with existing and new commitments, both from an institutional perspective and in policy and geographical/thematic instruments;

32.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to continue upholding the apolitical nature of humanitarian aid provided during the democratisation process;

33.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the Union to support certain groups of actors working towards democratic reforms, including human rights defenders and independent media; stresses the need to strengthen political pluralism with a view to promoting democratic transition; calls for systematic support for new, freely and fairly elected parliaments, especially in countries in transition and those to which the EU has sent election observation missions; considers that such support should not only be financed automatically by the EIDHR but also by geographic instruments;

34.  Welcomes the decision by the Commission and the High Representative to support the establishment of a European Endowment for Democracy (EED), as a flexible and expert tool to support political actors striving for democratic change in non-democratic countries and countries in transition, in particular within the EU's eastern and southern neighbourhood; stresses that the future EED should complement the EIDHR and other democratisation tools and external financial instruments already in force, in terms of its objectives and financial and managerial modalities; supports the idea of decentralising ownership of the EU democracy support policy by twinning EU democracy actors with their counterparts in target countries; calls upon the EEAS, the Commission and the incoming Polish presidency to present a clear demarcation of the competences of a future EED in relation to these instruments and frameworks; insists on a right of scrutiny and involvement for the European Parliament in the process of setting up the EED and in its functioning, in the determination of annual objectives, priorities, expected results and financial allocations in broad terms, and in the implementation and monitoring of activities;

35.  Encourages aid donors to treat democracy-building as a political and moral imperative, rather than simply a technical exercise, and to develop their local knowledge of the recipient countries so that aid can be targeted effectively to suit local circumstances;

36.  Stresses that, in order to be completely legitimate and rooted in the will of the people, any strategy for promoting democracy must be based on dialogue with as wide a range of local actors as possible; urges the Council, the EEAS and the Commission to conduct wide-ranging and in-depth consultations with all stakeholders;

37.  Welcomes the Instrument for Stability's effective, immediate and integrated response to situations of crisis and instability in third countries, and its assistance in establishing the necessary conditions for the implementation of the policies supported by the other instruments, namely the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, the Development Cooperation Instrument and the Economic Cooperation Instrument;

38.  Stresses the importance, for the democratisation of any society, of protecting the rights of girls and women, including the rights to equal treatment and education; firmly supports all initiatives, incentives and capacity-building measures included in EU external policies with a view to promoting participation by women in decision-making at all levels in both the public and the private sphere; highlights the fact that equal participation by women and men in all spheres of life is a crucial element of democracy and that women's participation in development constitutes a fundamental and universally accepted value and precondition for socioeconomic development and good democratic governance; therefore urges the EU institutions to make gender equality a priority on their agenda for democracy promotion; stresses the importance of supporting defenders of women's rights and female parliamentarians, inter alia by developing gender budgeting capacities; in particular, calls on the EU to support financially, and provide capacity-building to, women's rights organisations and female political candidates; supports mainstreaming and reinforcing gender equality issues in thematic priorities and through the use of participatory approaches in programme design and development, with an emphasis on combating gender stereotypes and all forms of discrimination and violence against women;

39.  Proposes that the mandate of the Election Coordination Group (ECG) be enlarged to include democracy support policies, without prejudice to the competencies of the relevant committees, and encourages the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD) to cooperate closely with the ECG;

40.  Calls on the EEAS and the EU delegations to acknowledge the importance of increasing EU delegation officials' awareness of of democracy actions, particularly support for parliaments;

41.  Underlines the importance of mainstreaming democratisation policies in all the European Parliament's work as well as in that of its delegations; also recognises the importance of global interparliamentary cooperation on democratisation policies through fora such as Parliamentarians for Global Action;

42.  Emphasises the role that legitimate democratic political parties, genuine social movements and a free press can play in safeguarding the public interest by overseeing the transparency and accountability of governments, thereby enabling states to protect human rights and promote social and economic development;

43.  Underlines the important role of third countries' civil society and parliaments in democratic budget oversight, and is convinced that any direct budget support provided by the Union has to be complemented by technical and political reinforcement of the oversight capacity of national parliaments; maintains that the Union should actively inform third countries' parliaments of the scope of EU cooperation; encourages the OPPD to take an active role in supporting parliaments with regard to democratic budgetary supervision; warmly welcomes, in this connection, the stepping up of cooperation with Eastern Partnership parliaments within the Euronest assembly, which held its constituent meeting on 3 May 2011, and has great expectations of such cooperation; draws attention to the significance of this European Parliament initiative as an important aspect of EU external policies in favour of democratisation;

