Texts adopted
Thursday, 7 July 2011 - Strasbourg
European Year for Active Ageing (2012) ***I
 Situation in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in the context of the situation in the Arab world and North Africa
 EU external policies in favour of democratisation
 Preparations for the Russian State Duma elections in December
 Changes to Schengen
 Parliamentary cooperation in the field of CFSP/CSDP
 Scheme for food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Union
 Progress on mine action
 Democratic Republic of Congo and the mass rapes in the province of South Kivu
 Indonesia, including attacks on minorities
 India, in particular the death sentence on Davinder Pal Singh

European Year for Active Ageing (2012) ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 7 July 2011 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Year for Active Ageing (2012) (COM(2010)0462 – C7-0253/2010 – 2010/0242(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2010)0462),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 153(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0253/2010),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Budgets on the proposal's financial compatibility,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 21 October 2010(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 18 May 2011 to approve Parliament's position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rules 55 and 38 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0061/2011),

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

2.  Approves the joint declaration by Parliament, the Council and the Commission annexed to this resolution;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 7 July 2011 with a view to the adoption of Decision No.../2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (2012)


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Decision No 940/2011/EU.)


Joint declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission concerning the budget

As per Article 8, the financial envelope for the implementation of the European Year is at least EUR 5 000 000. EUR 2,3 million will be used from the budget 2011 without utilizing available margins to fund notably communication activities and EU conferences for the European Year, and at least EUR 2,7 million, which shall be reprioritised from existing resources without utilizing the existing margins, will be reserved and made visible in a budget line in the draft budget 2012.

(1) OJ C 51, 17.2.2011, p. 55.

Situation in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in the context of the situation in the Arab world and North Africa
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on the situation in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain in the context of the situation in the Arab world and North Africa

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, in particular that of 7 April 2011 on the situation in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 March 2011 on European Union relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council(2),

–  having regard to its resolution on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy - Southern Dimension of 7 April 2011(3),

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative (VP/HR) on Syria of 18, 22, 24 and 26 March, 23 April and 6 and 11 June 2011; on Yemen of 10, 12 and 18 March, 27 April, 11, 26 and 31 May and 3 June 2011, and on Bahrain of 10, 12 and 18 March; 3 May and 1 July 2011,

–  having regard to the declaration by the VP/HR on behalf of the EU on Syria of 29 April 2011,

–  having regard to the Joint Communication entitled ‘A new response to a changing Neighbourhood’ of 25 May 2011, which complements the Joint Communication on ‘A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean’ of 8 March 2011,

–  having regard to the declaration on the Southern Neighbourhood issued at the European Council meeting of 23 and 24 June 2011,

–  having regard to the Human Rights Council resolution on Syria of 29 April 2011,

–  having regard to Council Decisions 2011/273/CFSP of 9 May 2011, 2011/302/CFSP of 23 May 2011 and 2011/367/CFSP of 23 June 2011 on Syria,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 23 May and 20 June 2011,

–  having regard to the statement of 3 June 2011 by the UN Secretary-General on Syria ,

–   having regard to the statement of 23 June 2011 by the UN Secretary-General on the sentences imposed on 21 Bahraini political activists, human rights defenders and opposition leaders,

–  having regard to the preliminary report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Syria of 14 June 2011,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child of 1990,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1975,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders of 2004, as updated in 2008,

–  having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas peaceful demonstrators in countries in North Africa and the Middle East have expressed legitimate democratic aspirations and strong calls for institutional, political, economic and social reforms aimed at achieving genuine democracy, fighting corruption and nepotism, ensuring respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, reducing social inequalities and creating better economic and social conditions,

B.  whereas the Joint Communication entitled ‘A new response to a changing Neighbourhood’ of 25 May 2011 takes a new approach, reviewing the implementation of the basic principles governing the Union's external action, namely the universal values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, which are at the centre of the Neighbourhood Policy, whilst reflecting the need for the EU to support democratic change in North Africa and in the Middle East,


C.  whereas, since the beginning of the crackdown in Syria in March 2011, violence has been escalating and the security forces have been responding to the continuous protests with mass arrests and increasing brutality, killing more than 400 civilians in the Daraa governorate alone and possibly more than 1000 in total across Syria,

D.  whereas recent videos, which were broadcast worldwide, showed disturbing images of arbitrarily detained Syrian children who had been victims of torture or ill-treatment, which in some cases had led to their death, as in the tragic case of Hamza al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old boy; whereas, in addition, the use of live ammunition against demonstrators has already resulted in the deaths of at least 30 children, as reported by UNICEF, the UN children's agency, on 31 May 2011,

E.  whereas in his third address of 20 June 2011 President Bashar al-Assad said that a national dialogue would shape Syria's future; whereas, despite repeated commitments to implement political reform and change in Syria, the authorities have failed to take any credible step to fulfil them; whereas more than 800 cases of forced disappearances and 11 000 cases of arbitrary detention have already been documented by human rights organisations,

F.  whereas on 23 June 2011, in view of the gravity of the situation in Syria, the Council adopted a decision and a regulation imposing restrictive measures on seven additional persons added to the list drawn up on 9 May 2011, introducing special measures, such as a visa ban and a freezing of assets, and also imposed an embargo on arms and equipment which might be used for internal repression against four entities associated with the Syrian regime,

G.  whereas the Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Syrian Arab Republic, of the other part, has never been signed; whereas the signing of this Agreement has been delayed at Syria's request since October 2009 and the Council had already decided not to take further steps; whereas respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms constitutes an essential part of this Agreement,

H.  whereas there is a serious risk of an increase in violent attacks by extremist groups, including armed jihadi groups; whereas it is important to ensure protection for the various religious communities in Syria, including the large number of Iraqi refugees that have arrived in the country,

I.  whereas, after the siege in Daraa, security forces launched a large-scale military operation and campaign of arbitrary arrests in neighbouring towns; whereas an estimated 12 000 Syrians from Jisr al-Shughour and surrounding areas have crossed the Syrian-Turkish border, fearing reprisals by the security forces, and according to the Red Crescent 17 000 more are waiting to cross the border,


J.  whereas the situation in Yemen remains of deep concern following months of violence and turmoil that have inflicted substantial suffering on the Yemeni people, resulting in large-scale loss of life and serious injuries, the imprisonment of protesters and a more serious economic and political crisis in the country,

K.  whereas the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has initiated a plan for the peaceful transfer of power, which has not been signed by the President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh,

L.  whereas during recent attacks on his compound on 3 June 2011, President Saleh was seriously injured and is now receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia; whereas power has been temporarily transferred to the Vice-President of the country, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi,

M.  whereas Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, with widespread malnutrition, dwindling oil reserves, a growing population, weak central government, worsening water shortages and little investment in the country's economy; whereas there is serious concern that the Yemeni State will disintegrate, with a fragile truce having been in force since February with the Shiite rebels in the North, a secessionist movement in the South and many al-Qaeda fighters reportedly using Yemen as a sanctuary,


N.  whereas the state of national safety in Bahrain was lifted on 1 June 2011 and King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa made a call for a national dialogue, which began on 2 July 2011,

O.  whereas on 29 June 2011 an independent commission with an international independent component was set up by King Hamad in order to investigate human rights violations during recent government crackdowns on pro-reform protesters,

P.   whereas on 22 June 2011 Bahrain's National Safety Court, a military court, announced its verdict against 21 Bahraini opposition activists, including seven in absentia; whereas eight opposition activists were sentenced to life in prison and 13 received jail sentences of up to 15 years for ‘plotting to topple the government’; whereas many other political activists, human rights defenders and journalists were detained during the recent pro-reform protests, and whereas according to human rights organisations they have been tortured, ill-treated and harassed,

Q.  whereas on 22 May 2011 the death sentences imposed on Ali Abdullah Hassan al-Sankis and Abdulaziz Abdulridha Ibrahim Hussain for killing two policemen during anti-government protests in Bahrain were upheld by the National Safety Court of Appeal; whereas the executions have been postponed until September,

R.   whereas 47 Bahraini doctors and nurses have been accused of ‘incitement to overthrow the regime by force’ and are facing trial by a Bahraini military court; whereas the medical professionals treated all injured people equally, in keeping with the ethical code for their profession,

S.   whereas following the request from the Bahraini Government foreign forces under the banner of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been deployed in Bahrain,

1.  Strongly condemns the disproportionate use of force by the regimes against peaceful demonstrators and deplores the large number of persons killed and wounded; extends its condolences to the families of the victims and wounded; calls for an immediate end to the bloodshed and the release of the people arrested; calls for an investigation into the killings, arrests and alleged use of torture;

2.  Praises the people for the courage they have demonstrated in their peaceful fight for democratic change, in particular the women, who have been and often still are at the forefront of the protests;

