Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 12 May 2011 - Strasbourg
Youth on the Move: – a framework for improving Europe's education and training systems
 Early years learning
 EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement
 Public procurement
 European fisheries sector crisis due to rise in oil prices
 Small Business Act review
 Innovation Union: transforming Europe for a post-crisis world
 ILO convention supplemented by a recommendation on domestic workers
 Antibiotic resistance
 Cultural dimensions of EU external actions
 Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries
 Sarajevo as a European Capital of Culture in 2014
 Sri Lanka: follow-up of the UN Report
 Azerbaijan
 Belarus
 Cleanup in Europe and Let's do it World 2012

Youth on the Move: – a framework for improving Europe's education and training systems
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on Youth on the Move: - a framework for improving Europe's education and training systems (2010/2307(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0230A7-0169/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 9 June 2010 entitled ‘A new impetus for European cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to support the Europe 2020 strategy’ (COM(2010)0296),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 September 2010 entitled ‘Youth on the Move: An initiative to unleash the potential of young people to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the European Union’ (COM(2010)0477),

–  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 its resolution of 18 May 2010 on ‘An EU Strategy for Youth – Investing and Empowering’(1),

–  having regard to the Council resolution of 27 November 2009 on the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship(2),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’)(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 11 May 2010 on the social dimension of education and training and on competences supporting lifelong learning and the ‘new skills for new jobs’ initiative(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 June 2010 on the new strategy for jobs and growth, notably the part confirming the headline targets on the improvement of education levels,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 November 2010 on the Youth on the Move initiative, recognising the importance of a more integrated, cross-sectoral approach in response to the challenges young people face(5),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 28 January 2011(6), and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 March 2011(7) on the Youth on the Move initiative,

–  having regard to Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0169/2011),

A.  whereas, in the context of the EU 2020 strategy, young people's knowledge and skills are essential if the objectives of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth are to be achieved,

B.  whereas Youth on the Move (YoM), a flagship initiative of the EU2020 strategy, aims to enhance the attractiveness of higher education in Europe, the overall quality of all levels of education and training and student and worker mobility through the more effective use of existing European programmes,

C.  whereas the ‘EU 2020 strategy’ states that ‘by 2020 all young people in Europe must have the possibility to spend a part of their educational pathway in other Member States’,

D.  whereas youth has a key role to play in achieving the five EU headline targets for 2020: employment, research and innovation, climate and energy, education, and the fight against poverty,

E.  whereas YoM strengthens the existing EU Youth Strategy (COM(2009)0200) by equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and competences needed for work and life,

F.  whereas young people have suffered particularly badly from the crisis and youth unemployment rates in the EU are over 20%, which is twice the average for adults, and in some Member States over 40%,

G.  whereas youth unemployment of close to 21% is one of the most pressing challenges facing Europe,

H.  whereas owing to the economic crisis Member States are cutting investment in education and training, directly affecting young people's future prospects, while Europe is facing an increasing demographic challenge in achieving the growth it needs,

I.  whereas the economic costs of educational underperformance are significantly higher than the costs of the financial crisis,

J.  whereas the crisis emphasised the need to reform our economies and societies, and the vital importance of high-quality vocational education and training systems underpinning those reforms, to better equip Europe to face the challenges of today and tomorrow,

K.  whereas, owing to the progressive decline in public investment in universities and the subsequent increase in fees and/or reduction in social support and study grants, a growing number of students are dropping out of the university system, leading to a widening social gap,

L.  whereas human capital is a strategic tool for ensuring the successful economic and social development of our societies,

M.  whereas, according to Europass data, an increasing number of young people are expressing a desire to travel within the European Union for either educational or occupational purposes,

N.  whereas education is fundamental to fostering young people's creativity and innovative potential; whereas education gives people the necessary tools to develop intellectually, enter the labour market, develop as a person and take up their social and civic role,

O.  whereas research shows that mobility contributes to a sense of European citizenship and involvement in democratic processes,

P.  whereas access to mobility programmes should be possible not only for university students, but also for young people with a low level of qualifications, since such access can increase labour market opportunities,

Q.  whereas mobility programmes should be accessible to all young people, regardless of the type of education they have chosen,

R.  whereas the number of young people able to go abroad to study and work, in particular under EU programmes, is not increasing fast enough,

S.  whereas in its first decade the Bologna process encountered many difficulties in achieving its targets seeking in the area of the development of European higher education,

T.  whereas reducing early school-leaving is pivotal both to preventing young people from running the risk of social exclusion and poverty and to improving and facilitating their access to the labour market,

U.  whereas the transition from education and training to work presents young people with a major challenge,

V.  whereas volunteering represents an important opportunity to acquire more competences through informal and non-formal learning, to take on social responsibility, to understand the importance of European integration and to play an active role as European citizens in a wide range of areas, and whereas that opportunity should be promoted, especially within the framework of the European Year of Volunteering 2011,

W.  whereas youth organisations are major providers of non-formal education complementary to formal education, which is essential to equip young people with skills and competences in order to become active citizens and facilitate their access to the labour market; whereas through this youth organisations help to achieve the aims of the EU 2020 strategy,

X.  whereas it is vital to involve young people, and the various youth organisations that represent them, in the decision-making process so as to provide them with a sense of ownership and ensure that they are actively contributing their ideas to a youth strategy,

Y.  whereas one of the central objectives of YoM is to strengthen European cohesion and produce citizens with an awareness of their European identity,

General remarks and financial support

1.  Welcomes YoM as a political initiative to foster the existing education, mobility and employment programmes for young people and as an incentive for Member States to reach the targets of the EU 2020 strategy;

2.  Stresses that YoM encourages higher education establishments to raise their standards by fostering greater cooperation with establishments all around the world, and points out that cooperation with US establishments can be particularly beneficial in this respect;

3.  Points out that investing in education is without doubt essential for sustainable growth and development and that, even in times of economic crisis, financing youth programmes and education should not be regarded as a cost to be met now, but rather as an investment in the future of Europe;

4.  Emphasises that the objective of all youth initiatives must be to guide young people so they are successfully integrated into society and to prepare them on a continuous basis for the Europe of the future, which means also giving them opportunities to engage in social activities and to help shape society and making it possible for all young people to enjoy the benefits of schooling, of higher and non-formal education, vocational education and training and of further training that lays stress on meeting the requirements of a modern, competitive, inclusive and sustainable society, in order to make it easier for them to gain access to the labour market;

5.  Stresses that the crisis must not be used as a reason to cut education costs, since higher-level education for young people is necessary in order to overcome the impact of the crisis;

6.  Deplores the fact that, according to the Commission, the national schedules drawn up by Member States as a further contribution to meeting the educational objectives of the ‘EU 2020’ strategy are inadequate;

7.  Acknowledges the fact that one of the goals of higher education must be to ensure employability, but points out that it must also nurture the creativity and innovativeness of young people and help them to develop intellectually and socially;

8.  Recognises that the success of the YoM initiative depends largely on the implementation of its key actions by the Member States; therefore asks the Commission to closely monitor and analyse crucial elements during the implementation process with a view to helping the Member States and ensuring better coordination between them;

9.  Calls on the Commission to report regularly to Parliament on the effectiveness of the YoM key actions and the progress made by Member States;

10.  Urges the European institutions to set up a strong structured dialogue in the field of education within the Education and Training 2020 framework, to fully involve youth organisations and other stakeholders in the implementation of education measures, in order to follow up YoM in cooperation with young people, and to debate priorities and actions for young people, giving them a stronger role in the decision-making process on issues that affect them;

11.  Calls on the Commission, in its proposal for a new multiannual financial framework (MFF), to increase progressively investment in mobility and youth programmes, such as Lifelong Learning (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Marie Curie, Erasmus Mundus and Youth in Action, in their present form, as well as in the European Voluntary Service; calls for these programmes to be promoted more effectively and for their target population groups to be made more aware of the opportunities they provide; calls for continued investment in cooperation with candidate and potential candidate countries and to present a proposal for the next generation of mobility and youth programmes in line with the targets of the EU 2020 strategy;

12.  Stresses that no young person who has had problems in his or her educational career for whatever reason must be lost to working life, but that such young people must instead receive targeted support; points out that access to education must not be contingent on the social or financial status of a young person's parents; emphasises the importance of horizontal mobility at all levels of education, both at school and during vocational training;

13.  Stresses that mobility should be made more attractive and that financial support should be widespread and sufficient, with a special focus on the most disadvantaged; reiterates that this position should be reflected in the next MFF; calls, with a view to enhancing training mobility, for the share of the budget earmarked for the Leonardo Programme to be increased;

14.  Emphasises that ambitious funding is necessary to meet the objective of giving everyone the opportunity to undertake part of their education and training abroad; takes the view that education and training must be a priority for the European Union and that this objective should be reflected in the next MFF;

15.  Calls for the educational programmes aimed at promoting mobility to be extended beyond 2013 and asks the Commission to increase the funding allocated to such programmes when future framework programmes are drawn up;

16.  Calls on the European Union to harness its own financial instruments in order to help young people, making better use of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund;

17.  Asks Member States to make greater investment in education and training systems at all levels, to support financially the implementation of EU mobility programmes at national level, and to secure or raise the quality of education in general;

18.  Is convinced that the Youth in Action Programme is crucial for youth participation in Europe and that this programme should be strengthened and continued; therefore calls on the Commission to maintain a separate Youth in Action Programme in the forthcoming MFF;

19.  Stresses the importance of the YoM initiative, which is instrumental in involving young people in society, and calls on the Commission to make use of the know-how gained from the Youth in Action Programme;

20.  Encourages Member States to target a total investment of at least 2% of GDP in higher education, as recommended by the Commission in the Annual Growth and Employment Survey, as the minimum required for knowledge-intensive economies;

21.  Draws attention to the importance of flexible education programmes that are compatible with simultaneous employment;

Youth and mobility

22.  Calls for young people to b actively at all stages of EU programmes, from framing to implementation;

23.  Emphasises the importance of young people being included not only in the labour market and the economy, but also in shaping the future of Europe; asks the Commission to come up with a Green Paper on Youth Participation;

24.  Agrees that action must be taken at an early age in order to reduce early school-leaving to below 10%, as agreed under the EU 2020 Strategy, with a special focus on disadvantaged areas; welcomes the Commission proposal for a Council recommendation to support Member States' efforts to reduce school drop-out rates;

25.  Emphasises that early school-leaving, as a known factor increasing the risk of future exclusion from both employment and society, must be dramatically reduced; stresses that this phenomenon must be addressed in a multifaceted way, in combination with social measures to enhance education and training in disadvantaged areas;

26.  Calls on the EU institutions, in view of the fact that youth mobility can help to support democratic processes, to establish a framework allowing young people from European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries to be involved in the YoM initiative, thus providing young people from both EU Member States and ENP countries with better learning opportunities;

27.  Emphasises the importance of also facilitating the mobility of teachers and of workers in the field of youth and education, because they can act as catalysts for the young people coming under their supervision;

28.  Recognises the important contribution of regional and local governments to stimulating mobility;

29.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States also to pay special attention and give support to those who are most at risk, to categories of young people with fewer opportunities and to those seeking a ‘second chance’ to get back into education;

30.  Calls on the Commission to collect data at national, regional and local levels on the practical barriers to mobility, and to take all necessary steps to remove them in order to ensure high-quality mobility that is accessible to all throughout the entire path of education, including vocational education and training (VET); takes the view that the Mobility Scoreboard proposed by the Commission would be very useful in achieving this objective;

31.  Encourages the Commission to take more initiatives for youth mobility, also in regions adjacent to the EU;

32.  Calls on the Commission to take urgent action to encourage mobility with a view to promoting education, employment and recognition of professional qualifications;

33.  Points out the importance of taking measures to ensure that young people, including those who come from disadvantaged areas, are mobile at every stage of their education, that the full portability of grants when they are abroad is guaranteed and that their interim results and qualifications are recognised in all Member States, as suggested in the European Qualifications Framework;

34.  Recognises that disabled young people, as well as young people with children, must be afforded additional support in gaining access to existing mobility programmes and in taking full advantage of them and striking a study-work-life balance;

35.  Recalls that in addition to international mobility, encouragement should be given to internationalisation at home, and support given to the creation of an international cooperation network from the student's home university and country; emphasises the potential of the virtual mobility of young people as a supplement to geographical mobility;

36.  Emphasises the importance of recognising skills obtained through any form of learning, including, non-formal and informal learning, and their role in developing important skills and competences that will guarantee people access to and their adaptability to the needs of the labour market, and calls for skills and competences acquired in this manner to be included in the Mobility Scoreboard;

37.  Recommends encouraging projects that sustain the transmission of knowledge and skills from generation to generation; draws attention to the benefits to be gained from the skills and cultural capital of mobile international students;

38.  Calls on the Commission to present a comprehensive strategy to promote non-formal education and to support providers of non-formal education;

39.  Stresses the importance of mobility in strengthening the feeling of European citizenship, enhancing European culture and European values of mutual respect, broadening the involvement of young people in the democratic process and building a stronger European dimension in young people;

40.  Reminds Member States to introduce the learning of the ‘mother tongue plus two’ languages at an early stage in life and in early childhood education; points out that for people without a second language mobility will not become a reality; draws attention to the importance of learning the languages of neighbouring countries;

41.  Calls on Member States to promote learning and employment mobility by: (a) increasing awareness and making information easily accessible to all those young people interested; (b) highlighting the added value of mobility at the early stages of education; (c) ensuring that learning outcomes from mobility experiences between Member States are validated; and (d) reducing administrative burdens and stimulating cooperation between the relevant authorities across the Member States;

42.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate learning and employment mobility by: (a) strengthening the EU's education and youth programmes, such as Erasmus, Leonardo and Youth in Action; (b) enhancing the implementation of existing European instruments and tools, such as the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and Europass; and (c) developing the new tools that it has already examined, such as the Youth on the Move website, the Youth on the Move card, the European skills passport and the pilot project ‘Your first EURES job’;

43.  Welcomes the key new actions of the YoM initiative, such as a single central mobility website, a mobility card complementing and reinforcing the success of established youth and student cards and a European Skills Passport which is intended to become an online lifelong learning portfolio, all of which upgrade useful and already existing mobility tools; calls, moreover, for improved visibility for all existing and future programmes;

European higher education and the Bologna process

44.  Stresses the importance of beginning a new, more constructive dialogue between all stakeholders within the Bologna process, taking stock on the basis of its successes, and its problems, in order to further improve it;

45.  Calls on the Commission to widen the focus of the Modernisation Agenda for Universities, and renew the priorities to meet new challenges, such as the social dimension of higher education, promoting student-centred learning and supporting Member States in their efforts to reach the 40% attainment benchmark;

46.  Strongly believes that university autonomy is necessary, but simultaneously stresses the responsibility of universities towards society; calls on the Member States to invest in the reform and modernisation of higher education;

47.  Draws attention to the need to find a balance between higher education systems, on the one hand, and the needs of the economy and society in general, on the other, and to interlink them through appropriate curricula that equip people with the competences and skills needed for the society and economy of the future;

48.  Calls on Member States, regions and local authorities to promote and enhance cooperation between universities, VET centres and the private sector, in order to enhance the ‘university-business’ dialogue and to ensure better coordination between the three corners of the knowledge triangle, namely research, education and innovation;

49.  Emphasises the importance of the existing research and innovation funding programmes under the Framework Programme for Research and Development and cohesion policy, and of ensuring better coordination with education measures; considers, furthermore, that cross-border cooperation is essential to the success of the YoM initiative; calls, therefore, on the stakeholders to make full use of the opportunities available under the cohesion policy's Territorial Cooperation Objective;

50.  Stresses the importance of flexible training arrangements, such as open universities and greater use of online further education facilities, thereby giving all young people access to a high standard of education to an advanced level and ensuring that they are not deprived of this opportunity for reasons of distance or scheduling; considers that, given the delayed entry of young people on to the employment market and the problems in ensuring the sustainability of social security schemes, it is extremely important to create suitable conditions for combining study and work;

51.  Encourages universities to bring their programmes and structures more closely into line with the specific needs of the labour market, to consider the needs of businesses when developing their curricula and to pursue new methods of cooperation with private and public companies by encouraging the creation of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and sponsorships, while fostering and supporting youth entrepreneurship;

52.  Points to the need for universities to develop programmes to encourage entrepreneurship among students via training programmes, and by setting up points of contact with financial players interested in supporting innovative projects;

53.  Emphasises the importance of promoting entrepreneurship and helping young people to start their own business and of promoting and extending the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme; recommends, therefore, implementing an EU information campaign in education establishments that covers entrepreneurship, start-up capital, taxation of start-up businesses and continuous training support;

54.  Urges the Commission to establish a database of innovative projects which facilitates exchanges of good practices between projects already tried and tested by Member States or universities, in order to help connect graduates and enterprises and guarantee graduates immediate access to the world of work;

55.  Recognises the value in students being offered study grants by private enterprises;

56.  Suggests that, instead of the global university ranking system, the Commission introduces an information-based system on European university programmes which would, among other things, issue regular public reports on the employability of students on each programme and on mobility opportunities;

57.  Urges the Commission to make all the necessary efforts to complete the European Research Area, providing greater support for the mobility of young researchers in order to promote European excellence in the field of research;

58.  Believes that the Member States need to ensure that a system of grants providing access to higher education is available to young men and young women on an equitable basis, with the aim of avoiding any replication of inequalities, and with special emphasis on tertiary education;

Vocational education and training

59.  Calls on the Member States to modernise and increase the attractiveness and quality of VET so that it can be better adapted to the current and future needs of the changing labour market, which by 2020 will require new knowledge and skills based on diplomas that should be mutually recognised in all Member States; in that connection, highlights the great success of dual education systems in the Member States concerned;

60.  Emphasises that adapting education systems and vocational training to the future skills requirements of the labour market is one of the keys to combating youth unemployment, and therefore that the transition from school, vocational education and training or higher education to employment must be better prepared and must follow on directly from education or training; takes the view that better cooperation needs to be encouraged between educational establishments, youth organisations, the various labour market sectors and employers, for example with specialists in various fields giving lectures or seminars to familiarise students with their future work;

61.  Emphasises, therefore, the major importance of implementing effectively the ‘European Youth Guarantee’ initiative and making it an instrument for active integration into the labour market; stresses that Member States have not so far made any convincing commitment to implementing the European Youth Guarantee initiative and calls on them to do so speedily;

62.  Takes the view that mobility for the acquisition of new skills is a strong tool for improving the skills and competences, personal development and active citizenship of young people; takes the view that voluntary mobility in the framework of schooling and vocational training, further training and higher education should therefore be promoted for all young people, irrespective of their financial, social and ethnic background, the type of education or training in which they are engaged, and of their disabilities, health problems or geographical situation, and should be encouraged by means of professional guidance and counselling made available throughout the process;

63.  Emphasises that mobility must not lead to a lowering of social standards in the host country; emphasises the importance for increased mobility of the mutual recognition of school, vocational training and university diplomas and further training qualifications obtained within the EU;

64.  Calls for the proper implementation of ECVET, EQF and ECTS; makes it clear that proof of mutual recognition must be granted within 12 months of the date on which the qualification was obtained; points out that Parliament is kept regularly informed by means of the mobility indicators;

65.  Stresses the importance of supporting and further enhancing mobility in the field of VET including apprenticeships, by providing VET students and apprentices with information, counselling, guidance and hosting structures when they are abroad; places particular emphasis on the need to set up partnerships with training centres and business organisations with a view to guaranteeing the availability of high-quality mobility opportunities and making them an integral part of learning pathways;

66.  Highlights the difficulties faced in moving to higher education from VET, and stresses that learning institutions must adapt in order to facilitate this transition;

67.  Stresses that by providing them with knowledge and skills VET and higher education and training can improve young people's motivation and optimism as well as help them build their self-esteem;

Transition from education and training to work

68.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote voluntary work by, for example, affording it a firm legal basis and recognising it as time worked, thereby making it a valid option for young people, especially when unemployed;

69.  Strongly stresses that the smooth entrance of young people on to the labour market depends mainly on the modernisation, including in terms of their curricula, of VET institutions and universities, with a view to ensuring the quality of teaching and matching study programmes to the needs of the labour market;

70.  Highlights the importance of making university timetables more flexible for students who have already entered the workforce and want to study simultaneously;

71.  Emphasises that young people must be given access to VET once in work, thereby enabling them to accumulate training while at work, and that continuous training, a lifelong-learning approach and professional development must be supported from the very first job and that the Member States must be urged to establish independent systems for the provision of advice on further training with a view to guaranteeing that further training becomes the norm;

72.  Emphasises that high-quality initial education and vocational training covering all trades and professions increases young people's job opportunities and guarantees businesses a supply of skilled employees; calls on the Member States to establish appropriate supervisory bodies in order to ensure that such education and training is provided;

73.  Strongly supports the EU target for 40% of young people to complete tertiary or equivalent (i.e. higher and vocational) education;

74.  Stresses the importance of guidance instruments for young people to help them in their educational and professional choices, from primary school to higher levels of education and training, in order to better prepare them for a smooth transition to active life; takes the view that measures must be taken to strengthen the role of the family and social environment of young people and of their schools in guiding them in their career choices and towards finding an occupation; points out that in many cases individually tailored support, in the form of advice for young people choosing a career and starting work, is required in order to achieve that objective;

75.  Invites tertiary education institutions to incorporate a properly paid, high-quality traineeship into study programmes where appropriate in order to enable young people to prepare themselves for working life, and especially in order to enable them to access jobs requiring high-level qualifications; points out that such traineeships must not take the place of real jobs and must offer adequate pay and welfare protection, and stresses the need for labour-market recognition of such traineeships; calls on the Member States to develop policies that promote the recruitment of young people;

76.  Calls on the Commission to promote at European level initiatives to recognise traineeships as a period of employment for social security purposes, as some Member States are already doing;

77.  Believes it vital to support private sector initiatives aimed at young people, with a view to fostering job creation and social inclusion;

78.  Points to the need to use European history and European culture as prime tools for deepening European integration;

79.  Believes that high-quality education and training systems can help to improve young people's chances of finding a fulfilling job, which will consequently increase their confidence in the future, boost their creativity and, in this way, contribute to the prosperity of society;

80.  Recognises the role of local and regional authorities in the field of training and mobility; takes the view that their competences and experience should be seen as complementary to EU action; emphasises that, in order to achieve its goals, the EU should develop a partnership approach, particularly with local and regional authorities;

Employment situation for young people

81.  Stresses that the employment situation for young people is dependent on overall economic policies; urges the Member States to shift towards investment and job creation; points out that austerity measures involving, for example, cut backs in the education system and job creation will not help young people and could potentially damage society and the economy in the longer term;

82.  Emphasises that close links need to be established between the flagship initiatives which seek to tackle unemployment, such as ‘Youth on the Move’ and ‘New Skills for New Jobs’; believes that the social partners, business representatives, local and regional authorities and youth organisations should be involved in the development of a sustainable strategy to reduce youth unemployment, in which there must be EU-wide mutual formal recognition and certification of the skills reflected in formal and informal qualifications – in line with the EU's EQF system – and acquired in formal, non-formal and informal learning situations;

83.  Emphasises that, as a result of the economic and financial crisis, youth unemployment – the causes of which the ILO does not regard as lying in income and non-wage labour cost levels, participatory rights and social protection standards – became a major challenge across the EU and has not so far been sufficiently addressed by the EU and Member States; stresses that unemployment at a young age puts the individual at a very high risk of poverty in the long term; emphasises the need for quality jobs in order to prevent young people from falling into the category of working poor;

84.  Stresses that employment and traineeship contracts should provide social rights for all from day one of the contract; rejects any proposal to depart from this principle; stresses that periods of notice must not be shortened, that arrangements laid down in collective agreements and statutory provisions must apply as they do to regular employees, and that participatory rights and freedom of association must be enjoyed without restriction from day one;

85.  Calls for an EU framework laying down rights and protection arrangements for atypical and insecure jobs in a manner consistent with the principle of subsidiarity;

86.  Emphasises that young people must be protected against discrimination at the workplace, especially on the grounds of age and professional experience, through the effective implementation of Directive 2000/78/EC; calls for all Member States to set up a national strategy to tackle youth unemployment;

87.  Emphasises that young people's main concern is to be independent and to have access to healthcare and decent accommodation at a reasonable price while being able to train, work and develop themselves; calls, therefore, on Member States to eliminate age-related discrimination as regards access to social welfare schemes;

88.  Reiterates the importance of specific, verifiable objectives combined with adequate financial means for the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy and the integrated guidelines to reduce youth unemployment; emphasises, therefore, that in their National Reform Programmes the Member States should commit themselves to raising the employment rate for young people between the ages of 15 and 25 by 10% by 2014 and to increase the youth employment rate (for those not in education) to 75% by 2020;

89.  Notes that, since some 35% of all jobs that will become available between now and 2020 will require high qualifications combined with the ability to adapt and innovate, intensive efforts must be made to increase the proportion of people aged between 30 and 34 with a university degree or equivalent qualification to at least 40%;

90.  Recognises that implementing the integrated guidelines is the responsibility of the Member States, whilst the Commission should support and monitor action at national level through the open method of coordination (OMC); takes the view that the target groups and indicators proposed by the Commission in the initiative should be monitored and that the progress made during implementation should be measured by means of clear indicators;

91.  Takes the view that measures must be taken by the Member States to provide as much information, choice and training as possible to help young people fulfil their potential, but strongly believes this is best delivered by people working on the ground at local level in each Member State;