44.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the OPPD to assist and support parliaments in new and emerging democracies, as well as regional parliaments; acknowledges the OPPD's contribution to building the institutional and administrative capacity of the parliaments of new and emerging democracies and its cooperation with UNDP and the IPU in this regard; encourages the OPPD to work towards a global consensus on basic standards of good parliamentary practice;

45.  Considers it essential that, in future, civil society directly contribute to the processes of good governance and thus to supervising the implementation of agreements; urges, in this connection, the Commission and the Council to set up a structured monitoring mechanism of the EU's international agreements which involves all components of third countries' civil society, including non-state actors and social partners, in the process of evaluating the implementation of agreements;

46.  Welcomes the Union's decision to develop country strategies in the area of human rights; stresses that these should also cover aspects of democratisation, and calls for their prompt implementation so that the Union can rapidly prepare a joint analysis of the situation and needs in each country, together with an action plan stating how the full use of EU instruments will complement these strategies; stresses, at the same time, that the new strategies and the way in which they are implemented must result in the removal of existing inconsistencies and double standards in EU external policies in favour of human rights and democratisation and must not introduce any new ones; notes that the country strategy papers should shape all external policies pertaining to the country concerned, as well as shaping the use of EU instruments; calls for the country strategy papers to be made available to Parliament;

47.  Calls on the EU to link future financial commitments to the progress made by third countries in the implementation of human rights strategies and real democratic progress;

48.  Underlines the need to build strong coalitions with other actors on the world stage such as the African Union and the Arab League in order to promote democratic values more effectively; urges the EU to actively pursue these coalitions, in particular with the United States of America, in the realm of the common efforts of the EU and the USA to better coordinate their development policies;

49.  Welcomes the creation of a Human Rights and Democracy Directorate within the EEAS, and calls on the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative to ensure that the EU's external representations each have a contact person for human rights and democracy;

50.  Promotes the role of women as peacemakers in preventing and resolving conflicts, and seeks their active involvement for the benefit of society;

51.  Supports regional programmes to protect the most vulnerable individuals, particularly for the benefit of children, women and older people;

52.  Firmly believes that empowering individuals, notably women, and civil society through education, training and awareness-raising, while facilitating effective advocacy for all human rights, including social, economic and cultural rights, is an essential complement to the development and implementation of democratisation policies and programmes, for which the necessary funding should be ensured;

53.  Calls upon the Council and Commission to develop a political strategy in relation to EU election observation missions, including submission of the political blueprint associated with each mission; demands that, two years after each mission, an assessment of the democratic progress made and those aspects needing further improvement be submitted during Parliament's annual human rights debate with the High Representative/Vice-President; reaffirms the benefits of calling on former parliamentarians to make their competence and experience available to election observation missions or their follow-up;

54.  Stresses, especially in view of the limited funds available, the importance of choosing priority countries for election observation missions on the basis of a mission's potential for real impact on the promotion of genuine long-term democratisation; calls on the EEAS to adopt a highly selective approach to choosing such countries; points out that the Election Observation Coordination Group, which is consulted regarding the Union's annual programme of election observation missions, has laid down detailed criteria in this area; calls for increased vigilance over compliance with the methodology and rules laid down at international level, particularly concerning the independence and effectiveness of the mission;

55.  Stresses the importance, at the end of each election observation mission, of drawing up realistic and achievable recommendations; calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to align themselves with the conclusions, and for the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to place special emphasis on supporting the implementation of such recommendations by means of cooperation; stresses the importance of proper monitoring of the implementation of such recommendations; requests that the dissemination and monitoring of these recommendations be entrusted to the EU Delegations, and the necessary means provided; stresses the need for close cooperation with the signatories of the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation in order to strengthen the effectiveness of worldwide election work;

56.  Considers that the EP's standing delegations and the joint parliamentary assemblies should play a significantly enhanced role in following up the recommendations of election observation missions and analysing progress with regard to human rights and democracy;