3.  Calls on the political leaderships of the Arab countries to honour their commitments by engaging without delay or precondition in an open and constructive political dialogue, involving all democratic political parties and movements and representatives of civil society, aimed at paving the way for genuine democracy and the implementation of real, ambitious and significant institutional, political, economic and social reforms, which are essential for long-term stability and development in these countries and in the region as a whole;


4.  Strongly condemns the escalation of violence in Syria and the continuing serious violations of human rights, including the sieges imposed on a number of cities, such as Daraa, Jisr al-Shughour and Hama, mass arrests, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, allegations of forced disappearances and torture;

5.  Deplores the fact that the lifting of the state of emergency announced on 21 April 2011 and that other reforms promised by President Assad have not been implemented and that political prisoners remain in detention despite the recent amnesty announced by the President; urges the Syrian authorities to lift the siege of affected towns without delay and allow immediate and unhindered access for humanitarian agencies and workers;

6.  Urges the Syrian authorities and President Bashar al Assad to put an end to the killings of unarmed protestors and to immediately release all detained demonstrators, journalists, human rights defenders and political prisoners; calls for all democratic forces and civil society actors to be involved in an immediate and genuine political process in order to contribute to a democratic transition in Syria based on a concrete agenda for fundamental reforms and respect for human rights and the rule of law;

7.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to allow the foreign press into the country to verify all claims that ‘armed gangs of extremists’ are firing at the security forces first, which is the regime's justification for the unacceptable bloodbath that is taking place; calls on the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with and provide unhindered access to the office of the High Commissioner and to other UN mechanisms;

8.  Urges the Syrian authorities to immediately release all children arrested during the repression of the demonstrations or in related events, to thoroughly investigate reported cases of violence against children and to refrain from any further arrests of and violence against children or any other breach of children's rights;

9.  Welcomes the Council's decision to impose restrictive measures on Syria and persons responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population, to suspend all preparations for new bilateral cooperation programmes, to suspend the ongoing bilateral programmes with the Syrian authorities under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument  (ENPI) and the MEDA instrument, to invite the European Investment Bank (EIB) not to approve new financing operations in Syria for the time being, to consider suspending further Community assistance to Syria in the light of developments and not to take further steps with regard to the Association Agreement with Syria; supports the set of smart sanctions adopted by the Council, and calls on the Council to take a strong diplomatic initiative to persuade other countries to adopt the same sanctions; takes the view that the Council should continue to extend targeted sanctions to all persons and entities linked to the regime with the view to weakening and isolating them, paving the way for a democratic transition;

10.  Strongly supports the EU's diplomatic efforts with its partners in the international community to ensure that the UN Security Council (UNSC) condemns the ongoing violence in Syria, rejects impunity and urges the Syrian authorities to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; regrets the fact that these efforts have not been successful so far and that a resolution could not be introduced; calls on the EU Member States and the VP/HR to continue working with their international partners to secure the involvement of the UNSC in the situation in Syria and the implementation by the Syrian authorities of their responsibility to protect the Syrian population;

11.  Welcomes Turkey's policy of maintaining open borders for Syrian refugees and the rapid mobilisation of the Red Crescent's resources;

12.  Welcomes the acknowledgement by the EU of the efforts by Turkey and other regional partners to deal with the various aspects of the crisis, in particular the humanitarian aspects, and states that it will work with them to address the situation in Syria; calls on Turkey and the EU to step up their foreign policy coordination and strongly encourages the pursuit of concerted efforts in support of democratisation and development in the Middle East and North Africa;

13.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to immediately provide aid and support to the Turkish and Lebanese authorities in their efforts to manage the humanitarian crisis on their borders with Syria, including by setting up a humanitarian corridor at UN level;

14.  Calls on the VP/HR, the Council and the Commission to encourage the emerging democratic opposition movements inside and outside the country; calls, in that connection, for an urgent start to be made on a genuine political dialogue leading to an in-depth democratic transition in Syria;


15.  Strongly condemns the recent armed attacks in Yemen, including the attack of 3 June 2011 on the presidential compound; calls on all parties to cease all hostilities, respect human rights and abide by a permanent ceasefire;

16.  Welcomes Vice-President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's commitment to respect the ceasefire, to demilitarise Yemen's cities, and to ensure proper protection for any further peaceful protests and demonstrations;

17.  Expresses its solidarity with the people of Yemen, welcomes their aspirations for democratic change in their country and supports the efforts of the GCC in as much as these are directed at finding a negotiated solution, which implies the resignation of President Saleh and his of family members who remain in positions of power, within the framework of a more inclusive political system geared towards poverty alleviation and improved living conditions for the majority of the population;

18.  Deplores the failure by the Yemeni authorities to ensure the safe passage of diplomats from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Sana'a on 22 May 2011, including the GCC Secretary-General, and the Ambassadors of GCC member states, the EU, the United Kingdom and the United States; calls on the Yemeni authorities to fully respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations;

19.  Expresses its concern at the lack of any progress reports from the high-level committee appointed by the Yemeni Government to investigate the attack on protestors on 18 March 2011 in Sana'a, in which 54 people were killed and more than 300 injured; reiterates its call on the VP/HR to support the calls for an international independent investigation into the incident;

20.  Welcomes the mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to Yemen, which assessed the human rights situation in that country and will make recommendations to the Yemeni Government and to the international community;


21.  Condemns the repression in Bahrain and urges the immediate and unconditional release of all peaceful demonstrators, including political activists, journalists and human rights defenders, and of the 47 Bahraini doctors and nurses who were acting under professional duty; expresses its strong concern at the life sentences for eight opposition activists and at the 15-year prison sentences for 13 others;

22.  Welcomes the lifting of the ‘state of national safety’ in Bahrain as well as the call made by King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa for a national dialogue; considers that the national dialogue launched by King Hamad can only be possible with the participation of all political forces, including the opposition and civil society, with the aim of paving the way for genuine democracy and political reforms in Bahrain;

23.  Calls on the Bahraini authorities to commute the death sentences of Ali Abdullah Hassan al-Sankis and Abdulaziz Abdulridha Ibrahim Hussain, and to reinstate the de facto moratorium on capital punishment;

24.  Takes positive note of King Hamad's decision to set up an independent commission to investigate human rights violations during recent government crackdowns on pro-reform protesters; urges full impartiality and transparency for the commission and calls on the Bahraini Government not to interfere in its work;

25.  Welcomes the setting-up of a Ministry for Human Rights and Social Development in Bahrain, and calls on that ministry to act in accordance with international human rights standards and obligations;

26.  Expresses its concern at the presence of foreign troops under the GCC banner in Bahrain; reiterates its call on the GCC to contribute resources as a regional collective player in order to act constructively and mediate in the interest of peaceful reforms in Bahrain;

Arab world and North Africa

27.  Supports the democratic transition process in Egypt and Tunisia, as the first examples of the current process of democratisation and new wave of participation by citizens, and notably youth, in the Arab world; strongly supports the aspirations of people for freedom, human rights and democracy; calls for a transparent, fair and free election process in both countries that takes into account their individual circumstances; calls on the international community to make further efforts to sustain and encourage the process of political reform in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East;

28.  Reiterates the commitment of the international community to protect civilians in Libya, including through the intensification of pressure on the Libyan regime, and to support the building of a democratic Libyan state; welcomes the EU's decision to step up its sanctions against the regime by adding six port authorities under the regime's control to the EU asset-freeze list; reiterates its call on Colonel Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi to relinquish power immediately;

29.  Expresses concern at the hardship faced by the people of Libya owing to a shortage of food, lack of access to medical aid and lack of cash flows to pay salaries and to meet various administrative needs; calls on the VP/HR and EU Member States to act urgently to make part of the frozen Libyan assets available to the Transitional National Council, under the authorisation and supervision of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee, so that emergency needs can be met;

30.  Calls on the Council and the VP/HR to take further initiatives to work out a solution to the conflict, taking into account the recent ICC arrest warrant issued against Colonel Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Sanussi;

31.  Welcomes the process of reforms in Morocco, and in particular the proposed constitutional reform that has been submitted to a referendum, as a step in the right direction for the opening-up of the system of governance, modernisation and democratisation; calls on the political parties in Morocco to play an active part in this process of change; stresses that the public, civil society organisations and political parties should remain at the centre of the continuing implementation process of the reforms, and notes that Morocco was the first country in the region to be granted Advanced Status in relations with the EU;

32.  Takes note of the positive announcement by the President of Algeria on the launch of the process of democratisation and on ensuring the better governance of that country, including the lifting of the state of emergency and a planned constitutional reform; underlines the need to accelerate these initiatives and calls for a strong commitment from the Algerian authorities to this process of reforms, which should be inclusive and open to civil society;