92.  Takes the view that quality career and vocational guidance services must be further developed; stresses the importance of involving the social partners in their design, organisation, delivery and funding in order to ensure labour-market relevance and efficiency;

93.  Stresses the importance in terms of corporate social responsibility of helping young people make sound career choices, taking account of the needs of both the national and the European employment market, and points out that such initiatives could be accompanied by work-experience placements;

94.  Takes the view that occupational choices are still strongly gender-based and that this is a factor adding to gender inequality; stresses that this has an impact both on female unemployment and on poverty; stresses that such gender-based discrimination needs to be overcome;

95.  Stresses that measures must be taken to present a comprehensive overview of possible educational and training paths and later career choices, for example with the help of equality advisers, and that an attempt must be made from an early age to interest and support girls, in particular, in taking MINT (Mathematics, Informatics, Natural sciences, and Technology) subjects and in areas of strategic importance in professional development terms, and boys in teaching, caring and social professions;

96.  Emphasises that, in the light of the future shortage of skilled workers, specific measures must be taken to foster the potential of girls and women, involving, in particular, specific support programmes which encourage the preparation of girls for scientific and technical professions;

97.  Welcomes the greater role played by the EIB in establishing financing programmes for students and in supporting young people setting up their own businesses; believes that the EIB should play an even greater role by investing selectively in high added-value sectors in the Member States and particularly in enterprises that are making the greatest effort to hire young people and provide them with high-quality training;

98.  Emphasises that young people who have poorer chances of getting started in life, in particular the NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) group, must be supported or even mentored with a view to identifying their individual needs and focusing on increasing their integration into the labour market and their access to quality jobs;

99.  Considers that free, publicly-funded training places and a standardised system of training assistance can be one effective instrument for integrating particularly disadvantaged young people into the labour market;

100.  Stresses, however, that integration into the first labour market is essential and that any integration measures should aim to promote access to the regular labour market from an early stage onwards, backed by support measures focusing on the needs of individuals;

101.  Stresses the specific difficulties poor young people face in spending time abroad, owing to financial and linguistic constraints and in some cases discrimination; is convinced that financial support must address the needs of the most disadvantaged in particular;

102.  Stresses the importance of creating employment opportunities for disabled young people, by establishing suitably adapted training programmes, and of encouraging the provision of more employment grants for this important group of young people, in the interests of helping them to become more integrated and achieve their potential in society;

103.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to support information campaigns about education and training possibilities for young people with disabilities, such as the Exchange Ability project developed by the European Disability Forum and the Erasmus Student Network;

104.  Emphasises that Eurofound's 2009-2012 work programme includes the specific project ‘Active inclusion for young people with disabilities or health problems’ and points to the crucial role of training centres offering social and professional skills training for youngsters with disabilities and those who grew up in institutional care; calls for support to be given to the development and use of these training centres where needed;

105.  Stresses the need for measures to clarify fully the situation at national and European level regarding young people who are unemployed and not taking part in education or training; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to identify the reasons for the marginalisation of young people and recommend ways of reintegrating them and of taking action to remedy the problem through the achievement over the next 10 years of the relevant objectives with regard to the employability and competitiveness of the European workforce and a reduction in school drop-out rates;

106.  Emphasises that traineeships are an appropriate aid in making the right career choice at all stages of the process of choosing an occupation, and draws attention once again to the need to lay down minimum standards for traineeships, for example as regards income and social rights, including social protection and social security arrangements, in order to improve the quality of traineeships and ensure their educational value;

107.  Reiterates its view that traineeships must not replace actual jobs and must be strictly limited in duration; stresses that a legally-binding European quality framework for traineeships covering all forms of education and training is urgently needed in order to prevent trainees from being exploited and that the Commission should present an action plan, with a timetable, incorporating an outline of how this quality framework would be implemented;

108.  Welcomes the ‘Your first EURES job’ initiative to promote professional mobility, which should be closely linked with the European Vacancy Monitor so that workers and employers have a comprehensive, transparent overview of the EU job market and vacancies can be filled by suitable persons as quickly as possible; points out, however, that this must not lead to a brain drain away from certain parts of the EU;

109.  Emphasises that the EU's coordinated active labour market measures, such as publicly funded work programmes for young people, and the creation of new, sustainable and good jobs – which are properly remunerated – and new businesses, as well as the promotion of a business culture in schools, incentives for new initiatives, technical assistance for start-ups, administrative simplification to speed up formalities, local service networks to facilitate management, and links with universities and research centres to promote product and process innovation, recognition of voluntary work as professional experience and the promotion of entrepreneurship, are all essential elements in the process of successfully tackling youth unemployment and supporting inclusive growth;

110.  Emphasises the importance of non-formal and informal learning and education and voluntary work for the development of young people; stresses that the skills gained not only offer young people opportunities in terms of their entry into the world of work, but also enable them to be actively involved in society and to take responsibility for their lives;

111.  Stresses that the ultimate goal of the YoM initiative is not only to improve European education systems and to increase youth employability, but also to create a social environment in which every young person will be able to realise his or her potential and aspirations;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0166.
(2) OJ L 17, 22.1.2010, p. 43.
(3) OJ C 119, 28.5.2009, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 135, 26.5.2010, p. 2 and p. 8.
(5) OJ C 326, 3.12.2010, p. 9.
(6) CdR 292/2010.
(7) SOC/395.


Early years learning
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on Early Years Learning in the European Union (2010/2159(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0231A7-0099/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 14 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular Articles 3, 18 and 29 thereof,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

–  having regard to Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Early Childhood Education and Care: Providing all our children with the best start for the world of tomorrow’ (COM(2011)0066),

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and to Parliament entitled ‘Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems’ (COM(2006)0481),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 20 January 2010 on early childhood care and education(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 11 May 2010 on the social dimension of education and training(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 November 2009 on the education of children with a migrant background(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’)(5),

–  having regard to the ‘Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 21 November 2008 on preparing young people for the 21st century: an agenda for European cooperation on schools’(6),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002,

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 September 2008 on improving the quality of teacher education(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2009 on ‘Multilingualism: an asset for Europe and a shared commitment’(8),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0099/2011),

A.  whereas children's early learning lays the foundation for successful lifelong learning, which is central to the achievement of the Europe 2020 targets,

B.  whereas children in their earliest years are particularly curious, receptive and willing to learn, and whereas important skills such as the ability to speak and express oneself, as well as social skills, are formed at this age; whereas it is at this age that the foundations for the child's future educational and occupational career are laid,

C.  whereas throughout the EU, early childhood education and care (ECEC) is provided in different ways, with various definitions of ‘quality’ which depend heavily on states' and regions' cultural values and their interpretation of ‘childhood’,

D.  whereas there is a clear link between a poor and disadvantaged background and low educational achievement, and whereas families from such backgrounds have been shown to benefit most from access to ECEC services; whereas these disadvantaged groups are less likely to seek access to ECEC services owing to issues of availability and affordability,

E.  whereas ECEC tends to receive less attention and lower investment than any other stage of education, despite clear evidence that investment in it brings great returns,

F.  whereas ECEC targets are often overly labour-market-driven, focusing too heavily on the need to increase the numbers of women in work and too loosely on the needs and best interests of the child,

G.  whereas many households have major difficulties in reconciling family obligations with the constraints of work linked to current changes in the labour market, such as the trend for employees to be required to work atypical and flexible hours and the rise of insecure jobs,

H.  whereas there is a direct link between the well-being of parents and children and the provision, in terms of both quantity and quality, of early years services,

I.  whereas childcare has traditionally been seen as the natural activity of women, which has led to a predominance of women working in the ECEC field,

J.  whereas staff qualifications vary markedly between Member States and between types of providers, and whereas in most Member States there is no obligation on pre-school providers to employ staff with specific qualifications,

K.  whereas there has been very little research undertaken at EU level on young children's education which can inform the development and implementation of EU-wide ECEC policies,

Child-centred approach

1.  Welcomes the following targets set in the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council: ‘to provide childcare by 2010 to at least 90% of children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age and at least 33% of children under 3 years of age’; argues, however, that the Council and the Commission must revise and update these targets, putting the needs and best interests of the child at the centre of their ECEC policies;

2.  Recognises that the Europe 2020 strategy, which seeks to create an inclusive society by raising employment, lowering school-drop out rates and reducing poverty, cannot be achieved unless all children are given an adequate start in life;

3.  Notes that the early years of childhood are critical for cognitive, sensory and motor development, affective and personal development and language acquisition, and also lay the foundations for lifelong learning; recognises that ECEC supports children's healthy mental and physical development, enabling them to become more balanced human beings; recommends, therefore, that the Member States consider introducing a compulsory year of nursery schooling before the start of schooling proper;

4.  Stresses that the early development of healthy lifestyle behaviours, such as good nutrition habits and appropriate and balanced exercise, can have a profound impact on physical and mental development and be a key determinant of health throughout life; warns against including children too early in certain intensive, results-oriented sports activities;

5.  Recalls the importance of all early learning in the acquisition of knowledge, particularly of languages, multilingualism and linguistic diversity;

6.  Encourages the introduction and retention of innovative pedagogical models for language teaching, particularly multilingual crèches and nursery schools which meet the objective set in Barcelona in 2002, which includes the learning of regional, minority and neighbouring languages;

7.  Draws attention to the importance of developing and improving educational establishments (after-school facilities) which look after children following pre-school classes;

8.  Highlights that, in addition to education and care, all children have the right to rest, leisure and play;

Universal provision of ECEC

9.  Notes that, according to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2009, educational disadvantage should be addressed by providing high quality early childhood education and targeted support, and by promoting inclusive education;

10.  Recognises that, while disadvantaged social groups may benefit from additional help, provision of ECEC should ideally be universal for all parents and children regardless of their background or financial status;

11.  Emphasises that, where appropriate, children with disabilities should participate in mainstream ECEC services, and, where necessary, be offered additional specialist help;

12.  Calls on the Member States to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities promptly;

13.  Stresses that the Member States should allow pluralist approaches in the context of the pre-school curriculum and related practice;

Engagement with parents

14.  Stresses that parents, both mothers and fathers, are equal partners in ECEC; recognises that ECEC services should be fully participative, involving all staff, parents and, where possible, children themselves;

15.  Highlights that the provision of periods of maternity and paternity leave of sufficient length, the implementation of efficient and flexible labour market policies are essential components in effective ECEC policy;

16.  Encourages the Member States to invest in parental education programmes and, where appropriate, to provide other forms of assistance, such as home visiting services, for parents who need additional help; maintains, furthermore, that parents should be provided with free, low-threshold, on-site access to advisory services in crèches;

17.  Stresses that cultural activities are a source of enrichment for children, promote dialogue between different cultures and develop a spirit of openness and tolerance; recalls, in this connection, that it is important for teams of professionals working with and for children to carry out intercultural activities with children and their parents;

18.  Notes that children of parents without legal residence status are still not given access to early years learning in all the Member States;

19.  Calls on the Member States to grant the children of asylum seekers, refugees and persons with subsidiary protection status, or leave to remain on humanitarian grounds, access to early childhood education, so as not to restrict their life chances at the outset;

Better integration of services

20.  Encourages the Member States to integrate ECEC services, providing support for their development and for related activities and ensuring better cooperation and coordination between the different institutions and ministries working on early childhood policies and programmes;

21.  Encourages the Member States to allow ECEC services sufficient autonomy to retain their uniqueness and creativity in seeking solutions for the well-being of children;

22.  Highlights the importance of innovative ECEC services which are local in character and bring together community members from the health, social, education, cultural and other sectors;

23.  Calls on the Member States, in synergy with local authorities and non-profit organisations, to promote and finance measures and projects to provide ECEC services to children from disadvantaged social groups, and to monitor and assess them;

24.  Recognises that account needs to be taken of the variety of families' differing life situations and the concomitant diversity of their needs, and looks to see a diverse, flexible and innovative range of early childhood education and care provision;

25.  Calls for the development of a European framework for ECEC services that respects the Member States' cultural diversity and highlights shared goals and values;

Economic benefits

26.  Stresses that in an unstable economic climate we must not neglect to invest substantially in ECEC services; emphasises that the Member States should devote appropriate resources to ECEC services;

27.  Reaffirms that investment in ECEC has been proven to have subsequent economic and social benefits, such as increased tax contributions through a strengthened workforce, along with reduced future health costs, lower crime rates and fewer instances of antisocial behaviour; stresses that prevention is a more effective tool, and more cost-efficient, than intervention at a later stage;

28.  Recognises that quality early years education can help reduce early school leaving, combat the educational disadvantages faced by children from disadvantaged social and cultural groups and reduce the resulting social inequalities, all of which affect society as a whole; notes that young people from vulnerable social groups are particularly at risk;

29.  Emphasises that high-quality ECEC services are a complement to, rather than a substitute for, a strong welfare system incorporating a broad range of anti-poverty tools; calls on the Member States to address societal poverty;

Staff and quality services

30.  Stresses that the pre-school period is the most important time in a child's emotional and social development, and that staff working with pre-school children must therefore have appropriate qualifications; emphasises that the well-being and safety of the child is of the utmost importance when recruiting staff;

31.  Notes that the positive effects of early intervention programmes can be sustained in the long term only if they are followed up with high-quality primary and secondary education;

32.  Recognises that the most notable impact on the quality of ECEC services comes from having qualified and well-trained staff working with young children, and as such calls on the Member States to raise professional standards by introducing recognised qualifications for those working in the ECEC field; notes that other factors, including staff-to-child ratios, group sizes and curriculum content, can also affect quality;

33.  Recognises the need for more connections and transfers of approach between ECEC educators and primary school teachers, focusing on the continuity of learning methods;

34.  Calls on the Member States to develop mechanisms for evaluating ECEC provision and ensuring that quality standards are met, in order to improve ECEC services;

35.  Calls, in the context of the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), for account to be taken of the quality of education and thus of learning outcomes; calls on the Member States to provide continuous training for those working in the ECEC field in order to increase and update their specific skills;

36.  Encourages the Member States to ensure that all qualified ECEC staff are ideally paid a salary in line with that of primary school teachers;

37.  Calls on the Member States to address the problem of the gendering of care work by implementing policies designed to increase the numbers of men on ECEC courses;

Research and exchange of best practices

38.  Points out that, despite the existence of empirical data on young children from some Member States (compiled by, inter alia, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, UNICEF, the International Early Years Education Journal and the OECD), there is still a need for a better understanding of childhood development in early years education; calls for further investigation and research across the EU, and for an EU-wide exchange of results, taking into account the cultural diversity of the Member States;

39.  Regrets that EU structural funding and schemes such as Comenius, which allow educators to participate in EU-wide exchanges, are not used enough; calls on the Member States to increase awareness of such schemes and funds among ECEC educators;

40.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to promote the identification and exchange of good policies and practices through the open method of coordination, as mentioned in its communication on ECEC, and recommends that the Member States cooperate and exchange best practices in order to improve existing ECEC programmes;

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

(1) OJ L 327, 24.11.2006, p. 45.
(2) OJ C 339, 14.12.2010, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 135, 26.5.2010, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 301, 11.12.2009, p. 5.
(5) OJ C 119, 28.5.2009, p. 2.
(6) OJ C 319, 13.12.2008, p. 20.
(7) OJ C 8 E, 14.1.2010, p. 12.
(8) OJ C 117 E, 6.5.2010, p. 59.


EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement
P7_TA(2011)0232RC-B7-0193/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 208 and 218 TFEU,

–  having regard to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1801/2006 of 30 November 2006 on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania(1),

–  having regard to the November 2010 visit to Mauritania by the Committee on Fisheries,

–  having regard to the oral question to the Commission concerning the negotiations regarding the renewal of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Mauritania (O-000038/2011 - B7-0018/2011),

–  having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the current protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania expires on 31 July 2012, and whereas the Commission intends to launch negotiations regarding its renewal, for which it has received a prescriptive mandate from the Council,

B.  whereas the FPA with Mauritania provided for a financial contribution of EUR 305 million over four years, making it an important international agreement for Mauritania given that EU payments and licence fees constitute about one third of total state income,

C.  whereas the Mauritanian fisheries sector is extremely important to Mauritania's economy, representing 10% of the country's GDP and between 35 and 50% of its exports, and contributing 29% of national budget revenue,

D.  whereas Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in Africa, classified as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) and financially dependent on foreign aid, and has been characterised by considerable political instability,

E.  whereas cooperation must be based on mutual interest and take the form of initiatives and measures which, whether taken jointly or separately, are complementary and ensure consistent policies,

F.  whereas, during its recent visit to Mauritania, the Committee on Fisheries was unable to clarify several important issues relating to the country's fisheries policy, including stock status and the level of fishing activities conducted by Mauritanian and other fleets,

G.  whereas, under Articles 61 and 62 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, fisheries are to be managed so as to ‘maintain or restore populations of harvested species at levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield, as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors’,

H.  whereas the FPA has contributed to the overexploitation of some stocks, particularly octopus, and has therefore reduced fishing opportunities for Mauritanian fishermen and given the EU industry a competitive advantage as a result of subsidised access fees for EU vessels,

I.  whereas it is essential, when negotiating fishing opportunities under the new protocol, to take into account Mauritania's relations with third countries which also fish in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under bilateral or private agreements,

J.  whereas Article 218 TFEU provides for clear conditions under which Parliament should be involved in decisions on fisheries agreements, and whereas these justify Parliament's wish to contribute to the process, indicating its priorities for the new protocols to be negotiated,

K.  whereas Annex II of the Framework Agreement on Relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission governs the forwarding of confidential information to Parliament and the handling of such information, as defined in point 1.2 of Annex II, by the Commission in connection with the exercise of Parliament's prerogatives and competences; whereas the two Institutions are to act in accordance with their mutual duties of sincere cooperation, in a spirit of complete mutual trust and in the strictest conformity with the relevant Treaty provisions,

L.  whereas, owing to the scant development of the fisheries sector in Mauritania, including the lack of significant landing ports outside Nouadhibou, the country is being deprived of the added value it would obtain if it were exploiting its fishery resources itself (including processing and sales),

M.  whereas the following lines of support for the fisheries sector in Mauritania have not been implemented satisfactorily: the modernisation and development of small-scale traditional coastal fishing and fishery-related industries; the development of port infrastructure and better conditions for unloading catches; the development of aquaculture projects; and improved monitoring and surveillance at sea,

1.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal to open negotiations on the renewal of the protocol between the EU and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, while underlining that it should be maintained only if it is mutually beneficial, adjusted appropriately and implemented correctly;

2.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal to introduce a human rights clause;

3.  Insists that any and all access negotiated for EU-flagged vessels to fish in Mauritanian waters must be based on the principle of surplus stocks as described in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; emphasises, in particular, that there must be a rigorous assessment of all stocks for which access is sought or which are likely to be caught by the EU fleet as a by-catch; stresses that any access granted to the EU must relate to those resources which are unable to be caught by the Mauritanian fleet; emphasises that, should effort reductions be necessary, those third-country (EU and other) fleets causing the most environmental damage must be the first to make reductions;

4.  Insists on receiving reliable data on fishing opportunities and catches by third countries in Mauritanian waters so as to be able to identify any surplus resources; believes that, in the case of those stocks shared with other West African states, levels of fishing access in Mauritania must be negotiated with due regard to fishing levels in the other states;

5.  Notes with considerable concern that the ex-post evaluation concluded that most stocks in Mauritania were either fully exploited or over-exploited, and recommended reductions in fishing effort for those stocks; believes that the Joint Scientific Committee should be provided with sufficient resources to do its job; encourages the Commission to discuss with Mauritania the development of long-term fisheries management plans that would include all fishery allocations by the Mauritanian authorities, to both their national fleets and third-country fleets, including the elimination of any fleet over-capacity;

6.  Believes that all relevant scientific information, including the reports of the Joint Scientific Committee, data on catches by EU fleets and information on convictions for infringements, should be forwarded to Parliament and be in the public domain;

7.  Urges the Commission to call on the Mauritanian authorities to give guarantees regarding their interpretation of the control measures; reiterates, in particular, that EU vessels are equipped with vessel monitoring systems (VMS), and that this must be the instrument used to determine their position; emphasises that reliance on approximate visual estimation of the distance to the coast should be prohibited, as it has been shown to be unreliable and led to legal uncertainty for the fleet; stresses that any alternative system should be mutually agreed in advance; believes that position signals should be transmitted directly to the Mauritanian authorities in real time; further believes that the protocol should stipulate that, if a vessel's VMS system fails, the vessel must have the system repaired within two weeks or have its authorisation to fish suspended until the repairs have been completed;

8.  Expresses its concern about procedures for the boarding of EU vessels by the Mauritanian authorities, which is a recurrent problem; questions the Mauritanian authorities' compliance with Chapter VI of Annex II of the protocol, in particular paragraph 3 thereof, which concerns procedures for the boarding of vessels;

9.  Asks the Commission to negotiate simultaneously the fishing opportunities for different categories of vessels and the technical measures to be applied in each case, in order to avoid under-use or situations where fishing turns out to be impossible as a result of technical measures, leading to substantial income losses; urges the Commission to ensure that fishing activities under the FPA meet the same sustainability criteria as fishing activities in EU waters, including those relating to selectivity; calls on the Commission to establish a dialogue with Mauritania aimed at helping the country further to develop a responsible fisheries policy which meets both conservation requirements and its objective of promoting the economic development of fisheries resources;

10.  Calls on the Commission to ensure compliance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, especially as regards the recommendation to grant local artisanal fishers preferential access to resources in Mauritanian waters;

11.  Encourages Mauritania to ratify the relevant international fisheries instruments, such as the Port States Agreement and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement;

12.  Believes that fisheries agreements between the EU and third countries should be preceded by a wide-ranging debate in the countries concerned, allowing participation by the public, civil society organisations and national parliaments, thereby promoting greater democracy and transparency;

13.  Believes that the money paid as compensation for access to fish stocks in Mauritanian waters must be clearly uncoupled from financial support for the Mauritanian multiannual fisheries programme, in that any reduction in fishing opportunities must not lead to a reduction in EU payments under the multiannual programme;

14.  Further believes that financial support for the Mauritanian multiannual fisheries programme must be in line with Mauritania's needs for sustainable fisheries development, in particular management (research, control, stakeholder participation mechanisms, infrastructure and so on), as expressed in the EU-Mauritania cooperation and development framework; maintains that financial support under the FPA should support and enhance the EU's development cooperation objectives, with a view to implementing the EU's legal obligation under Article 208 TFEU to ensure ‘policy coherence for development’;

15.  Considers it necessary to carry out a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the reasons for the inadequate achievement of the objectives regarding development cooperation and the various lines of support for the fisheries sector in Mauritania; stresses that this evaluation must involve the Mauritanian authorities;

16.  Believes that the FPA must include effective oversight mechanisms to ensure that funds earmarked for development, and in particular for infrastructure improvements in the fisheries sector, are used properly;

17.  Welcomes the Long Distance Regional Advisory Committee's willingness for ship-owners to pay a fair share of the value of the catch;

18.  Recognises the significant investments that both the EU and certain Member States have made and pursued in Mauritania, but calls for greater efforts on the part of both the Commission and the Member States to achieve better coordination of their financial contributions, so as to arrive at real cooperation in the context of Mauritania's development and avoid uncoordinated duplication;

19.  Believes that, as envisaged in Article 6(3) of the current protocol, the EU should support the fastest possible construction of adequate facilities for landing fish along Mauritania's central and southern coastlines, including – but not limited to – Nouakchott, so that fish caught in Mauritanian waters can be landed at national ports rather than outside the country, as is often the case at present; believes that this will increase local fish consumption and support local employment;

20.  Takes the view that these improvements, combined with the removal of wrecks and the modernisation of the major port of Nouadhibou, would enable the EU fleet to operate more effectively, facilitate investment flows and boost the FPA's impact on the local economy;

21.  Underlines the need for Parliament to be wholly involved in both the negotiating process and the long-term monitoring of the functioning of the new protocol, so as to comply with its obligations under the TFEU as regards the full and prompt provision of information to Parliament; recalls its conviction that Parliament should be represented at the Joint Committee meetings envisaged in fisheries agreements, and insists that civil society, including both EU and Mauritanian fisheries representatives, also participate in those meetings;

22.  Calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with the ex-post evaluation of the current protocol as an unclassified document, so that its Members can make an informed judgement as to whether the objectives set for this agreement have been achieved and, accordingly, whether they should consent to renewing the protocol;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments of the Member States and the Government of Mauritania.

(1) OJ L 343, 8.12.2006, p. 1.