57.  Stresses the importance of a political support process which does not simply focus on the period immediately before and after elections, but is based on continuity; in this connection, applauds the valuable work carried out by political foundations;

58.  Emphasises that governments must be held accountable for human rights violations, bad governance, corruption and misappropriation of national resources intended to be used for the benefit of the whole of society; in this context, calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to continue to make efforts to promote good governance and to fight impunity, including by demanding full cooperation from third countries with the International Criminal Court (ICC), and ensuring new agreements contain commitments to the Rome Statute;

59.  Calls on the relevant EU institutions to retain and strengthen the EIDHR and improve and streamline other existing instruments and frameworks aimed at democracy support in third countries;

Supporting civil society

60.  Stresses the need for a decentralised approach which complements the political dimension and is better able to take account of the realities of daily life in the countries concerned, by means of support for both local and regional organisations, which help to consolidate democracy by creating fora for dialogue and exchange of good practice with the Union and also with other partner countries in the same region;

61.  Proposes developing a more open and active policy of supporting driving forces in society and those encouraging civic participation; suggests fostering the influence of civil society by means of specific programmes and by incorporating this concept into existing programmes;

62.  Emphasises the need to enhance civil society capacities through education and awareness-raising, and to enable them to participate in political processes; stresses that a close partnership between the public and private sectors, as well as the empowerment of oversight institutions, including national parliaments, are key to promoting democracy;

63.  Calls for targeted support for non-extremist social movements, genuinely independent media and political parties working for democracy in authoritarian states and new democracies, in order to promote public participation, support sustainable multi-party systems and improve human rights; takes the view that the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights should have a key role to play in this regard;

64.  Calls for support for the broad participation of all stakeholders in countries' development and encourages all parts of society to take part in democracy-building; acknowledges the vital role played by NGOs and other non-state actors in the promotion of democracy, social justice and human rights;

65.  Supports the established practice of looking for innovative ways to involve civil society, political parties, the media and other non-governmental political players in the EU's dialogues with third countries; reiterates its support for the freedom, protection and promotion of the media, for the reduction of the digital divide and for the facilitation of internet access;

66.  Supports funding for civil society through the EIDHR and allocating funds to local NGO projects; suggests allocating progressively more funds if the situation in the country is such that there is a civil society and democracy on the road to success;

67.  Underlines the fact that access to information and independent media is crucial to fostering public demand for democratic reforms, and therefore calls for increased support in the areas of promoting the freedom of ‘old’ and ‘new’ media, protecting independent journalists, reducing the digital divide and facilitating internet access;

68.  Applauds steps taken by EU Member States in support of democratisation around the world, such as the programme for cooperation between Ombudsmen from Eastern Partnership countries 2009-2013 that was jointly set up by the Polish and French Ombudsmen with a view to enhancing the ability of Ombudsmen's offices, government bodies and non-governmental organisations in Eastern Partnership countries to protect individual rights and build democratic states based on the rule of law; stresses the need for such action to be coordinated within the EU and for the EU institutions to draw on the experience gained in connection therewith;

69.  Reaffirms the commitment of the EU to combating human trafficking, and calls on the Commission to pay special attention to states undergoing democratisation, since their populations are especially vulnerable to being subjected to human trafficking; asks for close cooperation between DG DEVCO, DG ENLAR, DG HOME and the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator on the matter;

70.  Recognises the importance of cooperation between the EU and the Council of Europe on democratisation around the world; welcomes the commencement of joint EU and Council of Europe programmes in support of democracy, good governance and stability in Eastern Partnership countries;

o   o

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

(1) A/RES/55/96.
(2) A/RES/59/201.
(3) OJ C 320, 28.10.1996, p. 261.
(4) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 107.
(5) OJ C 343, 5.12.2001, p. 270.
(6) OJ C 131 E, 5.6.2003, p. 147.
(7) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2009, p. 31.
(8) OJ C 265 E, 30.9.2010, p. 3.
(9) OJ C 4 E, 7.1.2011, p. 34.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0327.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0446.
(12) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0434.
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0489.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0082.
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0121.
(16) A/HRC/17/31, 2011.
(17)1 A/RES/55/96 and A/RES/59/201.

Legal notice - Privacy policy