33.  Welcomes the commitment to political reforms of Jordan, and in particular the review of the Jordanian Constitution and the work of the National Dialogue Committee; commends the efforts made by the Jordanian authorities and emphasises the need for the concrete implementation of reforms; notes that the EU agreed to grant Jordan ‘Advanced Status’ partnership in 2010;

34.  Stresses that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental human right which should be guaranteed by the authorities; urges the authorities to provide reliable and efficient protection for the religious denominations present in their countries and to ensure the personal safety and physical integrity of members of all religious denominations;

35.  Strongly supports the Council's position that the European Neighbourhood Policy will have to be equal to the new challenges in the Southern Neighbourhood; welcomes the commitment of the EU and Member States to accompany and support concrete efforts by the governments genuinely engaged in political and economic reforms, as well as civil societies; welcomes the setting-up of the Task Force for the Southern Mediterranean by the VP/HR;

36.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to follow a differentiated approach based on the ‘more for more’ policy as set out in the Joint Communication of 25 May 2011 with regard to Southern Mediterranean countries, under which real progress on democracy, free and fair elections and, above all, human rights should be rewarded;

37.  Calls on the European Union to continue to provide the necessary humanitarian aid to the displaced people of the region, many of whom now live as refugees on the borders of their countries;

38.  Welcomes the ‘Deauville Partnership’ with the people of the region launched by the members of the G8; notes that the first ‘Partnership Countries’ will be Egypt and Tunisia; calls on the Council and the EU Member Sates to coordinate their efforts with the members of the G8 who stand ready to extend this Partnership to all countries in the region engaging in a transition towards free, democratic and tolerant societies;

o   o

39.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Yemen, the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Transitional National Council, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Government and Parliament of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Jordan, the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Government of the Tunisian Republic, the Secretary-General of the GCC and the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0148.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0109.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0154.

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

The European Parliament,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need for a paradigm shift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further developing the political dimension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting civil society

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o   o

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

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

Preparations for the Russian State Duma elections in December
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on the preparations for the Russian State Duma elections in December 2011

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Russian Federation, which entered into force in 1997 and has been extended pending its replacement by a new agreement,

–  having regard to the ongoing negotiations for a new agreement providing a new comprehensive framework for EU-Russia relations, as well as to the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in 2010,

–  having regard to its previous reports and resolutions on Russia and on EU-Russia relations, in particular its resolutions of 9 June 2011 on the EU-Russia Summit(1), of 17 February 2011 on the rule of law in Russia(2), of 17 June 2010 on the conclusions of the EU/Russia Summit(3), of 12 November 2009(4) prior to the EU-Russia Summit held in Stockholm on 18 November 2009, and its resolutions of 17 September 2009 on the murder of human rights activists in Russia(5) and on external aspects of energy security(6),

–  having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultations, particularly the latest meeting held in this context on the 4 May 2011,

–   having regard to the decision of the Russian Ministry of Justice on 22 June 2011 to refuse the application for official registration of the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS), and to previous similar cases, which will make it impossible for these parties to participate in the elections,

–   having regard to the statement by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP), Catherine Ashton, of 22 June 2011 on party registration in Russia,

–  having regard to the obligation to uphold democratic principles entailed by Russia's membership in the Council of Europe and as a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the outcome of the EU-Russia Summit held in Nizhny Novgorod on 9-10 June 2011,

–  having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas political pluralism is a cornerstone of democracy and modern society, and a source of political legitimacy,

B.  whereas on 12 April 2011 the European Court of Human Rights expressed its criticism over the cumbersome registration procedures for political parties in Russia, which do not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights,

C.  whereas ODIHR observers visited Russia during the 2003 parliamentary election and advised that a standard OSCE mission should start work six weeks before the elections and comprise 60 long-term and 400 short-term observers,

D.  whereas there remains concern about developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, rules and procedures; whereas the Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN, and has therefore committed itself to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights as promoted by these organisations,

1.  Reaffirms its belief that Russia remains one of European Union's most important partners in building strategic cooperation, sharing not only economic and trade interests but also the objective of acting closely together in the common neighbourhood, as well as at global level;

2.  Reconfirms its resolution of 9 June 2011 on the EU-Russia Summit in Nizhny Novgorod;

3.  Deplores the decision by the Russian authorities to reject the registration of the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS) for the forthcoming Duma elections in December 2011; calls on the Russian authorities to guarantee free and fair elections and to withdraw all decisions and rules that oppose this principle;

4.  Reaffirms its concerns regarding the difficulties faced by the political parties in registering for elections, which effectively constrain political competition in Russia, reduce the choice available to its electorate and show that there are still real obstacles to political pluralism in the country;

5.  Emphasises that the State Duma elections should be based on the implementation of election standards set by the Council of Europe and the OSCE; urges the Russian authorities to allow the OSCE/Council of Europe long-term election observation mission and to cooperate fully with it from its earliest stage, and calls on the HR/VP to insist on the establishment of a mission for this purpose; calls for close cooperation by said observation mission with civil society and the monitoring groups;

6.  Deplores the six-month travel ban imposed on Boris Nemtsov on 5 July 2011 and calls for it to be lifted immediately;

7.  Expresses its concern about the proposal of a draft law, to be discussed in the Duma, which would enable Russian courts to ignore the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in some areas, such an initiative contradicting the basic principles of the European Convention on Human Rights; welcomes the recent decision of the Russian Duma not to consider the draft law for the time being and hopes it will finally renounce that initiative;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0268.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0066.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0234.
(4) OJ C 271 E, 7.10.2010, p. 2.
(5) OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 27.
(6) OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 23.

Changes to Schengen
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on changes to Schengen

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 TEU and Articles 3, 18, 20, 21, 67, 77 and 80 TFEU,

–  having regard to Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985,

–  having regard to the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, of 19 June 1990,

–  having regard to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code)(2),

–  having regard to the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an evaluation mechanism to verify application of the Schengen acquis (COM(2010)0624),

–  having regard to the draft report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of an evaluation mechanism to verify application of the Schengen acquis (PE460.834),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 April 2009 on the application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right to citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 4 May 2011 on migration (COM(2011)0248),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 9 June 2011,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 24 June 2011,

–  having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the creation of the Schengen area and the integration of the Schengen acquis into the EU framework is one of the greatest achievements of the European integration process, marked by the removal of controls on persons at internal borders and unprecedented freedom of movement for a population of more than 400 million people over an area of 4 312 099 km2,

B.  whereas freedom of movement has become one of the pillars of EU citizenship and one of the foundations of the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice, enshrining the right to move and reside freely in all Member States while enjoying the same rights, protections and guarantees, including the ban on all forms of discrimination based on nationality,

C.  whereas, according to the Schengen Borders Code and Article 45 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, freedom of movement in the EU may, under specific conditions, also be extended to third-country nationals legally resident in the EU,

Recent events

D.  whereas, especially in the last year, there has been a massive displacement of people from several North African countries; whereas the Schengen system has recently come under pressure, with some Member States considering the reintroduction of national border controls in the face of the sudden influx of migrants,

E.  whereas on 4 May 2011 the Commission presented several initiatives for a more structured approach to migration, taking into account in particular the recent developments in the Mediterranean region and including a proposal on Schengen; whereas the European Council conclusions of 23-24 June 2011 ask the Commission to present a proposal on a ‘safeguard mechanism’ in order to respond to ‘exceptional circumstances’ that might put the Schengen cooperation at risk,

Schengen Borders Code/migration policy

F.  whereas the Schengen rules governing the movement of persons across internal borders are defined in the Schengen Borders Code, Articles 23 to 26 of which set out measures and procedures for the temporary reintroduction of internal border controls, but whereas such controls, being of a unilateral nature, do not allow the collective EU interest to prevail,

G.  whereas the creation of the Schengen area defined a common external border, which the EU has a joint responsibility to manage under Article 80 TFEU; whereas the EU has not yet fully complied with this requirement, although it has sought to establish effective controls and cooperation between customs, police and judicial authorities, to develop a common immigration, asylum and visa policy and to establish the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (VIS),

Evaluation mechanism

H.  whereas the abolition of internal border controls requires the Member States to have complete trust in one another's capacity to implement fully the accompanying measures allowing such controls to be lifted; whereas the security of the Schengen area depends on the rigour and effectiveness with which each Member State carries out controls at its external borders, as well as on the quality and speed of exchanges of information via the SIS; whereas the inadequate functioning of any of these elements presents a risk to the security of the EU as a whole,

I.  whereas it is essential to evaluate the Member States' compliance with the Schengen acquis in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the Schengen area; whereas the evaluation mechanism based on the Schengen Evaluation Working Group (SCH-EVAL), a purely intergovernmental body, has not proven sufficiently effective,

J.  whereas the double standards currently operating in respect of Schengen, whereby high demands are placed on all candidate countries while those countries already belonging to the Schengen area are treated very complacently, should be abolished,