Public procurement
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on equal access to public sector markets in the EU and in third countries and on the revision of the legal framework of public procurement including concessions
P7_TA(2011)0233B7-0284/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directives 2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC on procedures for the award of public contracts and Directives 89/665/EEC, 92/13/EEC and 2007/66/EC on review procedures concerning the award of public contracts,

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2010 on new developments in public procurement(1),

–  having regard to the report to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, by Professor Mario Monti, entitled ‘A New Strategy for the Single Market – At the Service of Europe's Economy and Society’,

–  having regard to the communication of the European Commission ‘Towards a Single Market Act – For a highly competitive social market economy’ (COM(2010)0608),

–  having regard to the Green Paper of the European Commission on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy – Towards a more efficient European Procurement Market (COM(2011)0015),

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

A.  whereas a well-functioning procurement market is of essential importance in order to foster the Single Market, stimulate innovation, foster growth, employment and competitiveness, promote a higher level of environmental, climate and social rights protection throughout the EU, and achieve optimal value for public authorities, citizens and taxpayers,

B.  whereas especially in view of overcoming the financial and economic crisis and protecting against any future crisis, public procurement is of crucial relevance, serving as a catalyst for the revitalisation of EU economy and accordingly for employment and welfare in the EU,

C.  whereas a sound and well-considered process of optimising the legal framework for public procurement is of vital importance for the welfare of EU citizens, EU consumers and EU businesses, for national, regional and local public authorities and thus for the acceptance of the EU as a whole,

D.  whereas regarding the multitude of issues within the revision of EU procurement law, different priorities in terms of urgency as well as thematic connection have to be realised in view of ongoing political developments at EU and international level,

E.  whereas an extensive set of questions within the traditional framework of public procurement and the closely linked issue of concessions will need a coherent assessment based on a consistent consultation with the stakeholders,

F.  whereas the specific issue of safeguarding equal treatment and fair competition on public procurement markets in the EU and in third countries urgently needs more political attention, especially with a view to current problems regarding access to public sector markets in third countries, slow progress in negotiations on the revision of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and the obvious reluctance of many third countries to join the GPA,

1.  Refers to its comments in its resolution of 18 May 2010 on new developments in public procurement, and especially to paragraph 46 of this resolution stating that, while arguing strongly against protectionist measures in the field of public procurement at global level, it firmly believes in the principle of reciprocity, mutual benefit and proportionality in that area; and calls on the Commission to conduct a detailed analysis of the potential benefits and problems associated with imposing proportional, targeted restrictions on access to parts of the EU's procurement markets, an impact assessment analysing when it might be used and an assessment of the legal basis that such an instrument would take for those trading partners which benefit from the openness of the EU market, but have not shown any intention of opening up their own markets to EU companies, while continuing to encourage the partners of the EU to offer reciprocal and proportional market access arrangements for European companies before proposing any other new text in the area of public procurement;

2.  Is of the opinion that the spirit of positive reciprocity and transparency will in effect secure more open public procurement markets and avoid protectionist measures using all existing tools available;

3.  Asks the Commission, therefore, to provide data regarding the level of openness of public procurement and to ensure reciprocity with other industrialised countries and major emerging economies; invites the Commission to look into new ways of improving access for European enterprises to public procurement markets outside the EU, in order to ensure a level playing-field for both European and foreign enterprises competing for the award of public contracts; proposes, in more general terms, that future trade agreements negotiated by the Union should incorporate a chapter on sustainable development, drawing on the principles of corporate social responsibility as defined by the 2010 update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises;

4.  Is convinced that in order to avoid new protectionist measures which might harm the interests of EU exporters also in fields beyond public sector markets, the Commission should search for adequate measures which will not allow for blanket EU or national counter-measures, but be based on appropriate tools in the area of public procurement;

5.  In this regard, calls on the Commission to assess the problems associated with extraordinary low bids and to propose appropriate solutions;

6.  Recommends contracting authorities to provide for early and sufficient information to other bidders in cases of abnormally low bids, in order to allow them to assess if there is ground for initiating a review procedure;

7.  Sees an urgent need for the EU to achieve better coherence between the common external trade policy of the EU and practices in Member States accepting exceptionally low bids from companies whose home countries are not signatories to the GPA, to the disadvantage of EU companies and labour, social and environmental standards existing in the EU Member States;

8.  With a view to question 114 of the Commission's Green Paper on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy asking for a ranking of priorities amongst the various issues raised in the Green Paper, endorses the importance of achieving effective solutions concerning the need for fair, open and balanced market access whilst promptly addressing other urgent issues, such as simplification and clarification of the rules, improving SME access to public contracts, driving innovation through public procurement and subsequently considering other aspects of the review of public procurement with regard to concessions; therefore calls on the Commission to first approach the issue of simplification of rules, achieving well-balanced access to public sector markets, improving SME access, and to undertake the revision of public procurement and concessions as a second step, in order to allow for the necessary, sound involvement not only of the European Parliament and the Member States, but also of citizens and businesses, with a view to achieving the necessary recognition for all of these important Single Market issues, which are highly relevant for the overall welfare of the EU;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0173.


European fisheries sector crisis due to rise in oil prices
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the European fisheries sector crisis due to the rise in oil prices
P7_TA(2011)0234RC-B7-0297/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas energy is a significant operating cost factor in the fisheries sector, and whereas the cost of fishing is highly dependent on the price of oil,

B.  whereas the recent rise in oil prices has affected the economic viability of the fisheries sector and left many fishermen worrying about how to offset these additional costs; whereas the rise in oil prices is directly affecting fishermen's incomes,

C.  whereas the incomes and wages of people working in the fisheries industry are insecure as a result of several factors, such as the irregular nature of fishing, the marketing approaches employed and the way in which first-sale prices are set, which means that certain forms of national and Community public assistance need to be maintained,

D.  whereas the financial and economic crisis is having an impact on industrial sectors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular and is jeopardising activity and employment in primary and secondary sectors,

E.  whereas the Commission has adopted temporary emergency measures in the past to overcome the difficulties faced by the fisheries sector against a background of rising fuel prices,

F.  whereas the price of fisheries and aquaculture products is determined by the balance between supply and demand, and whereas, owing to the European Union's high degree of dependency on imports from third countries (60%) in order to secure supplies for its internal market, producers have very little or even no influence on the price levels of fisheries products,

G.  whereas the Commission authorises Member States to grant de minimis aid, up to a ceiling of EUR 30 000 over a three-year period and per beneficiary, to fishing firms,

1.  Expresses its concern at the difficult economic situation that many European fishermen are facing, which has been further aggravated by the increase in fuel prices; expresses its support for EU fishermen, and calls on the Commission and the Council to take appropriate measures to facilitate their activities;

2.  Calls on the Commission to adopt emergency measures to alleviate the difficult economic situation in which European fishermen find themselves, also taking into account the financial difficulties that several countries are currently facing;

3.  Asks the Commission to raise the ceiling on de minimis aid from EUR 30 000 to EUR 60 000 per firm for a transitional period of three years, at the same time ensuring that environmental and social sustainability are not undermined and that competition between Member States is not distorted;

4.  Emphasises the need to make use of all the possibilities and financial margins available under the Community fisheries budget in order to finance emergency support measures for the industry, thereby enabling it to overcome the difficulties posed by the rise in fuel prices until such time as other types of measure are implemented;

5.  Calls for the introduction of mechanisms to improve the first-sale price and promote the fair and appropriate distribution of added value throughout the value chain in the fisheries sector, boosting the prices paid at the production stage and keeping prices for final consumers as low as possible;

6.  Insists that the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) should continue to grant aid to improve the selectivity of fishing gear and to replace engines on grounds of safety, environmental protection and/or fuel economy – above all for small-scale coastal and traditional fishermen; calls on the Commission to draw up a medium- and long-term plan aimed at improving fuel efficiency in the fisheries (including aquaculture) sector; calls, further, on the Commission to include, in its forthcoming proposals on the reform of the CFP and, in particular, its proposal for a regulation on the reform of the EFF, suitable measures to improve fuel efficiency in the fisheries and aquaculture sector;

7.  Asks the Commission to propose an action plan for coastal regions and islands which have an active fishing sector;

8.  Asks the Commission urgently to propose investments, at both European and national level, in new technologies in order to increase the energy efficiency of fishing vessels and so reduce fishermen's dependency on fossil fuels;

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


Small Business Act review
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the Small Business Act Review
P7_TA(2011)0235B7-0286/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 February 2011 entitled ´Review of the ˝Small Business Act˝ for Europe´ (COM(2011)0078),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2009 on the Small Business Act(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2011 on practical aspects regarding the revision of EU instruments to support SME finance in the next programming period(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on an Industrial Policy for the Globalised Era(3),

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

A.  whereas the 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU, which account for around 99% of all businesses and provide over 100 million jobs, make a fundamental contribution to economic growth, social cohesion and job creation, are a major source of innovation, play a vital role in sustaining and increasing employment, and contribute to achieving the main goals of the EU 2020 flagship initiatives,

B.  whereas the Small Business Act (SBA) is based on a number of important policy pillars, such as access to finance, access to markets (single market, international markets, public procurement) and better regulation; whereas progress within Member States in taking concrete steps to improve the business environment for SMEs is variable and often marginal in spite of declared political commitment to the SBA principles,

C.  whereas SMEs continue to face significant problems in extending their activities, improving their ability to innovate and accessing markets, which stem primarily from their difficulties in obtaining financing as well as persistent administrative burdens that should be further reduced,

D.  whereas the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) has proved successful, with 100 000 participating SMEs benefiting from the programme and further ones expected to do so by the end of its term in 2013,

SBA implementation

1.  Welcomes the Commission review of the SBA and expresses support for the new proposals focused on further improving access to finance, enhancing market access and continuing debureaucratisation through strengthened governance and monitoring and through smart regulation and measures such as the SME performance review;

2.  Welcomes, furthermore, the successful adoption of almost all legislative proposals under the SBA; strongly urges the Member States to adopt without delay the last remaining proposal on the European Private Company Statute, which would enable SMEs to trade throughout the EU while cutting costs and encouraging growth in this area, promoting the 25% reduction of administrative burden indicated in the SBA, contributing to the effectiveness of the Single Market Act, counteracting any protectionist economic policies of Member States and stimulating business;

3.  Urges Member States to swiftly implement the revised Late Payments Directive to effectively combat late payments and their negative effects in particular on SMEs; in this regard also calls on the Commission to implement the approved pilot project to support SMEs in setting up efficient credit management systems, facilitating cross-border debt recovery;

4.  Points out that the level of implementation of measures foreseen in the SBA varies from one Member State to another; to this end, strongly urges Member States to step up their efforts in that direction and to make concrete commitments at the next Competitiveness Council;

5.  Considers that the Commission's regular monitoring has to ensure that implementation is carried out in a systematic and comprehensive manner; believes that the Commission should dispose of more effective tools to encourage the Member States to implement the principles of the SBA and calls on it to report annually on progress in SBA implementation at both the European and Member State levels;

6.  Welcomes the appointment of the new SME Envoy by the Commission, and supports his mandate to monitor the progress of the Member States in the implementation of the SBA and to promote SMEs' interests throughout the whole Commission, ensuring in particular that the ‘Think Small First’ principle is being applied effectively; calls on Member States to appoint national SME Envoys to coordinate SME policies and control the implementation of the SBA across different administrations;

7.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the transversal role of SME policy and to ensure policy consistency, to nominate Deputy Directors-General for SME affairs in relevant DGs (such as Research, Environment, Internal Market, Employment, Trade) who would collaborate closely with the SME Envoy;

8.  Is concerned that the SME test, according to the Commission, has not been applied properly and consistently in all new legislative proposals, particularly at the national level; calls therefore on the Member States and the Commission to ensure that all new legislation is evaluated in terms of its potential impact on SMEs and that the SME test is applied regularly as part of impact assessments; calls further on the Commission to put forward minimum standards and requirements, based on best practice, for the SME test to be applied at the EU and national level;

9.  Stresses that impact assessments including the SME test need to be carried out in an independent manner and to be always based on an objective, reasoned analysis of potential effects; considers therefore that members of the Impact Assessment Board should be appointed by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of a Commission proposal, and no longer subject to the instructions of the Commission President; suggests that the SME Envoy should be a permanent member of the Impact Assessment Board to overview the proper execution of the SME test;

Smart regulation

10.  Warns against continued bureaucracy and administrative burdens which present a major impediment for SMEs; welcomes the view of the Commission that Member States should avoid ‘gold-plating’ by exceeding the requirements of EU legislation when transposing Directives into national law; is of the opinion that Member States should apply correlation tables when transposing European directives into national laws, thus clearly showing which part of the proposal stems from European and which form additional national legislation;

11.  Stresses the importance of e-government and the ´only once´ principle, whereby Member State authorities should not duplicate demands for information;

12.  Welcomes the renewed Commission effort in its Communication to push forward the reduction of administrative burdens on SMEs at the national level since not all Member States have introduced, or are meeting, national reduction targets; calls on Member States for stronger political commitment in establishing, and greater effort in enforcing, these targets;

13.  Stresses that administrative burden is relatively higher the smaller the size of the company and calls therefore for the differentiation between micro-, small and medium sized businesses; underlines that microbusinesses (<10 employees) constitute 91.8% of all EU businesses and therefore deserve more attention and the corresponding tailored approach;

Access to finance

14.  Underlines that a successful strategy to foster innovative SMEs should not be based on offering more subsidies but on creating a business environment where SMEs have real, stimulating, exciting, low-cost, effective, holistic and comprehensive freedom and better access to all forms of funding and financing instruments, such as grants, guarantees and equity financing; notes that a certain level of failure is inherent in innovation, and therefore stresses the importance of ‘second chance’ finance for non-fraudulent, failed SME entrepreneurs;

15.  Calls in particular for improving access to financial support for the initial stages of innovation in the form seed and angel funding, more equity and quasi-equity financing for start-ups and small innovative companies at the European, regional and local level; stresses the need, as regards these aspects, to set up a European Fund for Venture Capital; considers that the Union should expand the permanent risk-sharing products offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) via the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF); highlights the important role that the EIB could play, in particular by fostering programmes such as JASMINE and JEREMIE, which can provide sustainable support to meet SMEs' needs;

16.  Considers that, in order to ensure that the new Basel III requirements on banks have no impact on their funding for SMEs, specific attention should be paid to a comprehensive SME test as part of the impact assessment for the CRD IV regulation currently being prepared, and to the identification of measures to ensure that banks continue to perform their societal function of financing the real economy, and that more emphasis is needed at EU level on providing guarantee schemes as an alternative financing method;

17.  Welcomes, in this respect, the fact that the EIB entrusted EUR 1 billion to be invested on its behalf by the European Investment Fund as Mezzanine Facility for Growth through investment funds targeting growing, innovative and competitive SMEs across Europe; calls therefore for a further increase in funding for these financial instruments, as they help promote innovation which is the basis for European competitiveness;

18.  Strongly supports the CIP and its proven success and warns about a possible impact on its efficiency and flexibility if its structure is to be changed following its potential merger into the future EU research programme; calls for the CIP to remain an independent flagship programme for SMEs; a specific SBA budget line should be implemented in the future CIP programme to finance specific SBA priorities;

19.  Regrets that by the end of 2009 only 75% of the total amount of EUR 21 billion worth of financial support was made fully available – through intermediary banks – for only 50 000 SMEs out of 23 million; therefore, calls for measures to make the payment mechanism, especially the intermediary partnerbank system, more transparent, accessible and efficient to avoid the emergence of deficits and to be able to the meet the target of lending the full amount of EUR 30 billion to SMEs between 2008 in 2011;

Access to markets

20.  Welcomes the adoption of the Single Market Act, based on an initiative of the European Parliament, in line with the Monti report; welcomes in particular legislative measures enabling SMEs to reap the full benefits of the single market, such as European rules for venture capital funds, a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB), revised VAT rules and a simplification of the Accounting Directives; urges the Council to make a strong commitment to the implementation of the Single Market Act, in particular the adoption of its priority measures by the end of 2012; calls on the Commission and the Council to carefully consider the interests of SMEs for all measures throughout this process;

21.  Urges the Commission to strengthen and expand the role of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in order to assist and support small businesses in all efforts relating to the more effective exploitation of the opportunities offered by the single market;

22.  Considers that the dialogue between SMEs and public procurers should be strengthened in view of facilitating the participation of SMEs in contract award procedures; in this sense, suggests exploring options assisting SMEs to form partnerships and consortia and to bid jointly in public tenders; calls on the Commission to carry out an impact assessment and to examine the thresholds for EU public procurement, which will allow SMEs to participate in contracts that would otherwise be subject to specific requirements and thus unattainable for them; calls on the Commission to examine how to improve the publication of all public procurement notices throughout Europe and to eliminate the administrative burden that prevents European firms from engaging in cross-border public procurement; calls on all Member States to more systematically apply the ‘European Code of Good Practice facilitating SMEs’ access to public procurement‘;

23.  Calls on the Commission, in the forthcoming proposals for the modernisation of the European standardisation system, to ensure SMEs' interests are adequately represented in the European standardisation bodies and to make standards more accessible for SMEs;

24.  Stresses the role of initiatives such as the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in assisting public sector bodies to procure research and development from small businesses with a view to establishing solutions to public needs while fostering the development of innovative products and services;

SME support

25.  Reiterates its previous call for the establishment of national dedicated physical or electronic information contact points and support agencies for SMEs in line with the ‘one-stop shop’ principle, offering access to various sources of information and support services, structured according to the life-cycle of a business;

26.  Considers that small businesses should be assisted to increase their ability to compete in international markets by: enhancing their ability to export; disseminating information concerning programs and initiatives facilitating international market access and penetration of SME goods and services; ensuring that the interests of small businesses are adequately represented in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations;

27.  Supports the Commission's ´Second Chance´ Initiative for SMEs, which will be included in the framework of the European Week for SMEs;

Research and Innovation

28.  Calls for continuing efforts in simplifying funding for research, development and innovation (R&D&I) and appropriate programme management, in particular for the benefit of SMEs and as outlined in the European Parliament's resolutions of 11 November 2010 on ‘Simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes’ and of 16 February 2011 on ´Practical aspects regarding the revision of EU instruments to support SME finance in the next programming period´;

29.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to propose lighter administrative and financial rules for SMEs as well as a set of streamlined instruments to strengthen their innovation capacities over the full innovation cycle, including non-technological innovation, within the future Research and Innovation financing framework and, in particular, successor programmes of FP7 and CIP; reminds the Commission about the importance of delivering local support for SMEs, for example, through the involvement of innovation centres, chambers of commerce, business organisations and innovation clusters;

30.  Calls for the adoption of the single European patent and further development and European coordination of instruments and programmes (such as innovation vouchers) that promote SMEs' innovation management capacity, their access to research and innovation services and other knowledge-based business services (business modelling, risk assessment, etc.); points in particular to Member States' best-case practices of university-based technology transfer centres that facilitate SME access to R&D; calls on the Commission to assess the feasibility of creating a European patent fund to facilitate these technology transfers between research centres and businesses, in particular innovative SMEs;

31.  Views with regret the fact that few of our innovative SMEs grow into larger companies involving greater numbers of people; points out that there are also fewer young, R&D-intensive, innovative firms in the EU than in the US and that serious shortcomings in terms of innovation and e-skills prevent SMEs from adopting innovative, smart business models and new technologies;

32.  Calls on national governments to consider tax incentives for innovative small business start-ups for their first years of operation;

Skills, education and professional training
33.Regrets that the SBA does not pay enough attention to social and labour market issues that affect entrepreneurship and SMEs' capacities to fulfil their employment potential and recruit labour force with the appropriate skills;
34.Recognises that growth and innovation are largely driven by entrepreneurial SMEs; emphasises that more attention should be devoted to fostering the development of an entrepreneurial mindset at all levels of education and training, employing innovative methods such as real mini-companies in secondary education; emphasises the importance of supporting the development of the managerial and digital skills that small businesses require to be successful in the current market environment;
35.Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop and promote initiatives supporting better identification and forecasting of SMEs' skill needs, in particular to enable them to operate in a more sustainable way, and to develop strategies for entrepreneurship education and professional training based on best practice from Member States;
36.Calls on the Commission to put the ´Erasmus programmes for young entrepreneurs´ programme on a permanent footing with a sufficient budget, based on the very encouraging results of the preparatory action even though it is still running on a limited scale;
Resource efficiency
37.Welcomes the recognition by the Commission that SMEs have a key role to play in the transition to a resource-efficient economy; believes that meeting resource-efficiency objectives requires a value-chain approach; therefore, calls on the Commission for the establishment of sectoral SMEs coordinated projects and activities aiming at identifying potential resource-efficient innovations within the value and supply chains;
38.Welcomes the Commission proposal to adopt an Eco-innovation Action Plan; calls for ambitious measures supporting SMEs in introducing eco-innovative solutions at all stages of the value chain, including design; believes that it is necessary to increase funds for initiatives in this field through, for instance, the future CIP, but also through targeted use of the Structural Funds; calls on the Commission to report bi-annually on Member States' progress with regard to fostering SME eco-innovation;
39.Draws attention to the energy-saving potential of SMEs, as only up to 24% of SMEs are actively engaged in actions reducing their environmental impact today; highlights that applying cost-effective energy efficiency measures would help SMEs to reduce their energy bills and increase their capacity for reinvestment; believes that there is a strong need to promote the improvement of ´low-carbon literacy´ on the part of small and medium entrepreneurs; stresses that while there is at least one financial consultant available for each SME, there are very few experts providing advice to SMEs on energy savings and efficiency;

40.  Notes the growing illegal trade in all Member States in counterfeit and pirated products imported from third countries which are threatening the competitiveness of European SMEs;

o
o   o

41.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 87 E, 1.4.2010, p. 48.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0057.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0093.


Innovation Union: transforming Europe for a post-crisis world
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on Innovation Union: transforming Europe for a post-crisis world (2010/2245(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0236A7-0162/2011

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Article 179(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), according to which ‘(1) the Union shall have the objective of strengthening its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and encourage it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of the Treaties’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 November 2010 on European Innovation Partnerships within the Innovation Union flagship initiative(1),

–  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 26 January 2011 entitled ‘A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy’ (COM(2011)0021),

  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 May 2010 entitled ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’ (COM(2010)0245),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2011 entitled ‘A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’ (COM(2011)0112),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on an industrial policy for the globalised era(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2010 on Community innovation policy in a changing world(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 June 2010 on EU 2020(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 November 2010 on simplifying the implementation of the Research Framework Programmes(5),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 4 February 2011 on innovation,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the 3049th meeting of the Competitiveness Council of 25 and 26 November 2010 on Innovation Union for Europe,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the 3035th meeting of the Competitiveness Council of 12 October 2010 on ‘raising the attractiveness of EU Research and Innovation programmes: the challenge of simplification’,

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

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 October 2010 entitled ‘Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020’ (COM(2010)0553),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 September 2009 entitled ‘Preparing for our future: developing a common strategy for key enabling technologies in the EU’ (COM(2009)0512),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 March 2009 entitled ‘A Strategy for ICT R&D and Innovation in Europe: Raising the Game’ (COM(2009)0116),

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper entitled ‘Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 February 2011 entitled ‘A review of the ’'Small Business Act'' for Europe' (COM(2011)0078),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 February 2007 entitled ‘Scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation’ (COM(2007)0056),

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

–  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 Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0162/2011),

A.  whereas, under Article 179(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Union shall ‘encourage undertakings, including small and medium-sized undertakings, research centres and universities in their research and technological development activities of high quality; it shall support their efforts to cooperate with one another, aiming, notably, at permitting researchers to cooperate freely across borders and at enabling undertakings to exploit the internal market potential to the full, in particular through the opening-up of national public contracts, the definition of common standards and the removal of legal and fiscal obstacles to that cooperation’,

B.  whereas accelerating research and innovation is not only essential in order to attain a sustainable and competitive economic model and secure future employment, but will also generate solutions to the shared grand societal challenges facing European society, namely:

   the current demographic changes: an ageing society, growing world population (nutrition, health, disease prevention), urbanisation, social cohesion and migration;
   the transition to sustainable management of resources (biological and non-biological): climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency, resource efficiency, water scarcity, floods and efforts to secure and substitute critical raw materials;
   a strong, stable, equitable and competitive economic base: economic recovery, harnessing a knowledge-based society, and boosting the EU's competitiveness and employment,

C.  whereas the key to boosting innovation lies in:

   putting first the citizens' creativity and human capital, the adaptability of businesses and entrepreneurship, consumption patterns and response to new ideas,
   long-term, stable, simple, transparent and supportive regulatory framework,
   better access to diversified finance possibilities at the different stages of the innovation cycle (in particular for SMEs),
   leveraging and stimulating investments from the private sector,
   fruitful cooperation between education and research institutes, including research and technology organisations (RTOs), businesses, governments and citizens, also by establishing collaborative platforms and tools such as open networks, open standards, clusters approaches for sharing knowledge and ideas,
   ensuring involvement of all relevant actors in the decision-making processes,
   providing more effective tools to safeguard industrial property in a context of globalisation and digitalisation of the economy,

D.  whereas a willingness to take risks is a necessary prerequisite to successful innovation,

E.  whereas in order to maintain European competitiveness a shift in culture is needed to improve European entrepreneurship and the potential for innovation; whereas changes need to be made to commend risk seeking and improve conditions for start-up innovative enterprises and entrepreneurs,

F.  whereas in the view of the economic global context the European Union must take an offensive stance and take a firm front runner position in competitiveness, the EU must therefore invest in an innovation blast,

G.  whereas Europe needs a modern, affordable and well functioning system of intellectual property rights protection in order to promote innovation and strengthen our competitiveness,

H.  whereas IPR constitute a major prerequisite for capital-intensive research, development and innovation,

I.  whereas the biggest opportunity to strengthen innovation in Europe with respect to intellectual property rights is the creation of the EU patent,

J.  whereas a modern Union trademark system is essential in order to protect the values represented by investments made by European companies in design, creation and innovation,

K.  whereas earmarking 3 % of the EU's GDP for research and development up to 2020 could create 3,7 million jobs and annual GDP could grow by some EUR 800 million up to 2025,

L.  whereas a mere 30 % of European researchers are women and only 13 % of heads of European research institutes are women,