K.  whereas a new evaluation mechanism is set out in the proposal for a Regulation establishing an evaluation mechanism to verify application of the Schengen acquis, which is currently being examined by the EP under the ordinary legislative procedure; whereas this mechanism already specifies procedures, principles and tools for supporting and assessing the Member States' compliance with the Schengen acquis, including in the face of unforeseen events,


L.  whereas Article 77 TFEU states that Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall adopt measures concerning, inter alia, the checks to which persons crossing external borders are subject in the absence of any controls of persons, whatever their nationality, when crossing internal borders,

Importance of Schengen

1.  Stresses that free movement of people within the Schengen area has been one of the biggest achievements of European integration, that Schengen has a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens, both by making border crossing convenient and by boosting the economy, and that freedom of movement is a fundamental right and a pillar of EU citizenship, the conditions for the exercise of which are laid down in the Treaties and in Directive 2004/38/EC;

Schengen governance/evaluation mechanism

2.  Strongly recommends strengthening the Schengen governance in order to help ensure that each Member State can effectively control its section of the EU's external borders, to reinforce mutual trust and to build confidence in the effectiveness of the EU system of migration management; firmly stresses the need for greater solidarity towards those Member States facing the greatest influx of migrants in order to help them deal with extraordinary situations of this nature;

3.  Believes that the new Schengen evaluation mechanism currently being discussed within Parliament will be part of the answer, insofar as it ensures effective monitoring of any attempt to introduce illegal internal border controls and reinforces mutual trust; also believes that the new Schengen evaluation system already makes it possible to request and obtain support for Member States with a view to ensuring compliance with the Schengen acquis in the event of exceptional pressure on the EU's external borders;

4.  Stresses the need to ensure the proper implementation and application of the Schengen rules by the Member States even after their accession; points out that this also means helping, at an early stage, those Member States facing problems so that they can remedy their deficiencies with practical support from the EU agencies; is of the opinion that the existing evaluation mechanism should be reinforced and made into an EU system;

5.  Believes that the effectiveness of the evaluation mechanism lies in the possibility of sanctions in the event that deficiencies persist and jeopardise the overall security of the Schengen area; recalls that the primary purpose of such sanctions is dissuasion;

Schengen Borders Code

6.  Believes that the necessary conditions for the temporary reintroduction of internal border controls in exceptional circumstances are already clearly set out in Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 (Schengen Borders Code), Articles 23, 24 and 25 of which provide for the possibility of reintroducing internal border controls only where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security; calls on the Commission to present an initiative aimed at defining the strict application of these Articles by the Member States;

7.  Is therefore of the opinion that any new additional exemptions from the current rules, such as new grounds for reintroducing border controls on an ‘exceptional’ basis would definitely not reinforce the Schengen system; points out that on no account can the influx of migrants and asylum seekers at external borders per se be considered an additional ground for the reintroduction of border controls;

8.  Strongly regrets the attempt by several Member States to reintroduce border controls, which clearly jeopardises the very spirit of the Schengen acquis;

9.  Is of the opinion that the recent problems with Schengen are rooted in a reluctance to implement common European policies in other fields, most crucially a common European asylum and migration system (which would include tackling irregular immigration and fighting organised crime);

10.  Reiterates that it is of the utmost importance to make progress in this respect, given that the deadline for establishing a common European asylum system has been set for 2012;

11.  Reaffirms its firm opposition to any new Schengen mechanism with objectives other than those of enhancing freedom of movement and reinforcing EU governance of the Schengen area;


12.  Stresses that any attempt to move away from Article 77 TFEU as the proper legal basis for all measures in this field will be considered to be a deviation from the EU Treaties, and reserves the right to use all available legal remedies if necessary;

o   o

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

(1) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(2) OJ L 105, 13.4.2006, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 137 E, 27.5.2010, p. 6.

Parliamentary cooperation in the field of CFSP/CSDP
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on the European Parliament's approach to implementing Articles 9 and 10 of Protocol 1 to the Lisbon Treaty as regards parliamentary cooperation in the field of CFSP/CSDP

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular to Articles 9 and 10 of Protocol 1 thereto on the role of national parliaments in the European Union,

–  having regard to its position of 8 July 2010 on the proposal for a Council decision establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service(1) and to the annexed declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on political accountability(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 May 2011 on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in 2009, presented to the European Parliament in application of Part II, Section G, paragraph 43 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006(3), and in particular to paragraph 18 of that resolution,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 May 2011 on the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty(4), and in particular to paragraphs 12, 13 and 14 thereof,

–  having regard to the Conference of Speakers of the Parliaments of the EU held in Brussels on 4 and 5 April 2011,

–  having regard to the contribution and conclusions of the XLV COSAC meeting held in Budapest from 29 to 31 May 2011,

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

A.  whereas Article 9 of Protocol 1 stipulates that the organisation and promotion of any form of effective and regular interparliamentary cooperation must be determined jointly by the European Parliament and national parliaments,

B.  whereas, as a member of the College of Commissioners, the VP/HR is subject to a vote of consent by the European Parliament,

C.  whereas the European Parliament codecides with the Council on the EU budget for external action, including the budget for CFSP and CSDP civilian missions and the administrative costs arising from EU military coordination,

D.  whereas, in accordance with the Treaty, the European Parliament is regularly consulted on the main aspects and basic choices of the CFSP and whereas its consent is required in order to translate EU strategies into laws and to conclude international agreements, including agreements relating mainly to the CFSP, the one exception being agreements relating solely to the CFSP,

1.  Recalls that the European Parliament is a source of democratic legitimacy for the CFSP and the CSDP, over which it exercises political scrutiny;

2.  Is convinced at the same time that strengthened interparliamentary cooperation in the area of CFSP and CSDP would reinforce parliamentary influence over the political choices made by the EU and its States, owing to the European Parliament's responsibilities for the common policies of the Union, including the CFSP/CSDP, and to the prerogatives each national parliament enjoys in national security and defence policy decisions;

3.  Regrets the lack of agreement at the EU Speakers' Conference of 4 and 5 April 2011 and looks forward to supporting the efforts of the Polish Presidency to reach an agreement between the European Parliament and national parliaments on new forms of interparliamentary cooperation in this field;

4.  Confirms its position as set out in the relevant reports, and in particular:

   that, in accordance with Article 9 of Protocol 1 of the Lisbon Treaty, ‘the European Parliament and national Parliaments shall together determine the organisation and promotion of effective and regular interparliamentary cooperation within the Union’, in order to promote co-ownership in the organisation and exercise of effective and regular interparliamentary cooperation;
   that its own representation in any new form of interparliamentary cooperation should be of a scale which reflects the range and importance of its role in scrutinising CFSP/CSDP, recognises the common European nature of such policies and satisfies the need to reflect the political and geographic pluralism of the House;
   that, in the pursuit of added value as well as in order to contain costs, the Secretariat and premises of the European Parliament are in principle available to support the organisation and hosting of the interparliamentary meetings;
   that the conclusions of the interparliamentary meetings shall not be binding on the participating parties;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Polish Presidency of the Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments, the Presidents of the parliaments of the EU and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0280.
(2) Ibid, Annex II.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0227.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0228.

Scheme for food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Union
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on the Scheme for food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Union

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 27 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 of 22 October 2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation)(1) and to Commission Regulation (EC) No 983/2008 of 3 October 2008 adopting the plan allocating to the Member States resources to be charged to the 2009 budget year for the supply of food from intervention stocks for the benefit of the most deprived persons in the Community(2),

–  having regard to the amended Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 1234/2007, as regards distribution of food products to the most deprived persons in the Union (COM(2010)0486),

–  having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Case T-576/08,

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 562/2011 of 10 June 2011 adopting the plan allocating to the Member States resources to be charged to the 2012 budget year for the supply of food from intervention stocks for the benefit of the most deprived persons in the European Union and derogating from certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 807/2010(3),

–  having regard to its position of 26 March 2009 on the proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 on the financing of the common agricultural policy and Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation) as regards food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Community(4),

–  having regard to Parliament's declaration of 4 April 2006(5) on this scheme, to its resolution of 22 May 2008(6), to its position of 26 March 2009 and to Commission proposal COM(2010)0486,

–  having regard to Council Recommendation 92/441/EEC on common criteria concerning sufficient resources and social assistance in social protection systems,

–  having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Commission estimates that 43 million people in the EU are at risk of food poverty,

B.  whereas the economic and financial crisis and soaring food prices are putting more people at risk of food poverty,

C.  whereas the Commission estimates that 80 million people in the EU are at risk of poverty and that due to the financial and economic crisis the number of people affected by poverty could increase; whereas one of the five priorities of the EU 2020 Strategy is to reduce poverty and social exclusion in the European Union,

D.  whereas the Scheme for food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Union, set up in 1987 under the common agricultural policy (CAP), provides currently food aid for 13 million people suffering from poverty in 19 Member States and has distribution chains involving some 240 food banks and charities,

E.  whereas the EU intervention stocks have been reduced to a large extent,

F.  whereas the scheme increasingly relied on market purchases as a consequence of the reframing of the CAP, which had led to reduced levels of intervention stocks, the traditional source of supplies for the scheme,

G.  whereas the CJEU has ruled that Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 983/2008, dealing with additional purchases of food on the market, should be annulled,

H.  whereas following the CJEU ruling the Commission proposal for 2012 includes a sudden reduction in funding from EUR 500 million in 2011 to EUR 113 million in 2012,

I.  whereas the CAP and its related schemes and the Structural Funds, including the European Social Fund (ESF), will enter a new funding period in 2014,

1.  Stresses that halting an existing and functioning aid scheme abruptly without prior notice or preparation has a major impact on the most vulnerable EU citizens and is not a reliable funding practice;

2.  Calls, therefore, on the Commission and Council to develop a transitional solution for the remaining years of the funding period (2012 and 2013) so as to avoid an immediate and sharp cutback in food aid as a result of the reduction in funding from EUR 500 million to EUR 113 million and ensure that people dependent on food aid do not suffer from food poverty;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Council, therefore, to find a way of continuing the MDP scheme for the remaining years of the funding period (2012 and 2013) and the new funding period 2014 - 2020 on a legal basis that cannot be contested by the CJEU, maintaining the EUR 500 million annual financial ceiling so as to ensure that people dependent on food aid will not suffer from food poverty;

4.  Calls in the long term on all stakeholders to assess carefully the appropriateness of the food aid scheme, in particular as an element of the CAP, in the context of the new funding period as from 2014;

5.  Notes the announcement by Commissioner Ciolos on 29 June 2011 of the proposal to transfer the most deprived persons scheme away from the CAP, and notes that appropriate funding must be ensured;

6.  Recalls that programmes for deprived persons have to be implemented in the light of the proceedings before the Court of First Instance, as the Commission rightly pointed out in its statement of estimates for the budget year 2012; notes that the Court, in its Judgment T-576/08 of 13 April 2011, stated that only the supply of food from intervention stocks shall be covered by this programme, as opposed to causing expenditure by buying food supplies on the market; considers that, as a result of the Judgment, Article 2 of Regulation (EC) 983/2008 cannot be used as a legal basis for food distribution for the needy;

7.  Asks the Commission to propose a modification of the regulation for the most deprived persons scheme in order to find a solution to the current deadlock on this issue at Council level; considers that the most appropriate legal basis should be found for the next financial programming period;

8.  Stresses that the right to food is a basic and fundamental human right and is achieved when all people, at all times, have physical and economically-feasible access to suitable, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life; points out that poor nutrition has a negative influence on health;

9.  Underlines that high-quality and healthy nutrition is especially important for children and contributes towards satisfying their developmental and educational needs;

10.  Welcomes the initiative of the European Commission and of the agencies of the United Nations to put up a common front against food insecurity and malnutrition throughout the world;

11.  Stresses that farmers need to be guaranteed a decent and fair income and remuneration for their work; points out that farmers in many regions are struggling financially; urges the Commission to address the issue of rural poverty and collapse of rural communities;

12.  Believes that, in the context of enhancing food security and creating sustainable production and supply systems, minimising food waste remains crucial in the long term;

13.  Stresses the importance of providing aid at European level to the most vulnerable and deprived members of society, especially in light of the current economic, financial and social crisis;

14.  Recalls that one of the five objectives of the EU 2020 Strategy is the reduction of poverty and social exclusion in the European Union; stresses that in order to combat poverty, an integrated policy is needed linking decent incomes and working and living conditions and access to all fundamental rights: political, economic, social and cultural; considers that food-aid measures could be one element in a larger integrated policy to combat poverty; acknowledges that one side effect of poverty is often malnutrition and food poverty;

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

(1) OJ L 299, 16.11.2007, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 268, 9.10.2008, p. 3.
(3) OJ L 152, 11.6.2011, p. 24.
(4) OJ C 117E, 6.5.2010, p. 258.
(5) OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 170.
(6) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 71.

Progress on mine action
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on Progress on Mine Action (2011/2007(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (henceforth the Mine Ban Treaty) of 3 December 1997, which entered into force on 1 March 1999,

–  having regard to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and the protocols thereto, especially Amended Protocol II on Landmines, Booby-Traps, and Other Devices and Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War,

–  having regard to its most recent resolutions of 22 April 2004 on anti-personnel landmines(1), of 7 July 2005 on a mine-free world(2), of 19 January 2006 on disability and development(3), of 13 December 2007 on the 10th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty(4), and of 6 September 2001 on measures to promote a commitment by non-State actors to a total ban on anti-personnel landmines(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1724/2001 of 23 July 2001 concerning action against anti-personnel landmines in developing countries(6) and Council Regulation (EC) No 1725/2001 of 23 July 2001 concerning action against anti-personnel landmines in third countries other than developing countries(7),

–  having regard to the ‘Cartagena Action Plan 2010-2014: Ending the Suffering Caused by Anti-personnel Mines’ adopted at the Second Review Conference of the 1997 Ottawa Convention, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia, from 30 November to 4 December 2009,

–  having regard to the Commission Guidelines on European Community Mine Action 2008-2013,

–  having regard to its numerous resolutions on cluster munitions, most recently that of 8 July 2010(8), and on the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions signed by 94 states, which came into force on 1 August 2010,

–  having regard to the 2009 United Nations Mine Action Service Report,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A7-0211/2011),

A.   whereas the EU has been actively engaged in mine action, especially since its Joint Action of 1995, and is committed to the goal of a total ban on and the elimination of anti-personnel landmines (APL) worldwide; whereas the EU is a leading supporter of and contributor to mine action, which is among its human rights, humanitarian and development aid priorities,

B.  whereas ‘mine action’ includes survey, detection, marking and clearance of anti-personnel landmines (APL) and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) – including abandoned ordnance (AO), unexploded ordnance (UXO), cluster munition remnants and improvised explosive devices (IED); as well as mine and ERW risk education and training programmes especially for children, victim assistance, stockpile destruction and advocacy aimed at promoting the universalisation of relevant international conventions and treaties in order to put an end to the production, trade and use of APL,

C.   whereas the persistence of APL and ERW, including IED and cluster munitions remnants, in addition to inflicting loss of human life, especially among civilian populations, represents a serious obstacle to post-conflict reconstruction in afflicted countries, and may serve as raw material for IED,

D.   whereas, by 1 December 2010, 156 States had formally agreed to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty,

E.  whereas in 1999 there were an estimated 18 000 casualties from APL and other ERW and by 2009 this had fallen to around 4 000, according to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitors; whereas 70% of these casualties are estimated to be civilians, a third of whom are children, and whereas so many people worldwide continue to be afflicted by APL and ERW,

F.  whereas only two governments – in Burma/Myanmar and Libya – have recently laid APL, no exports or state transfers of APL have been recorded, and only three states are thought to be continuing their manufacture, but insurgent groups such as the FARC are continuing to produce their own devices,

G.   whereas most armed forces have ceased using APL, but various armed non-state actors continue to use APL, along with victim-activated IED and cluster munitions,

H.   whereas more than 90 countries are still affected by APL and other ERW to some degree but the most seriously afflicted are Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos,

I.   whereas, in the first instance, it is the responsibility of affected states to address the problems of APL and ERW on their territory before, during and after a conflict,

J.  whereas little military manpower has been committed to mine clearance in many afflicted countries where conflict has ceased but where large local armed forces remain,

K.  whereas the need for victim assistance will continue long after the APL threat has been removed,

L.   whereas the international community has responded magnificently to the challenge of the APL tragedy, contributing some USD 3,9 billion to mine action between 1999 and 2009, and whereas the lead contributors have been the US (USD 902,4 million), the EC (USD 521,9 million), Japan (USD 336,9 million), Norway (USD 342,7 million), Canada (USD 259,8 million), the UK (USD 220,6 million), Germany (USD 206,9 million) and the Netherlands (USD 201,9 million),

M.  whereas the perception of a mine threat is often greater than the reality and it has been calculated that only 2% of land that is subject to the costly process of physical ‘clearance’ is actually contaminated with APL or other ERW; whereas there are clear indications on inefficient use of allocated funds for mine action; noting further that better survey methodologies and understanding of survey results can and have in recent years dramatically reduced the need for full clearance of suspected hazardous areas,

N.  whereas the techniques and technology of explosive detection, in spite of much investment, have not greatly advanced and there is a new imperative, given the increasing use of IED,

O.   whereas risk reduction education is a key element in helping people, especially children, in mine-affected regions to live more safely and to learn about the dangers of APL and ERW,