An integrated and interdisciplinary approach

1.  Welcomes the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which is the most significant and targeted community attempt so far to introduce a strategic, integrated and business-oriented European innovation policy to supplement member state efforts, whereby innovation is steered and progress monitored at the highest political level, whose success though depends on the full cooperation of and its implementation by the Member States, including through their financial support and smart fiscal consolidation, prioritizing sustainable growth-friendly expenditure in areas such as innovation, research and education, whereby the common innovation objectives steer their policies in all relevant areas; welcomes the strategic approach of the European Council at its meeting on the 4th of February 2011;

2.  Supports the Innovation Union initiative as a key pillar of economic, social and cultural development in the EU, particularly as regards inclusive education at all levels, including Vocational Education and Training;

3.  Calls for a broad concept of innovation that focuses on impact and goes beyond technological and product-oriented innovation, involves all stakeholders, in particular the enterprises, and highlights the various enabling roles of citizens, while realising a mindset change; recalls that innovation is applying ideas successfully in practice and targets products, processes, services, movements, systems and organisational structures; suggests that the Commission brings forward a definition of innovation;

4.  Considers that innovation, in all fields of knowledge and of economic and social activity, must be guided by the criteria of public interest, improvement of quality of life, promotion of social wellbeing and preservation of the environment and the balance of nature;

5.  Takes the view that, since innovation is a complex concept, non-technological innovation efforts need to be strengthened, and that in this context best practices regarding this kind of innovation should be spread and rules and conditions governing access to EU financing should be specified on the basis of an open and all-embracing approach;

6.  Calls for a clear distinction to be made between ‘original innovation’, meaning something made for the first time and not available on the market, from commercial improvements or alterations made to a product, service, process or movements already present on the market;

7.  Takes the view that socio-economic innovation needs to be precisely but flexibly defined, because in many cases it does not take the form of a product or the application of a technical solution but of a series of interconnected, long-term institutional, technical and management changes that constitute a process;

8.  Points out that the targets as set out in the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Energy Efficiency Plan 2020, the Resource- Efficient Europe Initiative, the Raw Materials Initiative, the Energy Strategy for Europe 2011-2020, setting the milestone towards the Energy 2050 Roadmap and the Roadmap for a Low Carbon Economy by 2050, must be given priority in the Innovation Union;

9.  Points out that internationalisation and innovation are key drivers of external competitiveness and growth and are crucial to the EU 2020 strategic goals;

10.  Underlines the importance of climate and energy-efficient and renewable technologies in the shift towards a sustainable global economy; recognises the lead position of the EU in many key sectors for climate-friendly and resource-efficient industrial production; calls on the Commission to define strategies on internationalisation and innovation in these sectors;

11.  Recognizes that the fight against climate change and efforts towards energy efficiency and the de-materialization of industrial production require an active policy on the global dissemination of new technologies;

12.  Emphasises that the areas of the protection of the environment, public health and food safety as well as the fight against climate change are among those most in need of an enhanced innovation effort involving a reinforcement of the existing scientific and technological base; stresses that the EU's future research and innovation programmes will need to take those areas into account in appropriate fashion; to this end, underlines the need to adopt a cross-sectoral approach based on ecosystem resilience;

13.  Notes that market fragmentation in the cultural and creative sectors is in part due to the cultural diversity and language preferences of consumers;

14.  Welcomes the Commission's focus on grand societal challenges, and stresses that innovation and research are needed in order to increase resource productivity, sustainable use and substitution while simultaneously finding new ways of increasing the efficiency of resource and energy consumption;

15.  Notes that restricting the prioritisation of innovations to limited areas should be avoided in order not to lose valuable innovative potential in the long term;

16.  Takes the view that innovation can play an important role in enhancing social cohesion by improving the quality of the services provided, and that specific professional training programmes should therefore be set up;

17.  Points out that, in a market economy, innovation is not exclusively intended to meet major societal challenges but also plays a particularly important role in the manufacture of consumer-friendly and attractive products in the fields of leisure, technology, industry, culture and entertainment; points out that there is a vast international market for innovative high-tech leisure products (smart phones, tablet PCs, console games, portable recreational devices etc.), as well as a world market for social networking and innovative online services, in which European undertakings are playing a negligible role;

18.  Stresses the importance of the Resource-Efficient Europe and Industrial Policy flagship initiatives and of efforts to decouple economic growth from the use of natural resources, by supporting the shift towards a sustainable low-carbon, knowledge-based economy, increasing the use of renewable and sustainable energy sources, developing carbon reducing and more resource efficient technologies and sustainable transport, enhancing at the same time the competitiveness of the European companies;

19.  Recalls that the digital world and ICTs are engines of innovation and therefore access to high speed broadband is an essential pre-condition, also for all European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs), as it enhances cooperation and participation by the citizens; in this regard, calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their implementation of high-speed internet as well as the promotion of e-initiatives ensuring the rapid execution of the EU's Digital Agenda;

20.  Calls the Commission to give due consideration to the technologies that underpin the ‘smarter’, sustainable systems which enable firms to develop responsive real time services in sectors as diverse as transport and logistics, construction and facilities management, energy distribution, telecommunications and financial services;

21.  Emphasises that the success of innovation and research policy is dependent upon:

Stresses that the main goal of the Innovation Union policy should be to facilitate coordination of policies and coherence among their different instruments and create synergies in regard to innovation policy by adopting a truly holistic approach focused on the grand societal challenges;

   strategic orientation, development, design and implementation of all policies and measures, with the aim of contributing to and enhancing innovation in Europe (through, for example, education and training, advisory services, the labour market, the single market, proper management of intellectual property rights, infrastructure, taxation instruments, industrial policy, procurement and trade, joint innovative interactions between service and manufacturing companies, with a special focus on SMEs);
   well-coordinated multidisciplinary cooperation and (financial) support at EU, Member State, regional and local level;
   maximum involvement of all relevant players, e.g. SMEs, industry, universities, research institutes, RTOs, governments, civil society organisations and social partners, including potential new, productive forms of cooperation between knowledge institutions and industry;
   coordination, coherence and synergy among the different policy areas, actions and instruments, so as to prevent fragmentation and duplication arising from uncoordinated research and innovation efforts;
   shaping a positive regulatory environment for innovation products in order to adapt to market needs;
   policy evaluation methodologies and processes, including peer review panels and dissemination of successful experiments;

22.  Stresses the need to transform the EU's trade and innovation policy into a true vehicle for job creation, the eradication of poverty and sustainable development worldwide; firmly believes that consistency between the internal and external aspects of EU policies is indispensable and that the shaping of a new trade policy must be consistent with a strong, job-creating industrial and innovation policy in order to ensure economic growth and in turn to create more and better jobs;

23.  Stresses the relation of the Innovation Union flagship initiative with the Annual Growth Survey as a crucial tool for enhanced cooperation, showing the annual progress in the Member States;

24.  Calls on the Commission to develop an integrated indicator system, taking into account the diversity of the existing economic systems in the Member States and involving enterprises in order to allow better monitoring and assessment of progress and the measurable impact of innovation policies and programmes; calls for the creation of reliable data infrastructures that aid in monitoring developments in research funding and urges further development of the ‘scoreboard’ by means of international cooperation, and by way of a more indicator-and-evidence-based system which measures EU innovation capacity in absolute terms while intelligently using available resources;

25.  Points out that innovation and creativity are processes which, to a certain degree, can be cultivated, taught and enhanced; urges, therefore, that innovation and creativity be included to a greater degree in the educational systems of the EU Member States; calls for the recognition and dissemination of best practices regarding creative and innovative educational curricula and instructional methods used by the Member States;

26.  Stresses the crucial role that eco-innovation will play in meeting EU's 2020 targets; calls therefore for the adoption of an ambitious Eco-innovation Action Plan proposing measures to introduce eco-innovation at all steps of the value chain, including design and increasing funds for initiatives in this field through the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme;

27.  Believes that, given that innovation is usually closely linked to the market and develops through non-formal channels, the EU should fine-tune its innovation evaluation methods to reflect the fact that the same criteria cannot be used to assess every area;

28.  Stresses the danger of the term ‘innovation’ becoming a well-worn cliché that breeds complacency simply through repeated use; innovation alone is not a panacea for coping with every problem and cannot be conjured up at will in times of economic and social crisis. On the contrary, it must be a constant endeavour in the public and private sector and be actively supported by means of cohesive educational, research, industrial, social and environmental strategies on the part of the EU and its Member States;

29.  Recognises the importance of cultural and creative industries in the context of innovation, given that studies prove that firms that make proportionately greater use of services of the cultural and creative industries perform significantly better on innovation;

30.  Affirms the principle of net neutrality and of open standards as drivers of innovation;

Citizen-centred Innovation Society

31.  Stresses that citizens' demands and active engagement of businesses are the key drivers of innovation; points out that the creation of an innovative society must therefore be based on the participation of its citizens, by enabling them to articulate their needs and their creative potential through a bottom-up approach and by providing innovative solutions enabling individual citizens to contribute to resource efficiency;

32.  Highlights the need to create a culture of learning, curiosity and risk-taking; calls therefore upon the Commission and the Member States to put serious effort into bringing about a change of mindset towards innovative and curiosity-driven thinking and risk-taking, and a more permissive attitude towards failure, by encouraging sustainable consumer patterns and actively promoting citizens' and businesses' engagement in innovation and an open-innovation system; emphasises that innovation is a process that neither can nor should be steered completely by governments and needs favourable conditions that allow for sufficient flexibility to support unforeseen developments;

33.  Considers that the advance of knowledge and its multiple applications do not eliminate the need for an open and participatory evaluation of the ethical, social and political implications of those applications; draws attention to the need to promote and disseminate scientific culture among the general public;

34.  Considers that steps should be taken to support initiatives aimed at promoting scientific dialogue and the dissemination of findings among the widest possible public, in addition to the scientific community, increasing the role of civil society in research;

35.  Considers that priority should be given to fostering the development at regional level of an innovation culture, both among entrepreneurs, young people undergoing vocational training and workers, and among the partners who have an influence on business activities, such as regional public decision-makers, research centres, business clusters and funding bodies, which in many cases are not sufficiently aware of the innovation capacities of the firms in their regions, in particular the SMEs (including micro-enterprises and craft firms);

36.  Stresses that a proper understanding of scientific progress and what it entails is essential if the public are to be involved in the innovation effort; calls for the dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge to be stepped up; stresses the importance of both lifelong learning and measures specifically targeted at population groups that have less easy access to science and technology, in particular rural communities;

37.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote the development of sustainable economic models based on innovation and creativity which create and protect highly qualified jobs in Europe;

38.  Highlights the importance of a bottom-up approach to innovation and the promotion of an open environment for creative ideas, so as to spur productivity growth, empower employees and develop solutions for unmet social needs (such as inclusion and immigration);

39.  Calls to complement the current up-front financing with new financing mechanism such as award competitions or inducement prizes for European innovators (individuals or teams) to encourage ideas and reward inventions, for instance in socially valuable fields whereby knowledge is created as public good; invites the Commission to consider whether a first pilot of an award system within the pilot European Innovation Partnership on healthy ageing is appropriate;

40.  Stresses that social innovation is about new and effective solutions to pressing social needs, created by individuals or organisations with a social, and not necessarily a commercial imperative; further stresses that social innovation provides an opportunity for citizens, in any role, to enhance their working and life environment and thus could help strengthen the European social model;

41.  Emphasises the role played by the social economy sector (cooperatives, mutual societies, associations and foundations) in social innovation by devising and implementing the means to meet needs which are not taken into account by the market and by the conventional forms of entrepreneurship;

42.  Considers that the EU Innovation strategy should unleash the potential of employees by allowing also non-academic employees to be part of and participate in different kinds of EU schemes and innovation-projects;

43.  Points out that the Innovation Union strategy must recognise the importance of ideas, suggestions and competencies of ordinary employees when it comes to innovation. Several studies point to the fact that employee-driven innovation is not only good for business but also job satisfaction and – if performed in the right way – something that may actually reduce stress;

44.  Calls on the EU, national and regional and local authorities to launch the pilot project and promote research on social innovation and to provide public funds in support of it as well as public-private partnerships, that could serve as basis for the future activities in this field; stresses that social innovation should be included in funding and support programmes such as the European Social Fund, the Framework Programmes (FPs) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP);

45.  Stresses the importance of research in the medical sector, which, combined with innovative applications, will foster growth and well-being in an ageing society; supports close co-operation between university research departments and the medical industry in order to generate products and services that citizens in the EU will urgently need over the next decade;

46.  Calls on the Commission to leverage the resources of the Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding to ensure the sustainable implementation of biological and medical science research infrastructure as a public R&D service, oriented towards a better quality of life of the citizens, which is a way to make progress towards a knowledge-based society that can face the societal challenges in Europe;

47.  Considers that a greater emphasis on innovation policy represents an opportunity for the modernisation and reinforcement of public services in both existing and emerging fields, in a whole range of areas of economic and social life, thus boosting quality and efficiency, job creation, the fight against poverty and social exclusion, and economic, social and territorial cohesion;

48.  Considers that closer coordination of STI efforts should not imply disinvestment or underinvestment in the scientific capacity of certain Member States or regions to the detriment of others; believes that, rather, it should entail investment in developing a sound and consistent STI base in the different countries and regions, in line with their characteristics and levels of development, with a view to promoting beneficial synergies and fruitful cooperation;

49.  Stresses the importance of modernising the educational system; calls on the Member States to take action to improve the entrepreneurial and quantitative skills and training of (young) Europeans by incorporating entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation into all areas of education and improving human capital which enables them to play an active role in innovation, such as through the Commission's ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’ programme, while safeguarding craft trades as a source of innovation;

50.  Calls on the Commission to work more closely with the Member States in order to draw up medium- and long-term forecasts regarding the skills required by the employment market, and to encourage partnerships between universities and the business sector in order to foster the transition of young people to the employment market while helping to create an innovative, knowledge-based society, develop applied research and create better employment market prospects for graduates;

51.  Notes that in times of crisis, it is essential to attract young people to the new types of jobs available and to ensure that skill programmes promote access to the labour market for young people, with a view to enabling them to make the most of their job potential, combating high unemployment among people under the age of 25 years and capitalising on the younger generation's skills in using new technologies;

52.  Calls for efforts to overcome skill shortages in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics; stresses the importance of enhancing the quality of training, improving access to lifelong learning and vocational training, promoting continuous training for employees, and making arrangements for access to, and the organisation of, such training which are inclusive and do not discriminate against women; takes the view, however, that these measures should be aimed primarily at workers assigned to less skilled work than was previously the case, who are at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the introduction of new technologies, and at those made redundant because they lack the skills necessitated by restructuring and conversion; recalls also the need to develop all training activities, at all levels of training, more fully in order to enhance creativity, innovativeness and entrepreneurship;

53.  Stresses the importance of raising the level of lifelong learning and of developing training activities for all in order to enhance eco-innovativeness and entrepreneurship and ensure that the workforce can adjust its skills to the labour market needs of a more sustainable economy founded on competence-based training concepts; calls on the Member States, employers and employees to recognise skills management, training and lifelong learning for innovation as a shared responsibility, as acknowledged in the social partners' 2002 framework agreement on lifelong learning;

54.  Points out that, given the shortage of higher education students in the fields of science and technology, steps must be taken to ensure that no students abandon their studies or are limited in their choice of educational establishment for financial reasons, and that it is therefore necessary to continue to promote access to bank loans which can be partially financed by the Member States;

55.  Underlines the need to detect sleeping innovators, in particular among SMEs; points to the important role of intermediate organisations in detecting sleeping innovators, providing incentives, giving advice and supporting innovation; takes the view that these organisations should be strengthened, that a programme aimed at improving training, qualifications and expertise should be developed for them, and that in the future the importance of models for dual-purpose training courses for two professions should increase;

56.  Reiterates the importance of acquiring a core of basic competences and a good level of general culture in order to ensure better adaptability to the working environment; stresses that, in this context, language learning is of particular importance;

57.  Calls on the Member States to create clusters and conditions in which innovation is accelerated and to support the development of stronger partnerships between educational institutions and the business world, both nationally and internationally, while also considering the needs of businesses when developing the curricula;

58.  Considers that it is essential to establish programmes specifically to promote scientific and technological culture as part of the measures to promote innovation in all areas;

59.  Supports the proposal of the Committee of the Regions for the creation of a ‘virtual creativity network’ that would be open to all (businesses, local and regional authorities, central public authorities, the private sector and citizens) and would provide advice, assistance and access to venture capital and technical services; stresses that a virtual network offers the additional advantage of giving the inhabitants of islands, outlying regions, rural areas, mountain areas and sparsely populated areas easier access to expert advice, education and information, business support and financial guidance;

60.  Welcomes the Commission to make strong progress in improving career prospects for researchers and increasing their mobility between research sectors and across national borders. This would help ensure an adequate supply of researchers and enhance the quality of EU research and innovation. Researchers across the EU should be able to benefit from the right training, attractive career conditions and the removal of barriers to mobility;

61.  Notes that social innovation is a Human Capital challenge where Universities must play an enhanced role through education, life-long training, research, innovation and entrepreneurship; highlights the importance of more open and modernised Universities and the need for greater University autonomy in defining strategic priorities and own course of action in response to societal priorities;

62.  Stresses, in order to ensure greater integration of the components of the knowledge triangle, the need to promote policies to strengthen cooperation between education systems and the business world in the development of new curricula and doctoral programmes;

63.  Calls the Commission to create an ‘Open Innovation’ digital platform where European-wide policy problems can be posted, and ideas and solutions can be put forward by citizens and stakeholders across Europe;

64.  Notes an existing skills gap in Universities in what concerns an improved and proactive interaction with the business sector; calls on the Commission to launch a new European-wide programme for training and education of University managers, of technology transfer officers, and of technology broker professionals and to issue guidelines for the professionalization of such careers in Universities;

Simplification, defragmentation, financing and standardisation

65.  Stresses that important opportunity costs are associated with more traditional EU expenditure sectors and points to the need to align strategic EU2020 priorities with budgetary policy; therefore calls for a greater share of the EU budget to be allocated to R&D and innovation;

66.  Highlights the comparative small size of the EU R&D&I budget as compared to Member States' budgets which account for the majority of public research funding; therefore, calls for a greater emphasis on funding instruments with a leveraging effect on national research expenditure, on private investment, and on EIB funding, to promote coordination of efforts and to stimulate investment up to European target goals;

67.  Calls on the Commission to combine existing aid schemes and supporting structures in order to move towards a simple and accessible system to accelerate innovation, to focus on the grand societal challenges and actively to prevent fragmentation and bureaucracy;

68.  Calls on the Commission to evaluate the existing aid schemes and support structures and to set up a ‘one-stop shop’ in cooperation with the Member States, that is, a service counter where all stakeholders (especially innovative SMEs) – including local and regional government – can obtain information and apply for financial support or be linked up with potential partners;

69.  Stresses the need to support SMEs from the first stage of innovation until the end, so that they are able to innovate and can participate in European Support Programmes;

70.  Is in favour of cluster internationalisation strategies geared to establishing proper support and guidance systems for SMEs;

71.  Stresses the need for European clusters to raise their profiles and be more effective in putting across their successes and their results; takes the view that a service platform should be set up for innovative SMEs in the form of a cluster link bringing together various clusters and technology parks in Europe and around the world (for example, in the Mediterranean area);

72.  Stresses that R&D investment tends to drop in periods of economic crisis, even though it has been proved that those companies and Member States that invest the most during such periods are the ones that gain the greatest comparative market advantage;

73.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a single policy framework for supporting and financing innovation with uniform rules, to create synergies and merge Research & Development & Innovation (R&D&I) support programmes, where possible, and to support innovation, by directing more funds to innovation and by encouraging more involvement of the financial sector; recalls on the Members States to respect their commitment to devote ETS revenues to finance climate related action, including innovation projects;

74.  Calls on the Commission to consider multi-fund programmes for Member States and regions that want to use them; considers that it would contribute to working in a more integrated and flexible manner and would increase the effectiveness of interaction between the different funds (Structural Funds and the Framework Programmes for Research and Development);

75.  Joins the Council in calling for a better balance between trust and control, and between risk-taking and risk avoidance, acknowledging that innovation and research are high-risk activities with no guaranteed results;

76.  Draws attention to the fact that those participating in the innovation process have to deal with different procedures and eligibility criteria both in the various European programmes and between the latter and national programmes; this results in red tape, high costs and a waste of time and opportunities; calls for a joint commitment on the part of the Commission and the Member States to implement a simplification and convergence process in respect of the selection procedures and eligibility criteria used in the European Research and Innovation area;

77.  Asks the European Commission to present to the European Parliament an external evaluation about the innovation instruments created inside the Seventh Framework Programme like Technological Platforms and JTIs where the evaluation should include activities, calls, innovation projects and results (if they exist) and the economic contribution from public and private funds;

78.  Reiterates the need for a significant increase in R&D&I investment, both private and public, in order that EU industry remains a technology leader and retain global competitiveness in areas such as transport and energy efficiency; furthermore, an increased public funding of R&D&I is necessary in order to leverage private investment;

79.  Calls for the future framework programme to foster optimum use of research findings by linking them to the innovation process through the extension of the scope of project funding to include the demonstration and prototype stages;

80.  Stresses the importance of better assistance in the implementation of policies and programmes that enhance synergy within the research and development infrastructures - innovation - job creation chain;

81.  Administrative and financial simplification of public funding procedures, especially in the EU Framework Programmes, is a prerequisite for stability, legal certainty for the participants and consequently, increased industry participation;

82.  Reiterates that Framework Programmes should continue to support collaborative research in industry, as this leverages industrial funds and has a positive influence on creating productive innovation in the single market;

83.  Urges maintaining a strong base of excellence in basic research, building on the success of the European Research Council and maintain a strong base for applied scientific research and innovation, by creating a ERC-style agency for applied research and innovation, merging existing structures as appropriate;

84.  Believes that innovation and creativity are key to the economic recovery of the Union and that the importance of converting the Union's scientific and technological breakthroughs into new goods and services should not be underestimated;

85.  Recalls that innovation is applying ideas successfully in practice and highlights the fundamental link between innovation and the marketplace; therefore, proper financial instruments should be available to accelerate the introduction of successful technologies, services or processes on the EU market, particularly those addressing the grand societal challenges;

86.  Takes the view that the commercial exploitation of research findings in the EU is inadequate or too slow, and recommends establishing business incubators which actively seek innovations and are in contact with higher education and research establishments, and whose task is to promote the commercial exploitation of research findings, for example through enterprise contacts or by helping to find ‘business angels’ or seed capital for starting new businesses;

87.  Stresses the need, in order to stimulate demand and the market for innovative products, to promote innovation by creating new market opportunities;

88.  Calls upon the Commission and Member States to define and implement policy frameworks aimed at stimulating rapid access for users to valuable innovations across the EU, ensuring that newly-found innovations can actually reach potential end-users within reasonable timeframes;

89.  Underlines the importance of differentiating between innovation and research; points out that innovation is a complex cross-cutting socio-economic process, which involves efforts to increase spending on R&D and support for SMEs and for high-tech activities, and focuses on developing integrated systems based on the characteristics and specificities of the different territories;

90.  Calls on the Commission to link funding instruments more closely to demand-side innovation tools and to direct this support in greater extent to SMEs and start-up companies in need of early access to EU- or international markets; considers it therefore necessary to approve clear and specific ‘Rules of Participation’ containing measures to increase the participation by small and micro enterprises;

91.  Stresses the importance of doctoral programmes for European innovation and proposes developing a European framework for doctoral programmes which encourages lifelong learning and involves businesses in supporting, promoting and using the results of research; calls on the Member States to eliminate any legislative or administrative obstacles which might limit the access of interested parties to doctoral programmes;

92.  Calls on the Commission to consider multi-fund programmes for Member States and regions that want to use them; considers that it would contribute to work in a more integrated and flexible manner and would increase the effectiveness between the different funds (Structural Funds and the Framework Programmes for Research and Development);

93.  Stresses the need to support a composite financial architecture, as well as the development of new financial mechanisms, also combining automatic instruments with grant-based instruments in order to foster investments needed to reach strategic R&D goals;

94.  Welcomes the Commission proposal for the release by 2014 of appropriations to help increase and enhance the private funding necessary to promote innovation in Europe;

95.  Recommends a change of the EIB mandate to allow for financing of risk-intensive close-to-the-market research and innovation; in this light, urges the Commission to expand the EIB's successful Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) by:

   increasing the risk-guarantee factor,
   stepping up the available guarantees and loans for private companies or public institutions with a higher financial risk profile for their R&D&I activities,
   providing an additional EUR 500 million in 2011, increasing current funding from EUR 1 billion to EUR 5 billion after 2013, and
   diversifying the type of risk-sharing structures, in order to provide better access to finance for enterprises – in particular SMEs;

96.  Takes the view that a European innovation financing fund should be set up to boost investment in innovative SMEs through risk sharing involving the harnessing of private resources;

97.  Welcomes the Commission proposal to define specific investments addressed to innovative start-ups;

98.  Calls on the Commission to move a greater proportion of close-to-the-market research, including demonstration projects, to debt and equity instruments in the future framework programmes, that could leverage more private capital, such as the CIP, the RSFF, and the EIF, and to ensure Europe-wide access for SMEs thereto; emphasizes the need to close the financing gaps for (cross-border) start-up firms;