Global efforts on mine action

1.  Applauds the progress that has been made in mine action over the past decade but emphasises that efforts need to be refocused and intensified if the APL threat is to be eliminated within a finite period;

2.  Strongly welcomes the fact that 156 countries have now signed and ratified the Mine Ban Treaty, including 25 EU Member States, but regrets that some 37 countries have still not signed; urges all non-party states to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions; urges, in particular, those EU Member States that have yet to accede to the Treaty to do so and encourages greater synergy between the various international instruments;

3.  Strongly welcomes the fact that 56 countries have now joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including 15 EU Member States; welcomes, also, the adoption of the 2010 Vientiane Declaration and its action plan; calls on the EU and its Member States to promote the universalisation and implementation of both the MBT and the CCM;

4.  Supports fully the implementation of the Cartagena Action Plan, that provides for a detailed five-year plan of commitments in all areas of mine action, and calls on the Council to adopt a decision in support of this Plan as soon as possible;

5.  Stresses the need to find synergy between the various dimensions of mine action, with special regard to humanitarian and development aspects, also by increasing local ownership of and participation in related projects, in order to better respond to the needs of the people directly affected;

6.  Recognises the great contribution made by international donors, international agencies and NGOs to combating the scourge of APL and the dedication and sacrifice of both international and local personnel;

7.  Welcomes the fact that a further seven countries announced completion of their clearance activities in 2009 and 2010, bringing the total number of states having done so to 16;

8.  Recognises that the US has been the leading global sponsor of mine action, strongly supporting international programmes to clear mined areas and to help victims, and has already complied with most of the key provisions of the Mine Ban Treaty, and therefore encourages the US to accede to the Treaty;

9.  Urges Russia to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty, noting that Russia, previously a major source of APL, long recorded as a mine user, was removed from the 2010 list after declaring that it had halted deployment;

10.  Reminds Treaty states of their international obligation to destroy APL stockpiles; is concerned that China and Russia have the largest stockpiles of APL with an estimated 100 million and 24,5 million respectively; urges the EU to include in the negotiations with Russia and China the issue of destroying their existing stockpiles and rapid accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, and calls furthermore for the EU to continue promoting the universalisation of the Mine Ban Treaty and other relevant conventions, also by including the issue of mine action in its political dialogue and agreements signed with third countries;

11.  Deplores the continued use of APL by insurgent and terrorist groups and other non-state actors; in this regard, points to the situation in Colombia, where the FARC is estimated to be the most prolific user of APL among rebel groups anywhere in the world;

Case study – Afghanistan

12.  Notes that the widespread and indiscriminate use of APL during more than three decades of conflict has meant that Afghanistan is one of the world's most heavily contaminated countries, further afflicted by the use of IED by the Taliban;

13.  Deplores the fact that, despite more than a decade of clearance by the world's largest and most highly funded humanitarian demining programme, Afghanistan still has one of the highest casualty rates in the world, and expresses grave concern that of 508 APL and other ERW casualties between 1 March 2009 and 1 March 2010, over half were children;

14.  Recognises that the ongoing conflict in many areas renders mine clearance exceptionally hazardous and that the Taliban has targeted UN offices and both local and international personnel;

15.  Notes that some USD 80 million were donated by the international community for mine action in Afghanistan in 2009 and that since 2002 the EU's financial and technical assistance, amounting to EUR 89 million, has helped to clear approximately 240 km² of APL in the country, making land economically accessible and enabling properties to be reconstructed and families to return home; underlines the need for more focus on victim assistance and mine risk education;

16.  Welcomes the fact that operations rely almost exclusively on some 10 000 local personnel with international support, strengthening the ownership component of the process;

17.  Expresses concern at the apparent unwillingness of the Afghan Government at central and provincial levels to assume responsibility for mine action;

Case study – Angola

18.  Some 30 years of conflict have meant that Angola, like Afghanistan, is one of the most APL-afflicted countries;

19.  Notes that the CNIDAH has been well established as the national authority for mine action but donor countries have little leverage, and that the government has access to its own substantial financial resources, particularly from oil revenue;

20.  Is deeply concerned by the many structural problems highlighted by the Commission's 2009 evaluation, for example the inefficiencies of the EUR 2,7 million spent on 22 personnel at the CNIDAH; urges the EU to monitor, control and evaluate the effective use of money and to ensure that the allocated budget is used in an efficient and targeted manner to achieve the necessary result of cleared land;

21.  Regrets the fact that, despite the completion of a national survey in 2007 and a major mine action programme, the extent of the APL/ERW threat is still not known with confidence and that, at current rates of progress, it will take 100 years to clear the country; underlines the urgent need to establish a different relationship between government and international donors, to devote more national resources to the problem, introducing improved area reduction techniques and increased national mine clearance capacity, so that land can be more rapidly released for productive use;

Case study – Bosnia

22.  Regrets that, 16 years after the end of conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), there is still a high level of APL/ERW contamination, with about 11 000 minefields and an estimated 220 000 active APL and ERW throughout the country, representing a serious challenge to security and an impediment to economic and social development;

23.  Notes the improvements in mine action management through the establishment of the BiH Mine Action Centre, but regrets that BiH has fallen far behind the funding and clearance targets laid out in its extension request under the Mine Ban Treaty;

24.  Recognises that resource mobilisation poses major challenges for the government and that the Mine Action Strategy 2009–2019 has yet to be adopted; regrets that the government's principal body in charge of mine action, the Demining Commission, has not met with donor representatives based in Sarajevo for some years and that its members have not attended international meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty since the treaty's Second Review Conference in 2009; urges the government to take full ownership of mine action to ensure its strategic planning and management;

25.  Congratulates the Slovenian-based International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims assistance (ITFD) on its contribution to mine action in BiH, and emphasises the need for its focus to remain on BiH until that problem is fully overcome;

26.  Notes that 33 accredited demining organisations operate in BiH but that greater use could be made of military manpower;

27.  Applauds EUFOR ALTHEA and its Mines Risk Education Instructors for having provided training to several thousands of people, and encourages them to continue their efforts;

Victim assistance

28.  Recognises that the lives and livelihoods of APL and other ERW casualties are marked forever, that they are mainly civilian, often come from the poorest people in some of the poorest countries and require targeted and continuing medical and social support and assistance over many years, even when there are no further casualties;

29.  Welcomes the fact that, through mine action, the rate of casualties has been drastically reduced but much regrets the fact that civilians made up 70% of all casualties in 2009 and especially deplores the high proportion of child casualties;

30.  Regrets that landmine survivors or their representative organisations participated in the implementation of victim assistance in less than half of the affected countries, and agrees that such survivors' views and rights must be fully respected; urges the international community and the EU to significantly increase the proportion of its funding available for victim assistance but not at the expense of mine clearance;

Progress in mine detection and survey techniques

31.  Recognises that local people in mine-afflicted areas are the best initial indicators of where a mine threat exists;

32.  Notes that - even if advances have been made in mine detection technology, training and techniques - rapid, reliable, cost effective solutions remain elusive and that techniques using manual probes inevitably remain in widespread use; acknowledges the important contribution of the UN International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) in enhancing the safety and efficiency of mine action by setting standards and providing guidance, as well as the role of the UN Mine Action Service in coordinating mine action efforts;

33.  Notes that the most fruitful prospects for technical advances in detection lie in tailor-made methods based on the combination of a number of technologies, in order to avoid casualties and perform demining with minimal environmental impact;

34.  Recognises that properly conducted survey is only as valuable as the accuracy and efficiency of subsequent reporting and that donors need to ensure that their funding of such activity is well spent;

35.  Calls for the Commission to allocate further research funding to mine survey and detection technologies and techniques, in close international cooperation with those specialising in this field, and to use funds available in the context of Framework Programme 7 and the Security Research sector;

Towards an end to the APL threat

36.  Is concerned that some of the countries which suffer from APL affliction are relying too much on international financial assistance for mine action and not deploying enough of their own resources in manpower or revenue; calls on the EU to ensure greater involvement of the affected countries and to remind those countries of their responsibilities, and calls for the situation in Angola, in particular, to be scrutinised in order to mobilise a greater national contribution;

37.  Is concerned at the diversion of resources into ‘mine clearance’ in areas where there is little threat in humanitarian or economic development terms, or where there is a perception of a threat but no reality, to the detriment of a focus on areas of high threat to life; calls for greater emphasis on improved planning and management of operations and more accurate initial survey and reporting of suspect areas;

38.  Expresses concern at the poor security and control of military magazines holding weapons and explosive ordnance, including landmines, particularly in countries in revolt and disorder;

39.  Believes that the international community should focus its attention on those countries least able to help themselves and on mine clearance and assistance to victims, and that the aim should be to move more rapidly to a situation where countries can be declared free of mine threat to life and economic development;

40.  Urges donors to provide funding with more effective targeting, monitoring and evaluation;

41.  Believes that efforts should be concentrated on generating and developing greater local capacity, this may include specially trained local personnel on a structured and professional basis or greater use of military units in post conflict situations, specifically trained for humanitarian demining;

42.  Calls for improved national planning, drawing on best practice, and enhanced international coordination of mine action that more effectively targets resources to areas of priority need while maintaining light bureaucratic structures;

43.  Regrets that there is no reliable census of the current number of victims of APL/ERW/IED and urges that a proper analysis be made as a guide to targeting resources more effectively, with greater consideration being given to the needs of victims and their families;

44.  Regrets that, since the elimination of the EUs dedicated budget line in 2007, the EU has lacked an instrument that is flexible and multi-country in nature, responding coherently to mine action priorities, and that there is, in quantitative terms, a drop in overall EU funding for mine action; calls therefore for the restoration of a more dedicated approach, with one budget line under one lead directorate that will signal the strength of the EUs continued commitment to mine action, which needs to take into account the specific needs of individual countries as laid down in Country Strategy Papers and, at the same time, the fact that in some countries the existence of landmines has become a structural issue and thus an issue for EU development policy;

45.  Regrets that so far neither the exceptional assistance (Article 3) nor the long-term component (Article 4) of the Instrument for Stability have been used for the funding of mine action programmes;

46.  Stresses the capacity for mine action to make significant contributions to post-conflict disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation, not least by providing highly respected training and work for former combatants;

47.  Calls for donors to standardise their methods of monitoring and evaluating the cost effectiveness of mine actions, so that they are more open to comparison and scrutiny on a country-by-country basis, and through the agency of MASG, to identify and propagate best practice;

48.  Calls on the Commission to update its ‘Guidelines on European Community Mine Action 2008-2013’, to reflect proposed changes in the institutional and funding architecture, to ensure more rapid and flexible dispersal of funds, to provide clear instructions to access funding, focusing on the most urgent priorities and best practice, to foresee ‘packages’ of assistance to enable the most needy countries to comply with their Mine Ban Treaty obligations and to monitor and evaluate properly the effectiveness of funding;

49.  Underlines that mine action should form a compulsory element of country strategies where mines are known to exist and/or to be stockpiled;

50.  Is convinced that through better international coordination and prioritisation, improved management, survey and demining practices, better monitoring and reporting, and more astute and better use of funds, a world free of the APL threat to life, livelihood and economic development is a realistic possibility within a finite period;

o   o

51.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Member State governments, the European External Action Service and the Commission, the United Nations, the President of the United States and the US Congress, the governments of the most mine-afflicted countries and international NGOs.

(1) OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p.1075.
(2) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p.473.
(3) OJ C 287 E, 24.11.2006, p.336.
(4) OJ C 323 E, 18.12.2008, p.485.
(5) OJ C 72 E, 21.3.2002, p.352.
(6) OJ L 234, 1.9.2001, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 234, 1.9.2001, p.6.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0285.

Democratic Republic of Congo and the mass rapes in the province of South Kivu
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the mass rapes in the province of South Kivu

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its earlier resolutions on the Democratic Republic of Congo,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed in June 2000,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on violence and discrimination against women and girls,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted in 1998, and particularly Articles 7 and 8 thereof, which define rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy and forced sterilisation or any form of sexual violence as crimes against humanity and war crimes and equate them with a form of torture and a serious war crime, whether or not such acts are systematically perpetrated during international or internal conflicts,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security, and UN Security Council Resolution 1888 (2009) on sexual violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1925 (2010) defining the mandate of the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO),

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1991 of 28 June 2011 to extend the mandate of MONUSCO,

–  having regard to the statement of 23 June 2011 by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström,

–  having regard to the final communiqué of the 6th Regional Meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 28 and 29 April 2011,

–  having regard to the law on sexual violence adopted by the DRC Parliament in 2006, which was designed to speed up the prosecution of rape cases and impose stiffer penalties,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas 170 persons were the victims of rape or physical violence between 10 and 12 June 2011 in the villages of Nakiele and Abala in the province of South Kivu; whereas members of the same armed group responsible were previously implicated in mass rape, arrests and lootings in the same area in January 2011,

B.  whereas the security situation in South Kivu remains extremely unstable and the disruption affecting the eastern DRC have led to an increase in human rights violations and war crimes, including sexual violence against women, mass rape and related act of torture, massacre of civilians, and the widespread enlisting of child soldiers committed by armed rebel groups as well as by government army and police forces,

C.  whereas rape, used as a weapon of war by combatants to intimidate, punish and control their victims, has become horrifically widespread in the eastern DRC since the launching of military operations in 2009; whereas atrocities against women are structured around rape, gang rape, sexual slavery and murder, which has far-reaching consequences on the physical and psychological destruction of women,

D.  whereas on 29 June 2011 the UN Security Council decided to extent the UN Mission to the DRC (MONUSCO) for a further year, and whereas this mission has a mandate authorising it to use all necessary means to protect civilians against violations of international law and human rights,

E.  whereas the victims of rape are faced with a serious shortage of infrastructure and are unable to benefit from adequate medical assistance or care; whereas women are deliberately attacked in public, which often costs them their place in society and their ability to care for their children, and whereas the risks of contamination with the AIDS virus are considerable; whereas the only emergency medical response is that provided by the many NGOs working in the area, whose coordination and access to victims are no longer assured,

F.  whereas the inability of the DRC to bring to justice members of its own army and armed groups for crimes under international law has fostered a culture of impunity; whereas the Congolese army does not possess sufficient human, technical or financial resources to carry out its duties in the eastern provinces of the DRC and to guarantee the protection of the population,

G.  whereas the implementation of the law on sexual violence adopted by the DRC Parliament in 2006 is very limited,

H.  whereas the media have an essential role to play to ensure that awareness of the issues remains high and to alert public opinion,

1.  Roundly condemns the mass rapes, acts of sexual violence and other human rights violations perpetrated between 10 and 12 June 2011 in the South Kivu region; shares in the pain and sorrow of all victims of sexual violence, especially mass rape, that have been committed repeatedly in the eastern part of the DRC over the past four years;

2.  Calls on the government of the DRC to consider the fight against mass rape and sexual violence against women as a national priority;

3.  Welcomes the UN's decision to carry out an inquiry into these events; calls for immediate, independent and impartial investigations to be conducted into these crimes in accordance with international standards; deplores the fact that war criminals are still holding high command positions; calls for effective and immediate measures to ensure the protection of victims and witnesses during and after those investigations;

4.  Demands that the Commission and the Democratic Republic of Congo review the DRC's Country Strategy Paper and the National Indicative Programme of the 10th EDF (2008-2013) with the objective of making the issue of mass rape and sexual violence against women into a national priority to combat impunity;

5.  Is disturbed at the risk that acts of sexual violence may become routine; stresses that it is incumbent on the government of the DRC to guarantee security on its territory and protect civilians; reminds President Kabila that he has personally undertaken to pursue a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual violence and to prosecute the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the country, and to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and the countries in the region;

6.  Welcomes the action of the NGOs bringing aid to the victims of violence and war crimes, particularly the medical aid provided by certain hospitals such as Panzi hospital in Bukavu; stresses that the majority of the victims of sexual aggression are not receiving the necessary medical, social or legal aid; suggests that a comprehensive programme of assistance to victims and their reintegration into Congolese society and the labour market be worked out by the Government of the DRC; calls on the Commission to release additional funds to combat sexual violence and to work to create houses for the victims of sexual violence in sensitive areas; suggests that a pilot project be set up to improve medical assistance to victims of sexual violence in the DRC;

7.  Is concerned that the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Sub-Cluster, which was intended to coordinate the humanitarian response to sexual violence, was abolished a year and a half ago owing to a lack of leadership from the UN Population Fund; calls, therefore, for the recasting of the humanitarian coordination system on the ground;

8.  Expresses its concern that MONUSCO could not use its mandate and rules of engagement more actively to provide protection against such mass rapes, including the atrocities committed by its own forces; recognises, however, that its presence remains indispensable to humanitarian aid accessibility; insists that MONUSCO's mandate and rules of engagement should be carried out with determination to guarantee the safety of the population more effectively; welcomes the decision to extend the mission's mandate to 30 June 2012;

9.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to support the activities of the EUSEC RD and EUPOL RD missions; calls for issues relating to combating sexual violence to be fully integrated into joint security and defence operations;

10.  Remains deeply concerned at the current humanitarian situation in the DRC and at the under-funding in this region owing to the reduction in funding from certain bilateral donors; deeply regrets the fact that, at present, the funds allocated are reaching only few victims; calls on the Commission to maintain the funding allocated to humanitarian aid in the eastern DRC;

11.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on conflict minerals which fuel the war and mass rape in the DRC, with a view to combating impunity, similar to the Dodd-Frank Act (especially section 1502), which imposes new reporting requirement on manufactured products for which ‘conflict minerals’ are used;

12.  Notes that the conflict resolution plan for South Kivu, which gives priority to the military solution, has proved to be a failure; considers that the solution to this conflict must be political and regrets the lack of courage on the part of the international community; considers that the time has come to go beyond condemnation and that responsibilities should be assumed by the Congolese government, by the EU and the UN to take concrete actions to end these atrocities; stresses that, if nothing changes, humanitarian workers will have to be present on the ground for a long time to come;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Commission Vice-President / EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security policy, the African Union, the governments of the countries of the Great Lakes region, the President, Prime Minister and Parliament of the DRC, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council.