99.  Stresses that better understanding of the specificities associated with company size, development, stage and activity sector are required when designing funding instruments; calls for urgent action to tackle major bottlenecks at the initial stages of innovation by improving access to seed funding, angel funding and more equity and quasi-equity financing both at EU level but also regional and local level;

100.  Stresses that the development potential of venture capital in the EU is far from having been realised due to differences in national rules and tax arrangements; welcomes the Commission proposal to ensure that by 2012, Venture Capital funds established in any Member State can function and invest freely in the EU creating therefore a true ‘EU Venture Capital Single Market’;

101.  Calls for the further development of instruments and mechanisms for improving SMEs access to research and innovation services (such as innovation vouchers) and other knowledge-based business services (modelling, risk assessment, etc.) that are crucial for SMEs to innovate and bring innovative solution to the market;

102.  Highlights the business and eco-efficiency benefits of product-service systems and function-oriented business models and calls on the Commission to develop a strategy in this field;

103.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to re-evaluate the whole system of innovation with a view to removing unnecessary financial and administrative barriers, for example:

   to access to loans and other financial support opportunities and instruments for universities and RTOs,
   to develop technology transfer activities based on intellectual property valorisation;

104.  Regrets that innovation protocols are subjected to long bureaucratic approval processes that slow down innovation, limit the competitiveness of the EU market and stop the development of scientific knowledge in the medical community, thus deferring the benefits to patients;

105.  Stresses the importance of giving priority to revising the clinical trials directive in dialogue with researchers, with the aim of ensuring an improved regulatory framework for developing medicinal products and comparing alternative treatments with medicinal products in clinical research (as stated in the Council Conclusions on Innovation and Solidarity in Pharmaceuticals adopted in Brussels on 6 December 2010);

106.  Stresses the great importance of using new knowledge to create new and better ways to prevent, find and treat cancer and to promote rapid mechanisms to make those discoveries available to patients;

107.  Highlights the importance of innovation in the Knowledge Triangle and calls on the need to develop a culture of innovation into the financial perspective and the post-2013 perspectives;

108.  Invites the Member States, in close cooperation with the regions, to make the best possible use of the Structural Funds for R&D&I in the current financing period while targeting the grand societal challenges, striving towards achieving cohesion in innovation and research and aligning the Structural Funds priorities with the EU2020 objectives; calls on the Commission and the Member States to avoid costly duplication by promoting smart and better targeted specialisation strategies; considers that regions should be incentivised to promote this architecture of European specialisation;

109.  Highlights that cohesion funds earmarked for innovation go to large extent unspent due to unsuitable administrative requirements and to the need for matching funds unavailable at times of financial constraint; notes that this fact contributes to the widening economic gap among Member States, which lies at the core of the present Euro area crisis; calls for reform and streamlining of structural funds, to make them accessible for the restructuring of the economic actors involved, especially SMEs;

110.  Believes that the setting of benchmarks and standards have proven to be strong drivers for promoting innovation and sustainable competitiveness in several industrial sectors; Joins the Council in inviting the Commission to make proposals to accelerate, simplify, reduce the costs and modernise standardisation procedures through greater transparency and involvement of stakeholders, thus generating a quicker European response to innovative global market developments; ask the Commission to seriously consider successful innovative mechanisms such as the establishment of open standards integrating stakeholders along the value-chain;

111.  Points out that standardisation can increase innovation and competitiveness by facilitating access to markets and by enabling interoperability; encourages the Commission to step up efforts to promote the inclusion of European standards, particularly in the social and environmental fields, in future free trade agreements;

112.  Stresses therefore that all strategies in relation to transforming Europe for a post-crisis world need to be guided by sustainable job creation;

113.  Urges the European Commission to follow the recommendation of the Interim Evaluation of the Seventh Framework Programme (Expert Group) when it asks for a moratorium on new instruments that should be considered until the existing ones have been sufficiently developed and adequately evaluated; therefore, calls for special precaution to be taken in order to avoid confusion due to the proliferation of instruments;

114.  Asks the Commission to present to Parliament an external evaluation of the innovation instruments created under the Seventh Framework Programme, such as, for example, technological platforms and JETIs (Joint European Technology Initiatives), and considers that the evaluation should cover activities, calls for proposals, innovation projects, results (if any) and the economic contribution from public and private funds.

115.  Calls on the Commission, in the light of the 2020 funding target for research and technological development amounting to 3 % of GDP and recognising that research and innovation are the only sure means of achieving economic recovery in the EU, to consider the possibility of establishing for the Member States an interim binding minimum level of funding for research and technological development amounting to around 1 % of GDP up to 2015;

116.  Draws attention to the fact that innovation is essential to economic development and that the European Union needs to recruit around one million additional researchers in order to meet the goal of spending 3 % of GDP on R&D, as laid down in the Europe 2020 Strategy; believes that this goal can be more easily achieved by substantially increasing the number of women researchers, who account for only 39 % of researchers employed in the public sector and higher education, and 19 % of researchers working in the private sector(6);

117.  Supports the objective of increasing the number of researchers in the EU by one million by 2020, and observes that such an enormous investment would have significant multiplier effects on employment, but at the same time maintains that this is a very ambitious goal which would require objectives to be set for each individual country and purposeful efforts to be made; notes that the public sector does not necessarily have sufficient funds to do this, so that although there is a strong need to increase the number of posts for researchers at higher education establishments and public research institutes, most of the new researchers will be employed in the private sector; points out that attention should be focused less on the number of researchers than their innovativeness, the quality of their education, the European division of labour in the field of research, resources for research and the quality of research;

118.  Welcomes the Commission's support for open and collaborative innovation which will bring long-term social and economic benefits; approves in this context the commitment of the Commission to the dissemination, transfer and use of research results, including open access to publications and data from publicly funded research; encourages the Commission to find the necessary means to achieve these aims, and emphasises the role that Europeana can play in this field;

Single market and intellectual property

119.  Stresses that the European single market must be completed for all goods and services as a matter of urgency, including innovative health products, thus providing access to 500 million consumers; reiterates that one great challenge for the European single market is fragmentation of laws and validation processes;

120.  Stresses that in some sectors, such as that of health, the results of research have fed into innovation whenever science has allowed, and therefore considers that the Commission's pessimism with regard to innovation is in many cases unjustified;

121.  Emphasises that current licensing practices contribute to the fragmentation of the EU internal market; notes that although progress has been made, consumers' demand for multi-territory and multi-repertoire licences for cross-border and online uses has not been satisfactorily addressed;

122.  Recalls that the objective of the EU is to promote the cultural and creative industries both online and offline and considers that the widespread use of pan-European licences in accordance with market and consumers' demands should be the goal and that, if this cannot be achieved within a short time frame, a comprehensive assessment of necessary legislation to deal with all potential obstacles to the creation of an effective EU internal market, including the principle of territoriality, should be undertaken;

123.  Welcomes the Commission revision of the Union trademark system and encourages the Commission to ensure that the relevant steps are taken to ensure that trademarks can benefit from the same level of protection in the online and offline environment;

124.  Stresses that a strong, balanced and properly implemented intellectual property rights (IPR) system that contributes to greater transparency and prevents any fragmentation, is one of the key framework conditions for innovation; welcomes the Commission efforts to prevent IPR from constituting a barrier to competition and innovation; further calls on the Commission to develop a comprehensive intellectual property strategy – and where appropriate, to submit legislative proposals – which balances inventors' rights with promoting wide use of and access to knowledge and inventions;

125.  Urges the Commission to focus on ensuring that SMEs can make efficient use of intellectual and industrial property rights;

126.  Takes the view that the Commission should take into account the specific problems encountered by SMEs when it comes to asserting their intellectual property rights in accordance with the principle of ‘Think Small First’ established by the Small Business Act for Europe, inter alia by applying the principle of non-discrimination for SMEs;

127.  Takes the view that well functioning enforcement of IPR increases the incentives for companies to develop innovative products and therefore increases the range of goods and services available to consumers;

128.  Calls for the introduction of a balanced single European patent; welcomes, meanwhile, the broad support in the Council for the enhanced cooperation procedure on a single EU patent to start in 2011;

129.  Points out that the single European patent and the European Company Statute need to be adopted to promote the transition to extra-Community trade; underlines the need to reduce the costs of an EU patent and IPR, taking into account the economic disparities that exist among EU Member States, in order to make them more competitive vis-à-vis US and Japanese prices;

130.  Calls for the completion of the European Research Area – a Treaty obligation – by 2014, so as to enable the EU to retain and attract top talent, to maximise the freedom of movement for researchers, to promote the cross-border activity of research and technology institutes and the dissemination, transfer and exploitation of research results; stresses that it will therefore be of key importance to develop appropriate funding mechanisms;

131.  Stresses the need to promote policies which encourage researchers to remain in the EU Member States by promoting attractive working conditions at public research institutes;

132.  Believes that an efficient innovation and growth policy must inevitably invest in research programmes which facilitate mobility and exchanges between researchers at international level and strengthen cooperation between the worlds of science and business (Marie Curie Actions);

133.  Stresses the importance of creating, at both European and national level, favourable conditions and incentives in order to boost participation in doctoral studies, as well as participation in innovative research, so as to prevent the brain drain and enable the EU to derive substantial benefits, strengthening its competitiveness through advanced, innovative research and studies;

134.  Calls for swift revision of the legislation on the Community trade mark and, in this connection, for appropriate steps to be taken to ensure that trade marks are afforded the same degree of protection in both online and offline environments;

135.  Welcomes the Commission proposal to develop a European knowledge market for IPR and licensing by the end of 2011, including facilitating access to unused intellectual properties, among others, by encouraging the formation of common patent platforms and patent pools;

136.  Urges the Commission to come forward with legislative proposals required for the creation of a fully functioning Digital Single Market by 2015, as this would significantly improve the framework conditions for innovation; stresses that the initiatives must be ambitious in particular in key areas such as copyright, e-commerce, including consumer policy for e-commerce, and utilisation of public-sector information;

137.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to place the completion of the Single Market, including measures to promote a Digital Single Market, at the heart of innovation policy, as this will deliver better prices and more quality for consumers, support the development of innovative products, boost job creation in the EU and generate new EU growth opportunities in lead markets;

138.  Points out that, if we are to move towards a single innovation market, ways of assessing the direct and indirect, short- and long-term, economic and social benefits need to be agreed;

Public procurement

139.  Recalls that public procurement, representing 17 % of the EU's annual GDP, plays an important role in the European single market and in stimulating innovation;

140.  Urges the Member States to strategically use public procurement addressing the societal challenges, to stimulate innovation and direct their public procurement budget towards innovative, sustainable and eco-efficient products, processes and services, taking into account that the cheapest offer may not always be economically the most viable one; calls, therefore, on the Commission:

   to facilitate, in its legislative proposals, public procurement which enables innovation, including a review of pre-commercial procurement opportunities;
   to provide possibilities for using EU co-funding through the Structural Funds as an incentive for regional and local public sector bodies,
   to issue best-practice guidelines and training programmes for public procurers at Member state-level, aiming at developing skills in complex pre-commercial and innovative procurement;

141.  Insists that innovation must be a key component of public policy in such fields as the environment, water, energy, transport, telecommunications, health and education; stresses the need to promote the across-the-board dissemination and absorption of innovation, in the public sector, private firms and especially SMEs;

142.  Urges the Commission and Member States to support the efforts of the public sector to adopt innovative approaches and launch the new research programme on innovation in the public sector, for example in the fields of e-government, e-health and e-procurement, and also disseminate best practices in public administration which will reduce bureaucracy and embrace citizen-centred policies; stresses the importance of the public sector in strengthening public confidence in the internal digital market;

143.  Calls on the Commission, Member States and local and regional authorities to encourage the use of e-procurement and especially the take up of pre-commercial procurement, including joint and electronic procurement, whilst paying due attention to compliance with data protection rules as an integral part of the EU's innovation strategy; calls in particular on the Commission as part of the general review of the legal framework for public procurement, to clarify and simplify the relevant rules and enable contracting authorities to make more transparent use of pre-commercial procurement; calls also on the Commission and Member States to encourage the transparent inclusion of specified and veritable social, environmental, fair-trade and innovative criteria in public procurement without undermining SMEs' active engagement in the process of working up new and innovative solutions and respecting applicable competition rules;

144.  Notes that innovative SMEs face problems in accessing funding for internationalization and international trade credit insurance, among other barriers, and highlights the need to implement new support measures for SMEs under the framework of the revised Small Business Act and the expected Communication on International Trade Policy and SMEs;

145.  Emphasises that international reciprocity is needed in respect of access to public procurement markets, thus enabling EU businesses to compete on fair terms internationally;

146.  Insists on the need to focus particularly on non-tariff barriers, which, as tariffs are gradually reduced or eliminated, tend to become the main obstacles to international trade; regards as unjustified all barriers resulting from the inconsistent implementation of bilateral and multilateral trade rules; regards as justified, on the other hand, all barriers resulting from legitimate legislative and administrative activities by public authorities originating in non-trade areas but having unintended consequences on trade, the elimination of which must be subject to public consultation and deliberation;

147.  Acknowledges that technology transfer in the interest of development and with respect to achieving the MDGs needs to be an important aspect of European trade policy, but recognizes that the transfer of EU high-technology know-how to third countries should be monitored by the Commission in order to gain better information on innovation patterns and future developments, and to avoid unfair competition;

148.  Underlines the important role that SMEs can play if public procurement rules are designed with adjustable requirements (including capital requirements and the size of contracts) according to the size of the participating business;

149.  Stresses the importance of the EU and its Member States engaging in scientific cooperation with third countries; takes the view that EU undertakings must be guaranteed better access to research and development programmes in third countries;

150.  Stresses that the EU and the Member States should act in a coordinated manner on agreements and measures in the field of science and technology relating to third countries; takes the view that consideration should be given to the potential for framework agreements by the EU and its Member States with third countries;

European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs)

151.  Recalls its resolution of 11 November 2010 on EIPs:

   stating the overarching principle of resource intelligence in all EIPs, thus promoting resource efficiency, smart consumption and efficient production and management throughout the supply chain,
   welcoming the pilot project on active and healthy ageing;

152.  Stresses that the EIPs must:

Therefore asks the European Commission to promote and support other initiatives based on the principle of European Innovation Partnerships;

   not exceed the limited number of grand societal challenges and must be aligned with them,
   generate inspiration through ambitious but feasible ‘(wo)man on the moon’ targets, focused on impact, clear deliverables and translated coherently into specific objectives,
   create synergies and follow the SMART principles,
   be shared and coordinated among more than two policy fields (DGs) within the Commission,
   integrate and better coordinate all existing R&D&I instruments and initiatives, including the EIT's Knowledge and Innovation Communities, while avoiding unnecessary duplication,
   ensure participation of all relevant public and private partners, including SMEs and civil society organisations, along the supply chains , in the selection, development and operation of the future partnerships;

153.  Considers exemplary the objective assigned to the pilot Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing of extending healthy lifetimes by two years by 2020, and takes the view that clear objectives should be set for all innovation partnerships, which without innovative measures would lack vision and motivation, making it more difficult to set measurable interim and partial objectives;

154.  Welcomes the ‘European Innovation Partnerships’ intended to increase and coordinate investments in R&D as well as to better coordinate public procurement to speed up the introduction of innovations into the market; stresses however that procurement policies should be designed not to replace private markets or to distort competition but to leverage them, stimulating the diffusion of innovation, while keeping the markets open to move in new directions;

155.  Calls on the Commission to come up with proposals in the Regulation for the different funds in the period 2014-2020, in order to facilitate the European Innovation Partnership in concrete terms;

156.  Calls upon the Commission to report annually to Parliament on all EIPs, and twice-yearly on the first pilot project and demands the involvement of the European Parliament in all stages of the implementation of the EIPs;

157.  Calls on the Commission to set up an innovation partnership for raw materials;

The region as an important partner

158.  Underlines that full engagement of the regional and local authorities is crucial to achieving the goals of the Innovation Union, as they have an important role in bringing together businesses, knowledge institutions, public authorities and the citizen in the diamond 4 standard thus serving as an intermediary between these various actors, the Member States and the EU; calls therefore on the Commission to suggest areas for discussion and operational arrangements whereby the regions can participate in and make a contribution towards providing the most appropriate responses to the grand societal challenges, in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity while at the same time acknowledging the specific needs of the different regions;

159.  Notes the conclusions of the European Innovation Panel of 2009 to the effect that the economic and financial crisis is having disproportionate effects in different countries and regions which are undermining the convergence objective; is concerned that the current budgetary constraints imposed on the Member States may lead to greater restrictions on STI investment, with potentially damaging effects; agrees that the ‘Innovation Union’ initiative should involve all Member States and regions and that it is essential to avoid creating an ‘innovation divide’ between more and less innovative countries and regions;

160.  Calls on every region to invest in innovation and adjust its innovation strategy to increase its efficiency, furthermore to upgrade its human capital and enhance the ability and willingness of its enterprises to innovate and be internationally competitive;

161.  Points out that decision-takers at regional level must be fully aware of the potential for economic growth that research and innovation activities offer all regions, as the bulk of innovations come about at the practical interface (demand- and user-based innovations) and are mostly funded by the ERDF; notes therefore that, in so far as innovation activities do not necessarily or principally require the existence of higher education establishments, regions without universities and research centres should also be able to develop their own innovation capacities and derive maximum benefit from regional and local resources and assets in terms of potential for innovation;

162.  Notes that fostering innovation at the regional level can help reduce regional disparities; encourages the various levels (regional, national and EU) nonetheless to coordinate their efforts more effectively as part of Europe-wide planning of R&D activities;

163.  Points out that innovation – both in policy-making and in the activities of businesses and research centres – is of fundamental importance in fleshing out EU territorial cohesion policy and that, by its very nature, it can make a decisive contribution towards meeting cohesion objectives and overcoming the barriers standing in the way of this in areas with specific geographical and demographic features;

164.  Draws attention to the contribution that cultural diversity makes to innovation; considers, in this connection, that action to safeguard and promote regional cultural diversity should be given a prominent role in innovation policy;

165.  Stresses the key role of the regions in drawing up policies to stimulate innovation at national level; points out, however, that in many Member States regional and local budgets are insufficient and national budgets for innovation are low;

166.  Stresses that the full innovation potential of EU regions must be mobilised in order to meet the Europe 2020 objective of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and points out that future regional policy must treat this challenge as a major priority; believes that this prioritisation applies to all the objectives of regional policy, and emphasises the need to ensure that the competitiveness of Europe is guaranteed by world standards; calls for industry to be involved in eco-innovation, since entrepreneurs have a very important role to play in spreading eco-innovation more widely at regional level; 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.

167.  Stresses the role of the innovative potential of countries which are not members of the EU but which cooperate with the EU within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, and calls for those countries to be included in the ‘Innovation Union’ initiative;

168.  Highlights the great potential of cities in pursuing research and innovation; believes that smarter urban policy, and the ‘Smart Cities’ initiative in the field of energy, based on technological advancements and addressing the fact that 80 % of Europe's population lives in towns, which is also where the greatest social disparities are, would contribute to sustainable economic innovation;

Strategy Implementation

169.  Invites the European Commission to translate the current strategic document ‘Innovation Union’ into an action plan with specific objectives and with measurable and time-framed targets; calls on the Commission to monitor progress regularly, assessing obstacles and putting forward mechanism to enable improvement, reporting regularly to the European Parliament and the Council;

170.  Invites the European Commission to assess specific instruments of the European Innovation Policy against our main external competitors (USA, Japan, and BRIC countries) and report on their comparative performance towards innovation.

o
o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0398.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0093.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0209.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0223.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0401.
(6) Press release entitled ‘She Figures 2009 – major findings and trends’, European Commission, 2009, http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/09/519&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en.


ILO convention supplemented by a recommendation on domestic workers
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the proposed ILO convention supplemented by a recommendation on domestic workers
P7_TA(2011)0237B7-0296/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the question of 24 February 2011 to the Commission on ILO convention on domestic workers (O-000092/2011 – B7-0305/2011),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on demographic challenges and solidarity between generations(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2008 on the Community strategy 2007-2012 on health and safety at work(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2010 on atypical contracts, secured professional paths, and new forms of social dialogue(5),

–  having regard to Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (framework directive)(6) and to its individual directives,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 May 2006 entitled ‘Promoting decent work for all - The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world’ (COM(2006)0249) and Parliament's resolution of 23 May 2007(7) on promoting decent work for all,

–  having regard to the International Labour Office (ILO) Reports IV(1) and IV (2), entitled ‘Decent work for domestic workers’, drawn up for the 99th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2010, and Reports IV(1) (or the so-called ‘Brown Report’) and IV(2) (or the so-called ‘Blue report’, published in two volumes) entitled ‘Decent work for domestic workers’, drawn up for the 100th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2011,

–  having regard the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the professionalisation of domestic workers(8),

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), in particular Article 4.1, prohibiting slavery and servitude, and Article 14, prohibiting discrimination,

–  having regard to the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (1977),

–  having regard to the European Agreement on ‘Au Pair’ Placement (1969),

–  having regard to Recommendation 1663 of the European Charter of Rights for Domestic Workers (2004),

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

A.  whereas the crisis has been wiping out millions of jobs and has aggravated job precarity and poverty; whereas 17% of EU residents are at risk of poverty; and whereas 23 million EU residents are unemployed,

B.  whereas in some countries much domestic work takes place in the informal economy, under precarious employment conditions and/or as undeclared work,

C.  whereas in industrialised countries domestic work accounts for between 5 and 9% of all employment; whereas the vast majority of the people employed in that sector are women; whereas such work is undervalued, underpaid and informal, and whereas domestic workers' vulnerability means they are often discriminated against and can easily be subjected to unequal, unfair or abusive treatment,

D.  whereas migrant workers taking low-skilled temporary jobs on the periphery of the labour market or jobs as domestic workers may be exposed to multiple discrimination, since they often work under poor, irregular conditions; whereas efforts should be made to minimise mistreatment of, irregular payments to and acts of violence or sexual abuse against migrant workers; whereas they are often unaware of their rights, have restricted access to public services or face problems accessing them, have limited knowledge of the local language and lack social networks; and whereas domestic workers accompanying their employers from a third country are particularly vulnerable,

E.  whereas the aim of the convention is to provide legal recognition for domestic work as work, extend rights to all domestic workers and to prevent violations and abuses so as to provide a legal framework for all domestic workers and ensure that their work does not take place outside the regulatory framework,

F.  whereas many employers of domestic workers themselves lack understanding or appropriate advice and assistance as regards labour law, social security and the obligations of employers of domestic workers,

G.  whereas au pairs are a group of domestic workers who are often not regarded as regular workers; whereas numerous reports indicate that this can lead to abuse by, for example, forcing au pairs to work excessive hours; whereas au pairs must receive protection equal to other domestic workers,

1.  Welcomes and supports the ILO initiative to adopt a convention supplemented by a recommendation on decent work for domestic workers; calls on the EU countries which are members of the ILO to adopt these instruments at the ILO Conference in June 2011; calls on the EU Member States to ratify and implement the convention and recommendation quickly;

2.  Considers that the adoption, ratification and implementation of an ILO convention on decent work for domestic workers can have an impact by reducing the numbers of working poor;

3.  Considers that the adoption, ratification and implementation of such a convention would address the needs of one of the most vulnerable categories of worker;

4.  Considers that the adoption, ratification and implementation of such a convention would not only improve the position of the large number of women on the labour market for domestic work by guaranteeing them decent working conditions, but would also enhance their degree of social inclusion;

5.  Fully supports the rights-based approach to employment promoted in the draft text of the convention and recommendation; acknowledges the focus on creating decent work for domestic workers, and supports the definition of domestic worker set out in the convention; welcomes the fact that the convention clearly states that every worker covered by this definition has a right to be dealt with in a manner consistent with core labour standards, social security, non-discrimination and equal treatment whilst seeking or whilst in employment, protection against abusive practices by employment agencies, training and career development, health and safety protection, maternity protection and provisions on working/rest time, protection against abuses and harassment, freedom of association and representation, collective bargaining, collective action and lifelong learning; supports the fact that the convention calls for a minimum employment age and the elimination of gender and ethnic pay gaps;

6.  Calls for the provision of broader access to readily available and affordable high-quality childcare and elderly-care facilities, thus helping to ensure that workers are not forced to undertake these duties on an informal basis; stresses, in addition, the need to ensure that precarious domestic care jobs are transformed, wherever possible, into decent, well-paid sustainable jobs;

7.  Calls for the development of a campaign for a step-by-step transformation of precarious workers into regular workers; calls for the endorsement of a programme aiming to educate workers on the impacts of precarious work, including the occupational health and safety implications;

8.  Believes that using best practice from certain regions or Member States, e.g. model contracts, could provide more stable forms of employment for domestic workers employed in family homes;

9.  Believes that the focus of the convention should be on promoting productive and rewarding high-quality jobs and the developing labour law provisions that effectively protect the rights of domestic workers, guarantee them equal treatment, offer a maximum level of protection and safeguard their personal dignity;

10.  Notes that the trend towards an increase in the proportion of non-standard or atypical contracts has a strong gender and generational dimension and that this should be acknowledged in the text of the convention and recommendation;

11.  Points out that high unemployment and labour market segmentation need to be overcome by giving all workers equal rights and investing in job creation, skills and lifelong learning;

12.  Underlines that combating undeclared work should be accompanied by measures to create viable and sustainable employment alternatives and to support people in accessing the open labour market, including through genuine self-employment;

13.  Believes that in the convention policies should be taken on board that enable all people, including the weakest and most disadvantaged, to have effective access to the formal labour market and to equal opportunities;

14.  Calls on the Member States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1990(9);

15.  Considers that the problem of undeclared work needs to be tackled; states that the domestic work sector is characterised by a high level of informality and undeclared work, that many migrant workers are employed in this sector, and that their rights are often violated; further, considers it essential to combat precarious work in general, given that this problem affects migrant workers in particular, thus worsening their already vulnerable position;

16.  Takes the view that it might be necessary to adapt legislation to create flexible and secure contractual arrangements which guarantee equal treatment; considers it essential to examine the specific situation faced by migrant workers and their families;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the ILO.