Indonesia, including attacks on minorities
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on Indonesia, including attacks on minorities

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2010 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2009 and the European Union's policy on the matter(1),

–  having regard to Indonesia's election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in May 2011; whereas UNHRC members are required to uphold the highest standards regarding the promotion and protection of human rights,

–  having regard to Indonesia's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2011, the ASEAN Charter, which entered into force on 15 December 2008, and the creation of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights on 23 October 2009,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia ratified in 2006,

–  having regard to Chapter 29 of the Indonesian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion,

–  having regard to Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code prohibiting blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation,

–  having regard to Presidential Decree No 1/PNPS/1965 on the prevention of blasphemy and abuse of religions,

–  having regard to the EU statement of 8 February 2011 on the recent attacks on and killings of Ahmadis in Banten province,

–  having regard to the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the first round of the Human Rights Dialogue held in that framework, which took place in June 2010 in Jakarta,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Indonesia is the world's largest predominantly Muslim nation, and whereas Indonesia's tradition of pluralism, cultural harmony, religious freedom and social justice is enshrined in the national ideology of ‘Pancasila’,

B.  whereas there has been a significant increase in the incidence of attacks against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslims, but also against Christians, Buddhists and progressive civil society organisations,

C.  whereas, following the ban on the dissemination of Ahmadi Muslim teachings in 2008, the Indonesian Minister for Religious Affairs has repeatedly called for the imposition of a total ban on the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a step which has already been taken by three provinces, West Java, South Sulawesi and West Sumatra; whereas on 6 February 2011 a mob of at least 1500 people attacked 20 Ahmadi Muslims in Cikeusik, in Banten province, killing three of them and severely injuring several others, prompting a condemnation and a call for an investigation by the President of Indonesia,

D.  whereas, following this attack, on 8 February 2011 hundreds of people set fire to three churches and attacked a priest in the Central Java city of Temanggung after a Christian charged with insulting Islam was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, instead of being condemned to death as expected by the attackers, and whereas the Communion of Churches in Indonesia has recorded 430 attacks against Christian churches over the past six years,

E.  whereas over 150 individuals have already been arrested or detained under Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Indonesian Criminal Code, and whereas there is evidence to show that local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws are being used by extremists to clamp down on religious freedom and to stir up intercommunity tensions and violence,

F.  whereas on 19 April 2010 the Indonesian Constitutional Court upheld the blasphemy and heresy laws and rejected the request for their repeal which had been submitted by four prominent Islamic scholars and at least seven Indonesian civil society and human rights organisations and supported by at least 40 other organisations,

G.  whereas there are credible reports, namely by the National Commission on Human Rights, of human rights violations by members of the security forces in Indonesia, including torture and other forms of ill-treatment and the unnecessary and excessive use of force, in particular on Papua and Maluku Islands; whereas those responsible are rarely brought to account before an independent court,

1.  Welcomes the joint statement issued on 24 May 2011 by the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the Regional Representatives' Council, the Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly, the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court and other senior officials calling for ‘Pancasila’ to be upheld and for the protection of pluralism;

2.  Underlines the progress Indonesia has made in the area of the implementation of democracy and the rule of law in recent years, and attaches great importance to maintaining and deepening harmonious relations between the European Union and Indonesia in many areas, as reflected in the EU-Indonesia PCA;

3.  Applauds the pledges given by Indonesia ahead of its election to the UNHRC on 20 May 2011, including that of ratifying all major human rights instruments, in particular the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance;

4.  Express grave concern at the incidents of violence against religious minorities, particularly Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Baha'ís and Buddhists; is concerned that violations of religious freedom undermine the human rights guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution, including the prohibition of discrimination and freedom of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly;

5.  Calls on the Indonesian Government, namely the Minister of Religious Affairs, and the Indonesian judiciary to guarantee that the rule of law is implemented and upheld and that the perpetrators of religious violence and hatred are brought to justice;

6.  Express deep concern at the local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws, which are open to misuse, and at the 2008 Joint Ministerial Decree prohibiting the dissemination of Ahmadiyya Muslim teachings, and calls on the Indonesian authorities to repeal or revise them;

7.  Applauds the work of Indonesian civil society, including Muslim, Christian and secular think tanks, human rights organisations and counter-extremism organisations, in promoting pluralism, religious freedom, religious harmony and human rights;

8.  Urges the Indonesian Government to follow the recommendations made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and, in particular, to invite the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion and belief to visit the country;

9.  Welcomes the investigation conducted into the deadly February 2011 attacks on the Ahmadiyya community in Western Java, which has led to the regional and provincial police chiefs being replaced, charges being brought against nine police officers for neglecting their duties and 14 other people being brought to trial for the crimes committed, and calls for independent monitoring of the trials of those charged in order to ensure that justice is done for all parties involved;

10.  Calls on the Indonesian authorities to investigate allegations of human rights violations by members of the security forces and to prosecute those found responsible, including persons with command responsibility;

11.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience who have been arrested and charged merely on the basis of their involvement in peaceful political protest, which is contrary to the spirit of the 2001 Special Autonomy Law that granted Papuans, Maluku and other ethnic and religious minorities the right to express their cultural identity;

12.  Calls on the EU delegation and Member States' diplomatic missions to continue to closely monitor the human rights situation, in particularly in sensitive regions such as Papua, the Moluccas and Aceh;

13.  Emphasises the importance of including a human rights dimension, with a special focus on religious freedom and respect for minorities, in the political dialogue in the framework of the EU-Indonesia PCA;

14.  Call on the Member States and the Commission to support Indonesian civil society and human rights organisations which are actively promoting democracy, tolerance and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Indonesia, 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 ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0489.

India, in particular the death sentence on Davinder Pal Singh
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2011 on India, in particular the death sentence on Davinder Pal Singh

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 63/168, which calls for the implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 62/149 of 18 December 2007, whereby 106 countries voted in favour of a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on death sentences and executions, with 34 abstentions and only 46 votes against the resolution,

–  having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 65/206 of 21 December 2010 on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty,

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2007 on a universal moratorium on the death penalty(1),

–  having regard to the 1994 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of India,

–  having regard to the EU-India Thematic Dialogue on Human Rights,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 October 2010 on the World day against the death penalty(2),

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in 2011 – up to May – executions have taken place in only nine countries, which is a clear indication that there is increasing global recognition of the cruel and inhumane nature of capital punishment,

B.  whereas India has not implemented the death penalty since 2004,

C.  whereas clearance has been given for the execution of two convicts,

D.  whereas, on the recommendation of the Union Home Ministry, the President of India, Pratibha Patil, has rejected the review petitions filed under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution on behalf of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, of Punjab, and Mahendra Nath Das, of Assam,

E.  whereas Mahendra Nath Das was sentenced to death in 1997 after being convicted of murder charges, whereas all legal remedies have been exhausted and whereas his execution has been suspended until 21 July 2011 by the Gauhati High Court in Assam (north-east India), as the Indian Government has sought time to respond to the Court,

F.  whereas Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death on 29 August 2001 after being found guilty of involvement in the 1993 bombing of the Youth Congress Office in New Delhi,

G.  whereas the circumstances surrounding the return of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar to India from Germany and the prolonged stay on death row of Mahendra Nath Das raise questions,

H.  whereas India, when presenting its candidacy for the Human Rights Council ahead of the elections of 20 May 2011, pledged to uphold the highest standards in terms of promoting and protecting human rights,

1.  Expresses grave concern that the Government of India may revive the application of the death penalty after a seven-year de facto moratorium, thereby bucking the worldwide trend towards the abolition of capital punishment;

2.  Reiterates its firm support for the UN General Assembly's call to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;

3.  Urgently appeals to the Government of India not to execute Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar or Mahendra Nath Das, and to commute their death sentences;

4.  Calls on the Indian authorities to deal with the cases of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das case in a particularly transparent manner;

5.  Calls on the Government and Parliament of India to adopt legislation introducing a permanent moratorium on executions with the goal of abolishing the death penalty in the near future;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President, Government and Parliament of India, India's Minister for Law and Justice, India's Home Minister, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 219E, 28.8.2008, p. 306.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0351.

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