(1) OJ C 292 E, 1.12.2006, p. 131.
(2) OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 14.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0365.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0375.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0263.
(6) OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 321.
(8) EESC, SOC/372, 26 May 2010.
(9) A/RES/45/158.


Antibiotic resistance
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on antibiotic resistance
P7_TA(2011)0238B7-0295/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on a new animal health strategy for the European Union 2007-2013(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on an evaluation and assessment of the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006-2010(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2003/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents and Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the control of salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents,

–  having regard to the Joint Opinion on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) focused on zoonotic infections by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), EFSA Journal 2009; 7(11):1372,

–  having regard to Oral Question (O-000048/2011 – B7-0304/2011) to the Commission of 1 March 2011 on antibiotic resistance,

–  having regard to the WHO report on ‘The Medical Impact Of the Use of Antimicrobials In Food Animals’,

–  having regard to its resolution on the proposal for a Council recommendation on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine(3),

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

A.  whereas antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an animal health issue for the European livestock sector especially when treatment failure occurs; whereas, guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials have already been issued in several Member States, which has led to a reduction in the usage of antimicrobials,

B.  whereas the livestock sector (dairy, beef meat, pig and poultry meat, eggs, sheep and goat milk and meat production) plays a major role in the European agricultural economy,

C.  whereas farmers' primary goal is to keep their livestock healthy and productive through good agricultural practices (hygiene, proper feed, appropriate husbandry, responsible animal health management),

D.  whereas, despite the measures taken by farmers, animals can still get sick and need to be treated,

E.  whereas antimicrobials, when used properly, is a useful tool to help farmers to keep their livestock healthy and productive and to assure the wellbeing of the animals,

F.  whereas the European livestock farming sector needs to rely on the safety and the efficacy of antimicrobial treatments for the future,

G.  whereas the administration of antimicrobials to animals as well as to humans needs to take into account the potential threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR),

H.  whereas a considerable part of antimicrobials is prescribed for use in animals and AMR affects both humans and animals and can also pass from both humans to animals and animals to humans, this is a truly cross-cutting matter which calls for a coordinated approach at community level,

I.  whereas antimicrobial resistance in humans is often caused by inadequate doses of antibiotic medicines, by incorrect treatments and through the constant exposure of pathogens to antimicrobial agents in hospitals,

J.  whereas transmission of pathogenic bacteria carrying AMR genes constitutes a special threat to people, such as farmers and farm workers, who are in a daily contact with animals,

K.  whereas animals at high densities may encourage higher disease rates; whereas inappropriate use of antimicrobials in animals generally may be considered a risk factor for the emergence of resistance with public and animal health consequences,

L.  whereas the role of animals, of food of animal origin, and of resistant bacteria occurring in animal husbandry in the transfer of AMR to humans and the potential dangers resulting thereof may not be sufficiently clear,

M.  whereas the use of antimicrobials in sub-therapeutic levels for prolonged periods generally creates a greater risk of AMR developing and/or being amplified and spreading, compared to therapeutic treatments,

N.  whereas the use of antimicrobials in sub-therapeutic levels is prohibited in the EU,

O.  whereas a reduced use of antimicrobials would, in the long run, result in lower costs both for the farmers and for the society at large, provided that the efficiency of antimicrobials is maintained,

P.  whereas the excessive and inappropriate use of biocides may also contribute to AMR,

Q.  whereas chemical decontamination of carcases of slaughter, which is illegal in Europe, may also contribute to AMR,

R.  whereas food may be emerging as an important vector for transmitting AMR,

S.  whereas non food-producing animals, such as companion animals, may also serve as reservoirs and facilitate the transmission of AMR, recalling the extra label use of antimicrobial drugs intended for human medical use,

T.  whereas a modern animal husbandry without the possibility to use any antimicrobials to treat diseases seems unfeasible today, a good animal health and a rational and responsible use of antimicrobials would contribute to the prevention of the spread of AMR,

U.  whereas antimicrobial resistance in animals differs between different species and different forms of animal husbandry,

V.  whereas the European Parliament in its resolution of 5 May 2010 on an evaluation and assessment of the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006-2010, underlined the link between animal health and public health and urged the Commission and the Member States to address the growing problem of AMR in animals in a responsible manner,

W.  whereas, in particular, the European Parliament called on the Commission to collect and analyse data on the use of animal health products, including antimicrobials, with a view to ensuring the effective use of such products,

Joint data collection activities

1.  Welcomes the efforts made by the Commission and its agencies as regards joint data collection activities in this field, in particular the initiative in 2009 to create ESVAC (European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption); regrets that not all Member States have yet joined the ESVAC network and calls on more countries to do so; calls on the Commission to provide the ESVAC network with sufficient financial resources to perform its tasks; calls on the Commission to without delay provide an adequate legal framework in order to give Member States the authority to perform an efficient data collection;

2.  Calls on the Commission to strive for a data collection which is harmonised and comparable, also with activities undertaken in third countries such as the United States;

3.  Recognises that the proper collection and analysis of comparable data as regards the sales of veterinary agents - and the subsequent use of such products on animals - is an important first step; stresses the need to get a full picture of when, where, how and on which animals the antimicrobials are actually used today, without creating additional financial or administrative burdens for farmers or other animal owners;

4.  Underlines that data must not only be collected, it must also be properly analysed and the findings put into practice, and the necessary actions taken both on EU and Member State level; also taking into consideration the differences between animal species and forms of animal husbandry;

5.  Recognises that such data must be put into context as farming practice and intensity is different from one Member States to another;

Research

6.  Calls for more research to be performed on new antimicrobials as well as other alternatives (vaccination, bio security, breeding for resistance) and evidence based strategies to avoid and control infectious diseases in animals; underlines the importance of EU's Research Framework Programmes in this respect; stresses in this context the importance of developing systems for animal husbandry which reduce the need for antimicrobials to be prescribed;

7.  Calls for the research resources from the human and the veterinary side to be better coordinated, by creating a network of existing research institutes;

8.  Calls for research into the role of animals, food of animal origin, sustainable production systems including robust breeds, longevity of animals, improved herd management, early disease prevention, exercise and access to free range and lower stocking densities and other conditions ensuring the biological needs of the animals are met; and the resistant bacteria occurring in animal husbandry in the transfer of AMR to humans and the potential danger resulting thereof;

Monitoring and surveillance

9.  Calls on all Member States to perform regular systematic surveillance and monitoring of AMR in both food producing animals and companion animals, without creating additional financial or administrative burdens for farmers or other animal owners or veterinarians; stresses the need for harmonised data, including information on risk factors, to be easily available from a single access point; stresses the need for annual reports from Member States containing data enabling a European wide comparison;

10.  Calls on the future budgets for the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to reflect the increased need for further inspections and analyses in this field;

11.  Calls on all stakeholders to acknowledge their responsibility for preventing both the development and the spread of AMR, each in their own area of activity such as veterinary medicine and animal husbandry;

12.  Suggests that harmonised monitoring of AMR in indicator bacteria (such as E.coli and E. enterococci) should be established according to scientific advice;

Maintained efficiency of antimicrobials

13.  Emphasises that the ultimate objective is to maintain antimicrobials as an effective tool to combat disease, both in animals and in humans, while keeping the use of antimicrobials to the strict necessary;

14.  Calls for a prudent and responsible use of antimicrobials in animals and for more information to veterinarians and farmers to minimise the development of AMR; calls for the exchange of best practices such as the acceptance of guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials as important tools to combat the development of AMR;

15.  Calls for the establishment of good practices for animal husbandry, which minimise the risk for AMR; emphasises that these practices should in particular apply to young animals which are brought together from different breeders and thus increase the risk of communicable diseases;

16.  Calls on the Member States and the FVO to ensure a better control over the implementation of the ban (2006) on antimicrobials being used as growth promoters;

17.  Calls on the Commission to work towards an international ban on antimicrobials as growth promoters in animal feed, and to bring this matter up in its bilateral negotiations with third countries such as the United States;

18.  Calls on the Commission to assess and monitor how the Member States are implementing and applying the relevant existing European legislation on antimicrobials;

19.  Calls on the Commission to develop a broad multi-annual action plan against AMR in the framework of the EU animal health strategy; believes that such an action plan should cover all animals under the EU animal welfare strategy, including companion animals, and emphasise the logical connection between animal health and the use of antimicrobials, as well as the link between animal health and human health;

20.  Believes that this action plan should include a detailed review of the different ways in which antimicrobials are used prophylactically, in order to settle controversy over what is a routine prophylactic and what is an acceptable prophylactic;

21.  Whereas processed animal proteins from non-ruminants show intrinsic animal health and nutritional benefits, which could make a significant contribution to balanced diets for monogastric animals including farmed fish and at the same time contributing to a reduced use of antimicrobials, asks the European Commission to lift the current restrictions under conditions which would ensure a maximum level of food safety;

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

(1) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 89.
(2) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 25.
(3) OJ C 112 E, 9.5.2002, p. 106.


Cultural dimensions of EU external actions
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the cultural dimensions of the EU's external actions (2010/2161(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0239A7-0112/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Article 27(3) of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO Convention),

–  having regard to the Council Decision 2010/427/EU of 26 July 2010 establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)(2),

–  having regard to Decision No 1041/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing an audiovisual cooperation programme with professionals from third countries (MEDIA Mundus 2011–2013)(3),

–  having regard to Decision No 1983/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (2008)(4),

–  having regard to the European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World (COM(2007)0242),

–  having regard to the Commission report on the implementation of the European Agenda for Culture (COM(2010)0390),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on Europeana – the next steps(5),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 18 and 19 November 2010 on the Work Plan for Culture 2011 – 2014 (2010/C 325/01)(6),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 20 November 2008 on the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in the external relations of the Union and its Member States (2008/C 320/04)(7),

–  having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2000), and in particular the articles under the heading ‘Human rights, democracy and good governance’,

–  having regard to the United Nations resolution entitled ‘Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals’ of 22 September 2010,

–  having regard to the United Nations resolution entitled ‘Culture and Development’ of 20 December 2010,

–  having regard to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(8), as first amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005(9) and as amended for the second time in Ouagadougou on 22 June 2010(10),

–  having regard to the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation annexed to the model Free Trade Agreement,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0112/2011),

A.  whereas the EU is a culturally diverse community of values, whose motto – ‘United in diversity’ – finds expression in a variety of ways,

B.  whereas successive EU enlargements, personal mobility in the shared European area, established and new migratory flows and exchanges of all kinds with the rest of the world help foster that cultural diversity,

C.  whereas culture has intrinsic value, enriches people's lives and fosters mutual understanding and respect,

D.  whereas the European Agenda for Culture sets the strategic objective of promoting culture as a vital element in the EU's international relations,

E.  whereas culture can and should be a facilitator for development, inclusion, innovation, democracy, human rights, education, conflict prevention and reconciliation, mutual understanding, tolerance and creativity,

F.  whereas the Union and its Member States, citizens, businesses and civil society both in the EU and in third countries are key actors in cultural relations,

G.  whereas cultural goods, including sports, contribute to the EU's non-material development and economy, fostering the realisation of a knowledge-based society, through, in particular, cultural industries and tourism,

H.  whereas artists act as de facto cultural diplomats exchanging and confronting different aesthetic, political, moral and social values,

I.  whereas new media and communication technologies, such as the internet, can be an instrument for freedom of expression, pluralism, the exchange of information, human rights, development, freedom of assembly, democracy and inclusion and for facilitating access to cultural content and education,

J.  whereas cultural cooperation and cultural dialogue, which are building blocks of cultural diplomacy, can serve as instruments for global peace and stability,

Culture and European values

1.  Underlines the cross-cutting nature and the importance of culture in all aspects of life, and believes that culture needs to be taken into consideration in all EU external policies, in line with Article 167(4) TFEU;

2.  Stresses the need for all EU institutions to recognise more fully the value of culture as a force for tolerance and understanding and as a tool for growth and more inclusive societies;

3.  Calls for cooperation with the regions in each Member State in drawing up, implementing and promoting cultural policies;

4.  Stresses that democratic and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, press freedom, freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom from intolerance, hatred and the freedom to access printed and digital information, as well as the privilege to connect and communicate – online and offline – are important preconditions for cultural expression, cultural exchanges and cultural diversity;

5.  Recalls the importance of the cultural cooperation protocols and their added value in bilateral agreements on development and trade; urges the Commission to present its strategy on future cultural cooperation protocols and to consult Parliament and civil society on this strategy;

6.  Reiterates that culture plays a role in bilateral agreements on development and trade, and through measures such as the European instruments for Development Cooperation, for Stability, for Democracy and Human Rights and for Pre-Accession, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Eastern Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which all allocate resources to cultural programmes;

7.  Emphasises that transatlantic cooperation and cooperation with neighbouring European states is important to advance joint interests and common values;

8.  Values public-private cooperation with a strong role for civil society, including NGOs and European cultural networks, in addressing the cultural aspects of the EU's external relations;

EU programmes

9.  Is concerned at the fragmentation of external EU cultural policy and projects, which is hampering the strategic and efficient use of cultural resources and the development of a visible common EU strategy on the cultural aspects of the EU's external relations;

10.  Urges the streamlining of internal operations in the Commission in the various DGs which focus on external relations (foreign policy, enlargement, trade, development), education and culture and the digital agenda;

11.  States that cultural and educational exchanges can potentially strengthen civil society, foster democratisation and good governance, encourage the development of skills, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide building blocks for lasting cooperation;

12.  Supports the increasing involvement of third countries in EU cultural, mobility, youth, education and training programmes, and calls for access to these programmes to be facilitated for (young) people from third countries, such as European neighbouring countries;

13.  Calls for coherent strategies to foster youth mobility and the mobility of cultural professionals, artists and creators, cultural and educational development (including media and ICT literacy), and access to artistic expression in all its forms; encourages, therefore, synergies between cultural, sports, education, media, multilingualism and youth programmes;

14.  Encourages cooperation with practitioners, mediator organisations and civil society, in both Member States and third countries, in drawing up and implementing external cultural policies and in promoting cultural events and exchanges which improve mutual understanding whilst taking due account of European cultural and linguistic diversity;

15.  Calls for the creation of a cultural visa for third-country nationals, artists and other professionals in the cultural field, along the lines of the existing Scientific Visa Programme in force since 2005; also asks the Commission to propose a short-term visa initiative with the aim of eliminating obstacles to mobility in the cultural sector;

Media and new information technologies

16.  Stresses the importance of the EU taking action throughout the world to promote respect for freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of access to audiovisual media and new information technologies, in a manner consistent with copyright rules;

17.  Condemns the fact that repressive regimes increasingly censor and monitor the internet, and urges the Commission and the Member States to promote internet freedom globally;

18.  Reaffirms the principle of net neutrality, which is designed to ensure that the internet remains a free and open technology, fostering democratic communication;

19.  Emphasises the internet's role as a tool for promoting European culture, and calls on the Member States to further develop investment in broadband internet throughout the EU;

20.  Emphasises the importance of the new media and, above all, of the internet as free, easily accessible and user-friendly communications and information platforms which should be actively used, inside and outside the EU, in the context of intercultural dialogue; in addition, stresses the importance of the new media in providing access to cultural goods and content and in making Europe's cultural heritage and history better known, inside and outside the EU, as demonstrated by key projects such as Europeana;

21.  Calls on the Commission to create a central internet portal which both provides information on existing EU support programmes in the external relations sphere which have a cultural component and on the planning and organisation of cultural events of pan-European significance by the EU's foreign representations and acts as a central information platform to facilitate networking between cultural professionals, institutions and civil society, and which at the same time contains links to other EU-sponsored events, such as Europeana;

Cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation

22.  Emphasises the importance of cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation in advancing and communicating throughout the world the EU's and the Member States' interests and the values that make up European culture; stresses the need for the EU to act as a (world) player with a global perspective and global responsibility;

23.  Argues that the EU's external actions should focus primarily on promoting peace and reconciliation, human rights, international trade and economic development, without neglecting the cultural aspects of diplomacy;

24.  Stresses the need to devise effective strategies for intercultural negotiations, and considers that a multicultural approach to this task may facilitate the conclusion of beneficial agreements, putting the EU and third-country partners on an equal footing;

25.  Urges that one person in each EU representation overseas should be responsible for the coordination of cultural relations and interaction between the EU and third countries and for the promotion of European culture, in close cooperation with cultural actors and network-based organisations such as EUNIC;

26.  Emphasises the need to adopt a comprehensive approach to cultural mediation and cultural exchange and the role of culture in fostering democratisation, human rights, conflict prevention and peace-building;

27.  Encourages the launch of policy dialogues on culture, such as that recently initiated between the EU and India, in order to strengthen people-to-people contacts;

28.  Encourages the setting of priorities directly linked to the cultural dimension within the EIDHR, including strengthening the rule of law, conflict management and prevention, civil society cooperation and the role of new technologies as regards freedom of expression, democratic participation and human rights;

EU external relations and European External Action Service (EEAS)

29.  Expects the draft organisational chart of the EEAS to include positions tailored to cultural aspects, and suggests that a coordination unit be established for this purpose;

30.  Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to coordinate the strategic deployment of the cultural aspects of external policy, incorporating culture consistently and systematically into the EU's external relations and seeking complementarity with the Member States' external cultural policies;

31.  Calls for EEAS staff to be provided with appropriate training and further training in the cultural and digital aspects of external policy, so that they can provide coordination in this area for EU delegations, for joint European training possibilities to be offered to national experts and staff from cultural institutes, and for training facilities to be thrown open for global participation;

32.  Calls for the inclusion of a DG Cultural and Digital Diplomacy in the organisation of the EEAS;

33.  Encourages the EEAS, when developing its resources and competences in the cultural sphere, to cooperate with networks such as EUNIC in order to draw on their experience as independent links between the Member States and cultural mediation organisations and create and exploit synergies;

34.  Encourages the EEAS to take account of the EU's recently established European Heritage Label as a tool to be used in relations with third countries with a view to improving knowledge and the dissemination of the culture and history of the European peoples;

35.  Calls on the Commission to establish an interinstitutional taskforce for culture in the context of the EU's external relations in order to develop and widen coordination, streamlining, strategies and the sharing of best practices and, in that connection, to take account of the Council of Europe's activities and initiatives and to report to Parliament on the taskforce's work;

36.  Proposes that the Commission should submit to Parliament regular reports on the implementation of this resolution on the role of culture in the EU's external relations;

37.  Proposes the creation of specific information systems to support the mobility of artists and other professionals in the cultural field, as envisaged by the study entitled ‘Information systems to support the mobility of artists and other professionals in the culture field: a feasibility study’(11);

38.  Urges the Commission to propose and adopt in 2011 a Green Paper on a strategy on culture and cultural cooperation in the EU's external actions, to be followed by a communication;

39.  Encourages concrete steps to foster capacity-building through the involvement of civil society and the funding of independent initiatives;

UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

40.  Calls on the EEAS to encourage third countries to develop policies on culture and systematically to call on third countries to ratify and implement the UNESCO Convention;

41.  Reminds the Member States of the importance of the commitments they have given in ratifying the UNESCO Convention, since the protection of cultural diversity in the world requires an informed and balanced policy in the digital sphere;

42.  Calls on the Commission to take proper account of the dual nature of cultural goods and services when negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and concluding cultural protocols and to grant preferential treatment to developing countries, in accordance with Article 16 of the UNESCO Convention;

43.  Welcomes the recent signing of an agreement between the EU and UNESCO on an EUR 1 million Expert Facility to support governance in the cultural sector and enable the governments of developing countries to take advantage of experts' knowledge in devising effective and sustainable cultural policies;

44.  Encourages the Member States and the Commission to step up their cooperation efforts in order to further improve national legal frameworks and policies for the protection and preservation of cultural heritage and cultural assets, in accordance with national legislation and international legal frameworks, including measures to combat illegal trafficking in cultural assets and intellectual property; encourages them to prevent the unlawful appropriation of cultural heritage and the products of cultural activity, whilst at the same time recognising the importance of copyright and intellectual property in maintaining the livelihood of those involved in cultural creation;

45.  Calls for a coherent EU strategy for the international promotion of European cultural activities and programmes based on the protection of diversity and the dual nature of cultural goods and activities, which covers, inter alia, the more effective coordination of existing EU external policy programmes with cultural components and their implementation in agreements with third countries, and consistency with the cultural compatibility clauses included in the Treaties, the subsidiarity principle and the UNESCO Convention;

46.  Calls for a coherent strategy for the protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage, both tangible and intangible, and international cooperation in conflict areas, for example through Blue Shield, which gives culture a role in preventing conflicts and restoring peace;

47.  Calls for personnel being sent to conflict and post-conflict areas to be given training in the cultural aspects of action to preserve heritage and promote reconciliation, democracy and human rights;

48.  Wishes to ensure that, in the framework of existing financial instruments, operational programmes are focused on simplification, efficiency and the coordination of EU policies;

49.  Encourages the promotion of the role of culture within the EIDHR, in its work on strengthening the rule of law, conflict management and prevention, civil society cooperation and the role of new technologies as regards freedom of expression, democratic participation and human rights;

50.  Recognises that all human rights need to be respected, as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and therefore recognises the link between cultural rights, diversity and human rights and objects to the use of cultural arguments to justify human rights violations;

51.  Proposes to include a chapter on culture in the Annual Review on Human Rights and to mainstream culture in the work of interparliamentary delegations;

52.  Urges that the development of cultural activities should not be used as an argument for restricting the free movement of cultural professionals between the EU and third countries;

53.  Encourages the establishment of cultural relations with countries with which no other partnerships exist, as a stepping stone towards the development of further relations;

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

(1) OJ L 201, 3.8.2010, p. 30.
(2) OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 288, 4.11.2009, p. 10.
(4) OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p. 44.
(5) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 16.
(6) OJ C 325, 2.12.2010, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 320, 16.12.2008, p. 10.
(8) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(9) OJ L 209, 11.8.2005, p. 27.
(10) OJ L 287, 4.11.2010, p. 3.
(11) DG Education and Culture of the European Commission, March 2009.


Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries (2010/2156(INI))
P7_TA(2011)0240A7-0143/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Convention of 20 October 2005 on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions,

–  having regard to the Council Decision 2006/515/EC of 18 May 2006 on the conclusion of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)(2),

–  having regard to Decision No 1855/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing the Culture Programme (2007 to 2013)(3),

–  having regard to Decision No 1718/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 concerning the implementation of a programme of support for the European audiovisual sector (MEDIA 2007)(4),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 January 2008 on Creative Content Online in the Single Market (COM(2007)0836),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on ‘Europeana – the next steps’(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2009 on Social Economy(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on cultural industries in Europe(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2007 on the social status of artists(9),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 12 May 2009 on Culture as a Catalyst for Creativity and Innovation(10),

–  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 communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 30 June 2010 entitled ‘Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 26 August 2010 entitled ‘A digital agenda for Europe’ (COM(2010)0245/2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2009 entitled ‘Copyright in the Knowledge Economy’ (COM(2009)0532),

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 27 April 2010 entitled ‘Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries’ (COM(2010)0183),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0143/2011),

A.  whereas cultural and creative industries (CCI) are characterised by a dual nature, being economic in that they contribute to economic development through employment, economic growth and wealth creation, but also cultural, thanks to activities integrating individuals socially and culturally into society as well as by being involved in promoting values and cultural identities and developing a European cultural heritage,

B.  whereas as this dual nature differentiates them from other industries, implementation of policies and specific measures must be taken into account,

C.  whereas this specific nature is recognised and promoted by the EU on the international stage, the EU having adopted a policy of maintenance of its cultural cooperation in the WTO and ratified the Unesco Convention,

D.  whereas the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) provides for the right to implement policies to protect cultural diversity, which is systematically applied by the EU and its Member States,

E.  whereas, in accordance with Article 167(4) TFEU, it is necessary to integrate culture into the other European policies, both internal and external, and in this regard to be particularly attentive, in the context of the current globalisation, to the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions,

F.  whereas the Unesco Convention recognises the major role of CCI in producing, distributing and providing access to the wide range of cultural goods and services and encourages international cooperation,

G.  whereas Member States should be willing to support culture and creativity as fundamental factors in the preservation and enhancement of cultural and landscape heritage, to be protected and conserved in order to assist in the creation of a sense of identity and heighten the public's cultural awareness,

H.  whereas, in the EU, CCI play a major role in promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, pluralism and social and territorial cohesion, but also in democratising access to culture and promoting intercultural dialogue throughout the EU,

I.  whereas Europe's cultural diversity, and particularly its rich heritage of regional languages and cultures, constitutes an irreplaceable raw material for the CCI,

J.  whereas particular attention must be paid to cultural and language specificities in the debate on the establishment of a single market in the creative content sector,

K.  whereas CCI are laboratories for artistic, technical and management innovation and whereas they make possible a broader dissemination of works and artists at European and international level,

L.  whereas the CCI sector is enhanced and its visibility ensured through various initiatives by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, such as the Europe Prize, the LUX Prize, and the Cultural Routes,

M.  whereas the CCI have a role to play in preserving distinctive, invaluable and unique skills and abilities through the fusion of contemporary creativity and long-standing experience; whereas, especially in certain sectors such as, for example, fashion, watchmaking and jewellery, the reputation and worldwide success of European industries in the sector are founded upon the manual skills and expertise of artisans and creators,

N.  whereas artists do not have at present a legal status at EU level that takes into account the specific nature of their work and their career, in regard to mobility, working conditions and social protection in particular,

O.  whereas the CCI, which account for 5 million jobs and 2.6% of EU GDP, are one of the main drivers for growth in the EU, creating new jobs, playing key roles in global value chains, spurring innovation, providing added value as a factor for social cohesion and serving as an efficient tool in the fight against the current recession,

P.  whereas the CCI have an influence on almost every other economic sector, furnishing them with innovations that are decisive for competitiveness, especially where information and communication technologies (ICT) are concerned,

Q.  whereas these industries are a driving force for economies in the digital age, making a significant contribution to innovation and the development of new ICT, and whereas they contribute to attaining the Europe 2020 objectives,

R.  whereas CCI can create wealth and jobs if they are given the means to be competitive with the CCI in countries outside the EU in the context of a European international competition strategy,

S.  whereas some people involved in the creative and cultural industries are self-employed,

T.  whereas the CCI are a growth market in the EU and an area where it has the potential to become a global market leader,

U.  whereas the development of trade in cultural and creative goods and services constitutes an important pillar for culture, development and democracy,

V.  whereas creativity depends on access to existing knowledge, works and creative content,

W.  whereas the role of cultural content in the digital economy is crucial; whereas Europe's digital growth will depend in future on having a varied supply of high-quality cultural content,

X.  whereas the digital age opens new possibilities for these industries by introducing new economic models enabling consumers to have access to a range of high-quality products,

Y.  whereas the content industry is making a considerable effort to develop legal offers on cultural online content and all stakeholders should join forces in raising awareness about the existing legal offers of online content,

Z.  whereas newspapers and magazines are components of cultural industries as well as a pluralistic and diverse European media landscape,

AA.  whereas the digital age also poses challenges to the sustainability of traditional sectors of these industries, including book publishing, bookselling and the print media,

AB.  whereas, in order to flourish, Europe's CCI require a modern, accessible and legally certain system for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR),

AC.  whereas it is essential to ensure the artistic and cultural education of citizens and to appreciate the creative process in order to develop creativity and knowledge of the arts, culture, cultural heritage and the cultural diversity of the EU, education should extend to learning about not only digital rights but also obligations, to foster better understanding and respect of works protected by IPR,

AD.  whereas the technological advances in ICT in no way alter the fundamental need to protect IPR,

AE.  whereas better compliance with the existing legal framework protecting these rights, as well as reforms regarding, inter alia, simplification of licensing procedures in the cultural industries, are required in order to take full advantage of the new possibilities offered, whilst guaranteeing a well-balanced system of rights protection which takes account of the interests of both creators and consumers,

AF.  whereas a modern Union trademark system is essential in order to protect the value represented by investments made by European companies in design, creation and innovation,

AG.  whereas there must be a guarantee of strategic investments in CCI, for example through access to funding which is adapted to their specific characteristics and needs, in order to enable them to play a full part in boosting the European economy,

AH.  whereas CCI play a major role in developing centres of creativity at local and regional level which make regions more attractive and allow businesses and jobs anchored in the local and regional economic fabric to be created and developed, make the regions more attractive to tourists, promote the setting up of new businesses and enhance the profile of these regions, and promote the cultural and artistic sector and the preservation, promotion and enhancement of the European cultural heritage thanks to numerous agencies such as local and regional authorities,

AI.  whereas the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and its regional action plan (RIP) have been approved and funded for 2011-2013,

AJ.  whereas the role of the European Creative Industries Alliance (ECIA) should be enhanced,

Cultural and creative industries as a driving force in the European Union

1.  Stresses the need to analyse CCI and the impact of their activities on the European economy, identifying, defining and describing them each in turn, in order to highlight their characteristics, better understand their goals and problems and implement more effective measures;

2.  Calls on the Commission to pursue its efforts to produce a better definition of CCI with a view to analysing in depth their impact on long-term growth and international competitiveness and to foster greater recognition of the specific features of the sector;

3.  Calls on the Member States to be strongly committed to protecting and supporting their own cultural heritage, recognising that for CCI to develop requires a dual economy where public and private investment coexist;

4.  Considers that CCI should be at the centre of a new European policy agenda in line with the economic needs of the sector and in the context of digitalisation, and that the future Culture Programme should reflect the needs of the cultural and creative sector in the digital age through a more pragmatic, more comprehensive approach;

5.  Recognises that, as sources of economic and social innovation in many other sectors of the economy, CCI have great synergising power;

6.  Calls on the Commission to continue its efforts to support, promote and facilitate the development of the culture and creativity framework by fostering a more elaborate system of cooperation among Member States and EU institutions, based on sharing experience of good practice; recommends that the Commission include local and regional authorities in the follow-up process to the Green Paper, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity;

7.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a White Paper, in view of the ever increasing importance of CCI as well as the objective of strengthening this sector, which is of strategic importance for the achievement of the Europe 2020 goals;

Education, training and awareness-raising

8.  Encourages the Member States and the Commission both to promote artistic and cultural education (with particular emphasis on creativity) among all age groups, from primary to higher and/or vocational education, and to develop creators' entrepreneurial skills, including in the context of lifelong learning, particularly on account of its role in raising awareness of creativity and teaching good use of ITC and respect for intellectual property;

9.  Points out the advantages of an education which combines a theoretical knowledge of cultural and art history with practical artistic creation and the management of cultural assets in undertakings, studios etc, with the aim of enhancing both theoretical and practical skills;

10.  Highlights the importance of educational programmes which focus on vocational training, the development of ideas and storytelling, e-skills, technical, entrepreneurial and marketing skills, including the use of social networks, and workers' skills;

11.  Highlights the potential of close cooperation and dialogue between CCI, universities, research centres, art schools and art establishments to provide joint training programmes and lifelong learning opportunities;

12.  Reminds the Commission and the Member States of the urgent need to recognise vocational qualifications in the CCI, to promote student and lecturer mobility and further develop training-work experience internships for artists and creators;

13.  Requests that the Commission call on Member States to expand the framework for recognition of professional qualifications and training courses, not least with a view to including the new skills required in the CCI sector;

14.  Calls on the Commission to promote joint research and partnership programmes between the CCI and the education and training sector (including in-service training), thus providing citizens with creative and intercultural skills, to facilitate the use of new techniques and new creative tools in the education sector, to step up lifelong education and training – specifically through use of the European Social Fund – in view of the pace of technological change in this field, and conversely, by means of research and education, to renew the CCI;

15.  Calls on the Member States to promote the availability of managerial, business and entrepreneurial training specifically tailored for professionals in the CCI, thus equipping them with the communication and entrepreneurial skills required in an ever evolving socio-economic environment; notes the positive training and management experience developed in the audiovisual field by the MEDIA programme and hopes to see the Culture programme equipped with similar instruments;

16.  Proposes the creation of new pilot projects under the Erasmus and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programmes to allow for greater collaboration between universities and enterprises in the cultural and creative sector;

17.  Underlines the need to pass on techniques and know-how and the value of reinforcing learning and setting up professional training programmes focused on the cultural and creative sector, better harnessing the use of existing programmes and curricula, providing multidisciplinary education and promoting cooperation and partnerships between educational institutions, students, professionals from the cultural and creative sector, enterprises of all sizes, including the private and public sectors, craftspeople and financial institutions;

18.  Recognises the importance of CCI in fostering the development of European content, thereby contributing to the cultural convergence of the Member States and a closer relationship between their people;

19.  Stresses that intercultural learning and skills help people understand other cultures, thereby contributing to social inclusion;

Working conditions and entrepreneurship

20.  Acknowledges the impact, competitiveness and future potential of CCI as an important engine for sustainable growth in Europe that can play a decisive role in the EU's economic recovery;

21.  Calls on the Commission to recognise the CCI as a productive part of the European economy, notably in terms of their capacity to help make other sectors of the economy more competitive;

22.  Underlines the need to consider working conditions and the economic, social, legal and taxation aspects of these sectors, with particular reference to the entrepreneurial dimension of the CCI and to working conditions;

23.  Stresses, in this respect, the need to fight against pay discrimination and to improve the degree to which jobs match the level of qualifications;

24.  Invites the Commission, therefore, to analyse the impact the CCI have on the EU economy, and to publish a performance evaluation guide on employment and business wealth creation in each of the sector's branches;

25.  Stresses the need to develop a strong sense of cultural and creative entrepreneurship at local, regional, national and European level;

26.  Stresses the need to create optimum conditions for employing university-educated and professional young people from this sector and to foster opportunities for them to become entrepreneurs, as well as to train them in the specific economic, taxation, financial and technological aspects of the cultural and creative world and in communication and marketing, IPR and intergenerational knowledge transfer;

27.  Calls on the Commission to set up a multilingual platform so that people working in the cultural and creative sector can join a European-level network where they can exchange experience, best practices and expertise and cooperate on joint projects or pilot projects with a transnational and cross-border dimension and find complete information on the legislation in force (such as copyright issues, social rights) and on funding possibilities;

28.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to once again include under the heading of CCI non-profit organisations and social economy operators - as defined in Parliament's resolution of 19 February 2009 on Social Economy - as they are active in sectors relevant to the CCI, thereby permitting the adoption of tax benefits, easy access to loans and employment protection;

29.  Calls on the Commission to respect and acknowledge actions taken by cultural services, not-for-profit organisations and private initiatives involved in the development of a creative inclusive economy; calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage and embed good practices designed to facilitate access for both young people (irrespective of their status as students, apprentices, trainees or job-seekers, etc.) and particularly vulnerable people to culture and creative content – for example, reduced prices, culture vouchers and free cultural activities;

Status of artists

30.  Reaffirms that the status of European artist must be created so that artists are able to enjoy satisfactory working conditions and appropriate measures in regard to tax systems, their right to work, social security rights and copyright in order to improve mobility across the EU;

31.  Invites those Member States that have not yet done so to act on the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist;

Artistic trades

32.  Points out that artistic trades constitute one of the pillars on which our cultural heritage and our economy rest, and that their continuity must therefore be safeguarded by means of appropriate mechanisms for passing on knowledge and skills, as emphasised in Parliament's resolution of 10 April 2008 on cultural industries in Europe;

33.  Reaffirms the aim of preserving the specific nature of some trades and the transfer of know-how, especially in the cultural, creative and crafts sector, and of guaranteeing mechanisms for knowledge transfer; proposes encouraging the establishment at local, regional and territorial level of knowledge transfer workshops, particularly for the traditional creative sector;

34.  Points out that the economic model for CCI, including in the luxury sector which is representative of it, is based on innovation, constant creativity, consumer confidence and investment in jobs that are often highly skilled and involve unique know-how; calls on the Commission to promote the sustainability of this economic model in its proposals affecting CCI by developing a regulatory framework adapted to their specific characteristics, particularly as regards respect for IPR;

35.  Emphasises the danger of a shortage of manpower in some highly skilled or very specific trades which contribute to the existence of CCI in the EU and asks the Commission and the Member States to take necessary measures, in conjunction with the enterprises, to ensure these unique skills are preserved and to facilitate the training of a new generation of artisans and workers specialising in these trades;

Improving the distribution of works in the digital age

36.  Encourages the Member States to promote the distribution and circulation of works across the EU;

37.  Recognises that it is not just innovation in technological production that must be promoted but also innovation in management processes, in developing the projects themselves and in their distribution and marketing;

38.  Asks the Commission to consider the possibility of establishing specific actions and suitable tools to support and develop European CCI, in particular SMEs, with the aim of improving the creation, production, promotion and distribution of cultural goods and services;

39.  Stresses that online use can represent a real opportunity for better diffusion and distribution of European works, particularly audiovisual works, in conditions where legal supply can develop in an environment of healthy competition which effectively tackles the illegal supply of protected works and new ways of remunerating creators can develop which involve them financially in the success of their works;

40.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the strict implementation of Article 13 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive(11), which provides for the Member States to ensure that on-demand audiovisual media services promote the production of and access to European works and to report to it on the implementation of this provision no later than 2012;

41.  Underlines that, in order to guarantee better distribution of European works and repertoires, initiatives must be introduced aimed at improving and promoting translation, dubbing, subtitling, surtitling and digitisation of European cultural works and at drawing up specific measures in these areas as part of the new generation of MEDIA and Culture programmes for the period 2014-2020;

42.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the growth of the CCI, especially online, by taking relevant steps to ensure that all stakeholders share the responsibility for equally protecting products and services in the digital environment in order to build greater consumer trust online;

43.  Calls on the Commission to establish a legal framework to ensure a high level of confidence in the digital space – commercial and non-commercial – so that CCI on the one hand and consumers on the other can make full use of digital distribution channels without fear of being deterred by misleading or abusive practices;

44.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to give particular consideration to the role of libraries as institutions for the dissemination of culture and as forums for dialogue; considers that libraries, together with the educational and cultural sector, should be given responsibility and resources for the digital switchover; recalls that this process is a matter of urgency, since European libraries even now have only limited means to convert satisfactorily to digital media;

45.  Stresses in particular the importance of expanding the European digital library and developing it as a focal point for projecting Europe's cultural heritage, collective memory and creativity and as a starting point for educational, cultural, innovative and entrepreneurial activities; points out that artistic exchanges constitute one of the pillars on which our cultural heritage and our economy rest, and that their continuity must therefore be safeguarded by means of appropriate mechanisms for passing on knowledge and skills;

46.  Underlines the need to give due regard to the challenges facing traditional sectors of the CCI, such as book publishing, bookselling and the print media;

47.  Calls on the Commission to take initiatives to promote and increase digital literacy, given the increasing shift towards digital content production and distribution by the publishing industry; stresses that publishers should be closely involved in initiatives on digital media literacy;

Towards an internal market for cultural and creative content

48.  Urges the Member States and the Commission to establish a European digital single market and technical and financial support mechanisms in CCI with the aim of digitising cultural heritage, and to introduce common European standards;

49.  Emphasises the importance of the swift implementation and success of the Digital Agenda initiative in order to enable CCI to benefit fully from and to adapt successfully to all the opportunities created by far-reaching, high-speed broadband and by new wireless technologies;

50.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to take the necessary steps to establish a European internal market for on-line cultural and creative content and guarantee access to this content to European citizens whilst ensuring that those entitled are protected and properly compensated and that all funding channels for the creative sector are consolidated;

51.  Calls on the Commission to support new and innovative economic models in the creative and cultural sector which are adapted to the impact of globalisation and the challenges of the digital age, particularly with regard to content industries;

52.  Emphasises the importance, for the creation of conditions of equal access to new platforms and equipment, of interoperability and standards; calls on the Commission to promote interoperability between platforms, to develop standards which help create a marketplace conducive to innovation, and to avoid using systems that might limit access to diversified content;

53.  Calls on the Commission to promote the use, dissemination and development of open source software and open standards, which represent potential for innovation, creativity, knowledge dissemination and job creation;

54.  Notes that market fragmentation in the cultural and creative sectors is in part due to the cultural diversity and language preferences of consumers;

55.  Stresses the importance of considering the best way to adapt the regulatory framework – and in particular the rules on competition policy – to the specific situation of the cultural sector in order to ensure cultural diversity and consumer access to a range of high-quality cultural content and services;

56.  Notes that e-commerce and the Internet are developing at such a pace, with ‘generations’ of technology growing shorter geometrically; believes therefore that attempts should be made to bring the EU's regulatory response into line with current social and commercial requirements so that it does not become pointless through lagging behind and obstruct the full unlocking of the potential of the EU Member States' CCI;

57.  Emphasises the need to give thought to the optimum conditions for the development of this single market, with particular regard to taxation, for example, concerning deductions at source applicable to copyright income, by allowing the introduction of a reduced rate of VAT for on- or off-line cultural goods and services in order to promote their development;

58.  Stresses that VAT rules and the lack of accessible payment methods for online sales also constitute an obstacle to the proper functioning of the internal market and need to be urgently addressed;

59.  Calls on the Commission, therefore, to present, as soon as possible, concrete legislative proposals on how to tackle these issues in order to dismantle existing obstacles to the development of the internal market, in particular in the online environment, while respecting consumer demand and cultural diversity;

60.  Calls on the Commission to consider, with reference to the ‘Digital Agenda’ flagship initiative, the need to support the adjustment of European electronic publishing to the challenges posed by competition, by creating conditions favouring the interoperability of systems, transferability from one device to another and fair competition;

Intellectual property rights

61.  Emphasises that IPR are a fundamental asset for creative companies and an incentive for individual creativity and investment in creation; calls, therefore, for schemes to help CCI adapt to the digital shift via new online services based on new forms of rights management promoting authors' rights; calls, further, for a balanced regulatory framework governing the protection and enforcement of IPR;

62.  Emphasises the need for effective enforcement of IPR in both the offline and online environments, and stresses in that connection that all measures should be carefully evaluated in order to guarantee their efficiency, proportionality and compatibility with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

63.  Calls on the Commission to adapt copyright to the digital era allowing CCI to reap the benefits created by digital technology and media convergence and to consider specific ways of facilitating the use of creative content and archived material and easy, one-stop-shop systems for the clearance of rights;

64.  Stresses, in this context, the essential role of collecting societies for the development of European creativity and the digital economy; calls on the Commission, in the context of the ongoing drafting of a proposal for a directive on collective rights management, to establish an appropriate legal framework for collecting societies and the reaggregation of copyright repertoire;

65.  Calls on the Commission to enable the viability of a pan-European licensing system that builds on the existing multi-territory individual and collective rights licensing models and facilitates the launch of services with a wide choice of content, hereby increasing legal access to online cultural content;

66.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to promote the exchange of best practices on effective methods to raise public awareness regarding the impact of infringements of IPR;

67.  Urges the Commission and Member States in association with stakeholders to organise a campaign to raise awareness at European, national and local level, especially among young European consumers, of the need to respect IPR;

68.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to tackle abusive commercial practices and violations of IPR, of which CCI can be victims in both the real and digital economy;

69.  Stresses the need finally to address the ‘book famine’ experienced by visually impaired and print-disabled people; reminds the Commission and Member States of their obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to take all appropriate measures to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats, and to ensure that laws protecting IPR do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by people with disabilities to cultural materials;

70.  Calls on the Commission to work actively and positively within the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to agree on a binding legal norm based on the treaty proposal drafted by the World Blind Union and tabled at WIPO in 2009;

71.  Stresses the need to solve the issue of orphan works; welcomes the Commission's stated intention to present proposals in this area; notes that the problem of orphan works and the ‘black hole of the 20th century’ is not limited to printed works such as books and magazines, but extends to all kinds of works, including photographs, music and audiovisual works;

72.  Calls on the Commission to encourage financial support for private-sector initiatives to create widely accessible rights and repertoire databases on musical, audiovisual and other repertoire; such databases would increase transparency and streamline procedures for rights clearance;

73.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the setting up of equitable, impartial and effective alternative dispute resolution for all stakeholders;

74.  Takes the view that the Commission should take into account the specific problems encountered by SMEs when it comes to asserting their IPR in accordance with the principle of ‘Think Small First’ established by the Small Business Act for Europe, inter alia by applying the principle of non-discrimination for SMEs;

75.  Welcomes the Commission's revision of the EU trademark system and encourages the Commission to see to it that the relevant steps are taken to ensure that trademarks can benefit from the same level of protection in both the online and offline environments;

Funding cultural and creative industries

76.  Recalls that all policies and measures to support and fund CCI must take into account the characteristics of each branch of the sector;

77.  Calls on the Commission to grant the CCI SME status in their own right in regard to all arrangements for access to credit, start-up support and employment protection, which should be suitably adapted to the specificities of the sector, with particular reference to low capitalisation, the brand as an asset, the high risk in the early stage, strong IT impact, irregular employment, and the need for centralised services;

78.  Calls on all the actors concerned to consider introducing new, innovative financial instruments, both at a European level and at national level, such as bank guarantee measures, repayable advances, risk-capital funds and incentives for the establishment of local partnerships, which take account of the needs of these industries and especially of the fact that creators' only form of capital is, in many cases, non-material;

79.  Advocates the mobilisation of, and simplified application for, existing EU funds and programmes (such as the Microfinance Facility) for the development of small and micro-enterprises in the cultural and creative sector, with a view to optimising support for enterprises by facilitating access to information on funding options;

80.  Proposes the introduction of short-term microfinancing to encourage experimentation and the development of innovative cultural and creative projects;

81.  Recommends that the Commission assess the relevance of the structural funds, as well as current and future programmes in the fields of culture, audiovisual media, youth provision and education, in terms of their potential to further the creative sector, and that it formulate conclusions and act on them with a view to an improved support policy;

82.  Recognises, further, the effectiveness of EU programmes such as the Programme for Innovation and Competitiveness in enabling SMEs to access financing, and suggests that the Commission should assess the possibility of devising similar specific programmes for CCI;

83.  Calls on the Commission to consider establishing a specific budget line under the ‘Digital Agenda’ flagship initiative to support the changeover to digital in European cinemas, in order to ensure that all EU citizens have access to content reflecting Europe's different identities and make the whole of the European film sector more competitive;

84.  Underlines the importance of patronage and public-private partnerships in the financing and support of cultural and creative activities and calls for better access to credit for these sectors and for alternative formulas such as tax relief or tax incentives to be examined in order to encourage patronage by enterprises;

85.  Stresses the importance of professionals in the banking sector being trained to advise on financing cultural and creative projects so that there is better access to credit from financial institutions;

86.  Stresses the importance of developing finance and business management consultation and advisory services to allow people working in the cultural and creative sector, and particularly SMEs and very small businesses, to understand the tools required for good business management in order to improve the creation, production, promotion and distribution of cultural goods and services;

87.  Stresses the need to train professionals capable of ensuring the economic and financial viability of cultural and creative projects in order to improve access to credit when faced with financial and banking institutions that are generally unfamiliar with the specific characteristics of this sector;

88.  Calls on the Commission, in the context of the Digital Agenda, to assist SMEs active in CCI in their search for competitive and consumer-friendly innovative online business models based on co-financing and risk-sharing between CCI and intermediaries;

89.  Calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that public procurement procedures do not entail unnecessary costs and red tape for SMEs;

90.  Calls on the Commission, in light of the launch in December 2011 of the eighth Research Framework Programme, to provide for funding to implement entrepreneurial projects and start-ups proposed by young people under the age of 35 in the CCI sector;

91.  Requests that priority funding be granted under the ENPI RIP 2011-2013 programme to CCI, with particular reference to the audiovisual sector and the production and distribution of audiovisual works in the Euro-Mediterranean region;

92.  Suggests using the framework of the ECIA to provide a platform for access to information and advice on investment readiness and long-term business strategies, access to loans, guarantee funds and cross-border private investment, and calls for the possibility of establishing a Creative Industries Bank to be explored;

93.  Encourages the Member States and local and regional authorities to create favourable conditions for CCI to establish contact with the organisations likely to provide them with funding, and calls on those authorities to raise awareness among financial organisations of the specific situation of CCI in order to persuade them to invest in these industries, and more particularly in SMEs and very small businesses, on the basis of cultural projects with a strong economic potential;

94.  Encourages local, territorial and regional bodies to make the financial institutions more aware of the special features of CCI so they are motivated to invest in these industries and in particular the SMEs;

Local and regional cooperation

95.  Emphasises that the CCI contribute, in many cases, to the transformation of declining local economies by encouraging the emergence of new types of economic activity, creating new and sustainable jobs and making European regions and cities more attractive, thus serving the interests of social and territorial cohesion;

96.  Underlines that culture has an important role to play in terms of the sustainable development of cross-border territories and is aware that CCI infrastructures and facilities can contribute to the achievement of territorial cohesion; believes that stimulating culture and creativity is an integral part of territorial cooperation that should be reinforced;

97.  Calls on all the bodies involved at local level to use the territorial cooperation programmes in order to use and transfer best practices for the development of the CCI sector;

98.  Recommends, on the one hand, that more intensive research be conducted into the interdependence of cultural provision and the location of cultural and creative businesses, as well as the EU-wide significance of culture as a factor in companies' location decisions; and, on the other, that support be given to academic research into the impact which cultural and creative businesses have on the places where they locate;

99.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to map available knowledge of the practices, needs and good experiences of cross-border and territorial cultural and creative cooperation, to acquire specific expertise on culture, creativity and cross-border territories (particularly in little-explored areas such as the link between culture, creativity and economy) and to elaborate cross-border strategies for the management of cultural heritage and resources;

100.  Calls on local and regional authorities to establish meeting places and set the basis for the creation of local networks in order to raise awareness in CCI among people working in the sector, through the sharing of expertise, experimentation, improving skills and training in new technologies, such as digital technologies, and among the general public through training, debates and other artistic and cultural events, and to develop creativity centres and incubators to allow creative young professionals and businesses to work in a network, promote innovation and enhance the visibility of the sector;

101.  Calls on local and regional authorities to join together in networks with a view to exchanging good practice and setting up cross-border and transnational pilot projects;

102.  Emphasises that local and regional authorities can contribute significantly to better dissemination and circulation of cultural goods by organising, supporting and promoting cultural events;

103.  Points out that cultural and creative infrastructures and facilities play an important role in the development of the physical environment of towns and cities, in creating an attractive environment for investment, and, in particular, the rehabilitation and revitalisation of old industrial districts, and that cultural heritage confers value added and adds individuality in the development and renewal of rural areas, especially through its contribution to rural tourism and to preventing the depopulation of these areas;

104.  Considers it also to be a highly significant factor in the context of strategies for the rehabilitation of old industrial districts, as well as in policies to define the new sectoral spheres of tourism which are appearing and in the redefinition of traditional tourism;

105.  Believes therefore that the establishment of CCI and the development of those which already exist must be supported by means of national, regional and local development strategies, in a partnership between public authorities representing different policy areas, SMEs and relevant civil society representatives;

106.  Encourages therefore the Member States and regions to create opportunities for such cooperation, to devise policies that combine infrastructure investment with investment in human capital, and to explore innovation voucher schemes to help cultural and creative SMEs and individuals acquire professional skills;

107.  Believes that the Commission could pay more attention to twinning arrangements between towns, municipalities and regions, which have for many years provided an excellent forum for cultural and creative cooperation and information exchange; calls on the Commission in cooperation with European associations of local and regional authorities to promote modern, high-quality twinning initiatives and exchanges that involve all parts of society;

108.  Suggests that an action programme devoted to cross-border cultural promotion and cooperation be established as part of the European Year of Volunteering;

European Capital of Culture

109.  Emphasises the widespread recognition of the European Capital of Culture initiative as a ‘laboratory’ for urban development through culture; invites the Commission to promote this initiative and ensure the right conditions for the transfer of best practices, cultural cooperation and setting up networks for sharing experience on the opportunities of CCI in order to make use of the full potential of these sectors;

110.  Calls for the inclusion of a debate on the potential of CCI in the programme of events celebrating the European Capitals of Culture;

Fashion and tourism

111.  Considers that fashion and cultural and sustainable tourism should be added to the sectors identified in the Green Paper as forming part of the CCI; points out that the two sectors are characterised by a high degree of creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit which has a significant impact on the economy and international competitiveness of the EU;

112.  Highlights the considerable importance of tourism to the CCI and recommends that the Commission encourage cities and regions to make greater use of culture as a unique asset, to cooperate more closely with one another in the realm of cultural tourism, to develop forms of cooperation between the cultural sector and the tourism sector and to support both sectors in joint marketing efforts;

International relations and trade

113.  Highlights the importance of the above-mentioned Unesco Convention as an essential instrument to guarantee that the ‘cultural exception’ in international trade in goods and services of a cultural and creative nature is maintained within the international framework of the WTO;

114.  Notes, as regards promotion of cultural exchange and diversity, that access to third-country markets is subject to many tariff and non-tariff barriers which, together with the insecurity of the distribution and exploitation networks, makes it difficult for European culture to have a genuine presence;

115.  Stresses the great potential of CCI in international trade and assumes that its significance is being underestimated owing to the difficulty of gathering data;

116.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the proliferation of bilateral trade agreements, to submit to Parliament a clear, overall strategy on the cultural cooperation protocols (CCP) annexed to those agreements, with a view to adapting the offer of European cooperation to the needs and specific characteristics of CCI in the partner countries, in accordance with the commitments undertaken in the WTO and the spirit and letter of the Unesco Convention;

117.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to boost the export of cultural and creative products and services and strive to raise the profile of Europe's CCI outside the EU;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 201, 25.7.2006, p. 15.
(2) OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 372, 27.12.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 327, 24.11.2006, p. 12.
(5) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 16.
(6) OJ C 76 E, 25.3.2010, p. 16.
(7) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 32.
(8) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 25.
(9) OJ C 125 E, 22.5.2008, p. 223.
(10) http://ec.europa.eu/culture/our-policy-development/doc/CONS_NATIVE_CS_2009_08749_1_EN.pdf
(11) OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.


Sarajevo as a European Capital of Culture in 2014
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on Sarajevo as a European Capital of Culture 2014
P7_TA(2011)0241B7-0281/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 167(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Decision No 1622/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 2006 establishing a Community action for the European Capital of Culture event for the years 2007 to 2019(1),

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the terms and conditions for full participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Culture Programme 2007-2013 signed on 21 December 2010,

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

A.  whereas a Community action entitled ‘European Capital of Culture’ has been established in order to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and the features they share, as well as to promote greater mutual understanding between Europeans,

B.  whereas the above-mentioned decision establishing a Community action for the European Capital of Culture event for the years 2007 to 2019 currently applies only to the EU Member States,

C.  whereas on several occasions cities from third European countries have been given the opportunity to win the title of European Capital of Culture,

D.  whereas Sarajevo has a special place in European history and culture and will commemorate several important anniversaries in 2014,

E.  whereas the City Council of Sarajevo and local cultural operators have undertaken extensive preparations in their candidature for this title,

1.  Calls on the Council to award the title of European Capital of Culture exceptionally to Sarajevo in 2014;

2.  Believes that this would be an important step towards transcending past European divisions and showcasing the New Europe by awarding the title of European Capital of Culture to a city which was the site of such tragic events in the course of the 20th century;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Committee of the Regions.

(1) OJ L 304, 3.11.2006, p. 1.


Sri Lanka: follow-up of the UN Report
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on the situation in Sri Lanka
P7_TA(2011)0242RC-B7-0324/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the report of 31 March 2011 of the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka,

–  having regard to the UN Secretary-General's statement of 25 April 2011 on the public release of the panel of experts' report on Sri Lanka,

–  having regard to the conventions to which Sri Lanka is a party, which require it to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and prosecute those responsible,

–  having regard to the Declaration on the appointment of a UN Panel of Experts on Accountability Issues in Sri Lanka made on behalf of the European Union on 1 July 2010 by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR),

–  having regard to the Declaration made by the VP/HR on 10 May 2011 on the report of the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 5 February 2009(1), 12 March 2009(2) and 22 October 2009(3) on Sri Lanka,

–  having regard to the Second Additional Protocol, relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, to the Fourth Geneva Convention,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in May 2009 the long-running conflict in Sri Lanka came to an end with the surrender of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the death of their leader; whereas the conflict ended with large numbers of Sri Lankans living as internally displaced persons, especially in the north of the country,

B.  whereas in the final months of the conflict, intense fighting in civilian areas resulted in what are estimated to be thousands of civilian deaths and injuries,

C.  whereas on 23 May 2009, during a visit by Ban Ki-moon to Sri Lanka shortly after the end of the conflict, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ban Ki-moon issued a joint statement in which the UN Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process and the Government of Sri Lanka agreed that it would take measures to address allegations of laws-of-war violations,

D.  whereas on 15 May 2010 the Sri Lankan Government appointed an eight-member Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to look into events in Sri Lanka between February 2002 and May 2009, with the aim of ensuring accountability, justice and reconciliation in the country,

E.  whereas on 22 June 2010 the UN Secretary-General announced the appointment of a panel of experts to advise him on the issue of accountability with regard to alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka,

F.  whereas the UN report, published on 25 April 2011, found to be credible allegations that both government forces and the LTTE conducted military operations ‘with flagrant disregard for the protection, rights, welfare and lives of civilians and failed to respect the norms of international law’,

G.  whereas the international community, in the final stages of the conflict, repeatedly called on the Government of Sri Lanka to allow international observers to enter the country in order to monitor the humanitarian situation of the civilian population affected by the fighting,

H.  whereas the panel also concluded that ‘Sri Lanka's efforts, nearly two years after the end of the war, fall dramatically short of international standards on accountability’,

1.  Expresses its concern at the serious nature of the allegations in the UN report; stresses that those allegations, and the issue of accountability for them, must be properly addressed before lasting reconciliation can be achieved in Sri Lanka;

2.  Acknowledges that the panel found to be ‘credible allegations which, if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law was committed both by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity’;

3.  Welcomes the initiative taken by the UN Secretary-General in appointing the panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka regarding alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the final stages of the armed conflict;

4.  Applauds Ban Ki-moon's decision to publish the report on 25 April 2011;

5.  Stresses that a commitment on human rights and accountability was a key point of the joint statement issued by the President of Sri Lanka and the UN Secretary-General on 23 May 2009;

6.  Welcomes the UN Secretary-General's decision to respond positively to the panel's recommendation for a review of the UN's actions regarding the implementation of its humanitarian and protection mandates during the war in Sri Lanka, particularly in the final stages of the conflict; notes that the panel of experts has recommended that the UN Secretary-General should immediately proceed to establish an independent international mechanism, but that the latter has been advised that this will require host country consent or a decision by member states through an appropriate intergovernmental forum;

7.  Takes the view that, in the interests of justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, the allegations contained in the UN panel of experts' report warrant a full, impartial and transparent investigation; encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to respond constructively to the recommendations made by the panel of experts;

8.  Is deeply concerned about the worrying lack of independence of the judiciary, which could play a complementary role to an independent investigation body; urges the Sri Lankan Government to ensure restorative and retributive justice;

9.  Calls on the Government of Sri Lanka, in compliance with its international obligations and with a view to improving its domestic accountability process, to contribute to the efforts already being made for a comprehensive reconciliation;

10.  Recognises, in this respect, that the Sri Lankan Government has established a Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC); urges the LLRC to take serious account of the UN report; notes that the LLRC is empowered to ask the Sri Lankan Attorney-General to institute criminal proceedings, based on its findings;

11.  Asks for accountability of both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government for alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law;

12.  Urges the Sri Lankan Government to implement the panel's recommendations, starting with the ‘immediate measures’, and immediately to commence genuine investigations into the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law allegedly committed by both sides involved in the armed conflict;

13.  Calls on the VP/HR, the Council and the Commission to support further efforts to strengthen the accountability process in Sri Lanka and to support the UN report;

14.  Urges the Government of Sri Lanka to be proactive in addressing the genuine political, economic and social concerns and interests of its Tamil citizens; urges the Sri Lankan Government accordingly to take active measures in terms of political devolution and to encourage Tamil recruitment to the government service and to the police and the armed forces, so that the Tamil peoples feel reassured and will recognise the defeat of the LTTE as a liberation and look forward to a bright and prosperous future, on equal terms with their Sinhalese fellow citizens;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President, Government and Parliament of Sri Lanka.

(1) OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 141.
(2) OJ C 87 E, 1.4.2010, p. 127.
(3) OJ C 265 E, 30.9.2010, p. 29.


Azerbaijan
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on Azerbaijan
P7_TA(2011)0243RC-B7-0330/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Azerbaijan, in particular that of 17 December 2009(1),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 20 May 2010(2) on the need for an EU strategy for the South Caucasus, of 7 April 2011(3) on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy – Eastern Dimension and of 20 January 2011(4) on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy of 18 April 2011 and the statement by the EU Delegation office in Baku of 10 March 2011,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers'meeting of 13 December 2010,

–  having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EC and Azerbaijan which entered into force in 1 July 1999,

–  having regard to the statements of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media on the attack on journalists of 10 March 2011 and of 28 March 2011,

–  having regard to the report by the ODIHR Election Observation Mission on the parliamentary elections of 7 November 2010,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Azerbaijan is actively participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, is a founding member of Euronest and is committed to respecting democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which are core values of these initiatives,

B.  whereas since 15 July 2010 negotiations have been launched on an EU-Azerbaijan Association Agreement based on joint commitments to a set of shared values, covering a wide range of areas, including political dialogue, justice, freedom and security, as well as trade and cooperation in sectoral policies,

C.  whereas although, according to the joint statement of the Election Observation Mission composed by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, the 7 November 2010 parliamentary elections in the Republic of Azerbaijan were characterised by a peaceful atmosphere and all opposition parties participated in the political process, nonetheless the conduct of these elections overall was not sufficient to constitute meaningful progress in the democratic development of the country,

D.  whereas a wide-ranging clampdown on freedom of expression and assembly is being carried out in Azerbaijan following the peaceful protests against the government on 11 March and 2 April 2011; whereas the clampdown includes arrests, harassment and intimidation of civil society activists, media professionals and opposition politicians in Azerbaijan,

E.  whereas the cases of the activists Jabbar Savalan and Bakhtiyar Hajiev are of particular concern; whereas Mr Savalan, a member of the youth group of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), and Mr Hajiyev, an activist and former parliamentary candidate, were apparently targeted for using Facebook to call for demonstrations against the government; whereas Mr Savalan was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for allegedly possessing drugs; whereas Mr Hajiev was arrested on 4 March after calling on Facebook for demonstrations against the government and now faces two years in jail for allegedly evading military service; whereas serious doubts exist as regards the fairness of the trials of Mr Savalan and Mr Hajiyev,

F.  whereas in mid-March Azerbaijani courts sentenced at least 30 people who took part in those peaceful protests to between 5 and 8 days in prison in late-night trials that were closed to the public; whereas most defendants did not have access to counsel of their choosing; whereas the police refused to allow detainees to contact lawyers and whereas lawyers for some of the defendants did not know when or where the trials were being held,

G.  whereas around 200 activists were arrested on 2 April 2011, including the head of the Youth Organisation of the Musavat Party, Tural Abbasli,

H.  whereas the Human Rights House Azerbaijan, which is a member of the International Human Rights House Network, registered in Azerbaijan in May 2007, was closed down by the authorities following an order of the Ministry of Justice issued on 10 March 2011; whereas the Ministry justified the closure by reference to a breach by the organisation of the Azerbaijani Law on Non-Governmental Organisations,

I.  whereas the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Republic of Azerbaijan to release the jailed journalist Eynulla Fatullayev from prison and to pay him EUR 25 000 in moral damages,

J.  whereas Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well as a number of other international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the increasing number of incidents of harassment, attacks and violence against civil society and social network activists and journalists in Azerbaijan;

2.  Strongly deplores the practice of intimidating, arresting, prosecuting and convicting independent journalists and political activists on various criminal charges;

3.  Deplores the arrest of around 200 people prior to, and during, the anti-government protests of 2 April 2011 in Baku; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to allow peaceful protest as well as freedom of assembly, which are central tenets of an open and democratic society; deplores the physical violence used against protesters;

4.  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to release all members of the opposition, youth activists and bloggers remaining in custody after the peaceful demonstrations of 11 March and 2 and 17 April 2011, to release Mr Savalan and Mr Hajiyev and to drop the charges against them; calls on the Government of Azerbaijan to respect the international conventions that it has ratified by respecting freedom of expression;

5.  Urges the authorities to safeguard all necessary conditions to allow the media, including opposition media, to operate, so that journalists can work and report freely without any pressure, and to pay special attention to the safety of journalists; in this regard recalls the pledge given by President Ilham Aliyev in 2005, in which he asserted that the rights of every journalist were protected and defended by the State;

6.  Expresses its concern at reports of threats in prison against newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev, the deterioration in his health which has been exacerbated and denial of access to medical care, and calls for his immediate release;

7.  Is worried about the worsening human rights situation in the Republic of Azerbaijan; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to safeguard the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and other international treaties to which the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party and to respect OSCE and Council of Europe commitments;

8.  Deplores recent written ‘termination of activity’ warnings sent from the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry to the National Democratic Institute and the Human Rights House Network and urges, in this respect, the Azerbaijani authorities to allow the latter organisation to continue its activities in the country without any further hindrance;

9.  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to maintain a dialogue with members of civil-society organisations and to take all steps to allow individuals to freely engage in peaceful, democratic activities and to allow activists to organise freely and without government interference;

10.  Encourages the Azerbaijani authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations to take place in relevant locations and urges them to refrain from intimidating the organisers by detaining them and charging them with criminal and other offences; regrets that some youth activists have been expelled from Baku State University after missing examinations while in police custody linked to their political activities;

11.  Welcomes the recent release from jail of the two bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Abdullayev (Milli);

12.  Considers access to information and communication technologies, including free and uncensored access to the internet, essential for the development of democracy and the rule of law and as a means of promoting exchanges and communication between the Azerbaijanis and the EU;

13.  Calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to address shortcomings identified by the OSCE/ODIHR final report on the parliamentary elections and expects further cooperation with the Venice Commission to ensure that Azerbaijan's electoral legislation is fully in line with international norms and standards;

14.  Calls for renewed efforts by Azerbaijan to implement in full during its final year the ENP Action Plan and on the Commission to continue to assist Azerbaijan in such efforts;

15.  Welcomes the establishment of the new subcommittees of the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Committee, which will strengthen the institutional framework for discussions in the field of justice, freedom and security and on respect for human rights and democracy;

16.  Welcomes the Azerbaijani contribution to the Eastern Partnership and the participation of the delegation from the Milli Majlis in the inaugural session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative / Vice-President of the Commission, the Council, the Commission, the President, Government and Parliament of Azerbaijan and the OSCE/ODIHR.

(1) OJ C 286 E, 22.10.2010, p. 27.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0193.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0153.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0025.


Belarus
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2011 on Belarus
P7_TA(2011)0244RC-B7-0334/2011

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Belarus, in particular those of 10 March 2011(1), 20 January 2011(2) and 17 December 2009(3),

–  having regard to the statement issued by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, on  18 February 2011 on the conviction and sentencing of a Belarusian opposition representative, and to the statement issued by her spokesperson on 10 April 2011 on the crackdown on the independent media in Belarus,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2011/69/CFSP of 31 January 2011 amending Council Decision 2010/639/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against certain officials of Belarus,

–  having regard to the final report on the presidential election in Belarus published by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) on 22 February 2011,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the presidential candidates Ales Mikhalevich, Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, Vital Rymasheuski, Andrey Sannikau, Mikalay Statkevich and Dimitrji Uss and their campaign managers, in particular Pavel Seviarynets, Vladimir Kobets and Sergey Martselev, are currently facing trials which may result in sentences of up to 15 years' imprisonment,

B.  whereas a number of opposition activists, including Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the opposition United Civic Party (AHP), former presidential candidates Vital Rymasheuski and Ales Mikhalevich, on-line news portal editor-in-chief Natalya Radzina, Andrey Dzmitryeu, the campaign manager for opposition presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu, and ‘Tell the Truth!’ campaign activist Syarhey Vaznyak have been released from the KGB pre-trial detention centre and placed under house arrest whilst the investigation against them continues; whereas Ales Mikhalevich and Natalya Radzina have fled the country to avoid trial, while Dzmitry Bandarenka, a backer of Andrey Sannikau in a former presidential electoral campaign, has been sent to general regime penal colony for two years,

C.  whereas Aliaksandr Atroshchankau, Aliaksandr Malchanau, Dzmitry Novik and Vasil Parfiankou, members of the electoral campaign teams of democratic opposition candidates Uladzimir Niakliayeu and Andrei Sannikau, Mikita Likhavid, a member of the ‘For Freedom’ movement, ‘Young Front’ activists Ales Kirkevich, Zmister Dashkevich and Eduard Lobau, Paval Vinahradau, an activist of the ‘Speak the Truth’ campaign, non-partisan activist Andrei Pratasienya, historian Dzmitry Drozd, protest participant Uladzemir Khamichenka and Dzmitry Bandarenka, a coordinator of the civil campaign ‘European Belarus’, have been sentenced to between one and four years' imprisonment in connection with the demonstrations of 19 December 2010,

D.  whereas there is evidence that the police are torturing people to force them to admit their alleged crimes against the state, as demonstrated by the cases of Olga Klasowska and Ales Mikhalevic,

E.  whereas on 25 April 2011 the Belarus Ministry of Information filed applications with the Supreme Economic Court seeking the closure of the independent newspapers Narodnaya Volia and Nasha Niva,

F.  whereas Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist with the Belsat television channel and Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, has been arrested and is facing up to two years' imprisonment on the charge of ‘insulting the President’ following the articles he published recently; whereas Mr Poczobut is recognised by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience; whereas journalist Iryna Khalip, the wife of Andrey Sannikau, has also been arrested and faces charges in connection with the protests; whereas she is currently under house arrest and has been banned from communicating with her husband,

G.  whereas repressive measures against members of the democratic opposition, the free media, civil society activists and human rights defenders have been stepped up even further, despite repeated calls from the international community to halt them immediately; whereas this situation constitutes a serious breach of numerous international commitments given by Belarus,

1.  Strongly condemns all convictions on the basis of the criminal charge of ‘mass rioting’ and finds them arbitrary and politically motivated; emphasises that according to reports the authorities have failed to prove the guilt of the accused, that the trials were held behind closed doors, that detainees were denied the opportunity to call their witnesses and to meet discreetly and on a regular basis with their legal representatives, that the lawyers of the accused received several warnings from the Ministry of Justice and that some of them have been disbarred; declares, therefore, that the trials were not conducted in an impartial manner;

2.  Considers all charges against the presidential candidates Vladimir Neklyayev, Vitaly Rymashevsky, Nikolai Statkevich, Dmitry Uss and Andrei Sannikov to be illegal and inadmissible; calls for the candidates to be acquitted and spared any further persecution; in that connection, condemns the lack of respect for the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and of expression shown by the Belarusian authorities, and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all protestors still in custody and for all charges against them to be dropped;

3.  Expresses its deep concern at the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders in Belarus; strongly condemns the recent defamatory allegations against, for example, Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Centre ‘Viasna’, made by the Belarusian President and several journalists in the state-owned media, who claimed, in their comments concerning the bomb attack on the Minsk subway, that ‘there [was] a fifth column in the country’;

4.  Condemns the persisting climate of fear and intimidation of political opponents in Belarus and the ongoing persecution of opposition figures since the December 2010 presidential elections;

5.  Urges the Belarusian authorities to remove the obstacles to the freedom of movement of the Ukrainian citizens Marina Tsapok and Maxim Kitsyuk and the Russian citizen Andrey Yurov, representatives of the Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus, who were denied entry to the territory of Belarus, and to that of Alik Mnatsnakyan and Viktoria Gromova, Russian human rights defenders who were detained on 4 May 2011 in the office of the Human Rights Centre ‘Viasna’ and shortly after deported from Belarus and banned from re-entering the country for two years; in that connection, condemns all actions against human rights defenders carried out by the Belarusian authorities;

6.  Condemns the systematic harassment and intimidation of and the mounting pressure on independent journalists and media outlets in Belarus; in that connection, urges the Belarusian authorities to halt the procedure to close down the Narodnaya Volia and Nasha Niva weeklies, to refrain from limiting access to two independent internet portals, Karta ‘97 and Bielorusskij Partizan, which would result in the severe limitation of media pluralism in Belarus, and to release Andrzej Poczobut and drop all charges against him;

7.  Condemns the lack of any independent investigation into the use of brutal force by the police and KGB services against the protesters on election day, particularly as Belarus has rejected a call by 14 EU Member States for a human rights fact-finding mission under the auspices of the OSCE to investigate the massive crackdown on the opposition in the aftermath of the December 2010 elections; welcomes the interim report by Dr Neil Jarman, Special Rapporteur of the Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus, and is appalled at the fact that human rights defenders from various OSCE countries have again been detained in Minsk;

8.  Calls on the Commission, the Council, the High Representative and other EU partner countries to extend the restrictive measures against the Belarusian regime, including by imposing targeted economic sanctions, in particular against state-owned enterprises;

9.  Emphasises that, in the light of the continuous, unprecedented repression of the opposition, the EU needs to find new ways to assist Belarusian civil society in facilitating awareness-raising among the public, preventing the total fragmentation of the political opposition and sustaining a political alternative to the Lukashenka regime; calls for EU assistance to democratic opposition parties, civil society organisations and independent media outlets to be maintained and stepped up, for example via the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

10.  Stresses that potential EU engagement with Belarus will be subject to strict conditionality and contingent on a commitment by Belarus to respect human rights and the rule of law, as stated in the Joint Declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit of 7 May 2009, co-signed by the Belarusian Government;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and the parliaments of the Member States, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the OSCE and the Council of Europe and the Government and Parliament of Belarus.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0099.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0022.
(3) OJ C 286 E, 22.10.2010, p. 16.


Cleanup in Europe and Let's do it World 2012
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Declaration of the European Parliament of 12 May 2011 on Cleanup in Europe and Let's do it World 2012
P7_TA(2011)0245P7_DCL(2011)0003

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas implementation and enforcement of EU waste legislation is poor,

B.  whereas the lack of social responsibility and awareness of environmental issues continues to be a problem in many Member States,

C.  whereas national civilian grass-root initiatives in the framework of the ‘Let's do it!’ action movement have taken place and have led to huge participation by citizens in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia and Romania since 2008 and these initiatives have produced concrete results such as mapping and cleaning up illegal waste littering,

1.  Considers that ‘Let's do it world!’ is a voluntary action movement inviting all the countries of Europe to join together for the biggest clean-up action ever in their country on one day in 2012;

2.  Invites politicians to actively promote initiatives and citizens to join the action;

3.  Considers that this effective instrument should be widely promoted in order to raise awareness and responsibility for waste management aiming at the highest possible recycling rate;

4.  Calls on the Commission to support this initiative by all available means and also to launch a website publishing existing data on national waste registers and maps showing the location of illegal dump sites;

5.  Calls on the Member States to make additional efforts to fully implement and enforce the existing EU waste legislation in their countries;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories(1), to the Commission, the Council and the governments and parliaments of the 27 Member States.

(1) The list of signatories is published in Annex 1 to the Minutes of 12 May 2011 (P7_PV(2011)05-12(ANN1)).

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